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Press propaganda ramps up

I used to think Mark Kenny was a reasonably well-informed political commentator but I have felt recently that he was trying overly hard to give the Coalition the benefit of the doubt.

And then I saw his latest offering and thought WTF, do we live on the same planet?

The title – “As ‘ascendant Malcolm’ shows, nothing succeeds like success” – made me expect a satirical smackdown but I was sorely disappointed. He actually meant it.

“Buoying the spirits of team-Turnbull is a confluence of factors including a rebounding economy, a generally well-received budget, Bill Shorten’s imminent byelection challenges, and the hope of extra pressure on the Labor leader around his party’s July National Conference.

Nothing succeeds like success.

And what could be more emblematic of success than 1 million jobs created under a Coalition government?”

It would be really nice if experienced journalists like Kenny actually did some analysis on those claims, put them in context, make some comparisons – did something to earn their salaries.

According to the ABS, between November 2007 and August 2013, the number of employed people increased by 1,088,500 despite Labor having to manage through the greatest global financial meltdown since the Great Depression.

So adding one million more employed in five years during a time of global resurgency is hardly anything to crow about. It follows the average jobs growth over the last 15 years of about 200,000 per year which does not keep up with current population growth.

Kenny concedes that, despite the million jobs, wage growth “languishes at 2.1 per cent” which “has put a crimp on the budget’s shiny revenue projections barely a week after they were published.”

But he, again, fails to point out how significant that “crimp” is. Adam Creighton gave a better idea in The Australian.

The budget anticipates wage growth rising to 2.25 per cent this financial year, which would require the quarterly rate of growth to surge to more than 0.7 per cent — a level not seen for four years — over the final three months of 2017-18. Wage growth is then expected to rise to 3.25 per cent by financial year 2020.

Reserve Bank deputy governor Guy Debelle commented this week that wage growth could remain stuck at about 2 per cent for longer than people anticipated.

Speaking on ABC’s Q&A program on Monday, the chairman of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, Elizabeth Proust, said it was hard to see how Treasury had come up with such optimistic figures, describing the wage growth forecasts in the budget as “pretty heroic” and warning the government’s surplus will be delayed if they’re not achieved.

Undeterred, Kenny concludes with his own heroic prediction that “persistent internal critics – read Tony Abbott et al – might pull their heads in after realising that the PM could jag another term after all.”

Ya think?


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  1. Jaquix

    Mark Kenny has always been a cheerleader for the Coalition. Slightly scathing pieces emerge, occasionally. Apparently Fairfax political editor James Chessell, is a rabid Liberal, so that explains it’s definite slant that way in last few years. The Age used to be a wonderful newspaper you could rely on for a good read. No more. The occasional decent article (IE critical of govt!) slips through the cracks but not often.
    Independent journalism is the only reliable form of info these days. .Unfortunately those less interested than us, are just getting the vanilla version of everything. Social media is also great for sharing information. I go straight to Twitter to find out what’s been going on, and it’s surprisingly accurate.
    Just watched Chris Bowen Budget Reply speech at the NPC and impressed. Got good applause and questions after, which he answered with ease. I thought the journos were quietly impressed. Such a contrast to motormouth Morrison.
    The ABC, though too pro govt under Guthrie, needs to be saved from the powerful forces against it, then a new broom go through it to sort things out!

  2. babyjewels10

    Mark Kenny is a ponce who sold his soul to neo-lilberalism long ago.

  3. Alpo

    Excellent analysis, Kaye!…. And what Mark Kenny still fails to understand is why such a “great” budget was received with this opinion polls results:
    Newspoll: 51% ALP
    Essential: 52% ALP
    Ipsos-Fairfax: 54% ALP

    Moreover, the betting agencies (much beloved by the Liberal propaganda when they go their way) continue to give the ALP as winner…..

  4. Wam

    Really, Kaye, even a ratbag, like kenny, doesn’t want dutton or son of a small car??

