Home > Australian politics, Media > The Great Unhinging II – totally batshit insane

The Great Unhinging II – totally batshit insane

After my last post I thought the degree of unhinging in the media couldn’t get much worse, but bugger me if I wasn’t rapidly and thoroughly proven wrong.

With the media collectively going mental over one question posed to the PM in the 4 Corners episode on Monday, the leadership speculation dial has been cranked right up to eleventy.

For me, the most laughable moment happened this morning with the faux outrage exhibited by the Sunrise “news” people about Gillard fobbing off Mark Riley.  I know that news in the morning TV world is a trivial joke, but they take themselves quite seriously and put on their profound voices when speaking about it.  So it was a struggle to keep my Corn Flakes down when she was complaining to Bruce Hawker about the ongoing leadership speculation and how sick of it everyone was.  I don’t think I have ever seen a more profound lack of awareness considering that it has been the media driving this faux leadership challenge for the last 6 months, hoping desperately that if they keep saying it it will happen.  It takes someone with absolute cluelessness or a complete lack of morals to wash their hands of something entirely of their own making…or at least their profession’s own making.

Sometimes I wish the Government members would behave like normal people when being questioned and put them in their place…bring a bit of the Question Time spark to interaction with the press.  I mean let’s be realistic, they are never going to be given a fair go so why not stick it to them with a bit of vim instead of being limp-wristed about it.  As much as I would love the PM or Albo to tell a reporter with a stupid question to “fuck off you idiot”…which I’m sure a sizeable part of the public would love as well, there are other ways.  Instead of accepting the premise of some spurious line of attack why not turn it back on them, asking why they think this is important, or why is this of more interest than actual matters of substance for the country?  Chances are they would be edited to cast them in a bad light, but why not have your own cameras there and post it on YouTube…show the Government having a bit of gumption.  I’m sure it would win more fans than it would turn people off.

I think it’s becoming increasingly clear to even the normal viewers out there that the media apoplexy is much ado about nothing and that it’s nothing but a beat-up.  After all there has been an election since the “coup” so it’s not like she can be tarred as “illegitimate”.  After all, it’s not like people are howling for an in-depth expose on how Abbott knifed Turnbull in the back (by only 1 vote) then proceed to renege on a deal with the Government about the CPRS…and it’s not like we are ever going to get one either.

It’s now more than clear that we have more than one Opposition in this country…we have the Coalition Opposition, the News Ltd Opposition, the Fairfax Opposition, the 7 Opposition, the 9 Opposition, the 10 Opposition and the ABC Opposition.  With this latest effort they shown themselves to be actively campaigning to destroy the Government.  they are no longer reporting the news, they are trying to create the news.

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  1. BSA Bob
    February 15, 2012 at 5:02 PM

    I agree with you about the media’s washing its hands, the media scarcely gave itself a mention in the 4Corners program. It’s as if all that stuff happened in a little isolation cell, almost no concession that there were other factors in play.
    It’d be good to see most of the media told to fuck off because they’re idiots. But you’re right & it would be edited against Labor. Remember the “Rudd rant” beatup after a pretty mild goin with Kezza on the lamented 7.30 Report? Of course the media’s currently in a state of temporary collective amnesia about this particular incident what with Rudd’s being their pseudo man of the moment. They’ll remember it if they manage to get him back in the Lodge.

  2. Duncan
    February 15, 2012 at 8:53 PM

    Honestly I would vote at the moment for WHOMEVER told the relevant “journalist” to fuck off after a braindead question not worthy of an answer.

    On a side note not related the politics, I can’t stand the the breathless bafflement that Qld a (mostly) sub-tropical state could be flooded two years in a row. Morning tv “journalism” is definitely the worst for it, the mock outrage, barely concealed glee at others misfortune and general lack of any real human chacteristic.

    I can’t believe that Journalism can be taught at University going by the current standards of what we’re subjected to.

    • February 16, 2012 at 9:09 AM

      Duncan, I refuse to even classify it as journalism any more…it’s more like New Idea “journalism”.
      I actually like to think of the political news media as the Goldfish Bowl…they have an attention span of about 10 seconds and can’t recall anything that happened the day before.

