I have been following sport for a very very long time. When it comes to a football club making a new signing, rumours do very little to sway me; even publicity shots of the player shaking hands with the manager and showing off a club shirt with names and numbers on, also do very little to sway me. Not until the player which has made the signing appears on the park and playing, am I inclined to believe rumours.
The same also goes for Formula One. You can have publicity stills of the driver with the team and even have video of the driver actually testing the car. As the Lola Mastercard team showed in 1997, you can even have the whole team show up for Friday qualifying but unless the driver appears in the car on the grid on Sunday, you still can't fully guarantee that the driver has signed for the team.
So it is with politics. Politics is as much of a sport and game as football or Formula One and the players and supporters are just as fanatical and dare I say it, stupid, when it comes to the rumour mill.
I refer now to a report from the ABC:
Speculation is continuing to mount within federal Labor party ranks that the Prime Minister's allies in Cabinet are testing her support.
There are reports in both Fairfax and News Limited newspapers that ministers, including Nicola Roxon and Craig Emerson, have been privately lobbying their colleagues to support Prime Minister Julia Gillard.
The reports suggest some Cabinet members have been warning backbenchers that a return to a Rudd government would destroy the Labor party.
- ABC Feb 18, 2012
Just because a rumour appears in our obviously partisan press is no cause to assume that anything is happening whatsoever. News Ltd newspapers have often bashed the Labor Party and whilst they haven't declared open support for the Liberal Party in the same way that The Sun and The Times have openly declared their support for the Tories in the UK, its reasonably safe to assume that they do given News Ltd's general stance. It's also reasonably safe to assume that Fairfax newspapers like the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age whilst they don't openly support the Liberal Party, would favour them. Also given that Gina Rinehart who is a mining business woman has openly declared war on the Labor Party and has now become the newspaper group's biggest single non-institutional investor with a 14% holding, that Fairfax's editorial opinions aren't neutral either.
If you actually look at the statements being made by the Labor Party we find comments like this:
But during an interview with SKY news, Finance Minister Penny Wong refused to be drawn on the speculation about an imminent leadership challenge by Foreign Affairs Minister Kevin Rudd.
"You've asked me quite a number of questions on this issue and I've made clear I'm not going to engage with this," she said.
- ABC 18th Feb, 2012
Apart from the obvious that a Labor Party cabinet minister isn't going to openly say if any leadership attempts are being made at all, the fact that Fairfax and News Ltd together keep on badgering ministers and backbenchers is an indication that the only reason that anyone is talking about a supposed challenge for the leadership if it in fact exists is that Fairfax and News Ltd together keep on badgering ministers and backbenchers.
I also think that it's sort of unfair that serious political discussion is being constantly hijacked on precisely this issue. I don't think that it would be beyond Fairfax or News Ltd to insert people into the crowd during episodes of Q and A and to be totally frank, the fact the question of any alledged leadership challenge being asked every single week is both boring and to be honest rather pathetic.
For the record I don't honestly think that there is any serious leadership challenge being mounted within the ranks of the Labor Party; second to that, I think that the reason why its being reported that there is, is because of open manipulation by the media companies. Basically the electorate for the most part are in fact idiots and if you keep on saying something often enough, then eventually it's bound to become truth, right? The whole thing seems to be only a couple of steps away from the American experience in which the media reporting of politics is even more moronic and even shoutier.
Somehow I think that the Australian people deserve better from their media outlets; I think that it's an outright failure in the quality of journalism in this country but I don't think things are going to improve in a hurry.