A very hostile first media conference for Anthony Albanese in the marginal seat of Bass in Tasmania, where he couldn’t answer or gave the wrong answers to two questions from a journalist: what’s the Reserve Bank’s cash rate, and what is the official unemployment rate.
A classic ‘gotcha’ question from the media, and it’s just another example of how poor political journalism is in Australia, where the value of catching a politician out – and getting the headline propaganda – is placed far higher than providing a vision for the future of this country, which is sorely needed after nine years of driftless and aimless government provided by the Liberal–National Coalition.
But, these are rules of the game: Albanese should have known these figures or, at the least, had a strategy for dealing with this situation, which inevitably happens during an election campaign.
If only he’d been quick enough to recite three words – “Google it, mate” – and all would have been forgiven. Adam Bandt from the Australian Greens put a journalist in his place for asking a ridiculous ‘gotcha’ question, but it’s unlikely to stop journalists from asking these inane questions, because the current crop of Australian journalists don’t have the intellect or depth of knowledge to provide a clearer analysis: best to trip over a political leader, and that’s the day’s work day. And if they’re lucky, score an invitation to the Prime Minister’s private drinks session for the travelling media: you never know who you might meet there and, hopefully snort some free cocaine in the Nepean Rowers Club bathrooms.
Labor does receive different treatment from the media, there’s no questions about this: hostility and impatient demands for answers are always made of Labor Party leaders; for Scott Morrison, any answer will do – whether it’s correct or not, doesn’t really matter either – and then it’s off for some photo opportunities at a sewing machine centre in western Sydney, or shooting some hoops at a basketball court in Melbourne. Morrison is the media’s man: he can do no wrong, because he’s the convenient idiot for the media moguls. Or perhaps the Manchurian Candidate, but that might be a bit too sophisticated for legacy media, which prefers to glide with those in power, rather than hold power to account.
Will this cost Albanese the election? Elections are more than just about first-day blunders: this election should be about climate change, cost of living pressures, wage stagnation, a lack of action for bushfire and flood victims, saving Medicare, women’s safety, the failures in the vaccination rollout and quarantine measures, incompetence, corruption, and all the rorting.
These are the issues the election should be about, not about who can recite random statistics on a podium. The media is trying to hoodwink the electorate: they’re as evil and insipid as the Liberal Party that they keep cheering for. It’s just a question of whether the electorate can see through this, or keep swallowing the lies they’re been happily accepting over the past nine years.
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