Canberra couldn’t see the forest for the trees

Lou Moretti writes: Re. “Is the social media fury at the press gallery misplaced?” (yesterday). Is it possible even Bernard Keane has partially missed the point? Refer to the statement:

“The press gallery doesn’t see its job as analysing the social significance of politics. Its focus is on political tactics — what works politically, what doesn’t, what impact political performances will have on the functionality of the government in the short term and, over the longer term, its prospects for re-election. The gallery also focused on the wider context for the speech, which was the government defending the wretched Peter Slipper. Criticising the gallery for “not getting it” misses that what they’re supposed to be getting isn’t necessarily in their job description.”

Firstly, the Canberra press gallery too often push a “personal” political view supported by facts best suited to bolster their report. Those higher ideal are often lost in “the fog of war”. Over time a trend emerges which is difficult to ignore as statistical bias. Once detected the writer is no longer trusted. This may have occurred in the case of the press gallery — loss of trust in reporting the truth.

Secondly, on the point of “the government defending the wretched Peter Slipper”, when did Slipper actually turn from being an elected politician to being “wrenched”? A question raised by the Prime Minister in her speech but ignored in reporting of the facts. I am sure Keane has read the PM’s whole speech. Where is the whole truth?

Les Heimann writes: I am writing this in a rage. Either Bernard Keane is entirely incompetent or is a gross hypocrite.

Yesterday Crikey carried an article by him attempting to differentiate the media’s responsibility to report news as distinct from opinion. His lame attempt to explain away social media’s support of the Julia Gillard parliamentary speech as distinct from the politics that the parliamentary press gallery is there to report on is actually laughable.

To dismiss what was, couched in very simple terms, one of the great moments in Australian history — when Australia’s first female PM tore down the curtain of male bullying and did it so brilliantly — as something of no real consequence is beyond belief.

To then say that it was not for the media to report on this, their job was only to look at the politics, is simply rubbish! To say that the Canberra press gallery don’t live in a real world (and so should be excused if they missed something important) is an admission of failure and quite derogatory as well. Frankly, if the press gallery can’t perceive a “moment” such as the Gillard speech they should be sacked.

As for the rest of the article, it was simply horse shit. Keane, if you want to keep driving people away from mainstream media (including online media) keep on flying in the face of what is being said on social media. This speech of Julia Gillard was a grand moment. It will resonate for a long time to come. It may be the beginning of the end for Tony Abbott. No matter what you, Keane, may say in the future about Julia Gillard you can’t deny her place in leadership history. In tune with those famous words used in The Castle — Keane, you don’t get the vibe

Mick Callinan writes: Bernard Keane thinks that “the press gallery doesn’t see its job as analysing the social significance of politics”. So, if the editor says “I need 2500 words on the social significance of politics”, Peter Hartcher, Paul Sheehan et al will just say “I don’t see that as my job”, and get away with it?

I don’t think so, but if Bernard really meant they don’t like to, or don’t want to, or don’t know how to, then he is probably right, and those particular commentators are merely rubbish at their jobs. Now the makes sense, and would explain why the Twitterverse is down on them. Personally, I reckon they are just rubbish at their jobs — and that has never been a bar to highly paid employment.

Pamela Papadopoulos writes: Despite what people may think of our prime minister and the flaws of the major political parties, the ice has been broken with “that’ speech. I can’t wait for a new generation of women to start engaging in a decent discourse and better policy outcomes when they enter parliament in the next 10 years. That speech represented all the women in corporate Australia and in other fields that have been subjected to s-xism. They will take that speech and make it their own.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey