Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Fresh Air: Back to Campaign Fundamentals

After watching the self-parody on ABCTV 7.30 on Monday, I’ve made a decision.

I’ve been following the media and politics for more than half a century. The advent of the internet has enabled the average punter to document and critique the media's role in day-to-day news coverage and opinion, and election campaign coverage in particular. Increasingly I’ve become one of those critics.

Reluctantly I’m withdrawing from the field until after the Federal election and leaving it to the growing band that have been inspired by bloggers such as Grog’s Gamut and Mr Denmore.

It’s time to get back to some campaigning fundamentals. Elections should be about vision, policies and programs. The focus should be on past and present achievements, options and promises, the skills and expertise of candidates, the quality of the leadership.

Paul Keating famously said, “when you change the government, you change the nation”. It also changes our international role: at the UN, in climate change forums etc. The election should be about the choices we have and the kind of nation and world we want.

Those interested in the game rather than the result can salivate over opinion polls, leadership speculation, personal attacks, fancy public relations and spin. It should not be about standup comedy, glib lines and media stunts. Politics is too important to be just another reality show as part of Planet Hollywood.

Those who try to hold the media accountable when it dresses up regime change as news and entertainment as analysis have a vital job to do. Please keep it up!

Just bowing out of covering the media circus, blow by blow. Not political discourse itself. Will leave Tony Jones, Chris U, Leigh Sales, Kochie and Karl, Michelle and Laurie, Piers and Andrew to the rest of you.

I’m enjoying the fresh air already. I’ll be lurking on the policy patch. It’s the deep end so it’s not crowded. Most of the media would be out of their depth. (Love a mixed-metaphor!)

PS. Of course, media concentration and public broadcasting are public policy areas that remain inbounds.

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