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

‘Give us a break’ « Previous | |Next »
November 29, 2013

Laura Tingle's article in the Australian Financial Review (AFR) ---A new government, but no change in politics--- confirms the standard criticism of the Canberra Press Gallery. It's primarily horse race journalism written by those who see themselves as savvy insiders with special connections to important and highly placed sources.

GoldingQ+A.jpg Matt Golding

The AFR is a paper for business, and so it reflects the concerns of Big Business who barracked for, and welcomed, a conservative Abbott Government that was “open for business”. No doubt the alarm bells will start to ring in its pages about the populist, neo-conservative nationalism of the Abbott Government.

Back to Tingle. She writes:

The bloody Canberra press gallery! We are so obsessed with leadership and polls and stuff and not at all interested in policy and the important things.This is a “well-known fact”.

The scare quotes indicate that Tingle rejects the criticism. It is not really true. She then immediately confirms the criticism as the rest of her column is concerned with speculation about leadership in the Coalition.

Tingle implies that she is merely reporting what is going on:

However, the strange thing over the past month or so is having been out talking to different groups of company directors, bank customers, economists and the like about the new government, the same question has inevitably surfaced: when will the Coalition bring Malcolm Turnbull back?....But it seems a little strange that it keeps coming up so regularly after Tony Abbott led the Coalition to victory. After all, it is supposed to be the press gallery that is obsessed with leadership questions and business with serious issues like productivity and tax reform.

She adds that her response has always been the same (apart from the obvious one that a change in leadership is not really front of mind in the Coalition just at the moment): it remains the case that many in the Coalition would rather eat ground glass than go back to Turnbull as leader.

So why write about it? Why not write about the deep dividing line in the Coalition ranks between the small-government people and the big-government people; the neo-liberals versus the populist conservative nationalists?

This kind of source journalism is what Australian journalists would point to as an example of ‘public interest’ journalism – that is, journalism that keeps a watching brief on society’s main institutions--in a liberal democratic society. They then usually argue that it is only the mainstream media institutions that are able to provide the independent scrutiny of those in positions of power and authority.

Tingle's work certainly has a more reasonable tone when compared to the columns full of blatant partisanship written by the idealogues in News Corp who once stalked Julia Gillard with a vengeance, and now act as fawnish courtiers and media boosters for Tony Abbott. Surely business is becoming rather uneasy with the approach of the Abbott Government--- eg., seeing Indonesia as a a strategic threat and not as an economic friend --a prosperous Indonesia presenting big economic opportunities for Australia. Or seeing China is a strategic opponent through the prism of the US conservatives.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 2:19 PM | | Comments (5)
Comments

Comments

There is an inconsistency between declaring the country “open for business” and refusing a foreign takeover bid that the competition watchdog said was fine, but which the National party really didn’t like

"Why not write about the deep dividing line in the Coalition ranks between the small-government people and the big-government people; the neo-liberals versus the populist conservative nationalists?"

The Abbott Govt's response to the attempted $3.4bn acquisition of GrainCorp (ie., a takeover of Graincorp) by the US-based global grain group Archer Daniels Midland is an example of the above dividing line.

Hockey, a neo-liberal who is favour of free markets and capital inflows, had caved in to political pressure from both the National party, who had threatened to split the Coalition if the deal was approved, and those farm groups who had also lobbied fiercely against the takeover.

"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'
Tingle is just reporting what readers of her paper might be interested in - the economic system's opinion makers.

We are in a period of the radical restructuring of the Australian news media. First the Guardian entered the Australian market now the UK-based Daily Mail will.

That should provide some competition to the he News Corp] tabloids with respect to celebrity, entertainment and lifestyle coverage, and a very elegant and easy to use website design What's more the Daily Mail is free

"Tingle is just reporting what readers of her paper might be interested in - the economic system's opinion makers."

It's a non-story and Tingle says as much---" it remains the case that many in the Coalition would rather eat ground glass than go back to Turnbull as leader."