Charter of Editorial Independence

The current Charter of Editorial Independence for the SMH and Age states that the owner / proprietor should not interfere in the decisions of the editors. In effect it makes the editor in chief the dictator of the contents of the newspaper. I’m not sure why such a thing is considered sacrosanct – is an editor likely to be less biased than a proprietor?

Anyhow, Gina could make herself the editor in chief at the combined SMH/Age and then be abiding by the Charter.

Victorian Labor MP Steve Gibbons wants the Government to regulate the newspapers – he says that they have failed in their social license to operate.

What rubbish – as mentioned in Catallaxy, the primary role of a newspaper is to maximise the profits for given risk. If the owners want to subsidise certain activities, that their business. But it is not the business of government.

The greatest threat to freedom of speech comes from the likes of Gibbons who has now lost his social license to be an MP.

Then Wayne Swan said of the failure to sign a Charter of Editorial Independence

I think that has very big implications for our democracy. I think we should all be very concerned at this turn of events.

Swan’s comments are a classic example of executive overreach. They are inappropriate and reflect poorly on his office. I guess that they are consistent with Gillard and Swan lecturing G20 leaders. That was a diplomatic disaster.

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92 Responses to Charter of Editorial Independence

  1. Louis Hissink

    The primary role of a newspaper is to sell advertising space in order to make a profit. Writing prose for a profit seems a daunting goal, however.

  2. Fred

    Green Left Weekly could be in trouble if all newspapers are forced to have a charter!

  3. Major Elvis Newton

    As a Fairfax shareholder you would be in no doubt that the so-called ‘charter’ has destroyed value.

    Having a worthless parchment such as this described as a kind of media magna carta is nauseating arrogance writ large.

    The fact is everyone within Fairfax from the Board down have failed the company’s owner: the shareholders.

    By nailing its political and editorial colours to the AGW mast it has generated a toxic readership of warmist believers, climate doomsayers and MineHaters.
     
    And the prevailing editorial orthodoxy around the pet subjects of the Inner city Left and Greens is the reason they are in the mess they are in.
     
    But I have not witnessed such juvenile wailing in quite some time.  Looking to blame everyone but themselves.
     
    Particularly galling is the taxpayer-funded commentary on the company’s woes from one of the architect’s of its demise former editor Andrew Jaspan.  Such a disingenuous prick.
     
    This was a totally self-inflicted outcome by Fairfax board, management and its employees…and now they are reaping the fallout from the green-tinged editorial polarisation they championed for so long.
     
    The visceral and deranged hatred shown toward Rinehart borders on certifiable.
     
    Most of the luvvies within Fairfax’s walls – not to say their readership – obviously know little of the history of the Fairfax family; it’s involvement in publication beyond ownership and the endless attempts to wrest back control of the ‘family’ business.
     
    I remember Warwick’s aborted raid in 1987.  How many others do?
     
    The fact is that for the Fairfax families 14% stake they were entitled to 2 board seats.
     
    Rinehart with soon to be 19.9% has NONE.
     
    Fairfax brought about there own demise…the dinosaur media finally met its comet.
     
    The question is will a paywall and a toecut improve journalistic quality.
     
    In that the jury is still out.
     
    But if I was Gina my first duty of business would be to demand Roger Corbett’s head on a pike staff.

  4. Token

    Green Left Weekly could be in trouble if all newspapers are forced to have a charter!

    Was the rag that the Soviet Union funded and Lee Rhaiannon editted covered by this charter?

  5. daddy dave

    Crikey does not have a charter of editorial independence. Nor does News Limited, nor the commercial TV networks, nor Business Insider. The only media institutions that have this notion are Fairfax and the ABC.

    The end result of the charter of editorial independence is that the organisation tilts heavily toward the preferences and interests of the journalistic culture.

    The noble idea is that it protects capitalists from the temptation to use media ownership to avoid scrutiny, but this is just a fantasy. The alternative is absurd: if Rinehart owns Fairfax, the notion of Fairfax journos conducting investigations into her business dealings is comical (in a bad way).

