Associate Professor David McKnight

Honorary Associate Professor
BA, Dip Ed, PhD (Syd)
School of the Arts & Media


+61 2 9385 8536
231S, Level 2 Robert Webster
Kensington Campus
Fields: Political Science, Journalism Studies

Dr David McKnight is a researcher interested broadly in politics, history, journalism and the media. Most recently he was a co-author of Big Coal: Australia's Dirtiest Habit (NewSouth, 2013). He is also the author of several books including Rupert Murdoch: An Investigation of Political Power (Allen & Unwin, 2012) and Beyond Right and Left: New Politics and the Culture War (Allen & Unwin, 2005) which discusses the renewal of the progressive political vision. He co-edited (with Robert Manne) Goodbye To All That? (Black Inc, 2010), a collection of essays on the failure of neo-liberalism. In 2012 he was the co-author of Journalism at the Speed of Bytes, a study commissioned by the Walkley Foundation for Journalism on the future of journalism in view of the crisis in the business model of newspapers.

He is also historian of the Cold War and espionage, having written an authoritative history of Australia’s internal security organisation, ASIO, Australia’s Spies and Their Secrets (1994) and a history of the underground political tradition of the Communist International, Espionage and the Roots of the Cold War (2002). His current research covers two areas: the rise of populism; the relationship between political ‘spin’ and political journalism;

He worked as a journalist on the Sydney Morning Herald, on ABC TV’s Four Corners and on the weekly Tribune. An archive of his writing including extracts from books is at:



    • McKnight D, 2018, Populism Now! The Case for Progressive Populism, NewSouth
    • Pearse G;McKnight D;Burton B, 2013, Big Coal: Australia's Dirtiest Habit, First, NewSouth Publishing, Sydney
    • O'Donnell P;McKnight D;Este J, 2012, Journalism At the Speed of Bytes: Australian Newspapers in the 21st Century, Original, Walkley Foundation for Journalism, Sydney
    • McKnight D, 2012, Rupert Murdoch: an investigation of political power, First, Allen & Unwin, Crows Nest
    • McKnight D, 2005, Beyond Right and Left: New Politics and the Culture War, Original, Allen & Unwin, Crows Nest, NSW
    • McKnight D, 2002, Espionage and the Roots of the Cold War, Original, Frank Cass & Co, London
    • McKnight D, 1994, Australia's Spies and Their Secrets, Original, Allen & Unwin, St Leonards, Sydney

    Book Chapters

    • McKnight D, 2018, 'Breaking with Moscow: The Communist Party of Australia's new road to socialism', in The Far Left in Australia Since 1945, Routledge, pp. 59 - 76,
    • McKnight D;Hobbs M, 2017, 'Fighting for Coal: Public Relations and the Campaign Against Lower Carbon Pollution in Australia', in Carbon Capitalism and Communication Confronting Climate Crisis, Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 115 - 129
    • McKnight D;O'Donnell P, 2014, 'Walkley Awards', in Griffen-Foley B (ed.), A Companion to the Australian Media, Australian Scholarly Publishing, North Melbourne, pp. 484 - 485
    • McKnight D, 2014, 'How To Read Your ASIO File', in Burgmann M (ed.), Dirty Secrets: Our ASIO Files, NewSouth Publishing, Sydney, pp. 21 - 45,
    • McKnight D, 2013, 'Murdoch and his influence on Australian political life', in Sykes (ed.), The Story of the 2013 Election, Future Leaders
    • McKnight D, 2013, 'The Renewal of Social Democracy', in State of the Nation: Essays for Robert Manne, Black Inc., Collingwood Vic, pp. 50 - 56,
    • McKnight D, 2012, 'The campaign to sell climate denial:public relations, the media and scientists', in Banks P; Lunney D; Dickman C (ed.), Science Under Siege: Zoology Under Threat, edn. Original, Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales, Mosman, NSW, pp. 13 - 15
    • McKnight D, 2010, 'Labor's market in public services', in Manne R; McKnight D (ed.), Goodbye to all that? : on the failure of neo-liberalism & the urgency of change, edn. Original, Black Inc. Agenda, Melbourne, pp. 181 - 204
    • McKnight D, 2007, 'Entries on the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation and the Australian Secret Intelligence Service', in Galligan B; Roberts W (ed.), Oxford Companion to Australian Politics, edn. Original, Oxford University Press, Melbourne, pp. 45 - 47
    • McKnight D, 2007, 'Entry on Michael Bialoguski', in Australian dictionary of Biography, edn. Original, Melbourne university press, Carlton South, VIC, pp. 97 - 98
    • McKnight D, 2006, 'Research for Journalists and Writers', in Fogg C; Grundy B (ed.), Release the Hounds: A Guide to Research for Journalists and Writers, edn. Original, Allen & Unwin, Crows Nest, NSW, pp. 1 - 5
    • McKnight D, 2005, 'Research for Journalists and Writers', in Fogg C (ed.), Release the Hounds, Allen & Unwin
    • McKnight D, 2005, 'Rupert Murdoch and the culture war', in Manne R (ed.), Do not disturb: is the media failing Australia?, edn. Original, Black Inc., Melbourne, VIC, pp. 53 - 74
    • McKnight D, 1999, 'The roots of investigative journalism in Australia', in Curthoys A; Schultz J (ed.), Journalism: Print, Politics and Popular Culture, Queensland University Press
    • McKnight D, 1994, 'Internal Security: Sources', in Bergin A; Hall R (ed.), Intelligence and Australian National Security, Australian Defence Force Academy

