Kitchen Cabinet’s empty.

25 Mar

I’ve only watched one and a half episodes of the ABC TV series Kitchen Cabinet, a program in which the public broadcaster’s chief online political writer Annabel Crabb, “cleverly uses food as a vehicle to humanise her interview subjects.”

I’ve never doubted that politicians are human. No other species so vilely manipulates its fellows in the blind pursuit of power.  Watching them eat, drink, and pretend they’re revealing their real selves does nothing to “humanise” them for me, given that “humanise” means to make more humane, humane being a state characterized by “tenderness, compassion, sympathy for people and animals, especially for the suffering or distressed.” Of course no politician is entirely bereft of all of these qualities, and some have many, and even Hitler loved his dog and Eva Braun.

But the bottom line with all politicians is winning government, and it’s the rare specimen indeed that will put humanity before that goal. In this they remind me of the religious right who put God before humanity, in fact between politicians and fundamentalist religions humanity doesn’t stand much of a chance.

Aside: I refer to Hitler only as an extreme example of how even our most monstrous monsters have tender moments, not to imply there is any resemblance with any of our politicians because clearly there isn’t. I shouldn’t have to say this, but people sue for less.

The idea that a sanitised dinner party with media savvy politicians recorded for public consumption by four cameras is going to humanise anybody, suggests that the ABC thinks we’re brain-dead suckers, unable to tell reality shows from reality.

Plus, it  sounds rather too much like Auntie has ventured into offering free public relations services  for select pollies, who must have been beside themselves with delight at being offered the opportunity to put on their human masks and spin themselves silly, all for free.

That this carnival was created and facilitated by the chief online political reporter causes my stomach to lurch. I have nothing against Ms Crabb and I want her frocks, but there is something viscerally awry with this combination. I do not want to see my public broadcaster’s chief online political reporter engaged in intimate food and wine consumption with my politicians. I just don’t. I want boundaries. I do not like this blatant fraternising.

I would like to believe that the ABC is on my side, that is, an independent, unbiased as possible link between me and the politicians. When the chips are down, I want an ABC that will ask the hard questions without fear or favour, because its journalists are working in the public interest, not those of the politicians. I want the ABC to intercede for humanity. What else is a public broadcaster good for?

Instead, we have an ABC that aligns itself with the pollies, creating a dyad that excludes the public. Occasionally we are invited in to vicariously experience the lifestyles enjoyed by both, rather like a virtual tour round the palace, afternoon tea with the Queen chucked in to keep us slavering and curious in a Jerry Springer kind of way, about what we can never be part of. It is an us and them situation.

Considering that the public pay for both the broadcaster and the pollies, this is an unsatisfactory state of affairs.

What will humanise politicians in my eyes is when they treat asylum seekers with respect and decency. When they just get on with legalising same-sex marriage. When they turn their attention to the homeless, especially children, most of whom will never get to eat watercress soup and Persian love cake washed down with a nice red. In short, when politicians stop making everything a political power struggle and put humanity first, then I’ll think of them as humanised.

As Immanuel Kant put it ” all politics must bend its knee before human rights, and only in this fashion may politics ever aspire to reach the stage where it will illuminate humanity.”

I’m sorry to say this series has done it for me. Ms Crabb has no credibility as a chief political journalist left, as far as I’m concerned. That is not to say she didn’t succeed as the anchor for the series. I think she did it very well. However, I am left with the image of Ms Crabb in far too cosy culinary congress with the pollies, and this image will, I fear, override all others.

That the ABC should produce a series such as Kitchen Cabinet indicates that the grumblings and protestations about Auntie are firmly based in reality. Just last week a website was set up to accommodate complaints of bias that have been doing the rounds on blogs and Twitter for some time now. Kitchen Cabinet has convinced me like nothing else has thus far, that there is a great need for a coordinated public protest against the increasing alignment of some ABC journalists with politicians, an alignment that excludes the interests of the public who pay both their wages. This time, I think, the ABC has gone too far.

54 Responses to “Kitchen Cabinet’s empty.”

  1. weezmgk (@weezmgk) March 25, 2012 at 9:11 am #

    Spot on, Jen. I also appreciate Annabel’s presscraft, but if she thinks taht a cosy little nosh with pols will get them to drop their guard and reveal things they would not normally reveal, she’s utterly naïve.


