Domain dials whaaaambulance as Credlin does its job better

What to do if suddenly some amateur is doing your job much better than you are? Should you take a long, hard look at yourself? Nah. Commission a mate to write up an op-ed defence of your own failure. At Domain comes Denis Muller, who is a Senior Research Fellow in the Centre for Advancing Journalism at the University of Melbourne and a one-time associate editor of The Age:

Commentator Peta Credlin’s performances at Daniel Andrews’ daily coronavirus press conferences are a mixture of overt political partisanship interlaced with some good journalism. For people concerned about journalistic ethics, it is an unsettling combination.

Credlin is a political operative, first and foremost. Formerly chief of staff to the Liberal ex-prime minister Tony Abbott, she is now part of the shrill chorus of right-wing pundits who appear after dark on Rupert Murdoch’s Sky News pay television channel.

…Sometimes at these press conferences she is the ideological warrior.

An example was a question about an announcement Credlin said Andrews had made on March 27 about hotel quarantine security being placed in the hands of private security firms.

Andrews replied that her facts were wrong, and went on to raise a question about her motives. He was not going to stand there, he said, and have false statements put to him so often that they might be made true by repetition.

This was a political response by Andrews provoked by what was clearly a politically motivated intervention on Credlin’s part.

…any journalistic good it does is tainted by the breaking of those professional promises and by its association with Sky at night, the antithesis of what journalism is about.

Wowsers, that is some horrible stuff. First, when Dan Andrews rebuffed repeated questions from Credlin about hotel quarantine, he only only made reference to previous occasions on which he had rebuffed the same questions, pretending that had been an answer, which Mr Muller would have known had he taken the time to do his research instead of penning biased commentary.

Which goes directly to why Peta Credlin’s role in the inquiry has been so vital. She is a lawyer with an eye for detail. She is thorough and on top of the detail in a way that no Domain journo has been. She has insider policy process experience as well.

Does Credlin do opinion pieces? Of course she does. That’s her bread and butter. As do many who write for the media. But that does not mean everything that she does is ideological. Or does basic logic now stop as the Domain entrance?

Everybody that has watched Dan Andrews’ daily press conferences knows a few things:

  • there is a major cover up going on surrounding who stuffed up hotel quarantine;
  • the main reason Dan Andrews hogs the limelight is he wants to keep the story straight not because he keeps heroically turning up;
  • that Domain’s and other journos mostly throw softball questions to the premier which he deflects, dissembles and distorts with ease;
  • this had turned the “inquiry” into a show trial until Peta Credlin arrived having actually done the hard work to understand the details of time lines and facts.

The Credlin intervention has been a superb and much necessary intervention in what was a disgraceful political, legal and media failure, very much in the public interest.

Indeed, from the standpoint as media monitor and meta-commentator very often critical of the Murdoch Press, my judgement is it has done a better job of pursuing both lying premiers in VIC and NSW than other media houses have done, despite the obvious Coalition bias it has in some mastheads.

For Domain to claim otherwise for the purposes only of commercial advantage (and perhaps jealousy?) typifies only its collapsed journalistic values and quality.

David Llewellyn-Smith
Latest posts by David Llewellyn-Smith (see all)


  1. Less Woke More Bloke

    It’s interesting to watch.

    I sent your last missive with Credlin’s 14 min interrogation / nuisancing of Andrews to a rusted on Dan-fan (hey! steal it shamelessly y’all!) and all she could respond with was that she knew Credlin as an ex student and she is a horrible narcissistic person (along with a personal vignette from Credlin’s time as Abbott’s whatever-she-was and a mooted visit to the school and how insulting Credlin was) and I was thinking, ok, aside from that, what about what she is exposing?

    Whatever your position, it’s hard to deny she has done a pretty good job pulling apart the threads on this whole schemozzle, I think.

        • It was a tongue in cheek comment. I would think that the woman you are referring to would be the type to support a sister, if only the sister was also left leaning.

      • The sisterhood only counts for left leaning sisters.

        Credlin is centre-right so doesn’t count. It’s the equivalent of “acting white” for a person of colour.

    • happy valleyMEMBER

      Sure but far too biased. How often has she ever looked under the hood of any LNP gubmint in her media gigs? She could have a field day questioning the federal and NSW LNP gubmints, but that will never happen. Like AJ, she is very good at defending the indefensible when it suits.

      • Shades of MessinaMEMBER

        Exactly my point last week.

        In her current convenient avatar as a “journalist” she could lift the lid on any number of any Federal LNP corruption/incompetence she previously presided over while in government but she chooses not to.

        Not saying she is wrong on Dan, but she is as horribly bent and hypocritical as the rest of them.

