The author has been described by News Ltd as an "iconoclast", "Svengali", a pollie's "economist muse", and "pungently accurate". Fairfax says he is a "Renaissance man" and "one of Australia’s most respected analysts." Stephen Koukoulas concludes that he is "85% right", and "would make a great Opposition leader." Terry McCrann claims the author thinks "‘nuance’ is a trendy village in the south of France", but can be "scintillating" when he thinks "clearly". The ACTU reckons he’s "an enigma wrapped in a Bloomberg terminal, wrapped in some apparently well-honed abs."

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Peter Costello echoes my thoughts on Rinehart/Fairfax very precisely

A great op-ed today and pretty much a carbon copy of what I have written over the past few weeks in four different columns for the ABC and Business Spectator (herehere, here and here):

The Fairfax directors were not appointed for their political views. They do not come from a long background in the newspaper industry. They do not represent a particular editorial line. They are professional directors appointed to maximise shareholder value. Their legal duty is to shareholders. And their biggest risk, if current interest wanes, is that the share price could go lower.

I did not sign the recent letter of ''eminent people'' who wrote in support of the Fairfax charter of independence. I noticed that the owner of The Monthly, Morry Schwartz, did. He makes no effort to publish a diversity of views in publications that he owns. When his editor proposed to publish an article by me in response to one by Kevin Rudd she was not allowed to do so. Shortly after, she left. It is not my idea of editorial independence.

But The Monthly will never be a mass-circulation paper. If its owner wants to fund a particular point of view he is free to do so. The more narrow the view, the more narrow the readership. Fairfax's metropolitan dailies aspire to mass circulation. A wide diversity of views will bring a wide diversity of readers. That applies to any new owner as much as it applies to the current publication.