Is Mark Latham a whistleblower, as Crikey founder Stephen Mayne would have us believe – or just a raving ratbag?

Yesterday, Iron Mark skewered the notoriously priggish ABC Adelaide host Matthew Abraham beautifully over reactions to the Diaries in what might euphemistically be called a wide ranging interview – listen to it here:

LATHAM: The readers of this book can make their own
judgement, Matthew. One good thing about writing a book is that other
than publicising it in the media people go out and read it and make
their own judgement, and they’re not going to take your word for it,
you’ve been through it and you’ve got your little highlighter out
looking for any sexual titillation that you can find in the book.
You’ve made that the backbone of this interview today. Well, most
people will read this and see that it’s 99 per cent politics and one
per cent the sort of thing that excites a Matthew Abraham in his studio
in Adelaide.

Good point – but what do the punters think?

They think politicians are bent – or lazy, greedy bums out for themselves anyhow. Look at the Morgan poll
from December last year on Most Ethical and Honest Professions. Nurses,
pharmacists and doctors topped the list. Only 20% of respondents said
federal parliamentarians had high or very high standards of ethics and
honesty.

And these same punters view the people slicing, dicing
and paraphrasing Iron Mark’s message for them with even less regard
than they view politicians. According to Morgan, newspaper journalists
were the third the lowest ranked profession for honesty and ethics.
Only 12% of respondents gave them a good rap.

Media monitors Rehame have released some interesting findings
today. According to their boss, Peter Maher, out of 243 calls to
talkback offering an opinion on Latham logged by Rehame between last
Wednesday and Monday, 65 were critical of Latham.

You can’t take
this as a scientific survey. It’s like comparing sticking your head out
the door to see if it’s cloudy outside with meteorology. Still, it’s an
interestingly low figure given the b*llocking Iron Mark has received
from the media this week.

So here’s my equally unscientific
take on it all. Latham’s description of the party he led as “a museum
relic from a time when trade unions mattered and people cared about
community politics” is spot on. And it could apply to the Liberals just
as easily.

Politics and politicians are on the nose – but they have been for ages. Same with journos.

There’s some great stuff in The Latham Diaries.
Stuff that demonstrates the divide between parties, politics and the
public – and the media, too. Trouble is is that it’s largely lost in a
sh*tstorm of spleen.

The Rehame findings only go up until
Monday. It would be fascinating to see what the feedback since then has
been. How on earth, for example, is today’s Sapphic traffic
going down? My guess is that a mixture of overkill and disgust is
turning people off. After all, what’s the point of whistleblowing if no
one hears you?

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
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