Saturday, September 3, 2011

Baying for Blood or Too Much Red Cordial?

My two sons had a couple of their friends for a sleep over last night. The total energy that these four kids have, with their late to bed and way too early to rise stamina, is matched only by their inability to put that energy to good use (And yes, this is a grumpy old man chastising the young 'uns of today). These four boys do remind me of the print and online media this morning, especially in the speculation, insistence and baying blood with the resignation of Julia Gillard as Prime Minister.

I was going to just attack Bolt's diatribe under the heading of Queen's Reign Is At An End, But Who Wil Be King?, but that's a bit like shooting fish in a barrel. What would you expect from someone like Bolt, especially after his boss had a run-in with Gillard earlier in the week?

And someone with Bolt's mentality was always going to go in hard for calls of her resignation, even if his reasoning is half-arsed, at best. What you are less likely to expect are the calls coming from those who really should know better.

I'll start at the Fairfax publication in Melbourne, The Age.

Michael Gordin tries hard in A Matter of Judgement, but if you are going to use a John Howard quote about Gillard, or a quote from Milne quoting Bolt in The Australian, you've lost any respect that you were trying to build earlier in your column.

Lenore Taylor's column Panic Leads to Speculation That Stirs the Winds of Change is ultimately a bit of a nothing piece, as it seems to state that a) Gillard wont resign, b) no-one's going to push her to resign and c) Labor has a lot of work ahead of it. OK. Thanks very much for stating the obvious. If you however add the words panic and speculation hopefully it turn a nothing piece into a, well, another nothing piece.

Most of the rest of The Age, including the Editorial, appear to be more balanced, indicating that whilst there are major issues for the Government to deal with, they will be dealing with them with Gillard at the helm.

So let's move to the mighty Murdoch Empire, and its national flagship, The unAustralian.

Sid Maher - Labor Leadership Ructions Loom Large
Dennis Shanahan - In This Stench Who Would Want To Take On Leadership
Peter Van Onselen - Respected Cleanskin Might Save The Furniture
Tom Dusevic - Malaysia Solution Fiasco Leaves Gillard's Government All At Sea
Jennifer Hewitt - MPs Getting Ready To Think Unthinkable
Paul Kelly - Multiple Disasters for Julia Gillard

And if you read all of these articles there is more hope than anything else that Julia Gillard is replaced as Prime Minister.

Now for those of you living under a rock these last few months, you may wonder why our national broadsheet seems to have it in for Gillard. Certainly one could say that there is no love lost between the Gillard Government and The unAustralian. You have this dummy spit back in June by The unAustralian after they were denied a "scoop" due the Defence Minister deciding to publicly release information needed for this "scoop" (See my Blog entry about this.) There have been ongoing tensions between the two groups as the editorial bent of The unAustralian appears to be firmly against the Gillard Government, and most notably in respect of the issue of Carbon Tax.

Things stepped up a notch with the Milne article early this week, the "series of phone calls" and the apology issued by The unAustralian, combined with the pulling of articles by the Bolt bloke (See my blog entry about this earlier this week).  It's not too often that Murdoch press has to back down on an issue, and even less often when a grovelling apolgy is issued. This was one of those times. It is within this context that one should view the mild hysteria being displayed in today's The unAustralian. It also explains why this piece of crap was written today by Ewin Hannan - 8am Call That Put Julia Gillard's Old News On The Front Page.

Now there are problems for the Gillard Government. They unfortunately created the mess that was called The Malaysian Solution and they will need to clean this up now that the High Court has effectively blocked this as an avenue to deal with assylum seekers. And whilst Gillard's comments about the judgement have sought to inflame the anti-Julia brigade, I actually think that Paul Kelly is sort of correct in his article Argument May be Unwise But It Is Sound (though I suspect that this has been edited from what originally appeared online last night).  I actually have no problem with public commentary by a Prime Minister in respect of a court decision, and think that the confected outrage is just more of the same from those wanting to compose the obituary of the Gillard Government.

And whilst pokies reform and carbon tax are to other policy areas that the Government will need to concentrate on, their biggest issue is dealing with their problem of effective communication. Their media strategy needs to be rewritten and those advising the Prime Minister and the government on communications need to be replaced. The Government has achieved a lot and will more than likely achieve a lot before the next election, however the manner in which the effectively communicate these messages is poor.

Not that it helps when half the media are jumping around as though they have drunk too much red cordial.


Lyn said...

Hi Steve

Excellent blog post, brilliant.

Our reader, writer and commenter Patricia is having trouble posting her comment to you. Not sure why so am pasting Patricia's comment here for you:

Hi, lyn, I tried to comment at but as often happens I found my comment not accepted under any of the identities I tried, not even Open ID. I've had that happen before and usually give up. Any suggestions on what I might be doing wrong? Or does anyone else have that problem e.g at

I wanted to tell fezzantcreakrambler that I agree with him! As I often do with Andrew Elder.

Cheers to you Lyn

Steve Szetey said...

Thanks for letting me know Lyn.

I have checked my comment settings. As far as I can tell it isn't restricting anyone to comment. I'll muck around with the settings to see if it changes anything.

Thanks for the feedback.