NewsCorp Legacy Media vs. Digital Platforms Facebook and Google in Australia

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While many nations and trade groupings have or are developing ways to protect personal data and constrain digital giants in Facebook and Google, traditional media groups are also looking for assistance.

 

NewsCorp and other media groups in Australia first demanded an ACCC Australian Competition and Consumer Commission investigation of digital platforms use of media snippets and content, then demand that the same platforms should pay for this service.

 

However, many in traditional media, the ACCC and government do not seem to understand how digital works, the reliance elsewhere too on digital click throughs, that advertising has migrated from printed etc. to digital and middle aged down to youth have also migrated…..

 

Australia to make Facebook, Google pay for news in world first

 

Colin Packham

 

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australia will force U.S. tech giants Facebook Inc (FB.O) and Alphabet Inc’s (GOOGL.O) Google to pay Australian media outlets for news content in a landmark move to protect independent journalism that will be watched around the world.

 

Australia will become the first country to require Facebook and Google to pay for news content provided by media companies under a royalty-style system that will become law this year, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said.

 

“It’s about a fair go for Australian news media businesses. It’s about ensuring that we have increased competition, increased consumer protection, and a sustainable media landscape,” Frydenberg told reporters in Melbourne.

 

“Nothing less than the future of the Australian media landscape is at stake.”

 

The move comes as the tech giants fend off calls around the world for greater regulation, and a day after Google and Facebook took a battering for alleged abuse of market power from U.S. lawmakers in a congressional hearing.

 

Following an inquiry into the state of the media market and the power of the U.S. platforms, the Australian government late last year told Facebook and Google to negotiate a voluntary deal with media companies to use their content.

 

Those talks went nowhere and Canberra now says if an agreement cannot reached through arbitration within 45 days the Australian Communications and Media Authority would set legally binding terms on behalf of the government.

 

Google said the regulation ignores “billions of clicks” that it sends to Australian news publishers each year.

 

“It sends a concerning message to businesses and investors that the Australian government will intervene instead of letting the market work,” Mel Silva, managing director of Google Australia and New Zealand, said in a statement.

 

“It does nothing to solve the fundamental challenges of creating a business model fit for the digital age.”

 

Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

 

“UNFAIR AND DAMAGING”

 

Media companies including News Corp Australia, a unit of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp (NWSA.O), lobbied hard for the government to force the U.S. companies to the negotiating table amid a long decline in advertising revenue.

 

“While other countries are talking about the tech giants’ unfair and damaging behaviour, the Australian government … (is) taking world-first action,” News Corp Australia Executive Chairman Michael Miller said in a statement.

 

A 2019 study estimated about 3,000 journalism jobs have been lost in Australia in the past 10 years, as traditional media companies bled advertising revenue to Google and Facebook which paid nothing for news content.

 

For every A$100 spent on online advertising in Australia, excluding classifieds, nearly a third goes to Google and Facebook, according to Frydenberg.

 

Other countries have tried and failed to force the hands of the tech giants.

 

Publishers in Germany, France and Spain have pushed to pass national copyright laws that force Google pay licensing fees when it publishes snippets of their news articles.

 

In 2019, Google stopped showing news snippets from European publishers on search results for its French users, while Germany’s biggest news publisher, Axel Springer, allowed the search engine to run snippets of its articles after traffic to its sites to plunged.’

 

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GOP Republicans, Conservative White and Christian Nationalists Face Demographic Headwinds

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Political parties, governments and media in the Anglo world including Trump’s GOP, Australia (with proxy white Australia narratives) and the UK (with immigration becoming the deciding Brexit issue), influenced by US libertarians and/or bigots in politics, may be approaching their tactical ‘use by date’ or demographic ‘blow back’?  

 

They have been highlighting and reinforcing round population growth, immigration (need for restrictions), Anglo exceptionalism, globalisation, non Christians, supranational bodies, white nationalism and great replacement theory, to ageing monocultural non urban electorates.

 

However, for the GOP Republicans may end up with electoral ‘blow back’ from youth, minorities, women and immigrants giving the Democrats long term advantage for power due to changing demographics i.e. more diverse citizens in electorates whom are attacked by GOP politicians, supporters, ideologues and media.
From The Boston Globe:

 

The Republicans’ demographic trap

Republicans are sitting on a demographic time bomb of their own making, and it could send them into a tailspin.