  3. February 16, 2012 at 7:40 AM

    Top comments. Good to see some pungency, because as you say limp wrists don’t cut it.

    I only remember one turned-back-on-a-journo question in all my life, can’t remember what it was but wasn’t *J*U*L*I*A* that did it?

    And it left the journo flobbergobbed. Anyone remember?

    Thanks Lyn of The Political Sword for the link. And Hi BSA Bob.

    I long to see Labor politicians do some finger-in-air jabbing at these appalling hateful-agenda-driven furphy-mongers and REALLY bore it up ’em. Dog Allbitey why not, in the meantime they just get more unhinged, Heather Ewart was the worst ever last night.

  4. reb
    February 16, 2012 at 8:00 AM

    “I think it’s becoming increasingly clear to even the normal viewers out there that the media apoplexy is much ado about nothing and that it’s nothing but a beat-up.

    Finally you agree with me! 😉

    • February 16, 2012 at 9:07 AM

      Yes, but it doesn’t mean they don’t still have influence. When everyone is saying it, it becomes all pervasive and sways the less critically thinking.
      To mind the good news is that they have gone so completely over to top feral on this leadership speculation crap that even the normally disengaged are starting to twig.

  5. February 16, 2012 at 8:38 AM

    Oh come of it MS the reality is that the ALP have brought this nonsense upon themselves with their relentless attempts to run their own spin in the media and the fact that they are achieving nothing of substance to back up that spin.
    When you have the power plays within the party just bubbling under the surface you just can’t blame the media for making the most of the ongoing soap opera. especially when that drama’s lead actress is doing such a lousy job and the man she knifed for the job is poised to return the favour and reclaim his throne.
    It will be a a very hollow victory if Rudd gets back in the lodge because I very much doubt that he can do much more than lessen the magnitude of Labor’s loss at the next election. But for a party that is travelling as badly as Labor that may even be enough to cement Rudd into a more positive place in Labor mythology. As for Gillard she is forever going to be remembered for how she got the job rather than for any good she did while she was in the big chair.

    • February 16, 2012 at 9:05 AM

      Iain, a few points for you.

      Try to remember the last story in the media that cast Government policy in a good light…or even reported it factually without aspersions to “battlers” earning a quarter of a million dollars or an Opposition politician slagging it off. Struggling aren’t you?

      Unless you were actually in the room at the time, there is no way you can say with any certainty there is any sort of leadership speculation….without proof or sources willing to man up it is gossip pure and simple.
      If Gillard is doing such a lousy job how do you explain the legislation going through…particularly the recent means test for the heath rebate.

      Face it Iain, your Liberal talking points are not going to help you no matter how much you keep repeating them.

      • February 16, 2012 at 9:33 AM

        Hi MS

        Try to remember the last story in the media that cast Government policy in a good light…or even reported it factually without aspersions to “battlers” earning a quarter of a million dollars or an Opposition politician slagging it off. Struggling aren’t you?

        Struggling? hmm not in the least because I am not thinking in terms of the government’s woes being entirely a product of a hostile media as you clearly do. frankly if the government was doing more things right then it would be the media struggling to find things to say about it. In any event the Howard governemnt had a huge amount of negative press as well but they just got on with the job regardless.

        Unless you were actually in the room at the time, there is no way you can say with any certainty there is any sort of leadership speculation….without proof or sources willing to man up it is gossip pure and simple.
        If Gillard is doing such a lousy job how do you explain the legislation going through…particularly the recent means test for the heath rebate.

        Look when you have one source saying something its a baseless rumour but when you have lots of sources, from both sides playing the strategic leaking game you can be pretty sure its on, did you see Rudd on the box this morning? there is a man going through the motions with is “I’m perfectly happy being foreign minister ” spiel that is delivered with an amazingly parrot like lack of conviction.

        Face it Iain, your Liberal talking points are not going to help you no matter how much you keep repeating them.

