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Journalism

Jun 18, 2010

Rudd's hapless communications strategy

For a government constantly accused of media management and spin, they're pretty useless. The media has gone feral and the Government's media contingent appear clueless about what to do.

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For a government constantly accused of media management and spin, they’re pretty bloody ordinary at it.

In fact, this could be the worst government for media management for decades.

There’s a dodgy Stephen King novel, which I think led to a movie with Drew Barrymore — it’s not worth the effort to Google it and check — called Firestarter. That’s Kevin Rudd at the moment. The guy is creating bushfires every way he turns.

He comments on a female journalist’s clothing, and it makes headlines on the other side of the world. He makes some self-deprecating remarks at the Mid-Winter Ball and he gets zero out of 10 from the critics. Hell, he doesn’t even have to do anything to cop a battering. Having said he couldn’t attend a Lawrie Lawrence do this week, he was verballed by organisers and then mugged by broadcasters for letting Lawrence down. In an entirely confected story last night, new Nine political reporter, and ex-tabloid hack, Ben Fordham engaged in a savage beat-up over Rudd’s alleged failure to visit Hornsby Hospital. Apparently the one thing Australia needs right now is Rudd visiting yet another bloody hospital, given he’s only visited dozens of them this year — and in places with much greater need than suburban Sydney.

Oh and oops, as it turned out, he was going to visit the hospital after all, but you didn’t find that out unless you were masochistic enough to keep watching til the dying seconds of the story.

This is all the flip side of the early months of Rudd’s prime ministership, when everything he touched turned to gold, every call was a smart one and he had it on a proverbial string. Now everything he touches turns to … well, Ben Fordham stories.

And out in the real world, the government is being hopelessly outgunned by the mining industry in the battle of the advertising campaigns. The miners have big bucks — they could afford spots during the State of Origin match the other night — but more importantly they have better ads which might say that black is white, but do it in a way that is likely to make your average mug punter wonder if they might have a point.

Now is the time for the government’s media machine to be working at full effectiveness, coordinated across senior ministers’ offices, focussed on key messages, anticipating problems. Instead the whole operation looks reactive and hapless before a media turned feral. Like the government itself, there doesn’t appear to be any concerted strategy for communication across government. The lack of experienced media advisers — there has been high turnover in a number of offices over the course of the government, although Wayne Swan and Lindsay Tanner’s bunkers have been relatively stable — now appears especially telling.

You earn your keep as a media adviser not when things are smooth sailing but when times are tough. It’s bad enough when your minister is in the firing line. But this is worse — the whole government is under fire and its communications people need to get coordinated and get on the front foot.

You can’t see it happening any time soon.

Bernard Keane — Politics Editor

Bernard Keane

Politics Editor

Bernard Keane is Crikey’s political editor. Before that he was Crikey’s Canberra press gallery correspondent, covering politics, national security and economics.

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65 comments

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65 thoughts on “Rudd’s hapless communications strategy

  1. Mobius Ecko

    Now I’ve heard it all, the media going feral on the government and Rudd is Rudd’s fault. I mean everything else that is wrong in this country (and some international problems) are all Rudd’s fault so why not the media constantly attacking him, often on untruths or half truths, being his fault as well.

    Of course if Rudd did respond or counter the media attacks he will be accused of spin and that will be his fault as well.

    I have never been as disgruntled with the main stream media, and especially the ABC, as I am now to the point of watching cartoons or pap shows whenever news comes on.

  2. David Sanderson

    You’ve got this right Marilyn. The BER is a huge success and it is shameless that the Coalition and their media allies are attacking it after the 11 years of Howard neglect of education.

    Every budget in that governments last 7 years I thought that finally they must end their neglect of school modernisation and use their hugely growing tax receipts for something other than electoral bribes. Politically, their failure to do so was idiotic. Such a modernisation could have played a part in fending off the image of tiredness and decay that was so evident in the later Howard years.

  3. shepherdmarilyn

    There is nothing wrong with the BER though. The so-called senate enquiry couldn’t get enough complaints to hold decent hearings and not a jot of proof of any rorts.

    Got to the state education departments and have a look yourself at the beautiful things being built for generations to come.

    I can tell you one instance of how the Catholic system are having people on. The catholic school down the road from where I used to live built what can only be described as a carport and called it a covered out door learning centre. It was literally a roof on a couple of wooden poles.

    The states are building steel pillars on concrete bases with rebound ace full sized basketball courts with lighting and sound systems..

    http://www.economicstimulusplan.gov.au/infocus/pages/if_150110_murray.aspx

    Like this one at Murray Bridge for example that has mutliple uses.

    http://www.economicstimulusplan.gov.au/infocus/pages/if_110610_local.aspx

    And this hall.

    http://www.economicstimulusplan.gov.au/infocus/pages/default.aspx#january10

    In fact look for yourselves like I did.

