Sunday, February 19, 2012

A Journalist Of The Old School

BRINGING TO BEAR the weight of her 137 years in the gallery, Michelle Grattan ruminates on the role of politicians' advisers in the Canberra game, observing that they "are not expected to become players".

At last, a senior journalist addressing the shameful escapades of Tony Hodges and other, as-yet-unknown prime ministerial operatives in prompting a race riot on Australia Day. You beaut, Michelle! It took you a while, but you're finally on the case. That was the reaction at the Billabong, where a prayer was offered to celebrate the CSIRO's pioneering work in developing the fixture that allows a laptop and notebook to be mounted on the top rail of a Zimmer frame.

Alas, jubilation was premature and disappointment extreme. Even though Hodges is about to flee  both country and questions for a new life in England, Grattan's column mentioned him not at all. Rather, her focus was on Tony Abbott's COS Peta Credlin, who was the subject last week of an indirect instruction from the Speaker to stick a sock in it.

Still, charity urges that Grattan be excused on the grounds of a senior moment, as Hodges was clearly in her mind when those ancient hands began to tickle the keyboard. There is the reference in the first paragraph to the West Wing, for example, which rather suggests her initial thoughts were of those in power, not the opposition. And further down in the story, a reference to Gillard's imported svengali, John McTernan, which might have opened the way for an examination of the PM's riotous spin machine.

But those potential lines of investigation tailed off into nothingness, perhaps due to distraction. If Grattan had not heard the announcement that Bingo was about to begin, she might have retained just enough focus to tap out a few words about a race riot and those who promoted it. She was, after all, a quality journalist.

24 comments:

  1. My recollection is that Peta Credlin was out of order for responding from the gallery to a shot of invective from The American President. If Slippery Pete is interested in keeping advisers out of the debate, perhaps her should rule out of order those Honourable Members (regardless of whether they are channelling Michael Douglas, Mafu, or Uncle Tom Cobley) who heckle those outside the Coward's Castle form inside said same.

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  2. Grattan, like Oakes, is well past her use-by date. Or, given her profession, her listen-to date.

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  3. Perhaps Ms. Grattan has some commonalities with your next door neighbour; she with the midnight broomstick and possums in the passionfruit vine. Allowances must be made lest Numbers detects another serious character fault.

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    Replies
    1. The Fair Work Act?

      Do you think you, and your son, might possibly get away with breaking into Grattan's house in the middle of the night and hitting her with golf sticks and cricket bats 'til she finally "agreed" to do an expose on Hodges?

      Delete
    2. Elizabeth (Lizzie) B.February 19, 2012 at 12:05 PM

      If you feel idle enough to briefly check his own blog, you'll discover that Numbers includes as a source of his opinion-formation an innocuous sounding blog called "Neither Left nor Right". Neither left nor right indeed, as this blog is run by a journalism academic most notable for his past staunch support of the Communist Party of Australia.

      Like Michelle herself and a whole raft of ageing 60's Boomers, he's another old Warrior of the Left pretending to be even-handed. How tired and tiring they are these days.

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  4. Years ago when I was a young niave underling working at The Canberra Times and Michelle laboured in her cubicle in front of an ancient instrument called a type-writer, word had it that Michelle would gnaw on her little pinkie, chewing her little finger right down to the stump so that it resembled a chewed out pencil. Such anguish she went through tapping out her considered prose supporting her favorite party and then as if by guilt - in went the little finger, right into her acne stained gob for another nervous chomp. I still wonder about Michelle's little finger from time to time and wonder what's become of it.

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  5. It doesn't matter how self-important members of the gallery are, they have no right to intervene in the process of Parliament. It's amazing how the right have forgotten their indignation forty-odd years ago of Alan Ramsay's intervention. Double standards indeed - typical of right-wingers. Another characteristic to add to their propensity to personally abusive commentaries.

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    1. You're talking of the ALP? Left, Centre Left? Right, right?

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  6. For be it from me to suggest that Bunyip is one-eyed, but he's obviously neglected to read the following - http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/embassy-new-blow-to-pms-credibility-20120129-1qo2r.html
    And
    "There but for the grace of god, a few staffers are thinking about hodges." - Grattan Tweeting 27.01.12
    And
    http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/opinion/political-news/pyne-gillard-doth-protest-too-much-20120208-1rf1r.html
    And
    http://newsstore.fairfax.com.au/apps/viewDocument.ac;jsessionid=963C73BB2526D27807F39D1A444BA910?sy=afr&pb=all_ffx&dt=selectRange&dr=1month&so=relevance&sf=text&sf=headline&rc=10&rm=200&sp=brs&cls=1292&clsPage=1&docID=AGE120130RK7F62ET59C
    References to a Zimmer frame are included for effect in the absence of substance. That would be OK it were funny, but it provides about as much amusement as root canal therapy.

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    1. Ah, Spud Peeler of the Minty Jungle …
      You overlooked this comment:
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8N_tupPBtWQ
      … special needs people can identify.

      Cheers

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    2. Numbers you are hardly a credit to your old comrades in the Catering Corps.

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    3. Numbers, are you the same cook who batted off in the NCO's mashed spuds at Kapooka and ended up getting flogged so hard you looked like a Dalmatian dog?

      Delete
  7. The Old and Unimproved DaveFebruary 19, 2012 at 11:19 AM

    "Michelle Grattan ruminates"

    Hmm...there's another creature than ruminates, but I can't seem to call its name to mind....."

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    1. Grattan also has three stomachs. I saw her in action at the (long gone) Fringe Benefits restaurant.

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  8. Miss Grattan seems to be the Helen Thomas of Australian politics.

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  9. They are all having 'senior moments' it seems. Apart from not mentioning Mr Hodges, they also (including Grattan) forget the major faux pas in parliament when a journalist actually yelled out something about "lies" or "not true"' for all to hear and had to make an apology.

    Okay, it was back in the Malcolm Fraser days but some of these 'senior' journos were all there (Grattan was writing under her byline the sensational stuff about the Pollack painting being done whilst drunk (on page One).

    Laura Tingle is too young to remember it, but she has a good reason to have noted it (or been told about it by her partner).

    M Ryutin Sydney

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  10. People still read Grattan's columns??

    The woman is living testimony to everything that's wrong with Fairfacked.

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  11. Michelle must remember when the Media Liiason Sevice under Keating had one journo who just did what was called "gutter work" and that is just what he did. He is now a prominent journalist..Gratten is having lots of "seniors"moments these days.

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  12. motherG, please feel free to share names and recollections.

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  13. Are those stories correct that Michelle was Miss Australia 1922? If so, I have to say that she has been very fortunate in retaining her jet black hair.

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  14. On top of all her other failings, Grattan can't write. I quite enjoy reading left-wingers who can string together a few good paragraphs, but this woman doesn't have a writer's bone in her body. She's the most overrated journalist in Australia.

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  15. hammygar - a beautifully argued case - relevance is not required - keep up the good work.

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  16. Good to see Insiders* paying due diligence to the race riot this morning. They even showed the footage of Sattler contradicting herself during the full 30 seconds they gave to the story.

    Funnily enough they didn't have enough time to mention Hodges...

    * I sat through the whole episode to see Bowers have a good laugh at Spooner's Flannery cartoon. Unfortunately he must have run out time before he could get to it...

    jupes

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  17. Having now seen what a PM's office is capable of, I wonder if it would be worth revisiting the Godwin Gretch affair to see if that was a setup? What about the doctored Gillard Student Union campaign piece that was circulated?

    I just wonder of there is anything these people won't do?

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