Fairfax hits back at Coalition whinger

By Leith van Onselen

Fairfax Media has hit back hard at Immigration Minister, Peter Dutton’s, claim yesterday that it was actively trying to “bring the government down” and was conducting “a bit of a jihad” against the Government.

Fairfax’s Mark Kenny has described Dutton’s whinge as “like a recurring wave of nausea” from a “faultering government” that is “lashing out, blaming others as the accounts of its own dysfunction pile up”:

Bereft of goodwill, a directionless Abbott government has fallen prey to the siege it has invited. Ministers grumble of a raw deal from Fairfax Media (this publisher) and the ABC. Actually, that understates it dramatically. No less than a “jihad” is being waged…

Touching all this off, Dutton effectively blamed Fairfax for reporting a story that any but the most sycophantic reporter would have run. It cited two cabinet ministers (one in corroboration of the other) who had revealed internal dissatisfaction with Treasurer Joe Hockey’s performance, discussion of his possible replacement, and an early election option in March, subject to the results of the forthcoming Canning byelection. The story was uncomfortable but factually correct in every detail.

Fairfax’s Matthew Knott has written a similar critique, arguing that it is a reminder of the Gillard Government’s dying days:

A government flailing in the polls, struggling to explain a policy agenda and beset by internal instability. A senior minister emerges from the wreckage to accuse the media of bias. I say “deja”, you say “vu”…

Suddenly, we were partying like it was the Gillard era. In 2011, as Labor failed to sell its politically toxic carbon tax, the then communications minister, Stephen Conroy, accused News Ltd of waging a campaign of “regime change” against the government…

Tony Abbott, the then opposition leader, advised the government to “take the rough with the smooth”.

“Fundamentally, if you want good coverage, you have got to perform well,” he said…

Dutton’s spray, no doubt, felt cathartic. But it’s likely to prove as useful as honking your car horn in a traffic jam. You feel good for a second. Then you realise you’re still stuck, going nowhere — just with more noise.

As Chris Becker correctly pointed out yesterday:

There would be less navel gazing and reporting on infighting if the Coalition actually had a plan for the nation and some decent policies… to see Australia through the uncertain times ahead…

There are many areas that need action – from tax reform, to retirement policy, and housing. How about less talk and more action?

In any event, the Coalition should heed Abbott’s advice from 2011 to “take the rough with the smooth”. It’s not like the Government has ever had to deal with this kind of media bias:

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  1. I call them Crybaby Conservatives. Conservative politicians and their media mates hysterically whining about receiving a mere fraction of what they have been dishing out to others for years.

    • It’s like puerile primary school yard politics (learnt from the GOP and their pro/antagonists in the US), when those doing the bullying are picked out, they cry and claim to be victims (of their own nasty ‘communication strategies’). However, I do believe in the adage that we get the politicians we deserve….. where pollies seem terrifed of the electorate (that can never be pleased), hence the need for authoritarian displays and deflecting attention from themselves through xenophobia. Sometimes even the last one doesn’t work aka ABF fiasco…..

  2. What’s also been overlooked is the chief whinger, Shit Lips Dutton, threw smoke over the unfolding debarcle in Border Farce that lead straight to his office.

    • Yes. The sheer demagougery of this Border Force thing should cause all involved to shut the F up unless they wish to draw attention to the shamefulness of their actions.

    • a badly written press release about the activities of 6 officers providing visa status data to VicPol is a debacle, I think not, more an indication of the usual biased inaccurate (make it up) reporting coming out of Fairfax

      • Geez, Brian. Why the deflection? The press release came from ABF. Dunno if you know, but press releases get reported by the press. Im sure ABF never intended to arbitrarily pull up folks to check their visas, but perhaps they shouldn’t have given a press release thay sounded like that’s what they were going to do.

        The outrage is the people’s. Not the media’s.

    • Really?! Take away the point that we all have differing views ( one of the strengths of MB?) and even if the partisan commentary was removed, how could this site possibly be any better!

    • Tovarish, calling a spade a spade or in this case calling an idiot an idiot is hardly partisan. This site is consistently critical of crude, misinformed, dishonest, corrupt pollies regardless of their t-shirt colour. The site would be better off without any political commentary but obviously those behind the site think differently.

      • Woah! Touched a nerve which was not my intent!

        I think one of the best things this site does it hold the Governments (of all varieties) to account for bad policy but engaging in this ‘he said she said’ type of discourse that has already infested our media class thanks to twitter does no one here a service.

    • Josh MoorreesMEMBER

      I’ve never understood why people support political parties rabidly instead of individual policies. There is nothing wrong with saying you support a parties policy on one thing but they are stupid for doing another. It is called being intellectually honest. If you always supported them no matter what then you are voluntarily giving up on democracy (as is the whole point of a two party system) as you are admitting that you are being forced to vote against your own interests (if you are honest enough to admit it).