  6. dan

    More regulation, less interesting articles, less profit. nighty night

  7. Entropy

    She should just say that it’s the first she has heard of this charter, it looks like something unique to fairfax, sounds very interesting and could have some merit. She should also say it is flattering that so many fairfax journalists believe she is interested in stepping in to save the company.
    And then say nothing more.

  8. daddy dave

    More regulation, less interesting articles, less profit.

    Less profit? No. Abandoning the charter will not impact on profit. The charter isn’t about profit, it’s about the higher calling of the journalist.

  9. Blogstrop

    The ABC isn’t faithful to its charter or the lofty ideals of Boyer. Fairfax staff want to retain their version of the ABC culture’s stranglehold, and see the charter as a useful barricade for the moment. They are fighting a losing battle. All any board in the future needs to do is appoint decent people to editorial positions, and a mix of writers who are good at what they do. Don’t do what The Age did and lose all your right of centre contributors – something the SMH has been in danger of emulating. Then avoid obvious blunders like partisanship on AGW all the way to the extremist end of that debate, including the sponsoring of Earth Hour.

  10. Ed Snack

    Interesting to note that none of the current directors has signed the charter, I wonder why not and how one can describe an example of hypocrisy so enormous without resorting to profanity.

  11. Irving J

    This government is really showing its fascist colours now. Fabian my ass, these are communists in straight jackets, dying to burst out into the Internationale and wave the hammer and sickle.

    My thinking is that it isn’t good enough to just knock these people out of power for a decade, the labor party needs to have its oxygen cut off at the roots by abolishing public sector collective bargaining and progressive taxation.

  12. daddy dave

    Interesting to note that none of the current directors has signed the charter

    Really? Do tell. I haven’t see anyone mention that in the coverage thus far.

  13. Token

    Less profit? No. Abandoning the charter will not impact on profit. The charter isn’t about profit, it’s about the higher calling of the journalist.

    When the journalists use the charter as a shield to indulge their personal preferences, you get news sources like the ABC & Fauxfacts that is willing to compromise news to push agendas.

    The result is irrational decision making rules and profitability slides as they leave the principle of Hotelling’s Law behind.

  14. hammygar

    The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age are heritage institutions, and as such the public have in effect ownership rights over editorial content. The Government must legislate now to ensure that this is set in stone.

    It’s a bit like public ownership of railway lines. The government can still allow private companies to operate on them for a fee.

  15. Token

    The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age are heritage institutions, and as such the public have in effect ownership rights over editorial content.

    So the fact they are the property of listed companies regulated under the Corporations Act means nothing to you Hammy.

    Hammy was to take us down the road to totalitarianism where governments can ignore the rule of law at whim and natinalise private property based upon whatever emotive idea is popular among the lefties.

  16. Anne

    The charter isn’t about profit, it’s about the higher calling of the journalist.

    Are you joking, Dad. Please! For all but the really courageous the idealism of independent journalism is indoctrinated out of them by second year university.

  17. Fleeced

    As I said in another thread, clause 2 of the charter doesn’t sound legal. It specifically demands editorial independence ahead of shareholder interests, but a director’s primary responsibility is to shareholders – they can not simply waive that responsibility because of this charter.

    Now, you can make the argument – as Conroy has – that editorial independence is in the interests of shareholders, but that is not what the charter demands – it specifically promotes it ahead of shareholder interests.

  18. daddy dave

    Are you joking, Dad.

    No, I’m not joking. But perhaps you misunderstood me – I wasn’t endorsing the charter, just saying what it’s goals are. Its goal is not to increase profit. Oh sure, there’s a rather convoluted argument that the charter is good for the brand, and a good brand will attract customers, so ultimately it helps profit, but that’s a tenuous line of argument, and not what the charter is about.

  19. Rabz

    … as such the public have in effect ownership rights over editorial content.

    OK – so that would be “the public” as opposed to the small fascist minority of lobotomised inner city leftist loons who think they can continue shove this marxist garbage down people’s throats without any objection?

    Why do you think both the share price of FXJ and the circulation of ‘our’ “heritage institutions” has collapsed, genius?

  20. Rabz

    …there’s a rather convoluted argument that the charter is good for the brand, and a good brand will attract customers, so ultimately it helps profit…

    Unfortunately, just not in the real world, as we’ve seen.

