The wig slips

Simon Heffer (“Why anti-media crusader Tom Watson should come down off his high horse”, The Australian, 1/8) reveals in passing what local News Corp outlets have been flatly denying for years: that Rupert Murdoch actively directs his Australian newspapers to pursue his political agendas. In case you missed it, here it is in black and white: “Murdoch has had the temerity to ask some of his newspapers in Australia … to come out fervently against the re-election of Kevin Rudd as Prime Minister”.

To concerns that Murdoch’s interference is commercially-motivated, also hitherto dismissed by NewsCorp outlets, Heffer’s response is shockingly blunt: “so what?”.

Defenders of democracy would see this as more than mere “temerity”. It is an abuse of the responsibility of all media, private and public, to ensure the free and fair political communication which electors need to make their decisions. The bigger the player, the greater the responsibility. To accept anything less is to resign ourselves, as Heffer evidently has, to living under a plutocracy.

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