The Weekly Cheek
The Weekly Cheek

Episode · 2 months ago

89. Free speech, defamation, and the Murdochs


In this episode, we're talking about the Crikey v Lachlan Murdoch defamation case, and the right wing media's obsession with free speech but only when it affects them.

Donate to Crikey's fundraiser:

Find us online at and on socials @cheekmediaco, and become a Patron for $4 per month!

Hello, I'm Kristin Paris and Ato, and I'm Hannah Ferguson and where, Co founders of Cheek Media Co. This is the weekly Cheek podcast. Before we start the PODCAST, I'd like to acknowledge that we are recording today on stolen land of the Yaga and truable people here in the engine. Welcome back to the weekly cheek. Welcome. Today we are going to be talking about Rupert Murdock and his lovely, upstanding citizen of a son, a favorite of our, lacklin Um. So, in case you missed it, currently Lachlan Murdock as CO chair of News Corps Um and he's like a whole other bunch of fucking things Um. And also he founded an investing firm. To you know this an Australian investing firm. Isn't that a red flag? I mean that is a red flag anyway. So he is suing cracky, which is an independent media platform that is mostly focused on politics in Australia. So, just to keep together and up to date, basically what happened is a few months ago, Crick he published this article and it was titled This was one. It was titled Trump is a confirmed unhinged traitor and Murdoch is his Unindicted Co Conspirator. So I didn't mean to laugh. For legal reasons, allegedly, or this is alleged, accuse. Um. So they published that on June and this is when we started to hear more about trump being potentially, is it indicted. So the word. Yeah, trump being indicted for insurrection, of insurrecting violence. Insurrection. Yes, the Capitol Hill writes. So, essentially, they wrote this article, their lead journalist, Bernard Keene, wrote it and it didn't actually mention Laughlin at all, I believe, really, I believe so. But Laughlin threat then. Yes, so they published the article. Um, lachlin Murdoch threatened to sue. They took down the article, did they? Yes, see, I'm not up with this. I'm glad you're here to explain it to me. Woman's Woman's splaining. Lawyers back and forth, blah, blah, doing lawyery things, Blat, lawyer, little lawyers, Um. And then cracky said well to us. Then pop, like we are inviting I remember reading the Post. It was like we're inviting you, come on, bring it on. I was like, Um, and now he has sued them as you're listening to this. It was last week that he sued them, all the week before. Um, they have started a go fund me. Their goal is three million dollars. Suck me up. Yeah, in the first couple of days they already had a quarter of a million. Good for them. So the fact that there's three million dollars like they're preparing for a loss and they're prepared ring to pay damages. In my eyes, oh no, I wouldn't. Not Necessarily, do you think? Well, I don't think you'd advertise that, because I think that point to guilt of some kind or admittance confession something. I think it's more that this could be a lengthy case. Defamation cases, you know, and legal proceedings generally can be very expensive and this will be very public Um case, and it will be very public matter for a probably an ongoing period of time and it can cost a lot of money. So okay, I mean look, yes and no. I just don't think we can point to that as m yes, Um, and I'd just like to give a little shout out to this article, which went around socials so much that you probably saw it by the shot entire Urd Fu Laplan, murdock which is not defamatory, by the way. It is an emotive it's an expression of emotion. Holy Ship Christian Parson, not a legal expert sitting on the panel here with us today, knows that saying fuck someone is not defamation. Where did you read that? In the endemic? We're in safe hands people. Yes.