      Having said that I’ve always found that MB is critical of the government, regardless of it’s colour. As it should be, the opposition don’t have the power to enact policies and the media has to hold the government to account. In the end both political parties answer to the same band of donors, if you let them convince you that you make a difference by voting for them over the other team you are just allowing yourself to be duped.

    • St JacquesMEMBER

      MB has been consistent in calling out the lower lows in economic management and reasonably accurately predicted our current predicament and trends. Why should MB and its followers align themselves with parliamentary scum of any suasion who belongs to this irreparably broken scumbucket system?

  3. Some great headlines there! But tabloid headlines, doing what tabloids do.

    Difference here is Fairfax; The Age, SMH, AFR are, or once were, considered to be ‘serious’ papers. A little too often they now seem to see themselves in competition with The Guardian or the ABC, not always, but enough to warrant mention.

    Radio National recently had some media guru on talking the Australia media space. He noted the measurable shift to the left by much media, particularly new digital entrants and increasingly established entities. Is Fairfax making a concerted effort to woo leftish readership – a market share battle in a highly competitive environment.

    Lots of journos read MB, ladies and gentlemen, what is going on?

    • 3d quoting RN to support his argument? Must be bollocks. As if 3d listens to Philip Adams and those other luvvies on RN.

    • Duke_WellingtonMEMBER

      Go easy on the lad, his property is turning to shit here in W.A., his minerals heavy portfolio is toast and the astro turfing money that used to garner his mining industry wage is now his main source of income. MB is a kind of welfare for his like now.

    • “He noted the measurable shift to the left by much media..”

      Supply and demand. The conservative space is already saturated, where there is an opportunity for newcomers to compete with a weakened ABC.

    • Sometimes you have to fight BS with BS in the cause of a greater principle. Those ‘serious’ journalists would have been appalled at the manner in which the News Ltd press jettisoned any semblance of objectivity to pursue political ends. That type of shrill tabloid ‘analysis’ needs to be met with an opposing force if we want to avoid being what is effectively a one party state in the pocket of the Murdoch press. And the reality is that political discourse in this country has been so badly dumbed down that unfortunately a commensurately simplified (relatively speaking) response by former serious broadsheet papers has been required. That said, I still don’t see Fairfax or the Guardian photo shopping our politicians into Nazi uniforms. What goes around comes around.

    • “He noted the measurable shift to the left by much media..”

      And who was this un-named media expert? Did he note the measurable shift to the right by the LNP?

  4. Fairfax is full of leftist cranks. They are incapable of seeing the Border Force-led economic recovery that will make Australia great once again. Peter Dumton for PM!

  5. Not only did the fine man survive a lobotomy – he is ensuring that our doorway is not darkened by those who have no respect for schmick uniforms, Australian values, superannuation concessions and the document that enshrines our fundamental freedoms….

    The Grocery Code of Conduct

  6. These idiots played small-target politics to get to power while Labor imploded. Fair enough. Yet now they are trying to play small target while in government. It doesn’t work that way. You actually have to come up with some policies and justify them – not just divert and distract until the next election. We are drifting into the rocks.

    • This is spot on – they are still behaving like an opposition.

      The lack of policy and the repetition of simplistic, short slogans is good tactics in opposition – don’t release anything controversial and since you are going to get limited airtime, keep it short and snappy.

      But this shit doesn’t fly when you are in government – you have to do something. It’s on you. This is what is so weird about the Abbott government – the inaction and lack of substance. It’s difficult to even get angry with them because they don’t do anything to get angry about (notable exception of continuing disgraceful maltreatment, sexual abuse, rape of asylum seekers in offshore gulag – this is on Labor too)
      Stunts like the Border Farce are more laughable than actually threatening. This government does have some seriously nasty stuff (6 month wait for the dole) but they can’t actually get it done.

      It’s a completely bizarre state of affairs – stasis. This is a bad time for an ineffective do-nothing government though as today’s GDP figures attest.

    • You ain’t drifting… you’re powering full-steam toward the rocks! And you threw all the life jackets overboard because they were getting in the way of your epic party… and now you’re all very very drunk. And co-incidentally, a Cat 5 cyclone is forming.

      I sure am enjoying watching the behaviour of the Liberal party crazies (and 3D; Poe’s law personified) get ever weirder.

  7. They used to say there were only two ways to remain sane reporting US politics
    – Frontal Lobotomy
    – Bottle in front of me
    Hence the phrase; I’d rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy!

    • Famous big brain Nietzsche was adamant that people should abstain from alcohol in order to see the deeper truths of existence. He died alone in a mental asylum….

  8. FiftiesFibroShack

    If the ALP had tried some of what the has LNP done, the media would be going crazy. If that Border Force stuff up happened during an ALP government newscorps would have lost the plot with photoshopped nazi mania. Also, imagine how many stories about debt we would be getting right now; threats of becoming Greece daily. And let’s not forget that much of the negative coverage is reporting leaks from within the LNP.

    The real story is how this disaster of a government has recieved such little negative coverage given the scale of their ineptitude.