Last year the Australian Associated Press (AAP) news service came close to disappearing from the media landscape after its shareholders found it was all just too costly to keep going.
AAP was established by major newspaper groups 80 years ago as a stand-alone service to supply ready-to-publish news or feature stories – and later photographs, sound, and videos – to subscriber companies.
AAP’s future was in doubt when two of its shareholders, News Corp Australia and Nine Entertainment, decided they’d rather shut it down than keep funding it.
But AAP gained a reprieve after some private investors took it on.
News Corp, which found it so difficult to pay its share for running AAP, was able to find sufficient cash to start its own would-be replacement , News Corp Australia Newswire.
But if a recent NCA Newswire story is anything to go by, we hope AAP sticks around for another 80 years at least.
A few days ago Queensland’s Deputy Premier Steven Miles posted on social media a video of himself shredding a $30 million bill sent to the Queensland Government by the NSW Government seeking payment for providing COVID-19 hotel quarantine services.
All good fun, and designed to make a political point by Mr Miles.
What our Media Glass House team found disturbing was the NCA Newswire story about the event that appeared in The Australian’s online edition. (pictured)
Let’s recall that AAP stories were designed to be run without editing, and so were most often straight out news with no editorialising.
But the NCA Newswire yarn spoke of Mr Miles filming himself in a “bizarre” online post.
It went on to describe the “strange” footage and The Oz story referenced Mr Miles’s “embarrassing display”.
Now we accept that someone watching the video posted by Mr Miles may well determine that it was “bizarre” and that his actions were strange” and indeed even “embarrassing”.
But maybe, just maybe, readers themselves might like to make that call.
The NCA story also led with comments attacking Mr Miles from NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian that left no doubt that she was in the right in this particular argument.
It could have been so easily written as an interstate political brawl without taking sides.
For what is meant to be a straight news service, NCA Newswire sure doesn’t pass up the opportunity to comment and tell readers in good old Murdoch style exactly what they should be thinking.
Speaking of News Corp’s view of the world, today’s column by Peter Gleeson, who also has an “after dark” show on Sky News, is a classic.
Like many others in the News Corp stable do on a regular basis, Gleeso’s column takes aim at the ABC by claiming it has forsaken regional and rural Australia. (pictured)
Admittedly he was arguing about alleged bias in the coverage of specific rural and regional issues, but we still think it’s a bit of a stretch given the dozens of local newspapers News Corp has shut in rural and regional centres in just the past year.
Gleeso also has a go at the ABC’s Media Watch program. He cites his News Corp and Sky News colleague Chris Kenny who claims “Media Watch simply prosecutes an argument and then gives a 15 second response from the target”.
Gleeso believes that approach is “lazy and it’s wrong and they [the ABC and its Media Watch team] know it”.
Hmmm. Seems to us that the same tactic is used every night on Sky News, except for the bit about 15 seconds of response.
Everything old is new again, it seems.
Last week News Corp Australia’s Brisbane daily turdbloid The Courier-Mail carried a story about the military coup in Myanmar.
The headline chosen for the story: “Stick it up your junta!”
It’s not the first time it’s been used. (pictured)
We recall the same headline was used somewhat notoriously on the front page of the UK tabloid The Sun in 1982 when then British PM Maggie Thatcher knocked back an offer from the then military rulers of Argentina to discuss a plan they thought may prevent what became the Falklands War.
Not the first outing for that headline, and we’re pretty sure it won’t be the last.