Well, I think also like you can um like, you can call people like a Dick head or like sea word which we don't use on the pot Um if. I'm pretty sure you can also do that, but that's like a bit to me risky, so I usually wouldn't. But you are allowed to call them names. I think that the public interest defense is quite is relatively new to defamation laws in Australia and I think that's what crack is resting on. So there's a few so when you're being accused of defamation, there are a few arguments that against it. So you can say it's truth if you can prove that it's occurred. That's that's kind of like. I'm not sure if people are keeping up with Ben Robert Smith trial. That was embarrassing, but truth, opinion, parody or satire. Public interest is a new one. Um, it'll be interesting to see if they can manage to use that as their their defense. Basically, yes, Um, and the big the thing that I think is the most like, probably not the most, the worst thing to me because, like, this whole thing is just fucked up. And probably the worst thing to me is the fact that this huge conglomerate of billionaires like has taken on a small media company like Click. Is Not tiny, they've been around for twenty years, but it is a small, independent media company and the murdocks have a bottomless pit of cash. But that's the thing. Yeah, it's I think, and and sorry, that's probably actually to your point. But the thing about this is it's funny because what Murdocks, the murders, are about to give them is a ton of exposure globally. Um, and that's probably why Craick, he wants to engage in this, to a point as well, but it's also to exert that the murder can't just do what they want. I think that what's happening is that we're all so afraid of speaking out and offering opinion or objection to political topics and political people and political political people, Peter Dotton, the Peter Dottons, of the world who sue and sue and sue in order to make sure that small platforms and individuals are terrified of speaking out against them. And I think the other thing, and like obviously we are not the first people to say this, like Malcolm Turnbull, I think, said it publicly. Um, no, he did. I don't think I know he said like there is there's no one in Australia has did it to fame more than the Murdocks, which is true, like they do so much fucked up shit. Like if you are interested in like a multi series podcast, I think we talked about it, like back at the start of our podcast. It's called even the rich and they have one on the Murdocks, very enlightening, or watch succession, which is loosely based for three on the murdocks. But there is so much information out there and they've done some really fucked stuff. Absolutely, and I think it's funny because I think I don't know if it's Clementine for that recently pointed to it, but you know Andrew Bolt or someone published an Article About Grace Tame and it was about her. I mean there's there's been a few, but one of them that was very prominent at the start of the year was in regards to her not shaking Scott Morrison's hand. No, not smiling. She shook his hand, she didn't smile. I got that wrong last time. I remember. Um, and then things that she's come out and said, and one of the things that is always, I think, the best response to those sorts of articles in Modi publications is you will defend freedom of speech for Conservatives and hard right wing people until it gets to someone from the radical left or from the left. I wouldn't even I wouldn't even say anyone. I just say anyone in the left space. As soon as it gets to them speaking out or disagreeing with you, then suddenly they're being disrespectful, they're undermining the office of prime minister, their x, Y and Z. Freedom of speech to you only extends two ideas that you agree with, and you can't you can't have it both ways. You can't just apply that to people with your shared views. And also when whenever they claim freedom of speech is actually not about like doing things like criticizing the government, which, even though obviously I distanced myself very far from the conservative press in this country. Um, I don't think that they shouldn't criticize the government, but they only call like freedom of speech when they're being downright offensive and they're like, well, I'm allowed to do that because I want to. That's their whole their whole freedom of speech argument rests on their ability to be...

