Few readers will recall the “Whip Inflation Now” campaign, Gerry Ford’s ill-fated attempt to spur a grassroots movement to combat inflation by changing American’s spending and saving habits.
About all we remember of Ford is LBJ’s observation that he was too dumb to fart and chew gum at the same time.
We’ve seen dumb media management of inflation efforts from our own glorious leader, Kevin Rudd, in the last couple of days.
On Monday the main metro newspapers all ran big with Rudd’s plan to fight inflation, with “exclusively obtained” extracts of the speech he was giving in Perth that day.
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It was an effective pre-emptive strike. Maybe too effective. The speech itself didn’t get much coverage.
It had vanished from most media yesterday morning. The actuality of Rudd commenting on the market woes on last night’s news was poor.
He had his point of reference – the speech – but that seemed some way back in the media cycle.
Rudd and his media minders have been at pains to suggest furious activity in the face of shaky markets – and, even more importantly, in advance of today’s inflation figures.
They slipped up. A slightly more selective leaking strategy would have been better.