Margo’s Back

Margo Kingston’s back from hols, and appears to be the only journalist still supporting Latho, while doyens of the press gallery such as Michelle Grattan join Jim McGinty and (by implication) Peter Beattie in demanding that he stand down. What’s odd about Margo’s first post for the year is that she recognises that Latham’s tactics are bizarre but nevertheless endorses these comments by a WebDiary contributor from December 2003 and suggests that they might be applicable to Latho’s present woes:

Let’s say that again. He must ignore the exhortations to comment under those circumstances and if the media tears him apart, he must let them. This is a standout point. It only lives successfully under these conditions: little time to go coupled with uncertainty, which is where we are now before the next election. It works because it creates a vacuum. A vacuum is powerful. It sucks things into it. During times when Mark is uncertain, if he ignores the screaming mass he then gives himself time to centre his spirit and get on top of it again. Let the media tear him apart – because they will have nothing from him to tear apart. The media will be tearing apart only the substance that the media itself throws at it. Mark is silent. He, then in good time, has regathered within himself, he has created the vacuum, there is greater intensity of interest in what he has to say, and when he speaks again he speaks with incisiveness and strength and fills the vacuum with substance of his own choosing.

What’s odd about this is that silence is precisely what’s led to the current media storm. If this is some sort of call for a new politics technique of crisis management, it seems that its moment has well and truly passed.

About Mark Bahnisch

Mark Bahnisch is a sociologist and is the founder of this blog. He has an undergraduate degree in history and politics from UQ, and postgraduate qualifications in sociology, industrial relations and political economy from Griffith and QUT. He has recently been awarded his PhD through the Humanities Program at QUT. Mark's full bio is on this page.
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MarkL
MarkL
2021 years ago

I think use of the word ‘odd’ to describe Margo is apropos. Her webdiary is a very peculiar beast, and I have never understood her propensity for spelling mistakes.

Her opinions too have far too much of the flavour of living in a slightly different world to the rest of humanity. I suspect this flavours her approach to Latham. Those journalists of my acquaintance regard her as somewhat unhinged, but truly do appreciate her entertainment value.

MarkL
Canberra

Cameron Riley
2021 years ago

Mark,

Add to that, the SMH does not get the diary/blog thing. Why would you let your primary source of revenue for that section go on holiday and leave the site dead for several weeks? Bizarre.

At the very least have about three or four contributors so the site keeps rolling over with fresh material each day.

Mark Bahnisch
2021 years ago

MarkL, well, the occasional commentary from Webdiary trade expert Brian Bahnisch was worth reading :)

Cameron, what disappoints me about the SMH is that Anthony Lowenstein’s election blog was canned after the election. He was worth reading. They also took ages to put a link on the frontpage. They also have a blog associated with their yoof supplement, Radar, but it’s not easily accessible and thus probably unread. The Guardian knows how to do blogs!

David Tiley
2021 years ago

The Guardian is fascinating in that respect. Cutting its own trail through the kunai grass while everyone else struggles along the same old track of “ignore them till we think they’ve got money” subscription thinking.

Same issue with broadcasters. Who is doing internet well? Both the ABC and SBS have some clear thinkers in their online areas, but they don’t fit well with the whole org. The Beeb is cutting back on the notion that the internet is a third form, while the nonbroadcast but big player PBS plays funny buggers with its archives.

David Tiley
2021 years ago

The thing is, we love to sink the slipper into Gerry. Since he has a pretence of logic, we can talk about his argument, and there is the faint chance that he might understand what we say.

With the others, you might as well try and talk to the trumpet about the note. Or if we think about the harm some of these twerps are pushing for, the anus about the fart.

loofer
loofer
2021 years ago

I enjoyed the Lowenstein blog as well, and was surprised when they canned it completely. Much more sane than Margo…

Well after hearing that he definitely wasn’t quitting today…
http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2005/01/18/1105810872171.html

he has now definitely quit today…
http://smh.com.au/news/National/Latham-quits-health-blamed/2005/01/18/1105810890022.html

Fyodor
2021 years ago

“Loofer on Margo’s Back”

LOL

loofer
loofer
2021 years ago

hah :)

David Tiley
2021 years ago

As I am sure you wise people have already realised, that bit of snark of mine belongs in with Gerry’s T-shirt wars. Sorry.

Brian Bahnisch
Brian Bahnisch
2021 years ago

Thanks for that, Mark.

Yes, Margo is a bit ‘odd’ but is there anything wrong with being a bit unconventional? She claims that she has absolutely no dress sense (she’s right!) and has some odd mannerisms. More importantly, though, she works out what she thinks and then says it fearlessly.

She’s also angry at times but mostly about things we all should be concerned about. I like the fact that she is not afraid to let some emotion show.

Back in 2002 she was getting stuck into Bob Carr about his closeness and that of his government to developers. Carr tried to destroy her professionally (and personally) by attacking her specifically in press conferences.

It nearly worked, but she gathered herself and has been pretty much unstoppable ever since.

I do have some criticisms.

She should hire Chris Sheil on a consultancy to redesign and format Webdiary. It’s still not user friendly.

She does get excessively keen on a few people who aren’t quite worth the enthusiasm she invests in them. Mark Latham is one of them.

As a lawyer turned journo she has an amazing knowledge and recall of recent politics. I think, however, she could do with a crash course on sociology not only to understand better social forces and structures but also to struggle with the basic questions of philosophy like epistemology and ontology. But then so could we all, or most of us.

Finally (not a criticism), contrary to what people seem to think she’s not far to the left. Pretty close to the centre in fact

Mark Bahnisch
2021 years ago

Brian, I wasn’t saying she was odd, just that her endorsement of the comments about Latham’s silence was odd. I respect her courage and conviction.

Brian’s right too – she’s a small L Liberal.

Brian Bahnisch
Brian Bahnisch
2021 years ago

Mark, I was responding to MarkL’s use of the word ‘odd’. We need more nonconformists IMO. She’s not so ‘out there’ that she loses contact and can’t communicate. That too, as well as her use of emotion, is a consciously chosen persona and positioning (so it is not just indulgence), but one that is true to her personality, according to a session on ‘angry people’ one day on ‘Life Matters’.