    • Stewart March 25, 2012 at 10:04 am #

      I think Annabel is smarter than you think. In the words of Sun-Tzu, ‘Keep your friends close and your enemies closer’. Watching people in more relaxed circumstances may lead to more insights than simply haranguing them, as most of our journalists do in the hope of a throw away ‘gotcha’ in what passes for investigative journalism these days.


  2. paul walter March 25, 2012 at 10:23 am #

    I really get more suspicious by the day, not so much at the dumbing down of the ABC, but the sheer magnitude of it and during a Labor government watch, what’s more.
    Lately, Labor in general has become like the good conservative who neither forgets or learns.
    Now dominated by social conservatives who loath the ABC as much as the Tony Abbot types on the other side, Labor has done Abbott’s work for him in effectively blinding both the public and themselves, in destroying the ABC.
    The devastation wreaked upon Qld Labor is the devastation inflicted by a public no longer properly informed on ecology, including climate change, rational economics and science in general. Also, equity based social policy, of which the example given by Jennifer on asylum seekers is but one of several, also including educational dumbing down and much anti woman politics that would have these barefoot, pregnant and back in the kitchen, with baby at breast, another on hip and one in the basket.
    The religious right figures in the new anti education and anti intellectual feudalist authoritarian agenda as new repository of social information purged of rlation to reality, which fits well with both the Tories and hollowed-out “new” Labor in creating the new informational vacuum that allows Murdoch type press and media to play on fear and emotion, instead.
    In Queensland at least, in participating in this process at least, Labor has brought about its own destruction, because it abandoned its role as propagator and defender of a rational, secular nation.
    With its part in the amputating of information that offends big business in the inquiry as to its activities and also religion, which also fears examination of its often spurious truth-claims, it has permitted the closure of a market site for ideas, their examination and exchange. Rationality itself is suffocated and the irrationality subsequently induced can only benefit some form of authoritarianism, in the wake.


    • doug quixote March 25, 2012 at 10:31 am #

      Interesting Paul. It is too easy for politicians who are in government to adopt the public service line – it is that which is conservative, it always has been. The public service will more or less do what they are told by a newly elected government, though dragging their heels and using all the Sir Hemphrey Appleby tricks to delay and derail. But after five or so years in government, the agenda has probably been introduced and the conservative frame of mind sets in.

      In western democracies governments tend to have a use-by date : about ten years is a reasonable span – see the recent debacle in Queensland, and not long ago in NSW.


    • Hypocritophobe March 25, 2012 at 12:34 pm #

      Yes Paul,
      Why IS the Labor party siding with those (and taking a position aligned to) those who make working families,and the non-wealthy’s, lives crawl through broken glass?
      What hope for the environment, if this IS a Labor Green alliance ?
      Can anyone imagine how much fracking ,coal mining,mineral sands mining and logging will now engulf QLD? It’s frightening.The Wild Rivers protection will go.Crocs will be hunted 24/7.QLD is now the official red-neck Utopia of the southern hemisphere.The damage one term will do will be irreversible. Imagine then,several terms.

      Labor (state/national/all) has seriously lost the plot.They should draw the line, and hold it.Stand and fight.It’s actually time the faceless men and women of the union became stand over merchants again.(Philosophically speaking) There is still much to fight for and to protect.
      If (looking more like when, now) Abbott gets in (now QLD has fallen), getting a GST increase to pay the debt will be his top priority, and an easy gig.
      I think this has always been his plan B, and most states would NEVER knock back more money,when the social impacts can automatically be blamed on their Federal cousins. The Greens and senate won’t fight a GST rise,if (when) the Coalition get in.They will need to pick and choose from mini-battles to stay in the spotlight.

      QLD has shifted the political goal posts (and given Abbott a boost and a new mantra) enormously.

      The ABC just seems to have sold it’s soul.
      This happens everywhere when the workforce numbers reach a critical mass.
      (Happens in Public service all the time)
      I think you’ll find a few ‘tyrants’ in middle management do most of the running (ruining) these days.
      Since the electronic media has ballooned, so has the ABC staff level.
      This in turn seems to have created a snowballing out of control mass of egos, and pocket stuffers, probably too scared to make waves.After all it’s a good wicket for many.Why rock the boat.Even if you no longer recognise your surroundings.(And some would probably be LOVING their new habitat!)
      The Labor Party and ABC transformation (regression) is a reflection on where our society is,and where it is further headed, as greed becomes the norm,and apathy further fills the cracks between.

