In the court of the Sun King, truth plays second fiddle to the gospel of Murdochracy

There is a fifth dimension; a parallel universe that revolves around a decrepit, dying and dangerous orb of hot gasses that is liable to frequent explosions raining down hot solar gusts of bile and venom on any random planetary object that displeases the ancient Sun King.

Welcome to the universe of News Corp; a solar system cut off from the rest of creation by an impenetrable wall of bias and a cult-like devotion to a host of terrible Gods. This parallel universe defies the laws of gravity and the morality of humans; it relies instead on the ancient and immutable laws of Murdochracy.

Old, florid Sun King prone to flare ups

Old, florid Sun King prone to flare ups

Even those who have served the Sun King with loyalty for many years live out their lives in fear of his vengeful minions. As former Times editor Andrew Neil famously wrote, to lose favour with the Sun King; to break the unwritten rules of Murdochracy is to be cast out from the universe to while away your days among mere mortals.

All life revolves around the Sun King; all authority comes from him. He is the only one to whom allegiance must be owed, and he expects his word to be final. There are no other references but him. He is the only benchmark, and anybody of importance reports directly to him. Normal management structures—all the traditional lines of authority, communication, and decision-making in the modern business corporation—do not matter. The Sun King is all that matters.

So we know that to cross the Sun King or one of his ambitious courtiers means that vengeance will be slow and brutal. It will also go on for a long, long time. There is no swift beheading; no merciful bullet to the brain in the rules of the Murdochracy. There is just eternal, painful torture at the hands of those who are beholden to the Sun King and who drink deeply from the NewsCorpse kool-aid.

The list of the Sun King’s enemies is long and getting longer; as older hands die they are replaced by new names. There is no way, except death, to remove your self from The List.

When your name comes to the top of The List the comets of doom come hurtling from the orbit of the Sun King to inflict shame and damage.  Today it was the turn of Australia’s journalism educators. Just about all of them are on The List and subject to frequent meteor showers.

The problem is, as The Australian’s media editor Sharri Markson found out, there is a palpable and unhealthy leftwing bias in journalism and media education.

According to Markson’s EXCLUSIVE in The Australian’s media section this week: “Uni media students are getting an anti-Murdoch message.” Of course such blaspheming of the Sun King can never go unpunished.\

In order to confront the menace of university lecturers in journalism and media studies saying unkind and critical things about her boss, Sharri Markson went ‘undercover’. That’s right, she posed as a student to gain access to a handful of lectures given by staff at the University of Sydney and Sydney’s University of Technology (UTS).

Over a period of five weeks, The Australian attended some lectures on an undercover basis and obtained the audio recordings of other lectures from students.

Wow, powerful journalism from Ms Markson, but we are not told if she identified herself to the students she ‘obtained’ the lecture recordings from.  Did she perhaps maintain her cover and gain access to the recordings on false pretences? You know, like did she pretend that she needed them to study for her essay or something; a little white lie maybe?

We’ll never know; just like we’ll never know if Ms Markson interviewed any students for her story and, if so, did she follow the MEAA Code of Ethics  and identify herself according to clause 8:

Use fair, responsible and honest means to obtain material. Identify yourself and your employer before obtaining any interview for publication or broadcast. Never exploit a person’s vulnerability or ignorance of media practice.

Markson’s excuse may well be that by going under cover she is absolved from this clause. That’s a tenuous argument, but it can be made if there is a strong public interest in the story that’s being pursued.

 

Frankly, it’s hard to see much real public interest in what Ms Markson wrote as a result of her experiences in the classroom.

I also tweeted @sharrimarkson to ask if she took any notice of these following clauses too (numbers 4, 5 & 6):

Do not allow personal interest, or any belief, commitment, payment, gift or benefit, to undermine your accuracy, fairness or independence.

Disclose conflicts of interest that affect, or could be seen to affect, the accuracy, fairness or independence of your journalism. Do not improperly use a journalistic position for personal gain.

Do not allow advertising or other commercial considerations to undermine accuracy, fairness or independence.

I think this is important because clearly Markson’s personal interest is in serving the Sun King and his minions – in particular her editor Chris Mitchell.
markson tweet

Markson not writing about her boss Chris Mitchell

Markson not writing about her boss Chris Mitchell

There could well be a conflict of interest here to be disclosed too. The interest of News Corp is to deflect any criticism, particularly informed criticism from people who know a thing or two about the news media.

Finally, I am pretty sure that accuracy, fairness and independence would be undermined in this story by the Sun King’s commercial considerations. I’m sure that if Sharri Markson overlooked the MEAA code it was inadvertent and that explanations will be forthcoming.
Well, when you orbit close to the Sun King, as Markson does in the constellation of Terror Australis, your vision can become a little blurred, the heat and the sweat in your eyes can also overheat the brain. That is why the kool-aid is supplied in industrial quantities in the NewsCorpse bunkers. It appears to be a cooling drink, soothing for the parched throat, but it is really a deadly and corrosive poison excreted from the bile ducts of the Sun King himself.

Not content with the exposure her EXCLUSIVE would receive in The Australian, which as we know is an underperforming and loss-making newspaper, Markson also went onto the 2GB program of her fellow Sun King devotee Miranda Devine to expound at length – nearly seven minutes – on the “load of garbage” being taught at USYD and UTS.

The dead giveaway though – the reason why we should all just laugh out loud at this pathetic attempt at (ahem) ‘journalism’ – is the faux moral outrage that Markson and Devine express at they way that the reporting of climate change is taught in these “most prestigious” of universities.

Markson: Journalism students should always be taught to present a balanced point of view. Climate change, there are about seven or eight slides that the students are shown where they’re told to present only one side of a [sic] argument and the lecturer was very strong on this point and she said, she likened it to the topacco [sic] debate in the past, even to racism in ah, in ah in the American, south America [sic] saying that if we give the skeptics air time it gives the perception that there’s this raging debate going on on global warming when there’s not. So, even from 18 years old, young students are being fed a very, very left-wing ideology.

Yep, so not only is Ms Markson a super-sleuth undercover reporter, she’s an expert on global warming and she knows it is a “very, very left-wing ideology”. Of course she does and of course it is because that’s been the editorial line in the Sun King’s newspapers for a decade or more.

Markson says she was also disappointed about how critical the targeted lecturers were about News Corp.
Again, no surprises there. Sharri Markson has literally grown up inside the court of the Sun King. The daughter of a famous media insider and spin doctor to the stars, Markson now has an exhalted place in the firmament of loyal minor planets orbiting the Sun King.

She is a regular guest on Andrew Bolt’s Channel 10 show too.

As a trusted acolyte, Markson would know very well the lessons of the Murdochracy; no criticism, no dissent and no questioning of the Sun King’s authority.

As a result of internalizing the lore of the Murdochian alternative universe, Ms Markson finds it almost beyond comprehension that such criticism is allowed within the journalism classroom.

Students were left with the impression that all The Daily Telegraph, The Australian and other News Corp papers did was to serve Rupert Murdoch’s interests.

Incomprehensible really.
The simple beauty of assassination by stealth is that it plays well to bleachers

However, the flipside is that it is also quite easy for a counternarrative to spread via social media too.

You can access other critiques of Ms Markson’s performance from
Crikey; at Birdee magazine and at Junkee among others.

You can also read a statement from the journalism educator’s professional association, the Journalism Education & Research Association of Australia (JERAA)

First published on Independent Australia

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