    The Australian simply took an ideological stand last year, made up a lot of dopey stories and when they were found out simply made up some more.

  4. geomac

    JJ
    I read your comments but your personal view of what Abbott would or would not do has no bearing what the coalition did once it had senate majority. Howard said he would not abuse his new power but did so. Abbott said no new taxes and a month later came out with a 2 billion ? dollar tax on big business. On the question of Labor being a success it depends on your criteria. Did we escape the travails of our OECD counterparts because of the GFC ? Yes we did and in doing so we also escaped the long term affects of people trying to get back in the workforce. Now you can claim this or that were the reason instead of the government but thats sophistry. The score is on the board. On any level a successful government is one that gets reelected but I would disagree to that in respect to the Howard years. In my sixty years I never felt such so adverse to a government. The only two major parties I have never voted for were the communists and the country party. I never considered One Nation as major but would need a lobotomy to vote for that garbage. As an aside Howard lost 7/8 ministers in his first term. Would that be a successful government ?

  5. zut alors

    @ JJ

    Your motto shows remarkable bravado – how do you actually know this to be true, Abbott has no history or record as PM, on what facts is your claim based? It’s pure supposition, likewise that Gillard would be any better than Rudd.

    Also, you may be sold on Abbott but he’s part of a package – what do you make of his front bench, are you brimming with confidence as you run your eye over them?

    For example, do you imagine Julie Bishop, with her natural warmth and winning ways, forging deeper relationships between our allies on the international circuit when Minister for Foreign Affairs? Or perhaps you don’t follow parliamentary broadcasts or possibly missed her Body Language Moment on ABC’s QandA some weeks ago.

  6. jj

    Sausage Maker

    “A few jaded, cynical “lefties” is no match for an army of right wing zealots fanatically trying to get the Prophet Abbott into power.”, hmm good to see you have got a good reason to vote for Labor. Hey can you give me some good reasons for why i should vote Labor, (that is positives), because i am dying to know why it is you do!
    Look my motto is “Abbott will be a hell of a lot better than Rudd! So vote him in!”

  7. jj

    Geomac,
    You cannot argue surely that this government has been a successful one, and that this Prime Minister we have got is better than Abbott/Gillard.
    Oh and by the way, you obviously didnt read all that i had to say on industrial relations and the reasons for why Abbott wouldnt bring back workchoices, THEY GOT HAMMERED AT AN ELECTION AND THEY DONT WANT TO GET HAMMERED AGAIN! So it doesnt matter if you dont trust him because he wont do it, and if he does bring it back, or something similar he will lose.
    It just sounds to me as though you are a desperate Labor party man/woman trying to justify why it is you still are.

  8. deft descender

    @GEOMAC

    “Not being privy to the liberal party room voting results I cannot comment on what you say about Abbotts vote.”

    Read Peter Hartcher’s piece in yesterday’s SMH confirming the position Abbott took on Work Choices. See here:

    http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/politics/abbotts-record-suggests-he-could-do-rudds-job-20100618-ymw7.html

    How about I just take a quote from the SMH article for you:

    “And Labor and the ACTU were so worried that they were prepared to distort the truth to damage Abbott. As they know full well, Tony Abbott was not in favour of Work Choices.

    He was one of two members of the Howard cabinet to consistently oppose the policy. Together with Howard’s minister for workplace relations, Kevin Andrews, Abbott argued against the policy for three reasons. First, that it exceeded the government’s mandate; second, that it was unjustifiably harsh on workers; and third, that it was politically dangerous to the government. They were right on all counts”

    I guess that should settle that bit of regurgitated spin you tried on us GEOMAC.

    Read the rest of the article for a review of Abbotts achievements as a minister. Clearly he was competent at implimenting policy initiatives. It’s a pity Australia has had to put up with the gross incompetence Labor has delivered.

    Your lot have been an abject failure. Now you whinge that your trusted leftist media have awoken to the scam. They are well and truly p….. off, nowthat they finally realise they have been conned by Rudd the fake. We knew it it 2007, it’s taken them a while but they are now well and truly on to it. They want Rudd gone and Julia in. Unfortunately she will be just as hopeless, she has been up to her eyeballs in experiment Rudd.

  9. zut alors

    @ Geomac

    I’d forgotten the license rebate episode – it was around the same time Conroy was skiing in the USA with Kerry Stokes. The time frame is about right, things began to sour following that when the roofing insulation botch offered Murdoch a perfect target.

