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US President Donald Trump (Image: AAP/Mick Tsikas)

The announcement artist Last night’s disturbing revelations on Four Corners are bad news for the government, which means it must be time for the Morrison spinners to create some big positive headline-grabbing announcements.

Today we got the “extension” of JobSeeker — which is actually a further cut to the already low support payments for the million and a half unemployed Australians we now have post COVID-19. But it does help if the media uses your preferred terminology and establishes your preferred narrative.

So what next? Maybe the final release of the news media bargaining code? It would seem to be a perfect way to suck the oxygen out of any pesky news stories — contentious, hugely consequential and on the media’s favourite subject: itself.

In the post? Speaking of announceables, here’s one we’d genuinely like an update on. Way back in November 2019 Communications Minister Paul Fletcher announced that Boston Consulting Group had been appointed to review Australia Post’s strategy to “operate as a sustainable and fit-for-purpose service provider for the longer term”.

Before our attention is averted from the culture and strategy of our national postal service, we’d really like to know what happened to that report…

Another Trump firing The Donald Trump presidency is ending as it started… and as it went on. First, in the pure surrealism of the Four Seasons Total Landscaping car park press conference. Second, being caught in an explicit and demonstrable lie, with Vice-President Mike Pence claiming co-credit on behalf of the administration for Pfizer’s vaccine development and being immediately corrected.

But the true theme of this presidency was its record-breaking a slew of firings. Pentagon chief Mark Esper is now gone, a move completely inconsistent with lame duck presidents who generally favour stability in defence matters during the transition.

The takeaway? Trump can still do a great deal of damage in the time he has left, and the US is either highly likely or highly unlikely to declare war in the coming weeks.

Good feud guide Another front page story that got lost last night: Q+A was unequivocally worth watching. Former PM Malcolm Turnbull launched a remarkable attack on News Corp — particularly regarding its coverage of climate change — via The Australian‘s Paul Kelly.

Grab the popcorn:

Turnbull: “How offensive, how biased, how destructive does it have to be, Paul, before you will say — one of our greatest writers and journalists — ‘It’s enough. I’m out of it’ “?

Kelly: “How dare you, Malcom! How dare you start telling me what I should do in terms of my career, and lecture me about what moral position I should take.”

Turnbull: “How dare I do it? I dare to do it, and I’m saying to you, Paul, it is about time that people that work for the Murdoch organisation speak up and say, publicly, what they say privately. Speak up and do what James Murdoch had the courage to do and clearly too many of the employees do not.”

Who snitching? That The Australian is running a fairly nothing story attacking the ALP — about Labor leader Anthony Albanese very slightly walking back his call that Prime Minister Scott Morrison should push Trump to respect the “democratic process”, which the Oz takes to be an explicit call for Trump to concede — is no great surprise.

But the single quote from an anonymous Labor MP is interesting: “Denying your own press release, or that you said something, is worthy of the Trump White House.”

Who among Labor’s ranks would wilfully conform with a News Corp attack line?

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

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