My Farcebook fiends would know that over the past three years, I’ve sent regular cheerios to the nation’s political reporters and commentators, reminding many of them of how happily they pushed the LNP line during the 2016 campaign that six changes in PM in six years would not be good for Australia’s image or its political stability.
They rarely quoted the LNP. It was invariably just their own thought bubbles expressed orally or in writing on the issue. Unilateral editorialising, if you will, that just happened to dovetail with the government’s election line. A frequent second string to what I called the media’s political songbook at the time was that, okay, Turnbull wasn’t nearly as flash as we’d thought he turn out to be, but surely he’d shine if given a second chance?
And this crap just wasn’t from Rupe’s risible reporters at his rotten rags. The likes of Greg Jennett and Chris Uhlmann, then at Aunty, were equally culpable.
It’s why those cheerios I kept sending them as Turnbull turned Fizza and the LNP languished in the polls always included the line: “So how’s that working out for you?” If it wasn’t a rhetorical question then, it certainly is now.
Aware that similar “personal thought bubbles” probably won’t work this time, I’ve been on the lookout for what songs will be sung lustily from the political journos’ songbook in election year 2019.
And several tunes are developing. Journos across the spectrum already seem very happy to state as fact, thereby sowing the seeds of doubt in voters’ minds, that Labor’s negative-gearing changes might have been good policy in principle three years ago but are not at all wise, sensible or practical now that property prices have taken a tumble.
These “opinions” are thrown out there and appear to completely ignore industry experts who say the ALP policy will have negligible or only moderate impact. It’s the LNP that is painting a post-apocalyptic picture of a nation’s housing market in ruins. Many journos seem hellbent on giving them subliminal support.
Another string to the journos’ musical bow for this year’s campaign concert is that Labor’s planned axing of imputation credits will have countless Australians, many elderly, starving to death in the streets. At least they’ll have the company of those who have lost their houses to Labor’s wicked negative-gearing plans.
And I’m perfectly confident that many journos in the 100 or so days ahead are going to opine that Labor’s plan for $200 billion in taxes over the next 10 years is going to stop the economy dead in its tracks. I can mostly see the lyrics in my head now except for something that rhymes with recession, but the tune may take a while.
That message of looming disaster and the “R” word under Shorten is clearly the line Morrison and Co are developing and yet my guess is that there won’t be a “Libs claim” or “LNP says” or any similar qualifier attached to many of these comments the journos are going to throw out there after they’ve cleared their throats and begun some spirited singing from that political songbook.
And as mentioned above, it’s not just Newscorpse or SkyNews that are banging away with such personal editorial thought-bubbles.
On ABC Breakfast News on Friday, the supposedly fair and balanced Lisa Millar joined the chorus, hinting strongly as to whether Labor’s negative gearing changes were such a good idea now that the housing market had slumped. Indeed, Barrie Cassidy across the way has not missed the opportunity of late to do the LNP’s work for them with similar seemingly personal views on this topic.
Our ABC – our Aunty – has got to be really careful here. I suppose you can’t blame them with so many in the government out to bring the ABC down but its journalists need to understand that being fair and reasonable doesn’t mean it has to move half-way across to what Rupe’s rotten rags do or what Peter Gleeson is shouting on SkyNews.
ABC staff are not there to push LNP arguments. Millar and Cassidy must avoid giving the Morrison camp free kicks and a helping hand with a bit of editorialising of their own that for all appearances dovetails with the LNP line.
Then again, they are two of Australia’s most successful scribes so maybe they’ve got investment properties and have swallowed the LNP’s dire warnings on various ALP policies hook, line and singer?
POSTSCRIPT: Maybe I’ve been a little hasty in declaring that hit from the journos’ 2016 election songsheet, Too many PMs makes us bad, won’t get a rerun this election year,
In a risible piece of creampuffery by the SMH’s Bevan Shields on Saturday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison steps from his ComCar seeking a cuppa at a Lawnton coffee house and just happens to bump into two dear old Christian ducks who think he’s top of the pond! Hallelujah! Praise be to God. It’s a miracle!
Grab a bucket as I run by you the opening pars to this piece as the SMH snapper captures the three of them chatting away…
A wave of dread washed over Gwyneth Hockey when the Queensland sun woke her up on Wednesday.
“It’s the 12-month anniversary of my husband’s burial, so I am feeling a bit sad and thought I could cheer myself up with a nice coffee,” said Hockey, a lollipop lady in Brisbane’s northern suburbs.
God, Hockey believes, was looking out for her that morning. Not long after bumping into a close friend at Wheelhouse Coffee in Lawnton, a white car with an Australian flag flying from the bonnet pulled up outside. Scott Morrison bounced out of the back seat, ordered a flat white and had a chat.
“What you see is what you get, isn’t it?” Hockey said after the encounter. “I am taken by him, I pray for him and I know our church prays for him.”
Hockey and close friend Gayle Price-Davies don’t usually talk politics when they catch up for coffee but agreed the Prime Minister would have their vote in May.
“All the flip-flopping and changing of leaders has been very unsettling for the country and I just want someone to get on and lead and I think this man is trying to get on and lead,” Price-Davies says.
Washed out your mouths? Good. But can you see where we’re going with this, people?
Indeed, in the very next par, Shields backs up Gayle’s too-many-PMs argument. He writes: The Prime Minister has a mountain to climb just three months out from an election where voters are widely expected to install Bill Shorten as Australia’s seventh prime minister in just eight years. Ooh, waaah. We’re as bad as Italy!
It was such an important point that the subs made it the online’s story’s standfirst. Does anyone seriously think that’s just a fluke?
A standfirst that stresses the too-many-PMs line; the old duck in the coffee shop reinforcing the message early in the essay: all this flip-flopping bad; another term for Morrison good; Shields backing that up straight up with another mention in the body copy.
Have we got the message yet, people?