By Thomas E. Patterson

Republicans were in office and were widely blamed when the Great Depression struck in 1929. The Grand Old Party lost the next three presidential elections by wide margins. But it was a related development during the period that ruined the GOP‘s long-term prospects. First-time voters backed the Democratic Party by nearly 2 to 1 and stayed loyal to it. Election after election until the late 1960s, their votes carried the Democrats to victory.

In only one period since then have young voters sided heavily with one party in a series of elections. Voters under 30 have backed the Democratic presidential nominee by a 3-to-2 margin over the past four contests. And as they’ve aged, these voters have leaned more heavily Democratic while also turning out to vote in higher numbers. They now include everyone between the ages of 21 and 45 — more than 40 percent of the nation’s adults.

Republicans are sitting on a demographic time bomb of their own making, and it could send them into a tailspin. Although the politics of division that Republicans have pursued since Richard Nixon launched his “Southern strategy” in the late 1960s — a blueprint to shore up the vote of white Southerners by appealing to racial bias — has brought new groups into their ranks, including conservative Southerners, evangelical Christians, and working-class whites, it has antagonized other groups.

Republicans are paying a stiff price for defaming immigrants. If they hadn’t, they could have made inroads with the Latinx population. Although most Latinx have conservative views on issues like abortion and national security, they vote more than 2 to 1 Democratic. A 2019 poll found that 51 percent of Latinx believe that the GOP is “hostile” toward them, with an additional 29 percent believing that the GOP “doesn’t care” about them…..

There was a warning from The Cafe con leche Republicans in 2012 of the dangers in following the white nationalists agitprop promoted by John Tanton’s network of think tanks, lobbyists and grass roots ‘astro turfing’ also crossing paths with Koch’s ALEC.

 

In 2012 (published in the TexasGOPVote) Cafe con leche Republicans warned of think tanks (they mistakenly described as ‘left’) arguing for immigration restrictions, promoting white nationalism and focusing upon bogus demographics i.e. ‘great replacement theory’; attacking potential and future constituents for the GOP is not good long term policy:

 

John Tanton Networks like FAIR, NumbersUSA and CIS – Leftist Groups Manipulating Republicans

Groups like FAIR, NumbersUSA and the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) have long worked to deepen and widen a wedge between conservative Hispanic citizens and the Republican Party. Looking at the boards of these organization provides insight into their true agenda: That being a pro-choice, zero population growth, anti immigrant, radical environmentalist agenda from about as far left as can be seen.  

“Smoking Gun” Memo Proves Tanton Network Manipulates Republicans

By Bob Quasius

John Tanton is infamous for founding numerous anti-immigrant groups, which not only seek strict enforcement of immigration laws, but also drastic reductions in LEGAL immigration. Tanton also founded U.S. English and Pro-English, which decry changes in culture and misrepresent immigrants’ willingness to learn English and assimilate, and pursue “official English” policies designed to make America less welcoming to New Americans who are going through the process of assimilation.

Among the papers that John Tanton donated to the University of Michigan, is a 2001 ‘smoking gun’ memo that shows how Tanton has manipulated the Republican Party with the bogus argument that immigrants invariably become Democrats and so immigration is contrary to the interests of the Republican Party….

….Tanton is infamous for numerous comments disparaging Latinos in particular, such as a statement in a 1993 memo, “I’ve come to the point of view that for European-American society and culture to persist requires a European-American majority, and a clear one at that.” Tanton is also a big fan of eugenics, for example this statement from a 1996 letter: “Do we leave it to individuals to decide that they are the intelligent ones who should have more kids? And more troublesome, what about the less intelligent, who logically should have less? Who is going to break the bad news [to less intelligent individuals], and how will it be implemented?”…

…Conservatives should take note that Tanton’s first attempts to co-opt other organizations for his radical population control agenda were of progressive organizations, such as Planned Parenthood and the Sierra Club. These groups eventually realized they were being co-opted and rejected Tanton’s agenda, and so too should conservative organizations. Tanton himself founded Planned Parenthood of Northern Michigan and served as president. His resume shows a long list of leadership roles, not in conservative groups but progressive organizations. The Tanton network can best be described as an unholy alliance of population control progressives, environmentalists, and white nationalists.

