Category Archives: Journalism

Journalists as drips on the drip feed…

Journalism eh? But what is to be done, at a systemic level?

[Rob] Chalmers, although a Labor sympathiser, put all politicians through the ringer. He refused to socialise with them and was disdainful of the trend towards celebrity journalism and the insidious practice of reporters being ‘on the drip’ – getting stories from politicians and in return giving their sources favourable media coverage. He concentrated on policies and not the entrails of real or imagined personality differences, the prism through which much modern politics is reported.
(Walsh, 2013:41)


The political caste also includes the vast majority of the press gallery, who live in a symbiotic relationship with the eternal parliamentary party, entombed together in the ghastly forbidden city of Parliament House – a building designed to make public access to parliament as difficult as possible, in a style that reminds one of Ceausescu’s Bucharest “People’s Palace” or all of Pyongyang – recycling minor gossip as news, and trading publicity for a drip-feed of information.
(Rundle, 2014: 68)

Fwiw, we (Manchester Climate Monthly co-editor Arwa Aburawa and myself) didn’t play that game, though we were invited to, by people who then resented us for not being controllable. So it goes.

Rundle, G. 2014. Clivosaurus: The Politics of Clive Palmer. Quarterly Essay

Walsh, K. 2013. The stalking of Julia Gillard. Sydney: Allen & Unwin.

Dump and deny journalism

Like pump and dump stocks, dump and deny journalism…. Hat-tip to former On Dit editor David Penberthy…

Over at News Ltd, David Penberthy of The Punch has another crack at Canberra-based political journalists. He reminds readers that in the past off-the-record was used for only one of two reasons: to protect whistle-blowers, a la the Watergate scandal, or to add texture to a story. ‘The type of stories we have seen about the Labor leadership could be described as dump-and-deny… we in the media should reflect on our complicity in this type of journalism…. It’s my view that we have not only damaged ourselves, but more gravely we have let down the public by feeding them stories which look thin, tendentious , convey deliberately misleading sentences to blur the origin of the information.’

(Walsh, 2013:205-6)

See also what EP Thomspon had to say about ‘leaks’ from government – and what sort of receptacle receives leaks… (hint: urinals)

There’s now (as ever?) a poisonous symbiosis between hacks and the political “class” (See Guy Rundle’s observations on political castes in his Quarterly Essay ‘Clivosaurus’.

Probably need to re-watch Season Five of The Wire…