Were I Editor in Chief of The Australian for a day, the first thing I would do is can the ‘Cut and Paste’ section on the Letters page. Its schoolyard bullying of the fools and knaves idiotic enough to oppose the paper’s line – usual suspects include Fairfax journalists, the ABC, Greens politicians, Tim Flannery, and Robert Manne – lies at the heart of what stops TheAustralian from being a great newspaper. A favourite game is quoting a commentator saying discordant things at different times. As an argument, this is right up there with great moments in adolescent wit like, ‘You said Chanelle was a slag last week, and now you are going out with her!’
The vengeful thread in the national newspaper
Bad News: Murdoch’s Australian and the Shaping of the Nation (Quarterly Essay 43)
by Robert Manne
Black Inc., $19.95 pb, 141 pp, 9781863955447
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