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QANTAS: At war with the Australian Financial Review – not the first time.

QANTAS: At war with the Australian Financial Review – not the first time.

Qantas appears to be in dispute with the Australian Financial Review, according to its sister masthead the Sydney Morning Herald. It’s over the highly critical, but intensely amusing articles of Rear Window columnist Joe Ashton.

You may remember the name Joe Ashoton from other posts on this blog. He is rivetingly acerbic and doesn’t pull his punches – to the point it has got him sued for defamation.

Happier times between the Australian Financial Review and Qantas. Status match 2020.

Pulling the publication

According to the SMH, Qantas is hiding the Australian Financial Review from its lounges because of Ashton’s columns. Some customers are claiming that these articles are also missing from searches on the in-house wifi.

To save you a subscription, here is a summary of what Joe’s been saying about Qantas recently:

or my personal favorite headline:

Equal opportunity offender

Ashton is an equal-opportunity offender. He’s taken highly amusing potshots at Jayne Hrdlicker at Virgin Australia, and John Sharp, Deputy Chair at REX.

Rear Vision, appears on the back page of the publication’s print edition. It took issue nine months ago with Qantas CEO Alan Joyce’s assertion that he was not a public figure. Since then journalist Ashton has called Qantas and Joyce out for fare gouging and under-funding capital expenditure. His columns have sparked investigations by other journalists as well.

Now the AFR is far to the right of progressive journalism. But it occasionally likes to stir the pot, and Joe Ashton is often the one holding the stirring stick.

Qantas, like an elephant – doesn’t forget

Qantas and its leadership tend to be a vengeful god when it comes to media that has ‘done them wrong’. Back in 2014, Joyce pulled millions of dollars worth of advertising from then Fairfax papers. He felt the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age’s coverage was favoring competitor Virgin Australia. It has pulled (‘reviewed’) the stable of papers from distribution on its aircraft over a call by Adele Ferguson for Joyce to resign over posting an AU$ 2.8 billion loss.

The newspapers, now owned by Nine Entertainment have seen this all before, and of course, are asserting their right of editorial independence.

Surely they will stock the AFR at the Qantas Lounge Canberra?

2PAXfly Takeout

Qantas won’t win this. The Australian Financial Review is a respected business newspaper and is preferred over the much more conservative Murdoch-owned The Australian.

It took longer, but the same was true over which TV station got played in Qantas Lounges. For years Qantas played the National broadcaster – the ABC’s news channel in the lounges and on aircraft. Then it turned to the obnoxious Australian version of Sky News. Last year, apparently the right-wing, anti-vaxer, flat earth, climate change denier, and conspiracy theorists at Sky After Dark got too much for even Joyce. Then Qantas went back to the ABC – thank goodness.

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