Western media, a tool of the political, military and business establishment, have played a part in the killing of millions in Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and Libya, writes John Menadue. In turn, Australia’s media is a tool of this “US Imperium”. This is the first in White Man’s Media, a series to be published in Menadue’s Pearls and Irritations.
Australia’s media does not just have a problem being dominated by legacy US and UK media. We have a particular problem. Its name is Rupert Murdoch, an American citizen who owns two-thirds of Australia’s metropolitan dailies, a monopoly Pay TV licence in Foxtel, and more.
News Corp was a key supporter of the unmitigated disaster which was the Iraq War. Of the 173 Murdoch papers worldwide only one, the Hobart Mercury, opposed that war, a war sometimes described as ‘the Murdoch War’.
Murdoch told us in 2003, “I think (George W) Bush acted very morally, very correctly. US troops will soon be welcomed as liberators”.
His Foreign Editor on The Australian Greg Sheridan could not contain himself. “The bold eagle of American power is aloft, high above the humble earth. For as it soars and sweeps it sees victory, power and opportunity”.
Sheridan is still in his job. Murdoch prefers loyalty to competence in all those around him, including his family.
Warmongers and profiteers
In wars, Rupert Murdoch and his News Corporation see “victory, power and opportunity” too. Rupert Murdoch himself is still in his job.
Even some of the legacy media apologised for their support of the illegal war in Iraq. But never Rupert Murdoch or, for that matter, former Australian prime minister John Howard.
News Corp in Australia, for well over a decade, has also led the campaign of denial on climate change. This company has become a key part of a US military/business/security complex which has exercised destructive power for generations, and is now demonising China.
As Alex Lo wrote in August, “It has long been known that the Department of Defense in the US and other governments such as the CIA, not only support film and cable production in Hollywood but also actively intervene and manipulate their content”.
And in June, Lo described how a long list of former US security chiefs such as John Brennan and James Clapper joined US media – NBC, MSNBC and CNN.
Australian security heads have been leading the demonisation of China with help from the Five Eyes. But we get a double-whammy when our derivative media draws heavily on US legacy media that in turn is heavily influenced by former US security chiefs with their ‘expert opinions’.
This legacy media frames our view of the world, a view which we accept as almost god-given, a colonial Western media mindset with racist undertones.
We need to break free of that mindset if we are to build a secure future in our region and avoid being drawn into one folly after another by the US Imperium.
John was once the top executive for Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation in Sydney. He has also served as Ambassador to Japan, chief executive of Qantas and the top political adviser to both Malcolm Fraser and Gough Whitlam.
In coming days, Pearls will publish the White Man’s Media series, including stories from some of the region’s leading commentators:
Nury Vittachi, journalist and author based in Hong Kong, writes about the dominance of US and Western European cultural and international news institutions.
Richard Butler AC, former Ambassador to the United Nations, Executive Chairman of UN Special Commission to Disarm Iraq, Professor of International Affairs, writes about how those controlling the majority of Australia’s news media from London and New York do so for personal gain, against the national interest.
Cavan Hogue, a former diplomat who has worked in Asia, Europe and the Americas as well as at the UN, writes about the impact of English-language exceptionalism has had on media globally and in Australia.
Jerry Grey, a freelance writer living in Southern China’s Guangdong province, writes on the declining quality and objectivism of Western media coverage of Asia and China.
Bruce Dover, former award-winning foreign correspondent, Vice President (China) for News Corporation, Managing Editor for CNN International and the Chief Executive of the ABC’s international television service, Australia Network, writes on how Australia’s news media has steadily turned away from legitimate coverage of Asian affairs.
John Laurence Menadue AO is an Australian businessman and public commentator, and formerly a senior public servant and diplomat. He is the founding chair and board member of the Centre for Policy Development.