26 March 2015

Two good stories today

I might be 'a formulaic takedown artist' but I promised to be better at recognising good examples of political commentary. There were two examples today.

The first was Jason Wilson's description of Abbott and the way he is reported. Journalists will stop at Wilson's description of what a weirdo Abbott is, and stop short of considering their own role in persuading a sceptical public that whatever you didn't like about Gillard/Rudd, Abbott was the better choice. In a country where most people were biased against Abbott, and had those biases reaffirmed since September 2013, what even does it mean to be 'balanced' in covering Abbott? What does it mean to note that he did something that attracted criticism when you can't assess or even distinguish different types of criticism? Wilson has written a cut-out-and-keep article on traditional media failure, well worth reading right now. See you when you get back.

The other masterful piece of commentary today came from Peter Greste, in his address to the National Press Club. He was effusive in praising Julie Bishop for her work, and that of the Department of Foreign Affairs, in gaining his release from prison in Egypt. His warm thanks of others, and detailed explanations of their tireless behind-the-scenes work, truly shows the benefits of living a generous life and receiving generosity in turn. Toward the end of the speech he effectively rounded on Bishop and the government: Greste criticised data collection for its impact on journalism, and successive cutbacks (by all recent governments, and by traditional media) of Australia's engagement with the modern world.

Strangely, the NPC's fearless camera put Bishop out of shot at the point where the government and the media copped some well-earned stick. The questions from journalists were inane, as they usually are at such events. One of Australia's most respected press gallery journalists twat actually wasted his opportunity by waving around a post-it note. Greste pandered to them by describing journalists as cantankerous and competitive and difficult to organise. The press gallery are the exception: they are eager to please, fearful of imagined consequences of not being so; they are herd animals who all report only one story a day, and from pretty much the same angle. Part of the reason why Greste is so highly regarded as a journalist must be because he puts out stories under conditions that would reduce almost all of the press gallery to shrieking wrecks. He played the press gallery masterfully. He had that Abbott ability to make them utterly suspend what feeble powers of scrutiny they have, by giving it more praise than it deserves.

It will be interesting to see how traditional media report that speech. They'll be all over the Bishop-praise, and Peter Hartcher lapped up that twaddle about journalists being cantankerous and competitive. They are unlikely to report that speech for the boomerang that it was, whirring off forcefully at the start only to smack them in the backs of their heads at the end. But hey, maybe this time will be different.


  1. I think Mr Wilson must have spent some time in you back catalogue Andrew. No wonder you commend the article, it sounds like you wrote it!

    1. It's always good to hae support on issues that affect us all.

  2. Peter Greste was spot on.
    He said it all.

  3. Andrew,

    I like your qualified optimism - but I doubt they will change.

  4. But hey, maybe this time will be different.

    Andrew, I admire your optimism.

  5. Great to see you referring us out to an article and event where 2 journalists have "got it right". Thanks. Reading Wilson's cataloguing of Abbot's true weirdness is a difficult read. How could the media knowingly "sell" this unhinged person to us to take the country's highest office. As Keating said - "change the government you change the country." What are we being changed into because of this appalling man & his willing accomplices?

  6. The other Wilson Freedom Fries Commissioner was in attendance as well....

    Just read his twitter account and see who had sponsored him,

    I'm speechless as to how this guy got such a lucrative gig with little qualifications to suit his role...he he!!

  7. The intertubes happily provide us with 2 huge advantages over the old print stuff, readily accessible memory and context.
    We can, thanks to the wonder of links, go backwards in time to, in this case, the dozens of occasions where Abbott has behaved most strangely and sideways in place to other sources to put such in context.
    Yet it seems that our journos have been unable to avail themselves of these simple aids so that, like Wilson, they could readily see Abbott as the long term nutter he is and has been.
    Strange behaviour - by the journos.


  8. I'm not a fan at all of this government however I'm really surprised at the nice compliments towards Ms Bishop....I have some respect for her in this instance.

    We could all learn from this very articulate and strong man who deserves all the accolades he gets.
    Anon Tim Wilson's tenure should end when Mr Abbott leaves but that's not possible of course

    One of the most ridiculous appointments ever!!

