21 May 2009

Bossing the media - Stanhope style

| johnboy
Join the conversation
51

[First filed: May 20, 2009 @ 12:17]

The Liberals have come into the possession of a very interesting email and have kindly put together some supporting documentation which they have punted on, we assume not just to us here in the RiotACT bunker. Keep an eye out for who picks up on this, who does not, and how much government advertising they receive.

(If reading the email the supporting documents are: Document A, Document B, and Document C.)

First point of interest is the email being sent by Jeremy Lasek, the man who can take a trip to WIN and come back with the scalps of the Chief of Staff and a political reporter when displeased.

I also love that the same email seeking a brief on the situation can also contain a command to start “attacking the reporting”.

In any event it confirms a lot of suspicions about the way things work down on London Circuit.

UPDATED: Zed Seselja has now put his views on the issue, making a two good points which I hadn’t considered.

First is that Government advertising was ordered here for expressly political considerations. Again most of us all suspected it, but this confirms it. The other is that the supposedly arms length LDA is jumping through hoops like a trained poodle.

FURTHER UPDATE: Last night WIN lead their bulletin with this one, also deeply un-impressed with the line about “attacking reporting”. Also the Canberra Times has lead with the story.

Join the conversation

51
All Comments
  • All Comments
  • Website Comments
Latest

It’s probably already happening and seriously would be hard to pick up if it was.

After all, people should be allowed to make political comment.

btw one of Stanhope’s departmental (NOT ministerial) senior bureaucrats let on at a PR practitioners meeting recently, that his department had shameless plans to attempt to turn the RiotAct into a faithful organ of ACT ALP propaganda promulgation. It was quite scary how open this bureaucrat was, that he thinks his function is political. Or, how unaware he was of the inappropriateness of their plans.

Kim Il Stanhope … a dictator, a thug, and a bully. Don’t be fooled by the facade.

Back in you box Steve..

Now this post has been referred to by Crikey.com.au!

I’ve met him too, and in person (ie one on one) he seems quite reasonable. I suspect, however, that he is in fact quite a shy and nervous person at heart. His aggression when challenged, nervous twitches and darting eyes when being watched as he silently sits in front of an audience, his need to boast that he is fitter than John Howard (I kid you not), etc are all signs of this. I beieve he overcompensates.

Nonetheless, policy is policy, and bully-boy tactics are just that.

BerraBoy68 said :

Thumper said :

I’m questioning if his ego is Zaphod Beeblebrox sized 😉

I hate to say this Thumper (as I’m sure I’ll be hit with multiple flamethrowers for doing so) but I’ve met Jon on several occasions for personal reasons – mainly as he was a friend of my late father. In fact, the last time I spoke to Jon was at my fathers funeral (incidentally the leaders of both Labor and Liberal parties were there, as were MLAs on both sides. In fact the eulogy I gave was quite political in nature so it was an interesting funeral to say the least).

Back on topic – I’ve always found Jon to be a very nice and polite man with an ego no more or less than you would find in any other person. Sure, he has his own views (personal and political) but I do feel I would be doing him a great a disservice if I didn’t at least stand up for him as being sincere. Sure he’s ambitious but this is still not exclusive of his being sincere.

Finally, I want it noted that my defence of the man does also mean that I agree with all he is doing in the ACT, merely that I believe he is sincere in his beliefs and not acting purely in his own self interest.

Most despots can be quite charming and amiable outside of their workplace…….

Where’s the FOI request for background papers on all ACT Government decisions to place advertisements in the local print media?

If this is the first time this has happened, I’ll be quite surprised!

barking toad1:38 pm 21 May 09

“Respect my authority!” is funny on Southpark.

Not from the local mayor.

What happened to proper use of taxpayers dollars – to inform the community?

This ad was to try and bring us (and those pesky banks) round to his way of thinking….a complete waste of money. If the scheme was that good there would have been no need to advertise it at all!

Stanhope should be forced to repay the cost of the ad from his own pocket.

FOI via CMD on LDA’s expenditure for the ad run in the 14/03/09 CT?

I thought Stanhope made FOI requests free for the first 200 pages of photocopying and 10 hours of labour, back in 2005(?).
I would have that kind of paperwork in nearby filing for quick retrieval, especially if I had explicit written instruction to do the ad buy.

Anyone know what a half page ad in the CT costs us taxpayers?

The only info i have is that its $12.97 per single column centimetre if you spend over $660k per year (which would be a fair guess on what this govt spends with them). Mind you that was also last years rates.