  2. Funny part, without daily circus that created Saviour Dan her commentary would just be background no one pays attention to.

    Twitter gives the numbers every day, what’s the presser for besides violating their own guidelines?

  3. Mention this and you’re usually met with a partisan conga line of people screeching hysterically about Murdoch’s influence in the media, notwithstanding all the platforms he doesn’t own and those that he doesn’t IMO are just a different flavour of garbage from that spewing forth from the offices of Newscorp.

    Credlin’s obvious allegiances and motivations aside, she’s done a great job on this. Would offer the same opinion to any journo regardless of affiliation.

    • As much as i think theres a coverup she failed in that presser, far to aggressive, she lacks the charcter for those type of one on ones. Not withstanding she was awol when it mattered in June. They should have used one of their ‘real’ journos like Rachel. But then they couldnt cut through either. Murdoch doesnt seem able to mentor journos who can pull it off, i guess independant thought isnt high on his wants..

      • Completely disagree.

        The quarantine inquiry didn’t start until August so anything before that was essentially speculation. Sky News has been banging on about Vic’s lockdown since they started, mainly for the usual economic motivations but Credlin and others have been going on about it. Rachel Baxendale was essentially bullied by just about everyone because she was working for Newscorp. When The Age to their credit started asking relatively milquetoast questions that were mildly critical of Andrews there was uproar.

        Far too aggressive? I think that’s a bit extreme view of her line of questioning. IMO she’s played it very well and the fact that she’s persistent about one of the biggest government balls up in recent memory resulting in how many deaths there have been is welcomed. That’s what a journalist is supposed to do, obvious partisan allegiances aside.

  4. Hear hear -Credlin should have played at the presser Andrews’ announcement March 27 that they had appointed security guards and had planned it for a long time. Then he could have tried to dissemble about that. This Muller bloke must be low IQ of think we are complete idiots to come up with such drivel. What about most of the 4 th estate coming out of their bunkers and doing some real investigative journalism. Mark my words Phemister and Pakula and Millward are in deep and it will be a miracle if they can weasel out of this.

  5. MSM protect LNP and Labor for obvious reasons.

    All we get is fluff, that demands no higher standard from either party.

    The entire thing is broken. If we want to save our country it must be dismantled.

    Start with the one we fund. The ABC.

  6. Talk about miss the point.

    Where has Cradling been on anything that is negative to the LNP? That’s the point, if it’s journalism, it’s partisan politics journalism.

    • Okay. Now that the ad hominem attack is out of the way, do you mind addressing the arguments raised by Credlin? She’s literally the only one doing the media’s job on the biggest health policy and economic stuff up in Victoria’s history. Maybe she’s gone hard on this issue because she lives in Melbourne and, like me, has had to suffer through this crap.

      As a locked-down Melburnian, I am grateful to her for digging for the truth. I’d say the same for any journalist from any affiliation that did the same.

      • I didn’t read the article as an attack on what Cradling has dug up on the quarantine fu. Where would Cradling be if this had been a state LNP gov? She’s only interested in this because it’s the ALP.

      • Have to get with the times – it’s no longer about arguments but personality, as ScoMo and News successfully exploited with Kill Bill. As such Credlin is automatically discredited because she works for Sky and pegged Abbott.

        It’s just like how Latham, despite being one of the first to call for Gladys to resign is ignored because he also gets chummy on Sky with Alan Jones and represents PHON.

      • happy valleyMEMBER

        Perhaps, you could write her a huge thank you note and also ask whether she’d mind having a look at Robodebt again and all the needless deaths and heartache for the poor and vulnerable that that piece of LNP handiwork generated?

      • It’s impossible to be totally rid of bias – journalist or not. Since you can’t do that you do the next best thing, empower all biases equally – they might just cancel out.

        Examples: There’s nothing like political competition (even minority government) to give power to the electorate; there’s nothing like bias to incentivize both sides to reveal each other’s skeletons, etc.

      • Leith,

        The defending points have been raised many times now, Dan was very careful about his choice of words and generalisation on ADF help but not for what task, of course hes in deep but just liek border force Ruby Princess seems not alot of conviction to try and persecute these failures.

        Wheres the investigation, or call for it over twice the deaths in Robodebt? Actually committed by the government for purely ideological reasons, even when told before they started it was illegal and completely unethical. Did that affect your friends? It still stands as the biggest failing I’ve seen in the last 5 years. No one gave a fook, why will it be any different now, especially with the Feds failing to act with their failures in Aged Care and Border farce. Its all or nothing.

        • happy valleyMEMBER

          +1 For pure vindictiveness and kicking the poor and vulnerable, Robodebt is a gold standard “achievement” of an LNP gubmint.