 

For more blogs and articles about ageing democracy, Australian politics, Conservative, demography, immigration, political strategy, population growth, populist politics, white nationalism and younger generations click through.

 

Climate Change Science Attitudes Australia and Koch in USA

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Climate science or climate change denialism have been apparent for some decades since the 1970s with Koch Industries being central along with ‘big oil’ of Exxon Mobil etc. in funding through ‘Dark Money’ academia, research, think tanks, media, politicians and PR techniques to influence society.  Now we see the results including wide-spread climate denialism, avoidance of environmental protections and negative media PR campaigns; meanwhile the roots of this strategy have become more transparent with legal action following. 

 

Climate Lawsuits Are Coming for Koch Industries

 

Dharna Noor June 25, 2020

 

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison announced on Wednesday that he’s suing ExxonMobil, Koch Industries, and the American Petroleum Institute because the three firms deceived customers about the climate crisis. This is the first lawsuit of its kind to name API and Koch Industries, and it takes a novel approach by suing them solely for the lies they told.

 

The consumer fraud lawsuit alleges that the companies engaged in a multi-decade “campaign of deception,” hiding the fact that they understood as early as the 1950s that oil and gas production contributes to climate breakdown and still chose to extract, market, and sell the fuels. It includes claims for fraud, failure to warn and violations of Minnesota statutes on consumer fraud, deceptive trade practices and false statements in advertising. As retribution, it calls for Minnesotans to be compensated for their losses and for the defendants to fund a public education campaign about the dangers of climate change.

 

“We’re here suing these defendants, API, ExxonMobil and Koch, for hiding the truth, confusing the facts and muddling the water to devastating effect,” Ellison said at a news conference…..

 

….. But while other lawsuits have targeted ExxonMobil and other major oil producers, Ellison’s groundbreaking suit targets not just the polluting companies but also fossil fuel lobbyists who also deceived consumers. The multinational Koch Industries’ does produce fossil fuel products — in fact, it owns a large Minnesota refinery that manufactures about 80% of the gasoline used in the state — but it is also heavily involved in lobbying for the fossil fuel industry’s interests. And API is the largest U.S. trade association for oil and natural gas companies. Naming these representatives, rather than just fossil fuel producers themselves, lays out that they had a role in the deception as well.

 

Meanwhile in Australia, from SBS on climate change attitudes:

 

The number of climate deniers in Australia is more than double the global average, new study finds

 

News consumers in Australia are more likely to believe climate change is “not at all” serious compared to news consumers in other countries, according to new research.

 

16/06/2020 by Caroline Fisher & Sora Park

 

Australian news consumers are far more likely to believe climate change is “not at all” serious compared to news users in other countries. That’s according to new research that surveyed 2,131 Australians about their news consumption in relation to climate change.

 

The Digital News Report: Australia 2020 was conducted by the University of Canberra at the end of the severe bushfire season during 17 January and 8 February, 2020.

 

It also found the level of climate change concern varies considerably depending on age, gender, education, place of residence, political orientation and the type of news consumed.

 

Young people are much more concerned than older generations, women are more concerned than men, and city-dwellers think it’s more serious than news consumers in regional and rural Australia.

 

Strident critics in commercial media

 

There’s a strong connection between the brands people use and whether they think climate change is serious.

 

More than one-third (35 per cent) of people who listen to commercial AM radio (such as 2GB, 2UE, 3AW) or watch Sky News consider climate change to be “not at all” or “not very” serious, followed by Fox News consumers (32 per cent).

 

This is perhaps not surprising when some of the most strident critics of climate change science can be found on commercial AM radio, Sky and Fox News.

 

For more articles and blogs about Australian politics, climate change, critical thinking, digital or e-consumer behaviour, environment, fossil fuel pollution, marketing & communications, political strategy, populist politics, science literacy, strategic management, WOM word of mouth and younger generations.

 

 

 

Higher Education – University Funding – Course Delivery Threats

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Presently we see results of neo-liberal policies in education, including higher education and universities having budgets cut, with research, course content and study choices manipulated through favouring STEM over liberal arts of humanities.

 

One does not think it’s a coincidence that seemingly disparate issues and groups, whether focused upon climate science denial, low taxes, immigration restrictions or white nationalism seem influenced by underlying ideology of radical right libertarians joined at the hip with eugenics, wanting to influence education, research and student outcomes.

