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Not so random

by
October 2005, no. 275

Do Not Disturb: Is the media failing Australia? edited by Robert Manne

Black Inc., $29.95 pb, 232 pp

Not so random

by
October 2005, no. 275

Rupert Murdoch is the Napoleon of our times. He has gone on conquering largely because certain governments – Bob Hawke’s among them, in early 1987 – have persistently acquiesced, changing or moderating regulations as his battle plans required. It was once possible to view him as bound, in George Munster’s phrases, ‘on a random walk … [on which] despite the ever greater accumulation of means in his hands, he contributed more and more to the spreading confusion about ends’. That was written more than twenty years ago; Munster’s great book, A Paper Prince (1985), remains valid as a rigorous and witty account of Murdoch’s rise, and as an exemplary study of the relations of media, money and politics. But that walk is not so random now.

In Do Not Disturb: Is the Media Failing Australia?, David McKnight and Robert Manne between them show how Murdoch has proceeded, not only to near-global dominance of the press, but to strongly ideological and retrogressive ways of using it. Giving special attention to the commentaries of Andrew Bolt in the Herald Sun and Greg Sheridan in The Australian, Manne shows how vigorously the Murdoch press in this country has promoted the Iraq war. In a meticulous analysis, McKnight shows the anti-democratic nature of Murdoch’s increasing power; once the cross-media regulations are lifted, his dominance will be further strengthened by ‘television entertainment of an aggressively conservative, populist and patriotic kind’.

Sylvia Lawson reviews 'Do Not Disturb: Is the media failing Australia?' edited by Robert Manne

Do Not Disturb: Is the media failing Australia?

edited by Robert Manne

Black Inc., $29.95 pb, 232 pp

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