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Mythbusting on Abbott and the media, but who asked the questions?

Tony Abbott receives as much media scrutiny as the Prime Minister — it’s where he gets it from that is different. A Crikey investigation reveals some interesting findings.

This article has been updated with additional info from Mr Abbott’s office - see below

The claim that Tony Abbott avoids media scrutiny is a myth: a Crikey examination of the media appearances of the Opposition Leader and the Prime Minister shows Abbott has subjected himself to roughly the same level of media questioning in recent months.

But it’s where Abbott fields questions that makes a significant difference: he prefers to avoid questioning by the press gallery and the ABC, in favour of media doorstops across the country.

Crikey has collated data from Abbott and Gillard’s media appearances from June 1 to November 30 last year (the Prime Minister took leave in December), based on their issued transcripts. These are the results:

Some caveats: the comparison between Gillard and Abbott on press gallery questions is a little misleading — it refers only to media conferences in Parliament House, but Abbott frequently holds media conferences in Canberra and Queanbeyan during sitting weeks, which gallery journalists are capable of attending. These aren’t included under “press gallery”, but on the other hand, nor are the Prime Minister’s overseas press conferences, which are usually attended by some accompanying gallery journalists.

What’s interesting is that the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition fielded almost exactly the same number of questions over a six month period in media conferences — 1051 for Abbott and 1074 for Gillard. The Prime Minister fields slightly more questions at each media conference; Abbott held slightly more of them.

Needless to say, Abbott has never held a media conference that matched Gillard’s epic August press gallery media conference on the Australian Workers Union smear campaign, in which she fielded a staggering 80 questions — in addition to some on asylum seekers — or her similar November one in which she racked up 33 questions. Even without those two epic sessions, the Prime Minister on average fields more questions at Parliament House media conferences than Abbott, 13 to 11 per session, or 20 to 11 with the AWU media conferences included.

But as the numbers indicate, Abbott prefers his media scrutiny to be out and about across Australia, often in workplaces intended to demonstrate the impact (or what Abbott claimed would be the impact) of the carbon price. While this reflects the nature of his anti-carbon price campaign, it also means he tends to field questions from less-experienced or non-political journalists, although journalists from broadcast media and the major newspapers are able to tap into Canberra-based colleagues, editors and producers for questions on political topics of the day.

It also allows Abbott and his staff greater control of the agenda for those media conferences and an ability to abandon them without the sort of repercussions from the national media that occur on the occasions when he has walked out of more significant events.

Abbott also avoids the ABC like the plague, gracing it just four times in a six-month period (that is based on his transcript releases, although his office didn’t release one for his car wreck of an interview with Leigh Sales on 7.30). In contrast, the Prime Minister regularly has interviews on ABC radio. Indeed, Abbott went on Andrew Bolt’s TV program (three times) almost as often as he went on the entire ABC (radio and TV). Abbott much prefers commercial television compared to the Prime Minister, especially with his now-ended regular appearances on Today. [It is, however, a myth that he prefers FM radio; neither leader spent too much time on FM, which was a favourite venue for Kevin Rudd as opposition leader. See the update below on this]

There is of course no price for Abbott preferring his media scrutiny to come from non-political and less experienced commercial media journalists. Press gallery journalists may complain about his reluctance to front up, Gillard-style, to extended questioning in Parliament House but it hasn’t done anything to harm the Coalition’s polling supremacy. There is, however, an opportunity if media outlets want to grill Abbott: more effectively use local journalists attending his doorstops to press him.

But that would require resources, which are not in plentiful supply in the commercial media at present.

Update:

Tony Abbott’s office has kindly provided their assessment of the number of interviews the Opposition Leader has conducted according to their records. As indicated above, the initial figures were collated using the transcripts posted on Mr Abbott’s website. The figures from Mr Abbott’s office show considerably more interviews, albeit with the same patterns, but readers can make up their own minds:


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  • 1
    beachcomber
    Posted Wednesday, 13 February 2013 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

    Abbott prefers to be interviewed by Cadet Journalists on the street, and Dave Hughes or Kyle Sandilands in a studio. No hard questions allowed.

