February 8, 2012
As George Orwell well understood, control of the language is a key foundation of totalitarian control. As Peter Smith pointed out, we can use language to banish ideas deemed unacceptable to the leftist elite.
Consider two media figures, Gina Rinehart and Graeme Wood. In the eyes of the Fairfax media and the ABC, Rinehart is bad and Wood is good. Graeme Wood is considered a public benefactor. As the backer of the new media website, The Global Mail, he has promised $15 million over five years. With a gaggle of recruits, predominantly from the Fairfax media and the ABC, we are assured that this venture will be a shining example of “independent” journalism, with Wood exercising no editorial control. Apart from the obvious dependence of these “independent” journalists on Wood’s financial beneficence, we might wonder if the views of the journalists now recruited just happen to coincide with his. He was the largest financial donor to the Greens at the last Federal election and his estimated $337 million fortune may serve to shield his recruits from the readership, or lack thereof, in the short term.
Independence from the audience seems to be the only substantive meaning of the term, “independent”, after the subtraction of all the self-righteous bunkum. The truth is that all these leftist “independents” are either dependent on the grace and favour of the Government or some rich lefty proprietor.
What is so different about Gina Rinehart? If she held fashionable leftish views like George Soros, she would be perfectly acceptable. By the way, I have yet to read an expose of George Soros in the Fairfax media or view an ABC documentary on his campaign against George W Bush in 2004. Clearly, big money hustling on behalf of the Left is quite acceptable.
Gina Rinehart’s real sins are that she is right wing and may even push ideas that are in accord with her readers. The fear is that she will seek to realign the editorial policy of the Fairfax media and secure the appointment of editors who will follow her line. The notion that there are journalists who may independently agree with her views is beyond the leftist imagination. If you ignore ideology, there would be little difference between Rinehart and Wood as proprietors.
If Rinehart was minded to turn the Fairfax media into a propaganda organ for her interests, she would likely destroy the franchise. She would be remembered not as a sinister behemoth but as a commercial and financial fool. What is now so sadly obvious is that we have a leftist collective at Fairfax and the ABC operating under the guise of so-called independence. We have journalists writing for inner-suburban Brunswick or Balmain whilst ignoring readers in the suburbs and the country. The delegitimisation of non-leftist views has led to the word independent entering the lexicon of Orwellian newspeak.
Subscribe to Quadrant magazine here…
The Quadrant Book of Poetry: 2001 - 2010
edited by Les Murray