The Billionaire vs the Critics: AFR Backs Rinehart’s Rights

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Mining magnate Gina Rinehart’s fight for freedom of political expression has been backed by the Australian Financial Review, pitting her against her critics.

In a grand display of “life-changing generosity”, billionaire Gina Rinehart marked her 69th birthday by bestowing millions of dollars on her employees.

“Amidst the unfair criticisms and unfortunate misperceptions, this billionaire generously awarded 10 Roy Hill personnel with a remarkable $100,000 each in gifts at a festive Christmas celebration,” wrote Brad Thompson, a Perth reporter—a rapturous headline seemingly penned by Australia’s wealthiest woman herself: “Rinehart bestows millions to employees in birthday giveaway.”

Rinehart’s PR team likely celebrated the Australian Financial Review’s captivating portrait of the mining magnate, and it kickstarted a series of positive portrayals.

Praised by those close to Rinehart and quoted by Hancock Chief Executive Adam Giles, Thompson wrote a 3000-word feature highlighting her loyalty, warmth, generosity and business success. Astonishingly enough, she still doesn’t get due credit for her philanthropic work or her generous support of Olympic teams.

Journalists used to covering Mining Magnate Gina Rinehart have revealed that she has asked for approval on anything published regarding her. However, it seems this wasn’t true with Thompson’s “written interview” with Rinehart. It appears that he conducted a written interview without requiring any input from Rinehart herself. This is an uncommon occurrence due to how meticulous and demanding she usually is regarding media coverage of her work.

“The fact that the AFR was willing to publish an article about Rinehart without her approval is a testament to the power of her influence and the paper’s willingness to stand behind her rights as an Australian citizen, regardless of their editorial stance,” says journalist and media commentator James Larkin.

The Australian Financial Review’s decision to back Rinehart highlights the importance of freedom of political expression. In a world where media outlets are increasingly becoming beholden to their financiers, it’s reassuring that publications like AFR remain committed to standing for principles beyond profits.

In an era when billionaires are often seen as villains, the AFR’s decision to back Rinehart could symbolise hope for open discourse and the power of free speech. It also serves as a reminder that even billionaires have rights, and everyone should be afforded this right regardless of wealth or status.

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