  21. Tom

    Abandoning the charter will not impact on profit.

    You’re dreaming, Daddy. The charter tells the journalists they have no responsibility to their owners or the market they serve. It is THE major reason for FXJ’s bleeding of profitability and circulation. These zombies are more interested in fighting Rinehart to suit their own political prejudices than doing their job properly.

  22. James in Melbourne

    New Fairfax charter:

    “We the under-signed agree and commit to allowing into our collective consciousness in the writing of editorial copy some sense of the viewpoint of:
    people other than those living in Brunswick, Northcote, Coburg, Carlton, Parkville and Albert Park; people not inclined to believe that every utterance of the ABC, the Greens, the ALP, the IPCC, University of East Anglia and and all fellow-travelling NGOs is unquestionable holy writ; people who believe that the words ‘science,’ ‘settled’ and ‘consensus’ do not belong in the same sentence; people who think it is actually the height of racism NOT to hold Barack Obama accountable as a poor President of the US; people who think that on balance John Howard led a government that left Australia better-placed than when it took office; people who understand what it it is like not to have a public-sector or academic sinecure, and to have to earn money in a business exposed to competition, or indeed actually risk their capital to employ others; people who do not want to read even sportswriters bagging John Howard, five years after he left politics; people who sympathise even slightly with Israel trying to function as a democracy in a region where its neighbours hold ineradicable enmity to it, where they are not actually trying to kill Israelis every single day; people who choose to make heavy financial sacrifices to send their children to private schools where the teaching of literacy, numeracy, curiosity about the world and an appreciation for the cultural heritage of the human race takes precedence over inculcation in the ‘progressive agenda’ (saving the public education system from meltdown while they’re at it); people who believe that government’s role is limited; people who believe that individual volition governs what people put in their mouths and minds; people who don’t believe that the practice of government is all about making voting blocs clients of the government through showering with public money; people who believe that Australia does pretty well as a functioning society; people who believe that Australia’s settlement by British people was, as far as things went in a time when colonial expansion by the European powers was unavoidable, about as good an outcome as could have been achieved; and people who understand that Australia has full sovereignty and that membership of the Commonwealth and the presence of the Queen at the purely theoretical apex of governance represents nothing more than proud acknowledgement that the institutions that we hold dear in this country – the justice system, the common law, the writ of habeas corpus, our pride in the rule of law and equality under the law, the independent (yeah, well, we wish) civil service, the separation of powers under the Westminster system, politically inactive armed forces and police – did not come about by accident.”

    That would be a start.

    Anything I’ve missed?

  23. Anne

    Hamburglar, really? That’s just dumb. Would you feel the same way if a right of centre government were in place.

    Nice picture though, is that your father?

  24. Tom

    The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age are heritage institutions

    Take your Trotskyist nonsense somewhere else, you statist deadshit.

  25. daddy dave

    Tom, let me correct that: “abandoning the charter will have no negative impact on profit.”

  26. How about a spelling charter Sammy?
    “sacrosanct”

  27. hammygar

    Take your Trotskyist nonsense somewhere else, you statist deadshit.

    That’s just mindless abuse, Tom. It says a lot more about you than it does about my argument. What is it about the Right that they resort to abuse before logic and counter-argument against anything they disagree with.

  28. Aqualung

    No need to worry about editorial inteference – they just employ journalists who don’t need inteference.

    Shed your Miranda Devines and Greg Sheridans, and employ some Marieke Hardies and ‘Pirate Pete’ Fitzsimonses.

  29. Ivan Denisovich

    Gillard respecting editorial independence:

    “I presume you know why I’m calling,” the Prime Minister said.

    Hartigan, chairman and chief executive of News Limited, had no idea. He soon did, as the Prime Minister voiced her displeasure at the publication that morning in The Australian of a column by Glenn Milne, which revived 16-year-old allegations about Gillard’s one-time relationship with former unionist Bruce Wilson.

    According to Hartigan, Gillard put a series of demands that she wanted addressed in 15 minutes. The deadline was later pushed back to 9am.

    As well as a public apology and the Milne article being taken offline, she wanted a commitment that the allegations never be repeated again in The Australian. This demand was later extended to all News Limited newspapers and their websites.
    The most influential people in Sport

    “She said they were very damaging accusations,” Hartigan said. “She wanted some action and she wanted it quickly.”

