That Media – That One Over There!

Coorey in full “That Media, That One Over There” mode:

Even had {Gillard} announced the introduction of a policy that began immediately as a floating-price emissions trading scheme, Tony Abbott would still have labelled it a carbon tax and nailed her to the wall over it. After all, the vast majority of voters either wouldn’t have known the difference or cared.

To “the vast majority of voters” we can add the Media. How else could Abbott have nailed Gillard except with the Media’s help?

What Coorey is essentially saying is that, if Abbott had so decided to “nail Gillard to the wall”, the Media would have gone along with it. There is no way Abbott could have “nailed her to the wall” without a compliant and hostile media, more interested in sparks flying than in accurate reportage and comment.

The Media knew the difference – the distinction between fixed and floating prices – as Coorey points out, but did little to make that distinction clear at the time, or since … other than the odd parenthetic mention to cover their arses. The Media went along with their own Group Think, and the public’s “perception” of “The Carbon Tax” being defined as “any action at all on carbon emissions”. They gave up telling the truth, insisting that truth should be part of the debate, and instead went with common wisdom, the “front bar” scuttlebutt, the “barbeque stoppers”, wrong though they were. It was far too easy to just slag off the Prime Minister and have a laugh between themselves at her predicament on Insiders.

How many times did we hear them say, “She just can’t take a trick”? It became almost a national journalistic pastime to queue up to say it. Har-Har.

Even as recently as last week, polls sampled the public’s attitude towards repeal of the carbon tax, some without differentiating between the “tax” component and the “ETS” component. This allowed journalists to write stories saying – in my view without sufficient evidence, and in defiance of some of it – that the public wanted the whole lot thrown out, baby and bathwater.

I would suggest that Coorey himself would have gone along with the blurring of distinction between and ETS and tax components. I didn’t see him writing J’Accuse! type columns tut-tutting at “the Media” missing the very real difference between a fixed price and an ETS … until today, of course.

It’s all so easy now that Abbott has been elected to write obscure columns in the AFR (circulation 75,000) lamenting how Abbott, inevitably through “the media”, treats things, while being one of the chief guilty parties yourself.

Whether they were hostile to Gillard because they are like The Alien – simple xenomorphs, their purity being in their hostility – we are yet to see.

I suspect not. But I also suspect that, with Murdoch calling the shots in the Liberal Party, there will be a few non-Murdoch media organizations that may turn nasty against this government, and for good, solid, self-interested reasons.

 @latikambourke: PM Abbott ‘there has been no broken promise and there will be no broken promises under this Government.’

Abbott has today made a blanket “Promise of Promises”: he has said will never break a promise.

There’s the gauntlet, thrown down.

Is that “Never, ever”?

Who wants to be the first to accuse him of breaking promises now? Who wants to accuse him of lying, breaking a promise about the very act of breaking promises?

Perhaps a television network that wants to keep free-to-air sport away from Foxtel – say Nine with the cricket, or 7 with the golf – may see that it’s better to go along with Abbott.

Perhaps a newspaper, like a Fairfax masthead, that needs all the government advertising it can get?

All of these can be kept sweet if Abbott dangles a carrot, by daring them to call him a liar now, that he’s confirmed he not only has not lied, but will never lie.

@latikambourke: PM Abbott ‘there has been no broken promise and there will be no broken promises under this Government.’

(Worth repetition for its utter hubris … and we were never at war with East Asia. There is no Indonesia crisis. The relationship is good, and getting better. They are our best friends, you know.)

This is aimed at shutting up at least the ABC.

Once Abbott declares that the difference between “black” and “white” is a political issue, in fact declaring black to be white, the ABC are obliged to provide “a balanced view”.

The best they can now say about it is that Pyne’s and Abbott’s statements have “appeared to contradict” their pre-election policies, or that “the Opposition says …” there is “some inconsistency in the government’s adjustments to Education policy.”

It all depends when the “trust” penny drops – a double-sided penny, with two heads, each making different promises – before it becomes apparent that trusting Abbott never got anyone anywhere – from Abbott’s (now dead) girlfriend who was abandoned by him, to Barry O’Farrell years ago when he and Abbott both went for NSW state President of the Liberal Party, to Malcolm Turnbull who was “fully supported by Abbott”, to Peter Reith and the National Presidency (ditto on “full support”), right up to Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (who, to be fair, does seem to have caught on).

Once Abbott starts favouring Murdoch the other media organizations will begin to scream.

Alternatively, if he makes it clear to Murdoch that he won’t be helping him as much as Murdoch thought – that what was in Abbott’s mind was different to what was in Murdoch’s – then screaming will only be the half of it. Rending of garments will be the order of the day.

The basic thing you need to understand about Abbott is that he is the encapsulation of the short-term politician. He does or says whatever is required to get him to the next base. There are few grand, sweeping gestures in Abbott’s political make-up. It’s not how he operates.

But when you do a deal with the Devil, as Abbott seems to have done with either Murdoch, the rest of the media, or both, then you’d better make sure your back is covered.


726 thoughts on “That Media – That One Over There!

  1. I believe there is more than one whistle blower in the Timor matter.

    We now have the ABC saying, minister in the government are saying…………..

    We had a complete replay of what occurred in this weeks party room meeting.

    Seems Peta’s bucket has indeed got hole dear….

    Abbott has been let off the hook, thanks to the death of a truly great man. Will nt be enough to save him, I fear.

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