Could the media tide be turning?

It might surprise those who believe the media, particularly News Limited, is anti-Government and pro-Coalition, that some Coalition supporters believe the media is pro-Government and not nearly hard enough on Kevin Rudd and his ministers.  Perspective governs perception.  For those who believe the former, or more ominously that there is a deliberate media campaign to change the electorate's favourable view of the Rudd Government, there are signs the tide may be turning.

Despite adverse comment around Rudd’s recent visit to the US by Andrew Bolt in the Sun-Herald, in the editorial in The Daily Telegraph, in the preamble to Dennis Shanahan’s audio report, and in several TV programmes, as detailed in the previous post, The Cringe Dwellers, there have been some articles since then that indicate a change of tone.

In Glenn Milne’s article in the September 29 issue of The Australian Market injection well plannedit was gratifying to read “The decision by the Government to pump $4 billion of confidence boosting taxpayers' money into the non-bank mortgage lending sector is a significant milestone in the developing stature of Treasurer Wayne Swan. It may also be the first signal lesson that the phase of policy constipation in the Rudd Government is coming to an end; that the period of policy review and consideration is moving on through process to resolution and final implementation. In other words, things are finally happening.”  What a revelation.  At last someone in the media has woken up to the fact that the “all talk and no action” mantra is nonsensical.  ‘Talk’ - talking to experts, talking to stake-holders, talking in committees and reviews ARE action, as are data gathering, analysis and decision making,  all processes the Rudd Government insist must precede implementation.

Even the editorial Some Good News for Main St., Australia in the September 29 issue of The Weekend Australian was positive for Rudd.  It applauds the $4 billion package to non-bank lenders.

Paul Kelly in his piece Two cheers for Rudd in his September 27 article in The Australian says: “The difference between the Australian and American systems of capitalism has rarely been so stark. Kevin Rudd in New York at this time of crisis - a fortuitous accident - deserves two cheers for his response”.  Later, Kelly explains what Rudd needs to do to earn his third cheer: “ reduce expectations within Australian society for handouts, whether for welfare or business subsidies”.  He concludes: “It suggests the Government got the May budget correct in its balance between anti-inflation and maintaining activity. But Rudd must further adjust policy and political settings, with the prize, if he gets it right, being the mantle of economic credibility.”

A Peter Hartcher article in The Sydney Morning Herald on September 27 on Rudd’s visit to the US reads, in part, “While Rudd has been quietly seeking solutions, Malcolm Turnbull has been noisily acting out his new schizophrenia as Opposition Leader. He advances responsible Turnbullesque policy on one hand and defends populist ideas he inherited from Brendan Nelson on the other. In his Nelson mode, Turnbull shamelessly spouts the nonsense that Rudd must rush home to solve problems here. Yet Turnbull knows full well that the biggest problem facing Australia is the crisis in the US, and that’s exactly where Rudd should be. Rudd is trying to do his bit.”  More positive comment.

These may be but straws in the wind, but they suggest an awakening in at least some of the media to the modus operandi of the Rudd Government, its steadfast emphasis on sound process before implementation, its determination to get it right first time, and its steadily growing aura of competence and confidence. 

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2/10/2008Might be a bit premature to celebrate yet. I'm sure the Opposition Organ (formerly the Government Gazette, formerly the Australian) will rebound shortly with more vitriol. As for Milne, I'm sure it was either a massive brain fart, an alcohol induced mistake (we all know how much he likes a tipple) or possibly even ghost written by someone with half a brain and no axe to grind. I actually think he might have been a bit dazed by the revelation that his favoured son Tip has categorically ruled out a tilt at leadership (so far).


2/10/2008MassiveSpray, you could well be right that celebrations might be a little premature but then, who is celebrating? Rather we are living in the hope that the OO will go back to intelligent and honest reporting. Love your take on Milne LOL. Ad astra, I note also there was positive feedback re Keatings interview on Lateline. I suspect the financial mess the USA finds itself in and the effect this is having globally has forced many people to use their grey matter, begin to listen and evaluate all information on merit from all sides. We may yet see some good come out of the whole sorry mess.

Ad astra reply

2/10/2008I can understand your scepticism Massive Spray. Let's judge from Milne's next few articles whether he's changed his tune. Janice, I noticed on the Crikey website Paul Keating's Lateline interview did get a good review. Also the ABC radio news seems to be going gently on Kevin Rudd and Wayne Swan over their softer rhetoric on banks passing on the Reserve Bank's anticipated rate cut, and giving only moderate airtime to Malcolm Turnbull's tougher line. Maybe Ali Moore’s roughing up of Kevin Rudd on the 7.30 Report, and Rudd’s calm but consistent response, has persuaded the ABC news writers that Rudd is not for turning on this one. I sense a heightened respect in the media for Rudd's and Swan's judgement.


3/10/2008I've got a lot of respect for Paul Kelly. Though a conservative, he is not a "chorus member". He usually seems to treat Kevin Rudd fairly, unusual for Murdoch's crew.
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