      Those who don’t recognise the regression, or deny it, are likely to be those who benefit from it, or those within its confines.

      Posted under the following-Politics, Society, Satire, Fiction, Fun Stuff


  3. doug quixote March 25, 2012 at 10:23 am #

    Agree entirely. Annabel has always played for laughs; “chief on line political reporter” has always struck me as one of those absurd titles which suggest something like “chief cook and bottlewasher” – ie she is chief because there isn’t anyone else (?)

    The Annabel’s Kitchen nonsense is as you suggest a bridge too far – it seems our reporters/journalists are embedded with the politicians, and they even call themselves “the insiders”!

    Whatever happened to journalistic ethics, balanced reporting and some detachment from the subject. Some hard questions need to be asked about the dumbing down of “Our ABC”, and all the rest of them as well, for that matter.

    Then there is the absurd situation where politicians can brief selected journalists off the record and then go out and deny everything they said, without fear of contradiction.

    “Cash for comment” got a splash 12 years ago; it is past time for another major shake-up.


    • Hypocritophobe March 25, 2012 at 5:32 pm #

      ““chief on line political reporter”

      You mean “cheap one line political distorter”, don’t you, DQ?


  4. ItsBouquet March 25, 2012 at 11:18 am #

    While I’m positively enamoured of candlelight suppers..(Jennifer, I’ve almost prepared the napery:)….I think your tale of dins dins with pollies is somewhat bizarre. Can’t say I’ve caught this particular show as I ceased imbibing too much political insanity sometime around the 2010 election. I grab a few headlines on the net these days to keep up with the vaguely differentiated nuances between the Labor and Liberal parties. From what I’m reading on forums like this, the ABC is attempting to utilise the public’s fascination for foodie shows as a vehicle to affect their perceptions of pollies. I wonder why? As you say, Jennifer, it’s a rare politician that acts out of altruism. Perhaps displaying politicians simultaneously engrossed in the basic human condition of eating and polishing their egos will be a hit – who knows?


  5. Hypocritophobe March 25, 2012 at 11:59 am #

    Close to the bone JW.
    I can handle the farrago of Crabb and co in a cosy kitchen,(Not that I watch it.I’d rather drink ipecac syrup through my nose)
    What I can’t handle is the growing blurred line of the religious right (and religion generally) and parts of the ABC.
    I’ll refer again to the interview ‘attitude’ Uhlmann has shown, his political history, his religious history and his position on two extremely important (contentious to some) issues.
    Abortion and euthanasia.
    I am not convinced an ‘almost’ priest can interview anyone with a completely unbiased outlook, let alone certain demographs.

    As for the Religion and Ethics area,well,it speaks for itself.It is more a one stop promotional business and book launch area for all the usual suspects, than an area for contemporary intellectual debate.The only good thing is exposes the true attitude ( and climate change denying policy) of the Catholic Church via the ravings of Martin Snigg and his ilk.
    Tried getting a strong view which goes against the grain, through R & E moderation, lately?


    • silkworm March 25, 2012 at 4:35 pm #

      “Tried getting a strong view which goes against the grain, through R & E moderation, lately?”

      I tried yesterday, with a moderate comment on Paul Oslington’s article about churches using their charitable arms to evangelize. I, of course, took the negative position. I merely stated that it would be problematic for the tax-exempt status of the charities. That comment was blocked. I notice that since that article was posted, there have been zero comments posted. I bet every commenter was thinking like me.

      It’s censorship, pure and simple, and I’ve noticed it on other articles at the ABC Religion website. I’ve also noticed a very strong bias in the number of conservative catholic articles.

      I’m hoping that there might be some changes at the ABC next week when its new chairman, Jim Spigelman, takes over. At the moment, the acting chair, Steven Skala, is a conservative neoliberal, like its former chairman Maurice Newman. I am particlurly looking forward to a more objective coverage of climate change.

      On a slightly different note, I saw that Tim Mander, former NRL referee, has gained a guernsey, so to speak, in the new Qld parliament. Mander is also CEO of Scripture Union in Qld, and a strong supporter of chaplains in schools. It will be interesting to see the fireworks when the High Court brings down its decision against (I’m anticipating) the federal govt funding unqualified religious whackos in public schools. Already Peter Garrett has signalled that he will make the scheme open to non-religious chaplains, to the displeasure of the religious crowd, but I reckon that this decision will not go far enough in meeting the govt’s constitutional requirements for secularity.