...offensive if they want. And it doesn't really like freedom of speech is implied in this country, but it's not constitutionally protective, and that's something I always find hilarious. Um, and free of political communication is protected, but I think that when we consider the fact that no one seem to talk about hate speech or the incitement of violence or you know, how these things actually inter relate with freedom of speech, you cannot use a freedom of speech argument against, you know, encouraging violence like that doesn't that doesn't that doesn't equite, that doesn't compute. And if someone from the left of that, what would you say? Exactly what would you and often, and I think it's important, because often I see people in our comments as well, who will say something like they's they'll read an article we post or something and in the comments I'll say like this makes me want to gouge his eyes out of Blah Blah, and I know that on the podcast and I'm also like send Kyle bring back the death penalty for Kyl Sanderlenz. I get that and obviously that's a joke, but it's not a funny one. And the thing is is that if someone on the other side said that, what I say right, and I think that's always what we have to be reviewing when I'm speaking, even if it's even if it's as a joke, you have to think the people that I disagree with if they said what I was saying. How would that make me feel and what would my argument be? And I think we have to constantly be in that sort of a dialogue with ourselves. I know the other side not might not necessarily be, but I would prefer to take the high road and consider those things as well. Exactly. I don't love when you know our comments are inciting violence in the opposite because I can't, I cannot engage in it, in discussion like that, because I don't think that's appropriate for anyone to do, no matter what side you're on, especially on a public platform like I actually do think, even though some people might not agree, but I do think it's different. What you say like in private to a friend versus what you put on a public platform. Absolutely, and I also think this kind of comes back and this is an even broader argument and probably drawing the bow too far, but I think that a lot of the issue in this country is, and I don't think we're immune to it either, um is that you know, we get a progressive government in an and you don't apply the same judgment to this new government. So people will not speak out on things Labor are doing to the accept that they spoke out on the Liberals doing. And we haven't been as attentive as we were under the Morrison government, whereas I think Morrison was fucked ton worse. But I think that we often look and judge people as opposed to policy and we need to be really hyper aware of what we're doing and how we're holding people to different standards depending on our assumptions of them. You know, like I want to be able to call out an independent or a green's or a labor person just as easily for the same conduct as of a liberal. Did it or one nation fucking. What's the other one? You A P did someone get in one senator? He's a funk with his speech. Yeah, I think he complained about it. Remember he complained about winning the election and he was like, I took a pay cut from this because I had to stop doing my real estate. Jesus Christ, he was like, I'm not getting paid enough to be bullied in this house. He literally his opening speech was like you know, gender is under assault in this country. I don't. I don't feel that what how gender is under there was, there was a long list of things that were under assault in this country. Anyone. HOW CAN YOU ASSAULT GENDER? It's a concept. Anyway. I think the point is is that when we are like and I know that's a bit of a stretch from the Murdoch stuff, but I think it's interesting the way that we are willing to credit or discredit someone based on who they are, as opposed to the actual policy and their values and how they're implemented. Um, and on a different note, because I didn't get to what may be so angry, I just realized nursing fault. Um, I think the worst part about this whole thing is that, like, obviously, crikey wrote wrote about something that happened in the US. Local Murdoch is vaguely Australian. He was not born in vaguely Australian. Refer to myself from now on. Like Australians as a whole have like fully disowned the murdox here, like we don't know that he...

...and his wife Sarah, like, are very much socialites in Australia when they come here for a period of time. But but he's described as like an American, Australian British media mogul. So Weird. He was born in the UK, Wimbledon, yeahs and allegedly Yasum and, and he like has mostly lived in the US, but I don't know. He has some kind of Australian I don't know if he has a password anyway, whatever. His Dad is Australian, Um, so his little Dad, Ruby, Little Dad, allegedly stop. They're going to be on the fucking prow, don't you think? For us, we don't want to risk that. I don't think they're listening, queen, but if they are, let's bring it fund together. I don't think. We don't think it's in the public interest for us to also be super him at the same time, like let's wait for the crack. He wanted to go away. Yeah, and then it's our turn. Cool, join our patreon. We won't need money later soon anyway. Football is a month. By the way, links in the description. So they were writing about an event overseas in the US, January, six riots, but they chose to sue an Australian outlet. Many, many, many US media outlets wrote articles about the same kind of thing, which was angry about Scottie. Know that it's the defamation laws, because they can. Yeah, they were just like we're going to get cry stuff. No, because the u the US it's really hard to for a public person to sue for defamation. Interesting and our laws here are much tighter. So for me it's just a power play because they're like where can we win? They know they can more easily fight their case in Australia. Allegedly, allegedly, allegedly, reportedly, the ABC report. Maybe. So it's just it's not about like. The other thing is like when have they have to be careful about this because that close. Friends know that I wrote an article on this that I was like, HMM, that's getting a close to defamation myself. Basically, the articles not admit that. I said close. Allegedly sliced it. Maybe I'll cut that from the POD. Basically, their whole article was saying just reporting back where they say not. My opinion that murdock has had some part to play in trump's alleged insurrection. Like he has some he has, you know, things to answer for, essentially because trump the platform. Trump through the whole election campaign and his presidency. Trump was always on Fox News and he was always given a platform by Murdock's outlets. Um Murdoch has not shied away from political, like open political affiliation. Same in this country. Um, they don't shy away from being openly conservative their own Sky News for Fox Sake, and I think that it's just like very telling that there are like this is not specific to media, but powerful people are so happy to affiliate with other powerful people until one party is in trouble and they're like Whoa, Whoa, who. He was never my friend. I don't know him. Actually. Who Donald? Who the Don Star? Wouldn't it be the trump stercause that's more demeaning for some reason. So true, Queen. So I just think that's so interesting and I think that we see that all the time in like even like with celebrities like there's some ship going down with some now I'm not need intoorks, I don't know the fact, but like that happens to celebrities all the time. It's like you see this powerful Jew until one of them like turns out to be in q and on and any other it's like,...