  • 2
    Jimmy
    Posted Wednesday, 13 February 2013 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    Looking at just sheer numbers is irrelevant, Abbott does interviews with people who agree with him (Bo lt, Jo nes et el) or people that let him get out his stated desire to be perceived as “a good bloke” or in a press conference at a work place situation where it is solely designed for the sound bite (ie get less experienced journalists to ask questions, give them the same answer no matter what the question and walk off whenever you want).
    The few times he does front a serious news journalist he gets whacked.

    And the reason this hasn’t hurt him is that the media hasn’t used it against him as yet, they have been happy just to take his sound bite and subject it to no scrutiny and get stuck into Gillard. Hopefully we are starting to see the signs that this strategy is wearing thin.

  • 3
    MJPC
    Posted Wednesday, 13 February 2013 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

    For Mr Abbott it’s the stuttering frequency that indicates the degree of scrutiny he is receiving. If he is relatively calm the viewer knows he is telling bulls*** and is comfortable with the interviewer, not expecting them to ask the hard or probing questions.
    On the few occasions on a whistlestop that a journo asks a probing follow-up question, or doubt as to what he has uttered, he starts to stutter and you know he is under the microscope. One can expect the interview to be cut shortly after the first stutter.
    The best were 7.30 report where he was like a fly on flypaper, no matter how much the stutter the questions kept hammering his credibility. No wonder he doesn’t like the ABC!

  • 4
    jesse mandragoria
    Posted Wednesday, 13 February 2013 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

    so let me get this straight, you claim an appearance on the blot report scrutiny?

    that’s a pretty low bar

  • 5
    Will
    Posted Wednesday, 13 February 2013 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

    The figures cited above are only a small part of the story. You can ask all questions in the world and it will be still meaningless in terms of media scrutiny if they’re backslapping Dorothy Dixers, inane trivia, controlled reporting of stunts and quote mining.

    I don’t think the media ought to be hostile, but they need to offer some level of scrutiny and accountability of matters of substantive. They also needs to continually inject the proper context so that the whole enterprise of he-said she-said doesn’t collapse into subjectivity soup.

    On any real metric, Tony Abbott has almost completely avoided media scrutiny.

  • 6
    Holden Back
    Posted Wednesday, 13 February 2013 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

    Here’s a career opportunity for an ambitious local journo - ask difficult questions at the photo-opps!

  • 7
    Hamis Hill
    Posted Wednesday, 13 February 2013 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

    Abbott in Shock Resignation”, come on, Tony follow your leader!
    Your abilities no longer suit a leadership role.
    Be honest and run away from the top job just as you run away from interviews.
    Follow your leader!

  • 8
    The Pav
    Posted Wednesday, 13 February 2013 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

    From the data provided one can honestly say the Misty Wabbit aka the Mad Monk is in reality the Artful Dodger.

    It just confirms that Abbott is as skilled at manipulating the media as he is inept at policy.

  • 9
    mikeb
    Posted Wednesday, 13 February 2013 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

    You might have seen Q&A last night when this topic came up. It’s pretty obvious that TA & the coalition has an election to lose, not an election to win philosophy. The aim is to remain a small target & the longer TA has to field questions from journos or the public who might not be sympathetic then greater the chance of slipping up. Better to be seen out and about with the fawning supporters and friendly media and give off the impression of a cool steady leader - rather than a train wreck waiting to happen.

  • 10
    David Hand
    Posted Wednesday, 13 February 2013 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

    Go out and buy today’s Australian and read, in the cut and paste section, the transcript of Abbott’s interview with John Faine on ABC Melbourne 774 last April. It illustrates perfectly why Abbott is justified in avoiding the ABC.