        The thing is its not me that needs any help here, its Labor in General and Gillard in particular, and I don’t see help arriving any time soon enough to save the patient from certain electoral death.

  6. February 16, 2012 at 9:54 AM

    Iain, I notice you still haven’t found a story…just try it as a thought exercise.

    It doesn’t matter if it is more than one source. If they are not willing to back it up with their actual names it is still speculation. The Howard Govt was over 4 years ago Iain, time to move on…how about comparing it to the press for the current incarnation of the coalition.

    They won’t replace Gillard…to do so is certain electoral suicide. I’m asumming you have forgotten that the Independents’ deal is with Gillard personally and not with Labor.

    • February 16, 2012 at 12:07 PM

      They may not want to repalce Gillard for the reasons that you suggest, but as her popularity and credibility continues to decline the party members would have to be considering ways to save the party furniture. You don’t need inside information to see that.

      But here is a thought exercise for you try to name one thing that this government has done well or done right because I have along list of the things done badly by Labor over the last four years (thanks to a commentator on my own blog):
      1. Carbon Tax – “There will be no carbon tax under the Government I lead.”
      2. NBN – $50 billion but no cost-benefit analysis
      3. Building the Education Revolution – The school halls fiasco
      4. Home Insulation Plan (Pink Batts) – Dumped
      5. Citizens Assembly – Dumped
      6. Cash for Clunkers – Dumped
      7. Hospital Reform – Nothing
      8. Digital set-top boxes – Cheaper at Harvey Norman
      9. Emissions Trading Scheme – Abandoned
      10. Mining Tax – Continuing uncertainty for our miners
      11. Livestock export ban to Indonesia – Over-reaction
      12. Detention Centres – Riots & cost blow-outs
      13. East Timor ‘solution’ – Announced before agreed
      14. Malaysia ‘solution’ – Still not agreed
      15. Manus Island ‘solution’ – On the backburner
      16. Computers in Schools – $1.4 billion blow out; less than half delivered
      17. Cutting Red Tape – 12,835 new regulations, only 58 repealed
      18. Asia Pacific Community – Another expensive Rudd frolic. Going nowhere
      19. Green Loans Program – Abandoned. Only 3.5% of promised loans delivered
      20. Solar Homes & Communities plan – Shut down after $534 million blow out
      21. Green Car Innovation Fund – Abandoned
      22. Solar Credits Scheme – Scaled back
      23. Green Start Program – Scrapped
      24. Retooling for Climate Change Program – Abolished
      25. Childcare Centres – Abandoned. 260 promised, only 38 delivered
      26. Take a “meat axe”’ to the Public Service – 24,000 more public servants
      27. Murray Darling Basin Plan – back to the drawing board
      28. 2020 Summit – Meaningless talkfest
      29. Tax Summit – Deferred and downgraded
      30. Population Policy – Sets no targets
      31. Fuel Watch – Abandoned
      32. Grocery Choice – Abandoned
      33. $900 Stimulus cheques – Sent to dead people and overseas residents
      34. Foreign Policy – In turmoil with Rudd running riot
      35. National Schools Solar Program – Closing two years early
      36. Solar Hot Water Rebate – Abandoned
      37. Oceanic Viking – Caved in
      38. GP Super Clinics – 64 promised, only 11 operational
      39. Defence Family Healthcare Clinics – 12 promised, none delivered
      40. Trade Training Centres – 2650 promised, 70 operational
      41. Bid for UN Security Council seat – An expensive Rudd frolic
      42. MySchool Website – Revamped but problems continue
      43. National Curriculum – States in uproar
      44. Small Business Superannuation Clearing House – 99% of small businesses reject it
      45. Indigenous Housing Program – way behind schedule
      46. Rudd Bank – Went nowhere
      47. Using cheap Chinese fabrics for ADF uniforms – Ditched
      48. Innovation Ambassadors Program – junked
      49. Six Submarines – none operational
      50. Debt limit to be increased to $250 billion – to pay for all of this and much more

      Its not pretty and it has very little to do with a hostile media, face it Labor is being hammered with good reason,not because the media are seeking a headline or two.

