Leave it to Crikey readers to withhold any sympathy for a floundering Turnbull, whose energy policy collapse sinks him further within his own party (as today’s leadership challenge confirms). Readers of Bernard Keane’s story on the issue were quick to point out that it seems common among certain media watchers to want to see a redemptive Turnbull narrative. Elsewhere, Emily Watkins and Glenn Dyer’s look into the survival options of Fairfax’s regional papers was bolstered by further insights from Orange editor and publisher Bob Holland. 

On Turnbull’s policy struggles

Jim Hart writes: Didn’t expect to see a potential PM scarier than Abbott, but it’s heading that way. Just hoping a Dutton government is too scary for most of the country. Not that Bill is my hero either. Is it really true we get the politicians we deserve? Have we been that naughty?

TheRabidHamster writes: I suspect that in the cold light of day the Liberals will realise that despite his obvious failings, right now, Turnbull is the best thing they have going for them. They will limp to the next election where upon they will be trounced. Malcolm will retire, Dutton will lose his seat and Angus Taylor will be elected opposition leader with Morrison his deputy. Joyce will return to the Nationals top job but will develop a nasty rash and will be forced to resign and seek medical help.

Arky writes: Parliament sits, Turnbull gets scrutiny, Turnbull collapses. You went too early and got some of that press gallery group-think all over you. Even now, Katharine Murphy is trying to sell a narrative of poor old Malcolm who nobly tried to craft a real policy solution to climate change but was undermined, rather than a bloke who could have had a real bipartisan energy policy any time he was actually willing to prioritise that ahead of capitulating to the Duttonites, and who has been doing nothing but trying to craft a policy solution that lets him claim to have a climate change policy (satisfying easily pleased barrackers like Murphy) while not aggravating Abbott and co. Joke is on him, there was never such policy available. Abbott is using the same strategy of “trash everything they suggest” as both he and Turnbull use against Labor.

On the viability of Fairfax’s regional papers.

Bob Holland writes: I’m the Orange publisher mentioned in this story, and I believe the main reason that regional newspapers have dropped so far is all to do with cost. In Orange, the regional daily costs $1.80 weekdays and $2 on Saturday, and what could be regarded as the actual news content would amount to a few pages. They ask people to pay this while most, if not all, the content is freely available on their website.

In the same vein, our publication, the Orange City Life is picked up and read by most of the population each week. I consider it to arguably be the best publication of its type in Australia. That said, if we decided to put a cover price on it of even 50 cents, I believe about 10 people would buy it. People want it, love and and read it, but only because it’s free.

No audience leads to no advertising, no advertising leads to no business. That’s why Fairfax finds itself where it is, not because people don’t want to buy and read news, but because the product is no longer worth paying for and the content is available free elsewhere. It’s that simple.

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