Turning away from this ongoing disaster to much more cheerful matters, we can now look at the implosion of Fairfax. The company has been in the habit of delivering five free copies of their local Melbourne rag, The Age, to a cafe near my work every morning, which, when I first learned about it, struck me as being a rather unsustainable practice. Pretty much anyone with half a brain in their heads can have seen their current troubles coming from miles away, which is perhaps why the current Fairfax board didn't. Several of the Greens made one of those completely meaningless statements politicians like to do today, saying that it was important to protect the independence of the media, which is why they proposed a law in order to stop the Fairfax board making editorial decisions. In order to protect the independence of the media, politicians have to interfere with the media, apparently. Ben Eltham, writing in New Matilda, came to the conclusion that in order to protect same, the government should pay Fairfax money ('modest... $100 million a year'). One of the problems Fairfax has had, of course, has been various multi-media news sources directly funded by the government - ABC, SBS, and The Conversation among them. So the solution to a problem partially created by the distribution of public money is the distribution of more public money. So apparently the way to preserve Fairfax's independence is government interference, followed by dependence on the same government. Figure that one out.
Meanwhile, Fairfax's coverage of Fairfax's ongoing demise has been positively surreal, with a report by Fairfax reporters on a letter sent by Fairfax reporters to the incoming management of the Fairfax board, Fairfax reporters reporting on strikes by Fairfax reporters, and plenty of factual Fairfax front pages on the grim days ahead for the newspaper company.
In the unlikely event of Tim Blair taking over a prominent Fairfax editorship, I suggested a brand name change yesterday: TIMBLAIRFAX. In the same spirit I've been tossing a few other brand name ideas around: