Sitting Exams Under Cover Of Umbrellas
With the alarming uptake of journalists moving to grab jobs as politicians, mostly for the Labour party it might be timely to re-visit an article from 2010 about this very same issue in Australia.
Sure it is from Australia and from four years ago but it makes for interesting reading nonetheless.
Peter Costello, now a civilian, has bagged the practice of journalists going into politics.
From Channel Nine’s 2010 election commentary panel, the former lawyer and Liberal treasurer (1996-2007) was remarking on the defeat of Labor’s Maxine McKew , a former ABC current affairs presenter/interviewer andÂ BulletinÂ journalist, in the seat of Bennelong.
In his column forÂ The Sydney Morning HeraldÂ on August 18 he wrote:
“Every so often a journalist chances their arm in real politics. Maxine McKew is one. Her underwhelming parliamentary career shows how much harder it is to do than it is to pontificate.”
Putting the possibility of partisan bias in Mr Costello’s dismissive remarks to one side, the issue of journalists crossing over into politics is worth thinking about.
Is it a good idea given the role of the Fourth Estate in a democracy?
Journalists are meant to be independent ‘pontificators’, objective observers of governance and a key part of the accountability process. They are not meant to cross over into party politics with all the vile distortions (spin doctoring) which accompany contemporary adversarial games.
Journalists, particularly political journalists like Maxine McKew, know about the viciousness of politics in Australia. They know about vested interest influence peddling through slush funding practices. They know about factionalism, tribalism, smear, character assassination and zealotry. They know about media management and focus group rhetorical and policy manipulations which pervert honest engagement with the electorate.
When a journalist decides to leave journalism for politics without a cleansing career change in the middle it does bring into question their ethics and leanings for their most recent work. It is much the same if a politician immediately becomes a lobbyist straight after bowing out of politics. It smells a bit whiffy and looks slightly dodgy.Â Read more »
When you ask the public to sort the best jobs from the worst jobs, guess what they put last?
Best and Worst Jobs of 2013
CareerCast.com, a career website, ranked 200 jobs from best to worst based on five criteria: physical demands, work environment, income, stress, and hiring outlook. To compile its list, the firm primarily used data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and other government agencies.
Any guesses what comes in last place out of 200 jobs based onÂ physical demands, work environment, income, stress, and hiring outlook?
The media are still carrying on like it is the end of the earth that someone gave an inquiry a list of dates, times and phone numbers.
They are being exceedingly precious and considering the general impression most people have of journalists they are at a serious disconnect as is usual.
This is the problem with the beltway, for those co-existing in Wellington with politicians. The far too cozy relationship leads to them thinking they are far more important than they really are.
The more left wing they are the more pronouced this affliction.
Most people in the country don’t care that someone in the media got snooped on, in fact I’d suggest that most people are high fiving and handing out “atta-boys” to John Key. The polls certainly seem to support that. Read more »
Rodney Hide carries on with his column explaining the stupidity of journalists when it comes to policy:
[R]eporters are a different kettle of fish.
They spend their livesÂ reporting politics. Itâ€™s their job. You would think they would haveÂ a basic grasp of the difference between good policy and bad policy andÂ some understanding of how policies impact society.Â They talk andÂ write as if they do. Turns out they donâ€™t.
They donâ€™t have a clue.
I vividly remember the first hour or two of my first end-of-yearÂ Parliamentary Press Gallery party.
A senior and respected political reporter bowled up to me. She wasÂ puzzled, she slurred. Why was the ACT Party so against Maori?
I was nonplussed.Â I had just walked in. I naively explained thatÂ nothing could be further from the truth.
I realise now that my reply would have just proved for her that I wasÂ both a liar and a fake.
â€śOf course, you are,â€ť she blurted.Â â€śYou guys donâ€™t want Maori Doctors!â€ť
I was more confused than ever — I still hadnâ€™t got a drink.Â IÂ declared confidently that no one from ACT had ever said such a thing.
Oh but she said, you are against quotas for Maori getting into medical school.
I realised then that I had led a sheltered life before Parliament. IÂ had never before come face-to-face with such mind-numbing stupidity.
I didnâ€™t know what to say. I didnâ€™t know how to begin to discussÂ affirmative action with someone adult and so manifestly stupid.
I explained why quotas donâ€™t work, why they donâ€™t address the problemÂ of underachievement, why they are counter-productive and why,Â actually, anyone supporting quotas was racist.
The ACT party, I said,Â was gloriously the only party in Parliament that wasnâ€™t racist andÂ fervently believed that the law should be applied fairly and equallyÂ to all.
It was only the ACT Party that demonstrably believed that Maori wereÂ every bit as capable as everyone else. She clearly did not.
But her eyes had glazed completely over and her mind had left theÂ party as soon as I started to reason and to explain.Â It was too toughÂ for her.