Home > Australian politics, Media > Open letter to the Australian media

Open letter to the Australian media

I’d like to congratulate you on your election campaign…on the whole it was masterful.  Now most people would say that only political parties can run an election campaign, but you went against that old truism and ran an excellent campaign, albeit for one of the political parties.

It was a revelation on how campaigning should be done in the 21st century and set a benchmark for things to come.  Not only did you start your campaign early, 3 years ago in fact, but you adjusted your methods according to the ebb and flow of your audience.  Truly magical!

Here are some of the greatest hits as I saw them:

  1. Now this is only a really small thing, but it set the tone for the entire campaign…the nickname “KRudd”.  One the surface it looks really trivial, but it is open to so many interpretations not the least of which is the similarity to “crud”.  If people start to object to it, they can be accused of being precious and not being a “true Aussie who can’t take a bit of knocking”.  You managed to sweep aside objections that it was disrespectful to the leader of our nation, or that we didn’t hear terms like “J-Ho”, “PCos” floating around either.  It was a perfect example of subliminal marketing.
  2. Utegate/Grechgate.  This was almost your finest hour and your worst mistake.  It was excellent that you brought the scoop out into the public, but the dodgy email image that was obviously fake nearly did you in.  Then when you take into account Grech’s obvious instability and history as a mole, it reflected even more poorly on you…well more on Steve Lewis but you by extension.  Thankfully you managed to make it die a quiet death by abandoning all coverage as soon as it went pear shaped.  Nicely saved.
  3. Insulationgate.  This was almost the pinnacle of your campaign.  The amount of outrage and hysteria whipped up was breathtaking to behold and resulted in the demotion of a minister, so I reckon you could claim that as a scalp.  The fact that you were able to drive public nuts over a program that had so few deaths (compared to previous years) almost all of which were attributable to negligence by the employer, that had new regulations applied (that the dodgy employers ignored), that actually reduced the incidence of house fires, most of which were related to dodgy wiring and not insulation was just magic.  The significant under-reporting of the report giving the whole program the thumbs up was very well done.
  4. BERgate.  This was your finest work to date.  The fact that some of you have been able to extend it for so long is a testament to your skills.  The consistent under-reporting of the successes and the constant regurgitating of the dodgy projects was handled with consummate skill.  The comparison of house construction costs with hall construction costs (even though more stringent standards are required for school buildings) was just poetry…it sucked the punters in completely.  Even when the ANAO and Orgill reports came out you carried on regardless, completely ignoring the fact that 97% of the projects satisfied the schools involved.  It was a great example of driving your narrative home, regardless of actual reality.
  5. Tony Abbott.  This was handled so adeptly I’m surprised you weren’t engaged as public relations for the Liberal party.  That you were able to gloss over or actually turn around his numerous character defects (lack of compassion, hubris, flip-flopping, foot-in-mouth syndrome) into “Aussie bloke” characteristics is a sign of your deep understanding of your audience.  They don’t want to understand the actual character of our potential face of this nation in the world or how he might be perceived, they want to know what he would be like to have a beer with.
  6. And finally, the campaign proper.  This was just the icing on the cake.  By relentlessly highlighting the trivial and ignoring policy, and focussing entirely on Gillard and letting Abbott disappear for 3 weeks you steered everyone in the direction you wanted.  It was the best example of manipulation I have seen in a very long time.  The peak was the “news” story about Gillard’s earlobes.  That it was actually picked up by other organisations and disseminated further is a testament to your prowess.  Also the press conference for Gillard where 26 questions were about Rudd and other inconsequentials and only the very last question was about the actual policy was inspiring.  When you add in Laurie Oakes’ “leaks”, Mark Latham and the continued hounding of Kevin Rudd, it was without a doubt a thing of beauty.

Unfortunately, the public didn’t quite fully buy into your narrative and so we are stuck with a hung parliament instead of the LNP government you were after.  This means there is still a possibility the NBN will go ahead, meaning the slow death of your newspaper arms.

It’s now time to get into those wavering independents and apply the blow torch.  I see you’ve already started by saying their electorates want them to go with the LNP, but there’s a way to go yet.  Get into them as only you can, and best of luck.

