Some of the most enjoyable occasional reads, although mostly about UK politics, are those by Marina Hyde, who writes for the Guardian. Her latest effort is superb; it is entitled ‘If only the UK could panic-buy prime ministers who know what they’re doing’. It made me laugh out loud a few times. It was largely about the “possibility of shortages of commodities as diverse as gas, petrol, carbon dioxide, beer, lorry drivers, chicken, hospitality staff, care workers, turkeys, and prime ministers who understand economics”1. It is a hoot.
One of the rightfully disparaging comments in her piece was reserved for Times columnist James Forsyth; she called him a “colorectal stenographer”. I presume that this referred to the propensity of Forsyth to write any old shit, as long as it supports the UK’s tory government1. The Times started out as the Daily Universal Register in 1785, but adopted its current name at the beginning of 1788. In 1981, it was bought by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp2. So, calling a Murdoch columnist a “colorectal stenographer” has much resonance in Australia.
Given the failures in just about every aspect of governance by the federal government since their election in 2013, whether it be in dealing with climate change, water management, vaccine acquisition and distribution, quarantine, robodebt, jobkeeper, and their propensity for corrupt practices, it is surprising that so many journalists still seem to think they are competent. Many people in the politically engaged community have started to term some of the ‘journalists’ more prone to simply retype government talking points or press releases as stenographers. While this is accurate for some of the junior hacks of the Murdoch and other outlets, there are some ‘journalists’ who clearly invent stuff seemingly designed to ingratiate themselves with those in government, or are instructed to write such drivel. Such people truly are “colorectal stenographers”.
Working out who these are within News Corp is easy. Most of them lack any semblance of journalistic ethics, and I have listed numerous examples of these on this blog before3-8. Finding those with ethics is more difficult, but there are a few; very few. What is disturbing, is that such a lack of ethics has now spread to Nine media. Dorothy? Are you there?