Sunday, January 17, 2010

tabloids...not quite dead but on the way out

     The UK blogger Madame Arcati posts the following in response to a letter : "I take the view that newspapers by and large have outlived their usefulness, are generally bullying and vulgar, and do more harm than good in their present form."

      tSS agrees and nothing demonstrates this more than today's Galaxy poll conducted for the Murdoch Sunday Telegraph about the new premier of NSW, American born Kristina Keneally.
     Keneally's rise to the top has given her a 73% approval rating with the punters, as opposed to state Opposition Leader Barry O'Farrell-now into his 6th year in the job and floundering at 42% approval. Significantly-70% of Coalition voters approve of Keneally. In other words, they, as tSS has been saying for yonks-haven't warmed to their own party leader.

Keneally and Deputy Premier Carmel Tebbutt
          tSS outdid all other news outlets-television, radio and print by predicting Keneally would be Premier by November-she was on the 3rd December. At the time of the prediction one well know political pundit said at a party we were 'batshit crazy" .
         Following Keneally's election in a party-room spill both News Ltd and the normally sane Fairfax Newspapers went on a crazy rampage-accusing her of being a "puppet premier" to Labor powerbrokers Eddie O'Beid and Joe Tripodi .
      Both newspaper outlets ignored the fact that the Federal Coalition dumped their best chance at scoring a hit against PM Kevin Rudd by sacking the only man who-given time-would give him a run for his money, the extremely clever ex-merchant banker Malcolm Turnbull. Turnbull was dumped via the influence of right-wing Coalition power brokers like Nick Minchin who seem determined to lead their party to oblivion with the 'Mad Monk' Tony Abbott (right) in charge.
   That's power brokers on all sides of politics guys-just like it's always been and will be ever after.
     Even the pompous Peter Harvey of Channel Nine news tonight pontificated that  a certain percentage of voters perceive Keneally as a "puppet" !. Yes Peter-you have been one of the dingbats pushing the line since she was elected but get a grip-the majority of the state's voters aren't buying that line. Political journalists like Harvey have completely lost their way once they repeat tosh from tabloids.
    Both newspapers ran bizarre 'people's petitions' demanding an immediate election seemingly oblivious to the fact that 4 year fixed terms are now mandatory and could only be changed by a referendum  in 18 months time at the next state election and the end of the err.. current 4 year term.
        The tone of these 'people's petitions' changed slightly after about a month when both newspapers changed tack and began demanding Keneally and Labor visit Governor Marie Bashir and offer themselves up for election (still an impossibilty under current law) .
         The Fairfax Sydney Morning Herald's law expert Richard Akland, who describes NSW politics as "some of the nastiest on the planet" finally felt obliged to point this out to his own colleagues.
        If an 80 year old social snapper, a 6 a day G&T drinking blogger and a useless sub-editor cat at tSS can get these things right, as opposed to some of the oldest and most established news outlets on the planet, what hope is there for the printed media that cannot perceive that the great unwashed public just isn't interested anymore in their attempted machinations of public opinion ?.
       In 2007 Kevin Rudd made a conscious decision to ignore Murdoch's hysterical political pundits who were out to destroy his election campaign-furious that he wasn't paying the appropriate homage to them. Murdoch's pride and joy The Australian leapt into the fray with gusto reporting in shock and horror a lunch Rudd attended with lobbyists Brian Burke and business partner Julian Grill . Burke was a former WA Labor premier who had served a jail term.
        The Australian thought it was on a winner until ex-Labor PM Paul Keating-himself the victim of a vicious News Ltd smear campaign stepped in to describe Burke ( right )and Grill as the "Arthur Daley and Terry of West Australia politics", delightfully trivialising the whole affair. The only victim was then Murdoch favoured PM John Howard who had huffed and puffed with outrage at Rudd, but then had to accept the resignation of one of his own ministers who had also lunched with the pair.
    Again they came up with the startling story that Rudd, as a diplomat , had visited a New York strip club with New York Post editor and  Murdoch favourite Col Allan ( in the USSR it used to be called a honey trap). It backfired badly-the church attending Christian Rudd was just seen as a bit more human-his approval ratings dramatically rose.
        Then came the great 'utegate" scandal when Malcolm Turnbull-supplied with dodged up emails by a News Ltd hack, accused Rudd of attempting to assist a car dealer friend. The resulting damage winded Turnbull but The Australian political writers leading the charge were mortally wounded-their credibility shot.
         President Barack Obama deliberately sidelined Fox News in his campaign. He was vindicated. Only Britain is still enthralled by the tabloids as both PM Gordon Brown and Conservative Leader David Cameron fling themselves at the feet of tabloid writers and in particular, grovel for the affection of the Murdoch clan.
          Unfortunately one important matter is being lost with the plunging credibility of tabloids and newspapers. Real investigations. To their credit it was Murdoch's Australian journalists who perservered and uncovered the appalling fibs and illegal activities of the Australian Federal Police who had incarcerated the innocent Indian born Dr Haneef after the Glasgow Airport bombings in 2007. 
       Next Wednesday sees the first Australian singing appearance of Tallulah Rendall-the daughter of 'Christian The Lion' author John Rendall and London publicist and star of 'Ladette to Lady' Liz Brewer.

The Vanguard,a small venue in the very alternative suburb of Newtown says the night is already a sellout with a 100 booked for dinner. Expect Rendell to pull out all the stops for Tallulah's gala appearance with guests like Lady Sonia McMahon and her pal Glen Marie Frost along with Lady Atwill. Presumably John, flush with cash will deliver Tallulah in the vintage Roller he has just had shipped from London.

For those who have already forgotten the Christian the Lion saga-here is the youtube clip that made Rendall and partner Anthony 'Ace' Bourke famous. (It's a vicious rumour a camera assistant was standing behind the pair waving a hunk of raw meat.) Followed by a piece on Ivana Trump with Tallulah's mum Liz Brewer.