Pyrmonter on the media

Rarely does a journalist’s writing so neatly capture the unqualified yet breathtaking self-regard of the Canberra press gallery as does this Thinkpiece from Andrew Probyn, himself far from the worst of the courtiers in Versailles-on-the-Molonglo.  How these gossip-mongers became first courtiers, and now often the arbiters of policy is surely THE story of Australian politics in the last five decades.

The weight given to the insights of the likes of Oakes, over that of any subject-matter specialist both flatters his own profession and shows how the political system is failing: decisions being taken and assessed, not on the basis of their long term policy effects, or on any systematic, independent review, but for their immediate impact on the ‘narrative’.

There are many arguments for small government (lately, mostly scorned here by those who think they can master the beast and control the reins) based principle (the maximisation of freedom); pragmatism (the impossibility of the socialist calculation problem); or experience (the poor incentives of politicians).  But all have passed out of fashion.  It’s time to reset the ‘debate’: the best practical reason for small government is to keep power away from the schoolgirl gossip and voxpopping of a media class as remote from the life of the ruled as were the courts of Louis XVI or Catherine the Great.

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29 Responses to Pyrmonter on the media

  1. stackja

    Alan Reid

    Unlike many of his younger journalistic colleagues, Reid did not welcome the advent of the Whitlam Labor government in 1972. Following its dismissal three years later he tracked opinion polling in a bid to ply Whitlam’s internal foes with harmful ammunition. His dissection of the Labor government’s woes in The Whitlam Venture (1976) attracted a defamation suit from the former prime minister.

  2. Infidel Tiger King

    Journalists love nothing more than being the story and writing about each other.

    Same reason the summer’s bushfires became such a huge story. It was affecting their holiday homes.

  3. It’s time to reset the ‘debate’: the best practical reason for small government is to keep power away from the schoolgirl gossip and voxpopping of a media class as remote from the life of the ruled as were the courts of Louis XVI or Catherine the Great.

    In favour of restricting power to the politicians? I think not.

    The current burnination of low-end journo jobs is bad for democracy. All that will be left is the columnists about which you rightly complain.

  4. Entropy

    What is it with the liberal party and their sad, eternal desire to be loved by their enemies? McManus will betray Scotty from Marketing and she might not even wait for the Cock to crow three times.

  5. tgs

    The current burnination of low-end journo jobs is bad for democracy.

    Lol bullshit most ‘journalists’ just parrot what they’re told, speak to only people they already agree with and provide zero value add in terms of critical analysis.

    Most journalism is value destructive and any ‘burnination’ of jobs is their industry failing to remedy that fact.

  6. tgs

    Although some points for the first time I’ve seen a homestarrunner reference on the Cat.

  7. H B Bear

    Pwobyn is,of course, a winner of Journolotto. Firmly attached to Aunty’s generous bosom.

  8. Rex Anger

    @ tgs- TROGDOR! 😉

  9. Squirrel

    By the usual standards of what is written about the current federal government, the Probyn piece on IR is actually quite reasonable, but there’ll presumably be a marked change of tone at the first sign that the IR working groups are not working so well.

  10. nb

    A substantial proportion of people in countries around the world still believe old media. Let’s hope the trend away from old media continues, and also that the result is a more informed population.

  11. Nob

    Any consensus involving MacManus is anti-Australian.

    Unions DO NOT represent a significant number of working Australians any more.

    All they care about is controlling a few choke points because that means power.
    They’d rather have a closed shop which they control, than a good employer deal for employees, as they’ve shown time and time again.
    They’d rather a business closed making 100 people redundant than allow them to pay ten people less than inflated award on weekends.

  12. MACK

    Andrew Probyn has a rare ability to talk for five minutes and leave the listener with no memory of what he has said. He is the epitome of the Canberra press gallery gossip – fact-free, data-free and policy-free. He and his colleagues in the press gallery contribute absolutely nothing to public debate.

  13. Nob

    m0nty
    #3466727, posted on May 28, 2020 at 8:01 pm
    The current burnination of low-end journo jobs is bad for democracy. All that will be left is the columnists about which you rightly complain.

    I would agree with that but the drift toward uni-educated leftism predated the move to online, so I can’t blame the internet completely.

    Probyn and his ilk are dinosaurs who still think the economy is run by politicians and unions.

    In fact neither produces value – they can only interfere to a greater or lesser extent.

    But these dinosaurs continue to fill their pages with self-important guff about machinations in party rooms and Canberra restaurants. Their audience is Canberrans, public servants who likewise have no idea where their money comes from, and other journalists. The rest of us don’t give a shit who called who first or what hat they wore.

  14. stackja

    And News Corp starts to cut the print news. ABC has taxpayers money to keep them going.

  15. Win

    It’s astounding how Journalists wallow in their own ignorance . Their stony faced carefully crafted and then edited so called interviews leave no one the wiser.

  16. egg_

    McManus will betray Scotty from Marketing

    The ACTU Deputy? said on Teh Dumb that they “enjoy” working with SloMo, so they’re probably already enjoying pulling the wool over his eyes.

  17. egg_

    And News Corp starts to cut the print news.

    Only 60-odd journos left to cover all Oz Rural News now, IIRC – enjoying the lockdown fallout, SFF?

