ga('send', 'pageview');
John Passant

Site menu:

December 2008



RSS Oz House



Subscribe to us

Get new blog posts delivered to your inbox.


Site search


My interview Razor Sharp 18 February
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace on Razor Sharp on Tuesday 18 February. (0)

My interview Razor Sharp 11 February 2014
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace on Razor Sharp this morning. The Royal Commission, car industry and age of entitlement get a lot of the coverage. (0)

Razor Sharp 4 February 2014
Me on 4 February 2014 on Razor Sharp with Sharon Firebrace. (0)

Time for a House Un-Australian Activities Committee?
Tony Abbott thinks the Australian Broadcasting Corporation is Un-Australian. I am looking forward to his government setting up the House Un-Australian Activities Committee. (1)

Make Gina Rinehart work for her dole

Sick kids and paying upfront


Save Medicare

Demonstrate in defence of Medicare at Sydney Town Hall 1 pm Saturday 4 January (0)

Me on Razor Sharp this morning
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace this morning for Razor Sharp. It happens every Tuesday. (0)

I am not surprised
I think we are being unfair to this Abbott ‘no surprises’ Government. I am not surprised. (0)

Send Barnaby to Indonesia
It is a pity that Barnaby Joyce, a man of tact, diplomacy, nuance and subtlety, isn’t going to Indonesia to fix things up. I know I am disappointed that Barnaby is missing out on this great opportunity, and I am sure the Indonesians feel the same way. [Sarcasm alert.] (0)



Newspapers and analysis

Jack Waterford is the editor in chief of the Canberra Times and a fine writer.

In an article in Saturday’s Canberra Times (“Newspapers still click with the web’s instant news users” B2 CT Forum Saturday December 27) he says that the thing that newspapers can do better than other mediums is analyse, explain, put in context, give detail.

It is true there are some fine newspaper commentators (including Jack.)  The stable of writers for the Australian Financial Review – the bosses’ paper – comes to mind as well.

I am trying to be dispassionate here.  I recognise that my views probably resonate with about one percent of the population.

So I don’t want to sound as if I am saying if someone disagrees with me they are rubbish because that is certainly not the case, or so I hope.

But in my view a lot of what passes for political analysis in newspapers is gossip. “Then Kevin said to Julia” type of material.

This is not very enlightening.  Indeed it is obfuscating.  

Why are politicians talking, debating, discussing; what interests are they representing or pushing? That sort of thing helps me understand better the politics of what is going on.  

I’m not that interested in speculation saying Julia is going well as acting PM and Kev better watch out, unless it’s in the comedy pages or a throw away line as part of a wider considered analysis of how the Government is going.

This gossip as analysis approach helps explain I think why news junkies do turn to the net for information and analysis.

While a lot of the material on the net is rubbish too, once you find a few sites with intelligent commentators the thing that hits you is the diversity of views, much wider than you will find in newspapers.

This diversity is both democratic and informative. Most newspapers have commentators whose views are predictable (as are mine, I guess).  And the range of views is narrow, much narrower than on the net.  

For example it came as no surprise that of the 174 Murdoch newspapers, 173 endorsed the invasion of Iraq. I’m not sure what went wrong with the Murdoch paper in Port Moresby or whether the editor there survived.

There is something else as well. Good political bloggers often have insights that even the best newspaper commentators cannot match. They are free of the shackles of group thought and so can develop ideas that newspapers would never see or allow.

I see this trend of political blogging and reading political blogs as a threat to newspapers, although it may be that, as Jack has argued, the net is complementary to newspapers rather than competitive. Given my arguments above, I doubt it.


Write a comment