Years ago now, I mocked the then-editor of the Courier-Mail Chris Dore because, despite his best efforts, he failed to keep Annastacia Palaszczuk from office.
His paper had campaigned crazily against the woman running for premier of Queensland for no clear reason except maybe that she was progressive and a woman.
She also wasn't Campbell Newman, the then premier of Queensland. Dore's had his own take-down moment in the meantime.
There are no apparent reasons for the Murdoch papers, of which the Courier-Mail is a pillar, to be running so hot and hard against the Voice, yet here they are. Doing the Murdoch thing. Is it commercial?
The University of Sydney's Mitchell Hobbs says maybe News Corporation is backing in a conservative constituency, appealing to a particular ideological view.
New research from the University of Adelaide's Victoria Fielding - commissioned by the Australians for a Murdoch Royal Commission campaign - reveals a marked disparity between the reporting in Murdoch papers (largely balanced) and the commentary (hugely lopsided). Fielding says the reporting is usually fair - but she says the opinion pieces are heavily weighted in favour of no, about 70 per cent.
Fielding didn't have the opportunity to count this week's debacle where The Australian's national affairs editor Joe Kelly said Marcia Langton called "no" voters racist and stupid at an event in Bunbury, Western Australia. She says it was about the campaign not the voters. Kelly's headline and story has since changed. Langton herself says she's shocked Kelly never called her to check. And Peter Dutton is using the original headline on his social media accounts. Langton has now called her lawyer. In the meantime, the paper stands by its reporting.
Oh god, is it possible I long for the days when we had postal plebiscites? They seem positively charming and courteous in comparison to this malignant mayhem.
On top of Fielding's report, we now have news from QUT's Tim Graham about what's happening on social media. Graham analysed nearly a quarter of a million tweets about the Voice referendum from over 30,000 accounts.
Lies, lies and more lies. Anger, conspiracy theories.
Did they find foreign interference or troll farms? What they found was even worse: a media ecosystem that is failing Australia's liberal democracy. Plus, says Graham, "yes" campaigners play right into the hands of the "no" campaign.
"While attempting to debunk and criticise misinformation, vote 'yes' campaigners online unwittingly draw attention to and amplify it."
I have done my best to avoid writing about the Voice because who wants to hear from an old beige woman about the referendum?
Anyhow, here goes. I've read books about the Voice and listened to countless speeches. I will vote "yes" because Indigenous disadvantage is shockingly entrenched in Australia - and it became even worse during the Coalition reign of 2013 to 2022.
While I am thrilled that there are more Indigenous parliamentarians, they belong to a range of parties, including the Liberal Party which did not do one effing thing for Indigenous people during its time in office. It cut, cut, cut.
Weirdly, once upon a time, Liberals supported an Indigenous Voice to Parliament. Dutton's rendition of the Voice is one which is for voices from regional and rural Australia but there seems to be no way for those to connect with decision-makers. And then, he plans to hold a second referendum if this one fails.
A few months ago, I would have sworn on my mother's grave that the Voice referendum would pass. Since then, we have seen the "yes" vote plunging.
Why? Because Dutton and allies have done nothing but campaign relentlessly against the Voice. He has built a network of liars and deceivers, he's enabled the spiteful and the mean, he's accepted campaigning assistance from unFair Australia and from the other hideous iterations of anti-Voice campaigning.
Is he a bad person at the core? Maybe too early to tell - but he's certainly enabled and encouraged our worst selves by spreading lies and deception about the Voice to Parliament.
As the University of Adelaide's Fielding writes in her report: "The one-sided commentary is not only advocating for 'no' in an overt political campaign against the Voice, but is also doing so using misinformation and stoking racial hatred, which is undermining the public's access to accurate information about the Voice referendum.
"There is little doubt this is fuelling racial division and hatred towards Indigenous 'yes' advocates, and Indigenous people more widely."
So what of those writing for News Corporation who aren't pushing the "no" line? Chris Kenny is the lead author, says Fielding. Her analysis shows he's written thousands of words supporting the Voice.
Strangely Joe Hildebrand is missing from the list of commentators - I had a quick look myself and the man has written thousands and thousands of words supporting the Voice - but it looks like only a few appeared in the period of time Fielding's research took place.
They are both copping a hiding on social media channels for their efforts of support. I have no idea whether the numerous accounts bollocking Kenny, who has supported the Voice since 2015, are real people (I doubt it) but kudos to him for standing up to them and keeping going.
Of course, it would be lovely just to be able to lay the blame at the feet of the Coalition. Sadly, that's not possible. We all know that changing the constitution is hard and we also know that Labor has not done its best possible job of sharing information on the Voice. It appears to freak out every time it has to do something bold and beautiful. Same this time.
As Fielding says, "This is the Labor Party stock in trade. They put up really hopeful policies and get surprised when they are torn down by scare campaigns and misinformation."
My own hope is that this concentration of "no" commentary is about as successful as the Courier-Mail's attempts to destroy Palaszczuk back in the day. In other words, not very.
- Jenna Price is a regular columnist and a visiting fellow at the Australian National University.