With the Australian election just around the corner the interest in Australian blogs will ramp up. Can I recommend to everyone the Failed Estate Website. It is a blog run by experienced journalist Jim Parker who will be recognised as the voice that we hear occasionally at 6:55 am during the week on National Radio talking about Australian business news. He blogged semi anonymously as Mr Denmore for a while but outed himself in May 2012. He is a Kiwi who moved to Australia many years ago.
His full-time role is in corporate communications in the financial services sector and part of his job is to speak to financial and other professionals about how the media works and what a tough gig daily journalism can be.
He initially blogged as Mr Denmore because he was afraid he may compromise his paid employment. His employers became aware of his blog and were happy for him to continue as long as he did not compromise his paid role.
He writes powerfully and passionately. On the state of the media in Australia:
There are two upcoming power battles in Australia. One pits Kevin Rudd against Tony Abbott. The second positions Rupert Murdoch and his newspapers against our democracy. The outcome of the first battle may depend on the second, yet we only get to vote in one of them.
That Murdoch wants a change of government in Australia is evident. He has said so himself, tweeting that the Australian public are “totally disgusted with the Labor Party wrecking the country with its sordid intrigues. Now for a quick election”.
Of course, the octogenarian, New York-based global media magnate is perfectly entitled to his opinion and is well within his rights to express it so openly. But one’s opinions carry a lot more weight when they are magnified by a virtual monopoly newspaper business that amplifies his views through ‘news’ coverage that makes no pretension at being even-handed.
On the Boatpeople issue:
The Rudd government’s new PNG solution to the asylum seekers problem is aimed at shutting down a filthy trade run by cynical and low-rent opportunists who exploit the hopes and fears of the most marginalised for commercial gain. Yes, we’re talking about tabloid editors.
There are two dimensions to the refugees issue. One is managing the problem itself – a relatively marginal one for a rich economy that leads the developed world on most economic metrics. The second dimension – and the trickier one – is the theatrics around the issue, a charade kept alive by attention-seeking sections of the news media and the frightened politicians they goad into one piece of policy knee-jerkery after another.
The facts of the refugee situation – however many times they are raised – don’t seem to register. What matters for the dying institutions of our news media is that this issue is an emotive, eyeball-grabbing one, encompassing age-old fears of brown skinned hordes shattering our cosy, white bread suburban lives. As such, it’s tailor-made for endless rejigging on the front pages of the Tele and the Hun.
On the downfall of Julia Gillard and the return to power of Kevin Rudd:
Looking at social media, there is still much bitterness in the community about the media treatment of Gillard and corresponding revulsion at Rudd’s mealy-mouthed hypocrisy in calling for an end to the politics of negativity. And it’s hard to argue with that assessment of things.
My own view – and it is just my mere unschooled opinion – is that there is nothing inconsistent about on the one hand being appalled at the sexist treatment of Gillard, recognising her great character and significant policy achievements and arguing on the other that she was a poor communicator, tactically inept or least very badly advised.
Likewise, there is nothing inconsistent in recognising on the one hand that Rudd is an egomaniac, a control freak and an over-promiser, while on the other accepting that he at least has social democratic instincts and seems better able to communicate and cut through with the many people parking their votes with Abbott. He may come undone, but he at least for now appears to have wrong-footed a man that many of us dread far more than his own egomania.
Parker’s world views are clearly spelt out by his choice of Michael Joseph Savage as the picture for Mr Denmore. The fact he can survive in corporate Australia yet maintain what in Australia are radical views speaks volumes about his quality.