    Hartigan told Gillard he would speak to Chris Mitchell, The Australian’s editor-in chief.

    Mitchell was at his Manly property on Sydney’s northern beaches reading the morning newspapers and drinking tea when Hartigan called and asked him to ring Gillard.

    When Mitchell rang and spoke to the Prime Minister, he said, she was “apoplectic”. He had been on the end of verbal sprays from Paul Keating, he said, but “they were nothing compared to this”.

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/am-call-that-put-pms-old-news-on-front-page/story-fn59niix-1226128513341

  30. Tom

    Take your Trotskyist nonsense somewhere else, you statist deadshit.

  31. dan

    The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age are heritage institutions, and as such the public have in effect ownership rights over editorial content. The Government must legislate now to ensure that this is set in stone.

    Have you been indulging in drugs? If I wanted to own a slice of the action, I would have bought shares, goose. As such I don’t give a toss and my rights of ownership extend so far as to NOT want ownership.

  32. Mother Hubbard's Dog

    Most of the current Fairfax board, including chairman Roger Corbett, have not signed the Charter of Editorial Independence either. I don’t recall the journalists making a song and dance about this.

  33. daddy dave

    What is it about the Right that they resort to abuse before logic and counter-argument against anything they disagree with.

    Hammygar, your earlier remark that the government must protect “Heritage institutions” like the Age and SMH was a position statement, not an argument. Therefore it’s hard to mount a counter-argument other than to reiterate the many points that have been made at this blog over the past few days.

    Perhaps, if you want to engage in debate against the prevailing view at catallaxy, the onus is on you to mount counter-arguments, rather than airily make claims that others must disprove.

  34. twostix

    The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age are heritage institutions

    Yes, yes they are, perfectly put: Old, obsolete and now irrelevant institutions that can only be saved by Government fiat.

    A perfect description of the Australian left. Nice work Hammygar.

  35. Peter Patton

    Entropy

    She should just say that it’s the first she has heard of this charter, it looks like something unique to fairfax, sounds very interesting and could have some merit. She should also say it is flattering that so many fairfax journalists believe she is interested in stepping in to save the company.
    And then say nothing more.

    I am intrigued by the “international woman of mystery” low public profile she has been keeping. All the media coverage of her shows the same old handful of video clips, or same snippets from emails to/from her children. If this is a tactic, it will be interesting to see whether she chooses to remain perceived as a bulldozing brute, or if she will cover herself in honey, and start schmoozing. Somehow I doubt the latter would suit her. So Kerry Packer in a skirt it must be!

  36. daddy dave

    But since you ask, Hammygar, here’s your counter-argument.
    1. “heritage institution”, aside from simply meaning ‘old’ is an ad hoc category of convenience;
    2. Fairfax has three options. go broke; government bailout, Rinehart bailout. on balance, the last one is the best option.
    3. government legislation for editorial independence is a stupid, ridiculous idea that even a few seconds of thinking will tell you will have enormous unintended consequences.

  37. hammygar

    1. “heritage institution”, aside from simply meaning ‘old’ is an ad hoc category of convenience;

    A position statement, not an argument.

    the last one is the best option.

    An unsupported assertion, not an argument.

    3. government legislation for editorial independence is a stupid, ridiculous idea

    A position statement, not an argument.

  38. One mans heritage institution lines the bottom of another mans budgie cage…

    I see the FauxFact’s Canberra Times only sells 30,000 copies Mon-Fri in Canberra pop. 360,000!

    The other 92% must be happy with the delivered free, City News & Chronicle…

  39. daddy dave

    Okay Hammy, I’ll play.

    “heritage institution”, aside from simply meaning ‘old’ is an ad hoc category of convenience;

    This is clear given the facts: the term heritage institution has only been used since Fairfax is failing and Rinehart is attempting to buy it. Therefore, according to the facts, it’s ad hoc. Given the hostility to Rinehart, it has every appearance of being a convenience.

    the last one is the best option.

    I reference three gazillion catallaxy blog posts and discussions.