    As I’ve said before on Crikey blogs, the clock is ticking on the Murdoch empire: eventually it will be dismembered once the less-wily Murdoch offspring get their hands on it and the infighting begins amongst the Aussie Anna clan and the NYC-based Chinese clique.

  10. geomac

    Feb this year the 209 million rebate came in for two years. Abbott attacked it in parliament but he attacks anything the government does so not much to draw from that.

  11. Graeme Lewis

    Goemac writes:
    “I don”t trust Abbott because he treats the parliament as a game or like high school debates. ”

    “Well can I just say this?” ” Do you know what??” Who is the greatest at treating the Parliament with contempt – he doesn’t even try to engage in debate or sensible dissemination of fact. Rudd is the least trustworthy PM this country has ever had to endure – all meaningless words spin and garbage, with no intention of delivering properly on anything. His attitude to the Parliament is horrible – a stage on which he pours out fiction and nonsense such as we have never seen before.

    Anything that gets hard eg CPRS, child-minding centres, GP clinics, hospital reform becomes a stream of words and excuses. Out of 138 recommendations form Ken Henry, all we get is this stupid great big new tax, which no doubt might help Rudd and Swan to balance their pathetic bookkeeping even if they stuff the country doing it.

    This guy just has to go – even Julia couldn’t make a mess as big as Rudd has done.

  12. geomac

    ZUT ALORS

    I have read somewhere but unable to recall where that Foxtel etc were not happy with Labor granting the free to air broadcasters a rebate on their licenses . 250 million from memory which may or may not have moved Murdoch to let Labor know the price of helping his business opposition. I guess the time of the rebate and the start of the Murdoch press turning feral would be some indicator.

  13. zut alors

    Does anybody here care to offer a theory on the reason WHY Rupert Murdoch decided the Rudd government has to go?

    Or, as in innumerable instances previously, was it merely on the usual whim?

  14. geomac

    Not being privy to the liberal party room voting results I cannot comment on what you say about Abbotts vote. One point I noted was that you ( JJ ) said Abbott only wanted to change the definition of a small business. Before gaining senate majority the liberals had a long standing policy of twenty being a small business yet after it had senate majority it became 100. Thats not tweaking policy thats increasing the figure by a factor of five. Has Abbott defined what he considers to be the staff of a small business ? I dont trust Abbott because he treats the parliament as a game or like high school debates. Apart from his personal faith convictions he doesn,t appear to have any public convictions that cant be swayed as the public mood says he should follow . Being catholic doesn,t bother me as I was raised in the same faith but the man cannot be believed on any important issue because to him its all about winning or dragging down the opposition, not the issue. To use an old term he is a flake , a phoney flake. As a person I have no axe to grind with him as a potential PM or opposition leader I do.

  15. Sausage Maker

    Dear JJ,

    You wrote 396 words of complete crap. 390 of which no one will ever read.

    I’d like to back up what JEEBUS wrote. Akerman, Bolt, the Divine Miss Miranda and every “journo” over at the Lolstralian never get tough on the Libs or the right wing and conservatives. Who is in Rudd’s cheerleader squad? Bernard Keane? Bernard and Crikey do love to throw the odd punch at Rudd and the ALP and and defence of Rudd is more to do in rubbishing News Ltd press than any real defence of the ALP and Rudd.

    Do Annabel Crabb or Mike Cartlon qualify as Rudd Cheerleaders? Hardly. Being an Abbott hater hardly makes you a Rudd Cheerleader. And who actually knows what Crabb is doing over at the ABC now and Cartlon is wheeled out for his copy/paste bitch column about the Libs and some passing comments about the Rugby.

    Ross Gittins? Not really. Gittins isn’t afraid to support some Rudd policies but he’s not timid about rubbishing the ones he doesn’t like.

    A few jaded, cynical “lefties” is no match for an army of right wing zealots fanatically trying to get the Prophet Abbott into power.

  16. jj

    Geomac,

    All the Labor ministers keep on repeating the line that “economic stimulus has helped Australia stave off a recession”, well no one really disagrees with that. The government also claims that the stimulus “helped keep the unemployment rate down”, once again no one disagrees; but that does not mean that the government shouldnt have tried to get bang for buck… which they didnt. Look at the BER money, $16 billion; now if you are planning on spending that much money on a single program then surely you would make sure that everything was set up and ready to go to make sure the program wouldnt be taken advantage of. Now i know you will argue that it had to happen quickly, but the government shouldnt have been rolling out infrastructure projects this big, this quickly; Ken Henry told Rudd and co to just stick with cash handouts so why didnt they just take his advice. Remember this was a once in a generation chance to improve our schools and other social and economic infrastructure, and that is why people are so angry that so much money has been wasted! Howard and co sure, didnt spend enough on infrastructure but they had built up funds such as the health fund, infrastructure fund, education fund; with billions of dollars from surplus budgets; this government has now spent it all, (over $10 billion).
    If you stand for waste, well its your money, you elect them!