 

Excerpts from Inside Story Australia:

 

The four-and-a-half-decade higher education squeeze

 

Rodney Tiffen 17 JUNE 2020

 

Calls for universities to reduce their reliance on international students ignore the incentives created by successive governments

 

‘It’s a long time — forty-five years in fact — since government funding of tertiary education peaked in Australia at 1.5 per cent of GDP. These days, the government contributes 0.8 per cent, or just over half that proportion. Back in 1975, around 277,000 students were enrolled in higher education; by 2016, the number had increased fivefold to 1.46 million.

 

Those figures capture the essential story of Australian universities over the past forty-five years: massive growth combined with declining public investment.

 

The suddenness of the Coronavirus pandemic has hit Australian universities very hard, but the acuteness of their problems has been greatly exacerbated by trends that have been building for decades. The federal government has offered much less support to universities than to other deeply affected parts of the economy, and many conservative commentators have used this as yet another occasion to criticise the sector.

 

Backbench Liberal senator James Paterson (graduate of the Koch affiliated IPA), for instance, says that “universities have not done themselves many favours in recent years,” as if reacting to the diminishing level of public support, especially from his own party, has not been a central driver of the strategies for survival universities have had to adopt.

 

Over the period 1989 to 2017, domestic student enrolments more than doubled, according to former Melbourne University vice-chancellor Glyn Davis, yet the federal government’s contribution to operating costs rose only by a third. Between 1995 and 2005, when OECD governments increased their contributions to tertiary education by an average of 49.4 per cent after inflation, the Howard government provided no real increase at all.

 

As Glyn Davis wrote before the pandemic, “By withdrawing public funding, government has deeded Australia a university system that relies heavily on the families of Asia. If our neighbours tire of cross-subsidising Australian students, the number of local places would shrink rapidly.”

 

The pandemic has thrown university budgets into chaos. No other sector so badly affected by the coronavirus has been treated with so little sympathy, let alone tangible support. It seems the government’s cultural antipathy to universities overrides all else…..

 

There has been an ever present battle over universities and education, not just in Australia on funding, nor recently but in the past e.g. Milton Friedman in 1955 essay “The role of government in education” for the minds and wiring of students.  

 

In some places it is normal for fringe right wing parties new to a governing coalition to request seemingly unrelated portfolios of defence, home affairs, and education…..  Control of the latter gives control over curriculum content and the hidden curriculum; Jane Mayer describes (in ‘Dark Money’, as does MacLean ‘Democracy in Chains) the machinations going on in US (and further) by radical right libertarian donors to not just change what people think, but how they think… (or not).

 

Over generations there has been a move to more liberal student versus teacher and authority centred learning, both overtly and via the hidden curriculum.

 

Hence the curriculum is based on freedom, discovery, experience and creativity, as opposed to engaging with a pre-existing body of knowledge to which the teacher is an authoritative and wise guide.

 

(Liberals, Libertarians and Educational Theory – Lindsay Paterson, 2008)

 

MacLean (like Mayer) has also upset the libertarians:

 

Stealth Attack on Liberal Scholar? Historian alleges coordinated criticism of her latest book, which is critical of radical right, from many who have received Koch funding.

 

Collusion, alternative facts, shadowy billionaires: the words sound ripped from the political headlines, but they also describe the controversy surrounding Duke University historian Nancy MacLean’s new book, Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America (Viking)….

 

…..Some nevertheless say they worry that swarm-style attacks on progressive scholars’ works — especially in an era of online harassment of professors and plummeting public trust in academe — could become a new normal. MacLean, they say, is the victim of just such an effort.

 

But taking advantage of student centred or liberal approaches can go both ways.  Such antipathy towards the humanities and scholarship does not preclude the likes of Kochs promoting their own ideology through funding academic schools’ programs or research, think tanks and lobbying MPs to promote their ideology e.g. George Mason University, many GOP politicians and think tanks (globally) affiliated through their Atlas Network, e.g. IPA Institute of Public Affairs in Australia promotes climate change denialism. (from Crikey Australia).

 

One does not think it’s a coincidence that seemingly disparate issues and groups, whether climate science denial, low taxes, immigration restrictions or white nationalism seem influenced by underlying ideology of radical right libertarians joined at the hip with eugenics, wanting to influence education, research and student outcomes, into the future…..