  7. Mac
    February 16, 2012 at 10:08 AM

    Iain,

    Politics can be a brutal business. We elect individual members and as a collective they are responsible for appointing their respective leaders. We don’t elect PM’s or Opposition leaders – the members do.

    I can’t see much difference between how JG got her job and TA got his. Both were appointed by their colleagues after they became – rightly or wrongly – disillusioned with the job both previous leaders were doing. And they both had the numbers (in TA’s case only just!)

    If you prefer a Presidential system where we directly elect the leaders that’s fine and I would agree with your argument but at the moment we’ve got the system we’ve got.

    I prefer ours.

    • February 16, 2012 at 1:00 PM

      Mac
      the difference is that Turnbull was not a serving PM at the time that Abbott got the numbers.

      • Mac
        February 16, 2012 at 3:23 PM

        I note the difference but still think that the party giveth and so can taketh away, PM or not. If my local member was a player in a coup that I disagreed with I’d do my talking at the ballot box.

        If Costello had shown a bit of courage (as far as his leadership ambitions were concerned) there could well have been a precedent set by the Libs. If he’d challenged, Howard would not have stepped aside and a PM would most likely have been dispatched mid-term.

  8. reb
    February 16, 2012 at 11:08 AM

    “Try to remember the last story in the media that cast Government policy in a good light”

    Here’s one, from today’s paper in fact…

    But I guess if you’re starting position is that they don’t exist, then I guess you’re not going to be very succesful in finding them… 😉

    http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/political-news/nation-on-track-to-meet-indigenous-targets–pm-20120215-1t6s1.html

    • February 16, 2012 at 11:59 AM

      Colour me shocked…straight reporting for a change. Of course it was in Fairfax so you can expect a sliver of objectivity.
      How about something on a major Government policy…say on something legislated in this term?

      • reb
        February 16, 2012 at 12:01 PM

        Yeah, I’ll just run around scraping up more examples for you shall I … 🙄

  9. February 16, 2012 at 3:10 PM

    reb :

    Yeah, I’ll just run around scraping up more examples for you shall I … :roll:

    Well you didn’t think it would be hard…

    How about something positive on a major piece of legislation then…one of the big ticket items?

  10. February 16, 2012 at 3:21 PM

    But here is a thought exercise for you try to name one thing that this government has done well or done right because I have along list of the things done badly by Labor over the last four years (thanks to a commentator on my own blog):

    *sigh*…here come the talking points. I’ll pick a few.

    1. It’s not a Carbon Tax…It’s an emission trading scheme with a fixed price period. Part of the election promises was a price on carbon…this has been verified numerous times.
    2. NBN…when was the last time they did a cost/benefit analysis for a major piece of infrastructure…say a highway? And not having a CBA doesn’t mean it isn’t a technically superior solution.
    3. Fiasco…strong words for a program with a 97% success rate…once again a fact that has been verified on numerous occasions.
    8. Set top boxes…now this one makes me laugh. The actual device may have been slightly cheaper but the Government service included installation and support…something Gerry wouldn’t touch and rapidly shut up about.

    I could keep going but I don’t have time to shoot down all the talking points.

    How about you try something else for me.

    Why don’t you scour through the numerous brain farts masquerading as Coalition proposals and try to find me one that will benefit the country as a whole, and then explain how it will do so.

    • February 17, 2012 at 5:47 AM

      MS

      *sigh*…here come the talking points. I’ll pick a few.

      And its very easy for me to take out your counter arguments

      1. It’s not a Carbon Tax…It’s an emission trading scheme with a fixed price period. Part of the election promises was a price on carbon…this has been verified numerous times.

      No matter what you call it Gillard flat out lied to the voters about introducing this stupid scheme that will do absolutely NOTHING for the environment and the Climate.Worse yet it will do that nothing at great expense and the creation of a huge money churn. A FAIL at every level.

      2. NBN…when was the last time they did a cost/benefit analysis for a major piece of infrastructure…say a highway? And not having a CBA doesn’t mean it isn’t a technically superior solution.