  6. Marilyn March 25, 2012 at 5:13 pm #

    Let’s face it the ABC is not our ABC anymore, not since Howard stacked it with right wing nutters who think that a press release by anyone is “news” without need of follow ups.

    Every second story on the ABC news for the past decade has started “the opposition says” as if we all give a flying fuck what the opposition says.

    As for the QLD election the problem in QLD is that they are morons – Dennis Atkins this morning on INsiders said they are worried about asylum seekers without ever telling us why they would be bothered by people who arrive on an island nearly 6,000 km from Brisbane and no-one questioned his lies.

    Tony Jones prattled to Bob Carr about the dead Malaysia deal and when I pointed out to him that it is dead he told me I was being abusive. He and most of our mindless media seem to think that if we only change our domestic law we can break it at will – I did point out that it would be unconstitutional to push anyone away without due process of and access to the law under Article 75 of the constitution but he ignored that fact.

    Mark Dodd and I had conversations 4.5 years ago about the jailing of poor Indonesian fishermen because they are not smugglers. He told me to have a cold shower.

    Now the courts are setting the Indonesians free because they are not smugglers he tells me again to have a cold shower.

    So it’s not just the ABC dumb down.

    The people in the far north of QLD are so moronic they think they will be paying the carbon tax because the Murdoch rags told them so.

    WE have dumb media playing tootsie with dumb pollies.

    Even Geoff Kitney in the AFR says the dead and never to be revived Malaysia deal is in limbo.

    It’s as if not a single one of the heard the high court scream out loud ‘THIS IS ILLEGAL’. as they all use innocent people to beat up their pollies.


  7. Marilyn March 25, 2012 at 5:15 pm #

    And Alan Sunderland at the ABC keeps banning me for being abusive because I point out that giving refugees a ride is not people smuggling.


    • paul walter March 26, 2012 at 1:22 am #

      Hard to beleive Alan Sunderland was once a reporter, he looks like Mark Scott’s kid brother and so bloodless he seems like an apparatchik.


  8. Hypocritophobe March 25, 2012 at 5:28 pm #

    The insane thing about the loss of the ABC to narcoleptic,seat-warmers and superannuation magnets,,is that there are actually zombies walking amongst us (polluting the ABC Forums under multiple pseudonyms) spreading the impossible myth that the ABC is to the left.

    OMG there are ACTUALLY people among us, who are so far to the right they think the ABC is to the LEFT!
    (The evidence shows most are from QLD and TAS)

    No doubt the same protozoic life-forms consider the Labor Party (in its current morph) to be lefties.

    And what of QLD ?
    “QLD.The promise land for born again Christians and owners of elephant guns.Where every day is one day closer to Hell, than yesterday.”

    I think there is a very good argument for a QLD succession.I won’t be standing in their way.


  9. hudsongodfrey March 25, 2012 at 6:31 pm #

    I hate to go against the grain but aren’t we adults enough to know that this is a fairly shallow show and leave it at that?

    If you want to see Penny Wong or Tanya Plibersek in urbane surroundings being served a few soft questions by a journalist who suddenly and for some unknown reason looks like a cross between Nigella Lawson and Mrs Betty Bowers then you’re probably very easily amused.

    But that’s about it!

    I doubt it’s going to leave you better informed or for that matter any more ill informed that the rest of the what passes for political media in this country are liable to pump out.


    • Hypocritophobe March 25, 2012 at 7:16 pm #

      *She should have used the opportunity rake up some real nasties on her hosts, and called the show.
      Mud Crabb*
      Shallow indeed.

      I think whether this discussion is about the actual Crabb show being the core of the chat is a bit moot now,in some ways.
      I mean we are all (most??) expressing lament at how the ABC has floundered to be a another glossy mag,with a few watchable ‘not news’ shows.
      It just seems such a pity to see the flagship shows lose their cred this way.
      Australian story is one tragedy after the other.
      Foreign correspondent still has some merit,but honestly,
      Four Corners is nowhere near it’s razor sharp old self.
      No-one could convince me that the only topic worthy of discussion about the federal opposition,is Abbots f***ing bathers?