I think that when you put this story together with mine and other comments under the story “How does one compain about senior public servants?” you get a very bleak picture of the reality of government in Canberra.

Gungahlin Al9:49 am 21 May 09

D’oh Kerces – personal jinx!

Gungahlin Al9:48 am 21 May 09

Canberra Times have gone front page unimpressed with this as well today. There is a fair bit more in the paper than is on the website as I write this.

Includes comments from Stanhope saying he doesn’t endorse the wording of the email from Lasik (essentially seeming to dump him in it as the one responsible) but not clarifying whether his displeasure was that the email remarks were inaccurate or that it would have been more politically astute to have worded such a discoverable email more diplomatically.

Stanhope also says that it was the heading he was annoyed at rather than the article content, which CT make a point of stating was correct.

Interestingly, CT doesn’t mention the attack reporting aspect at all, but focusses on the political but tax-payer funded LDA ad.

CT ran this on the front page today with a full copy ragout of the email on an inside page. (The website only has a fraction of their story).

They say Stanhope never rang the editor but Lasek did.

colourful sydney racing identity8:40 am 21 May 09

bigred said :

Seems he is getting a bit bored with being CM and will move on soon. So will he be replaced by Katy or will ANdrew Barr step up to the plate and being the first openly gay leader in the country?

Don Dunstan?

BTW, the reason I asked about his ego was because he said words akin to ‘This is the greatest housing scheme anyone has ever put forward’.

Um, sorry? greatest? Ever?

Berra,

I’m sure he’s a really nice bloke outside of politics. However, he comes across as a petulant, arrogant and petty little man while in office. And as deeza said, he seems to be unable to admit defeat or mistakes and will pig headedly continue pushing for something long after it has been proved to be wrong or not in the publics interest.

Berraboy, his public and personal persona are obviously two very different things. I’m sure he is a lovely man, a great Dad, wonderful Grandad, loyal friend and so on. That doesn’t mean that his approach to politics isn’t bull-headed, arrogant and egomaniacal. IMHO he has many strengths as a leader, but his achilles heel is an inability to gracefully admit his mistakes, his political ego and the rampant need to tightly control those around him.

Thanks 4 the late Xmas gift S4nta. Pure gold.

Seems he is getting a bit bored with being CM and will move on soon. So will he be replaced by Katy or will ANdrew Barr step up to the plate and being the first openly gay leader in the country?

Thumper said :

I’m questioning if his ego is Zaphod Beeblebrox sized 😉

I hate to say this Thumper (as I’m sure I’ll be hit with multiple flamethrowers for doing so) but I’ve met Jon on several occasions for personal reasons – mainly as he was a friend of my late father. In fact, the last time I spoke to Jon was at my fathers funeral (incidentally the leaders of both Labor and Liberal parties were there, as were MLAs on both sides. In fact the eulogy I gave was quite political in nature so it was an interesting funeral to say the least).

Back on topic – I’ve always found Jon to be a very nice and polite man with an ego no more or less than you would find in any other person. Sure, he has his own views (personal and political) but I do feel I would be doing him a great a disservice if I didn’t at least stand up for him as being sincere. Sure he’s ambitious but this is still not exclusive of his being sincere.

Finally, I want it noted that my defence of the man does also mean that I agree with all he is doing in the ACT, merely that I believe he is sincere in his beliefs and not acting purely in his own self interest.

Would have been easier if stanhopeless admitted the scheme was a failure when it was first bloody obvious almost 12 months ago.

I’m questioning if his ego is Zaphod Beeblebrox sized 😉

Hopeless Stanhope – no more to say 🙂

Is that a rhetorical question Thumper??

Wow, just saw Stanhope on the news. How big is this guys ego?

This is quieting future dissent with the left hand and following normal procedure by writing an angry letter about the reporting, even though the right hand was apparently not informing the left hand (“Don’t report on political failings again, puny human. I may do more than just write a letter about you, I have a telephone with many numbers in it.”) and having the right hand grease palms against future ill-reporting with an ad buy.
(“Here’s a bag of money for your services, coincidentally on the day when I have brought embarrassment to my boss and criticism to your workers, but entirely unrelated to that act. If I have paid too much for your services, consider it extra profit…” )

Its a neat way to increase the bottom line for Rural Press shareholders, but not the greatest of ethics from any of the three parties involved.