  • 11
    Holden Back
    Posted Wednesday, 13 February 2013 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

    Jon Faine was mean to him!! Actually Faine did a reverse of the politician’s trick of not accepting the premise of the question, if it’s not one you want to answer. He didn’t accept the premises of Abbott’s answers and told him so.

    For someone who has a media profile as a ‘head-kicker’, Abbott seems awfully wary of his own abilities in a combative interview. As do his minders.

  • 12
    rhwombat
    Posted Wednesday, 13 February 2013 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

    Let’s see, David Hand: “buy”, “The Australian” & “cut and paste section”. Oh how credible!

  • 13
    GeeWizz
    Posted Wednesday, 13 February 2013 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

    Q&A is filled with lefties… yes yes… I know, you believed the “48% of the Audience are Coalition” voters spin at the start but you were lied to.

    Anyone who watches the show knows only leftie questions are asked and the Greens are apparantly the most popular party in the country. I don’t blame the ABC for stacking the audience with lefties, it’s really not their fault… right wing voters have better things to do… like work for instance.

    BTW I remember a report being released that stated that the ABC had given more air time to Labor. This bias was confirmed when the number of complaints about the ABC was released showing that significantly more complaints were about bias AGAINST the Coalition, than complaints of bias against Labor.

    Our ABC indeed…

  • 14
    Mike Flanagan
    Posted Wednesday, 13 February 2013 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

    A considerable number of the ‘press conferences’ referred to above are nothing more tha convected photo opportunities and Public Relations stunts, driven by a well oiled PR machine.
    No wonder our MSM find it hard to mount the resources to question the empty head when they are running around propagating his PR stunts.
    But keep at it Crikey and Bernard for there are six or more months to try to find the national significance and substance to this poor and fatuous resemblance to leadership on offer from the Liberal Party.

  • 15
    GeeWizz
    Posted Wednesday, 13 February 2013 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

    Comment in moderation.. ho hum

    Mike, Q&A is biased to the left and has almost exclusively leftwing questions which are not the thoughts of average Australians.

    Every week we are dished up with leftwing talking points.

    I can understand why Abbott won’t go on the show, it’s just not mainstream opinion and he won’t change a single vote for the chattering classes that watch it.

  • 16
    Jimmy
    Posted Wednesday, 13 February 2013 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

    Geewizz - “Mike, Q&A is biased to the left and has almost exclusively leftwing questions which are not the thoughts of average Australians.” Given the voting intentions of the crowd are publicised everyweek and they are always pretty evenly divided I think you are not telling the truth here Mr Wizz.

    And even if it was true is Abbott unable to prosecute his case to a hostile audience? Is that a good thing for the country? Will he not talk to the Chinese because the are “lefties”?

    he won’t change a single vote for the chattering classes that watch it.” Then why not go on? Unless of course he is worried he will change viewers votes, just not in the right direction!

  • 17
    zut alors
    Posted Wednesday, 13 February 2013 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

    Mr Rabbott should think long and hard about the demands on an Australian PM. For example, if PM Gillard refused to be interviewed on the ABC there’d be widespread consternation. She isn’t permitted to hide behind a fluoro vest nor is the media satisfied with the odd catchphrase delivered while she fires a pop rivet gun at a workshop or ices a tray of finger buns at a Canberra bakery. The PM is required to give interviews to all media - or else suffer the unpleasant consequences of their disaffection.

    Among many other things Rabbott lacks the communication skills to handle a leadership role, let alone the gravitas to represent our nation.

