Culture

Paul Kelly And Rupert Murdoch Are Australia’s Smithers And Mr Burns

SO MUCH SUCKING UP.

American media tycoon and scrofulous old growth on the arse of decent journalism Rupert Murdoch has managed to grumble and moan his way through an interview for Sky News that aired yesterday. As one might expect, Murdoch spewed forth all kinds of objectionable bullshit about the NBN, climate change not existing and why a golden statue of himself filled with the broken bodies of the thousands of slaves that died in its construction hasn’t been erected over Parliament House yet.

All fairly standard Rupert, really — “gross old tyrant vomits out nasty opinions” isn’t anything new. What was really interesting to watch, though, was the way the interviewer, Australian editor-at-large Paul Kelly, didn’t so much ask Murdoch questions as give him a soothing massage with baby oil thinly disguised as words.

Paul Kelly, for those playing at home, has been kicking around on Capital Hill since the ’70s and sells himself as one of Australia’s most eminent and well-respected political journalists. The Oz regularly fills its Letters page with frothing tracts from its eighteen readers in a Warrnambool retirement village about what a shining beacon of wisdom and wonder Kelly is; just four days ago, the Letters page ran the headline “Paul Kelly provides confidence in the written media”, which is an interesting way of rejigging the phrase “Paul Kelly sucks up to his boss harder than Smithers does to Mr Burns”.

Take this fearless question:

KELLY: “One of the great issues the paper’s been wrestling with in recent years is the balance between environmental concerns; climate change concerns, on the one hand, and the need on the other hand to maintain a competitive economy and to ensure that costs don’t escalate too much. What’s the way we should approach this?”

That textbook example of inquisitorial journalism led to this two-minute continuous wheeze, in which Murdoch says climate change is nothing to worry about so long as we start building stuff away from the sea.

“I interpret from that answer that you’re concerned that Australia might get trapped into a series of decisions on climate change which might disadvantage its economy”, Kelly replies before rolling onto his back for Rupert to scratch his tummy. Abruptly brought back from the dark tunnel into the light, Rupert nods sagely.

“Very expensive ones.”

The Australian‘s fawning attitude towards its boss is well-known, as are its amazingly conceited delusions of grandeur, but it’s always nice to see both out in the open so blatantly that they promptly wither and die like a couple of lettuce leaves in the dryer. You can watch the whole thing here if you’re feeling masochistic or in the mood for what is, really, very soft-core old man porn.