***  N.B.  In case any of you think I’ve totally lost my mind, the above is satire.  ***

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  1. tredlgt
    August 26, 2010 at 12:47 PM

    It might be satire to you but they will take it as a complement and put it on their CV as a massive plus ,and now to start the next journey into MSM bullshit . Great article by the way.

    • August 26, 2010 at 2:25 PM

      Thanks tredlgt. I was considering sending it in to them all, but it would require a complete re-write as they would chop of disclaimer and publish it as a puff piece.

  2. Lyn
    August 26, 2010 at 1:18 PM

    Hi Massivespray

    This is just a fabulous piece you have written, very enjoyable,
    thankyou so much.

    Love them all but, Adore this paragraph:

    Unfortunately, the public didn’t quite fully buy into your narrative and so we are stuck with a hung parliament instead of the LNP government you were after. This means there is still a possibility the NBN will go ahead, meaning the slow death of your newspaper arms.

    • August 26, 2010 at 2:26 PM

      Thanks Lyn…much appreciated.

      I was going to include something about policy costings before and after the election, but was too mad…

  3. reb
    August 26, 2010 at 2:42 PM


    “Tony Abbott. This was handled so adeptly I’m surprised you weren’t engaged as public relations for the Liberal party..”

    You mean News Limited isn’t the PR arm of the Liberal Party, or is it the other way around?? It’s so confusing…

    Great post massive.

  4. TB Queensland
    August 26, 2010 at 5:01 PM

    Top post, MS … more factual than satirical, methinks …

    The problem that we have is that the majority of the public (voters) just don’t see it (get it) – they know something is afoot but can’t put their finger on it …

    With any luck – truth and honesty may just break through …

    (I wouldn’t mind so much if Abbott & Co had a way forward but its all stop, delay, can’t, won’t, too hard, to expensive, fudge, BS …)

  5. Pip
    August 26, 2010 at 5:43 PM

    Spot on, and the blowtorch is being applied by way of a “poll” of 600 out of 23,000 voters in the three Indi seats which “proves” that 55% of all three electorates want the Coalition. Half page lettering, Adelaide Advertiser ABBOTT MUST BE PM. No mention of the magical number of seats required to govern in their own right, 76. No mention of the FACT that the convention is for the incumbent government to have first shot at forming a government. Just imagine our world if Rupert gets the new contract for the Australian News Network, [currently ABC24} which covers SE Asia and China. Methinks Mr. Rabbott would give it to him whereas labor hopefully would not. Hell I need a stiff drink just thinking about it.

  6. August 26, 2010 at 10:59 PM

    Good post MS. I love it.

  7. Nature 5
    August 27, 2010 at 7:31 AM

    Spot on!

  8. Bilko
    August 27, 2010 at 9:10 AM

    Spot on but you left out the other aspect of the campaign the complete lack of actual reporting by our national broadcaster nicknamed their abc, I do not think it merits capitals, the jwh factor in stacking boards way way back brings untold benefits into the future.In conclusion the campaign continues why the GG is now like Treasury suspect because she has a labor son in law. The libs owe rupes big time and if abbott falls over the line he will be there quick amart to collect. Your article is so on the nose that I despair where this country is sliding down to.

    • August 27, 2010 at 10:11 AM

      Bilko, the ABC have been particularly disgusting in this entire thing especially considering they are supposed to be OUR broadcaster.
      The GG thing really puzzles me as she has no actual power in this situation…all she does is act on the advice of the PM, who if she can’t actually from government will face a no confidence motion.
      I’m guessing the Liberals (and their PR arm Limited News) are just so ingrained into smear and dirt mode that they can’t let any opportunity pass by.

  9. assclownery
    August 29, 2010 at 2:35 PM

    Hear hear! I was wondering how far people off the planet people have been orbiting with comments like ‘ABC is so left-wing.’ Jesus. I have never seen a more right wing coverage in my life. I suspect it is an incredibly clever (whether intentional or not) move by Murdoch media to discursively frame extreme-right-wing commentators as centre. Therefore, all the normal right-wingers are centre-fair, and anyone who is actually centre is a lefty. It really cornered ABC reporters who are usually good at giving fair assessments.

    Nonetheless, my hat was off to George Megologenis at Oz for some good analysis.

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