10 Jul. 2007

"I am NOT a Murdoch Media Hack!"

When you need to devote a whole column to defending your previous column, you have a big credibility problem. Today, Dennis Shanahan made a bloody fool of himself:
For a start, there’s no interest in saying the latest polls haven’t changed - the interest, politically and journalistically, is where has the change occurred. After all, if there were no changes at all in any category there’d be no point in reporting the latest poll.
Well, that is nonsense, as Shanahan himself concedes a few paras later:
It is reasonable to assume that if the latest Newspoll survey showed no improvement for either the Coalition or Howard there would be real rumblings about the Prime Minister. This is a simple political fact.
So no change in the polls actually WOULD be news, especially after Howard's increasingly desperate appeals for votes in recent weeks (think War of Aboriges, cash handouts to carers, etc).

What's Shanahan's problem? He seems to understand what journalists are supposed to do:
My job is simply to tell people what the most interesting aspect of the latest Newspoll figures are and to put them into the perspective of reporting on those surveys for the last 15 years or so.
I guess what's "interesting" depends on your "perspective". And to hear Shanahan talk today, you might think he was a hard-core Pinko Commie:
When The Australian recorded Rudd’s ascendancy over Howard it was done with a fanfare of headlines and commentary (mine).

At the time the Coalition was accusing The Australian of being the Rudd Gazette...

What’s more The Australian has been accused of being pro-Rudd by seeking and running a Newspoll survey on the Rudd-Julia Gillard team versus the Beazley-Jenny Macklin team, which Rudd-Gillard won comprehensively.
Shanahan repeatedly insists that this latest Newspoll was important becuase it "essentially ruled out any leadership challenge". But what coverage has Teh Australian ever devoted to Liberal Party leadership speculation? I guess it's a bit like those unspecified "errors" in Iraq, which were never admitted until it was admitted that "errors were made". How quickly we move on (without ever covering the news we have moved on from)!

Shanahan gives the finger to "amateur and jaundiced analysis" from "academic PhD aspirants and armchair journalists":
...it is necessary to remember there is a real world that involves politics, the public’s latest thoughts and journalism that can’t afford the luxuries of a year-long PhD consideration, to ignore what the public is thinking or to ignore the latest shifts in public thinking.
Aside from the missing commas in that poorly written sentence, Shanahan should have the humility to realise that the "real world" as he sees it from inside his little News Ltd cubicle has very little in common with what others see.
The Australian and Newspoll (and I) have been right about election result after election result. It’s all the vindication we need...

I’m content with having my say, not forcing my views down anyone’s throat and leaving judgment to history. So far history has been on my side.
Yeah, but the Liberals cannot go on winning forever, can they Dennis? As an astute commenter notes:
History is about to bite you on the arse mate.