Whoa, I don't know, that wasn't me. I was an INQU and on, in case anyone was wondering. So I just think that's quite well. I mean, if something came out of it, you being in q and on, what would you expect me to do? But you were. But if it genuinely surprised you, like no one surprised that trump what trump did, but I would be like, Whoa, what's her name? If you would actually be like I've never heard of it. I mean that's actually a great example. Imagine if, tomorrow I was like, you know those q and on, they actually got some real good ideas, and then you went on change the partlet on Cheecken, and you were like happened? You know, if you just acted like I was never even there, to check yourself out of the INSTABIA. So I don't I don't want to be a public person anymore. Don't follow me. Please follow me, please follow me. My name not being tagged isn't not is an invitation to not follow me. That I mean, if anyone takes it as an invitation, they clearly they need to learn basic consent. Well, so I don't believe that and have any good ideas so I can associate with you in the future. Yes, E. Yeah, but like imagine that if one of us like went off the rails into the like far far right. It's really scary. It actually is, really sir, because it happens to people. They get sucked into this vortex of Shit. But there's no way people around them don't know. Like the one thing that conspirators and right wing like nutjobs do is talk about their fucking theories, like no one has that ever has secret like flat earth ideas. Sometimes we share our theories with each other and they're unhinged. They're not like that, but people in a different way, like you know, do you think that seagulls have an inner monologue? But that's not offensive, it's fucking weird. I could imagine if one of US did come out with some crazy like right wing theory. Sometimes we have fights that we're still on the left. Yeah, with like within very tensive niches of the yeah, but it does it just I mean I think some of the things I come out with you must be like, who is this woman? I'm not the scene. In your eyes when my fighting, I'm like Shit, I'm losing her. It's because sometimes, when I get caught off guard by debates, my only responses how can you think that? I know, and I know it's like not. It's really like because I, like Mike, does not compute having you think. That's all I can think. I'm like, how can she think that? And it takes me, I have to go away and think through like how the person has gotten there. It's interesting because I should design my delivery with that in mind. It's quite interesting because now it makes sense, because sometimes it's like I can see the question marks in your in your eyes, and I'm thinking, how do I how do I express to you? And that makes sense now that I can explain like my train of thought to get there. It might be more helpful than just reiterating the same statement. Yeah, and it's not. It's not just you. I do it to everyone I know. I see you. Yeah, it's really funny to watch is the third party's heart. When I'm watching it having with someone else, I'm like, I see, I see. At least I'm consistent, because I just don't understand how people get to place or something. See, I think I jump exactly to like whenever someone delivers me with something that I disagree with, I jump. I try to jump in the first instance to their position and then I go and work back and I'm like how do I drag them to my spot? I don't actually like go. I don't freak out about how they got there. I think like how do I? How do I get them to meet me somewhere? I don't think about that. I don't ever think that. I'm straight away on the strap, the strategy. I'm on the Hustle, I'm on the grind, I'm strategizing. I don't know why I don't. It's just because I'm like what the fuck, like, I can't even think how they got there. Yeah, so I don't know how. I was like how would I strategize? Or I don't know what the funk they're thinking. Well, okay, can I? I'm not sure. Is this? I think this is a fun tangent. So I was having a call with my dad on the weekend...

