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The Forum > Article Comments > No joy for the 'boys' on the campaign bus > Comments

No joy for the 'boys' on the campaign bus : Comments

By John Harrison, published 28/11/2007

Itís the unscripted moments that cause heartburn for political campaign managers - anything, or anyone, not 'on message' is to be eschewed.

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Great article John. All the media need to do to stop this manipulation is to refuse to turn up. Just one media operation doing it and pointing out how their competitors are complicit should be enough to change the practice.

Imagine if our ABC spent its time on a critical analysis of one of the policies that the manipulating party didn't want to talk about in the time they saved, while carrying brief footage from the "press conference" with appropriate comments.

Makes you wonder about the campaign they're currently running for easier FOI laws etc when they're so complacent about abuses like this.

And if Media Watch were doing its job it would be chasing this sort of thing down rather than worrying about how Caroline Overington gets her stories!
Posted by GrahamY, Wednesday, 28 November 2007 10:39:24 PM
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graham, you are quite right, the media could take control of the campaign, in a sense. but they do not. it's a question of motivation. their job is to maximize the number of eyes in front of ads. they do not work for the public, they work for their paymasters.

this is true of abc also, which is paid by the government.
Posted by DEMOS, Thursday, 29 November 2007 8:09:17 AM
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We need to demand more of our media. I'm not talking from some sort of fringe left point of view imagining a conspiracy of the media not to cover particular issues, but just plain incompetence.

Take the nonsense running in the media about Queensland Liberal Leader Bruce Flegg, which I've blogged about at http://ambit-gambit.nationalforum.com.au/. Some journalist buys an absurd line, and the rest just keep repeating it. Flegg is challenged by a dufus who can't actually muster more than 50% of the vote. He asserts that he ought to be leader because Flegg doesn't have a "majority" of spuport. Yeah, well neither does he. So the question ought to be - how come you have a superior claim?

Another question ought to be "The Liberal Party has just come through a traumatic election defeat, why are you choosing to announce a doomed challenge immediately on the heels of it?"

More to the point "You've always been a supporter of Santo Santoro. You were a trustee of his "campaign" fund. His faction is about to be ousted from running the Liberal Party, isn't this a factional play designed to protect their position after their poor performance in the federal election?"

Nope. Just mindlessly repeat the lines of the first person who talks to you.
Posted by GrahamY, Thursday, 29 November 2007 9:09:15 PM
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graham, i have some sympathy with your points. i don't live in australia anymore, so i'm removed from the intricacies of the queensland liberals malarkey.

i think the obsession with the leadership et al and gainsaying is that junior reporters learn from senior in the newsroom that is makes good copy, it's easy to write, the drama tells itself. anyone to stick up their head gets told "hey, don't spoil the fun". i find news reporters don't have much imagination, and the ones that do soon learn via the old heads in the newsroom not to use it.

i found the same thing with the National Party's conduct response to the Wik decision. the Qld Govt's response to Wik, and the fracas between Borbidge and Yanner was poorly reported. too much he said this, then the other guy said that.
Posted by mal arkey, Friday, 7 December 2007 3:42:37 AM
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