By Stephen Mayne

I’ve been out all morning strongly
defending Mark Latham’s extraordinary whistle-blowing effort on ABC
Brisbane, Sydney and Tasmania and talking up the fact that it makes an
enormous contribution to the public’s knowledge of politics and media
in Australian. And the man himself, whilst sounding a little bit flat
on his round of ABC interviews, is certainly talking up the reaction
from people who have actually read the book.

Latham caught the
train into the ABC studio at Ultimo this morning and told ABC
Victoria’s Jon Faine that the response from his fellow travellers was
warm. He also claimed that loads of people are wanting him to sign
their copy of the book and the feedback from people who have actually
read it, rather than all those know-all reviewers who sledged it
without digesting the full version, has been very positive.

Even
some inside the Labor Party have been encouraging him, Latham claimed,
although these presumably would be at a reasonably low level because
people like ALP general secretary Mark Arbib are now threatening to sue.

After
an interesting 45 minutes with Faine, the ABC Morning presenter told
his listeners that he was getting flooded with SMS messages and most of
them were supportive. “Thank you for telling us more about politics and
the Labor Party than we’ve known for the last 100 years,” was one
message that Faine read out.

And that’s the rub for the media
establishment and the ALP insiders – the public doesn’t trust either
and Latham is hitting a bulls-eye with people who distrust big media
and the cynicism of politics. There are literally hundreds of
illuminating insights which is what happens when you breach huge
amounts of confidence, as Latham has done.

Whilst the original
media focus was on Labor’s claims about the likes of Beazley and Kevin
Rudd, Latham is now concentrating more on attacking the media, claiming
he’s “blown open the Canberra club.” He’s certainly done that and it’s
no wonder the press gallery and their bosses are collectively seething.

“The
public has a right to know that Mark Reilly from Channel Seven once
went through Helen Coonan’s rubbish for a story,” Latham told ABC
Victoria this morning. Ouch!

Latham is certainly happier dealing
with non-Canberra journalists and praised Faine for focusing on the
serious issues in his book. “It has been excellent, thank you so much.”

But
he also ripped into “some media nutter” on another ABC station this
morning who was putting him through the ringer on all the “sensational
bits.” Hmmm, who was that?

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