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Friday, 28 November 2014

The broken clocks are right twice a day - The AIM Network

The broken clocks are right twice a day - The AIM Network

The broken clocks are right twice a day

As if a switch has been flicked, as if a group memo has gone out
(perhaps from Rupert Murdoch), Australian political journalists have all
very neatly and in a scarily synchronised fashion all decided there are
problems with the Abbott government. I don’t want to sound ungrateful,
but this is the biggest case of too little too late that I have ever
witnessed. It is now official that the mainstream political press is
exactly one year and three months behind the independent media who, like
me, have been pointing out to our readers since the day Tony Abbott
became Prime Minister, that he is not fit for the job. Actually that’s
not true. I and most others were saying it for six years before that.
And now, after over a year of relentless, daily horrors from the Abbott
camp, including internationally embarrassing gaffes, broken promises,
horrible and unfair revenge policy, rorting of the public purse,
corruption and mean spirited behaviour, it’s as if they’ve all suddenly
had permission to point out that there might be a problem here. Low and
behold, I think they might be right! Even a broken clock is right twice a

But if only it ended there. No. There’s another clause in the ‘you
may now point out how bad the Abbott government is’ memo which they have
all dutifully complied with to the letter. Not that I think it took any
convincing. You guessed it. They only have permission to call the spade
of the Abbott government a dysfunctional spade if they also maintain
their completely misrepresentative and downright dishonest anti-factual
narrative of Labor dysfunction at the same time. So the narrative goes
like this: Abbott’s government is bad. We only just noticed. We also
can’t help but notice it’s just as bad, if not possibly not quite as
bad, as the previous Labor government.

Don’t believe me? I hear people like Bolt, Albrechtsen and Alan Jones
have been piling on Abbott in their own synchronised act of ‘let’s give
Julie Bishop a run’ narrative, while carefully laying the blame mostly
at the feet of Abbott’s support team. Because criticising Abbott himself
would be career suicide for these types I assume. I’m not, however,
going to link to these bottom-feeders. But I will link to
Murdoch-Liberal-lite commentator Peter van Onselen, who today
contributed this piece: ‘Wheels are falling off as Abbott careers to year’s end’.
This article provides bad feedback from Abbott’s Liberal friends about
his dire political situation, and also helpfully highlights this line:

‘So far, however, Abbott’s government more closely resembles the dysfunction of the Labor line-ups he fought so hard to defeat.’

Then we also have Peter Hartcher, who today contributed ‘Abbott’s rudderless ship won’t scrape by’,
which quotes numerous un-named Liberal sources who are ‘panicking’
about Abbott’s terrible performance (Hartcher’s favourite sources are
un-named). Hartcher then summarises:

‘Is the rising panic justified? The comparison with the
Rudd and Gillard years is particularly striking. In a couple of ways it
is apt.’

I won’t bore you with the ways that Hartcher thinks criticism of
Abbott is an apt comparison with Rudd and Gillard, as it’s really just
more bullshit from a journalist we have come to expect this sort of
bullshit from. Anyone who has read Gillard’s My Story will
understand Hartcher is the lowest form of gutter rat ever to inhabit the
Press Club and can’t be trusted to report anything about Labor in a way
that is objective and fair. Here is a quote from Gillard about Hartcher
and his similarly badly behaved Press Club colleagues:

‘No journalist apologised to his or her readers when
dramatically reported [leadership vote] deadlines passed in silence, nor
publically discussed how they themselves were systematically used and
misled in order to puff up claims about the number of Labor members who
wanted to vote for Kevin Rudd. A few, like Peter Hartcher, became
combatants in Kevin’s leadership war’.

So not only was this man, Hartcher, a key player in the leadership
dysfunction that he then wrote about I assume every week for the three
years of Gillard’s government (although I couldn’t say this for sure
because I gave up reading him after the first broken-record
Labor-leadership-tensions crap), he is also still a keen-perpetuator of
the misleading information that the previous Labor government was
dysfunctional. How this man is still employed and still welcome in the
Press Club is beyond me. I’ve written before about how leadership dysfunction doesn’t automatically lead to political dysfunction.
Note this isn’t an opinion. This is based on fact. Even while Gillard
was fighting against Rudd’s betrayal and white-anting, she was
delivering political stability, in a minority government. Here’s another
quote from her book to back up my opinion with some facts:

‘Minority government delivered the nation effective and
stable government. This was the most productive parliament, able to deal
with the hardest of issues. During the terms of my government, members
of parliament sat for more than 1,555 hours and 566 pieces of
legislation were passed. This is more legislation than was passed in the
last term of the Howard Government, notwithstanding their complete
command of parliament with a majority in both the House of
Representatives and the Senate.’

This record can’t even be compared with Abbott’s first year as Prime
Minister, because any comparison would just be too ridiculous to even
contemplate. Abbott’s biggest achievements are noted as turning good
policy off. The Mining Tax. The Carbon Price. And his ability to stop.
the. boats. Even if you’re a Murdoch hack and you think these three
policy successes constitute achievements, and not crimes against
Australia’s future and the lives of desperate asylum seekers, it’s still
a very lonely looking policy achievement scoreboard. It can’t compare
to Gillard’s success because it’s too pathetic to even begin to compare.
Abbott’s budget is a barnacle covered ship that never even set sail
before it became a rusted shipwreck. Abbott’s government is defined by,
is awash with failure to its very core. There is no justifiable
comparison with the previous Labor government that does justifiable
comparisons justice.

Lastly, I’ve include Lenore Taylor. Even when Taylor is being
accurate and generally reasonable in the Guardian about the awfulness of
the Abbott government (and to be fair, she has been very critical since
the start of Abbott’s term), she still manages to get a punch in for
the previous Labor government. It does seem to be entirely compulsory
for every member of the Press Club to follow this pattern. In her
article today, ‘Three things that a good government would do’, Taylor wrote:

‘Abbott told his party room on Tuesday (in the same
speech in which he promised to clean the barnacles and before all the
confusion about what they were) that his government’s “historical
mission is to show that the chaos of the Rudd/Gillard years is not the
new normal”. After a truly chaotic week we can safely say that mission
has not been accomplished.’

The Labor-government-was-dysfunctional narrative is just not true and
everyone who repeats it is treating their readers like idiots. It’s
just not true. It’s a misrepresentation of political reality. It’s
certain proof of journalistic bias and misinformation. It was rampant
throughout the media for the entire length of the Labor government’s
previous two terms. And now the myth continues as journalists come up
with ways to justify how they missed the incompetence of the Abbott
government while the Abbott government was campaigning to become the
Abbott government. They missed their opportunity to scrutinise the
Abbott government and for that reason they should never be trusted ever
again. It’s not like any of them have the courage to stand up and say
‘yes, we got it wrong. Our obsession with Labor leadership tensions led
us to misrepresent the Labor government as a bad government when on all
objective measures it was a surprisingly successful government. We’re
sorry we did this, and we’re sorry our focus on this one political angle
prevented us from properly scrutinising Opposition Leader Abbott and
his plans for Australian. We’re all paying for our mistakes now’. You
just won’t ever see this happen. So instead we get bullshit served up to
us as truth. Even when the broken clocks are correct twice day, they’re
still wrong about the Labor government.

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