    3. government legislation for editorial independence is a stupid, ridiculous idea

    You’re wrong in saying this wasn’t an argument. You deleted the bit where I said there would be unintended consequences. Please read this for more information.

  40. twostix

    I see the FauxFact’s Canberra Times only sells 30,000 copies Mon-Fri in Canberra pop. 360,000!

    The Canberra Times makes The SMH look like an IPA newsletter.

    It ran the now debunked death threats to the ANU “scientists” on the front page.

    It ran the most ridiculous caricatures of the Tea Party movement that were even more cartoonish than the US left were running.

    It ran full speed ahead with Blighesque puffed up mud slinging accusations by the ACT ALP about the ACT LP not filling out timesheets correctly – later proved to false anyway.

    It’s the worst paper in the country.

  41. Mark

    Why would anyone with a clear thinking mind working at Farifax really support the Charter when what it amounts to is a suicide pact for the business? A slow, lingering and nasty suicide pact at that.

    Madness.

  42. I suspect the respective political leanings have much less to do than the switch to digital.

    Fauxfacts -4% did better than News Limited -8% according to the lastest Roy Morgan YOY figures

    It seems we can all have our prejudice validated via our iPads, including oppressed workers.

  43. JC

    Hamster, the kero boy says:

    The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age are heritage institutions, and as such the public have in effect ownership rights over editorial content.

    The mastheads aren’t worth a cent, kero boy. Your side killed the franchise.

    As for heritage… hahahhahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahhaha

    Nice try at a joke by playing stupid.. again.

    The Government must legislate now to ensure that this is set in stone.

    They are worth zero, she’ll simply close them down. No one gives a shit anyway as very few people other then inner city loons and public sector employees read it.

    It’s a bit like public ownership of railway lines. The government can still allow private companies to operate on them for a fee.

    You’re a fucking moron, Hamster. That’s one of the stupidest analogies I’ve read in a while.

    Go light the match.

    Heritage… lol. You ought to be heritage listed you commie fossil.

  44. Gab

    I remember much gnashing of the luvvies’ collective teeth and cowering in fear when Gina bought Network Ten shares. Fear that she would mold the Network into a conservative-mining platform. And what happened? Apart from one conservative 30 minute show, bupkis.

  45. The “charta”was written by the journos Soviet! It should be obeyed by the owners who only put up the money!

  46. Ellen of Tasmania

    If the editor dictates the flavour and contents of the paper, then whoever chose the editor chose the flavour. Not enough buyers like the flavour.

    He who pays the piper calls the tune.

    Hammygar, there have been plenty of mastheads over the years that have bitten the dust. Should a government step in to save CocaCola or Vegemite if the companies insisted on trying to sell a product that the public didn’t want to buy?

    And if you really want to engage in a debate, you’ll have to explain why something has to be preserved just because it is old. What do you mean by heritage? The masthead may be old, but if they’ve changed what’s under the masthead then what’s heritage about that? Suppose the Vegemite people wanted to change their recipe and make it sweet? And suppose no one bought it? Then would you say it was a ‘heritage brand’ and the government should step in to rescue it, or would you expect the clever Vegemite people to do something about the flavour?

  47. H B Bear

    Is there a greater crock of shit going around for polictical interference that a “social licence to operate”?

    The last clown that reached into that bag of tricks was Bob Brown over the coal industry.

  48. Gab

    So much for all Board members signing the Charter:

    It has not been signed by any director since the original signatories, and this includes the current Fairfax chairman Roger Corbett.

    If Mrs Rinehart signed the charter, she would be the first director to do so since the original directors, including Zelman Cowen

    Hypocrites.

  49. Jeremiah

    The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age are heritage institutions, and as such the public have in effect ownership rights over editorial content. The Government must legislate now to ensure that this is set in stone.

    That is the most dangerously moronic thing I have read or heard in quite some time. I suppose businesses should be pro-active and change their name every now and then just in case they get heritage listed and Government comes along and taps them on the shoulder eh?

  50. JC

    Jeremiah… it’s always best to ignore Hamster the kero boy. He may not be with us tomorrow.

  51. Elizabeth (Lizzie) B.

    Bravo! James in Melbourne at 9.26.

