When thousands of people hit Melbourne's streets on May 1 to protest planned closures of Aboriginal communities, the Herald Sun followed up its front page denunciation of a similar April 9 protest as a “selfish rabble” with a special double page-spread under the headline: “Still Selfish. Still A Rabble.”
And fair enough too, because if anyone is in a position to judge, it is surely a paper owned by Rupert Murdoch, widely regarded as easily the world's most selfless man.
Say what you will about the media mogul, but no one could ever accuse him of putting his own interests above others.
His record of helping others is impeccable, as shown by his refusal to allow the over-worked Australian Tax Office to be burdened with the hassle of having to process revenues from the $4.5 billion his US media empire has siphoned off from his Australian businesses.
To give a sense of scale of Murdoch's generosity, this is just short of the $4.9 billion that Colin Barnett says Aboriginal communities so selfishly drain from the state and national coffers in programs to fund their lavish lifestyles.
But while the untaxed $4.5 billion figure has grabbed headlines recently, it barely scratches the surface of the hard work — largely behind closed doors — that Murdoch does to ensure federal treasury staff don't have too much money on their hands.
An Australian Financial Review piece revealed last year that: “The single largest factor in the underlying deterioration of the federal budget announced by Treasurer Joe Hockey ... was a cash payout of almost $900 million to Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp”.
Having that kinda extra cash on hand would probably force poor treasury officials to work overtime or even weekends, and many of them have families to consider. Really, the sometimes the man just gives too much to society.
There are few better examples of the selfless commitment of the Murdoch media to bettering society than the work of the much-lamented Murdoch tabloid News of the World.
This was on full display with its widely lauded hacking of the voicemail of a missing teenage girl in Britain — an example of the sort of hard-hitting investigative journalism that aims to speak truth to power that puts the likes of John Pilger to shame.
While Pilger famously jet sets about enjoying the high-flying lifestyles of over-privileged Aboriginal communities, Murdoch's News of the World journo did the hard yards, hacking celebrity phones to reveal the real stories society needs to know, like who Jude Law was sleeping with that week.
If I was to raise one concern, however, over the “selfish rabble” label thrown at people requesting entire communities not be dismantled and thrown off their traditional lands, it is that Herald Sun editors appear to be repeating themselves, not just twice but three times.
Seemingly running out of news for ways to abuse anyone they don't like — which seems to be anyone not a conservative, wealthy, straight, white man called Andrew Bolt — the “selfish rabble” label was also thrown at Occupy Melbourne in 2011 in support of the violent police action that smashed the protest camp.
I fear the problem may be the Herald Sun exhausted itself last year when it ran the ultimate tabloid headline, “JIHADI BLUDGERS”, leaving it nowhere to go. It truly was as good a headline as a Murdoch rag is ever likely to write, managing to combine the two greatest evils imaginable in News Corp's universe — Islamic fundamentalists and welfare recipients.
(Though if anything, its logic suggests welfare recipients are the worse of the two, implying, as it does, that if you must be a jihadi terrorist out to destroy our way of life and impose Sharia law, you should at least have the decency to go and get a job rather than expect hard-working taxpayers to fund your infidel killing lifestyle choices.)
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In case you thought Tony Abbott’s government had reached “peak idiocy” — perhaps somewhere between Abbott's onion-eating stunt and the last time Christopher Pyne opened his mouth — Abbott's business adviser Maurice Newman stepped up to call climate change a United Nations-pushed conspiracy.
Calling it a UN-led hoax to impose authoritarian rule, Newman wrote in Murdoch's The Australian of climate change science: “This is not about facts or logic. It's about a new world order under the control of the UN.”
These are people with actual power. Which is why it's amazing those scientists working hard to bring ever-more frightening evidence of climate change to the notice of governments in the pocket of fossil fuel corporations are yet to just throw their hands up in despair and say “fuck it, we're doomed” and spend their final years as we hurtle towards irreversible catastrophe getting very, very drunk.
Yet despite the enormous powers ranged against them, against the direst statistics of the scale of the crisis, they keep going. Perhaps it is the refusal of ordinary people around the world to stop struggling, despite the inaction from rich government governments — from the huge movement seeking to stop exploiting Canada's climate-destroying tar sands, to the poor countries, spearheaded by the radical Bolivian government, demanding climate justice
But we might want to start changing course soon, because no one knows better than climate scientists the way global warming is already starting to threaten the mass production of beer and wine — it can't be long now until the bastards crack and try to drink all of what's left themselves.