What goes around

Article by John Mikkelsen /
The Observer /
February 12, 2010 /
Click here to view original /

SOMETIMES shit happens.

Pardon the French, but that term has made national news thanks to an incident aired on Channel 7, so I guess it’s ok to mention it here.

You’ve probably all seen the footage of reporter Mark Riley putting Tony Abbott on the spot over the comment he made while discussing troop deployment and firepower with a senior Army officer in Afghanistan.

It was not in relation to the death of an Australian soldier several weeks before and as Abbott said, it was taken out of context – a fact accepted by the soldier’s widow.

But back to the non-interview over a non- story.

The reporter must have been wondering if (gulp) more shit was about to happen live on national TV as the Mad Monk stood silent, nodding and staring at him like a ticking time bomb about to explode.

I’ll put myself in Abbott’s shoes while the seconds count down… “Should I deck him?.. tick, tick …. That would teach him a lesson he deserves… tick, tick…

“No, I’m the leader of the Opposition and it would mean curtains for me … tick, tick … “Oh, well, shit happens and it’s worth it … Whack! He’s down for the count…”

Well that’s how it could have panned out and it’s probably just as well Abbott showed greater restraint and finally mumbled, “I’ve given you the comment you deserve”.

It’s a fine example of how low some media will go in the quest for ratings but in this case the brown stuff hit the fan and sprayed back, as blog sites and online newspaper comments flooded in, overwhelmingly in support of Abbott.

A Channel 7 poll was running 67% in his favour and many comments on their own website followed the same trend.

Unfortunately the media circus diverted attention from other serious news, including the Coalition’s plan to prune $2billion from the budget for disaster recovery, rather than a flood levy.

But wait, there’s more.

Cyberspace erupted again over whether PM Julia Gillard cried crocodile tears for the flood victims.

I gave her the benefit of the doubt, but many didn’t, including Melbourne University lecturer Dr Lauren Rosewarne, writing on the ABC’s Unleashed: “I used to work for her. I voted for her government…But cards on the table, I certainly didn’t buy yesterday’s tears…”

Oh well — it happens. Maybe we’ll get some real news next week.