Along with the rest of the media, The Australian completely failed to prosecute the case against the putative government during the election campaign about their dodgy election costings.
Yet the Murdoch machine winds up its fearless media editor Geoff Elliott today to assemble some carefully selected quotes from "senior media professionals" backing his proprietor's "robust" editorial stance against the Greens.
Well, actually, these quoted pros (Nine Network news boss Mark Calvert and former Age editor Michael Gawenda) were not actually backing The Australian's jihad against the party commanding 11 percent of the vote in the last election; they were merely supporting the right of newspapers to run strong opinions on its editorial and opinion pages.
Which is rather beside the point, because the case made by Media Watch last Monday was not that News Ltd had no right to hold editorial opinions, but that these opinions - as is the tradition in good journalism - should be kept separate from its news coverage.
What was clear from Media Watch's analysis is that true to form, News Ltd is campaigning through its "straight" news coverage - digging up supposed dirt on new Green MPs, sledging the party through vested interests in the fossil fuel industry (see "Dog Bites Man Journalism"), and implying that the Greens were seeking to force through same-sex marriage against community opinion (when the evidence is most people back the concept).
This wasn't "robust" editorial. This was a stitch up and further evidence, if any more were needed, that Murdoch's newspapers (publications that dominate our media) see themselves as players, not observers in the political game. Brave journalism for The Australian would involve putting the neo-cons who lap up its spin under the same microscope it applies to the Greens.
See also Bernard Keane on this topic in Crikey here.