...and I was hating it, hating it, Dad, if you're listening, hating it. It was awful, but ever in me again. Anyway, I was walking around the beach by myself, was having like a lonesome day, loving it, walking around getting my fish and chips and Um on the phone to dad and he says, because my parents now, like, I don't think we used to talk about politics that much, but now they're always like, if they've heard something, they'll bring it up to me to see my opinion. And my dad said to me, what do you think about, like Malcolm Turnbull and Um, Kevin Rudd, like always having to speak out, like as the former PMS, like. Don't you find it annoying that they are so persistent, like and he was mentioning and it's interesting because my dad is a liberal voter. He voted label last election, but he's a liberal voter. And he was like I find it, I find it annoying. Or like I think Malcolm turbull should just go away. It was sort of the vibe. And I said to him if you had been prime minister and you had really, really strong leadership and ideals about your party and you believed in those values and then you were bopped off by someone who came in and fucking destroyed it from the ground up, would you be like, oh well, yeah, it's probably like one of the most important jobs in the country, I guess. And if you feel so passionately about I actually understand Malcolm going out and talking against Scott more than Kevin. I get that there is probably a person of course you would exactly, but not even so. But I think that Malcolm Turnbull had actually very progressive ideas for the Liberal Party and I think that he would feel so passionately about issues like climate and Scott's inability to act on anything that you would feel that you would be compelled and must speak out against it. And I was like, wouldn't like when you think about jobs you used to do, like all roles you've played or important things in your life that you really feel like you built, you feel so passionate that you feel compelled to speak. And he was like Ah, so it's like immediately I wasn't like, how can you even think that? I was just like how can I get you to get to where I am with this point quickly? You know what I mean like it's not like, because I I think it intends because obviously there's a lot more complex ideas. A lot of time that we're like how did you even think that? But for me it was like it makes sense, why you think that? You just think, go away your Old News, and I'm like they're not. Yeah, we'll see. My response to that is they were for their former prime ministers. Yeah, that's probably what I would say if someone said that to me. Yeah, but I think like you, I think sometimes people need it personalized, like well, aren't you passionate about things in your life and would you speak up against them? Yes, but, and I don't like the obviously this is just what I would do. It's like I would never like no one's job is like the prime minister. Sorry, I know, but people think they're that important. I wouldn't even entertain that in a conversation. That'sn't interesting because that's a difference, because I'm like, nuance, who is this person and how do I transport them to my mind right now? That way, this way, this way right. So I'm like, Dad, don't you care about that stuff in your life? Okay, now here we go, whereas like with you you're like. Literally, that's the difference. I'm like strat strap strap. It's because I don't I don't get people who and I think all we're all like selfish because, like, we are who we are US um. But I just like get really bothered when you have to like contextualize something for someone in their own life. And, Mike, can you not for a second like imagine yourself as not the center of the universe? People know, everyone thinks they are there and you are the center of your own universe. I know, but I can remove myself from a moment to understand concept, but most people can't. Like you really think like you need me to compare you to the prime minister. So we at this point cannot fix that, but we can use it to our advantages. This is the difference, this is what we're expressing right now. Is the fundamental difference between us. I like people and I believe that people can be you can plant the scene, you can change their minds, you can have constructive conversations and you can contextualize. I think we're good at contextualizing. These conversations we keep having are contextualizing it for people. Yeah, I get that. You're just like frustrated, like well, why can't you fucking live outside of your own head for a single black a second? But my view... like, well, that's not helpful. That point is not helpful. The helpful point is let's just make this happen really fast and try and get the change quick well, because for me I think that maybe that way might change someone's mind about that one thing. But for me I'm like, if my thing is always like it's not about you, like maybe think about something else, because I think it's a more broad way to get people thinking about every issue. But people who are already thinking about the issue but don't understand it are trying. I don't think so. I don't think people are trying. I think they're trying, I mean just to be having a conversation about it is trying. To me? I don't think it's trying. I think it's just wanting to give your opinion, potentially, because I don't believe that if they're asking a question, that is a question. I never think it's a I never, and obviously I wasn't there with I'm not sorry, actually not really. I just think that when people say like things like that to me, they're just wanting to like say their thing, and I think that's and we receive a lot of one cheek because we can, because a lot of the messages we receive aren't really they're either can you do the work for me and tell me everything, like they'll be like questions, like what is the politics, and you're like you should I vote for I would try Google first. It's not my job, but often it's unloading and venting and people just want and we do give people a space to do that. Like I'm not going to sit here and say like, Oh, the inbox is closed. I'm never putting a question to the crowd, but a lot of the time it is this space. So people will send us like essays of just awful ship that's happened to them and I can't fix that and me responding to you will not solve it for you. So I don't know what I can provide right, and I get it, because it is just their opinion and wanting to be validated, and often I'm not really willing to do that because I it's not my job. Right. I just find that, like I cannot think of one single time when someone who was on the other side of politics to me wanted to genuinely engage me in a discussion about politics, like have a genuinely like that is. I swear that has never happening. I actually agree with you and I think that that's because often, and I think that's because of the where young radical left women and I think that when anyone engages us in a conversation from the other side of politics, it's because they're not taking US seriously and they want to rile us up and get a reaction. It's not and I think that actually, I actually think that the part of the problem with that is that maybe those people don't know enough and so all they're doing is setting a fire right instead of actually being able to engage in a constructive discussion. And I'm not saying I'm perfect at it either, but I think that it's funny that people on the other side will foremost start the conversation from this like inflammatory perspective in order to like get a reaction or see us pop off or whatever for an audience, whether it be a family at lunch or someone in the street or whatever, which I kind of refused to do now in a comment, and it's inflammat train it's really obvious, rather than actually asking a genuine question exactly, because even and like I used to think, like Oh, they just want to like Um maybe like be like, Oh, what have you got to say about this? But I don't know, I don't think it's even ever about the actual issues. It's just about like getting a rise out of like me personally as a person, not interested in my politics at all, but just wanting to get a rise out of me specifically because they think it's fun and they get a thrill out of it and it's like some fucking disgusting power trips and like at this point I'm like, well, whyever would I even try to get someone to come to my side's table? And I know that they're approaching this for no reason, their our own plasure, their own game. So, like, I don't like I'm happy to and I'm not saying that I agree with all my friends, like Hannah, and I said, we disagree about like nuances of politics all the time, and I do that with other people in my life, but it's like we're on the same side and like that those are the people and I'm not only talking to them because they're on my side, but those are the people who genuinely want to engage in a political discussion with me.