    1. Don't you think Freedom Boy will find it very difficult to continue once Abbott is gone?

    2. He suggests otherwise when he's on a five year contract in his opinion. ..

      Weird man that plays this poor gay victim and using the H.R.C for his ideological play thing and his cluque of racist gay friends

      They want Marriage Equality with people like him on the gay gravy town...

      Seriously deluded when he tried to make money from the Sydney siege under his Freedom agenda

      Tacky, nasty and opportunistic for pure financiall gain

      He used to be a really nice guy when my friend went to University

      The I.P.A hardliners radicalised him into this complete tosser...ugh

  9. Thanks Andrew for the pointer to the Wilson article , breath of fresh air really. It always cheers you up when you see some press that cuts through the bullshit.
    What gets on my goat (I know their not important to some ) , is the way the press are reporting the polls , we had a Newspoll "poll" that said Abbott was gaining ground and then Morgan released the day after said the opposite , and every body went to the Newspoll and ran with it completely ignoring the Morgan , that really pisses me off . Murdoch's poll is a joke that is always at odds with every other poll , always and they always choose it as the gospel. The press go beyond incompetence Andrew into willful and blatant fucking corruption.

    1. You should read Bob Ellis on the matter of Newspoll and corruption.


    2. That's why we here at Politically Homeless just don't do polls. They are a joke and not a story/

  10. "maybe this time will be different"? I wish, but doubt it. The NPC members are tone deaf to any of the well deserved criticism they receive. How people like Hartcher expect us to attach any credibility to what they write is simply mind boggling.

    Same old hacks, same old bile, same old echo chamber. Groan.

    Sharing this article, thanks.

  11. What's interesting to watch now is the panicked hysteria from the media pack that Bill Shorten hasn't released every single policy 18 months out from the 2016 election.

    It would be laughable if it wasn't so desperate. Clearly feeling a collective sense of guilt they never bothered to ask Tony Abbott if he had any policies, they are determined not to let it happen again.

    Which is, I suppose, good. But their panic over Shorten still exposes the continued deafening silence when it comes to questioning Abbott anytime he opens his mouth.

    Why do they find asking him questions so difficult?

  12. Nah, they are so used to being in the bubble they don't dare try to escape. Look at a few recent examples of our worthless MSM.

    1. Gillian Triggs released a report into the abuse and assaults of children held illegally in refugee prisons - the entire media talked a good deal about her and reported almost nothing about the abuses against children.
    2. The UN special rappatuer on torture stated loudly, for the umpteenth time, that Australia is illegally torturing refugees. The whole media reported Abbott's fuck you and not one word of the report.
    3. Philip Moss proved once and for all that the two former reports were true in everything they said and it was again the media who reported Save the Children demanding apologies but fuck all about the torture and abuses and rapes being committed against refugees.

    Then we turn to the morons in the ABC like Brendan Trembath who talked to a group leader working with millions of Syrian and Iraqi refugees forced to flee last year alone and babbled about Australia raising their intake to a massive 20,000 a year.

    They are all trapped in this bubble of small minded smallness and don't seem to have any self awareness at all.

    I tweeted to Greste when he said they should go to the refugee prisons that 23 years of not caring enough to bother should tell him that they don't care enough to bother, a presser or two is good enough for them.

  13. 'a formulaic takedown artist' True, but somethings need to be done and done well. Not for the sake of entertainment, but for the sake of quality. If you where a young journalist starting out today and you see all the big names getting away with their current quality, what kind of example does that set? How is THAT a high bar to aim for?

    A year back I passed one of your articles on to a journalism student friend of mine and asked him what he thought, unaware that the subject of the piece was one of his Lecturers. After he got over the shock, he admitted you had a point.

    All little " tune up" now and then keeps everyone at their best.

  14. Andrew, there's an interesting story thread in the second season of Newsroom. One of the EPs decides to go out on the road and gets on the Romney campaign bus. Not sure how close to the mark the story is but it's quite embarrassing watching this bus full of journos being treated so apathetically by the Romney minders. As a viewer and seeing this being played out, I do not have one bit of sympathy for these pathetic hacks.