      Its still a Rolls Royce solution to a Ford problem, after all why do we need mega speed internet anyway? so more people can tweet about their bodily functions or self pleasuring?

      3. Fiasco…strong words for a program with a 97% success rate…once again a fact that has been verified on numerous occasions.

      It all depends upon how you judge success but the scheme was subject to a great deal of rorting and the cost all went ion the nation’s credit card, make all of the excuses you like but most of us think that the government should be prudent with our taxes, not spend like there is no tomorrow (even if their won’t be for Labor)

      8. Set top boxes…now this one makes me laugh. The actual device may have been slightly cheaper but the Government service included installation and support…something Gerry wouldn’t touch and rapidly shut up about.

      Come off it MS how much installation do you think it takes to hook up a set top box? In any event it would have been cheaper just to buy the old dears new digital TVs.

      I could keep going but I don’t have time to shoot down all the talking points.

      Your counter attack has just been shot down, look I think that its bloody hard for any supporter of the Labor government at present you have to find so many excuses for the bad performance of this government that you end up sounding like a broken record.But maybe you need to think about the fact that if there is so much that you have to defend then maybe critics of the government may just be onto something when they say that this is the worst Labor government since Gough if not since the creation of the party under that tree in Barcaldine.

      How about you try something else for me.

      Why don’t you scour through the numerous brain farts masquerading as Coalition proposals and try to find me one that will benefit the country as a whole, and then explain how it will do so.

      • February 17, 2012 at 8:22 AM

        Iain, Iain, Iain…your counters to my arguments are nothing of the sort.

        If it’s not a Carbon Tax, then she didn’t lie. She is on camera as saying that it is ALP policy to introduce an ETS…which they did. No amount of weasel words can change this fact.

        When everyone remotely connected with technology can see that the NBN is a bloody good thing and cheap at the price, including numerous overseas experts, then your sort of thinking is shown up for the short-termism it really is. This is a solution for the future not for the next election as most Coalition policies are.

        My judgement of success is to rely on experts, and they have concluded that the BER was a success. There was some minor rorting but the majority of it was successful. Anecdotal stories do not equate to actual facts and figures, so any comparison with the national report and “the school down the road from me” is just plain wrong.

      • February 17, 2012 at 8:54 AM

        MS

        Iain, Iain, Iain…your counters to my arguments are nothing of the sort.

        Maaaateeee 🙄

        If it’s not a Carbon Tax, then she didn’t lie. She is on camera as saying that it is ALP policy to introduce an ETS…which they did. No amount of weasel words can change this fact.

        If the only defence that you can mount for the carbon tax lie is a semantic one then that means that your argument is indeed very weak. Frankly if it looks like a tax and smells like tax and even Gillard admitted (on camera) that its effectively a tax then it is a bloody tax

        When everyone remotely connected with technology can see that the NBN is a bloody good thing and cheap at the price, including numerous overseas experts, then your sort of thinking is shown up for the short-termism it really is. This is a solution for the future not for the next election as most Coalition policies are.

        Of course the tech junkies think its a good thing (for them) because it means that they get their snouts in the trough, I love modern technology as much as the next person but I am a very discerning user who actaully wants to know what the real benefits of change are and so far I can’t see the Value in the NBN and mother hood statements like those that you have been making sound very hollow to me.

        My judgement of success is to rely on experts, and they have concluded that the BER was a success. There was some minor rorting but the majority of it was successful. Anecdotal stories do not equate to actual facts and figures, so any comparison with the national report and “the school down the road from me” is just plain wrong.

        Well I disagree with you my children attended a very nice school that has “benefited” from the BER scheme and as lovely as the new buildings and renovations are I am hard pressed to find reasons how such expenditure is going to improve the education outcomes. That is down to having good teachers rather than fancy digs and how much of the BER actaully helped that?

        If and when you have your own kids in school then you might have some idea about education spending but until then I will tell you that the ‘experts’ that matter are the parents trying to educate their own children.

    • February 17, 2012 at 6:14 AM

      OH I missed this last point in my response

      How about you try something else for me.