  52. SteveC

    Selective quoting Gab,

    He [Walker] added that when he became Fairfax chairman in 2006, the board refused to sign the charter, opting instead to give verbal assurance.

    The board therefore verbally committed that they would not materially interfere with editorial and they were taken by the journalists at their word and correctly so,” he said, according to The Australian.

    “I firmly believe Gina Rinehart will act in the interests of all shareholders and play a crucial role in the future of the company.”

  53. Abu Chowdah

    Bravo! James in Melbourne at 9.26.

    Wow. You actually read through that monolithic slab of text? Worth the effort?

  54. Viva

    A slow, lingering and nasty suicide pact at that.

    That good old “python squeeze” rears its ugly head again I presume.

  55. Hammy

    Here you go, entrepreneurs to the rescue…

    What is Spot.us

    Spot.Us is an open source project to pioneer “community powered reporting.” Through Spot.Us the public can commission and participate with journalists to do reporting on important and perhaps overlooked topics. Contributions are tax deductible and we partner with news organizations to distribute content under appropriate licenses.

    Your GetUp! mates can buy a journalist to validate your latest outrage:
    “Inside Citizen Journalism in Gaza and the West Bank” (currently 0% funded after 2 months.)

    The Cat’s can hire Mr Milne to continue his research into women’s fashion in Rosebud West…

  56. Cato the Elder

    I see everyone else is piling on Hammy’s idiocy, can I play too?

    The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age are heritage institutions,

    Really? Were they heritage when right of centre, or only now? Who decides and when and how? What part of it is “heritage”, the façade (Mast-head) or the interior (content) or the method of delivery (gotta keep those printers in work). Did you think about that remark before you made it, because it sure doesn’t look like you did?

    as such the public have in effect ownership rights over editorial content

    Same as above. Why can’t I insist that they go back to the editorial policies of yester-year, since they are “Heritage”. Why should “heritage” apply to the editorial policies of today, rather than to the policies of 50 years ago?

    Also, when and how did “da public” acquire the ownership? What compensation is to be paid to the companies for this expropriated property, as required by the Constitution?

    Also, you do realise, don’t you, that you are saying that there is automatic nationalisation of any long-running business? That “da public” (i.e.: the federal government claiming to act for “da public”) owns any long-running business to the extent that it can demand that the proprietors keep it exactly the way it is, regardless of how much money they may be losing?

    Talk about sovereign risk!

    And who will exercise these new-found rights of ownership? The government of the day? Then it would be Pravda on the Yarra for real, not just in jest.

    The Government must legislate now to ensure that this is set in stone.

    Only if they are idiotic enough to think that it won’t be rammed up their collective arses as nationalisation by stealth. And, just by the way, relying on what constitutional power?

    The government will just have to suck it up and keep close to the luvvies over at the ALPBC.

    And in all this, never forget that the Greens must be destroyed!

  57. daddy dave

    What compensation is to be paid to the companies for this expropriated property, as required by the Constitution?

    An astute point.

    Also, you do realise, don’t you, that you are saying that there is automatic nationalisation of any long-running business?

    Another astute point. You’re good at this, Cato the Elder.

  58. kingsley

    I still cannot see how you could in all conscience accept a directorship where you are suppose to protect and foster the shareholders interests yet you have to sign a “charter” that prohibits you under ALL circumstances including pending financial oblivion in intervening in the company’s main product. It is a terrible abrogation of responsibility and I think highly likely to constitute negligence.

    I also note Turnbull and Co. talking a lot about alienating the current left wing orientated readership. What about the readers that they have lost? How about trying to win some back?

  59. James in Melbourne

    Jools’ new Fairfax charter:

    “Don’t write crap*.”

    * What constitutes ‘crap’ will be decided by me, The World’s Greatest Treasurer, Greg “I’m not deranged, I just look it” Combet, Stevie the Back-of-the-Envelope Broadband Tsar, Bob the Bookworm, Don Albanese, Nicky Roxoff, Tubbsie Milne and The Bandit.

    What could go wrong?

  60. hammygar

    Kingsley,

    Perhaps the best solution would be to simply nationalise Fairfax. Selling off the more profitable parts of the business should recover much of the taxpayer funds spent on compensation.

