July 03, 2015
Here's everything you need to know about Ray Martin as we are informed of his leading an external enquiry into Q and A's unconscionable lapse of etiquette by letting someone, albeit someone who is something of a knobhead, state the blindingly obvious. From the leader's debate of the 1996 Federal election, an election, as Federal elections tend to be, fought, in theory, on national issues.
RAY MARTIN: All right. I want to give you both a chance to sum up, but a quick question, a news question. Were you shocked by the Federal Court's ruling about the behaviour of Rupert Murdoch's companies in Australia over football?In case you need reminding: Murdoch had just received an unfavourable ruling from the Federal Court in the Super League war. His opponents handed a (temporary) win were the ARL, owned in part by Kerry Packer, also owner of Channel 9 and, thus, Ray Martin's boss. Was Martin's irrelevant grandstanding in a national forum over this PR coup for the man he worked for just something he instinctively decided to pursue, or did he obediently comply with a memo? In either case he performed like the company man he was.
PAUL KEATING: These are corporate matters under the Trade Practices Act, Ray. I mean, you would have to know basically all....
RAY MARTIN: But the judge's use of words like deceit and dishonesty and duplicity and corrupting tactics. Is that coming to....
PAUL KEATING: Yes, but why ask us, Ray? I mean....
RAY MARTIN: Because Telstra is in partnership with Foxtel in terms of pay television. You're also going to give them Fox Studios.
PAUL KEATING: But what are you trying to say, now? I manage the Rugby League - is that it?
RAY MARTIN: No, you are in partnership with a company that has been severely criticised by a Federal judge.
PAUL KEATING: For a pay television business. But Super League is a creature of the News Corporation and News Limited and the ARL.
RAY MARTIN: So there's nothing on TV licences or about newspapers in Australia? There is no reflection on that?
PAUL KEATING: Look, this is essentially about corporations. It is a corporation tussle.
RAY MARTIN: Any alarm bells for you on this?
JOHN HOWARD: Can I just say something about it. As a lover of Rugby League, I hope that court decision is a catalyst to reunite the game. I think the division and the bitterness, the rancour, that has occurred and has cut in half a great game and I would like to see....
RAY MARTIN: Any alarm bells? We don't have your communications policy, but any alarm bells about a company, in newspapers and television in Australia, that gets that sort of critique?
JOHN HOWARD: Oh, well, I mean, they are entitled to further procedures of the law like anybody else and I don't think somebody in my position should be making ex cathedra judgments.
(Just in passing, notice Howard's impressively craven attempt to say something that would please both feuding media magnates, while also posturing as a man of the people. One for the ages, I think.)
In early November 2014 I was most amused (almost as amused as I was at the time by the spectacle of US Navy Seals arguing about who had the right to be called a hero for gunning down an unarmed man) by SBS's description of Martin, while spruiking First Contact, as "an award-winning journalist". Martin was, at one time, a journalist; he, later, won a bunch of Silver and Gold Logies for being a popular TV personality. If he'd won the fucking Nobel Prize for Chemistry that still wouldn't make him an award-winning journalist. (It would make him a journalist and award-winning chemist.) Just saying.