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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

political contrasts « Previous | |Next »
September 4, 2004

This cartoon takes us behind the endless polls that are regarded as news by the Canberra media:


Of course, the house stands in a particular kind of suburbia:


The reality of the conservative suburban vision of urban life is otherwise.

Both political parties also share the free market conception of civil society, which we step into when we leave home each morning to work to pay the huge mortgage on the house; a mortgage on a badly-designed,and energy inefficient box surrounded by a water hungry lawn.

We need some critical analysis to help push all the political spin to one side. That is where the media comes in, does it not?

Max Suich makes an interesting observation about the Canberra press gallery. He says:

".... the Canberra press gallery, the object of the media's major investment in reporting national affairs, has been cut out of much of the basic political reporting we read, see and hear.....The media, as I have noted, have now largely accepted the role of spectators in the electoral contest and the obligation to report the serve-and-volley, charge-and-counter-charge of each side as if it were serious information."

He's dead right. The media is no longer a watchdog for us citizens.

Suich says that it would be interesting to see one of the major newspapers attempt downgrade the tennis match and turn the reporters loose to find out more than the obvious.

Suich is not the only one pointing the finger at the Canberra Press Gallery.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 11:50 PM | | Comments (2)


Paddy and Mike were fun, but Suich offered more serious concerns.

A few years back, before she'd been discredited, Cheryl Kernot commented on the "Suits" prevailing attitudes in Canberra - whether referring to the party leaderships or the media reps. There seemed to be a consensus on agenda topics and even on the wisdom of tactics.

Thus, in the 2001 some of them saw it as a 'clever tactical ploy' for Beazley to take up the line,"Sure Howard is OK but who do you want as leader two years from now?"

Clever?! How many people vote for a second best option as their preferred choice?

I thought I saw a continuation of this style at Laurie Oakes first interview with Sugar Ray on ACA. Oakes said Labor will be campaigning throughout on 'Liar, Liar. Pants on Fire', but Howard had a clever counter by announcing 'Trust' as a prime issue, even if it was hooked to interest rates. Clever for Howard to be talking about trust?

But Suich got to an important point when he mentioned that Gallery journos were frozen out of the campaign caravan. It sort of keeps them in that no-mans bubble of unreality.

All the same, Oakes countered it well by breaking the Galt story.

But we still need better.

They do see political life through a particular lens and from a particular perspective. Then we all do. That is why truth in politics is such a complex issue.

What is disturbing is that the Canberra Press Gallery are unaware of their bias. They really do they think that reality is what is in the media headline or their comment.

There is very little critical commentary about what they are doing. It is only the politicians who at fault.

And the politicians also see reality as what is in the headlines. All their behaviour is centred around managing the media headline to control the political agenda. That is the campaign--ther battle for the headline.

So it becomes a self-reinforcing and self-contained bubble. The media is part of the charade.

However, I do agree that Laurie Oakes overcame the sidelining of the Camberra Press Gallery into spectators of the political parties media management.

But Oakes stands out because the Galt event is the exception. Even then it was politically managed from within the Queensland Liberal Party.