Australia’s press watchdog has received multiple complaints about a widely condemned News Corp column by Steve Price in which he complained he was among a white “minority”, a claim that flies in the face of evidence on media diversity.
The Herald Sun ran Price’s column over a full page on Saturday, allowing him to bemoan the inclusion of “coloured or Asian people” in television advertising, among other things.
Price framed himself as among a minority of white men who could no longer voice their opinion.
Data from Media Diversity Australia contradicts Price’s suggestion that white people are in the minority and that their views are being silenced.
Its 2020 research report, titled Who Gets To Tell Australian Stories, found more than 75% of TV reporters and presenters come from Anglo-Celtic background. The proportion was higher for commercial networks.
About 70% of television journalists rated diversity in their industry as poor or very poor, and one in eight respondents from a culturally and linguistically diverse background said their background had been a “barrier to career progression”.
Media Diversity Australia chief executive, Mariam Veiszadeh, said the data showed Price’s claim “doesn’t hold much water when it comes to news and current affairs media representation”.
“As the saying goes, equality feels like oppression for those who are accustomed to privilege,” she said.
“When diversity, equity and inclusion is not done well it can feel tokenistic and many can feel excluded as they are forced to come to terms with the privilege they have been unconsciously swimming in for much of their existence – at its core however these initiatives are about representation.
“We need our institutions to look and sound like Australia which the latest census shows is more diverse than ever.
“Steve’s claims therefore fly in the face of evidence, and the fact that he has radio, print and television platforms to vent about his so-called cancellation speaks to the core of the issue.”
The Australian Press Council confirmed it had “received complaints about this column”.
“The APC’s policy is to not publicly disclose the numbers or names of complainants about specific articles, in order to preserve the confidentiality and integrity of the Council’s complaints process,” a spokesperson said. “Complaints received by the Press Council about material published by its publisher members are considered on a case by case basis to determine whether they comply with the Press Council’s Standards of Practice.”
News Corp did not respond to a request for comment.
Price has ample opportunity to share his views. He has a regular column in one of the nation’s most widely read tabloids and is a host of Channel Ten’s The Project. He is also host of a program titled Australia Today, aired on LiSTNR and Triple M regionals.
The column prompted widespread criticism on social media. Victorian MP Martin Pakula tweeted: “When I’m old I want a regular spot on The Project and a full page spread in Melbourne’s highest selling daily newspaper to whinge about how I’ve been cancelled.”
Price responded: “Need to read the words Marty never said anything about being cancelled mate.”
The headline of the column was “I’m old, male and cancelled”. When this was pointed out to Price, he responded that he did not write the headlines.
Other headlines used on News Corp’s websites for the article included “Sick of free rides for women, people of colour” and “Non-binary bathrooms, no TV ads without coloured or Asian people: This old, white man is sick of it all”.
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