The APC’s investigation into The Australian’s 2012 Budget front page splash has triggered a belated explanation from the paper.
The splash featured the headline “SMASH THE RICH”, humourless portrayals of the government as Stalinist Communists, and three opinion pieces, all utterly negative, in place of analysis. This to cover a Budget perceived by the rest of the universe as safe and even rather dull. No dispassionate observer could see this as balanced.
The widespread dismay it caused, expressed only in the non-News media, was never acknowledged at the time.
An editorial (1/6) stated of the splash, “the “cartoon’s theme is a considered editorial decision” made by “senior leaders…such as Chris Mitchell, Paul Kelly, Clive Mathieson and Dennis Shanahan”.
The Australian’s “it was only a joke” defence is rather lame, but the fact it was at last forced to offer one at all demonstrates the APC’s valuable role in ensuring that the media do not allow internal agendas to outweigh their responsibilities to the public.