Monday, 26 January 2015

I set about stirring the political pot

yesterday. I did it on Twitter and I did it deliberately. 
I probably should not have done it, particularly as I was sitting safely on my fence-post. That particular fence-post is a long way up. It is comfortable. I can stare at the political dogs on both sides - and drive them mad. Fence-posts are friends if you are a cat.
I stirred a few cat hairs into the pot and waited - and got the expected frenzied barking.
I let them bark for a while, told them it was a joke and let them growl in disappointment. I wasn't moving from the fence-post.
But, there was also a serious side to what I was doing. The media is not, generally, kind to politicians of any flavour. That's fine - up to a point. One role of the media is to question and another is to criticise.
The problem is that this has gone a little too far in recent years. The last two Prime Ministers had an on-again off-again relationship with the media. The media had a great deal to do with their downfall. The media also miscalculated. There was a belief that they could reinstate the previous PM and win the election. They lost.
Our present PM has never had a good relationship with the media. Put simply, they don't like him. He's a Rhodes Scholar but they make him out to be a fool. That reflects on other Rhodes Scholars of course apart from one of our previous PMs, also a Rhodes Scholar - but he was of the other political persuasion. 
The present PM volunteers, and has done for many years, as a surf-lifesaver and in a rural fire service. We're told he only does that for the sake of his political career. Perhaps he does. I don't know why he volunteers. What I do know is that it doesn't help the image of  volunteerism or help in encouraging others to volunteer when he is derided for volunteering.
He's Catholic and apparently began training for a religious life so he gets called a "mad monk". He goes to church. He has been accused of allowing his faith to get in the way of policy and taking orders from the church instead. True or not? I don't know. What I do know is that previous PMs have not had their faith - or lack of it - questioned in this way.
He has been accused of being a bully and threatening violence. Are the accusations true or are they politically motivated exaggerations? I don't know. I do know much has been made of them. I also experienced, first hand, the boorishness of another PM - something well known to the media but barely mentioned.
Much was made of his having had a child out of wedlock when he was much younger. A paternity test proved otherwise but the story still surfaces when the media find it convenient. Despite the fact that he appears to be in a strong, supportive married relationship he's accused of being a chauvinist. Is he? I don't know.
I could probably go back to every previous Prime Minister and find they have had similar treatment from the media. There is now a difference however. In the past we did not have the same 24 hour news cycle. We didn't have blogs or sites where people could comment on what others had written. It was not possible to have well-organised and well-conducted campaigns designed to oust a figure in the news simply because they don't share the same beliefs as others who have "media clout".
The last two Prime Ministers were effectively ousted by the media. It seems they want to do it again. Voters need all the chapters in the book, not just those which suit the media.


cathyc said...

I am surprised at the total lack of respect accorded our current PM. It just goes to show that not only females in politics get trashed. But having said that, the media only represents what people want to hear. It is driven by those that use it, not the other way around. I'm sure that has always been the case, but modern online social media seems to prove it. Drop into something like facebook if you really want to see the PM kicked while he is in the mud. You will think that the old-fashioned media is polite in comparison.

catdownunder said...

Politics on Facebook is, on the whole, uncontrolled garbage and social media at its worst.
Read the Guardian lately? Some of the comments on there are also - to be blunt - defamatory. And anyone offering a hint of support is also likely to be subjected to the same treatment.
A journalist once told me "we run the social agenda, not the government".