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Press gallery no longer KRUDD’s plaything

May 15, 2010

My personal theory has always been that the popularity of KRUDD has been in a huge way built up, maintained and massaged by a compliant press gallery which has driven me insane! The tone now, however, is decidedly frosty. You get the sense the Canberra press gallery are ashamed and embarrassed by how easily sucked in they were by what in hindsight was only ever a crude manipulation.

At last, a great article by Chris Wallace in The Weekend Australian confirming my suspicions – Canberra gallery turns on an ADHD prime minister who has lost his way. The scales have fallen from their eyes and they are turning feral as Big Red demonstrates . . .

Rudd’s 15-minute interview with Kerry O’Brien on ABC1’s The 7.30 Report this week was the turning point in a prime ministership created by journalists and now being crunched by journalists.

Rudd bobbed, weaved, gulped, nodded, tongue-flicked and fumbled his way through the O’Brien interview, relying on lines that had always got him off the hook before. It didn’t work.

“I’m talking about your image, your credibility, your brand,” O’Brien pressed, a stern headmaster signalling to the bright, too-clever-by-half head prefect that the usual palaver wasn’t going to get him off the hook any more.

Nor did snarky work for Rudd when O’Brien intensified the pressure. Instead it became the talking – and writing – point for journalists throughout the press gallery, suddenly unleashed on the subject of Rudd’s rudeness.

Rudd was being taught a lesson most politicians eventually come to: treat the media like trash for long enough and eventually journalists will return the favour.

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