          • It isn’t industrial manslaughter which is a crime in Victoria punishable by 25 years. 800 people have died and the public have been rewarded with lies. This needs a proper investigation by Worksafe.

  7. This Muller idiot, despite now being an academic, clearly doesn’t understand the logical fallacy of origin, aka the genetic fallacy. This fallacy consists of claiming that an argument must be false because of who is making the argument.

    Peta Credlin seems unlikely to be a nice person, but her niceness or otherwise is irrelevant to the truth of what she’s saying.

    Or maybe Muller does understand the fallacy, but knowing he’s got nothing he’s decided to play the woman.

    • It’s not in our interests to have nice people as journalists or politicians.

      “Nice” is what’s destroying us.

  8. MB readerMEMBER

    I don’t watch Peta Credlin on Sky but does she go after the Morrison government’s incompetence and corruption or do her razor sharp analytical skills fail her?

    • From Wikipedia…

      “Whataboutism, also known as whataboutery, is a variant of the tu quoque logical fallacy that attempts to discredit an opponent’s position by charging them with hypocrisy without directly refuting or disproving their argument.”

      I’m no fan of Credlin, but she’s doing a number on Andrews which he deserves, so more power to her. There’s plenty of other people, from MB to Ronni Salt who are firing on Morrison.

      • As I said above, I think the Fairfax papers are the indicator here. They’ve actually been surprisingly critical (whether that’s Costello speaking there I’m unsure but would not be surprised) and that’s refreshing. However, there’s been mutiny among their readership outraged that their own journos were asking questions of Andrews that made him look bad.

        The non-Newscorp sector has had every opportunity to dish it out to Andrews and Morrison in equal measure but do they do it? Tokenistically, but largely no. Reminds me of the Spiderman meme where they are pointing at each other accusing each other of bias.

      • I’m no fan of Credlin, but she’s doing a number on Andrews which he deserves, so more power to her. There’s plenty of other people, from MB to Ronni Salt who are firing on Morrison.

        As if Ronni or MB have the reach or resources of the Murdoch press. Did I miss the sarc flag?

      • You’re guilty of your own charge! Muller hasn’t disputed the credibility of what she has found, but how she uses it.

      • MB readerMEMBER

        Doesn’t Morrison deserve to have a “number” done on him by Credlin too? After all, we should expect our journalists to be impartial.

        • He certainly does, and she should, but I’m not gonna bag her for that when she’s doing The Lord’s(tm) work by showing up Andrews for the duplicitous tool that he is.

    • MB Reader she certainly went after Turnbull when he was PM. However Turnbull and Pyne still managed to saddle us with a ridiculous submarine project. If the 4th estate had not been on strike during this then the taxpayer could have been saved that one.

      • happy valleyMEMBER

        But the Turnbull pursuit was pure payback in the ongoing sh.tfight that was Abbott and Turnbull and Straya was the loser. The sub project was/is an absolute disgrace – a $50+bn project that will probably become a $200+bn project if it is ever finished – and announced purely to save a few LP seats in SA at the 2016 election (including Chrissie Pyne’s, for him only to walk at the 2019 election). I think Rex Patrick, the SA Senator and ex-submariner, is already suggesting the project should be scrapped (probably, only very expensive bits of blank paper at this stage) and we should start again before it’s too late.

        Talking of “pup” projects, how is the delivery of F35 joint strike fighters going? That was a John Howard captain’s pick of a blank sheet of paper project to support his good buddy, George W. I think the Canadians walked away from the F35 project after signing up initially.

        • RobotSenseiMEMBER

          Exactly. For all the pontificating, there has been incompetence/corruption to the scale of hundreds of billions of dollars in other areas, yet I see barely a finger raised in that regard. No LNP apparatchiks standing in front of a podium taking question after question on who-knew-what-and-when.

      • MB readerMEMBER

        Douglas, don’t forget that Turnbull’s actions against Abbott resulted in Credlin losing her job.

  9. RobotSenseiMEMBER

    Geez it would be great if we could have Scummo up on a lectern for an hour a day for question time. Nowhere to run away to, nobody to cut the press conference short, just to nail him on the rubbish that has come from his mouth over the years his government has been in power.
    Any journalist would jump at the chance to get in on that party.

    • The truth of that last sentence is telling. Pity they are not so keen on doing the same to Andrews.

    • Actual journalists would. The frauds we have in Australia, with a few honourable exceptions such as Crispin Hull perhaps, would view it as a death sentence and either run screaming or toss hime Dorothy Dixers all the livelong day.

      • Frauds indeed.
        If you watch their counterparts in the UK the difference is shocking.
        They are too dumb here and sucked in to being matey with their quarry.
        In the UK they give the politicians a lot of stick and so they should