Our persistent supporters who take Green Left Weekly out into the street week after week (yes, even on the chilliest of winter days) have received a few more smiles, nods and words of encouragement as, out there in the corporate media, the billionaire bosses have been mercilessly wielding the axe and whip.
Our growing team of new volunteers for the Green Left TV project have also been warmly congratulated and encouraged. More people now appreciate the importance of the alternative media.
In typical 21st century corporate style, the bad news that thousands of jobs in Fairfax and News Ltd will go over the next few years was delivered via a video message posted on their media websites. This is calculated to send a wave of fear through their workforces. Which of us is going to have a redundancy letter in the mail?
The Gina Rineharts and Rupert Murdochs of the world wield both an axe and a whip. Cutting jobs to “restructure, reinvent and transform” their media empires is just business to them at one level but they make damn sure to exploit all the potential to terrorise their workers in the process.
This is all the more important in the media business, which – as Rinehart, the latest media mogul, demonstrates in her bid for control of Fairfax – is not just about making money. Her billions would multiply much faster if kept in digging minerals out of the ground and shipping them to China.
It is about power.
Rinehart underlined this when she refused to sign the charter of editorial independence.
As the richest person in Australia Rinehart has more money than we could comprehend. Take this as a comparison: Our supporters worked hard to raise $84,130 for the GLW Fighting Fund so far this year; Gina Rinehart's wealth rose at a rate of nearly $600 a second last year. Two million dollars every hour.
A GLW buyer said to me in the street: “What does that money really mean? Can she really spend it? Is it really worth anything if other people like us don't work for her?”
That sums up the real social position of these billionaires. They are like the slave owners of old. Their fabulous wealth is made by the sweat of slaves. But slaves need to feel the whip to keep slaving and that is why the billionaires and their CEOs become specialists in inflicting terror on their wage slaves.
In the media industry, such terror is also used to get journalists to present and sometimes invent the “news” in the way their bosses want. Regular threats instill and internalise a culture among journalists of delivering what is demanded to keep the job.
It is only through permanent struggle that alternative media projects like GLW keep their independence and viability. The voluntary efforts of many people, not least our regular readers and, with GLTV, our viewers, is critical to this.
As Rinehart and Murdoch strike terror in the hearts of many as they “restructure” the mainstream media, you can hit back by donating online to the GLW fighting fund and do your bit in the battle to tell the truth.
Direct deposits can also be made to Greenleft, Commonwealth Bank, BSB 062-006, Account No. 00901992. Otherwise, you can send a cheque or money order to PO Box 515, Broadway NSW 2007 or donate on the toll-free line at 1800 634 206 (within Australia).