Feb 13, 2013

Mythbusting on Abbott and the media, but who asked the questions?

Tony Abbott receives as much media scrutiny as the Prime Minister -- it's where he gets it from that is different. A Crikey investigation reveals some interesting findings.

Bernard Keane — Politics editor

Bernard Keane

Politics editor

This article has been updated with additional info from Mr Abbott’s office – see below

The claim that Tony Abbott avoids media scrutiny is a myth: a Crikey examination of the media appearances of the Opposition Leader and the Prime Minister shows Abbott has subjected himself to roughly the same level of media questioning in recent months.

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57 thoughts on “Mythbusting on Abbott and the media, but who asked the questions?

  1. beachcomber

    Abbott prefers to be interviewed by Cadet Journalists on the street, and Dave Hughes or Kyle Sandilands in a studio. No hard questions allowed.

  2. Jimmy

    Looking at just sheer numbers is irrelevant, Abbott does interviews with people who agree with him (Bo lt, Jo nes et el) or people that let him get out his stated desire to be perceived as “a good bloke” or in a press conference at a work place situation where it is solely designed for the sound bite (ie get less experienced journalists to ask questions, give them the same answer no matter what the question and walk off whenever you want).
    The few times he does front a serious news journalist he gets whacked.

    And the reason this hasn’t hurt him is that the media hasn’t used it against him as yet, they have been happy just to take his sound bite and subject it to no scrutiny and get stuck into Gillard. Hopefully we are starting to see the signs that this strategy is wearing thin.

  3. MJPC

    For Mr Abbott it’s the stuttering frequency that indicates the degree of scrutiny he is receiving. If he is relatively calm the viewer knows he is telling bulls*** and is comfortable with the interviewer, not expecting them to ask the hard or probing questions.
    On the few occasions on a whistlestop that a journo asks a probing follow-up question, or doubt as to what he has uttered, he starts to stutter and you know he is under the microscope. One can expect the interview to be cut shortly after the first stutter.
    The best were 7.30 report where he was like a fly on flypaper, no matter how much the stutter the questions kept hammering his credibility. No wonder he doesn’t like the ABC!

  4. jesse mandragoria

    so let me get this straight, you claim an appearance on the blot report scrutiny?

    that’s a pretty low bar

  5. Will

    The figures cited above are only a small part of the story. You can ask all questions in the world and it will be still meaningless in terms of media scrutiny if they’re backslapping Dorothy Dixers, inane trivia, controlled reporting of stunts and quote mining.

    I don’t think the media ought to be hostile, but they need to offer some level of scrutiny and accountability of matters of substantive. They also needs to continually inject the proper context so that the whole enterprise of he-said she-said doesn’t collapse into subjectivity soup.

    On any real metric, Tony Abbott has almost completely avoided media scrutiny.

  6. Holden Back

    Here’s a career opportunity for an ambitious local journo – ask difficult questions at the photo-opps!

  7. Hamis Hill

    “Abbott in Shock Resignation”, come on, Tony follow your leader!
    Your abilities no longer suit a leadership role.
    Be honest and run away from the top job just as you run away from interviews.
    Follow your leader!

  8. The Pav

    From the data provided one can honestly say the Misty Wabbit aka the Mad Monk is in reality the Artful Dodger.

    It just confirms that Abbott is as skilled at manipulating the media as he is inept at policy.

  9. mikeb

    You might have seen Q&A last night when this topic came up. It’s pretty obvious that TA & the coalition has an election to lose, not an election to win philosophy. The aim is to remain a small target & the longer TA has to field questions from journos or the public who might not be sympathetic then greater the chance of slipping up. Better to be seen out and about with the fawning supporters and friendly media and give off the impression of a cool steady leader – rather than a train wreck waiting to happen.

  10. David Hand

    Go out and buy today’s Australian and read, in the cut and paste section, the transcript of Abbott’s interview with John Faine on ABC Melbourne 774 last April. It illustrates perfectly why Abbott is justified in avoiding the ABC.

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