  61. Infidel Tiger

    A better solution Hammy would be for you to immerse yourself in Avgas and then light up a nice Cohiba.

  62. twostix

    Perhaps the best solution would be to simply nationalise Fairfax

    Now why on earth would the government want to have two media empires competing with each other?

    You’re just ridiculous.

  63. hammygar

    A better solution Hammy would be for you to immerse yourself in Avgas and then light up a nice Cohiba.

    A thinly disguised death threat.

  64. jupes

    A thinly disguised death threat.

    You’re not a climate scientist by any chance are you hammy?

  65. daddy dave

    I also note Turnbull and Co. talking a lot about alienating the current left wing orientated readership. What about the readers that they have lost? How about trying to win some back?

    That’s true, but the current readership is the one they’ve got. The thing that will scare the horses, more than anyone, are all the Fairfax journos, and people like Turnbull, announcing to the Fairfax readership that the paper won’t be worth reading once Gina takes over.

    They really are trying to poison the well.

  66. Infidel Tiger

    No disguise Hammy. I want you to be a smoking crater by tomorrow or I’ll be personally affronted.

  67. Jc

    You’re the only one who made a death threat, ham.. If you know what I mean.

  68. Mike of Marion

    Fairfax $0.59 at close 20 June

  69. JC

    Perhaps the best solution would be to simply nationalise Fairfax. Selling off the more profitable parts of the business should recover much of the taxpayer funds spent on compensation.

    Hamster, what you’ve done again is simply state your preference. Explain why that is the best solution.

  70. Carpe Jugulum

    What could go wrong?

    I could condense it to 25,000 words but i may miss a few points. 😉

  71. Elizabeth (Lizzie) B.

    Worth the effort?

    Yep. Have a go, Abu. James invites suggestions in case he forgot something. But he was on a roll.

  72. Elizabeth (Lizzie) B.

    A thinly disguised death threat.

    You’re not a climate scientist by any chance are you hammy?

    lol. Just finished three household tasks and this was a great reward.

  73. hammygar

    No disguise Hammy. I want you to be a smoking crater by tomorrow or I’ll be personally affronted.

    This is proof of what a group of lawless thugs the Right really are. Thank heavens we have a civilised government in powwer in Canberra at least.

  74. JC

    Hammy

    I’m starting to think you may genital warts like Arlene.

    Left the veil and tell us who you really are.

  75. Carpe Jugulum

    Thank heavens we have a civilised government in powwer in Canberra at least.

    AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAhahahahahahahahahahahahaha

    *wipes tears of mirth*

    Champagne Comedy – cudos to you sir

  76. Pickles

    Lawless ? No.

    Thugs ? FUCK YEAH!!!

  77. Cato the Elder

    Hammy, is that wistful remark about nationalisation a concession that my compensation point was correct? I’ll take it as such.

    The reason why the “let’s nationalise the paper” idea won’t fly is because 70% of the electorate are already convinced that this government, with the blatant exception of Craig Thomson, couldn’t organise a root in a brothel. The idea of them trying to establish Pravda on the Yarra for real and pissing another couple of billion up against the back wall is just too much. They are already looking at electoral wipe-out, they really don’t want a repeat of Queensland (yay, go us!) at the Federal level.

    Even more, they are a gutless bunch of losers and poseurs anyway and wouldn’t take the responsibility, or the possibility of failure. What if they nationalised and ol’ passion fingers* the new Chairman of the Board presides over final total collapse of the circulation? They won’t risk it.

    *(every-thing he touches gets fucked)

  78. Quentin George

    Nice picture though, is that your father?

    That’s a picture of James Scullin the last PM to have his government thrown out after 1 term. I’m not sure his performance is anything to aspire to (not to mention Scullin being responsible for fatally compromising the position of Governor-General).

  79. James in Melbourne

    God, schadenfreude is as adddictive as crack.

    Thank you, Gina, the rending of veils and gnashing of teeth you have set in train among the luvvies is something I will never forget.

  80. blogstrop

    Leigh Sales on the 7.30 Report just showed how delusional she is – typical ABC posture – Williams did well.

  81. rob

    So if I publish something on my website should I hire an editor to write it independently?

