July 31, 2012
Steve Bracks, the former Premier of Victoria, makes a good comment on the ABC's Lateline about the way the media frame politics in terms of leadership contests. He says:
my view is that we will see a very stable, strong policy period up to the next two years, up to the next election - or 18 months. I don't sense any movement at all in relation to the leadership, frankly, and I think we're seeing that really being put to bed currently. Look, if I can be frank with you, I think it's largely a media issue. It's always the case - and I made reference to some of this in my book as well - that sometimes the media get worried that they might miss a story so they want to get ahead of the story. And then in getting ahead of it, they want to make the story themselves.
I reckon that it is a media issue as well. Another example is the tensions that were endlessly predicted by the media around NSW senator Lee Rhiannon knocking off Christine Milne in the post Bob Brown Greens. These leadership tensions have failed to eventuate in conflict.
Bracks adds that he doesn't see the leadership issue being talked about publicly on the street and that he thinks people expect that the Labor Party have resolved this matter. The reason? Federal Labor have got a leader who has been confirmed by an overwhelming majority and I think they want to see the Government just get on with the job.
Bracks may be optimistic on the stable, strong policy period, but the Canberra media Gallery's obsession with leadership issues has become tiresome and tedious. I'm coming around to the view that they can only talk about this --at the exclusion of policy---because that is all they are capable of doing. Or is it simply lazy journalism. Stirring the leadership pot also probably required of them to sell newspapers. It's tabloid click bait.
But even click bait can becomes so cliched that it simply turns people off. People then become aware how impoverished the public discourse is around politics and how much junk the media produces. So we start to give up reading the newspapers.