    Oh and just quickly to let you know Abbott actually voted against bringing in workchoices in the party room as he believed that it was not part of their post 2004 mandate, and also because he knew how politically damaging it would be. Abbott also voted against the howard governments decision to scrap the no-disadvantage test for workers. Abbott since being leader has said that any changes his government would make on industrial relations would be made within the confines of the Fair Work framework; and that the only changes he plans on making is to change the definition of a small business. Before you come back with, ‘How can you trust him!’ let me just remind you that it was workchoices that killed Howard at the last election so it would be political suicide to do so again; and hey the Lib’s do want to get into power and stay in power!

  17. geomac

    JJ
    The NBN is already being rolled out. You seem to forget the saturation ad campaign for the GST before it became law. The workchoice ads I agree were done after it became serf choice but sadly unlike the GST Howard didn,t take it to an election. I recall Howard saying he wouldn,t abuse his senate majority then proceeded to do so. Have your bias but please have a few facts as well. Sadly you trot out the four deaths as some sort of accusation I presume against Labor. Who sends a worker up in a 40/50C roof space without I presume even a water bottle ? Well the obvious answer is the boss or the workers supervisor. The ETS was taken to the senate twice and defeated twice. I take it some would want it to be defeated a third time but for what reason I cant fathom. Labor negotiated with the opposition and reached an agreement then Turnbull got rolled by one vote and the opposition renegged on its deal. I,d like to know which piece of legislation would or should be delayed to run the ETS for defeat again ? Two independents and five greens plus an opposition that says no to almost everything , the parental scheme just recently being the only exception of late that comes to mind. The recent audit of the BER refutes your equal quality buildings assertion and also gives it a plus for doing its job.

    Infrastructure and an economic stimulus to stave of losing jobs , who would have seen that from a government ? Certainly infrastructure was sadly lacking from the previous government. Instead of cutting funds to public health and education there has been an increase. Instead of billions on ads ( over a decade ) some want to quibble about 38 million. Hockey was left , sort of , to say that health and education would be cut. Actually Hockey initially passed it on to Robb. Education and health are to me are the two pillars of a fair and democratic society not the domain of those who can afford it. Even the USA has finally agreed to see some sense on health. Odd isn,t it how anyone can join the military in the US or as in the past be conscripted yet until recently only those with jobs or the well off could afford health care. Health and education not serf choice type IR that kills workers. Abbott is vigorously against industrial manslaughter laws which made his vile accusation against Labor even more deplorable. Vale Bernie Manton and shame Abbott.

  18. Harvey Tarvydas

    Dr Harvey M Tarvydas

    BK – Some very salient and intelligent points but you must know a lot more about this subject/business than I, however I can’t help but feel it’s so complex that simple solution finding has got to be fraught with error.

    About some of your delightful commenter’s though …
    JENAUTHOR & SHEPHERDMARILYN while so, so different contribute such intelligent great value to the discussion. Some of the others need to be reminded of that famous Albert Einstein quote ……
    “the difference between ‘stupidity’ and ‘genius’ is that genius has its limits.”

  19. jj

    It is funny how when Rudd is doing badly in the polls all the lefties get out in force to blame the Labor parties wows on the media. Wind the clock back to the 2007 election campaign and i dont think there was much of an uproar when every article and opinion piece written about Rudd was positive and every article on John Howard was negative. Look this guy has failed lock-stock and barrel, let us just recap:
    – Promise to “cut government advertising” as it was a “cancer on democracy”; and what have we seen: broadband ads, mining ads, hospital ads and CPRS ads. At least the ads the previous government ran were to inform the people of actual legislated policy changes; each of the ad campaigns i have mentioned are for policies that havent been passed and in the case of the Broadband wont be up and running until 2020!
    – Promise to introduce an emissions trading scheme as climate change was the “greatest moral and economic challenge of our time”, and claim that we had to move ahead of the rest of the world, and for those that didnt want to, they were called “political cowards”. What have we seen since? Absolutely nothing. A dumping of the ETS with the excuse being that the world didnt act so we have to wait; go figure?
    – Be an economic conservative government. Lindsay Tanner has said that it is not important to “dot the i’s and cross the t’s” when implementing government policies and look at what we have got for that: public schools forking out up to three times as much for an equal quality building under the BER, with there also being a blowout of around $2 billion; The roof insulation fiasco, with not only 4 deaths and over 100 house fires, but a wasted $1 billion; hundreds of millions wasted on the renewable credits scheme; billions of dollars wasted on the NBN, locking us into a technology which may be made redundant by the programs completion date; millions wasted on the bid for the 2018 soccer world cup; millions used and spent in Africa in the countries whose votes we require to get on the security council for a few years e.t.c e.t.c.
    -Bring down grocery prices. Yeh like that was ever going to happen Kev!
    -Bring down fuel prices. Pull the other one Kev!
    And i could go on and on. So it is not the medias fault for your leaders demise, it is his. If Kevin hadnt promised so much then he wouldn’t be in this mess; but he did and due to that he is looking to lose the upcoming election.