  • 18
    Electric Lardyland
    Posted Wednesday, 13 February 2013 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

    Speaking of Abbott and the media, I don’t really recall much mainstream media analysis, of how Abbott’s carbon tax predictions are going. You know, the one’s where he seemed to be in an ever varying array of working clothes, and endlessly predicting the ruin of the Australian economy. The one’s where in every business he visited, he claimed that particular sector of the economy would be devastated by ‘almost unimaginable’ inflation. Well, we’ve had inflation data for two quarters, since the introduction of the carbon tax. The numbers are so low, that many economists are predicting further interest rate cuts. So, it would seem that for a couple of years, Abbott was either constantly lying, or just remarkably ignorant.
    So where is all the outrage in the media? Where is all the commentary of the type that Julia Gillard has been subjected to, after her brief pronouncement of ‘no carbon tax’? Why aren’t there offended howls of ‘oh he lied, he lied, he lied to all of us’!?

  • 19
    Hamis Hill
    Posted Wednesday, 13 February 2013 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

    Come on, Abbott’s reached the top of his game, and for the sake of his party he needs to resign.

  • 20
    shepherdmarilyn
    Posted Wednesday, 13 February 2013 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

    50% of every audience on the Qanda is from the LNP.

  • 21
    floorer
    Posted Wednesday, 13 February 2013 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

    Geewizz nobody’s asking Abbott to do anything special. If he appears on Q&A all he has to do is answer the questions giving his opinions in a clear straight forward articulate manner. Why shouldn’t someone who wants to lead this country be able to go on the national broadcaster and tell us what he stands for? I’ve read this through a couple of times an I can’t figure out whether I’m being sarcastic or not.

  • 22
    michael r james
    Posted Wednesday, 13 February 2013 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

    While it is good to see Crikey keeping tabs, whoever wrote the misleading Header seems to be taking lessons from The Australian! (Writing headlines that are completely at odds with the actual data in the story. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see the headline — not the story — recycled in Cut & Paste: “Crikey confirms Abbott equals Gillard”.)

    On Sunday’s Insiders none of the three hacks could recall a hard interview of Abbott in the past 6 months and noted his new tactic of calling a Presser then retreating without answering any questions! Niki Savva proffered that this was “clever” of Peta Credlin but I think the other journalists (in fact the only journalists present in that studio) would have agreed with Bruce Hawker (below, almost 2 years ago) that it was a clear sign of media cowardice by our putative Prime Minister in-waiting. Curious, with his absurd pimpwalk swagger, total inability to focus on or to master policy detail and unerring ability to screw-up when he tries, and his slightly beady/shifty eyes Abbott is morphing into a version of George W. Bush. (And isn’t that just what we need in this turbulent world!)

    (theage.com.au/opinion/politics/abbott-cherrypicks-easy-interviews-to-avoid-tough-questions-20110526-1f692.html)
    Abbott cherry-picks easy interviews to avoid tough questions
    Bruce Hawker, May 27, 2011
    .
    Gillard appears much more frequently on the more inquisitorial shows:
    .
    ■7.30 - Gillard 6, Abbott 2
    ■Q&A - Gillard 1, Abbott 0
    ■Sky Agenda - Gillard 4, Abbott 1
    ■Meet the Press - Gillard 1, Abbott 0
    .
    The story is completely different on the softer interview formats, for example Channel 9’s Today Show - Gillard 2, Abbott 10.
    .
    When it comes to radio, the different approaches are apparent for all to see. There isn’t much difference in the number of ABC interviews, probably because the ABC is the principal source of radio coverage in regional Australia. However, it’s in the talkback radio and shock-jock departments where Abbott is streets ahead.

    Consider these numbers, based on my best count of interviews so far this year:

    ■2GB (mainly Alan Jones and Ray Hadley) - Gillard 2, Abbott 16
    ■MTR (mainly Steve Price and Andrew Bolt) - Gillard 0, Abbott 9
    ■2UE - Gillard 1, Abbott 5
    ■2SM (mainly John Laws) -Gillard 2, Abbott 9
    ■3AW (Neil Mitchell and Derryn Hinch) - Gillard 3, Abbott 3

    Abbott’s strategy in a nutshell is to have as much of Alan Jones and as little of Tony Jones as possible.