      Can anyone seriously believe that;
      (A) Abbott does not have a sh*t load of grief (for the punters) up his sleeve.
      {Where is the scrutiny/digging/research?}

      (B) The ABC has ever seriously pursued ANYTHING on the conservative side of politics since Gillard was installed.

      And it seems to me that Aunty has about 10+ Chief political editors,depending what day it is.
      Nowhere near enough Indians.Honest Indians,that is.


      • doug quixote March 25, 2012 at 8:45 pm #

        Before Gillard was elected by her parliamentary colleagues, Rudd had been destabilised by Tony Abbott and by the campaign of the hostile News Limited, from about November of 2009.

        Rudd went from being hugely popular to a feather duster in about 8 months. Abbott was a guided missile aimed at Rudd, and it hit its mark. It’s been rather unguided ever since, in permanent denial and lashing out in all directions. Time it was remote-destructed.


      • hudsongodfrey March 25, 2012 at 9:24 pm #

        Actually I don’t think The Mud Crabb show would last too long given that even one such generally unfavourable interview would probably see her supply of interviewees dry up instantaneously.

        I’ll also grant that the conversation widens fairly quickly into general dissatisfaction with the state of malaise at the ABC going right back to the point when they canned The Glass House for mine. That was when the rot took hold.


        Without the ABC what do we have?
        Jennifer has created this which is nice and there are many others, but a national broadcaster with a presence in both news and multimedia is creature on another level altogether in terms of how it more broadly shapes the mainstream of opinion in the country.

        Otherwise from what I can see it’s just a race to the bottom….


        • Hypocritophobe March 25, 2012 at 9:32 pm #

          “Actually I don’t think The Mud Crabb show would last too long given that even one such generally unfavourable interview would probably see her supply of interviewees dry up instantaneously.”

          Edit and ambush,just like 4Corners new M.O.


    • Jennifer Wilson March 27, 2012 at 7:56 am #

      No because it is a symptom, Hudson, a symptom!
      Love the description of the hostess – cross between Nigella and Betty. Perfect.


      • Hypocritophobe March 27, 2012 at 9:41 am #

        Jennifer if you did not get the email yesterday can you pls flick me one?
        If you did receive, all good.


        • Jennifer Wilson March 27, 2012 at 10:02 am #

          Yes, sorry Hypo, haven’t got round to answering emails yet this morning! Thank you.


      • hudsongodfrey March 27, 2012 at 1:07 pm #

        A symptom maybe, but one of a disease which merely mutates in to new and different strains.

        The diagnosis was made some time ago by Noam Chomsky who called it Manufacturing Consent.


  10. Hypocritophobe March 25, 2012 at 8:58 pm #

    “Time it was remote-destructed”

    No shortage of *drones* at either the ABC or Canberra, DQ

    You are right of course.That means *it appears* the Media (including the ABC) has been aiding and abetting Murdoch and the Coalition for quite sometime.

    Unless of course theirs a faulty batch of pens,cameras and microphones in Oz, which for some reason won’t steer to the right???


    • Hypocritophobe March 25, 2012 at 9:36 pm #

      Apologies for that tragic post,folks.A few too many spell/grammar issues to mention.


  11. 730reportland March 25, 2012 at 10:29 pm #

    Sorry, but my ABC is not on your side. It is co-dependent and biased. And my ABC will always ask the soft questions with fear and favour, because its propagandists are also working in the corporate interest, not just those of the politicians. Instead of Rohypnol, the ACT news intern is trying caffine and No-Doze in the water. We decided to go ahead with Kitchen Cabinet, as everybody was already on the gravy train.


    • Hypocritophobe March 25, 2012 at 10:45 pm #

      Kitchen Crab Net ??


      • paul walter March 26, 2012 at 1:23 am #

        Perhaps she prefers red crab?


  12. Hypocritophobe March 25, 2012 at 11:54 pm #

    By the way,is it just me or I can sense the impending thunder of a born again Barnaby Joyce,about to rumble across the Parliament House car-park?


    • Hypocritophobe March 27, 2012 at 12:33 am #

      And here he is…..right on cue……Jibber the Nutt

      like a slimy, cane-toad with intestinal worms, under a flickering verandah light in down-town Clownsville,on a balmy summers night.(Ever the opportunistic second tier predator,in a friend free zone.)
      The press puppets , his fluttering, blithering moths, mesmerised and aimless, piffing off his lumpy empty head……….


