We know who he is

The current media frenzy around John Howard and his patient deputy Peter Costello is tiring. Throughout this saga, political journalists have been content playing the insider’s game, gaining interviews with the key players and parading their “insights”. Take today’s article in the Sydney Morning Herald by Peter Hartcher. A full page in the paper and yet virtually not a word about the values, ideas or policies Costello as Prime Minister may express. Would the voting public not be interested in what Costello actually stands for? He has remained virtually silent on numerous government decisions since 1996, including asylum seekers, Iraq, Guantanamo Bay, just to say a few. The timing of a potential leadership tussle is interesting, to a point, but simply becoming the conduit through which this drab political game is played suggests that these kind of journalists are simply content to be involved, get a quote and feel close to the action.

When Hartcher says John Howard is “looking every bit a statesman” after his recent foreign policy adventures, would he like to convince readers that issues such as Guantanamo Bay have simply disappeared? Channeling government propaganda has never looked so tawdry.

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