  • 23
    Hamis Hill
    Posted Wednesday, 13 February 2013 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

    Heaven forbid that an Act of G od removes Abbott involuntarily from the leadership of the oppostion.
    Where and who are the credible alternatives as driver of the national bus or captain of the Commonwealth cruise ship?
    There are none, are there?
    Would it be prudent to take a risk on the Coalition?

  • 24
    GeeWizz
    Posted Wednesday, 13 February 2013 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

    Jimmy,

    The “audience makeup numbers” are BS.

    Why does the audience break into spontaneous applause at every leftwing talking point, when 50% of them are meant to be Coalition voters? I mean Bob Brown would be the most popular bloke there if you listened to the audience views.

    The problem is that the ABC can’t get Coalition voters onto the show because it’s a show popular only with the leftie chattering classes.

    Abbott is much better off going onto a show like The Project, which I personally find mind-numbingly boring and try and convince mainstream voters in the 18-35 who watch this trash to vote for him.

  • 25
    Jimmy
    Posted Wednesday, 13 February 2013 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

    Geewizz - “The “audience makeup numbers” are BS.” Assuming this is true (which it clearly isn’t) why didn’t you answer my other questions (which floorer reiterates)
    ” is Abbott unable to prosecute his case to a hostile audience? Is that a good thing for the country? Will he not talk to the Chinese because the are “lefties”?

    “he won’t change a single vote for the chattering classes that watch it.” Then why not go on? Unless of course he is worried he will change viewers votes, just not in the right direction!”

    If Abbott can’t defend his policies, if they disintegrate from some questioning from a opposing view then clearly they are flawed to begin with.

  • 26
    mikeb
    Posted Wednesday, 13 February 2013 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

    @geewizz. Well bias is in the eye of the beholder. If you choose to believe the Q&A audience statistics are false then nothing will change that. You could always check the panel members & tally from which side of politics they come. I’ll bet they’ll be pretty even because you can be sure that if they are not the coalition would be crying from the Senate rooftops in protest. The problem that Q&A has is the paucity of competent coalition supportes who are able & willing to answer questions and provide commentary without a prompter.

  • 27
    mikeb
    Posted Wednesday, 13 February 2013 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

    …………and for what it’s worth The Project does a fair job of providing a bit of news and commentary to the easily distracted generation. I actually quite like it. Abbott should go ok on that as they would be too scared to upset him with a difficult question.

  • 28
    Jimmy
    Posted Wednesday, 13 February 2013 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

    Mikeb - Apparently Abbott did go on the project, Steve Price was holding up his appearance on it as evidence he does do serious interviews.

  • 29
    Peter Hull
    Posted Wednesday, 13 February 2013 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

    Gee Wizz, “I remember a report…”. How about remembering the name of the report and when it was released then you may earn some credibility for what at the moment is only your assertion of ABC bias. Hint, use the internet for your research, it’s not that hard.

  • 30
    Mike Flanagan
    Posted Wednesday, 13 February 2013 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

    Gee Wizz;
    Others, in preceding posts have adequately addressed your question to me.
    Your assertion that QA is a ‘leftist’ concoction really lacks substance and is beyond verification.
    To the contrary, I found Tony Jone’s past treatment of the Prime Minister offensive, to say the least, and he should have been severely rebuked for his journalistic standards.
    He not only denigrated the office bearer but the office itself in his petulant insulting manner that he displayed to Prime Minister Gillard on one of her previous appearance.

  • 31
    Electric Lardyland
    Posted Wednesday, 13 February 2013 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

    GeeWizz, you give every impression of someone who considers Alan Jones and Andrew Bolt, to be perfectly fair and balanced. You certainly seem to be regurgitating their spin of labelling anyone who disagrees with their ill-formed opinions, to be a hopelessly biased ‘leftist/warmist’. Your claim that, because there are more complaints that ABC is biased against the Coalition, therefore the ABC is biased, is very faulty logic. A more likely explanation, is that right wingers are more likely to complain. I mean, you probably haven’t noticed it, but increasingly in this country, the right wing mindset, is one that oscillates wildly between arrogance and victimhood, with almost nothing in between.