  20. shepherdmarilyn

    Oh for heaven’s sake children, Howard was a frigging dictator and the pundits loved him.

    the problem with the press gallery is that they are bored due to a complete lack of major scandals around a government that has actually done a pretty good job all in all.

    The 7.30 report and Lateline were embarrassing exercises in wanking by the media who are largely talking to themselves and no-one else.

    Anyone who wants Gillard though ought to be aware that she is actually a very heartless facist with the empathy of a toadstool for her fellow man.

    Look at how she reacted to the massacre in Gaza last year.

    The mining moguls are being taken on by the super industry, the unions and so on and why the media keep insisting that Rudd should “consult” is beyond me. Consult on what and why?

    He is PM, he can legislate to tax wanking if he wants to.

    And Turncow got everything he deserved with his ranting and ill-judgement.

    But reading the Australian media these days is like crawling through a sewer and its gets worse as the days go by.

    Start two wars, torture thousands of kids, impose serfchoices, be a nasty little dictator and the crowd will cheer.

    Try and do something that is actually good stuff, like save the country from a depression and get a kick in the teeth.

    Sometimes I hate this fucking country.

  21. Socratease

    Yes, Rudd has been called a control freak more than once. Crabbe also made the more telling point that Rudd does not have a traditional base of support in caucus — union, faction, etc — and that his only currency in there was his erstwhile popularity in opinion polls.

    I guess that explains why Rudd, prompted by his flaky minders, feels that he has to be seen and heard on every issue.

  22. zut alors

    Last night on ‘Lateline’ Annabel Crabbe made the point that PM Rudd interprets a slump in the polls as a need to apply himself harder and give us more Kevin – she suggested that less Kevin (perhaps via a timely bout of glandular fever) would probably help the government’s popularity.

    I believe Crabbe is onto something. If only Rudd would allow his ministers more slack on their leashes. Some original opinions and ministerial comments, not the usual parroting of lines crafted by the PM’s spin doctors, would be refreshing. The government’s front bench, unlike the Opposition, is packed with talent which should be showcased to the electorate more often.

    In particular, ministers such as Tanner, Gillard, Smith and Roxon present well and should be allowed to take the spotlight off the PM. The government needs to contrast its ministers with the motley offerings on the Coalition front bench.

    Peter Dutton as health minister?! Joe Hockey as treasurer?! Julie Bishop as..?! And that’s just for starters…pass me the smelling salts.

  23. godotcab

    I was referring to the parliamentary rhetoric from Rudd and Swan damning Turnbull for his bad judgement. Probably it’s just me, but it looked ugly and unecessary.

    But that was a different time, when, compared to now, Labor had much of the MSM on their side.

  24. Socratease

    I remember Labor getting a little too excited when the Godwin Grech affair was washing up.

    I recall the opposite. I recall the Libs baying for blood. Calling for Rudd and Swan to resign. Labor let Turnbull self-destruct, and Abetz make a fool of himself.

  25. godotcab

    It might be one of those battles where to lose one’s cool is to lose the fight.

    I remember Labor getting a little too excited when the Godwin Grech affair was washing up. It didn’t cost them at the time.

    It cost Turnbull, and Australia, and the environment.

    If Turnbull hadn’t made such a goose of himself via Grech, he might have had the authority and the hopes of the Libs with him in the fight over the ETS.

    But that’s all hypothetical now.

  26. jenauthor

    Labor will need discipline of monumental proportions this time around. They don’t have the ‘change for the better’ flag to wave. Thus momentum will need to be built somewhere else.

    I do think Rudd will perform better durng the campaign as he will have something to work against.

    Each time he has shown that ‘spark’ of getting his mojo back, was when there was a frontal assault. The election will galvanise him, I expect.

  27. Socratease

    Yep it’s all fun ahead. While Abbott tries to dream up dome credible policies, Rudd can score another own-goal.