    Journal articles

    • McKnight D;O'Donnell P, 2017, 'Journalism and intellectual life: the exemplary case of Donald Horne', Australian Journalism Review, vol. 39, pp. 37 - 46
    • McKnight D, 2016, 'The Rudd Labor government and the limitations of spin', Media International Australia, vol. 159, pp. 108 - 117,
    • McKnight D, 2015, 'The rise of the spin doctor: From personal briefings to news management', Media International Australia, pp. 114 - 123
    • Mcknight D, 2015, 'The Spy Catchers: The Official History of ASIO, 1949-1963, vol 1', LABOUR HISTORY, pp. 213 - 214,
    • McKnight D, 2015, 'Shaping the news: media advisers under the Howard and Rudd governments', Australian Journalism Review, vol. 37, pp. 21 - 31
    • McKnight D, 2015, 'Terrorism and the Cold War: Avoiding false comparisons', Griffith Review, pp. 231 - 235
    • Hobbs M;McKnight D, 2014, ''Kick This Mob Out' : The Murdoch Media and the Australian Labor Government 2007-2013.', Global Media Journal, vol. 8, pp. 1 - 13,
    • McKnight D;Hobbs M, 2013, 'Public Contest through the Popular Media: The Mining Industry's Advertising War against the Australian Labor Government', Australian Journal of Political Science, vol. 48, pp. 307 - 319,
    • McKnight D, 2012, 'Henry Mayer Lecture 2012: The market populism of Rupert Murdoch', Media International Australia, pp. 5 - 12
    • McKnight D;McNair B, 2012, 'The Empire Goes to War: News Corporation and Iraq', Australian Journalism Review, vol. 34, pp. 7 - 17
    • McKnight D, 2012, 'Gina Rinehart and Rupert Murdoch: a study of power in the media.', The Conversation,
    • McKnight D, 2012, 'News of the World scandal reverberates beyond the Murdoch empire', The Conversation,
    • McKnight D;Hobbs M, 2011, ''you're all a bunch of pinkos': Rupert Murdoch and the politics of HarperCollins', Media, Culture and Society, vol. 33, pp. 835 - 850,
    • McKnight D, 2010, 'Rupert Murdoch's news corporation: A media institution with a mission', Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, vol. 30, pp. 303 - 316,
    • McKnight D, 2010, 'A change in the climate? The journalism of opinion at News Corporation', Journalism, vol. 11, pp. 693 - 706,
    • McKnight D, 2010, 'Investigating Journalism's Future', The Walkley Magazine, pp. 21 - 21
    • McKnight D, 2009, 'The sunday times and andrew neil: The cultivation of market populism', Journalism Studies, vol. 10, pp. 754 - 768,
    • McKnight D, 2008, ''Not attributable to official sources': Counter-propaganda and the mass media', Media International Australia, pp. 5 - 17
    • McKnight D, 2008, 'Rethinking cold war history', Labour History, vol. 95
    • McKnight D, 2008, 'The crisis of neo-liberalism', Arena Magazine, pp. 17 - 20
    • McKnight D, 2008, 'The Emerging Politics of Climate Change', Arena Magazine, pp. 16 - 18
    • McKnight D, 2008, 'Partisan Improprieties: Ministerial Control and Australia`s Security Agencies, 1962-72', Intelligence and National Security, vol. 23, pp. 707 - 725
    • McKnight D, 2007, 'Social Democracy and Family Values', Renewal (London), vol. 15, pp. 67 - 73
    • McKnight D, 2007, 'Can the Left find a new vision?', Arena Magazine, pp. 20 - 21
    • McKnight D, 2006, 'The Ascendancy of the Right in Modern Australia', Sydney Papers, vol. 18
    • McKnight D, 2006, 'All in the same boat', The Australian universities' review : journal of the Federation of Australian University Staff Associations, vol. 48
    • McKnight D, 2005, 'Western Intelligence and SEATO’s war on subversion', Intelligence and National Security, vol. 20, pp. 288 - 303
    • McKnight D, 2004, 'Rupert Murdoch and the Culture War', Australian Book Review, vol. February
    • McKnight D, 2004, 'Rethinking Social Democracy', Labour History
    • McKnight D, 2004, 'Clear thinking, dogma and the war on terrorism', Sydney Papers, vol. 16
    • McKnight D, 2004, 'Australian Film and the Cultural Cold War', Media International Australia, Incorporating Culture and Policy, pp. 118 - 130
    • McKNIGHT D, 2003, 'A World Hungry for a New Philosophy”: Rupert murdoch and the rise of Neo-Liberalism', Journalism Studies, vol. 4, pp. 347 - 358,
    • McKnight D, 2003, 'Fear of Slipping', The Australian universities' review : journal of the Federation of Australian University Staff Associations, vol. 46
    • McKnight D, 2003, 'Bali, the Left and ‘anti-imperialism', Arena Magazine
    • McKnight D, 2002, 'Comintern Work in the Western Armed Forces', Revolutionary History, vol. 8
    • McKnight D, 2001, 'Facts versus Stories: the Sydney Morning Herald's journey from objective to interpretive reporting', Media International Australia Incorporating Culture and Policy: quarterly journal of media research and resources

    Conference Papers

    • McKnight D, 2009, 'Intellectual Agenda Setting: the case of Donald Horne', in Intellectual Agenda Setting: the case of Donald Horne, Australian Political Studies Association Conference 2009, Macquarie University, Sydney, presented at Australian Political Studies Association Conference 2009, Macquarie University, Sydney, 28 - 30 September 2009
    • McKnight D, 2008, 'Telling the story of global warming:news and opinion at News Corporation', in Politics/Media Conference, Politics/Media Conference, presented at Politics/Media Conference, 01 January 2008,

    Working Papers

    Edited Books

    • 2010, Goodbye To All That, Melbourne
    • 2010, Goodbye To All That?, Black Inc, Melbourne

Related links

Other information

Co-winner, Henry Mayer Book Prize, Australian Political Studies Association, 2009.