The Liberal Times Story
In late 2013, media tycoon Rupert Murdoch realised that his existing stable of media outlets was no longer up to the challenges of the 21st century media arena. Print was dead or dying, and the take-up of his various online offerings was sluggish at best.
In order to properly cover the glories of the newly-elected Abbott Liberal government, it was decided that a new breed of online newspaper was needed. It would be, Murdoch felt, something of a return to the days of “rockstar journalism”, but would take advantage of modern developments such as the web and social media.
Funding was allocated and offices were purchased. A beanbag-laden “Chill Room” was outfitted. A roof-top pool was installed. An expensive espresso machine was purchased. A team of three monkeys were brought in to serve as unofficial mascots, and underwent special training to fetch reams of copy paper, operate the espresso machine and, on occasion, function as sub-editors.
Staff were recruited – a crack team assembled from various other Murdoch enterprises – including a somewhat unwilling reporter by the name of Reginald Moreton, a then 41 year old journalist from Eegawilli, NSW, sold into journalistic slavery as punishment for including heavily veiled anti-Murdoch sentiments in a story at his previous assignment.
By late April 2014, everything was ready to launch.
Then came the tidal wave of draconianism that was the May 2014 Budget.
Seeing the writing on the wall, the entire staff fled, leaving the office abandoned, never to return.
On Wednesday, 14 May 2014, the only Liberal Times staffers who reported for duty were lone journalist Reg Moreton and the three office monkeys, Dot, Maisie and Flora.
What to do? The news feeds were primed. The website was up. The espresso machine was charged. The beanbags were plumped. The Margaritas were cold.
And at that moment, the Liberal Times was born. Like Luke Skywalker sending secret messages from inside the Death Star, the new Liberal Times would report the news as it saw fit, straight from the heart of the Murdoch media empire, under the radar and off the leash.
It’s not always punctual. Sometimes it’s edited by monkeys. But whether it’s punched frantically into a satellite-linked laptop from the edge of a war zone or dictated to a hairy assistant from the Margarita-soaked comfort of a lazily drifting Lilo, these are your Liberal Times.
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