  28. jenauthor

    Well if the mail that a large percentage of the mining industry is now ‘on side’ is correct — then that will soon be past tense.

    What will abbott do then? He’ll need to come up with some credible policies — that WILL be interesting!

  29. Socratease

    The way things are at the moment, Abbott doesn’t have to say or do anything — safest territory for him given his propensity for blunders. All the Libs have to do at the moment is sit back and watch Rudd fight the mining industry.

  30. godotcab

    The Libs are getting a dream run. They make stupid claims about the miners’ tax and the MSM run it with no critical analysis.

    But they are a novice team, and are getting much too excited for their own judgement.

    They will trip up on something. They will be made to look like honking geese, and everyone will see it.

    Remember Turnbull getting carried away by Godwin Grech?

    Abbott, with such an apparent opportunity, will make that look sober.

    I’m looking forward to it. I’m guessing sometime in August.

  31. JamesK

    Jeez Jeebus.

    That leftist insight is a pratfall.

    All of the above named by you and many more have criticised Turnbull’s policies and indeed even his character.

    Many of the above have criticised Abbott, policy and character-wise, memorably over his parental leave policy.

    A 30 second Google search would have been sufficient.

  32. jeebus

    To be effective at media spin, you need cheerleaders in the media.

    Conservatives tend to be devout loyalists who would fall on their sword before uttering a sour word towards their ilk. Find me a single article by the likes of Piers, Bolt, Albrechtson or Devine that has ever torn shreds off a conservative political figure. They will always offer respectful advice, but never cross the line into outright backhanders.

    Now find me a single commentator (of any persuasion) who has never criticised the progressive side of politics. You won’t.

  33. jenauthor

    It’d have to be a mistake, John — take a walking frame just in case!

  34. John

    @jenauthor
    But Tony wears Speedos!

    @Wenty
    It was an accident, see.
    I accidentally walked into the polling booth, accidentally slipped on the floor, and accidentally voted for The Monk!

  35. Wenty

    Rudd gets slaughtered by the Murdoch populace press, the crowd join in and throw rocks in a frenzy as is evident with the deluge of ugly blog comments probably orchestrated by the extreme right ….and amongst all this chaos and vitriolic hatred, Rio Tinto shares creep up by 78 cents today. How could anyone see this as anything but the death of a Prime Minster by a thousand cuts… The thought of Abbott as PM and his complete f….ts senior minister team, is enough to pull the crowd up to a screeching halt, take stock of their actions…

    But the horror might continue because crowds are never responsible for their actions

  36. Socratease

    Rudd was a dark horse, even to some in his own party. When an incumbent PM is so on the nose that even the fabled drover’s dog could win against him — as was the case with Howard — then the drover’s dog can morph into the dark horse, and that’s the case with Rudd.

  37. klewso

    And no one out here knew about these character flaws of Rudd’s before this same selective media let us in on their “secret” – while not “helping” us punters with this sort of “analysis” of Howard, for his decade, or Abbott now.

  38. jenauthor

    John, you can’t seriously give that as a reason for not liking Rudd when Abbott’s use of the English language is so appalling. As an author, teacher and grammar nazi, I cringe when he speaks.

    Rudd’s biggest problem is that we have such a complex society, with complex issues, and trying to relate issues concisely to a time poor electorate via a lazy MSM makes for an impossible task.

    Abbott has an advantage in that he is not trying to prosecute a positive agenda. All he has to do is nay-say — which doesn’t take much intelligence or eloquence. As a matter of fact, fascile one-liners are all that is required. Especially for our media.

    Instead he gets away with chest-beating, hollering and ejection of spittle as he expounds his confected outrage over issues he clearly does not actually believe in. Alas, Joe Hockey is in the same boat (and I used to quite like the guy). He might have been an interesting high school debater, but as the representative of our country, I shudder to think what he would do and say on the international stage. In that, he reminds me very much of the Shrub. He took the US backward and made them a laughing stock internationally with his faux pas (plural?).

    If anything is a demonstration why nobody should vote Abbott into power, he was.

  39. John

    @David Sanderson
    “John, do these emissions do you any good? They certainly do have a very low sperm count.”

    Sorry David,
    I’m feeling frustrated with Rudd’s mangling of the English language.
    He told Kerry O’Brien last night that the miners’ campaign was “forensic” when he meant “ferocious”.
    The fact that it is also a forensic campaign doesn’t let Kevin escape my campaign against malaprops.

  40. David

    David Sanderson…:-) I like your style.

  41. David Sanderson

    I sympathise Jamesk, it must be very hard to face intelligently caring people when you are an insensitive buffoon.

