The ABC aired an explosive report during its 7pm news last night, claiming News Corp’s Rupert Murdoch waged a media-driven war against ex-prime minister Malcolm Turnbull to oust him from parliament.
According to ABC, Seven West Media CEO Kerry Stokes was told Turnbull “had to go” in the lead up to the Lib spill in August by Rupert Murdoch.
Murdoch, who was in the country during the final week of Turnbull’s prime ministership, used News mastheads, including The Australian, to negatively skew coverage of Turnbull as the spill approached, as per the ABC.
ABC also accused 2GB’s Alan Jones, Ray Hadley as well as Sky News commentators for pushing the anti-Turnbull agenda.
Stokes, a friend of Turnbull, took it upon himself to personally ask Murdoch why News was going so hard on the then-prime minister.
As per ABC’s report, Murdoch is rumoured to have responded: “We have got to get rid of Malcolm. If that’s the price of getting rid of him then I can put up with three years of Labor.”
Now, Andrew Bolt has penned a scathing response to the report in the Herald Sun, slamming the accusations from ABC journo Andrew Probyn, claiming the coverage was wholly supportive of Turnbull.
Bolt said: “Probyn’s ignorance of reality is even more astonishing.
“He claims that ‘until the end’ The Australian was ‘unabashed in its advocacy for an end to the Turnbull prime ministership’.”
“Seriously? Did he actually read the paper’s main opinion writers? Most, ‘until the end’, were actually against ‘an end to the Turnbull prime ministership’.”
Bolt then urged Probyn to “come clean” on his sources for the story.
“Probyn should come clean on who is driving this story that Turnbull is just a victim of the wicked Murdoch, and not his own catastrophic errors of judgement.”
During his heated response, Bolt failed to mention an article on the Financial Review which echoes the sentiments of ABC’s report.
ABC declined to make any further comments on the stoush.
B&T has contacted News for comment.