    As for labor they need to allay the debt fear, before they can win, and concentrate on the national party eg the Angel ad shows needs in the bush, NBN is a tool for the bush, cotton kills the darling so send the cottoners to the ord and save the water for the farmers.

    Labor pollies could confess how wrong gillard was to sneak in automatic payrises by showing how much increase they have been given by an ‘independent’(joke larger than the rabbott) tribunal and share the largesse or shut it down.

  5. Henry Rodrigues

    Mark Kenny has always been a covert spruiker for the coalition, very adept at couching his words so as not to appear too blatant but any one with the ability to read between the lines will recognize what his real aim is, to gently massage the sentiments of unwary readers and observers to give Turdball and his misfits, the benefit of the doubt. He is more subtle than the starstruck Katharine Murphy but as disingenuous as the rest of the so-called ‘journalists’, who have yet to learn what it means to be truly independent. The propaganda offensive by the MSM has just started. We at least know how that bastard Murdoch and his minions think.

    Bring on the elections!!!!!!!!

  6. Kronomex

    I nearly choked on my coffee earler this morning when I read the line “As ‘ascendant Malcolm’ shows, nothing succeeds like success” then I put the coffee cup down before continuing. What a crock of sycophantic crap! Stopped reading when I got to part that really ticks me off no end, the one million jobs created by… Is he after a media job with Trembles if (awful thought) the LNP wins?

  7. Kaye Lee

    Thursday’s figures show the unemployment rate increased – from 5.5% to 5.6% – to hit a nine-month high.

    “There are now 741,000 unemployed Australians, with 46,300 more people lining the unemployment queue than when the Abbott-Turnbull government was first elected,” the shadow minister for employment, Brendan O’Connor, said.

    Kate Hickie, from Capital Economics, said Thursday’s jobs data showed there was still excess slack in the labour market, so wage growth was unlikely to rise much above 2.1% for some time.

    “In fact, we expect the wage growth will remain below 2.5% throughout this year and next,” she said.

  8. gail

    Ya think? You mean you JUST noticed!

  9. MikeW

    Mark Kenny is auditioning for a job at Newscorpse.

  10. DIANE Larsen

    Just hopeless opinion pieces is all we get these days

  11. Zathras

    Sometimes journalists like to stand out from the rest of the pack so to go against the sentiment of the herd is a common strategy.
    If they are proven right they are seen as prophetic and worthy of future attention but if they are wrong their opinion is quietly buried under the rest of the noise and forgotten.

    It’s the same for the feral climate change debate deniers or conspiracists who get so much the short-term media attention but different from the Bolts and Joneses who have built their careers on being dedicated to their causes.

    Maybe Kenny’s opinion is more about the hopeful ascendance of Kenny himself than about Turnbull.

    Hopefully it’s not the opening shots for a coming media war to ensure Turnbull’s re-election.

  12. Kaye Lee

    I live in a very marginal seat with a poorly performing Liberal representative. In the last month, I have been polled 5 times and I am noticing an interesting technique which has happened more than once.

    When asked, regardless of voting intentions, if I approved of the job the two leaders of the major parties were doing, it went like this…

    If you approve of the job Malcolm Turnbull is doing, press 1, disapprove press 2.

    Followed by…

    If you disapprove of the job Bill Shorten is doing, press 1, approve press 2.


  13. Wun Farlung

    Earlier this morning I heard morriscum telling the assembled docile MSM flunkies all about the predicted income tax pouring into the Treasury.
    I assume he was asked about wage increases (irritatingly I couldn’t hear the question), he went into to some cock and bull story characterising “sign-on bonuses” as wage increases, “the ABC pay sign-on bonuses”
    I left school 40 years ago and have had countless jobs,mostly casual, across several different industries and have never been offered let alone been paid a ‘sign-on’ bonus and I would wager that a minscule number of employees have.
    Of course said flunkies didn’t challenge his assertion
    Parallel universe indeed

  14. Michael Taylor

    That’s somewhat sneaky, Kaye. Damn sneaky.

