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Media inquiry in danger of turning into ‘an UnAustralian Activities witch-hunt’

Veteran TV producer and media writer Gerald Stone has warned that the widening scope of the government’s inquiry into media convergence is in danger of becoming akin to Joseph McCarthy’s hunt for Communist sympathisers in the US.

McCarthy led attacks in the 1940s and 1950s via the House UnAmerican Activities Committee.

In an interview with Mumbrella editor Tim Burrowes, Stone said:

“They’re now talking about an inquiry into media bias.

“I’ve got to say that reminds me of the days when I was back in the States at the height of the witch-hunting expeditions, inquisitions, led by people like Senator Joseph McCarthy.

“I’ve even got a name for it. We call it the House UnAustralian Activities Committee. And I can think of the first question they would ask is: ‘Do you now, have or have you ever had, an opinion?’

“I think it’s probably the silliest idea I’ve heard in a long time.”

Among those calling for the “hate media” to be held to account is Greens leader Senator Bob Brown.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard also suggested that News Ltd had “questions to answer” after the News of the World phone hacking scandal in the UK.

Stone’s memoir, Say It With Feeling, has just been published. A full Mumbo Report interview with him will appear on Mumbrella later in the month.

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