Features Australia

Trump’s clean sweep

...and the media mogul we should have had

7 March 2020

9:00 AM

7 March 2020

9:00 AM

Not only will Donald Trump win a second term, Republicans will retain the Senate and regain the House. This is because voters are realising that he has resurrected the economy with record low rates of unemployment among minorities, restored the military, achieved energy independence, depoliticised the judiciary and significantly enhanced the influence and standing of the US among both friends and foes.

Even when supporters have had reservations, his judgement has usually proved to be right, for example, in relation to Israel, Iran, Syria and the Islamic world. When blocked, he has shown an  unusual ability to find the right alternative through an unexpected ‘Plan B’, as he did over illegal immigration. Thwarted by  Democrats and activist judges, he nudged Mexico, with the threat of using his executive powers, to take direct action to stop the caravans.

In brief, he has made America great again, despite an often illicit and always disgraceful campaign to stop and then overthrow him begun under Obama.  Showing consistently good judgement and remarkable resilience, he will go down in history as a great president.

His re-election has been assured by the Democrats planning his impeachment from even before his inauguration and bringing it on without presenting a skerrick of evidence to their House investigation. Worse, they made this look like a Stalinist show trial. And with their move to the far left, they seem doomed to choose a candidate with little chance of presenting a realistic challenge. If the contender turns out to be Bernie Sanders, the overt rather than one of the covert socialists, defeat will be even more assured, despite the fact that younger voters have been softened up by the capture of much of American education by the Left.

I must assure readers that, on my track record, they can have more confidence in my reasoned prediction than those in the mainstream, who were wrong on Trump, Brexit and the recent Australian election. In addition, unlike most, I have practical experience in campaigning, being at the nerve-centre of a very successful one against the robust opposition of the mainstream media and most politicians.

After coming to my conclusion on the American election I was delighted to find that the admirable Conrad Black had come to exactly the same conclusion.

I first met Conrad Black many years ago at a small dinner hosted by the then Fairfax chairman, Sir Laurence Street. Press Council Chairman at the time, I had come to the conclusion that Conrad was the proprietor Fairfax desperately needed. Refusing to promise to give electoral support to the Keating government, he was not allowed to increase his shareholding to be able to defend his interest.


The fact is that any democracy desperately needs a media which is not only free but also responsible. On that, the Australian media has a record far better than today’s American mainstream media. To achieve such a media, supportive moguls are crucial.

Unfortunately moguls are threatened with extinction. They are being replaced by boards of colourless professional company directors.

Seeing little difference between running a media, manufacturing or energy corporation, they see their role as being that of some super-accountant, while gutlessly kowtowing to the global warming religion or whatever other fashionable, destructive and fraudulent dogma the Left happen to espouse.

By way of contrast, a media mogul remains operationally involved, as demonstrated by Rupert Murdoch or Kerry Packer sometimes actually appearing in shirt sleeves down at the printing presses.

The difference is that a mogul chooses and appoints the editor with everybody knowing he then has real authority. A board’s default position is to distance itself from the operation of the business and leave this to those working there.

This may be acceptable if you are manufacturing shoes. But the last thing a media corporation should do is to leave the operation to the journalists, as the ABC does. Being further to the left than the general public should not matter if the code of ethics is rigorously observed. In summary, this is in always accepting that ‘comment is free but facts are sacred.’ This applies even when the media-hated Tony Abbott is PM.

Boards tend to appoint an editor who is little more than primus inter pares, first among his journalist equals. The result is the newspaper or TV channel moves further and further to the left not only on content, but even in the choice of what is deemed newsworthy.

 

Conrad Black was a model proprietor. Disagreeing strongly with a journalist about his report on Israel in The Spectator, then part of his empire, he did no more than express his views by way of a letter to the editor.

A magnificently erudite and sophisticated man, he was the target of enemies in the United States who used lawyers whose tactics would not be allowed in Canada or Australia. They were successful in wrongly claiming that when he entered into non-competition agreements relating to the sale of newspapers, the price paid belonged to the company and not him personally. Subsequently pardoned by the President, most rulings against him had been reversed on appeal except for two minor aspects of the case which the Supreme Court had inexplicably refused to review.

He has written a number of excellent books, one being on his defence, and another on President F.D. Roosevelt. He also writes for the Canadian press.

That he was not allowed to take control at Fairfax and maintain their tradition, especially in their two great journals of record, has proved a significant loss for Australia.

Consequently, Australians have been deprived of a significant stream of responsible news and comment. For years since, people have been telling me how reluctant they have been in cancelling the subscriptions they and often their families had long maintained.

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