For three years journalists and the media waged a campaign against former Prime Minister Julia Gillard. Amongst all the derogatory and sexist claims they made against her, they also tried to make us believe she could not communicate.
However would a poor communicator stand in front of the press gallery for an hour and a half and answer their assertions against her?
I think the answer to that can be found in the behaviour of Opposition Leader Tony Abbott and his handling of the media.
But is the Australian public is not aware that under her term, with a hung parliament, almost 500 pieces of legislation were passed or amended?
Did the media care? Clearly not as this clip from Media Watch proves.
All the media wanted was a leadership spill so they could return to the status quo. Bernard Keane sums it up beautifully in this piece for Crikey, republished on Women’s Agenda.
In it he says:
“Gillard’s mere existence, her presence in the prime ministership, her failure to conform to female stereotypes by being unmarried, childless and ambitious, pushed the buttons of the Right in a big way. Many reacted with froth-mouthed hatred.”
It was that hatred that saw some of the most vial treatment towards a Prime Minister we have ever seen.
Whenever we look at media control or diversity, this argument emerges about media as the Fourth Estate. It is not a catch cry but an intrinsic value that the media is here to be a watchdog against government and corporations.
Yet what has transpired has seen that notion become a joke. Rather than act a watchdog, the media became meddlers and peddlers.
When all a government was doing was selling policy or attempting to introduce it, the media did nothing but question the leadership or authority of the party’s leader. This left the general public with a skewed idea that the government of the day was doing nothing.
I almost fell off my chair when after the spill my 10 year old nephew declared to me, ‘she did nothing anyway.’ When I grilled him about that and corrected his misaligned views, he said to me with some sadness, ‘I did not know that, I only know what the news tells me.’
Well that just about sums it up really.