Politics Opinion

Australian mainstream media is irretrievably broken

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Victorian Premier Dan Andrews has faced criticism from the mainstream media over his decision to cancel the Games (Screenshot via YouTube)

The latest example of media bias and a lack of journalistic integrity in Australia follows Dan Andrews' decision to cancel the Commonwealth Games, writes Belinda Jones.

VICTORIAN PREMIER Daniel Andrews did it again this week. He outraged the Australian media by cancelling the 2026 Commonwealth Games because of cost blowouts and predictably, the immature Melbourne press pack lost their collective minds.

If the 2026 Commonwealth Games had gone ahead and blown out by 300%, that same press pack would have also lost their collective minds because of that. 

Everyone knows that everything in life has increased in price over the last few years, from fuel to groceries to houses, so it stands to reason that major infrastructure projects will also suffer the same fate and have cost blowouts. It is happening in every home, industry and business in the country — everyone has had to make the tough decisions about what has to be cut from the budget and what can be left in.  

Yet, when it happens to a government, mainstream media journalists see it as an opportunity for an irrational, partisan attack rather than view it through the same lens with which they view their own personal or business budgets. Even the ABC has had to make tough cuts due to budgetary pressures, including hundreds of jobs.

ABC News ran over-the-top, tabloid-style criticism of the Andrews Government for making the decision to scrap the expensive Games in multiple attack pieces across multiple platforms.

ABC’s 7.30 anchor, Sarah Ferguson, piled on the outrage in an interview with Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) vice-president Kereyn Smith, who took the decision as a personal affront and said the CGF will seek compensation from Victoria. This will only make countries less likely to bid for the Commonwealth Games in future and make them even more unpopular than they already are. 

Shock jocks had previously called for the Commonwealth Games to be cancelled then complained that they had been cancelled after Andrews’ announcement. In February this year, the Herald Sun’s Steve Price wrote:

‘Melbourne should ditch the unloved Commonwealth Games and steal the Olympics from Brisbane — it would do Aussie taxpayers a huge favour.’

Then, in a gold medal backflip this week in a piece for Sky News, the utterly ridiculous Price said Premier Daniel Andrews “damaged the reputation of Australia” for cancelling the Commonwealth Games. Other perpetually outraged shock jocks like Neil Mitchell and Ben Fordham followed suit.

In an extraordinary broad-ranging and disrespectful interview with Prime Minister Anthony Albanese on Wednesday, Fordham inferred the blame for the cost projections could lie at the feet of governments outsourcing work to consultants ahead of the public service, then immediately went on to discuss the cost-of-living crisis without applying the same “crisis” critique to Premier Andrews’ Games decision. 

Fordham continued his unhinged attack turning to The Voice To Parliament saying “support is falling off the cliff” without discussing the mainstream media’s – and his own – ongoing dissemination of misinformation and inflammatory rhetoric designed to divide Australians. 

Like most shock jocks, who are almost without exception wealthy, White, middle-aged, angry males, Fordham has never experienced the profound disadvantage of those he attacks from his privileged pulpit of hate. He and every other shock jock cannot explain why they are so afraid of advice from Indigenous Australians on matters that affect them. It’s just advice, not lore or law.

These current custodians of the mainstream media landscape in Australia, from the shock jocks to the increasingly tabloid ABC, are bound by a common thread of a lack of journalistic integrity that is unedifying at best and damaging to the very foundations of democracy at worst. Any criticism ricochets off their over-inflated egos as they automatically swing into DARVO mode (deny, attack and reverse victim and offender). 

Mainstream media has become an ethics-free wild frontier where anything goes and journalists become increasingly desperate to resurrect their once-respected industry and improve their dwindling readership. The fish rots from the head, so the blame must be laid on the media moguls and heads who have been the architects of their own industry’s demise: Rupert Murdoch, Kerry Stokes, Peter Costello and Ita Buttrose

These four operators have done more damage to mainstream Australian society than any other players, political or otherwise, through their poor leadership and partial, divisive mainstream media. In the case of the American Rupert Murdoch, his influence should be considered foreign interference as it would be in any other industry.

Despite ongoing, universal criticism of Australian mainstream media, Albanese has ignored the pleas of former Prime Ministers Kevin Rudd, Malcolm Turnbull and 500,000 Australians calling for a royal commission into mainstream media in Australia. The cost of that one decision will probably be The Voice To Parliament which will damage Australia’s international reputation far more than the cancellation of any sporting event.

And if The Voice does fail, the mainstream media will then spin the narrative that the loss will be more Albanese’s than Australia’s. It will be a triumph for racism, a genuine setback for our country that will take years, if not decades, to overcome and will more than likely spell electoral defeat for the Albanese Government. Blind Freddy can see that writing on the wall, yet Albanese can’t.

For every day that passes without the mainstream media being held to account, Australia moves closer to the dangerous conservative fascism that has taken hold in the USA, which has been largely instigated by Murdoch’s Fox News lies.

Independent media has taken up the fight that Albanese refuses to, by simply not accepting the current poor state of Australian mainstream media, offering an ethical, truthful alternative to the inept Australian mainstream media. And for the excellent work Australian independent media is doing, it is being rewarded with growing subscriber lists from the Australian public who simply wants a fair and impartial press.

It's time for Prime Minister Albanese to read the writing on the wall and stand up to the mainstream media by instigating a royal commission into its conduct. If he fails to do so, the repercussions will be severe and long-lasting. In fact, more than likely irreparable.

You can follow IA columnist Belinda Jones on Twitter @belindajones68.

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