Lets throw it back to the Federal Election of 2013. Kevin Rudd vs Tony Abbott, a contest for the ages.
The penultimate matchup that saw the Queensland incumbent go toe to toe with a New South Welshman: the budgy smuggling Aussie icon. State of Origin had seen many bruising contests in its time, however this decider may be infamously remembered as a cat fight, and one of the most biased and controversial in Australian election history.
Nearly 70% of all media exposure and newspaper sales in Australia are courtesy of Rupert Murdoch’s multi billion dollar company News Corp. Needless to say, public opinion is overwhelmingly influenced by what is broadcast from News Corp, and indeed one can mount a case to suggest the 2013 election is a prime example of this.
Kevin Rudd accused Rupert Murdoch of using his newspaper empire to ‘attack’ the Australian Labor Party. The question, in question.. Was the Daily Telegraph attempting to swing voters?
Of the 293 political stories broadcast in the time frame of the election campaign, a remarkable 134 were anti Labor whilst only 6 were pro labor. On the other hand, only 5 news articles were judged to be anti coalition, whilst there was a staggering 43 pro coalition. (ABC Media Watch, 2013)
News headlines such as; KICK THIS MOB OUT, DOES THIS GUY EVER SHUT UP and HERO OR PSYCHO, are without question a blatant and viscous attempt to humiliate the Labor party, and in particular Kevin Rudd.
Launching a more or less personal attack on the Prime Minister is seemingly the most efficient way to ensure that both Rupert Murdoch and Tony Abbott could satisfy both their personal and commercial interests.
Rudd believed that Murdoch saw the proposed National Broadband Network (NBN) as a threat to his Foxtel network, prompting Murdoch to eliminate any possible chance of the NBN overshadowing the revenue created by Foxtel.
“I’ve got to question whether his commercial interests are financially motivated” – Rudd told ABC News. Mr Rudd went on to say “I think he (Mr Murdoch) made it fairly clear through one of his editors the other day that he doesn’t really like us and would like to give us the old heave ho and get his mate Mr Abbott in.”
And with a developing portfolio of derogatory headlines, it would be naive to suggest that Rupert Murdoch intended to take a neutral stance on the election, having the country’s ‘best’ interests at heart.
In a democratic country we are given the freedom to vote, only after we are provided with objective and factual evidence on political stances. During the time of the 2013 federal election, this was definitely not the case. Coincidence or not, Labor went on to suffer an election defeat.
So in regards to the question posed to us relating to who owns the media, it is difficult to mount a case to suggest that it does not matter. During election time the media had taken a clear stance, and quite likely had a profound influence on the eventual outcome of the election.
1) ABC Media Watch, 2013, The Final Tele Tally, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, viewed 27th March 2015,
2) ABC Media Watch 2013, The Tele nails its colours to its masthead, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, viewed 27th March 2015,