Tony Abbott’s declaration of war on the ABC is a chilling reminder of how much he’s in Murdoch’s debt and where it all may lead, writes Rodney E. Lever.

I WAS BORN IN 1932. It was a big year.

It was the year that Adolf Hitler became chancellor of Germany. The words “fascist” and “Nazi” became part of the international lexicon.

It was also the year of the birth of the Australian Broadcasting Commission ‒ the ABC ‒ as a public institution.

When Hitler claimed power in 1932 through a distorted election result, his first act was to nationalise all the media in Germany and place it in the hands of his regional party leader in Berlin, Joseph Goebbels — a short, skinny man who adopted the title of Propaganda Minister. He was given total control of all Germany’s newspapers, radio stations, book publishing and even television — at which time in its development Germany was leading the world.

Thirteen years later, Joseph Goebbels was to hand cyanide capsules disguised as lollies to his six little daughters and his wife, before ending his own life with a bullet in the brain.

When I woke this morning to listen to the ABC news, it was a shock to hear an commercial radio station interview with Prime Minister Tony Abbott replayed as a news item on the ABC. Abbott was not just hinting that the ABC should be offered to commercial interests. He was setting up a scenario with would allow him to do so.

My feeling of shock was not generated by the concept that the national broadcaster should be offered to commercial interests. It was generated by the fact that I recognised immediate exactly what commercial interests!

The man who had most opposed the original formation of the ABC as a free national broadcaster was the head of a family with whom I had a long association. Keith Arthur Murdoch had launched a massive campaign through his newspapers in the early 1930s, claiming that government controlled radio was a danger to the nation.

This was far from the truth, because the ABC provided a magnificent coverage of the events of World War II, right up to the Japanese surrender, and every other major event from Olympic Games and all forms of sport, as well as news, reported by some of the most talented radio journalists Australia has even known. Its record of independence and political balance is leagues ahead of Australia’s commercial radio and print media.

The nature of reporting is that mistakes occur in all media from time to time, but deliberate twisting of the truth in favour of a business advantage is a danger to society — as we in Australia have learned all too often.

(Image via facebook.com/anggos)

Regular readers of Independent Australia will also know that I had a personal friendship and working relationship with Keith Rupert Murdoch from our mutual mid-twenties to our mid-forties — an association that ended when I finally detected elements of his personal character with which I did not want to be associated.

Recent events in Rupert Murdoch’s life have been documented in various books, including the most recent Sex, Lies and the Murdoch Succession by Paul Barry — the current ABC Media Watch host.

His association with Prime Minister Tony Abbott has become as close as his earlier ones with Margaret Thatcher, Tony Blair and various U.S. presidents and congressmen. Murdoch’s politics have been as convoluted as his choice of wives. Essentially, his interest is only what he can get for himself and his family.

His family has always been central to his life, yet his family relationships with his mother and his children have been stormy at times and less than agreeable to all.

Tony Abbott’s words on the radio this morning are a chilling reminder to me that this great lion of the jungle will place Australia at his mercy if he is given the opportunity, whatever happens to his crumbling interests in Britain and the USA.

The words “fascism” and “Nazism” may begin to appear again in our nation.

(Image via news.com.au)

You can follow Rodney E. Lever on Twitter @rodneyelever.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Australia License

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The originals of John Graham's art, featured above as well as elsewhere on IA, are available for purchase by contacting the editor at editor@independentaustralia.net.

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