    But can I point out one thing, odious as they are to me and others, the narcissistic and left-wing attitudes of the columnists are almost irrelevant here. I would still be buying the paper myself if that’s what I needed to do to buy a car, or house, or find a job. The problem (obviously) is that no-one needs to haul a wheelbarrow of paper around to do these things these days. The product is a transient phenomenon which will not exist in ten years time. The problem is primarily with the board and their strategic thinking (!) not with the editors.

  82. Splatacrobat

    Then Wayne Swan said of the failure to sign a Charter of Editorial Independence

    I think that has very big implications for our democracy. I think we should all be very concerned at this turn of events.

    I doubt if the charter was applied to Labor membership conditions that it would stop them expelling a member for crossing the floor as they exercised “their” independence.

    Hypocrites all of them as there is nothing more undemocratic than expelling and vilifying a member as a rat because they chose to vote acoording to their constituants wishes.

  83. To a certain extent, Gina Rinehart reminds me of the fire departments of Ancient Rome – as the tenement burned, the Fire Chief would negotiate a knockdown (literally!) price for the entire building. Once he’d bought it at a cost amenable to him, his men would leap into action with water buckets etc. to save his new investment!

    Except here, of course, the price Gina demands is an ever-increasing influence on the board rather than a low dollar-figure on the ticket – the free market, driven by Fairfax’s own incompetence – is taking care of the latter quite adequately already, thank you.

    The problem with the Age is that too little of the content is relevant to anyone living outside of an arc defined primarily by the Ring Road and Eastlink, and the same could be said for the Sydney Morning Herald north, west and south of the M2, M7, M5 arc (with the line of the former extended to Manly).

  84. Rob

    Victorian Labor MP Steve Gibbons wants the Government to regulate the newspapers – he says that they have failed in their social license to operate.

    What a frigging hypocrite! This government has unequivocally lost it’s social licence to operate. Resign now!

  85. Sam Duncan

    “the owner / proprietor should not interfere in the decisions of the editors”

    Why the hell not?

  86. Blogstrop

    Why the hell not? Because they want it to continue like “their” ABC, a collective driven hivemind publisher of politically correct pap.

  87. Matt

    As identified by the Bunyip, an interesting case in editorial independence in the US:

    Murdoch demanded substantial staff cuts in the newsroom, and wanted the power to decide who would go and who would stay. Giving Murdoch that kind of leverage seemed wrong to the vast majority of the 250 guild members who crowded into the Statler Hotel that night to vote on Murdoch’s final offer.

    Why do journalists feel they have the right to dictate to the owners of their paper how their paper should be run?

    As someone noted in the comments at that article:

    How utterly deranged. Some 1100 people let go because of some maniacal conceit …

  88. Leigh Lowe

    “I’m not sure why such a thing is considered sacrosanct – is an editor likely to be less biased than a proprietor?”

    Let me enlighten you.
    According to my reading of the Constitution, this relates to the principle of “Ineffabilis Deus”when the editor is speaking “ex cathedra.”

    No wait …. that relates to the Infallibity of the Pope.
    I guess you’re right.
    Editors are fallible too (with the advantage that they don’t have money invested).

  89. Leigh Lowe

    Perturbed …. “The problem with the Age is that too little of the content is relevant to anyone living outside of an arc defined primarily by the Ring Road and Eastlink”

    Methinks you cast the net too wide Perturbed.
    Try an area bounded by Punt Rd/High St on the East, Citylink/Tulla Fwy on the West, Bell St to the North and Victoria Pde on the South …. plus St Kilda.

    If you find an Age reader outside that zone, build a glass case to store this rare specimen.

  90. Winston SMITH

    Mr Samuel J, sir, can we please have a sidebar graph of the FauxFax share price? We can have a party when it hits the Death Spiral of Oblivion.
    We could also organise a CO2 Party for when the levels hit 400.

  91. Token

    …and the same could be said for the Sydney Morning Herald north, west and south of the M2, M7, M5 arc (with the line of the former extended to Manly).

    Gillard and Swan told the people of the North Shore what they think of those aspirational areas. I would revise it to the Inner West, Inner South and East.

    The overseas students that dominate large slabs of the city should not be included either as they come from place Doug Cameron doesn’t like.

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