  • 32
    Stevo the Working Twistie
    Posted Wednesday, 13 February 2013 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

    This is analysis? WTF? It’s like saying Glenn McGrath is as good a batsman as Don Bradman because he walked out to the crease a similar number of times (actually, it was significantly more -138 test innings vs 80 - so by your logic McGrath should have been opening the batting). Also, in your numbers for Abbott are you including interviews where he was unable to speak coherently? Or the ones where he refuses point-blank to answer the question?

  • 33
    Richard Koser
    Posted Wednesday, 13 February 2013 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

    Actually, Abbott last week promised to return to The Project soon.
    I saw his last appearence, in July 2011. They ran a highlights reel which got big laughs. The best bit was when Abbott - visiting a retirement home - remarked to an elderly woman, “You’re 100? My grandmother lived to 100 {pause} She didn’t make it to 101.” And then he laughed.
    One of the hosts asked: “Do you realise what a funny guy you are?”
    So good luck, Tony and remember: “this TV show may contain traces of comedy”.
    The video is out there if you want to find it.

  • 34
    klewso
    Posted Wednesday, 13 February 2013 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

    Abbott likes marshmallow journalism, he picks where he’s not going to get hard questions from interviewers selling the same product “conservative government”.

  • 35
    michael r james
    Posted Wednesday, 13 February 2013 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

    In moderation for ages. I’ll cut it short:

    michael r james
    Posted Wednesday, 13 February 2013 at 3:37 pm | PERMALINK
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    While it is good to see Crikey keeping tabs, whoever wrote the misleading Header seems to be taking lessons from The Australian! (Writing headlines that are completely at odds with the actual data in the story. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see the headline — not the story — recycled in Cut & Paste: “Crikey confirms Abbott equals Gillard”.)

    On Sunday’s Insiders none of the three hacks could recall a hard interview of Abbott in the past 6 months and noted his new tactic of calling a Presser then retreating without answering any questions! Niki Savva proffered that this was “clever” of Peta Credlin but I think the other journalists (in fact the only journalists present in that studio) would have agreed with Bruce Hawker (below, almost 2 years ago) that it was a clear sign of media cowardice by our putative Prime Minister in-waiting.

    Curious, with his absurd pimpwalk swagger, total inability to focus on or to master policy detail and unerring ability to screw-up when he tries, and his slightly beady/shifty eyes Abbott is morphing into a version of George W. Bush. (And isn’t that just what we need in this turbulent world!)

    (citation from Hawker will presumably eventually appear above).

  • 36
    David Gibson
    Posted Wednesday, 13 February 2013 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

    The claim that Tony Abbott avoids media scrutiny is a myth”

    A myth?

    …allows Abbott and his staff greater control of the agenda for those media conferences and an ability to abandon them without the sort of repercussions from the national media that occur on the occasions when he has walked out of more significant events.”

    Abbott also avoids the ABC like the plague…”

    Abbott went on Andrew Bolt’s TV program (three times) almost as often as he went on the entire ABC (radio and TV)”

    So, Abbott does not avoid media scrutiny but he does go out of his way to avoid media settings with the most scrutiny and boldly favours media settings with the least scrutiny.

    I understand there is a temptation to avoid partisanship in your writing but when the facts do not support a neutral stance it is not partisanship - it is accuracy.

