Flat White

Rotten pollies, rotten media, the chicken and the egg

19 August 2017

9:06 PM

19 August 2017

9:06 PM

There’s general agreement nowadays. Our politics stinks. So does the media.

What’s less clear, however, is if one begat the other or the whiff surrounding both began at the same time.

Old parties, like old media, are finding it harder than ever cutting through.

However, unlike their colleagues in the fourth estate, the politicians can still rig rules in their favour. Between, our major parties still dominate the parliament. They are managing their decline. Indeed, they hope it may only be temporary, a bug that will work its way through the body politic in a few electoral cycles.

That leaves the media, desperate for attention.


Take Fairfax’s Peter Hartcher. Once Kevin Rudd’s amanuensis, he now has the time to be both political editor and international editor of The Sydney Morning Herald in between sounding very serious on Sky.

Today he wrote — under the heading “Exclusive”, natch:

The survival prospects for the Turnbull government continue to narrow, with another key crossbench member of Parliament withdrawing support.

Rebekha Sharkie of the Nick Xenophon Team said that Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull needed to stand aside from his cabinet two ministers with citizenship problems, pending a High Court ruling on their eligibility…

All deeply troubling indeed – until you remember that, unlike Julia Gillard, Malcolm Turnbull has a majority on the floor of the House until, at least, the High Court acts about Barnaby Joyce. Even in the worse case then the numbers, while tighter than Tom Jones’ trousers, will still go his way.

Rebekah Sharkie can hold her breath until she turns blue or passes out into Bob Katter’s lap. The numbers in the House of Representatives will still be 76 Coalition, 74 everyone else. Just as they have been every day since the writs were returned from last year’s misbegotten poll.

Hartcher’s “exclusive”, not to put too fine a point on it, is a crock. Clickbait crock.

The news that has broken since — that Sharkie’s boss is not a strapping son of Hellas but instead a whinging Pom — makes it yet more risible.

Our politics might stink but our media – phoo-wee.

It mightn’t be dead yet, but still reeks like a week old corpse.

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