Once again our Media Glass House staff pose their regular question: Does anyone truly believe that News Crap Australia hasn’t degenerated into a shameless, yet shameful at the same time, political protection racket for the Morrison Government?
Once again we hear the loud and emphatic answer from all Buggers out there.
But if anyone has any doubt about how to answer the question, let’s take a look at a big issue that surfaced last week.
On Monday a week ago the nation’s watchdog on federal spending, the Australian National Audit Office, released a report into commitments from the $660 million National Commuter Car Park Fund by the Morrison Government on the eve of the May 2019 federal election.
The fund is designed to reduce car trips and congestion by expanding parking at railway stations.
Yes, that is a good idea. But the ANAO raised very serious questions about the decision-making behind the pre-poll funding promises and announcements.
You can read the ANAO report for yourself, but basically it found pre-election funding commitments were skewed to Liberal Party seats, with projects being identified by local sitting Liberal Party MPs, or in the case of at least six non-government seats, projects had been identified for funding by Liberal Party senators or Liberal candidates in those seats.
So basically the car park fund is a HFPB, or huge fucking pork barrel in the hands of the same mob who at the same time was dishing out more than $100 million in pre-election sports grants – or sports rorts as they came to be known – to others of their own favoured MPs in marginal seats.
The story was covered extensively in most media outlets. But did the Murdoch media cover this big pork-barrelling story? Well yes, and no.
Yes, the national broadshit The Australian gave it a slim run in Tuesday’s edition on page 2, then a follow-up on Thursday on page 6 (pictured) but nothing that we could detect after that.
There was certainly no lengthy pontification on public administration standards by the likes of Paul Kelly who usually doesn’t need to be asked twice to pen a column that might well cost the lives of dozens if not hundreds of trees.
Another News Crap paper that did cover the car park scandal was its Melbourne turdbloid, the Herald-Sun, where a news story ran on page 4 on Tuesday which was followed up by a comment piece on Thursday by Tom Minear, the paper’s national politics editor. (pictured)
He pointed out that the ANAO report showed that of the 47 projects announced before the 2019 election, 30 were in Melbourne, of which 25 were in Liberal-held seats, and none were in the city’s growing western suburbs.
This was a reference to comments in the ANAO report which identified Melbourne’s west as the area where projects should have had funding priority because traffic congestion is worse there than in other parts of the city.
Mr Minear’s story didn’t provide it, but can show one possible reason those areas didn’t receive any of the car park cash.
The map below – reproduced from the website http://www.electionarium.com – shows the sea of red, or Labor-held seats in the west and the lake of blue, or Liberal seats, in the area that was selected to receive most of the National Commuter Car Park Fund cash.
A News Crap outlet that didn’t cover the story was the Sydney turdbloid, the Daily Telegraph.
Of course media observers would know that the reason for what appeared to us to be a total lack of coverage of the audit findings can be summed up in two words – James Morrow. (pictured)
Mr Morrow is the Tele’s federal political editor who also appears as a commentator on Sky News which these days is enough said.
We note that he authored a handful of stories for the paper during last week, but obviously didn’t think the car park pork barrelling yarn was worth putting fingers to keyboard all week.
We tried to imagine what excuse Mr Morrow might offer for not covering the story.
“It’s all about Melbourne,” might well have been one of them. But even if he was asked and did give that answer, he would be wrong.
The ANAO report clearly says that 64% of the car park projects were located in Melbourne “representing more than 2.5 times the number of projects located in Sydney notwithstanding that Infrastructure Australia has identified that the majority of the most congested roads in Australia are located in Sydney”.
So a “We was robbed” headline on a withering story about Melbourne stealing cash the Sydney well and truly deserves would have been a natural.
Does anyone doubt it would have been Tuesday’s splash if it had been a federal Labor Government giving the lion’s share of funds to the Victorian capital.
If any assistance is still required by any reader to answer our question about the motives and core business of News Crap Australia, consider the writings of James Campbell, another of its scribes covering Canberra.
Mr Campbell is the grandly titled national weekend political editor for the Sunday Telegraph, Sunday Herald Sun and the Sunday Mail.
He would have seen the dearth of coverage of such a red-hot story within his own employer’s stable of papers during the week and thought: “I must write something about this outright rort for my Sunday readers.”
Yes? Well, no.
Mr Campbell obviously did not think the ANAO report newsworthy enough.
But what big issue did he canvass in his weekly column?
Of course he used his column to talk about how awful he reckons Anthony Albanese is, and how the Morrison Government has it all over the Opposition Leader. (pictured)
Mr Campbell based his argument on two speeches Mr Albanese has made – his budget reply back in May which outlined plans to boost social and affordable housing and a speech last Friday to the National Press Club in which the Labor leader spoke of the need to aim for full employment.
Mr Campbell dismissed the subject matter of both speeches as being totally irrelevant and both speeches as a waste of time and effort.
Maybe if Mr Albanese had mentioned the car park scandal in his speech, Mr Campbell might have been motivated to pen a line or two of his own on the matter.
Wait. What? It seems Mr Albanese did reference the ANAO report in his Friday speech at the National Press Club?
So, pencils down readers. You’ve had plenty of time to write your answer to our initial question.