  13. gerard oosterman March 26, 2012 at 8:55 am #

    Apart from that bloke with the yellow hat on a Brooker boat up north, there has been an over representation of females in the kitchen being interviewed.
    Come on Crabbe, get the men in the kitchen as well. On the other hand, the prospect of Abbott standing next to a plate of spicy meat balls wearing tight Lycra might be a bit much.
    Geez, that footage last night showing him in all that bike gear triumphing over the Queensland election. Just imagine, just imagine , him as PM. The horror!


  14. helvityni March 26, 2012 at 10:27 am #

    Oh dear, I’m so Annabelled out….
    If Annabell is supposed to be ABC’s pin-up girl, then what’s up with the hair all pinned-up, like a vicar’s wife.
    I see, she’s now aunty-like, she is The Aunty, just like we have Uncle Uhlmann.


  15. samjandwich March 26, 2012 at 11:13 am #

    2000ish hits since late last week! And all these comments! How do you keep up, Jennifer?

    I decided against watching Kitchen Cabinet when I heard Christopher Pyne was going to be on it. I refuse to watch anything he appears in, save for a re-make of the Young Ones, for which he’d be perfect.

    I would like to contend, however, that there are many humane members of Parliament. Wayne Swan is one. As is Rob Oakshott, and even Malcolm Turnbull in his own particular way.. Plus most of the backbenchers we never get to hear from. Even Julia would be if she could only get her priorities straight. It’s all very well feeling a sense of tender loving kindness for the feral bunnies that live in suburban parks… now if only we could open her eyes to the plight of our native wildlife, and of endangered species abroad, imagine what could be achieved!


    • Hypocritophobe March 26, 2012 at 11:41 am #

      If the line that Labor ‘has lost their way’ was the true reason Rudd was ousted,then what excuse for the even more lost,false Labor effigy, which currently dangles before us?

      Once the critical mass of the employment provided by mining hits its straps,this country’s water,ecosystems and social fabric will be severely impacted.In some cases unrecognisable.
      It is not the fault of the industry per se, either,it’s that bit in the human psyche that fobs off the inevitable consequences, or ignores them entirely.
      And that condition afflicts folk from the politicians right through to the disenfranchised,dis-empowered.
      (For different reasons)
      Whilst full employment may be a worthy ideal,so is an intact environment, and healthy accessible (and inaccessible) ecology.
      (An ecology which has a right to exist and flourish despite us)
      We all know we are all intrinsicly connected to it.
      At the current pace of fracking etc, and the new direction in QLD, it won’t be long before there is no ‘B.Y’. in NIMBY.

      Labor USED to give a shit about ‘stuff’.It appears it no longer does.Come (by) the next election,(if they last that long) they need to massively differentiate themselves from Abbott’s direction, and the shift of Labor to the right, or they will lose the tiny margin they have,purely by default.

      Its just dandy to campaign for jobs,but the working families (society generally)need healthy vital,enriching lives and activities after work,too.The environment is literally our life line.At the moment,though, the level of respect for it is diminishing rapidly,as we race to the bottom.
      (The Drum recently had a political article about that race)

      QLD will be a litmus test,but I fear the worst.The developers will all want to play rapid catch-up,and Palmer will want his ‘reward’, in kind.


  16. DontSueMeMTR March 26, 2012 at 11:20 am #

    To be honest, I couldn’t even care less if some of our politicians have pagan altars or S&M dungeons in their kitchens. What I want is a show where Ms Crabb takes every bill that has been before the house that week and breaks it down line by line and explains exactly what it means, what it will do, who supports it, who opposes, how it has been amended, exactly what the parliamentary committees have been looking at, who has spoken before them, what they said, etc, etc. When ABC News 24 was announced, I thought that was exactly what I’d be getting. I am still indescribably embittered that all I ended up with was shallow, patronising crap like this and The Drum.

    Personally, I haven’t picked up on a clear right-wing biased at the ABC the way others here have, but what I do see is a kind of reverse ouroboros — a creature that has crawled up its own arse in order to feed on its own excrement.


    • doug quixote March 26, 2012 at 1:29 pm #

      I doubt it would make gripping television to examine the recent bills considered.

      If you want your eyes to glaze over, look at :

      Section by section? Spare us – that’s what we pay members of parliament to do. And despite the negative image, that’s what they do quite well.


