Costellorisation of the Heralds is complete

First there was Ruperfication. And now Costellorisation is sadly complete.

If you doubt that, have a look over last weekend’s Sydney Morning Herald and Sun-Herald.

But first an explanation of the two processes. The names might be different but their methodology and outcomes are fairly similar.

Both rely on the process of IRSD – Involuntary Righteous Symbiotic Disconnection – the transfer of illogical right-wing thought from one person in power to his underlings.

Ruperfication is the IRSD process whereby those who work in Newscorpse for Rupert Murdoch all know instinctively what he expects of them even if, by his own, often repeated, admission, he never makes such directions overtly. Think putrification for the fourth estate.

Costellorisation is the similar process under way since those Herald mastheads came under the umbrella of Nine Entertainment, chaired by former federal Liberal Treasurer Peter “I’ve got a spare studio for a Liberal fundraiser” Costello. Both papers have turned conservative dark blue, a common tell-tale sign of Costellorisation.

These two men’s thoughts and beliefs by some form of magic rightwingism trickle down as relentlessly as their economic theories on all those below them – writers, editors, sub-editors, artists, the lot – and they unknowingly perform in a manner expected but perhaps never requested of them.

Can we all remember when the SMH and The Sun-Herald were fair and reasonable media organs? No, neither can I. How quickly the past fades from memory; the jettisoning of independent thought by a greater, far more evil and powerful influence.

And with that knowledge of how Ruperfication and Costellorisation work, we turn sadly to Peter Hartcher’s piece on the back page of last Saturday’s SMH’s News review section.

Hartcher has written some truly laughable shit over time, but this essay just about takes the cake, if you can imagine a cake filled with chunky, smelly, turd bits that are another giveaway sign that the process of Costellorisation is sadly complete in his case.

Hartcher argues that Prime Minister Scott Morrison flirted with Trumpism for a while after becoming PM but here’s the real jaw-dropping moment: “When the pandemic struck, Morrison responded as a full member of the ‘reality-based’ community.”

Hope no-one choked on their cornflakes over that piece of dribble-down magic rightwingism and Trumpist bullshittery.

To paraphrase Hartcher, Morrison had some instantaneous sort of Road from Cobargo conversion after his terrible Black Summer missteps of a year ago.

From my own generation of journalists, I can’t think of many who could write that shit, knowing that Morrison wanted to go to his Sharkies match, wanted the old people’s homes opened up, especially the deadly privately-run ones that he protected from scrutiny, wanted from the get-go for Australians to live side by side with coronavirus, poo-pooed for a while calls from Labor and the ACTU for a massive federal jobs protection package, that he milked his idea of a national cabinet to shamelessly grandstand over again and again.

Did Hartcher completely miss the PM’s refusal over several weeks to condemn Trump’s role in inciting the Capitol riot while real world leaders put the boot in? Has he not watched the PM on the fake hustings in Queensland this past week, telling rural folk he’s there to “back them in” whatever the fuck that means and hoping they heard him through his Aussie flag face mask? Hartcher somehow missed Morrison’s on-going Trumpesque dog-whistling to his right-wing base over Australia Day?

Next thing Hartcher will be telling us is that Morrison won’t be telling any lies at this federal poll that is looming, according to the tune now being sung loud and lustily from the mainstream media songsheet.

Sure, I could maybe point at a few things Morrison’s done okay but why should I if this costellorised poor bugger can’t or won’t see his many faults and missteps to his much-greater audience?

The very notion that Morrison cast off his Hawaiian shirt and ditched Trumpism way back when the COVID-19 first appeared is laughable to any normal observer. It’s absolute tosh! And there was a time Hartcher would have known that.

And make no mistakes. Hartcher perhaps in not so many words will continue to paint Morrison as the man of the moment, the Father of the Nation who led the fight against COVID-19 and who saved Australia from the worst of the pandemic. He and others at both Heralds will keep doing that until the required result is achieved for Australia’s ruling class later this year, because that’s what they’ve been told to do, even if they didn’t hear it.

For further evidence of this form of IRSD, let’s go back in that edition of the SMH to page 6 and look at Bob Harris’s piece: PM attempts to calm comment backlash.

Here’s another sad-sack victim of Costellorisation. Harris writes that the PM “has moved to quell the condemnation” of earlier comments that those on the First Fleet were not having a particularly flash day of it either. Doesn’t “moved to quell” sound such a forceful thing that reeks of leadership?

Once again, the cohort of scribes that I had the pleasure of working with would, to a man and a woman apart from Des Houghton, have applied logic and fair thought to view Morrison’s response as digging a deeper hole for himself than getting himself out of one.

Morrison’s comments about Australia having 25-million plus stories worth recounting were pure gobbledegook that virtually demanded a #allstoriesmatter hashtag, a load of smelly tripe that dog-whistled to the #whitelivesmatter and #alllivesmatter types in his fan base.

Then on the following day, there’s The Sun-Herald’s new regular columnist Parnell Palme McGuiness. Her entire piece, apart from boasting that she once read a large text book, was devoted to the notion that both the left and the right of politics are capable of fostering totalitarianism.

She called on us all to keep a bloody close eye on the new US administration because “behind the centrist Biden is a party of ideologues proposing to purge Trump ‘collaborators'”.

I’ll certainly be keeping a close eye on Biden from this moment on.

I’ll be on the lookout for boasts of knowing more about everything than anyone else in the world, that he’s the world’s most stable genius, that from his lips will flow a litany of lies on matters big and small, his words crafted to divide people rather than unite them, the need to drain the Washington swamp of corrupt gold-diggers, the attacks on the fake news media, the stinging personal attacks against opponents and the need for average, hard-done by and forgotten Americans to take their country back from Jina. All that and the video that will no doubt emerge soon of Biden boasting about grabbing pussies to show what an all-round, down-to-earth, locker-room sort of guy he is, one who deserves total and undying loyalty.

Don Gordon-Brown