 

For more blogs and articles about Ageing democracy, Australian politics, career guidance, climate change, conservative, Covid-19, critical thinking, curriculum, demography, economics, environment, fossil fuel pollutiongovernment budgets, higher education teaching, instructional design, international education, international student, learning theory, nativism, pedagogy, political strategy, populist politics, science literacy, soft skills, student centred, VET vocational education and training, work skills and younger generations.

Covid-19 Climate Science Vaccination Misinformation PR and Astro Turfing

In recent months there has been an increase in confusion, misrepresentation and misunderstanding in news and social media round Covid-19 using same techniques as in tobacco, climate science denialism and anti-vaccination movements that seem to benefit US radical right libertarians’ preferred ideology and politics.

 

The following articles from The Fifth Estate in Australia and DeSmog Blog in Canada explain the communication techniques well.

 

Separating truth from lies in the causes of the pandemic

 

David Thorpe | 28 April 2020

 

OPINION: What’s caused this devastating pandemic that’s so far cost at least 207,000 lives (and it’s hardly begun) and wrecked the global economy? If, like me, you’ve been on the receiving end of a blizzard of bizarre messages claiming to reveal the truth behind the pandemic you might be forgiven for feeling confused, so here’s your handy guide to what isn’t the cause and what is.

 

Misinformation wars

 

Right from the start misinformation was rife: there was no virus; the disease was like flu and wouldn’t cause significant harm; emails offered baseless cures and treatments; and conspiracy theories spread like wildfire about its origin.

 

It turns out that many who circulated such misinformation have a history of casting doubt on climate science or seeking to debate issues that were already laid to rest within the scientific community, according to DeSmog.org:

 

“The decades that fossil fuel companies spent funding organisations that sought to undermine the conclusions of credible climate scientists and building up doubt about science itself ultimately created a network of professional science deniers who are now deploying some of the same skills they honed on climate against the public health crisis at the centre of our attention today.”

 

Some of this misinformation was/is channelled by presidents Trump and Bolsanaro. Others by think tanks, experts (some self-proclaimed), academics, and professional right-wing activists who are also climate change denialists.

 

After taking apart all of these arguments, DeSmog asserts: “COVID denial should forever discredit climate science deniers”.’

 

From DeSmog direct:

 

The Reason COVID-19 and Climate Seem So Similar: Disinformation

 

Repost By Guest • Monday, April 20, 2020  of Amy Westervelt, Drilled News. Originally published by Drilled News.

 

For a long time, the story went that the tobacco industry cooked up disinformation and then spread it to the fossil fuel guys, the chemical industry, pharma, you name it. But one thing that became incredibly clear when we began digging into PR firms and specific publicists was that this version of history was not quite right; if disinformation strategies were cooked up by any particular industry it was the public relations industry, which put these strategies to work on behalf of fossil fuels, tobacco, chemical manufacturers and more, often all at the same time.

 

The very first publicist, Ivy Ledbetter Lee, worked on behalf of both Standard Oil and, shortly after, American Tobacco, for example. Daniel Edelman developed astroturf campaigns for both RJ Reynolds tobacco company and the American Petroleum Institute, as did John Hill, who went so far as to have tobacco folks join the API. He also worked with Monsanto, juggling all three clients at the same time. E. Bruce Harrison worked for the chemical guys first, then managed front groups for tobacco and fossil fuels at the same time. You get the drift.

 

These industries all surely learned from each other at various points in time, but that was mostly because they were working with the same publicists. The history is less that tobacco or oil embraced disinformation first and then passed it on and more that a handful of PR firms and consultants created the disinformation industry, and then put it to work on behalf of whatever industry needed it at any given time.

 

Today, those same strategies are at work on behalf of those who worry that the response to COVID-19 will undermine capitalism, which is why climate folks keep noting how familiar the whole anti-science component of the rightwing response to the pandemic feels. It’s familiar because the exact same strategies are being deployed, in some cases by the same people. Here are a few key examples:

 

Disinformation Strategy #1: He who controls the language controls the narrative.

Disinformation Strategy #2: Leverage science illiteracy to create doubt.

Disinformation strategy #3: Astroturfing.

 

Our hope, of course, is that when people learn to recognize these strategies and know what’s behind them, they might become less effective. Disempowering the disinformation industry is a necessary part of any climate solution.’

 

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