As mentioned in a previous item here, the behaviour of the Murdoch media during the Victorian election was the most appalling I have seen in my few decades of watching politics and the media’s reporting of it1.
I suspected that this Murdoch behaviour was mostly to try to prevent an electoral wipeout on the scale of that in Western Australia, as some of the same factors were in operation (religious nutjobbery, the federal Coalition attacking the state government)1. However, when the Victorian results made it clear that not much had changed in the makeup of the Victorian parliament, the devastation rather than relief, on the faces of some of the Murdoch hacks clearly showed that they were convinced that the Murdoch bastardry could actually win the election for the Coalition.
This seeming failure of the Murdoch strategy will not deter them. They will be getting ready to do the same, this time in support of the New South Wales (NSW) state government. Unlike the Liberal Party state branches in Western Australia, South Australia, Queensland and Victoria, which have been largely taken over by religious nutters, the NSW Liberal Party has not (yet) been taken over by religious nutters, despite the current premier possibly being a member of Opus Dei2, an organisation which wants to imbue society with Catholic principles3. Like most religious organisations, it is about forcing their religious views on everyone.
One could be forgiven for thinking that the malign influence on our democracy represented by the Murdoch media may be waning with the May rejection of the Liberals federally and that on Saturday in Victoria, but this would be a mistake. The behaviour of the Murdoch media didn’t much change the makeup of the Victorian Parliament, but because of Murdoch’s rabid support for the Liberal Party we will never know what would have been the makeup of the parliament without it. That rabid support may well have been, as I note above, to avoid a WA-like wipeout. Whether that would have eventuated, we will never know.
Murdoch’s NewsCorp will continue to support right-wing politicians who are becoming more extreme in their beliefs. Among RWNJs, disdain for democracy is becoming more acceptable4, especially when they keep getting rejected by the electorate. This is demonstrated by recent assertions by some of them that the electoral process is fraudulent1,5.
The Murdoch empire is the most powerful media empire the west has ever seen, and it will continue to use the dog whistle, lies, and spin to stoke division in support of right-wing parties, so that public money keeps flowing to News Corp from those parties6.
As I indicate above, underestimating Murdoch’s capabilities would be a grave mistake. His malign influence must end and that probably entails breaking up and selling off the bits of NewsCorp. This must be coupled with legislation somehow making illegal the behaviour we have seen, so that no other bastards of Murdoch’s ilk can ever repeat it.