On the Drum yesterday Greg Jericho was lamenting the lack of analytical rigour in the Canberra Press Gallery.
Abbott read out a speech he must have given at least 50 times by now. It contained nothing new.
Nothing. Not a thing.
Here’s the thing – why can’t the press gallery slaughter this chump? It’s not like they can use the excuse that they didn’t know what he was going to talk about. Nothing he said was new. Nothing.
Eight years in the Gallery left me wondering at the general ignorance of a high number of Gallery denizens. There certainly used to be a problem with groupthink from the uncertain junior ranks.
But Jericho finishes with a point I’d like to throw out to the broader public:
Where is the journalist who is sitting at his/her desk and is linking to reports and ABS data as Abbott speaks? Latika Bourke transcribes everything said at any press conference quite well. She is good to follow if you can’t watch it yourself. We don’t need two of her. Where is the person who has the knowledge of policies so that when Abbott (or Gillard, or Pyne or Swan or Hockey or Combet or Robb) says something in a press conference, he or she is known as the one to follow because he or she will find the evidence that either supports what they are saying, or the evidence to show its all bullshit?
No-one in the media that I am aware of.
For that you need to read blogs. Blogs written by folk who don’t give a damn that some minister’s press secretary might freeze them out.
When I’ve worked in PR I’ve always hated selective releases because every outlet left out takes it as a highly personal insult.
But many in the industry consider it to be normal practice and a way to make friends, ensure friendly reporting, and to punish those who have displeased them.
In the short and medium terms information loses value over time (even in the very long term you’ve really got to keep costs down to make it worthwhile). So the early release of information is most assuredly a thing of value.
I’ll concede we can’t expect every person in the world to publish media releases on everything they’ve ever told anyone. Mostly no one cares anyway.
But should we accept it from elected officials? Especially when it is used to buy silence and agreement from the media that’s supposed to be informing the public?
So, over to you rioters, what do you think about it?