The Prime Minister said – the Opposition Leader said

The image http://www.artcriesout.com/images/7_a_monument_to_futility.jpg cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.One particularly lamentable aspect of ‘he said – she said’ reporting (and this is in an all lamentable range of phenomena) is that things don’t exist for the media until they’ve been mentioned by someone sufficiently senior in a mainstream political hierarchy. Thus journalists are not encouraged to use their own intelligence or judgement in deciding what ‘an issue’ is, their own conception of what the public interest – or even reader interest is in their presentation of stories. They’re there to report on the contest and on what’s running – ie on what they’re running.

So a big part of the day of apparatchiks is to work out what things they want to put on the top of the media chattering list that day. I just heard the back end of a report on the hourly 5 minute ABC news on RN in which apparently Dr Nelson had refused to distance himself from remarks made by John Howard about US presidential candidates. Cut to a grab of Julie Bishop saying the same thing. End of story.

So I thought that John Howard, who has been having some moments of post primeministerial hubris of late, particularly on trips to friendly think tanks, must have made some recent comments on how John McCain would be a better president than Barack Obama.

But no. I discovered on consulting Google News that Kevin Rudd had challenged Dr Nelson to distance himself from John Howard’s ill judged buying into the US election campaign over a year ago when he said that Obama’s victory would be a victory for Al Qaeda. Well, Kevin Rudd is entitled to try to make it an issue. How pathetic that the media had nothing better to do than play along. And that it will have nothing better to do than play along on the next slow news day when Nelson does the same.

Anyway folks, in case you missed it, that is the ‘issue of the day’. Go out and stop barbecues, ring up “Australia Talks” and let off a bit of steam. What a waste of everyone’s time.

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Tobias
13 years ago

Watching Insiders (with this morning being a prime example) gives a clear snapshot of this stupid process in action. The entire show is built around these principles:

– Barrie tries to get the guest to respond to something their political opponent has said and/or tries to get them to say something that will kick off the ping-pong game for the week to come.

– The panel watch a clip of one pollie and comment on it, and then they watch a corresponding clip from the other side of the chamber and comment on it.

– Even when pointing out the nonsensical and trivial, the triviality needs to come in point and counter-point form (e.g., this morning it was Peter Garrett with TV energy ratings followed by Greg Hunt skydiving).

At the moment, nobody seems to be willing to rise above this crap – Labor, the Liberals, and the media are equally complicit in driving this inane style of discourse.

Apart from the fact that it means our leaders are sending their time talking about very little, another key problem with this approach of duelling soundbites is that it minimises the role of the minor parties and independents. You can’t fit a third party into the framework unless one of the two major parties refuses to play.

Tysen Woodlock
13 years ago

Too true.

Niall
13 years ago

I was equally disgusted by ‘Insider’ this morning, but not for the same reasons Tobias points out. Certainly those elements exist in almost every show, but this morning I was appalled at the imbalance of the panel. A female journo I’ve never heard of, and can’t recall the name of, such was the impression she made on me; Dennis Atkins and Piers Akerman. Murdoch employees all and all expressing conservative leanings. I thought Akerman was going to rupture himself, so intense was his anti-government rhetoric on every issue raised.

Frankly I’m disappointed that Aunty couldn’t arrange for a much more evenly balanced presentation. Perhaps all the ‘lefty’ journos had better things to do on a long weekend.

Tobias
13 years ago

Agreed, Niall – apart from the usual structural problems the show was definitely leaning to the right this morning. The only major disagreement between panel members that I can recall came when Piers started banging on (yet again) about impending catastrophic fallout for Rudd and co. from the Heiner affair. Apart from Piers’ pet conspiracy theory, they were largely in agreement on everything.

rog
rog
13 years ago

I think that electorate is slightly bewildered by 24/7 kev; after claims that JH had fallen asleep on his watch, had allowed costs to rise, forgotten the aussie battler and was out of ideas we now have a fresh exiting new govt that says they are unable to lower costs and confirms that aussies are battling.

chrisl
chrisl
13 years ago

Tobias: Don’t worry it will be back to the 2 left/1 right “balance” next week.And “thought bubble” Kevin won’t be on it.

joe2
joe2
13 years ago

“Tobias: Dont worry it will be back to the 2 left/1 right balance next week.”

chrisl, your suggestion of left wing influence on The Insiders, if i read you correctly, is absurd. Rudd treats the show with the respect it deserves, by not giving it the time of day.

It is pretty much right wing propaganda and has been since well before the election.

trackback

[…] on both sides of the aisle appears to be widespread at the moment. Both Nicholas Gruen at Club Troppo and Mark Bahnisch at Larvatus Prodeo have written posts today about absurdities they noticed in […]

Stephen Bounds
13 years ago

joe2: you gotta be kidding me.

In theory, the panelists are meant to be left/center/right. Malcolm Farr, George Megalogenis and Brian Toohey are the typical center people. If you think these guys are “right wing propaganda”, I can only imagine how left of center you must be politically.

On the other hand, when David Marr gets to occupy the center seat, then it’s going to be “lefties beat up on Piers/Andrew day”. Perhaps you think Insiders is right-wing propaganda simply because the right-wing person gets to have a say?

Insiders may have got very stale and uninteresting lately, but right-wing propaganda it is not.

johnnyQ
johnnyQ
13 years ago

Kevin07 should stop talking crap, having visions of grandeur and start helping working Australian families.

http://justtofun.blogspot.com/2008/06/what-is-krud-kevin-rudd-doing-for.html

trackback

[…] This post from Nick at Club Troppo and this one from Mark at Larvatus Prodeo made me think of the funny below. Somehow, I don’t think there’s any going back. […]

chrisl
chrisl
13 years ago

I would say the Media were supportive of Kevin Rudd during the election because they couldn’t face another 3 years of “boring” John Howard.And “steady” Peter Costello.They wanted another story to tell.Now after a suitable honeymoon period, the gloves are off and there are plenty of stores to tell.

Geoff Honnor
Geoff Honnor
13 years ago

“In theory, the panellists are meant to be left/center/right.”

Where did this strange idea come from? The aim is to get a variety of perspectives in order to stimulate lively and entertaining discussion. Bolt/Akerman are the resident palaeo-conservatives but the rest of them cover the spectrum.

With the Bolt/Akerman exception, I doubt that it’s possible to get a clearly delineated left/centre/right breakdown. Perspectives will – and do – vary according to the issue. It’s basically a bunch of journos having a natter rather than an equity exercise in partisan polemic. The viewer – given that it’s on at an ungodly hour on Sunday morning – is presumably expected to form his own conclusions given that he’s obviously an irredeemable political junkie.

I personally think that they should only have Piers on when David Marr is also present. It’s always vintage stuff.

Petering Time
13 years ago

Completely agree, Nicholas. These attempts at media beat ups weaken credibility. Kevin Rudd is becoming addicted and seems to think any hour in 24 which doesn’t have a quote from him doing the rounds is ‘dead’ air time.

Niall
13 years ago

9:00am is ‘UnGodly’???!!!! methinks you lay-a-bed far too long Mr Honnor. As to the ideology mix on the couch, I too used to think that the arrangement was left-centre-right, but I don’t seriously think Misha Schubert is ‘left’ per se, while David Marr is hardly centrist in every respect. The right-hand chair, apart from a fleeting warming by Brian Toohey on at least one occassion, has almost always held a conservative. Such definitions as ‘left’, ‘centre’, ‘right’ only tend to muddy the water on issues of balance and responsible opinion on what should be a leader in political exposes. Sadly, ‘Insiders’ has degenerated into Sunday morning entertainment rather than astute elucidation of the masses on issues of import.