      • DontSueMeMTR March 26, 2012 at 2:32 pm #

        I agree that it would not make gripping television. But I don’t want my news to entertain me, I want it to inform.

        Whether Rudd or Gillard leads the government has almost no effect whatsoever on my life. What does have an effect is the legislature that passes through parliament and how it gets administered.

        Yes this is what we pay members of parliament to do, but if we’re also going to pay for the media, I want them putting this process under a microscope and informing me of exactly what is going on. This is my own personal vision of what the ABC should offer. Everyone else is free to disagree.


        • Hypocritophobe March 26, 2012 at 3:02 pm #

          It (News) probably can tack entertainment on the end if (after) it has done, as you say, ‘informed’ us.I don’t mind a little feel good thrown in,BUT the basic UNBIASED information (facts and independent analysis ) needs to be foremost and dominant.

          Part of that process MUST include a vigorous and forthright examination of the alternative government (and probably any groundswell of public issues as well).
          This of course does not mean minor parties and independents etc should not also get the microscope treatment.(It seems only the ones affecting government business get a mention,anyway)

          However, currently in Australia, we are in no way getting a broad, robust and independent examination of anything non-Labor.
          And that most definitely includes the *’public broadcaster'( *redundant terminology).


          • DontSueMeMTR March 26, 2012 at 5:05 pm #

            “However, currently in Australia, we are in no way getting a broad, robust and independent examination of anything non-Labor.”

            I’d go further. Even when they focus on Labor, it’s on the most inconsequential bits. How many bad polls can the party endure? Who will back who in the next leadership spill? Blah, blah, blah. Not only does this result in something that’s more akin to reality TV drama than political coverage, but it creates a self perpetuating feedback loop in which the media takes a small issue and turns it into a big issue by talking about how big an issue it is. Then they smugly say “See, we told you all along this issue was big”.

            Take the carbon tax. What I would like to see is some expert in depth analysis on the nitty-gritty of what it entails, how it could be implemented, exactly how it might effect the broader community and other relevant factors that I have not thought of because I am not an expert. Instead we get segments like this–

            Host: Here to talk about the carbon tax we have a lobbyist from the left and a lobbyist from the right.

            Lobbyist from the right: The carbon tax is bad. It will cost jobs and hurt the environment.

            Lobbyist from the left: No, it is good. It will create jobs and help the environment.

            Host: Well, let’s not confuse people with technicalities. Instead let’s spend the next fifteen minutes talking about the big issue — why Labor has failed to sell the tax and how this has played into Tony Abbott’s hands.

            *Somewhere, my soul cries out in impotent rage.*


            • Hypocritophobe March 26, 2012 at 5:09 pm #

              I know.


            • doug quixote March 27, 2012 at 12:38 am #

              And the same is done for every other issue.

              Climate change : one talking head introduces expert A who says climate change is real, then cuts to expert B who says climate change is crap.

              No matter that the proponderance of evidence is all one way, expert A is faced off with expert B – then “that’s all we have time for, thanks for coming”

              Is it any wonder that the public opinion is unsure what to believe?

              Repeat the dose with evolution v creation

              Repeat the dose with asylum seekers

              Repeat the dose with same-sex marriage, with immigration policy, with education policy with health – with everything you care to name.

              If we did the same with flat earth v spherical planet the results would probably be similar!

              “Balance” is the worst policy ever perpetrated on the Australian people.


  17. Hypocritophobe March 26, 2012 at 11:51 am #

    “a creature that has crawled up its own arse in order to feed on its own excrement.”

    Thanks for that beautiful terminology, DSMMTR.

    Made my day.


  18. Hypocritophobe March 26, 2012 at 6:50 pm #

    ““a creature that has crawled up its own arse in order to feed on its own excrement.”

    And the Winner of this Years Title is Clive “The Hutt” Palmer.

    Hope the CIA are into paybacks.

    We have officially reached the bottom of the barrel, and the life forms are anything but human.


  19. Hypocritophobe March 26, 2012 at 9:47 pm #

    QLDs Future has just begun


    • Hypocritophobe March 29, 2012 at 3:57 pm #

      ….and with Costello’s appointment(witch-hunt) Abbott will get a big fat ‘fiscally irresponsible label,’ bonus to use against Gillard and Labor.
      QLD is Gillards fault!

