Journos or image makers?

The mainstream mediocre seems hellbent on giving new Opposition Leader Peter Dutton “a fair go”.

And that might be fair enough if they had given Anthony Albanese and Labor a fair go during the election campaign. They did nothing of the sort.

Sadly, it’s becoming clear very quickly what this “give him a go” as espoused by The Sydney Morning Herald‘s Jacqueline Maley really means. And it’s got fuck all to do with journalism.

Far too many in the MSM think a fair go has nothing to do with just reporting fairly and with balance what Dutton now does as Opposition Leader as he tries to rebuild the shattered Liberal brand.

It’s much more than that. It’s playing an active, even aggressive, role in reshaping the hard-right man of Australian politics into a nicer, more caring, more decent – read more electable – politician.

And that should never be journalism’s role.

Newscorpse has been on the case last week with cream-puff pieces across its mastheads on the then Opposition Leader in waiting. Sadly, they were not alone.

ABC News Breakfast began its Monday program this week with the news that Dutton had been working to soften his image over recent days.

Really, ABC? Want to list the things he’d been doing? I’d seen precious little of that. He did talk somewhere of families “regardless of their composition” but Dutton’s main image problem is not one of a young Queensland copper beating up some shirtlifters in a public dunny somewhere.

That ABC intro made even less sense when the very next day after becoming the Opposition Leader, Dutton was quite Thatcherian – he was a man not for changing!

All the Australian electorate needed was time to realise the Opposition-baiting, war-mongering, refugee-boat-towing, let the Biloela four rot, fuck the apology!, I-move-that-the-member-be-no-longer-heard mean tough bastard they’ve been observing his entire political life was just one small part of his persona. Like a certain overpriced, individually wrapped chocolate treat, work your way past that tough outer shell and there’s a softer, gooier, tastier, treat inside.

So, is there any chance at all that the mainstream media are going to do their job properly from now on and stop doing public relations for the Coalition as they have for far too long now?

We shouldn’t be holding our breath after reading shit like Maley’s when she talks of Dutton having a worldview because he was a copper once.

I covered courts for three years for The Curious-Snail and I didn’t see too much of a world view from the coppers in witness boxes over that time. I often saw a narrow-view constable trying hard to remember exactly when his contemporaneous notes were written.

Maley opines: “An effective opposition leader, one who can reframe his party around mainstream values after the disaster of Scott Morrison’s narrow vision for Australia, is good for us all. Even if his enemies will never admit it.”

All and good. But few in politics have had a narrower view than Dutton so let him do that on his own merits if he has the skillset required. Report on his progress fairly and squarely.

It’s not the MSM’s job to give the monster .. sorry…. give him a monster legup in a character remake that, on the surface and given Dutton’s history, seems highly implausible and totally unachievable.

Don Gordon-Brown