Matthew Cranston, take a bow!

The judges of The Bug’s Media Glass House Arse-Licker of the Month appreciate it would be very unfair to announce Matthew Cranston as our September winner based only on the heading and standfirst (above) that accompanied his ring-cleaner of an article on September 25 from the US.

“Morrison’s most successful mission accomplished” indeed! The great man “will fly back to Australia after stealing the limelight in the US with an alliance that successfully overshadowed any criticism of his climate policies”.

But what follows, dear readers, are all the own words of The Australian Financial Review’s Washington correspondent.

Draw that chuck bucket close. In fact, grab two.

Cranston begins his 100 per cent effective lickathon by setting the scene: Morrison “knew he was heading into stormy weather when he touched down in New York at the beginning of this week”.

He had jetted into a New York awash with climate-change talk. The White House had already “been spinning out rehashed climate change rhetoric on press release after press release” and former PMs Rudd and Turnbull were “hanging their shingles out on green credentials”.

Rehashed rhetoric. Don’t you love it?

Cranston: “Morrison needed a distraction – a serious one that would last the week and he found it: AUKUS. The new alliance between the US, Australia and Britain burst onto the scene late last week and has gained momentum ever since. French outrage over the AUKUS deal’s dumping of a $90 billion submarine deal dragged on to the point where the White House and French President Emmanuel Macron tried for days to schedule a meeting.”

Cranston doesn’t mention that call went though and US President Biden dumped That Fella Down Under right in it. And no mention of the fact that Macron is still refusing to take one from Morrison. Not real news when you think about it.

Back to Cranston: “But Morrison got what he wanted and more. More than halfway into his US tour, press conferences were still completely dominated by French diplomacy and AUKUS.”

Buggers, wasn’t Morrison the marketing wizard so, so clever not to have to talk about climate change? Far better, for things to focus on how he wilfully rat-fucked France over those subs? But no, apparently.

Here’s Cranston to put us straight: “While the White House and Morrison’s office were trying to secure a phone call with Macron to soothe his anger over the AUKUS deal, the PM was in meetings with world leaders spruiking Australia’s credentials on emissions reductions.”

“Asked by the media whether he was disappointed that the diplomatic drama around AUKUS had distracted people from his messages around climate change, the Prime Minister said: “No, not at all”, confident that he had averted a week of climate shaming.”

We’ve got to assume the PM told Cranston of his confidence, right?

Believe Cranston and Morrison has cleverly evaded discussion on his climate-change policies – or lack of them – that could have led to a week of shaming but then happily spruiks them here, there and everywhere. Because they’re so good, after all?

Look, the winners of The Bug’s uncoveted Arse-Licker of the Month Award rarely apply logic to their pieces. It’s why they win them. Back to the ring workout.

Cranston does eagerly highlight the face that Nancy Pelosi twice! praised Morrison for his world leadership on combatting climate change. And fair enough too. We also would have if we were right-wing arseholes; instead, if Pelosi really said those things, we’ll await the news that she has been admitted to a secure institution with advanced dementia.

We’ll skip the bits where US folk explained how great AUKUS is. It would be news if they didn’t think that. Back to Cranston again.

“Still, as diplomatic criticism of AUKUS grew through the week – from the French and Chinese to Malaysia, Germany and Indonesia – even former prime minister Paul Keating chimed in – the trilateral alliance nations started easing back on the language. “

Easing back, according to Cranston, was that the UK, USA and Australia “barely mention China”.

So let’s move onto the IndoPacific and another use of his emotive, supporting catchwords …easing and eased!

“Morrison then eased into new messaging on how advanced countries such as those in AUKUS would start ramping up support for countries in the Indo-Pacific that were vulnerable to economic coercion.”

A world leader totally at ease with his place in history would ease into anything, come to think of it, especially if you are one of the greatest marketing geniuses and diplomatic wizards in history.

First chuck bucket filled up yet? We suggest you bring the other one close because Cranston’s about to ramp up the sycophancy.

“Morrison stole the limelight from every world leader in the US this week. Every door that he could have asked for in the US was opened and opened widely.” So, those words in the standfirst were his, after all!

And this: “Before flying out he will meet with US President Joe Biden, Japanese PM Yoshihide Suga and Indian PM Narendra, bringing the number of bilateral meetings in a week to more than seven – an extraordinary achievement that will no doubt boost his standing in the COVID-damaging polls.” No doubt indeed, although the latest Roy Morgan poll begged to differ.

And Buggers, please empty both buckets because you’re going to need them well within retch for the final burst of Cranston’s colon-cleansing efforts on the man he clearly thinks is the greatest PM Australia has ever had and it would be a total travesty of justice for him not to get a fresh three-year term.

“When he does return, he will no doubt feel the US trip was a mission accomplished. But unlike one of his favourite films, Apollo 13, where NASA used physics and innovation to return the damaged spacecraft, this will be more like Apollo 11 – that one that won the space race for the US.”