    Thank god you are always there to remind us that it is possible to sink lower than Senator Steve.

  42. JamesK

    Poor Bernard.

    Poor Kevvie.

    Not even the “average mug punter” of “working families” fame isn’t buying either of Bernard’s or Kevvie’s claptrap anymore.

    Apparently they’re being suckered by the latest evil empire of supercilious leftist whimsy.

    Life is sooo very difficult for the intelligently sensitive caring souls of Nth Fitzroy these days……

  43. JCrint

    Is Alastair Campbell available? His spin made the MSM dizzy.

  44. Troy C

    The trouble is, Murdoch and his cronies are asking for the most dangerous, retrograde govt in our country’s history.

    This is the usual line from incumbents and their supporters: the other guy is dangerous. Dangerous! He’s a big risk to our economy, our society, our way of life, ooohh let’s all get really scared and stay with the guy we know! Other mob are scary!!!

  45. David Sanderson

    John, do these emissions do you any good? They certainly do have a very low sperm count.

  46. John

    Kevin Rudd is a ferociously inveterate big taxer and a forensically invertebrate big spender.

  47. Socratease

    ^

    Imagine hwere we’ll be when Abbott goes to his version of ‘God’ for advice on policy.

    That’d be the hotline to John Howard.

  48. jenauthor

    No “strategy” will work if your good news is being ignored and your mistakes are being magnified by media hacks who have decided they PM bores them.

    A lot of what I hear here is exactly what the PR types say will ultimately make the difference in the election i.e. who the electorate like the least.

    The media has been scrambling to try and make Tony Abbott look electable because he is genuinely disliked by many, esp women.

    I also think that Rudd had left the running to Abbott in the hope that he’d self-destruct. In a way, he did, but the media decided to pat him on the head and say ‘well, you have been a bad boy, but boys will be boys, so all’s forgiven’.

    The trouble is, Murdoch and his cronies are asking for the most dangerous, retrograde govt in our country’s history.

    I just pray that the electorate gets just as bored as the media has been, and judge Abbort for the poor excuse for humanity he truly is. Anybody who says the word genuine or ‘authentic’ about him is likely to receive a whack over the head from me. For a man who professes Christian values — he is the least ‘christian’ politician I have ever come across. He has the capacity to become a dictator of sorts, as he will not be able to stop himself using his extreme beliefs to guide his policies.

    The pundits complain that Rudd has a chosen few who he consults over policy. Imagine hwere we’ll be when Abbott goes to his version of ‘God’ for advice on policy. Heaven help us all should that ever happen.

  49. shepherdmarilyn

    Socratease the only political party I ever joined in my life was the democrats back in 1987 when I worked for Senator John Coulter.

    Wouldn’t join either major party if I was held at gunpoint.

    One thing about the OZ is their campaign against the schools building program and claims of massive waste without a single good news story as seen here.

    http://www.economicstimulusplan.gov.au/pages/default.aspx

    Defence and social housing, council redevelopments, school buildings that are quite beautiful, – if this is a complete failure there needs to be more of it.

    Hands up all those who would have liked to go to a concert in the Great Southern Grammer school hall instead of the dodgy school halls we used to have.

  50. Socratease

    ^
    I don’t come to Crikey for analysis. It’s simply an opinion pissing hole, and that’s why we engage in it. 🙂

  51. David Sanderson

    Do you sometimes get the feeling that BK gets a little bored and irritated at having to churn out at least an article a day?

    There are clear signs of it here with rather too much tetchy complaint and not enough analysis.

  52. Socratease

    Marilyn,

    Here you are again, calling everyone clowns, etc. Your Labor party membership is showing.

  53. klewso

    What has happened to “news” in this country?
    Given “Murdoch’s” ownership of “60 (80?)%” of the papers in this country, his active overt documented political leanings, the editorial “message” of his papers, “our” established reading habits and the influence those papers have on our society.
    Has anyone else noticed, that once upon a time, not that long ago actually, the ABC could be relied on to chase up a few stories, but now it seems “Murdoch’s Limited News”, sets the agenda, judging “what qualifies as news” and letting loose, and now the ABC does the chasing, too often without asking some obvious questions, re “presentation”, merely “following up” that story.
    Is it lack of interest, impetus, priority? Lack of resources? Or a combination?
    Take the “personal character appraisal” Rudd seems to attract now, against any such “feature lighting” Howard ever drew, or Abbott does, from these same sources?
    Then this concerted ad blitz by the miners and those “party touts” – how is this government meant to counter them?
    Is the end game for this “media”, with its spin and ubiquitous nature, to exercise their power and influence, to deliver a government, for the rest of us, because they can? “Because they don’t have to be accountable to anyone but their own interests – including self”?
    A “state paper” doing a “get to know an individual Coalition candidate in a particular seat” campaign over a couple of weeks?
    This a little over two years after running individual editorials for an individual senator and an individual member of the lower house, both Coalition sitting members, in danger of losing their seats – one did – in the week before the last election. But “saving face” on that election eve, by “allowing” to feel free to vote for Rudd – in the face of that tsunami – so they could live to fight “the good fight” in the, not too distant, future.