  15. Jack

    Any poll is just another propaganda tool, for or against.
    That’s why we shouldn’t force people to vote in elections. Only the people who care enough should ge the opportunity to shape our country

  16. Kaye Lee


    I know what you mean – I try to remain objective (often unsuccessfully) so forgive a lot of what I consider crap but this Kenny article just went too far. Even the Guardian headline was “More than a million new jobs in five years meets Tony Abbott’s goal”

    The media perpetuate the myth that the Coalition are better economic managers when the facts show otherwise. They never talk about the global context. They never look at where the economy is comparatively ranked. Labor governments always hand over an economy ranked higher than the one they inherit from the Libs.

    According to the World Fact Book, Australia’s real GDP growth rate ranks us 146 in the world.

  17. Egalitarian

    Kenny is a perfect Double Agent. In fact many on the Alt Right are modeling similar behaviour on him these days. Subterfuge Works.

  18. Kaye Lee

    Yes Michael, very sneaky, particularly when some of the questions have multiple answers which you don’t bother listening to and just press before they get through them all. And it’s not like you can go oops I pressed the wrong number. That question was late in the survey but the same thing had happened in a previous survey so I listened carefully.

    The robo calls are annoying but the ones with a real person can be quite funny.

    One of the surveys with a real person was asking me if I wanted more bike lanes built. I said well that would be just peachy except, where I live, two cars can’t pass each other on the road, we have no guttering and no footpaths, the drainage doesn’t work and the roads are full of potholes so I am not sure where you are going to put them. Is this instead of giving us more CCTV cameras and a stadium upgrade in the leadup to the next election? At least he laughed.

  19. totaram

    Here’s some authoritative news about the one million jobs:

    ” For instance, creating over a million jobs over a five-year period is not an unusual occurrence. It occurred first during the Hawke government and again during the Howard government. It has also occurred during the period of which the Rudd/Gillard Government was largely in power – from March 2007 to March 2012, 1.002 million jobs were created”

  20. 1petermcc

    Occasionally Kenny does okay, but this has seriously shaken my confidence in his scribblings. Anyone touting a successful Budget while the polling suggests otherwise is really pushing it up hill. On top of that, once folk realise that rather than addressing the Bank’s law breaking, MT has stripped more money off ASIC, any thought of a Vote winning budget will fly straight out the window.

    He is clearly running on class issues and Labor has noticed. I can’t see that ending well for Malcolm, or Kenny’s prediction skills.

  21. jimhaz

    I think Kenny was not so bad early on – however that might have just been in comparison to Paul Sheehan. Wiki says Kenny once worked for the ALP in SA.

    It has been while since I read an article of his that I found sufficiently even handed. I think it is the old problem of spending too much time with the wrong people – one begins to adopt their value systems.

    I thought a similar thing about the number of jobs – namely that no-one should be crowing about the number of jobs the system has created (not really the LNP) – the key statistic is the number of unemployed and underemployed.

  22. Ishmael

    Kenny’s a two-bit hack. A pimp for the Oz penal colony’s rulin class. A traitor.

  23. Kaye Lee

    This government’s actions have cost jobs, notably in the car manufacturing and renewable energy industries and in the public service. Their funding cuts saw us lose many people from the CSIRO and continued cuts to the tertiary sector and to industry research and development are putting future development at risk.

    To make up the slack, the government has had to spend a lot on infrastructure (not a bad thing) and on the defence industry (a bloody ridiculous waste of billions of dollars for little gain).

    The health sector, particularly the NDIS, are going to be the biggest creator of new jobs so what do they do? Throw the funding at the mercy of the wafting tide of global economics.

    Is it ignorance, ideology, greed, obligation to donors? They just don’t seem to have a clue about what we really need.

    Like URGENT action on climate change.

