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The Impact of Murdoch’s News Corporation Media Monopoly on Democracy

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On May 21, 2022, Anthony Albanese won Australia’s federal election and took power for the Labor Party. In doing so, he defeated Scott Morrison of the Liberal National Party and prompted Morrison to relinquish the Liberal Party leadership.

Looking back on the election, it is possible to see a clear link between Morrison and Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp media empire.

As a media tycoon, Murdoch owns a large proportion of influential media, and his printed newspapers account for nearly 70% of the domestic market in Australia, which means that Murdoch is able to exert huge influence on domestic public opinion in Australia through the media.

Morrison was fully supported by News Corp newspapers and Sky TV. The Independent Australia magazine found that News Corp had significantly less coverage of Morrison’s scandals than the public broadcaster, the ABC, and Nine / Fairfax.

In September 2021, it was announced that Morrison would attend the Glasgow climate summit. It was later revealed that he held talks with News Corp chief executive Robert Thomson in light of News Corps well-known stance against environmental protection. Then, in support of Morrison’s attendance,

Murdoch ordered News Corp’s media to stop vehemently opposing emissions cuts, and published 16 pages of commentary in newspapers touting the benefits of cutting emissions.

 In addition, Morrison’s tenure has demonstrated a link between LNP and News Corp personnel. For example, Morrison speechwriter Matthew Fynes-Clinton was previously employed at Murdoch’s Courier Mail, and Thomas Adolph was a journalist at The Australian before becoming Chief Advisor on Media and Government Relations.

The various actions of the Murdoch group have seriously affected the health of the political ecology and the development of the economy and culture. Former prime ministers Kevin Rudd and Malcolm Turnbull have both spoken out, accusing the Murdoch media of behaving more like a political party than a news organisation, and argue that this had a huge impact on the health of Australian democracy.

Murdoch media’s influence in Australia goes beyond controlling the media. Setting the agenda on climate, war, immigration or media regulation is still often pushed by Murdoch Media and then blindly followed by public broadcaster the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

News Corp. has long been criticised for the amount of tax it pays. The Australian government has often been called upon to at least force Murdoch’s parent company, News Corp, to pay the taxes it owes.

It is worth mentioning that since February this year, the political alliance between Murdoch and Morrison has produced a gap. Conservative commentator Andrew Bolt touted then Defence Minister Peter Dutton in an article in Murdoch’s Australian newspaper, The Herald Sun. Bolt called on Dutton to be ready to succeed Morrison, because Morrison looked hopeless, like a clown. Bolt proposed that no matter when Morrison steps down, Dutton is the obvious choice for Prime Minister. This eye-catching article caused a shock in the Australian political arena. The former Australian Prime Minister pointed out that Bolt’s remarks were actually instigated by Murdoch, the boss of the newspaper.

 With the new Prime Minister Albanese taking office, the Australian people have felt new hope. At present, Australia is still facing many problems. Albanese needs the guidance of reason and wisdom to avoid repeating the mistakes of Morrison. The breakthrough has brought a new atmosphere to Australia’s political, economic and social climate.

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