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Thursday, 24 September 2015

More media musings

It is but a short time since the poll driven removal of Tony Abbott as our PM. Much has happened; a new cabinet has been sworn in, the new ministers have gracefully fronted the media and had warm loving interviews with a compliant media.  New polls have proclaimed the success of the change with a bounce of some 5% in two party preferred for the LNP and a corresponding drop for the ALP. Malcolm Turnbull is now the preferred  PM by some 20 points. All signs of a successful coup.

Not quite. Whereas winners are grinners, the losers are unhappy. So far discontent has been largely under the covers and the media, in honeymoon garb, is reluctant to fan any flames. Even the breathless few comments by Tony Abbott clarifying some comments about Morrison did not lead to much. The entrails of this coup have not been scrutinised, yet. But it will come. And once the media-pack needs some fodder, the discontented will be sought out for their views.

Besotted media coverage

For the present, the media has welcomed the ascendancy of Malcolm Turnbull to the PM role with open arms, forgetting the many reasons they found fault in his last incarnation as LNP leader.  The interviews have been sycophantic. Listen, for example to the unusually slow talking Michael Brissenden in his almost apologetic interview on AM , or view Leigh Sales's kindly, soft interview on ABC 730 report allowing Malcolm to talk without her trademark interruptions.

This is nauseating deference. I have always advised against aggressive, interview tactics (see Interviewing:boxing or surgery?)  but for heaven's sake this looks more like a love fest.

Indeed the media is very pleased. Virtually every commentator has been at it. Praising the new ministry, the Turnbull style, and turning their critical eye, at last, onto the ALP. It is as if Turnbull is their man. No doubt some of this is the euphoria of success; the media's success in getting rid of Tony Abbott, their success in securing the leader they wanted.

Media as influencer

Of course much of this is not new. It happened when Rudd was elected, it happened when Gillard was elected, and indeed when Rudd was elected again.

Abbot however had never received the soft treatment of the others. From the moment he surprisingly defeated Turnbull for the LNP the leadership, the media has been up in arms.

Look at this video showing the media reaction to his winning of the leadership. It is very telling.




Even after defeating the hopeless Rudd/Gillard/Rudd governernments, Abbott received but a short honeymoon.

Without doubt, like all before him, he made some grievous political mistakes. The commentators often note he had no 'political' capital, but more accurately he had no 'media' capital.

In the end all leaders must accept their fate, no matter how the end is wrought. But we should be very concerned if our media hijack the show. If they become players in the political drama. If their influence causes the very changes they want to 'report'.

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