Monday, May 02, 2011

Amongst the dross of daily polls, mindless media stunts and gotcha moments Lyndsay Tanner nails the question - what is wrong with our political media?

Crikey reports "former Finance Minister and Labor veteran Lindsay Tanner, who left politics at the last election, has written a scathing critique of modern political journalism and political practice Sideshow: Dumbing Down Democracy.

It takes aim at the Press Gallery, media companies, politicians and even voters themselves in a discussion of why the media and politicians seem caught up in a cycle of trivialization and spin."

Having bagged Bernard Keane in my last post for being a little too excitable in his critique of the ALP, here he is talking to Tanner about his book.

I have been banging on about the failings of our benighted media culture forever on this blog. Beacons of journalistic light do exist and occasionally pierce the lumpen gloom that covers the land. Commentary on asylum seekers and the carbon tax are the best examples. Abbott spruiks his fear nonsense in various outposts, honing his various wedge items, and gets glad handled at every turn by a bunch of mealy mouthed journalists who might have once had some integrity, but parked it somewhere and lost it, or are so young they never came to grips with the concept. Some brave souls in the Fairfax and public broadcasting stables tackle the issues head on, but they are drowned out by populist slogans and fear drums.

Abbott is a political shock-jock who thrives in a media landscape hungry for sound bites and cunning stunts, but is this what we need in a leader? The Rudd tactic worked for a while but his media manipulation was exposed as a cynical attempt to ride the beast, and it ultimately came unstuck. Let's hope the Abbott hoo ha is exposed well before he gets his budgie smugglers and lycra tights in the Lodge laundry basket.

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