Sky News has always been kind of cheap. What other news network would trot out eccentric news veterans like Terry Galloway (who always appears as though he’s had a few too many Reschs at the club) during times of natural disaster because they simply don’t have enough boots on the ground? What other news outlet would cheekily combat their ABC and their comparatively limitless resources courtesy of the Aussie taxpayer by cheekily having a dig at Insiders with their own guerrilla response, ‘Outsiders’?
Sky has long been the red-headed step-child of Aussie media. A news organisation with holes in its shoes, the a– torn out of its jeans, and a hand-me-down skivvy. Even The Chaser bragged of having a more expensive and longer desk than David Spears (rubbing the Aussie taxpayers’ nose in it yet again with a needlessly lengthy, expensive, and large-carbon-footprint prop that no doubt felled quite a few Indonesian trees for a joke with a two-second use-by date), proving yet again that the left are very much the bourgeoise establishment while the likes of Paul Murray and Andrew Bolt are the new counter culture.
Aunty may have had better stuff and more to spend, but one thing they didn’t have was genuine representation of the wider community and a little ditty called balance. Sky did this better than anyone in the news business. While they were accused of being right-wing by those who had never bothered to tune in lest it scuttle their confirmation bias, Sky roughly reflected the breakdown of the electorate in its commentators and panels.
If you were to consume a steady diet of ABC and took their programming as gospel when it came to accurate representation, you’d be forgiven for thinking that 85% of the population are a gaggle of Labor voters and fringe left lunatics, 10% are conservative but suffering from a crisis of faith, and the other 5% are fringe right lunatics ready go on a racist train rant. To their credit, Sky painted a very different and more accurate prism through which to view mainstream Australia.
For every Alan Jones, Sky had a Kristina Keneally. For every Peter Beattie, an Andrew Bolt. Then there was arguably the most centrist media personality Australia has seen in decades. It may bruise a few egos, but he had diligently become the face of Sky News. For years I couldn’t honestly tell whether he leaned left or right. He was the perfect straight man and moderator and didn’t seem to have an axe to grind. Straight down the middle. I’m talking about David Speers. Sky had the kind of balance and accurate representation that no other domestic television news service, and few other international television news services, could boast.
Then something happened. A virulent strain of virtue signalling spread throughout the network. We saw Peter Reith (who once regarded releasing the hounds on belligerent wharfies as being perfectly above board) getting all touchy feely over all the hot button far-left issues. Even David Speers wasn’t safe, as he became infected and threw colleague Ross Cameron beneath a bus to curry favour with the perpetually outraged.
Someone at Sky seemingly tried to inoculate the remaining presenters with a supercharged dose of conservatism in the form of ‘Outsiders’, the most (and only) brave and innovative attempt to cater to people like the 26% of Queenslanders currently intending to cast a ballot for One Nation in contemporary television news media.
But it was all too late. A news organisation that had successfully tapped into the zeitgeist of populism while others felt that it was too risky or beneath them did the unthinkable. After establishing themselves as profitably counterculture with the innovative ‘Outsiders’ (the success of which could have easily been replicated with similarly cheeky p—takes of Q&A or The Project), they shot themselves in the foot by firing Mark Latham.
Sky was alternate media before alternate media was a thing. They were in a strong position to dance on the grave of mainstream media as a real alternative and a real point of difference. By firing Latham, they have completely destroyed their credibility, and are on an even playing field with much bigger discredited outlets. How can anyone take a news network seriously when they launch a programme called ‘Outsiders’, then offer one of these outsiders up as a sacrificial lamb at the first sign of offence?
Now there’s no point watching. None whatsoever. Without balance and proper representation, why would we put up with their frequent feed problems, dodgy sets, teleprompter errors, vanity projects for boring-as-bat—- former politicians with nothing interesting or worthwhile to add, horrible production values, and a host of other damning issues. Sky News getting rid of Mark Latham is about as sensible as a two-cent independent wrestling promotion getting rid of barbed wire and Singapore Canes and trying to compete with the multi-million dollar WWE on athleticism and production values.
To Latham, I say forget those losers. Sky News just became irrelevant. It’s a joke. The likes of Andrew Bolt and Paul Murray have to be wondering exactly where the line of acceptable opinion is drawn right about now. Who needs that? They don’t, and we especially don’t.
Mark, I didn’t particularly like you in your stint as alternative PM. But to borrow an election slogan from a guy who sent the country broke, it’s time! Your country needs you. I think you’d fit in well as a Liberal Democrat actually. I could think of worse things in the senate than watching you and Mr. Leyonhjelm crossing off all the people on your respective bucket lists you wish to tell to f— off.
As another bald celebrity might say, make it so.
It’s your XYZ.
Photo by OzMark17