      Costello’s ( see the irony of his name? Cost-ello) mission is to (rightly or wrongly) blame the loss of the AAA Credit rating (and any other economic issues) on Gillard,the carbon tax,the mining tax,her jackets, the policy deals with the Greens,the independents……(In short, some play-doh for Barnaby et al to mould into an effigy)
      Each day we slide closer to the inevitable edge.


  20. Hypocritophobe March 29, 2012 at 6:22 pm #

    Some well needed light entertainment.

    These are ‘alleged signs’ in various places across our world.






    On the main road to Mombasa, leaving Nairobi: TAKE NOTICE: WHEN THIS SIGN IS UNDER WATER, THIS ROAD IS IMPASSABLE.


    In a City restaurant: OPEN SEVEN DAYS A WEEK AND WEEKENDS.



    On the menu of a Swiss Restaurant: OUR WINES LEAVE YOU NOTHING TO HOPE FOR.


    • doug quixote March 29, 2012 at 7:13 pm #

      Recently, on a Chinese program with English (?) subtitles : woman presenter standing on the arch of Sydney Harbour Bridge : “… and Sydney Opera House is on my backside”


      • Hypocritophobe March 29, 2012 at 7:50 pm #

        Lawyer Joke anyone?

        LAWYER: She had three children , right?

        WITNESS: Yes.

        LAWYER: How many were boys?

        WITNESS: None.

        LAWYER: Were there any girls?

        WITNESS: Your Honor, I think I need a different Attorney. Can I get a new Attorney?


        LAWYER: How was your first marriage terminated?

        WITNESS: By death..

        LAWYER: And by whose death was it terminated?

        WITNESS: Take a guess.


        LAWYER: Can you describe the individual?

        WITNESS: He was about medium height and had a beard

        LAWYER: Was this a male or a female?

        WITNESS: Unless the Circus was in town I’m going with male.



  21. Hypocritophobe March 30, 2012 at 11:22 am #

    I see Barrie Cassidy is using ancient material to keep the ABC pattern of Gillard kicking moving forward.
    It means Annabelle will pop up soon.

    Good cop-bad cop-good cop bad cop-good cop bad cop-good cop bad cop………

    All the way till the next election.
    Start packing everyone.


  22. Hypocritophobe April 2, 2012 at 10:10 pm #


    There IS more than one politician in Australia.
    Where on earth was he hiding?
    Julia will be so jealous.


  23. Hypocritophobe April 3, 2012 at 7:51 pm #

    Petty and unnecessary,
    saving a mere $200,000.
    I’ll bet his travel in the first term blows that out of the water,or his entertainment allowance.

    That said,it would not surprise me if a ‘generous magnate’ decided to fill the void…..


  24. Hypocritophobe April 4, 2012 at 4:03 pm #

    The taming of the Red Neck frontier has begun


  25. Hypocritophobe April 12, 2012 at 9:47 am #

    This sums up my view of the ABC as it currently stands.
    C & P from the Drum article.

    11 Apr 2012 11:02:52pm

    Thanks Quentin for this.

    I hope it is not too late.

    Who could blame Swan for defunding the ABC this budget. Whilst ABC should not be a friend of the government it certainly should not be looking to The Australian for it’s cues to bash the govt, gloss over opposition policy/funding shortfalls, distort climate science and policies to address it etc etc.

    Once upon a time I would’ve defended the ABC passionately – now, I don’t care.

    I think the last straw was the anti vaccination mob being asked to provide balance science on a possible new strain of pertussis. I wasn’t surprised as I’ve seen the climate science getting a work over by the IPA here.

    Just a couple of days ago an “environment reporter” Mr Duffy claimed that there’s IPA one end and CSIRO the other and he’s providing balance inbetween flat and round Earth. Every day now it’s carbon tax this and tax that – less than 2 years ago, the ABC would have explained the difference between an ETS and a tax.

    I don’t know if we can swing this around Quentin. If you reckon Spigelman can then I’m all for it.

    If not, flog it if you can – the mystery backers of the IPA might be willing to pay for what they get for free now.

    The current version of Aunty reminds me of something my FIL used to say,

    “It’s a great axe.Had it for years.It’s only had three heads and four handles.”


  26. Hypocritophobe April 16, 2012 at 2:59 pm #

    Do we dare go there?
    US politics and women’s voting intentions?


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