Over the long weekend, I noted the frenzy The Australian was stirring up about the purported deadline on Rudd’s leadership, built on a foundation of a self-serving article from mining company director Keith De Lacy and quotes from NSW Right Labor has beens. Next week’s Newspoll, we were told, would likely be Rudd’s doomsday.
How’s it looking by Wednesday?
I was asked on another thread about ways the government can talk over the heads of the media. I was thinking more about this, reflecting on how yesterday’s proceedings in Parliament appeared on the tv news last night.
The 125 000 readers of The Australian, as Mr Denmore observed, are a very small proportion of the electorate. They might include every single press gallery journo, but nightly grabs on the news have some considerable resonance to publics beyond the way they were framed.
Television is still, by far, the predominant source of political information for voters.
The ‘leadership’ narrative only resulted in vision of a series of Ministers and Labor MPs strongly defending Kevin Rudd. Meanwhile, the Opposition was bizarrely warning mining companies not to negotiate with the government, as Rudd pursues a more differentiated strategy to break the unity of the industry peak body and the Coalition. It’s pretty clear to anyone who thinks for a moment that the Liberals are pursuing their own interest, not the national interest. As I’ve previously remarked, they could well be left out on a limb if a deal is reached.
One other way of thinking about the recent polls, and the drift away from Labor (but not strongly to the Coalition) is of volatility in the electorate rather than a desire to punish, or vote out, the government. If that were the case, we’d expect a much stronger swing to the Liberals. Giving Labor the chance to deliver a positive message on tv is just one way the media narrative can backfire. And it’s worth remembering, once again, what Essential Research found about derisory levels of public trust in the media.
The political conjuncture is still very fluid.
And anyone reading Dennis Shanahan today would have noticed a slight shifting of the bar. It’s certainly not out of the question that the ‘media narrative’ will still collapse in the face of reality.