Our Prime Minister took the Mickey out of Donald Trump at an event for politicians and the press – where people are expected to be funny. (They have a similar event in the US that this President boycotted. He hates the press because they take the Mickey out of him all of the time.)
Sadly, a very experienced member of the press, who was at least until now respected, stayed away from the event. Laurie Oakes takes the distorted view that his absence frees him from any obligation of confidentiality that he may have been bound by had he attended the party. That casuistry of itself casts a pall on his trustworthiness. I say that this incident is sad because it suggests that the reputation of our journalists might be sinking at about the same rate as that of our politicians.
I haven’t seen the parody, but everyone I have spoken to says it is terrific. They found it hilariously funny and dead set true.
The exceptions, as we may have expected, also sadly, came from The Australian. Three viscerally pro-Abbott hacks – Dennis Shanahan, Greg Sheridan, and Chris Kenny – rebuked the P M sharply. Kenny was as usual revoltingly unprofessional (and he shares Oakes’ logic about confidentiality).
My golden rule for Liberal and Nationals politicians is that if they are pleasing the press gallery – especially Fairfax and ABC journalists – they will invariably be doing the wrong thing by their party and constituency.
It is a well-worn path – especially for moderate liberals – to appeal to the sensibilities of the so-called progressive media: speak with alarmism on climate and feel the love; speak with compassion on border security and be swept up in their embrace; or mock conservatives and have them eating out of your hand.
Someone should really tell the poor fellow that his view on the things that derange his thinking are about three generations out of date and that mocking the majority of his profession is as unprofessional as you can get.
But let me make three comments on the kow-towers whose views were echoed in today’s editorial.
First, no one is suggesting that to the extent that the parody criticised Trump it was not justified. It plainly was, and Trump is so absurd that he has generated a revival of late night comedy routines that command huge support in the U S.
Secondly, if the critics think this form of fun may impair our interests, the premise of that fear must be that in addition to all of his other faults, Trump is an irrational, vane, vengeful pig who might retaliate on Twitter in a way that could hurt us. I agree with that, but I don’t think we should cringe in fear from an irrational, vane, vengeful pig – even one who holds the nuclear codes.
Thirdly, these commentators lead the charge in that newspaper in all that nonsense about freedom of speech and political correctness. This must be the example par excellence of freedom of speech giving way to political correctness.
There is no to their hypocrisy.
Poet of the month: Homer’s Iliad.
Declare, O Muse! in what ill-fated hour
Sprung the fierce strife, from what offended power
Latona’s son a dire contagion spread
And heap’d the camp with mountains of the dead;
The king of men his reverent priest defied
And for the king’s offence the people died.
For Chryses sought with costly gifts to gain
His captive daughter from the victor’s chain.
Suppliant the venerable father stands;
Apollo’s awful ensigns grace his hands
By these he begs; and lowly bending down,
Extends the sceptre and the laurel crown
He sued to all, but chief implored for grace
The brother-kings, of Atreus’ royal race.