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

dennis the peaceful « Previous | |Next »
February 21, 2008

It seems fair to say that one of the best ways to attract bloggers' attention is to say something about them in mainstream media, preferably The Australian. Even better, say something inflammatory about one of the better known ones.

If you were looking for notoriety though, you'd pick one that was both well known and well respected. And you'd do it in a blog format in plain, accessible language so everyone could participate in the riot you'd started.

Go Shanahan.

It's not as if he could pretend he didn't anticipate the result. This sort of thing does wonders for what used to be called circulation figures. William Bowe's not doing too badly out of it either, except he won't be selling advertising on the basis of hit counts.

Kim over at LP sees this and Janet (Planet) Albrechtson's recent venom spits in the context of the recently declared peace. Australia is now being treated to a new order of civility in public debate, and this is apparently how it's going to work.

Civility aside (obviously), if they were starting to feel a bit irrelevant, successfully baiting the very people who'd been seeing them that would would be a pretty sure-fire plan, would it not? Assuming of course, that they do plan. Another way would have been to engage with bloggers, maybe even on their own turf, instead of hiding behind the Great Wall of Murdoch. But public debate in media is about selling advertising first and last. Debate is incidental.

A few of them have ventured into independent comments threads under their own names, but that's still rare. So what passes for public debate is still conducted largely in controlled space where there's no real opportunity for public participation. Public debate remains a misnomer.

Still, it's tremendous fun, as a lot of largely pointless things are. And I suppose that if stirring up the blogosphere is the only way they can maintain their relevance, more power to them. Compassion requires some sympathy for them, within limits. And besides, making fun of Brendan Nelson was getting a bit boring.

| Posted by Lyn at 1:48 PM | | Comments (4)


Trolling is a well known method for getting eyeballs.

I'm not sure that Shanahan is saying anything of note---from what I can make out he criticizes the pollster bloggers for not being critical of the beat up around Newspoll putting Rudd at 70%? I quote from the post on his weblog

Possum went on: “While records are meant to be broken, this one was obviously meant to be smashed. Brendan Nelson has stormed into the worst preferred prime minister result in the history of Newspoll with an astonishing 9 per cent.” Peter Brent’s Mumble and William Bowe’s Poll Bludger, sites that panned the Newspoll reporting in the past, covered it without personal comment.

You cannot say 'stormed' when the rise is within Newspoll' margin of error argues Shanahan. So? isn't the real story about Nelson at 9%, which indicates how badly the dysfunctional Liberals are doing, not the Possums use of 'storming'?

It's a beatup with a sense of resentment by a trolling Shanahan looking for some payback. His task on The Australian is to criticize the Rudd Government from a conservative perspective. But he has said little of substance so far.

Shanahan is saying little that is of interest. In his latest weblog post on the political theatrics in Friday's Parliament he says:

The Opposition believes the new rules make it difficult for MPs to see constituents, denies accountability when parliament is sitting, raises constitutional concerns about parliamentary privilege and weakens the speaker’s authority.Politically, while it’s a bit rich of the Rudd Government to complain of stunts, the use of the cardboard cut-out of Rudd while the real one was visiting an Aboriginal community in the northern NSW town of Walgett will work against the Coalition.

The real 'stunt' was Rudd visiting an Aboriginal community in the northern NSW. My my. Such insight. What a deepsight into the flaws of Labor's indigenous policy.

Gary, Nan,
That's the point. The only noteworthy thing about it is the attempted revival of the Shanahan versus the blogosphere thing. Is this the only way they can think of to engage? Is tabloid all they can do?

As Cam pointed out, it's all a bit yawn-worthy when participation is an option that could get just as many eyeballs.