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The Guardian - AU
The Guardian - AU
Amanda Meade

Phone hacking scandal just a ‘mishap’ in The Australian’s tribute to their boss Rupert Murdoch’s ‘creative mind’

Rupert Murdoch speaks to reporters in London in 2011 over phone hacking claims.
Rupert Murdoch speaks to reporters in London in 2011 over phone hacking claims. ‘When it came to describing the great moral failure that was News International’s phone hacking scandal, Paul Kelly filed it under “mishaps and fallouts”.’ Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA

The editor-at-large of The Australian, Paul Kelly, showed great skill in minimising the more negative aspects of Rupert Murdoch’s long career in his tribute published on Friday.

Tasked with writing about the boss, Kelly conceded Murdoch was a “polarising figure” but focused on his “creative mind”, “tenacious spirit” and “massive work ethic”.

A former editor-in-chief of the Australian, Kelly has worked closely with Murdoch over the years and interviewed him for the newspaper’s 50th anniversary in 2014. The tribute could easily have been a pre-written obituary re-tooled for publication online after the news broke overnight, but we can’t confirm.

The Australian was not tipped off about the “transition” (or the “turning point” in Murdoch’s career as Kelly described it) and there was nothing in the print edition.

When it came to describing the great moral and ethical failure that was News International’s phone hacking scandal, Kelly filed it under “mishaps and fallouts” and in a passive voice described it in 12 words.

“The company was caught in the phone hacking scandal in the UK,” Kelly said as if the News of the World had been in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Even Murdoch himself described his appearance before a parliamentary committee as the “the most humble day of my life”.

Murdoch closed the News of the World paper after it was revealed by the Guardian that reporters had engaged in routine phone hacking of celebrities and victims of crime, eavesdropping on private messages in pursuit of stories.

A more recent event, the payment of the eye-watering amount of $US787.5m to the voting equipment company Dominion, was not mentioned by Kelly at all. His piece referred only to Dominion suing Fox, not what the company had paid to settle.

“Following reports on the US election, Dominion Voting Systems sued Fox for defamation saying it broadcast false claims about rigging the election for President Joe Biden,” Kelly wrote.

AFR’s landlords land on struggle street

You can depend on the Australian Financial Review to defend the battler in society who exclaims “I’m not rich” when they’re complaining about a new tax.

This week the Fin took pity on a “a single mum of two teenagers” battling with “rising interest rates, higher energy bills and more expensive groceries”.

We were told Leanne Taylor’s “extra income” will take a hit after Victorian premier Daniel Andrews imposes a 7.5% levy on short-stay rentals such as Airbnb and Stayz.

“Property owner and single mum Leanne Taylor is not happy with Victoria’s new Airbnb tax,” the Fin said.

Taylor, you see, rents out three properties she owns on Airbnb: a two-bedroom apartment in Kew, a house in Williamstown and a holiday house in Torquay. Presumably she has her own residence as well.

“I’m not rich. If I was rich, I wouldn’t have to rent my properties out,” Taylor said. “I’m just a single mum working hard to build a future for my kids through property and additional revenue streams.”

Not rich at all by the financial daily’s standards anyway.

It reminded us of the Sydney couple in The Australian in March who complained about Labor’s decision to impose a higher concessional tax rate on super over $3m.

The Clydes said it would disadvantage them because they had given up buying a “nicer car” and going overseas on holidays to put their money into super.

Stan Grant setting ‘time right’

Stan Grant will return to Australia from Denmark to deliver the Vincent Lingiari memorial lecture at Charles Darwin University on 6 October.

Grant joined the Constructive Institute based at Aarhus University after walking away from the ABC and throwing a few bombs on the way out.

‘I need to put time right’: Stan Grant.
‘I need to put time right’: Stan Grant. Photograph: Dan Himbrechts/AAP

The lecture is titled “Two kinds of time: how we can meet each other again in Australia” and will explore the clash of understanding between European notions of time, measured in progress and production and First Nations’ concept of circular time.

“Every war I have covered as a reporter emerges from a rupture of time,” Grant said. “We live in a world where difference defines us yet as Einstein said the great tragedy of humanity is the illusion of separation. I need to put time right.

“Vincent Lingiari is an inspiration and someone who made our nation better and brought the peoples of Australia closer together,” Grant said.

“This is a critical opportunity to speak with love and generosity at a time when our nation needs the best of us.

“Vincent Lingiari showed us what is possible. He showed us that we can be better. That persistence and courage can win.”

Vanstone digs in over hot mic stuff-up

Amanda Vanstone may have been “counselled” by her ABC managers for calling Kamilaroi science expert Corey Tutt a “fuckwit” after she recorded an interview with him for her Radio National program Counterpoint, but she doesn’t sound sorry.

Tutt, on the other hand, told RN’s Awaye program that his family has been wounded by her comments and he doesn’t believe he received a sincere apology from the former Liberal senator.

ABC presenter Amanda Vanstone defends herself on Twitter after calling an Indigenous man a ‘fuckwit’.
ABC presenter Amanda Vanstone defends herself on Twitter after calling an Indigenous man a ‘fuckwit’. Photograph: Amanda Vanstone Twitter

Vanstone is still defending herself on Twitter over the incident.

She says she wanted Tutt’s interview edited to “make him sound better” and complained her comments were only made public because Tutt “chose to advertise it”.

Vanstone also encouraged people to lobby Tutt to lift his ban on playing the interview so people could hear it for themselves: “Get him to authorise interview running”.

Vanstone was the ABC’s solution to calls by conservatives for a “right wing Philip Adams” and has been hosting the show on the ABC for 10 years.

The ABC declined to comment.

Fordham faces Uber investigation

Nine Radio host Ben Fordham complained loudly this week that he had been censored by TikTok after the app removed a video he had posted about the voice.

The video was restored by TikTok soon after, with the company saying it was removed in error and controls were “hypersensitive during election time”, but it didn’t stop 2GB capitalising on the incident.

Fellow broadcaster Mark Levy suggested the yes side had gone on a reporting spree. “Are they trying to remove stuff they don’t like?,” he said. “Someone must be doing it and that’s why our video was taken down. Now if this is the direction we are heading in, we are going down a slippery slope.”

2GB’s Ben Fordham is under fire for promoting Uber on air.
2GB’s Ben Fordham is under fire for promoting Uber on air. Photograph: 2GB

Meanwhile Fordham faces a probe from the media watchdog after he promoted Uber on air without disclosing he had a commercial agreement with the ride share company worth at least $25,000.

The probe comes after Weekly Beast revealed last month that the Nine Radio star has a “personal commercial agreement” with Uber Australia which he failed to disclose on his top rating Sydney breakfast show.

In a business segment Fordham claimed he had taken up Uber driving as a “side hustle” in a tough economy and told his guest he had taken his first passenger.

A spokesperson for the Australian Communications and Media Authority confirmed the investigation.

The 2GB website says Fordham has a commercial agreement with Uber Australia to “feature in, and assist in preparation of, video, radio and print advertisements for Uber Australia” and to appear at and host events.

Kamahl flips on the voice

The singer Kamahl, who publicly announced he was voting no on Twitter, has backflipped after a briefing from Indigenous leaders.

The Malaysian-born performer posted that he would now be voting yes after “sleepless nights”.

He changed his vote after chatting to Indigenous comedian Dane Simpson and constitutional lawyer Eddie Synot.

“I’m embarrassed, until Monday or Tuesday I didn’t realise they (Indigenous people) were considered not human,” Kamahl said in a post that was later deleted but replaced with another post supporting the voice.

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