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

the missing figures « Previous | |Next »
October 13, 2012

There are two missing figures in David Rowe's cartoon of Aussies at Parliament House. Despite the newspapers the first is a person from the Canberra press and media gallery talking to a politician. They are an integral part of this political culture, as it becoming ever more explicit through the way that they continue to defend their hypocrisy interpretation of Gillard's speech from the criticisms in the social media.

The gallery says that they got it right, because the real story is that Labor exploits misogyny as a tactic for its own self-interest. The real story is Gillard's hypocrisy by playing the gender card.

The criticisms of the gallery's interpretation hold that political coverage and journalism as it is currently practiced by the gallery is broken. The gallery's response, in which the press is trying to be serious by providing “analysis” instead of entertainment and trivia, is designed to highlight their savviness. This savviness increasingly relies on an impoverished notion of politics.

RoweDAussies.jpg David Rowe

We can approach this through the second missing figure: the figure of populist conservatism and its paranoid style of politics. For instance, The Australian has now added a lefty Twitter to its long list of enemies of Old Australia. The Australian has so many enemies who need to be put in their place once and for all that it is clear their paranoid style of politics needs a scary, domestic enemy.

The significance of these two missing figures is that the defensive response of the Canberra media gallery to the criticism from social media is that it journalists fail to analyze the core elements of populist conservatism. Lenore Taylor, one of the more thoughtful members of the gallery, says:

To be clear, I thought Gillard gave a great speech, but that it was delivered for at least some of the wrong reasons, in the wrong context, at the wrong time ...The point is that understanding and calculating the political context, the strategies, the deal-making, the sequences of events, is a critical part of our job. Politics is about presenting a message-as-product, which is what most observers see. We are supposed to gather information and make assessments about how and why the product is made. Assessing the actual political impact of this out-in-the-open gender debate, rather than simply how it made some people feel as Julia Gillard spoke, is something that will only be possible over time.

So according to the gallery, it is not part of the gallery's job, as savvy insiders, to analyze the sexism in populist conservatism, the defence of patriarchy (blokes rule by nature, and women are destroying the joint) or its use as a political weapon to undermine Gillard.

This sexism has no part of the political context or the sequences of events in Canberra. It is just how some people--the outsiders, the viewers, the electorate--- feel, even though the Slipper episode is a part of the political context of the pervasive sexism and misogyny in the political workplace and political life.

So the gallery are unable to give a proper analysis, or a full estimate of Abbott or his strategic work. That is why the gallery has an impoverished notion of politics.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 12:23 PM | | Comments (14)


There is paranoia everywhere in Rowe's cartoon. Everybody is looking at everybody else and wondering about the dirty tricks and what unscrupulous tactics will be employed.

Have the conservatives moved beyond the sexual politics of 1952?

Leonore Taylor says the speech was made for the "wrong reasons" and at the "wrong time"

Oh spare me!!!!

When is the RIGHT time. As things stand... ANY time a female politician delivers such a speech, the usual suspects will accuse her of "playing the gender card" or "playing politics". You can bet on it.

How can the MSM pretend to be so savvy on the one hand, while being so f@&#!*g naive?

The Mainstream Stream Media, also referred to as the Main Stream Misfits, the Main Stream Morons, the Main Stream Mysoginists, the Mainstream Meatheads, the Mainstream Maggotts, the list just goes on and on and all so appropriate. After the pathetic response from our Prime Minister's ground breaking reply in Parliament the other day to Abbott's garbage the MSM deserve every brickbat thrown at them since. And our precious ones of the MSM cannot understand why most thinking people regard them as irrelevant.

It's a world of open journalism now and the Canberra Press Gallery is having to defend the way it filters the news. The media world has changed and the gallery is discoverying its disconnect

Mega George's article on the topic is good, although you'd get the opposite impression if you only read the header.

Lenore Taylor says that most of the press coverage people are complaining about was written by men, which is a good point.

If you're in the mood for a giggle at Paul Sheehan and don't mind naughty words:

"Assessing the actual political impact of this out-in-the-open gender debate, rather than simply how it made some people feel as Julia Gillard spoke..."

The Canberra Press galley use objectivity to distinquish "real journalists " from mere "opinionists" and, worse, partisans. The latter include the shock jocks and the bloggers.

Jay Rosen, citing the philosopher Thomas Nagel, derides as "the View from Nowhere", a term Rosen explains this way:

Three things. In pro journalism, American style, the View from Nowhere is a bid for trust that advertises the viewlessness of the news producer. Frequently it places the journalist between polarized extremes, and calls that neither-nor position 'impartial'. Second, it's a means of defense against a style of criticism that is fully anticipated: charges of bias originating in partisan politics and the two-party system. Third: it's an attempt to secure a kind of universal legitimacy that is implicitly denied to those who stake out positions or betray a point of view. American journalists have almost a lust for the View from Nowhere because they think it has more authority than any other possible stance.

It is being used by the Canberra gallery to stake out an attempt to secure a kind of universal legitimacy that is implicitly denied to those who stake out a different point of view to them re the significance of Gillard's speech.

Things change when they absolutely MUST change. For the MSM that time has not arrived.

The Gallery does not seem to realize that their impartial journalistic neutrality --the view from nowhere) --- between the argy bargy political bickering:

(1) expresses the highly ideological claims that benefit a narrow elite class (the one that happens to own the largest media outlets which employ these journalists)
(2) allows that ideology to masquerade as journalistic fact.

They are not aware of the standard Canberra beltway assumptions that inform the way they see politcal events.

According to, "...Labor appears to have eased back on the so-called gender wars..."

Oh, okay then.

" the real issue is Gillard's hypocrisy in playing the gender card".
The real hypocrisy has been the failure to call out the gallery for its biased, slanted coverage and tacit approval of dirty tactics over long times.
For the first time in ever such a long age, I offer an unconditional raspberry in GST's direction, for the absence of the real facts, by omission or comission

Oh jeez FFS!!! Has anybody checked if Paul Sheehan is taking his meds???

The latest Essential Report poll shows PM Gillard increasing her personal support among voters by a huge 18% to have her best result in 18 months.
And, significantly, a lot of that support came from men.
Tony didn't do badly, he improved from his worst approval [well actually disapproval with a negative of 30%] rating ever to score his second worst rating ever.

But the significant number is in the extending of her lead as Preferred Prime Minister by Gillard over Abbott by 4%.

Which is significant because it shows that despite a massive continuing campaign by the mass media to attempt to frame the kerfluffle of the last week in a pro COALition and Abbott light the public did not buy the MSM line. They believed what they could see for themselves without the hysterical framing [still continuing as mars08 says] of the MSM.

Public and Gillard ALP ... 1
MSM and Abbott COALition .. 0

Reflects well on most of the Oz public.