A devastating critique of the nation’s political journalism

WELLS: Australian election coverage is a funhouse-mirror reflection of the way things work here

Fortunately the nation is Australia, so nobody over here needs to feel bad. I’ve never heard of any of my colleagues mentioned in this piece or this partial and tentative defence, but the professional maladies being diagnosed are awfully familiar.

So I waited for some questions from the journalists. They came and guess what, they were all about politics. They were about Mark Latham’s comments about his believing Kevin Rudd leaked to Laurie Oakes. They were about foreigners owning our farms and whether he disagreed with a National’s senator. They were about nothing to do with the press conference. Did they test the policy? Did they ask who will qualify and why? Nope. Not at all.

Like so much that happens in Australia, coverage of their election is a funhouse-mirror reflection of the way things work here, with many parallels and just enough differences to discourage cheap comparisons. (The election is going poorly for pinch-hitting Labor PM-come-lately Julia Gillard, but there I go, focusing on the horse race instead of the issues.) I learned about the two blog posts I link above, incidentally, from this piece in Crikey, an independent, well-funded political website closer to Politico than to anything anyone has put together in Canada.

Looking for more?

Get the Best of Maclean's sent straight to your inbox. Sign up for news, commentary and analysis.