As much as the public might like to think that Departments and Politicians are identical, Departments are meant to keep politicians at arms length and out of business-as-usual decisions where possible, but informing them about problems as (or before) they arise.
Otherwise, its the tail trying to wag the dog, and a sign that presiding politicians can’t tell which way the currents might drag them, have received no warning from their advisors\Departmental Liaison, and are being reactive.
(And in this case, the taxpayer is paying money to private industry for the politician to feel better about their pet project being beyond criticism by greasing palms of critics, instead of _improving the damn project_)

Seems a bit of an overreaction by Stanhope to even the teensiest bit of criticism. Don’t mind the letter to the editor if its to correct a point or something, fair enough he’s entitled to state his opinion. Spending a few $K for an ad in the CT to make the CM feel better about his pet projects being criticised is a bit rich though.

I find this very insightful, not so much for the issue at hand, but for the revelations about the political machinations behind what is seen through the media.

It’s a really minor issue, and the CT article was not particularly virulent in its criticism, so the flurry of activity instigated by His Chiefliness’s little tanty is completely disproportionate.

Good to see the CT hasn’t responded (at least not publicly). No need to validate Little Jonny’s childishness.

@ peterh Bossing the media has 2 results, the first is compliance and censure, the other is rebellion. interesting to see who goes which way.

Rebel!

harold, maybe you should read both the letter to the editor and the newspaper ad which were helpfully linked by JB in the article.

I think that it is up to the editors all media to ensure that a young journo recognises the need to be able to reject the CM’s criticisms and to make their own judgement calls on all articles.

they don’t work for the CM.

Bossing the media has 2 results, the first is compliance and censure, the other is rebellion. interesting to see who goes which way.

I see it as an attempt to exert undue pressure the press. The A.C.T Government provides a significant amount of revenue for CT not only through its departments but also through its control of the largest “private” employer in the A.C.T, ActewAGL.

Ha ha ha ha Harold what a load of rubbish!

haroldbeagle1:54 pm 20 May 09

>>>But should the CM not be allowed to complain about an article he feels has got the wrong end of the stick

Absolutely. But does this extend to placing a half page add in the paper – using public funds for what is clearly party political purposes?

And a letter to the editor that highlights any errors or inconsistencies would be fine. But a bullying letter “attacking the reporting and the Canberra Times willingness to work together with the Lib leader” is far from reasonable.

Email sent 8.38am. Requests for all drafts by 11 am. Who said public servants are lazy and can’t work fast?

colourful sydney racing identity1:31 pm 20 May 09

Starting to wonder about the Liberals strategy behind this…is it a good idea to paint the only newspaper as cowardly and submissive to the government? I think the might be shooting themselves in the foot.

But should the CM not be allowed to complain about an article he feels has got the wrong end of the stick, just to protect fragile little journos? I reckon everyone has a right of reply, even the Government, and journalists tend to have thick enough skin.

It’s not like the letter to the editor or the ad made any personal attacks – in fact they ended up pretty mild. The worst of it was: “It is disappointing to see you emphasise one small aspect of the scheme.” – is the Chief Minister’s disappointment really so cutting that it will make journalists give up and just regurgitate press releases?

(We don’t know what was said in the Chief Minister’s phone call to the editor, of course – it could have been quite bad, but like I said – no smoking gun).

If the CT didn’t think the letter had merit they would not have published it. 99% of letters from pollies go straight into the bin.

Or the journos of this town can develop a spine and do their fraking job, rather than rolling over like a pommeranian being mauled by a grizzly bear.

Before dismissing this have a think about the chilling effect it has on journalists (particularly young ones) to be the target of concerted attacks like this.

Much easier to just go on the Government’s drip.

Good to read the CM is passionate about his projects to make housing more affordable. I’d say this strategy is completely transparent seeing as all the action items turned out to be publicly available docs. Yawwwwwwn.

I think, as JB noted in the post, that the interesting bit will be not that these docs exist, but rather who reports on them. Of course if no one else reports on them then maybe it really isn’t a story at all…

Clown Killer12:43 pm 20 May 09

Agreed. It’s insight into how they operate but that’s about it. Perhaps if the ACT Libeals spent some time thinking up better ways to run the place they’d fell less need for desperate grasps at relevance.

I’m struggling to see a smoking gun here.

They’d have to give us lots of money for “advertising” first.

colourful sydney racing identity12:26 pm 20 May 09

No different to what Carnell used to do…Stupid to put it in writing…

You start publishing stuff like this JB and you’ll have Stanhope and his cronies bullying you. That is, if it doesn’t already happen.

Daily Digest

Want the best Canberra news delivered daily? Every day we package the most popular Riotact stories and send them straight to your inbox. Sign-up now for trusted local news that will never be behind a paywall.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.