      Why don’t you scour through the numerous brain farts masquerading as Coalition proposals and try to find me one that will benefit the country as a whole, and then explain how it will do so.

      Just balancing the books will be a great start MS But one that will meet your challenge is to fix the Asylum seeker issue, which will in the long run save a motza once we cease to have an unending stream of illegal immigrants challenging our borders. The most crucial component of how it will work is to ensure that even those claimants that mange to prove their claims of “persecution” should not be allowed to get permanent residency or citizenship and those who fail to prove persecution should be promptly deported.

  11. Duncan
    February 16, 2012 at 3:27 PM

    From above
    Reb said …
    “But I guess if you’re starting position is that they don’t exist, then I guess you’re not going to be very succesful in finding them… ;)”

    You could apply that to the list submitted by Iain Hall.
    By the way I enjoy free insulation and have solar panels, neither of which I would have had without the government intitives.

    If you start with the position of “anything Liberals or Labor do is bad or wrong” then you will never find any positives.

    The media are meant to be OBJECTIVE, even the most biased, one eyed supporter must realise that the current reporting is neither informative , factual or even relevant to the Principle activities of the Government of the day- that being the governance of the country.

  12. Mac
    February 16, 2012 at 3:53 PM

    I’ll pick a few too.

    5. Citizen’s assembly – yep, stupid idea
    6. Cash for clunkers – semi-stupid idea
    8. Set top boxes – actually a coalition initiative continued on by Labor. MS’s points are correct.
    9. ETS – if you don’t have the numbers in the Senate you don’t have the numbers
    10. Mining Tax – good idea, poorly sold – was never going to appeal to the jingoistic mining states
    31. Fuel Watch – stupid, populist policy
    32. Grocery Choice – stupid, populist policy
    33. $900 stimulus – outstandingly effective policy that achieved its aims, albeit with a couple of issues you mention
    43. National Curriculum – should have been done years ago. Fuck the states!

    I can’t be bothered researching the others and where they’re up to. But unlike you it seems Iain, I’ve never believed that one side of politics or the other is always right (or wrong).

    • February 17, 2012 at 6:26 AM

      Mac

      I can’t be bothered researching the others and where they’re up to. But unlike you it seems Iain, I’ve never believed that one side of politics or the other is always right (or wrong).

      Oh I don’t think that the Libs are perfect or even always right but even on the “lesser of the two evils” principle they are better than Labor which is why they are going to win the next election.

  13. Tom of Melbourne
    February 16, 2012 at 10:08 PM

    When the press ran all the stories critical of Howard, Liberal barrackers complained of press bias.

    ALP barrackers are no different.

    The press always scrutinises governments, particularly those past their use by dates.

    • February 17, 2012 at 6:22 AM

      Tend to agree with you Tom the difference here is that Labor have given the Press MUCH more reason to be critical and now that they smell blood they are being even more forensic in their examination of this bad government.
      the thing is any one of Labor’s mistakes and stuff ups on its own could be dismissed or ignored but even the most rabid life time party member must be wringing their hands with dismay a their once great party laid so low by a mob of incompetents that can’t seem to organise a good time in a brothel (except for that fellow Thompson who was apparently very good at doing that on his union’s dollar)
      We can all forgive some well intentioned mistakes but when those mistakes become systemic shouldn’t the patient be subject to the most apt cure? Namely a long spell on the opposition benches?

  14. The Walrus
    February 20, 2012 at 4:17 PM

    “It takes someone with absolute cluelessness or a complete lack of morals to wash their hands of something entirely of their own making…or at least their profession’s own making.”

    LOL

    In the light of current events……………………you were saying ?

    • February 21, 2012 at 2:08 PM

      In light of what current events?

      The totally ramp-up of the speculation even further, with still not one skerrick of actual evidence or people willing to lay their name on it?

      I feel vindicated…the Goldfish Bowl has gone totally apeshit.
      I was especially fond of the “escaping overseas” innuendo thrown at Rudd…considering the trip was planned ages ago. But then if you have an attention span of 10 seconds everything is a surprise isn’t it?

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