Process issues, pontification and the journosphere

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.

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Posted in federal election 2010, media
14 comments on “Process issues, pontification and the journosphere
  1. Sam says:

    Well, obviously, the PM, who is a migrant, can’t openly advocate a reduction immigration.

    Interestingly, the leader of the opposition is also a migrant.

    Bloody reffos. They’re everywhere.

  2. salient says:

    “it would be much better if journalists challenged the economic voodoo of the Coalition’s debt and deficit rhetoric”

    As our economy is strongly back in growth territory there is a Keynesian argument for reducing government spending.

    Also, most journalists have no qualifications in economics or much of an understanding of how the economy works so they’re in no position to challenge what you describe as voodoo. Best to leave it to the experienced and qualified economics journos.

  3. Trenton says:

    Howes made Kroger look balanced, that is quite an achievement. The stuff about the campaign office was school yard level debate.

    I agree with Kroger on one point and that is Labor will only get so much life out of the Workchoices scare campaign. It will be hard to keep it going for four and half weeks.

    You would think Labor in that time will have to say something about the last two and half years in government, unless they plan to spend the time attacking Abott and repeating platitudes about going forward. If attacking Abbott is their main gameplan then imo they will be flat out keeping the attention of those voters who usually decide elections in Australia.

  4. kimberella says:

    Howes was terrible. I wonder if he’s going to come out of the leadership challenge kerfuffle looking diminished rather than enhanced. That would be just.

  5. Patricia WA says:

    It wasn’t just Howes who was apparently sleep deprived. Howes though wooden was largely on message. It was Michael Kroger who throughout the interview had nothing of substance to say, with the body language of an already defeated man. Howes ‘bunny in the headlights’ response was not so much to the question about Rudd but to Leigh Sales allowing Kroger to throw it in as a diversion. As with most of her questions Kroger could make no constructive response to the post election prospect of a Greens controlled Senate balance of power with a Labor majority in the Reps. So he used the diversionary tactic of changing the subject and Sales let him get away with it. Nor did she bring them back on theme when the interview degenerated into protest from Howes and jeering obfuscation from Kroger. Both men at least had the excuse of jet lag, Leigh Sales had no excuse for her lacklustre performance. You’re right, Mark, we deserve better than this.

  6. Trenton says:

    Yes it would be just. I just hope he is not idicitive of the sort of person that is floating to the top of the Labor movement these days but I am afraid he probably is.

  7. Russell says:

    Mark wrote: “the bizarre spectacle of a government running partially against the first 2 years and 5 months of its record”

    Some people might find it refreshing to hear politicians say “we got that wrong” about particular policies, or their implementation. Do you really think governments don’t make some mistakes?

    I still maintain that we had 12 years of Howard because Kim Beazley would never say that the ALP had done anything wrong – when asked about the excesses of Keating the answer was always “we didn’t explain our policies well enough”. Whereas a lot of people were thinking ‘we understood alright, we just didn’t like some of those policies’!

  8. Keane’s fake populism is annoying. A lot more than 1% of voters will watch the debates for a start. Levels of voter interest are in part a rational response to levels of policy differentiation.

  9. Spana says:

    I think the Paul Howes’ performance in the article is an example of everything that is wrong with the unions and Labor. Paul Howes is an unelected careerist who wants power. His behind the scenes role in getting rid of Rudd and the appallingly anti intellectual ad about the Abbott family show just how lost for talent the ALP and AWU is. The ad is an insulting disgrace and lowers politics below the level of even slogans. Personal attacks like this just show that Labor has nothing to offer except fear. It is a very sad reflection on the AWU. But did we ever expect intellectual debate from say nothing Gillard?

  10. jane says:

    Bloody reffos. They’re everywhere.

    Taking our jobs, forming terrorist cells, wearing the wrong clothes. Bastards!!

    On the economics front, <a href=http://www.smh.com.au/federal-election/economy/nobel-laureate-lauds-labors-stimulus-spend-20100719-10hza.htmlthis and this should be recited every time the Smuggles Set starts to perpetrate the meme of their superior economic management and the government’s response to the GFC.

    Oh, I forgot, the perceived Smuggles Set wisdom is that it’s all an ALP lie. No such thing occurred. Lehman Brothers is alive and well and living in the Rodent’s basement!

  11. jane says:

    Aaagghh! first link should read

  12. paul walter says:

    Good link, Jane.
    Goes with Glenn Stevens’ repudiation of Captain Budgies voodoo economics, yesterday.

  13. Nickws says:

    jane, I also linked to an article in the Fairfax Press reporting Stiglitz’s positive view of the Australian economy. The Age today informed me that Reserve Bank governor Stevens has declared Australia’s net government debt is so historically low it shouldn’t even be an issue this election.

    Why isn’t the government and its surrogates (other than, perhaps, Tim Colebatch) pushing this? Why aren’t the progressive ‘dissident’ media—LP included—urging the government and its surrogates to push this? Arsed if I can see how this isn’t either process or policy.

  14. kimberella says:

    @Nickws, unlike the msm, we have day jobs. I am contemplating writing a post, but there’s only so many hours in the day, and I’d prefer to do something more considered than a quick link.

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