So don't talk to me, okay, all right, I'm glad we got that out. Um, and I guess just like bringing it back to media, which is obviously where we started. It's like everything that we've just talked about is why we started. Cheek like why we need media diversity, because the murdocks are in like of, I think ninety around of the media outlets in Queensland. I think it's a little bit less Australia wide, and they're fucking voices are everywhere. Like they just published George Pell in the fucking Australian. Well, the absolute funk is that, like that is seriously crossing a line that I actually didn't even think that they would cross. Like, you know, I get Um, well, I don't get it. But like Andrew Bolton, that other Alan, Alan Jones, who got fired from Scania, well, left allegedly he didn't get his contract with you. They offered him something he didn't want, allegedly, allegedly, Um, like, I just those types of people. I'm like, well, of course you would do that, those are commentators. But like George Pell is a fucking priest and an accused pedophile who actually served time in jail and he's got a fucking opinion piece industry, the print Australian. Wait, sorry, what did you say? When? Just what did you how did you introduce George Pelters, then priest and accused pedophile who so jail time, perfect, and that's not alleged. That is the truth. Um, like, I just how can we possibly? I just think like it's a bit rich of the Murdocks, too sue cracky for opinion piece that was like trying to point out, like trying to point out what the power of media can do in a country. To then publish an accused pedophile who went to jail like that's absurd. Come on, that is pretty I would I would say absurd is the right word there. Absurd. It's like the gentlest word I can use for it, because it's disgusting and outrageous. If you didn't find us a completely insufferable, come back next Wednesday for a new episode. You could also find this on instagram at cheek media co or online cheek media DOT COM. Dott yes, that's the one. That's the one.

In-Stream Audio Search


Search across all episodes within this podcast

Episodes (97)