When you watch a lot of politics programs, you quickly realise we’re a small parliament, with an even smaller number of MP and Senators who get put up by their parties to talk. It means we end up hearing the same things said again on different channels but with little knew insight gained. The ABC’s QANDA is a show I rarely miss, and yet geez it gets boring when you see the same MP’s rocking up. This year on QANDA Tanya Plibersek and Malcolm Turnbull have each been on four time, Christopher Pyne, Tony Burke, Sarah Hansen-Young and Christine Milne all have sat at the big desk three times.
There are of course some that are onl yon once or twice - but when the program features just one of the often seen polticians (such as the above six), it makes the show feel like it is a repeat – which means every other week has that feel.
The Lateline Friday night wrap up is even worse. It’s a why bother watch proposition. Every single position on every single issue is known in advance; nothing new is said; no debate ever achieves insight or a shift in either side’s position. If you feel like you’ve seen Michael Kroger and Paul Howes a bit, you’re right – 5 times this year they’ve appeared going head to head on Friday night on Lateline. Pick any issue – climate change, immigration, tax, leadership, whatever – I could probably write the script for what they will say (ok, I wouldn’t have been able to predict Kroger saying “I have you can’t stop the leaks how can you stop the boats” but maybe if I was drunk and had hit myself in the head with a baseball bat I could get close to coming up with something almost as stupid).
The same goes for Scott Morrison and Tony Burke who have partaken of the Friday night recapfest on Lateline 5 and 4 times respectively this year – and that’s not including the times they have each been interviewed on other nights by either Tony Jones or Leigh Sales.
Blogger “Mr Denmore” picked this point up last week in an excellent blog post.
The problem with the familiar faces is it is just a case of the parties ensuring those MPs they want to get the limelight do. So we saw Christopher Pyne who was looking at a very marginal seat being pushed on to everything on TV this year (not to mention his copious radio spots).
It won’t change. I can’t ever see backbenchers getting much of a go – after all one must learn one’s place in the food chain. But really, what’s the point of it all? Did we learn anything from hearing Pyne go against Albanese today on Laurie Oakes? Sure I guess they both hold positions that are quite important at the moment given the changes to parliamentary procedures being proposed, but they basically said everything they’ve said in every interview they've had in the last couple of days.
The point is that if you really want to be a political junkie you don’t actually need to watch much before you realise you’ve heard it all before – politicians on message “debating” with another politician on message.
Do we need politicans on QANDA if they never go off mesaage? Are two politicans really the best people to sum up the week's events on Lateline? And do we have to ever see Paul Howes' and Michael Kroger's mugs ever again on our screens?
I enjoy Lateline when they get George Megolagenis and Laura Tingle on to discuss the events (twice I think this year), because at least I know they won't just automatically take the opposite view that occurs with the Morrison-Burke or Kroger-Howes recaps.
Yes our poltical system is adversarial in nature, but geez, does our media have to be so boring about it by getting two people who will argue white is black if it will differentiate them from the other? Why not get on some others - one of the Chaser guys perhaps - tell them they don't even need to be funny, in fact don't be - just be insightful (actually, no be funny - be like John Stewart!). Rhys Muldoon follows politics pretty intensely - and he is obviously comfortable on camera - give him a gig. Surely LL isn't concerned about ratings, so why not get some poeple who are not well known to have a say - just make sure they know what they are talking about and are not just going to toe the party line. Getting for example Janet Albrechsten and David Marr on QANDA is nice if you like a fight, but not if you are after insight (and after all we have heard the fight before - many, many times).
How about a QANDA rule - 2 times a year maximum?
And I don't mean to bag Lateline - which I think is probably the best daily current affairs progam on TV - I mearly suggest they think outside the box a bit. Politcians get their chance to say their bit everyday - why give them another chance to resay it in the guise of a recap?
I realise it must be hard to get poeple to come on a Friday night, but how great would it be to see the lineup and think "Now that is worth watching; I might hear something new."
That is my only advice to QANDA and LL - if you know what the participants are going to say before they even get to the studio, then don't invite them to come in and say it.
|Sarah Hansen Young||3||3|