  • 37
    Hamis Hill
    Posted Wednesday, 13 February 2013 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

    Surely thet Wizz/Wuss? person understands that the conservative component of Q&A are too reserved to spontaneously combust in applause at the insistent hectoring tones of a BrandisSpiel.
    So an auditory measurement of audience response is not indicative of relative numbers.
    Oops, sorry this is the sort of stuff you get over on PB.
    Boring eh?
    Now the sort of questions Abbott needs are those which require no answer, for example: are you really ready Tony?;
    Do you actually know what a policy is?; What sort of team player stabbs his leader in the back , twice, just to overturn long-established party policy?;Does never ever having held down a real job make you ineligible for the highest position in the land?
    Tony wouldn’t have to walk away, just stand there in a “Sh t happens” catatonic trance until the journo’s get bored and walk away themselves.
    All rhetorically speaking.
    Get onto it Peta!

  • 38
    Steve777
    Posted Wednesday, 13 February 2013 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

    All of those various stunts by Tony Abbott in bakeries and factories should not be counted in these statistics. They are highly controlled photo opportunities where Mr Abbott runs through his talking points of the day. The workplace and its proprietors and employees present would have had their pro-Coalition credentials thoroughly checked out before being allowed to hang around when the great man arrived. Occasionally something doesn’t go to script (e.g Bob Hawke’s famous ‘Silly old B’ comments all those years ago) but it doesn’t happen often. And if one of the inexperienced journalists present does ask an awkward question it is easily avoided. I think the score excluding these stunts might be closer to 1,000 to a few hundred.

  • 39
    Steve777
    Posted Wednesday, 13 February 2013 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

    Holden Back: “Here’s a career opportunity for an ambitious local journo - ask difficult questions at the photo-opps!”

    Good idea. I just wonder what the riding instructions are for local journos at these events. Maybe they feel they’d be risking their job if they did that. What if a member of the public tried it? There is a YouTube video of an ‘old man’ (not that old - maybe my age) in a shopping mall calling Mr Abbott a DH. Yes, not very constructive. But what if he tried to ask what happened to the ‘Carbon Tax wrecking ball’? Or whether Mr Abbot was economical with the truth or genuinely ignorant a few months ago in that interview with Leigh Sales. Would minders jump on him and hustle him away?

  • 40
    GeeWizz
    Posted Wednesday, 13 February 2013 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

    Oh so they are too conservative to applaud? Thats a new one.

    BTW, the Q&A producers pre-choose which written down questions are allowed to be asked before the show commences… it seems they are all leftwing questions.

    I think any unbiased observer would happily admit Q&A is a show for lefties, with a leftie audience and leftie questions.

  • 41
    Hamis Hill
    Posted Wednesday, 13 February 2013 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

    It is probably normal to be paranoid if you are suffering from what comes to all with age there Wizzer.
    Try some pelvic floor exercises.
    It will calm you down a bit.

  • 42
    Shannon Conroy
    Posted Wednesday, 13 February 2013 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

    Those who are objective enough to identify when abbot ducks a hard interview can surely acknowledge an “interview” of the prime minister which degenerates into warm chatter. Anyone actually watch or listen to the ABC?

  • 43
    GF50
    Posted Wednesday, 13 February 2013 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

    Mike Flanagan, love the “convected” in post 14. I hope you meant that, I had an instant picture of hot air and a mouthful of the soy latte hit the screen and keyboard.Can you please post some comments for me? I’m obviously a latte sipping/pinko/leftie. (testaments to my character I wear with pride):)

  • 44
    David Selmes
    Posted Wednesday, 13 February 2013 at 9:20 pm | Permalink

    Do you actually watch Q&A GeeWizz,Tony Jones is a poor moderator,you obviously have not seen Christopher Pyne and the latitude that is given to him by Tony Jones ,to do his usual bully boy tactics,you only have to go back to last monday week so again do you actually watch Q&A

  • 45
    David Selmes
    Posted Wednesday, 13 February 2013 at 9:21 pm | Permalink

    Another poor Article by Mr Keanne again…

  • 46
    Posted Wednesday, 13 February 2013 at 9:45 pm | Permalink

    @GeeWizz Look mate, I’ll give you a tip - the real people of Australia don’t watch Q&A at all, so it doesn’t matter if they’re biased or not, so there’s no need to stress your pretty little head over it, ok buddy?

