is not noticeably a worse paper than the other quality papers. It is however, a more ideological paper, with much more kind of explicit agendas, than the natural rivals, The Sydney Morning Herald
and The Age
. And I think that gives it an importance in the balance of opinion in the society, because a lot of intelligent people read The Australian, and I think because it has a neo-conservative agenda by and large, and the other papers don’t have much of an agenda
..."Robert Manne, ABC Radio National Media Report, August 11, 2005
Manne is delusional, of course. The Murdoch press has a more transparent agenda, if anything, while Fairfax equally believes in the same ideology: privatisation, deregulation, the US alliance and free markets. To suggest otherwise is a far too convenient way of understanding the mainstream media's failure.