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The SMH has decided to launch a petition for the recall of the NSW Labor government and in doing so has revealed itself to not only be incompetent but also corrupt.

A modern media organisation should not be politically active outside its opinion pages. It should not advocate petitions on blatantly political issues, especially ones which are also blatantly partisan. This was an issue first raised by Barry O’Farrell back in March and he was the first to support it after the SMH raised it.

Moreover, if it is in the business of opinion-giving and politicking, then it should be obliged to state its own self-interest in this petition. Let’s face the facts, it’s sales go up during election years. So if it can whip up a furor every two years and hold a recall election, its sales will go through the roof during those years.

If you want evidence of bias, just look at this article: “Keneally backs debate on recall provisions.” Notice the use of the words ‘backs’, as though she supports it, or as though she is bolstering public awareness of this debate. Notice she is never quoted as saying “debate”, its always inserted by the SMH. What she actually does is completely rubbish the idea. The entire article is littered with journalistic whorehousing.

The people of NSW deserve to have a free and independent media. What they do not deserve is a corporation purporting to advocate democratic rights and freedoms. If the SMH continues to follow this path, it will lead to an Australian version of Fox News. If the corporations’ economic incentive is to hold a particular view (in Fox News’ case, to capture discontented conservative viewers, in SMH’s case to falsely bolster its democratic credentials), they are incapable of giving unbiased opinions. And as one of the dominant media providers, they have an obligation on them to properly inform readers, and also to give their informed opinions. We rely them to provide good opinions, not merely well-argued opinions. There are always good arguments on both sides, we rely their expertise as journalists to discern which is the more truthful argument.

Fairfax have a right to free speech and right to freedom of the presses. But rights come with responsibilities. This is one of them.


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