    But you just keep watching it, and noting down every time the leftwing applaud more than the right. Maybe you could make a blog about it, you could be as big as Crikey one day!! Wouldn’t that cheer your sad little bones up, hey?

    Meanwhile, I’ll keep on doing what I do every money night, and that’s not waste my time on crap television but actually do something productive with my life, my intellect, and my time.

    Oh hell, does that make me Right Wing, because I work during Q&A??

  • 47
    BSA Bob
    Posted Wednesday, 13 February 2013 at 10:12 pm | Permalink

    This piece highlights, intentionally or not, the featherbed ride Abbott is being given to the Lodge.
    The key word is of course “scrutiny” & my dictionaries all imply a degree of careful examination. Of which Abbott receives very little.
    I notice he used pretty much this line at the NPC when asked about interviews. But surely, he protested, his inquisitor couldn’t have failed to notice all those media appearances in the bakeries, fish shops & factories throughout the land? Where he’d faced the cameras to tell us how many thousands of dollars a packet of jellybeans or some such would cost under this iniquitous tax? And what are these if not interviews?
    This line’ll probably be trotted out again if required. And the MSM will lap it up because they can tell themselves how seriously serious they are after all.

  • 48
    Cuppa
    Posted Wednesday, 13 February 2013 at 11:18 pm | Permalink

    Bernard,

    You will find this story relevant. The Age, 27 May 2011:

    …I tested my argument by looking at a range of electronic media interviews he has conducted this year and compared them with Gillard’s appearances. This is not an exhaustive list, but it does give a good indication. Gillard appears much more frequently on the more inquisitorial shows:

    ¦7.30 - Gillard 6, Abbott 2

    ¦Q&A - Gillard 1, Abbott 0

    ¦Sky Agenda - Gillard 4, Abbott 1

    ¦Meet the Press - Gillard 1, Abbott 0

    The story is completely different on the softer interview formats, for example Channel 9’s Today Show - Gillard 2, Abbott 10.

    {…}

    Consider these numbers, based on my best count of interviews so far this year:

    ¦2GB (mainly Alan Jones and Ray Hadley) - Gillard 2, Abbott 16

    ¦MTR (mainly Steve Price and Andrew Bolt) - Gillard 0, Abbott 9

    ¦2UE - Gillard 1, Abbott 5

    ¦2SM (mainly John Laws) -

    Gillard 2, Abbott 9

    ¦3AW (Neil Mitchell and Derryn Hinch) - Gillard 3, Abbott 3

    http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/politics/abbott-cherrypicks-easy-interviews-to-avoid-tough-questions-20110526-1f692.html

  • 49
    klewso
    Posted Thursday, 14 February 2013 at 1:19 am | Permalink

    Q&A -
    To quote part of the theme to another show
    “…. Why do we always come here
    I guess we’ll never know
    It’s like a kind of torture
    To have to watch the show….”?

    I don’t know what sort of scrutiny the Right thinks their side should get, beyond none - and look at the way Q&A is conducted on the whole, the number of panelists from the Right, compared to the Left, the Dorothy Dixes asked, the lattitude Jones gives them in answering, compared to what he gives the Left, and the times he seems well versed enough to pull up “Labor” on waffle, against the time he lets conservatives filibuster on their politics (his indulgence of Turnbull, seemingly in awe of his presence, is classic).
    Monday was more of the same - “fill-in” James Paterson from the IPA was referred to as “not a politician”? Making his living doing what he does, playing politics.

  • 50
    GF50
    Posted Thursday, 14 February 2013 at 7:28 am | Permalink

    Agree klewso. James patterson was a nasty, ignorant, spitefu, little gobshite, Gina’s? media advisor? I missed what was said about that but certainly GOT the IPA (Aus branch of the tea party)Alan Jones in disguise? pursed lips, and hissing.

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