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Wednesday, May 17, 2006

People don't care about politics as much as the media thinks they do 

There, that should win some sort of prize for the most verbose blog title. "Still don't give a fuck" was a close second, but I've already used it at least once.

I was just reflecting on the two "big" political stories of the week: Don Brash's leadership wobbles, and the Telecom "26 billion dollar leak" (or whatever figure has been made up to estimate how much share value has been lost as a result of the anti-monopolistic plans). Both have made front page photos of the Herald I note ... although today's photos of the two "culprits" cycling ... wtf, it's not like they exchanged the document during a bike race. More like those are the only photos the Herald could track down in the 8-10 hours before going to print.

Note to the journos, and the frequenters of political blogs: my sense is these issues barely register with the public. Don Brash walking the plank as a symbol of his leadership woes? I care not for Brash, and it would be an icy day in the depths of hades before I voted for National, but even I don't think the photo mattered one way or the other. It's not like he was photographed with a call girl on his Official Leader of the Opposition's Desk or anything. Percentage of the public that might give a fuck? 2% max I'd say (one person in 50 ... honestly, try it on Queen Street). The Cabinet paper leak and Telecom share price fall at least has a bit of substance, but it's irrelevant to most ordinary lives, even the lives of informed folks (not the majority). Give a fuck value? 5% or so (one random passerby in 20).

Actually, the media are getting pretty bloody bored with a lot of it too. Ian Wishart's most recent claims about David Parker and a dodgy air-conditioner in a Dunedin restaurant didn't receive a lot of coverage. Ian might claim this is because of some nasty dar-reaching cover-up, but it's really because nobody, other than rabid bloggers, gives a shit.

After all, what's his big revelation? That politicians are dodgy and they sometimes lie? No way! All my illusions have been shattered!
The photo of Brash on the plank was the perfect visual example of the predicament he was in. Given he'd fluffed an important press conference the night before his position was precarious. The picture also highlighted how lax his advisors are. There's no way he should have been put in that position. I mean, can you imagine Helen Clark ever wobbling her way across a plank in fron of TV and photographers?

Re' the emails. The stories there were not so much centred on their content, but more on the way Brash handled the questions about them.
Smith: thank god, can you imagine "air-con-gate"?

Random: I agree, to a degree. Brash certainly fluffed the conference, which put the subsequent "photo op" in an even poorer light than would have otherwise been the case. But I don't think that takes away from my point/suggestion that no one gives a fuck.

And I have seen some pretty goddam awful Clark photo-ops. The one that lingers in the mind is her having a pretend dental check up from Annette King. Errrrrhhhh.

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