Media Analysis

#9 TOP IA STORY OF 2023: ABC complaint over Insiders’ collaboration with Murdoch’s News Corp

By | | comments |
Insiders has become a speakerphone for News Corp and its operatives (image screenshot via YouTube)

Coming in at ninth in our most popular stories of the year is one by former ABC journalist and now star IA columnist Alan Austin – who always features in our top ten – with this incisive December story about his former employer and its growing relationship with the Murdoch media.


Independent Australia columnist Alan Austin has complained to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation following a recent problematic Insiders episode.

*Also listen to the audio version of this article on Spotify HERE.

INSIDERS IS NO longer a program viewers can rely on for accurate information and analysis. This is extremely disappointing. This has come about through excessive reliance on Rupert Murdoch’s mendacious “news” outlets for its content.

Last Sunday’s program, 26 November, started with several television clips reporting events in Gaza. These included two segments clearly labelled as Sky News, Australia’s equivalent to America’s Fox News. These are two of the most discredited news outlets in the English-speaking world. Their contributors have been found in multiple court processes in both countries to have concocted destructive falsehoods.

The program continued with ‘Making news’, a round-up of last week’s bulletins with screenshots of six print articles. Five of the six local news articles were from News Corp publications, two from the Herald Sun, two from the Daily Telegraph and one from the Courier Mail. (The sixth was from The Age.)

The program then shifted to the panel which included James Campbell from the Herald Sun and associated Murdoch tabloids. The presenter was David Speers, a long-time Murdoch employee before joining the ABC.

Just in the last four months, panellists have included current News Corp employees Peter van Onselen, James Campbell, Sarah Ison, Samantha Maiden and Clare Armstrong three times. Former Murdoch employees include Nikki Savva, Anthony Galloway, Patricia Karvelas twice, David Crowe twice and Dan Bourchier three times.

Mid-program, an extended Sky News broadcast was replayed with an Opposition shadow minister attacking the Federal Government with highly partisan assertions that appeared on their face untrue.

Destructive on multiple levels

News Corp is widely regarded in every country in which it operates as no longer a legitimate news organisation. It exists primarily to boost Right-wing political parties, advance the interests of large corporations and persuade gullible citizens to believe bizarre conspiracy theories. These serve the corporation in two ways.

First, by installing governments that cut taxes on the rich, which has happened recently in both the USA and Australia. Secondly, by provoking fear, anger and hatred which keep viewers addicted to the transmissions.

Tactics used routinely by all News Corp outlets include omitting crucial data, distorting information, defaming targeted people and blatant falsification.

This reality has been confirmed by multiple court cases, parliamentary inquiries, press council adjudications, academic studies and media fact checks.

In April this year, News Corp admitted in the Dominion defamation settlement in Delaware, USA, that Fox News anchors, executives and owners all knew their repeated claims that voting machines had shifted votes from Donald Trump to Joe Biden were concocted and false.

The immediate cost of that settlement was a compensation payout to Dominion of more than AUD $1 billion. But that will not compensate the millions of citizens whose view of the world was distorted and whose relationships were damaged when they were conned into believing that the 2020 Presidential Election was stolen. Nor will it reverse the thousands of deaths and injuries sustained in the violent hate crimes that “the big lie” provoked.

A just outcome is that no responsible adult anywhere on the planet ever supports any News Corp outlet again.

That Murdoch media routinely advance false narratives also in Australia is proven by Australian Press Council (APC) adjudications.

Since the beginning of 2022, the APC has upheld 26 complaints against all print media outlets in Australia. Of those, 21 were in Murdoch newspapers. That’s 81 per cent.

The APC found that Murdoch’s staff breached principle one (factual accuracy) ten times, principle six (avoiding substantial offence, distress or prejudice, or safety risk) 11 times and principle three (reasonable fairness and balance) 13 times.

No other organisation came close to this level of wanton mendacity and malice.

Destroying women’s lives

The particular evil led by The Australian with the active support of other News Corp outlets is demolishing the careers of prominent women.

Professor Robert Manne wrote in 2016:

The attack launched by The Australian on Gillian Triggs and the Human Rights Commission has been obsessive, petty, relentless, remorseless and ruthless. In ‘Bad News’ I documented similar campaigns – against Larissa Behrendt and Julie Posetti. But neither reached either the level of malevolence or the cultural significance of the current anti-Triggs campaign ... What is happening to Gillian Triggs – a fine lawyer, a fine Australian, a fine human being – must be resisted with all the moral and rhetorical muscle liberal Australians can muster.

Women The Australian has harmed, besides the abovementioned, include Carmen Lawrence, Joan Kirner, Wendy Bacon, Natasha Stott Despoja, Margaret Simons, Christine Nixon, Roz Ward, Clover Moore, Margot Kingston, Anna Bligh, Kristina Keneally, Emma Husar, Yassmin Abdel-Magied, Julia Gillard, Janine Haines, Cheryl Kernot, Sarah Hanson-Young and Jacinda Ardern.

Current News Corp targets are Annastacia Palaszczuk and Jacinta Allan. The Victorian Premier was depicted in October in an intentionally offensive cartoon naked at a fashion show.

Confirmed by authorities worldwide

The frequency of adverse findings against News Corp outlets proves lying to their audience is not accidental or incidental. It is their core business. Witnesses to this include judges, juries, lawmakers, commentators and heads of state.

Former conservative Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull told NPR in the USA in mid-2022 that:

“Fox News has played, by far, the largest single part in the polarisation of American politics, in the amplification of political hatred ... Fox News is not the only source of this madness, but it is by far the single most influential one.”

Commentator Kevin Drum wrote in 2021:

'The answer to the increasing amount of hate in our politics, then, the only answer that fits the data, is almost certainly Fox News, along with the increasing despair and commitment of conservative evangelicals... The evidence is pretty clear: it’s Fox News that’s set the country ablaze.'

Global solidarity required

There is a deeper problem than just Insiders diminishing its credibility. Countless committed citizens in Britain, the USA and Australia are striving to end the hatred and violence News Corp generates by minimising its reach. For the good of the world, the ABC should support this campaign rather than undermine it.

Insiders will recover its reputation for accuracy and reliability – and also become a good global citizen again – when it cuts all ties with News Corp. The ABC Charter requires this.

*This article is also available on audio here:

Alan Austin is an Independent Australia columnist and freelance journalist. You can follow him on Twitter @alanaustin001.

Support independent journalism Subscribe to IA.

Recent articles by Alan Austin
Mainstream media fabricates disgraceful lies about Labor's Budget

Reactions to last week’s Federal Budget may help answer some puzzling question ...  
Measuring a decade of reckless Liberal Party debt

The latest debt figures prove the stark differences between Australia’s political ...  
Australia (and others) proving again that elections do lead to actual change

Australia is proving yet again that replacing a government can profoundly impact ...  
Join the conversation
comments powered by Disqus

Support Fearless Journalism

If you got something from this article, please consider making a one-off donation to support fearless journalism.

Single Donation


Support IAIndependent Australia

Subscribe to IA and investigate Australia today.

Close Subscribe Donate