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“I, Gina”: A Love Affair With Oneself

22 Jun 2012

The long-running theatrical show “I, Gina” is now spreading its wings at the Sydney Morning Herald. One thing we need to make clear, just so we’re not surprised or shocked: Gina Reinhart does not understand democracy, nor does she care one bit about the future of the nation–except, of course, in the way the nation can help promote the “I, Gina” drama, at the expense of the rest of the peons who scurry about her ankles. For billionaires, it’s always about them. Their power. Their wealth. Their control.

No better illustration of the contradiction between the “I, Gina” philosophy and democracy can be found in the saga playing out at the Sydney Morning Herald. One the one hand, we have Gina, rolling in with more than 18 percent of the stock of the company stuffed in her pockets, demanding, oh, yes, DEMANDING three seats on the board of directors AND the power to hire and fire editors. On the one hand, you could say she is tone deaf to the criticism that she’s trying to eviscerate–silence–the newspaper’s voice, tone deaf because the concern rises up from both sides of the political aisle:

”What this will do is destroy the credibility of the Fairfax mastheads,” said the Communications Minister, Stephen Conroy. ”And if you were to start turning it into just a pro-mining industry gazette, well, I don’t think you would say the rest of the shareholders in Fairfax would be too excited about the collapse in readership.”

Opposition communications spokesman Malcolm Turnbull also said the board’s reluctance to give Mrs Rinehart board seats was understandable ”without a commitment to supporting editorial independence . . . If Fairfax, for example, were seen to be a mouthpiece of Gina Rinehart and a ‘spokes vehicle’ for the mining industry that would undermine its business model dramatically.”

But, no, this is not about not hearing other voices. It’s about not caring. The “I, Gina” show, a love affair with oneself, has no interest in a Media Charter of Editorial Independence because it contains words like “city”, “state”, “nation”, “integrity” and “independence”–all of which convey the radical idea that the space we occupy is bigger that “I”. Does not compute!

Of course, that the “I, Gina” show can rampage through the country is the logical end result to promoting a belief that, for the sake of the glorious “free market”, rich people can do as they please. Mostly.

–Jonathan Tasini