Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Election 2013: Day 17 (or, not quite a jocular conversation)

A very quick post tonight. I had a pretty hectic day delivering a speech on social media to public servants, which meant I was away from my desk for about 4 hours and I have a stack of other writing to get done (writing that people pay me to do!)

The debate at Brisbane tonight was very good. A real debate in fact.

Next week at Rooty Hill, Sky were planning to do another people’s forum like they had in 2010 – one leader at a time.

Rudd sensibly has said no to this. I bet Sky will get it changed to have the same format as tonight. The two leaders on the stage at the same time is not only a better debate, it’s much better TV. And you can bet Sky, Seven and Nine want better TV.

The moment of the debate that will get all the airtime will be Abbott saying “Does this guy ever shut up?”

Some will suggest that will be good for Abbott because people get bored by Rudd. And yes, they might, but people also expect their Prime Minister to have better manners than a primary school bully.

This could be Abbott’s version of the Latham handshake, because it feeds into the perception that already exists that Abbott is a bit of a brute – someone who is liable to snap if pushed a bit too hard.

Think back to 2004. Who do you picture saying “Does this guy ever shut up?” Howard or Latham?

This is the guy who wants to represent us at the G20. And he’s talking in a way you would tell off your son for doing were he to say that of someone within your earshot.

The other thing is that line absolutely slaughters the news.corp narrative that Rudd is angry

Another idiotic article

So who won the actual policy debate?

I thought Rudd was weak on Abbott's PPL other than asking where the costings are. As I’ve said, they really need to explain that it’s $5b a year spent on something that no one thinks will achieve anything that it is supposed to achieve. For mine, the line should be: “It’s not only unfair; it’s a waste of $5b”. It won’t lift productivity, it won’t lift participation. Spend money on things that work.

But as for the rest of the deabte? Well who cares? These things are a TV show, and Abbott gave everyone a grab to use and discuss. It’ll be he that is having to try and spin it into a positive tomorrow, not Rudd.


Of course I forget that we live in a country with News.corp excreting its view on to everyone (well the few old people who still buy papers)

The front page of the Courier Mail:

Dying paper dies slowly and miserably

At this point it is worth noting that in a one paper town, the latest newspaper circulation figures for the Courier Mail are this:

Brisbane’s Courier-Mail declined by 8.8% to 173,095 Monday to Friday

These newspapers editors think people like being shouted at. But then those who edit the Courier Mail, the Tele and Herald Sun would struggle to find another industry that allowed as many utter f*ck ups as they are allowed in their job.

Take this front page of the Courier Mail from a couple week’s ago:

CM Bullshit

A front page about players getting caught out cheating.

Only problem is they weren’t. No one was accusing them of tampering. The “hi-tech” was tape on a bat that has been done for decades, and there was no scandal, nor any suggestion by either team that cheating was occurring.

So a front page that contained not one accurate piece of information.

Had a doctor, lawyer, teacher, public servant, mechanic, engineer or builder  made an equivalent stuff up – ie getting the main thing you do completely wrong –  that person would be pondering how one stupid choice destroyed their career.

Not in newspaper journalism – pats on the back all round.

This is also the same newspaper which on its website on Wednesday had this story:

Party Games- Labor's campaign bus is careering out of control as the campaign hits the halfway mark - The Courier-Mail

The photo they used to convey the sense that Rudd is angry was, as Therese Rein tweeted, from a service at the Australian War Memorial. They are actually pictured here listening to the names of those who have died in Afghanistan being read out.

When this was drawn to the paper’s attention they removed the pic and placed this “editor’s note” at the bottom:

Pathetic Editor's Note by The Courier-Mail


It took a little bit longer for them to click that using a photo of Rudd and his wife at a War Memorial ceremony to essentially bash him was rather disrespectful towards those whose lives where being honoured that day, and to the many who view the AWM as one of the more sacred places in Australia.

It was the cheapest of cheap shots. And so they tried again and wrote this note:

Finally get round to apologising editor's note- The Courier-MailDid they purposefully use a photo from the War Memorial? I don’t think so. But they certainly did go searching for any pic they could find in the archives of him looking sad, despite Dennis Atkins’ article being about Rudd on Tuesday being angry.

So yeah, they were being malicious. Nothing in the original photo caption suggests the photo wasn’t taken the day before – the reader was led to believe it was.

The problem for the Courier Mail is using a photo from the War Memorial was more malicious than they intended to be and thus they were caught out.  

Either way, sh*t journalism, sh*t editorial work, and a sh*t initial response.

An 8% decline in a one paper town.

I can’t understand why…


Anonymous said...

GREG, on the topic of shitty news ltd papers, you should mention yesterday's Daily Telegraph's front page, attacking the actress who played the complaining housewife in Labor's ad. Classy. Newspaper owned by American billionaire using front page to launch personal attack on an actress who earn a modest living by acting in a ad.

Greg Jericho said...

Yeah. I'm mostly avoiding mentioning the Tele, mostly because it barely classes as a newspaper anymore. It seems to exist now to just try and whip up scandals. New Idea has more believable articles.

Ken Fabian said...

Media performance is abysmal. Any sense that they are the crucial informers of our democracy is entirely a consequence of them believing their own hype. Disturbing that so many others are silly enough to believe it too. I suppose that anyone working in a newsroom comes to share the ambient biases - but aren't they supposed to be trained to know better?

But, bad as media performance is, it's MP's who are inadequate to the responsibilities the position holds that dismay me most - and I think climate is an excellent gauge of competence and sincerity; if they can't tell science from scam, even with the hint that science comes out of science institutions, then they are clearly lacking the good judgment that the job requires. When the ones who do know better keep heads down because they feel more obligation to party, backers, ideology, donors than to doing what's right for electorate and nation in the face of repeated clear expert advice - they should hang those heads in shame.

2353 said...


The rest of the Courier Mail is as bad as the front page. That (and News Ltd's recent distribution changes to cut out the local newsagents) is why the circulation is down. I'm surprised it is only 8%.

Good posts on Election 2013. Thanks for the effort.

Greg Jericho said...

2353 - the sad thing is the Courier Mail was actually doing a great job after the state election at holding Newman to account.

But then in June they dumped David Fagan as's Queensland editorial director.

Mystikiel said...

One of the Courier Mail's frontpages this week was about the fact that we are still paying KRudd's $1000 cash splash stimulus payments to people four years after the GFC. Including to British Backpackers OMG!!!

Apparently the money thus spent amounts to 5 MILLION DOLLARS over the year to date! Divided amongst 20-million odd Australians thats 25 cents of my hard earned cash Im never getting back Kevin YOU BASTARD!

VoterBentleigh said...

We no longer buy newspapers in our household, but one member sometimes brings home the Melbourne Herald Sun puzzle page from papers at work and, while searching for the puzzles, noted that every photo of Rudd was unflattering, but every photo of Abbott was positive. Even where they had a smiling Rudd photographed with a baby looking bug-eyed at him, the caption read: “Who is this guy?” Such weak mockery, it is not even worth a snigger.

Next they'll start putting pro-Coalition subliminal messages in the cryptic crosswords.