  18. Herodotus

    Meanwhile, Newspoll: Labor in QLD and WA “on the nose”. What a surprise. People will vote for them regardless of the huge back-catalogue of failure. And what about Victoria? Just what sort of crap Liberal party down there can’t get and hold on to government? Of course, even when they had a sensible Kennett government he was a hate figure, just as Newman became in QLD.
    Yes, the media keep doing their thing, and mostly denigrate conservatives while breathing new life and hope into the Labor-Green BS alternatives.

  19. Herodotus

    Morrison’s renewed interest in IR is understandable, since the nation will not otherwise be able to elevate itself out of the deep debt hole created by RGR then the current viral fiasco. Media demonisation played a role in the downfall of the last really competent government we had (Howard and Costello). The media and union campaign against Howard started immediately he was elected, and the assault on parliament house in Canberra was revealing. But it was the reaction to IR reform that was introduced by the Howard government which saw the unholy alliance of unions (who spent millions on misleading adverts) and media – who for so long had wanted nothing more than to get shot of that government.
    The media (most of them ) in effect poisoned the IR waterhole from then until now. They had no problem with Gillard’s rollback of IR to pre Hawke era modes. Fair Work (an Orwellian title) with its blatant union bias and stacked commission didn’t bother the bulk of the media at all.
    They had another figure to demonise after 2009, a conservative opposition leader who might want to not just depose Rudd or Gillard but could conceivably want to introduce conservative legislation.
    Traps had to be set. Abbott was in effect threatened by a possible media pogrom unless he gave the ABC and the NDIS a pass. Regrettably he failed to use enough weasel words in his surrender on those issues – “subject to ongoing financial considerations” might have done the job, but maybe not.

  20. Herodotus

    The mostly left leaning media now have a playing field titled to their liking. There are no tough-minded conservative governments any more. They’ve been called harsh and uncaring and demonised whenever they have appeared, so now we have wishy washy half-left Lib-Nat coalitions who, when in power, do stupid things that a more correctly labelled left-green government would do.
    We still have an ABC which is anathema to conservatives or any clear-thinking person who believes that a taxpayer funded national broadcaster should be more aligned with national interests and less inclined to see itself as an agent for change, an activist coven and a bastion of left green political agitprop.
    While Fairfax notably went broke (eventually) we still have all its mastheads doing much the same thing but with new ownership.
    We still have unions, better funded than ever, wielding serious clout despite having so small a percentage of the workforce on their books. The ACTU has been vociferously led by what looks like a throwback to the bad old days of almost communist and certainly socialist hard line leftist.

  21. Herodotus

    I thought I had just posted another comment but it has disappeared without so much as a “your comment is in moderation”.
    I’ll take the hint and find something else to do.

  22. Louis Litt

    FMD – is Probyn ( he is such a Probyn) – rootin that MnManus thing even though she’s not bring paid by the brainwashing Corp.

  23. Iampeter

    There are many arguments for small government (lately, mostly scorned here by those who think they can master the beast and control the reins) based principle (the maximisation of freedom); pragmatism (the impossibility of the socialist calculation problem); or experience (the poor incentives of politicians).

    If your arguments are based on principle (the maximisation of freedom), by which you should say (rights-protecting government), then they can’t also be pragmatic, which would make it a contradiction.
    You should oppose socialism and support rights-protecting government as a matter of principle anyway. That means even if socialism somehow worked you should still oppose it because it is immoral.
    Fortunately, in the real world, contradictions don’t exist so the immoral is also the impractical.

    Also, good on you for calling out that the Cat has fallen far from it’s aspirations given the leftist nature of the majority viewpoints expressed here.

    It’s time to reset the ‘debate’: the best practical reason for small government is to keep power away from the schoolgirl gossip and voxpopping of a media class as remote from the life of the ruled as were the courts of Louis XVI or Catherine the Great.

    Nah, the best reason for “rights-protecting government,” not vague terms like “small government,” is because it protects the rights of individuals to live their lives free from coercion. That’s all that should matter for politics.

  24. AC

    Still trying to work out which ballot paper McManus was on to represent the ‘worker”?

    Further, unions represent less than 10% of the workforce – just clinging to relevance after her laughable campaign to change the rules!

  25. tgs

    Rex Anger
    #3466759, posted on May 28, 2020 at 8:58 pm
    @ tgs- TROGDOR! 😉

    😀

  26. Rafiki

    “the impossibility of the socialist calculation problem”

    May I ask someone to explain in non-technical terms on this problem?

  27. Pyrmonter

    @ AC

    A good question. Perhaps the PM could answer it?

    @ Rafiki

    A century ago the relatively young Ludwig v. Mises wrote an essay on ‘The Calculation Problem in the Socialist Commonwealth’ pointing out that it is not possible for any central authority to ‘know’ what was necessary for an economy to satisfy generally accepted ideas about what is efficient: attempts to add together the things people want to buy and sell necessarily fail without a means to work out what those things are and the willingness to buy or sell attached to them, or allow for the allocation of capital among potential uses. The essay itself isn’t light reading, but this is (by the standards of such things) a good intro: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economic_calculation_problem

    @ Iamp – let’s not argue about the fag-paper’s differences in perspectives – there are national conservative communists to hunt.

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