Oct 182007

Too much arguing, not enough debating. That’s the title of the Oz editors piece in today’s edition.

It’s not in the least bit objective in it’s observations and displays a clearly defined partisan position on the part of what is supposedly the flagship daily. The Oz is a Murdoch rag, this we all know. Even so, one would expect a more balanced perspective from the national daily’s editor. Perhaps it’s too much to expect.
Take, for example, the editors postulation that

“We at The Australian favour more, not fewer, opportunities to see the political contenders going head-to-head”

which is precisely what Kevin Rudd proposed when he put forth the idea of three debates spread over the six week campaign. A damn good idea, especially if we’re to be subjected to an American presidential-style campaign, whether we agree with the format or not. The Oz editor doesn’t seem to agree. He’d rather the minions faced off against each other, Minister -v- Shadow in what would clearly be a farcical showing of inadequacies which appeal to no-one. Hockey against Gillard? Neither one has the ability to personify their responsibilities or mount a decent argument. Costello against Swan? Smirky Pete would prefer the one-liner insult approach reminiscent of his Question Time performances while Swan would bore us all to death with a rendition of ABS stats. Downer against McClelland? Neither are diplomates in any shape or form and Downer has made it clear recently that he’s no longer interested in the Foreign Affairs as a portfolio. No, if we’re to have the presidential style approach, then it has to be the two leaders. Howard won’t go the three-debate route because he knows he’ll struggle through one, let alone multiple debates. And why should the incumbent have the choice of day/time/format? These staged shows have only been vogue since the Keating era, and in 1996, Howard was the procrastinator on the grounds that he didn’t like the idea of Kerry O’Brien as moderator. That’s a funny one because a moderator doesn’t grill the opponents as Kerry does on 7:30 Report. Tradition hasn’t a leg to stand on as a proprietory claim. Rudd standing his ground now is no different to what happened 11 years ago. What’s good for the goose….
I really don’t understand why political editorials have to be biased, as today’s Oz is. Both political protagonists have flawed policies. That is the very nature of the game at play. It’s an imperfect game, politics, being conducted by imperfect people in an imperfect world. To blatantly attempt to paint one side as seemingly perfect isn’t only disingenuous, it’s demeaning of the individual and organisation doing so, in my view. The editors blurb finishes off with…

“Mr Rudd must stop complaining about the format of Sunday’s debate and focus on making sure he has real policy detail and a credible message about why the Labor team would make a better future prospect than a proven government.”

Editor-in-Chief, Chris Mitchell, needs to do likewise on the issue of political ideologies which offend his sensibilities. If editorials can’t be objective critiques, then he shouldn’t be writing them. When all’s said and done, his journalistic career doesn’t exactly speak volumes for his ability to critically analyse and rationally report the facts, which is what we rely on our journalists to do, isn’t it?

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