‘The slick world of tabloid politics‘, ABC The Drum, 31 July 2014
While not explicitly making historical comparisons, the article facilitates them by presenting a contestable version of today’s politics which might be set against other analyses of the nature of our politics over decades.
Politics as headline. It’s a final melding of the political dialogue and the partisan, prosecutorial press, a meeting of mindsets with government seeing the simple virtue of masking the irregularities, inconsistencies and awkwardness of angular policy problems under a glib and memorable shorthand. The tabloid press does it for a living. Politics now does it for convenience.
And it goes beyond the labels. Tabloidism trades in the half baked impressions that feed prejudice … unemployed people on benefits are bludgers, boat people are queue jumpers, climate change is a leftist delusion; it’s becoming harder to pick the lines that work in mass market journalism and the lines that work in political messaging. One might be tailored to suit the needs of the other of course, or perhaps politics has learned the great and liberating tabloid lesson: that the impression is its own reality. That the truth is what you say it is.