People were a little upset with Patricia Karvelas and her questioning of Tony Burke.
I’m not going to go off on a long tangent here but I think we need to understand that there is a bit of a game which goes on between regular journalists and politicians. The whole argy-bargy of the journalist trying to knock the politician of their talking points and the politician trying to stay on task and not bring his or her whole party to the brink of extinction used to be like watching a tennis match between a baseline player and someone who liked rushing at the net.
There was a certain skill on both sides.
These days, however, watching the Morrison ministers I can’t help but feel there’s no rushing the net. It’s more like they watch the volley go past and then try to argue that the ball wasn’t even in play and even if it was, there’s nothing wrong with losing the odd point and who said that this was set point anyway.
I mean, if we look at Greg Hunt’s performance the other day…
Actually someone called me a real Greg Hunt the other day and I got quite upset until they explained they weren’t comparing me to him… It was simply rhyming slang.
Anyway, after Mr Hunt was asked about the use of the Liberal logo by Michael Rowland, he attempted to suggest that the ABC reporter was the only journalist who was worried about it…
We could pause here and reflect on the fact that Mr Hunt seems to be suggesting that it’s only when a significant number of journalists are worried about something that it becomes an issue. Nothing is an issue if it’s only the public who are worried about it. Neither are questions of right and wrong a concern unless one has the backing of other members of the media.
When pressed, Mr Hunt then went on to say that is because Rowland was a member of the left that he was raising this.
Is the subtext that only non-left journalists can raise concerns?
Mr Hunt then suggested that his office was indulging in illicit wagering by telling everyone that they’d been betting that this issue would take up more than fifty percent of the interview would be taken up by this issue when they should be talking about the vaccines.
Given that Mr Hunt talked in so much depth, one suspects that he’d bet on the plus fifty percent option and was trying to ensure that he won by his refusal to actually answer the question and argue that the question was irrelevant, impertinent and a distraction. Seems like cheating to me.
However, the thing worries me most of all about the direction of political journalism in this country is the way in which there’s a reality which is shared by nearly everyone but which is ignored because we keep looking at the shadow puppet performance and not at the clumsy puppeteers who are so inept.
When Morrison made his side-splitting, “Craig Kelly is not my doctor!” at the Press Club, there was laughter. Some people felt that he was rude and arrogant, and that Laura Tingle had been treated badly for asking a legitimate question but I’m starting to feel – as I did with Patricia Karvelas and Tony Burke – that by focussing on the journalist and the politicians we’re ignoring the wider reality.
In the case of Morrison, it was simple. While you may not have found it funny, some people laughed because, well, of course, as if anyone should listen to Craig Kelly. The subtext of Scotty’s response was clear enough: Kellly is a buffoon and you shouldn’t be listening to him. Of course, when previously asked about this, Morrison would have resorted to the “free speech is precious” response.
It’s rather interesting when you think about it.
Should certain views be banned?
No, it’s better to let people speak and then they can be debated and we can show them where they’re wrong!
So what do you think about so and so’s absurd claim that the moon is made of green cheese?
Free speech is wonderful thing and I’m not going to stop them by disagreeing.
And it seems to me that we’ve reached a point where politicians know that what they’re saying isn’t entirely true, the journalists know it isn’t, and even the public know it isn’t, but we keep operating in this little bubble of pretence that not only is it just a difference of opinion, but that we don’t want even acknowledge that everyone knows that the reality but the farce is the only possible way of managing the discussion.
Can we start, at least, saying things that are true? We could start by calling out the platitudes and motherhood statements and meaningless phrases which the current government uses to hide the fact that they’re not actually governing. Or when the Deputy PM tells us that he doesn’t care what happens in thirty years time, ask him if that’s why they won’t raise the rate of superannuation because it doesn’t matter if more people need the pension to survive?
Or could we start by simply acknowledging that the Canberra press gallery have basically argued that they need to keep sweet with politicians and print their press releases without much criticism or else they’ll miss out on getting the scoop of the early press release?
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