In Australia, federal elections tend to tell us more about the kind of media set-ups that operate in the country, exactly how infantile and juvenile they are and the extent of their ability.
This is clearly illustrated in the number of stories on Tuesday about a gaffe made by Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese. He did not know the unemployment figure and he did not know the prevailing interest rate either.
Of course, he should have known both these figures. But his ignorance is not going to lead to the end of the world, end his chances of winning, or anything on that scale.
Not many people know this but Australia doesn't actually have elections - they just ask a room full of white men over the age of 55 what the interest rate is and the quickest responder gets to be PM.— Simon Wolfe (@SimonWolfe) April 11, 2022
Albanese's opponent, Scott Morrison, who has much more backing from journalists, has made much more catastrophic mistakes during the three years since 2019. Mistakes that actually cost people's lives.
But with journalists clearly considering themselves insiders — and not outsiders as they should be — any stuff-up on the part of the opposition is reason for shouting drinks. If this gloating did not take place in public, where would the next "exclusive" come from?
As former Courier Mail journalist Denis Atkins pointed out on Tuesday, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk made a similar mistake in 2015, two days before the state election was called. And the god whom many in the Murdoch stable worship, John Howard, did the same in 2007. Both these were non-events.
All the blathering about these simple errors shows that journalists are lazy and lack the brainpower to discuss something serious. Australia lacks a proper defence set-up, is drowning in debt, faces serious corruption issues and has just endured three years of a do-nothing government.
It's OK, it's only a factor of ten. Not gaffe-worthy. https://t.co/ZS0vWOtj28— Bernard Keane (@BernardKeane) April 12, 2022
And the leader of this government, Morrison, cannot bring himself — despite all his claims about being a Christian — to giving a little girl her freedom so she and her family can go back to their own homes. I can just hear the heavenly host applauding.
The truth behind the low unemployment figure is rarely ventilated: it is not due to any effort on the part of the government, but rather due to migration numbers falling off due to the pandemic. Less people, same number of jobs, and hey you have a lower number who are unemployed. Even a sixth-grader could understand that – but not the numskulls who work for the country's media.
The painful thing about the sludge that has emerged from the media this morning is it will keep coming for the next 39 days. Probably in larger volumes. I would be interested to know what you, gentle reader, plan to do in order to immunise yourself against the flow from the gutters.