When the boatload of asylum seekers smashed into rocks off Christmas Island just before Christmas, certain radio shock jocks went into a lather.
Julie Bishop was acting opposition leader and found herself being interviewed by Andrew Bolt and Steve Price on Melbourne’s MTR.
Bolt, the conservative columnist who expends a great amount of energy lecturing members of the Canberra press gallery on how to do their jobs, has a particular distaste for Labor’s asylum seeker policy. As is the norm for such ”interviews”, he tended to make statements and seek agreement.
”Look, Julie,” he said, ”this is a tragedy that is a direct consequence of the government policies that led to a resumption of the boat people trade. They were warned, the opposition warned them. I think today, now that the rescue operation is over, today is the time we start to hold people accountable. Would you agree?”
Bishop tried to play a straight bat.
”After any tragedy it is natural and appropriate for people to ask how did it happen, could it have been prevented,” she said. ”There will be many questions, no doubt there will be an official investigation, there will be formal inquiries . . . a coroner’s inquest, as there have been in the past. The Western Australian . . . ”
Bolt interjected: ”Julie, it seems to me you’re reluctant, you’ve been intimidated out of talking about the contributing factors to this tragedy. Is it not true that these people were lured to their deaths?”
On it went until an increasingly agitated Bolt, according to Bishop, simply hung up on her.
CLICK HERE TO READ BLOT”S REPLY TO HIS ARTICLE
Previously, Bolt and Price had hung up on independent Rob Oakeshott because he wouldn’t give a straight answer on whom he was likely to support to form minority government. When Tony Windsor went public last week with concerns about the increasingly dangerous tone of public discourse, Bolt promoted his Wednesday morning radio show with the item: ”Tony Windsor’s attempt to play the victim to shut down a debate. We recall how this man who wants to ‘take on’ talkback hosts hung up on me the last time he tried.”
The boys at MTR are far from the only culprits contributing to increasing disrespect for the nation’s leaders. Gary Hardgrave, a shock jock who became a minister under the Howard government before losing his Brisbane seat and returning to radio, hung up on Greens leader Bob Brown 10 days ago.
Brown tweeted afterwards: ”What a spineless uninformed jock Gary Hardgrave is, who when losing the argument cut off the i’view! Voters of Moreton knew a thing or two!”
In their defence, radio jocks are not journalists per se and therefore are not strictly bound to address politicians publicly by their titles or Mr, Ms or Mrs. But is there any cause to be rude, regardless of the temperature of the debate or personal views?
3AW’s Neil Mitchell interviewed Julia Gillard just days after she announced the flood levy and the shock jocks were proclaiming the end of the world. The interview began with an accusation more than a question: ”Prime Minister, with your government’s history of mismanagement, like the insulation program, school rebuilding, who are you going to put in charge of the spending of this money you’re going to take from us?”
Mitchell’s line of inquiry was perfectly legitimate, but was the tone of the question? Days earlier at the National Press Club, Michelle Grattan put the same question to the Prime Minister, but with a civil tongue.
”We have seen from the global financial crisis and the government’s response to that that there are problems with speed. Have you any particular Commonwealth mechanisms to ensure that money is spent properly and there is proper value for that spending?”
The Mitchell interview, which degenerated into a slanging match, paled against the more recent Alan Jones interview. Jones clearly felt his time was more important than that of the nation’s leader, berating her for being 10 minutes late.
Politicians are the first to admit that the way they carry on in the chamber does little to engender respect among the public.
Up close, politics is an adversarial game with much at stake, but that doesn’t entitle the nation’s opinion leaders to treat them like dirt in their own race to become more notorious than the next bloke.
Media Sourced : smh.com.au
Its Funny with Bolt , when some other than News Limited says anything bad about BOLT they are from the LEFT ! but we all know that Conservatives are sore looses