Australia’s embarrassing Taylor Swift coverage illustrates why we have Bad Blood with the media

As you definitely would know, unless you’ve been in a coma for the past month, musical superstar Taylor Swift toured this fair nation, and instead of going ‘that’s great for her fans’, Australian media went into a meltdown that brought loyal swifties and Swift haters together in feeling completely embarrassed by the joke that is Australian news media.

We saw outlets who normally start hate campaigns against Swift rebranding to cash in on her fame, we saw desperate clickbait about her eating food, rampant sexism, state politicians beefing, dumbfuck male radio hosts telling a successful woman how to do her job (which they’ve never done), ridiculous culture wars and even a live stream of Taylor’s boyfriend’s plane landing on the fucking news. On the fucking news. Politicians and the media came together to be desperate fucking losers trying to cash in on the positive press for their own gain instead of just letting people enjoy a few concerts – making it the perfect case study for what is so gross with the media and political class in this country.

Over Coverage

Every outlet is surely going to pull out the exact same defence, that their multiple articles every day about Taylor Swift was just a bit of fun and doesn’t matter in the slightest. They will also argue that TayTay ‘is the news’ and therefore they must cover every single thing she ever does. Like eating food.

But as you would have noticed, every outlet started tripping over themselves doing multiple articles a day in a rat-race to the bottom of the journalistic sewer. If you think that I brought up the ‘Taylor Swift eats food’ story that every outlet covered as an example of how dumb this gets, you’re wrong, it’s just to give context to this:

That article is as dumb as it looks. It’s about how the restaurant is close to the Guardian office so if they were simply eating at the restaurant when Taylor was there, they would have had the scoop on what she was eating. Thank god there is simply nothing else in the world right now that might have distracted them from writing that piece of Walkley worthy journalism. even added a section to their site solely dedicated to dumb gossip and clickbait about Taylor Swift, something they haven’t done for the fucking genocide that is currently happening!

Obviously there are stories about her that should be covered, but when the media is doing things like the ABC’s live-feed rolling coverage of Taylor’s boyfriend flying into the country because it could get clicks, without any live coverage of the ICJ Genocide hearings, it shows the fundamental problem with the priorities of so-called news outlets.

Why the coverage is concerning

Clickbait is never just clickbait. Publishers want ‘discourse’ because it gives them a perception of power – even if it means embarrassing themselves with so much nonsense that even Swifties got sick of it.

We saw the same thing we always see when a woman does something that is popular with other women – the occasion being belittled by random middle aged dudes in the media, all of them deciding they know what’s best for the powerful woman to do.

Of course, we can’t just let women enjoy things. There were two prime ministers at her show in Sydney! If she isn’t put in her place she could pose a real risk of potentially side-eying at least one of them.

We also saw some good ol’ fashion culture wars tangentially bolted onto Swift’s tour, because of fucking course we did. We literally can never have nice things.

Greg Sheridan is so fucking tiring. And he blatantly ignores that Taylor Swift’s core fanbase is in the demographic that are the most likely to be progressive. But, facts have never been a part of Sheridan’s deranged articles before, so why start now?

This culture war wasn’t just from the far-right, though, the potential clicks tantalising hacks across the aisle. The Saturday Paper, for instance, dropped this widely dunked on piece of trash:

You never hear complaints that men make music that isn’t directly political. But also, Taylor Swift literally does political songs and she has directly endorsed political candidates. This article takes the genuine criticism that she could be doing more, like say with showing support for Palestinians, and destils it in bullshit culture wars demanding she write pop songs about race relations in America. Which might actually be the worst idea for a song ever.

Also, it is adorable to see the Saturday Paper say she has no songs about what they refer to as ‘the conflict’, since if their readers only read the Saturday Paper, they wouldn’t have a fucking clue what that unnamed ‘conflict’ is about!

Now we reach the ‘Fuck Murdoch’ part of the piece.

During the tour, the News Corp outlets that for decades have launched sexist hate campaigns against Swift immediately shifted gear to try and win over her fans. made their logo a friendship bracelet and The Daily Telegraph rebranded to The Daily TaylorGraph.

Just a reminder that thanks to the Murdoch outlets, almost 20% of Americans believe Taylor Swift is part of the CIA and her entire career is about making Joe Biden president. A theory Fox News has been heavily pushing this year.

This faux-allyship may be embarrassing when it’s a pop-icon, but it’s a lot more sinister when you think of the times that News Corp pulls this shit when Labor wins an election so that they can get the PM to kiss Rupert’s ring, or when News Corp lifts up the voices of victim-survivors like Grace Tame only to tear them down the moment those survivors become a threat to their sex offender buddies.

Even during their supposed ‘Pro-Taylor’ rebrands, News Corp kept the sexist outrage farming up, they just shifted targets. They knew they couldn’t attack Taylor because of her size, so they went for her opening act Sabrina Carpenter instead.

If you are wondering, the ‘X-rated’ thing ruining the show is her spelling out the word ‘DICK’ and saying she has tasted one before. The show is M-Rated and every night the entire crowd screams ‘Fuck the Patriarchy’, but the sexist pearl clutchers claim the word ‘dick’ is too far for Taylor’s impressionable fans.

The Problem with it all

While these distractions, culture wars and desperate pieces of clickbait hurt the public’s perception of the media, it is also taken advantage of by those in power.

When I had the idea for this piece I was planning to end by talking about the state premiers using the tour for publicity and pot shots distracting from issues, leading to me pointing to how the Prime Minister did multiple press junkets about how he was going to the concert, while one of our allies bombs thousands of children.

But I think the best example of how discourse sets the stage for powerful monsters to go unchecked, was the NSW Police Commissioner saying haters gonna hate as a reference to Taylor Swift in an attempt to cash in on the coverage as a ‘sassy’ deflection to criticisms of the force after a gay couple was allegedly murdered by an officer, and after an internal report showed the force doesn’t care about hate crimes against the LGBTQ+ community.

But hey, the clickbait and nonstop coverage while shit is really happening in the world is just a bit of fun right?

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