Heaven knows the tabloids and the shock jocks can be precious, but no-one is more self righteous than the self consciously quality media when they are feeling spurned. Barrie Cassidy has spent days in a tizz, all because Kevin Rudd won’t do his show.

“To refuse to go on Insiders fits a pattern,” he claimed last week.

“There are only two programs that focus exclusively on politics – Insiders and Meet the Press. He hasn’t done either in this campaign and he’s not going to.”

Cassidy complained of Rudd “He will be doing lots of FM radio”, but he was so stroppy because of the Sunday program the Labor leader had agreed to do – Rove.

He had a go at Julia Gillard when she appeared on his show.

“Do you think as Kevin Rudd gains more experience, he will come on to programs like this?” he asked.

Gillard went for the polite approach, but Cassidy wasn’t wearing that. So she said he was acting like “a jilted lover”. That shut him up. Cassidy’s behaviour was precious – precious and profoundly anti-democratic. Cassidy seems to have forgotten what elections are all about. They are a chance for ordinary voters to have their say.

Politicians are supposed to come to the people, not the other way. More engaged voters are better informed. All the studies show that they make up their minds how to vote long before elections. Why should Rudd waste his time talking to the Insiders’ audience? Cassidy does realise what his show is called, doesn’t he?

It’s not just Rudd’s job as Labor leader to talk to voters who don’t obsess over politics. Arguably, it’s his democratic duty.

The media-spindustrial complex already enjoys access to politicians few others enjoy. The media-spindustrial complex have a knowledge of political debate and the nuance of campaigns and elections Rove’s audience wouldn’t even begin to grasp.

Elections aren’t just about them. They are for everyone. We have compulsory voting, after all. They are for outsiders as well as insiders.

The media-spindustrial complex don’t need Barrie Cassidy to tell them if Rudd is dodging scrutiny. They can make up their own minds.

The Insiders host has patronised his own audience and insulted ordinary voters because he wasn’t given access.

Get over it, Baz. You’ll have enough time with the PM after November 24 – no matter who it is.

PS: Just to show that there’s nothing personal, congratulations to Insiders for crushing Sunday by more than 30,000 viewers yesterday – although their 214,000 is a little less than Rove’s 1.368 million.

Peter Fray

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