Getting the balance Right


If a reputable, balanced and fair metropolitan daily newspaper does a huge, largely creampuff, piece on Prime Minister Scott Morrison, it’s only logical – is it not – that it would follow up with similar treatment for Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese?

Especially with the federal election looming. And with Morrison clearly in campaign mode on the public purse over recent times.

And it’s why The Bug’s Media Glass House waited to see what The Sydney Morning Herald would come up with after it devoted five pages in its News Review section to the PM in its January 14-15 weekend edition.


Deborah Snow’s feature article kicked off with a large study of a thoughtful PM studying briefing notes, presumably, while aboard Shark One, presumably. Or he might have been asleep?

Inside, a further four (almost) full pages were devoted to the piece, with nine more pictures of the PM at work, play and photo-op. One very small photo of Brittany Higgins perhaps alluded to the various trials and tribulations Morrison had gone through during his current term but the SMH made sure a gooey, fatherhood statement by the PM sat beside the shot taken at the May 4 women’s justice rally.

Well, Albanese got his chance seven days later. He didn’t make the front page of the January 22-23 News Review but the SMH allotted him a page and a half inside the section. There was one nice large shot of the alternate PM and five smaller ones.

As we all now know very well, we at the MGH are always impeccably fair to the mainstream mediocre, and we accept that Australia is not in election mode right at this moment even though Morrison might not be aware of that. He remains, after all, the PM and Albanese might want his job but remains, at present, just the Leader of the Opposition.

But both features – a week apart – were entirely about the looming election so we suspect many people might find the two treatments largely different and rather unfair.

Once the starting gun is fired on the poll, the MGH will keep a very close eye on how the always independent SMH and its Sunday sister treat the two main sides of Australian politics.

What’s Labor’s chances, given the two mastheads are owned by a company chaired by Peter Costello and the SMH’s new editor is Bevan Shields, whom The Bug over recent years has clearly identified as the Right man for promotion at the Nine Entertainment Co.?

Finally, would it be too churlish of the MGH to mentioned that the front of the January 15-16 SMH review section had the wrong date at the top?

The MGH does like to pick up flaws large and small in our amazing mainstream mediocre.

***

An former sub-editor friend of the MGH – not quite as bitter and twisted as the washed-up old hacks who compile this column but maybe getting close – alerted us to this via email on Australia Day: On Channel 7 morning news a lovely young thing reported breathlessly about protests on the day Capt Cook colonised Australia. It is not the first time I have seen that this week.

Stay strong, Len Swine of Brisbane; it’s only going to get worse! Thanks for pointing out that TV tyro’s contribution to Australian history. You’ve got to love quality journalism whenever and wherever it pops its pretty head up.

***

Assuming Les was talking about Channel 7 Brisbane, the MGH must dip its lid to Channel 9 across the way up there at Mount Coot-tha.

In its current promo for the imminent return of the full 6pm news-reading team of Andrew Lofthouse and Melissa Downes, the promo at one stage shows a clip from last year with Lofthouse saying: “It’s the news every Australian has been waiting to hear…”

A helluva lot of Australians rejoiced at Cleo Smith being found alive but really, Channel 9? Every Australian? All those new-borns out there? At the other end of the aging cycle, all those lost to dementia?

Not to mention the millions of people in between who couldn’t give a flying fuck about news, on Channel 9, television generally or anywhere else for that matter, electronic or print, as they sweat on the return of MAFS or The Bachelor Farmer And Former SAS Soldier Survivor Desperately Needs a Root Before Someone Gets Him Out of Here.

The news promo is for what the station claims is Brisbane’s No.1 nightly news service, for fuck’s sake. And, supposedly, the most professional. So leave the overblown, absurd, hyperbole for promoting the mindless, vacuous reality TV shows that will soon swamp the network’s programing once the silly season ends.

The MGH is pretty sure “the whole world” is waiting for their return.