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Saturday, 24 September 2011

The party's over and I'm ditching the Oz

I've posted in reaction to stories in The Australian on many occasions and in that sense they are driving the agenda and I'm frankly quite sick of the whole enterprise. Truth be told I know what angle they're going to privilege on any given issue so the reading is wasted, a confirmation rather than a learning experience, a new opportunity to get hot under the collar merely, and really no way to spend your time. So I've decided to say "Talk to the hand, Australian," and so saying will direct my eyeballs elsewhere on the internet instead. They're going to put their material behind a paywall in November anyway (why is noone talking about this?) and other news vehicles will no doubt follow. Most importantly, Fairfax broadsheet websites will also move in this direction in order to stop the financial leakage. The time has come to take sides.

In a way I'm preempting the inevitable because once behind a paywall the newspaper will be less important on the national stage than it is now. When the Times, in the UK, went paid someone said it had become a high-end newsletter. Making money out of his websites will force Rupert Murdoch to give up some of the influence he so assiduously cultivates by the running of campaigning newspapers. OK, I'm ahead of the pack then. Nothing to regret. Reacting angrily to another's dishonest contrivances is, indeed, no way to spend your time.

I gave up reading Murdoch's Punch op-ed blog a long time ago because of a heated exchange I had with one of its editors. My new resolution merely extends this disenfranchisement. I am no longer going to suffer the abuses of journalism that are committed daily by editors at the Australian in their quest for ownership of the national narrative. The more people who do this, the less influential the paper becomes. If you want to follow me, leave a comment and then just remove the bookmark from your browser. Let's spend our time making a better narrative, and not reacting to every editorial sin like a bunch of sharp-eyed wowsers at a metropolitan race meeting. Let the horses run and let the grog flow. I'll be keeping my money in my pocket, and my attention focused on more reputable media outlets.

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