A gentle criticism of The Australian

September 22, 2015 § Leave a comment

I’m trying to be more discerning about my news sources and have been monitoring The Australian for any political bias after two op-eds I read in a row that were very explicitly right-leaning. One strongly advocated for religious screening of asylum seekers, arguing that Islam is fundamentally less tolerant than Christianity. In the words of Bill Shorten from last night’s Q and A – ‘Remember where you came from, intolerance demeans us all’. The other re-imagined Tony Abbott’s failures as consequences of his greatest attribute – loyalty; loyalty to the monarchy, loyalty to Bronwyn Bishop, loyalty to Peta Credlin.

Crikey’s bias-o-meter puts The Australian to the far right, although it clarifies that

The market is too small to support newspapers that don’t play to the centre ground, so the Crikey bias-o-meter has had to be finely calibrated. In a marketplace full of bland centrist publications and carefully mixed stables of commentators, small deviations can look extreme. A cultural warrior here or an aging Whitlamite there can throw the thing way out.

It then went on to give a more detailed review of The Australian’s bias:

Reputably John Howard’s favourite newspaper. He has been profuse in his praise – which should make journalists worth their salt ashamed. You need to worry when the politicians praise you. Redeemed itself with its work on The Australian Wheat Board, which had some Government figures protesting that the paper had a “split personality” or even was “betraying us”. The Oz is also the paper that first ran doubts about the truth of the Government’s line on the children overboard story.

Today The Australian gently highlighted Leigh Sales’ gentle interview with Malcolm Turnbull on 7:30 last night. It talks about the inconsistencies in her interview techniques but doesn’t exactly accuse her of being partial towards certain politicians. Personally, I found her interview with Tony Abbott excessively confrontational and lacking in any substance – mainly due to the fact that he wasn’t given much of a chance to answer any of her questions properly, and when he did, he became too defensive to say anything meaningful because Leigh was always on the attack. Is The Australian criticising Leigh for her gentle handling of the Liberal Party’s new leader? In terms of identifying The Australian’s political bias, this is a bit inconsistent – maybe it doesn’t like Malcolm Turnbull because he’s only a small ‘l’ Liberal or maybe the paper is politically confused; maybe I’m just reading too much into it.

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