  54. Down and Out of Sài Gòn

    Rudd has one trick up his sleve – the populace doesn’t like the media either. See today’s beauty behind Possum. Australians trust journos less than banks and mining companies. They’re half as popular as state MPs. Rudd shouldn’t worry about all the noise and trouble coming from the Meeja; people will get bored, or worse (better?) there’ll be a backlash.

  55. geomac

    The media seems to very keen to paint anything Rudd does in a negative fashion. The Australian I can understand because thats what Murdoch has decreed but the ABC mimics it. Lazy or maybe the relentless years of being whiteanted by the Howard government is bearing fruit. I recall a long time ago some liberal NSW MP lauding privatisation and citing the hospital in Latrobe Valley in Gippsland as an example. I live in that area and rang up Tony Delroy to inform him that the hospital in question wasn,t even in operation much less actually built. Our local rag had a picture of its progress , the hospital and it was the bare bones of the framework , no roof , no walls. A case in point of someone saying something and the media running with it but not checking the facts. The hospital in question is now sate run because the private operators felt there wasn,t enough of a profit margin to continue. What they really meant was lets get more money from the state but the strategy failed when the government took it over , bought them out. Now its bigger and a cancer ward is being built saving a trip to Melbourne. The MP was selling a lie to spin privatisation and the media swallowed it for a short while but the initial deceit got some air. A bit like the story Bernard mentioned re hospital visit.

  56. shepherdmarilyn

    Actually Damotron the media slag off started when Rudd had a fight with the editor of the Australian and Mitchell is such a small man he let is fester.

  57. shepherdmarilyn

    And take that bloody photo shopped photo of Rudd off the damn page, it’s disgusting.

    Anyone would think you morons want Tony Abbott to be PM along with the lazy slugs in the pg.

    Interestingly David Uren and Lenore Taylor are about to launch a book about the meltdown yet they are still trying to slag off Rudd.

  58. shepherdmarilyn

    An interesting comment though by Bob Brown this am. If Rio are losing money here why are they worried about paying tax.

    And what the fuck is wrong with the prats in the media, having a self-induced feeding frenzy over nothing at all.

    It must be the frosts in Canberra.

    As for Ben Fordham, is he a journalist?

    And where is the evidence everyone keeps citing that Rudd doesn’t listen to anyone? All the clowns claim it, no-one has ever proved it.

  59. Salamander

    Well I guess there must be something you can do when circled by a pack of ravenous wolves.

  60. Damotron

    I don’t think it matters whether you’re good or bad at what you do, if the head office (the media) don’t like you you’re screwed. Kevin needs to employ the editor of The Australian as his chief PR officer. Remember how softly Howard was treated by The Australian and how they portrayed him as a father figure that only had the interests of Australia (The Australian) at heart. Control the media and you can control the world.

  61. Socratease

    You earn your keep as a media adviser not when things are smooth sailing but when times are tough.

    That’s very true. As any leader will know, loyalty from the troops never meant more than when facing a very tough battle, especially one of your own making.

    However, loyalty is a two-way deal. I get the strong feeling that Rudd would not listen to, let alone accept, advice that was contrary to his way of thinking. That, for me, is Rudd’s Achilles heel.

  62. Graeme Lewis

    Yes – Rudd certainly qualifies as a “reactionary socialist.”

    Mystery is why our Bernard is so determined to keep leading Rudd’s cheer squad – and at other times he just keeps dreaming up excuses for Kev10’s fall from grace.

    Like “the miners have big bucks.” Maybe they also have a case BK!

    Like “the lack of experienced media advisers.” So what – if the story bears telling just put it out there. The time has long passed for Rudd’s spin. We’ve all woken up to him – thank God.

  63. John

    “Reactive and hapless”, you said.
    You hit the nail on the head, Bernard.
    Kevin Rudd is a reactionary socialist.

  64. Mark Duffett

    Now everything he touches turns to … well, Ben Fordham stories.

    Oooh, internecine press gallery cattiness! I like it.

  65. Ern Malleys cat

    Ah, so that’s it. The journalists are rubbishing the government, so they’ll have to reassess their media advisors, and sack them, and hire the journalists who are rubbishing them.

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