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Nine is worried that Monday night’s Liberal fundraiser may tarnish the ‘independence’ of their publications, but that horse has well and truly bolted.
Not too long ago, the chief executive of Nine Entertainment, Hugh Marks, said it was a “mistake” for the company to host a $10,000-a-head Liberal Party fundraiser, citing concerns the event may wound the perceived independence of The Sydney Morning Herald and its Victorian equivalent, The Age.
Marks (via James Chessell, Nine’s group executive editor of Australian Metro Publishing, which includes The Herald and The Age) noted that it was “a mistake” to host the function.
Clearly, it’s far too late, and the damage has already been done, especially if you consider the comments of Simon Birmingham, who said the following to Sky News on Tuesday regarding the event:
The cat is clearly out of the bag, and the maxim of “Independent, Always” should be salted to such an extent that nothing similar grows in its place. As Victoria Rollison mused on Twitter, “(the) Nine Entertainment boss says it was a mistake to host a Liberal fundraiser. Note, he doesn’t say it was a mistake to be biased. No, it was just a mistake that they made their bias so obvious through hosting the fundraiser.”
It’s also worth mentioning that Howard-era Treasurer Peter Costello sits atop the Nine Entertainment tree, with his bio bluntly stating that he is the “Chairman of the Nine Entertainment Corporation, a public company that provides media and entertainment.”
The decision of Nine to host a fundraiser for the Liberal Party raises serious questions about the company’s political bias and casts fresh scrutiny on the chairmanship of Peter Costello. https://t.co/hQgQyhvNKA
— 💧Urban Wronski (@UrbanWronski) September 4, 2019
But, we only know what we’ve been told. According to Nine, it was a mistake to hold the fundraiser. Therefore, we can only assume that the money raised is such a misguided event will be returned.