  24. Kronomex

    “Two former Storyful insiders, who spoke to the Guardian on condition of anonymity, described how the feed was considered a resource that could be mined by journalists at the company looking for newsworthy, viral or monetisable social media content that is first spotted by clients.”

    It’s just News Corp way of getting ahold of cheap and nasty “news.” Nothing surprising there at all. And it’s another way for Rupert (all hail The Murdoch) to look for “disloyal” journos and get rid them when the next round of cutbacks occur.

  25. Dale

    More jobs because of a fast growing population, but not relatively more jobs as unemployment still the same, so big deal. If it was nt for immigration our economic growth would run at 0.8%-great! Half the jobs created are in construction because of infrastructure spending in Victoria and NSW. Idiot Morrison trumpets record jobs growth but we find it s all happened before so he s just lying but the MSM don t question it. Everything from this bunch is just spin and propaganda and Turnbully is just a puppet leader.

  26. evelyn demas

    Kay, for way too long the Australian punters have vacated the political sphere and trusted albeit mistakenly the so called “informed political experts” to dialyse (note I say dialyse not analyse there’s a difference) the what, how of politics and the mantra “we need economic reform to sustain our standard of living blah blah” as they kept shrinking the shopfloor, shrink the trickle down hole and unravel all the hard fought gains of 20th century and the social fabric. Today, thanks to social media the punters can now by pass the once powerful media dialysis machine and waking up that MSM never ever was worthy of their trust than and now. Their trust has been sold as a commodity, on the stock market with out so much as a by your leave. This generation need to wake up that past generations fought hard against the media dialyses machine to bequeath this generation social safety net, universal healthcare, public education, safety on the shopfloor all things the duo is hell bent on unravelling

  27. Kaye Lee


    How appropriate. dialyse = to separate a substance from a solution

    Politicians, in particular conservative ones, have become so focused on winning elections that they have forgotten about solutions to the problems that we mere plebs are facing. Do they even understand the threats posed by climate change, poverty, inequality, homelessness, discrimination, lack of opportunity, lack of hope…?

  28. evelyn demas


    On Climate Chang, the than CPRS/ETS, who can forget the powerful media dialysis machine “will cost jobs blah blah” and on budget “lifters and leaners” or the echo chamber of lazy unemployed blah balh and to add insult to injury this very duo (corporate media and corporate unions) at crescendo levels “…Australia needs Tony Abbott….”, and now they deny their creation, have they no shame. As for their second creation Turnbull, half the time they have no idea what he is saying, only that it sounds, smart impressive and brilliant or they would have realised even Turnbull has no idea about any idea but can string a sentence to the nth degree and still have no idea “Honore de Balzac, “a flow of words is a sure sign of duplicity”. They fool the punters once shame on them they fool us twice shame on us.

  29. Kaye Lee

    I said the Labor Party would never dump Julia Gillard. I said Tony Abbott was unelectable. I said the Libs could not possibly shaft a sitting PM. I heaved a sigh of relief when Malcolm took over and thought he would be better.. I said there was no way Trump would get elected.

    As Sergeant Shultz would say….I know nothing.

    And don’t start me on, president for life with royal rights to bequeath succession, Pauline Hanson. People actually vote for her and her band of crazies. What more can I say.

  30. Egalitarian

    And John Lennon said “Nobody told me there’d be days like these”.

  31. Henry Rodrigues

    The American propensity for hypocrisy is awesome, as more shootings occur, they still cling to the 2nd amendment as if it were their salvation, and their mantra “Gun don’t kill, people do ” still echos in the halls of Congress.
    Trump putting on his gravest saddest face, offering platitudes, how his heart and feeling are with the victims blah blah blah. Has anyone ever pointed out to these hypocrites, that guns have only one purpose, to maim, to injure, to kill. Guns are not made to dig a hole with, or saw down a tree, a chop a log into firewood.

  32. helvityni

    Henry, I was showing my young grandson, family photos, and explained to him that his other grandfather had died when only in his fifties.

