Writing in Crikey this morning, Bernard Keane says of the debate about the debate:
Debates are a festival for the political class. Journalists, political tragics and politicians obsess over them. The other 99% of the population are essentially indifferent to them, and they’re probably right to be.
Kim posted last night on the view from the commercial news. Watching the ABC news, it occurred to me that it’s gone from a focus on the horse race to a remarkably inward looking story about how the story is being shaped. The ultimate in post modern Insider-dom.
In a way, what we get from the commercial tv news is something closer to a presentation of what the parties want us to be seeing, with the obvious caveats about the lack of any probing public interest journalism on policy.
Similarly, we’re being insulted by being treated to discussions of whether the Liberals’ campaign mis-steps have anything to do with the Coalition’s fitness to govern. But that’s what we got from a somnolent Paul Howes, AWU National Secretary, on Lateline last night. Howes’ rambling recitation of talking points was only enlivened by his imitation of a bunny in the headlights when challenged on Kevin Rudd’s removal, and when trying to square the circle on the bizarre spectacle of a government running partially against the first 2 years and 5 months of its record.
If we’re going to endure editorialising and commentary dished up with our news, it would be much better if journalists challenged the economic voodoo of the Coalition’s debt and deficit rhetoric, or challenged the Prime Minister to explain whether her ‘little Australia’ rhetoric actually implies its logical conclusion – a reduction in immigration.