Journalists are still wondering what happened
“How did we get it wrong?” asks Matthew Knott.
The post election dissection is a study in how a fishbowl of left-leaning journalists totally missed what was important to most of Australia. Maybe the ABC or Fairfax might want to employ a conservative?
Journalists talked, and nobody cared
The journalists said the Coalition would win. They analyzed their movements seat-by-marginal-seat, mapping the flights, wallowed in hours of same-sex marriage debate, asked what happened to climate change, and debated whether the big-spending deficits had killed off Labor’s chances. Every nuance of the soapie called Turnbull-v-Abbott was discussed — did Turnbull snub him by listing former PM’s and not Abbott? Did Abbott grin, or grimace? Navel gazers opined that the Brexit shock would push even more people to the conservative side, it will be “a defining moment of the campaign” they said — as if UK trade agreements with Germany would a/ disappear, or b/ rank in the top sixty things Australia voters cared about. And Leigh Sales asked every candidate whether each leader would still be their leader next week. As if any politician would ever reply “no” the week before an election.
Matthew Knott captures just how wrong the commentariat were:
“Leading commentators on Sky News predicted between 80 to 85 seats for the Coalition, with Peter van Onselen saying he would quit in the event of a hung parliament.
Many of us even convinced ourselves that the low-energy, small-target campaign was a clever way of “boring” voters into backing the Coalition. [It certainly was boring says Jo]
People are asking if journalists are unskeptical or even gullible? (Wait til they find out about the groupthink on climate change).
“You got the impression they were confident and confident for a reason,” former Media Watch host Jonathan Holmes says of the coverage. “There was very little scepticism of what was behind that”.
But if the media were wrong they were hardly alone. Two days before election day the bookmakers – often hailed as more accurate than pollsters – had Labor at $8 and the Coalition narrowing to a near guarantee of $1.08.
People placing those bets might have been watching the news, no?
Many political insiders, too, were surprised by the scale of the swing.
So, as Insiders host Barrie Cassidy asked, were journalists shown to be “gullible”? Or were they being lied to?
“Journalists,” Simons concludes, “were too quick to become part of Malcolm’s fan club.”
Meanwhile, all over the internet Delcons discussed what a million voters were going to do.
When the Defcons (defiant conservatives) went hunting for alternatives, they voted for small parties and if they preferenced Liberals at all, it went second or third last on the slip, making counting a nightmare, slow, and here we nearly a whole week later.
Pollsters didn’t ask the right questions. They were glued to the old “two party preferred” system, and didn’t ask if there was “no party preferred”, or better, if voters were so fed up with the majors they were ready to risk electoral hare-kari.
All they had to do was read the internet.
An aquarium full of journalists analyzed the fish-food
Predictably political junkie-jounalists find the lefty Malcolm Turnbull appealing. (Everyone they knew liked him more than Abbott.) If even the hated Tony could win 90 seats, surely Turnbull could win 80. Now they are saying they “underestimated Bill Shorten” which still misses the point. Shorten would have been wiped out by any half decent Liberal leader. But he was so truly awful that he couldn’t beat a lacklustre waffler who firebombed his own supporters.