Sky News had a show with former Northern Territory Adam Giles as the desk jockey. Someone at Sky News thought it would be a good idea to have a Neo-Nazi on the show and to have Giles fawn over him. This Neo-Nazi wants portraits of Adolf Hitler put into all schools and ‘Mein Kampf’ taught in schools1. This went over like a lead balloon among even people who actually watch Sky News. Sky News has arrangements with assorted companies (e.g. Qantas, Virgin) and government organisations (e.g. VicRail) to have Sky News on their public televisions. The outrage on social media over this faux pas has taken the form of asking those companies and other organisations to switch channels, and also taking advertisers to task about advertising on Sky News. Both of these have had immediate success, with significant numbers of advertisers ditching Sky News from their ad buy, and Virgin changing channels in their lounges. VicRail also have changed channels on their public televisions; turning off Sky News2,3,4.
It almost goes without saying that the ‘ruperters’ on Sky News and other Murdoch outlets have come out claiming this is tantamount to fascism5. However, that is a lie. If a restaurant poisons its customers, chances are that restaurant will either go broke or suffer severely financially until it gets its act together and stops poisoning people. The same is true with Sky News. They have upset some of their consumers and those consumers have reacted in much the same way as poisoned diners would, by spreading the word and demanding that Sky News stop pandering to the haters in society. If it was fascism, Sky News would have been prevented from broadcasting and its ‘ruperters’ put out of work or in prison. It hasn’t and they haven’t. Companies and other organisations have reacted to pressure from their customers by simply changing channels. That’s why we are able to change channels, precisely because we don’t (yet) live in a fascist system. I don’t watch many of the available channels on my television, in part because advertisements annoy me significantly, and partly because of the drivel which characterises commercial television these days. I am not banning them, I am simply choosing not to watch them. It is ironic that the system which Murdoch and his ‘ruperters’ support so enthusiastically – unbridled capitalism – is precisely the system which allows us to kick them when they upset us. And kick them we will, now we know how to hurt them the most2.