    “Who shot him?” , was his immediate response, not that there were any guns in the house, he must have already seen too much American TV…

  33. Henry Rodrigues

    Helvityni……That is really sad, such a way to define the present generation’s view of the world, that guns and dying by them, is so natural. As adults we can distinguish between reality and make believe but children view the world through different glasses.

  34. metadatalata

    I for one, will always cherish the contribution ‘The Age’ makes to my week. As we adopt to reducing plastic one-use bags in our lives, this newspaper has become increasingly important for wrapping the food scraps in. I pick up one newspaper a week and it has enough fluff and opinion in it to hold my used coffee gains, vegetable skins and other random scraps until the next chance to pick up a free copy.
    If ‘The Age’ can keep the likes of Kenny, Sheehan and Murphy contained to this environmentally friendlier compostable wrapping, that has to be a worthwhile achievement.

  35. Glenn Barry

    Whenever Mark Kenny was on Insiders it wasn’t immediately obvious if he was an LNP fanboi – looks like he’s outed himself, or perhaps Malfeasance Trembles is calling in favours all over the nation in his putsch to maintain power.

    Curiously we all know the LNP do not deserve any compliments form any media outside of their propaganda wing, so just why would the Age be fluttering it’s metaphorical eyelids.

  36. johno

    Metadatalata, In the early 80’s I went to Bali. Back then they were still wrapping stuff up in leaves. The change over to plastic products is a disaster in these places. Plastic rubbish is now a number one problem (as it is here in oz).

  37. iggy648

    Comparing like with like: The population in 2009 was 21.69 million. In 2013 it was 23.12 million. In 2018, 24.70 million. So in the period since the Coalition came to power, the population increased by 1.58 million. In the same period under Labor, the population increased by 1.43 million. Total employment in April 2018 was 12.501 million. In September 2013, it was 11.646 million. In April 2009, 10.799 million. So under the Coalition, employment numbers increased by 855,000 (not quite a million!). Under Labor, 847,00. Hence, per new Australian, there was an average of 855,000/1,580,000 = 0.54 jobs per new person under the Coalition. Pretty good, but not quite as good as under Labor, where there were 847,000/1,430,000 = 0.59 jobs per new person. They should keep trying, because there was a massive drop in hours worked in Australia in the 2 years of Abbott and Hockey. That’s slowly being overcome.
    Also of interest: in September 2013, the ratio of full time to part time jobs was 2.32, in April 2018, it was 2.16. Full time jobs going backwards relatively speaking.
    And remember, in 2009 Labor was dealing with the GFC. (Not as big a handicap as Abbott and Hockey, but still….!)

  38. corvus boreus

    The permeation of plastics into our environment runs far deeper than most people realise.
    Apart from the visible detritus of packaging, there are more insidious processes occurring, like the smaller particulates that are released as poly fibres and fabrics disintegrate, and the cute new trend of deliberately introducing nano-particulate plastics into ‘beauty products’ to achieve that ‘smooth and shiny’ effect.
    Most of this floats with the flow of water into the sea, adding to the thickening plastic soup, accumulating through the aquatic food chain and accelerating rates of oceanic acidification.

    I suspect that scientists of a future civilisation analysing the Anthropocene layer might look at the existent poly-carbonate layer and speculate that the human era was ended by the impact of a petro-chemical ‘plasteroid’.

  39. johno

    yes, the micro-plastics, another major cock-up. Do you know if these products have to declare if they have nano-particulates.

  40. corvus boreus

    I seriously doubt it
    Some food manufacturing companies have been found to have other added nano-particulate (eg silicates) in their products.
    These nano-particulates are not declared on the packaging, and do not seem to be currently covered under food regulations.
    Given this negligence of precaution regarding foodstuffs, I am sceptical that plastics in cosmetics are covered by regulations.

  41. Florence Howarth

    No apology from PM for his rudeness leading to a man being arrested. It seems with a change of government, debt & deficits also disappeared.

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