Saturday, November 10, 2007

Sorry seems to be the hardest word -- but is it the most important?

Now, I love News Radio and its continuous news but this rambling interview with John Howard yesterday morning had me half wanting to drive the car into a power pole.
For me, it underlined just how much Howard's lost touch (duh) but also what's wrong with some media/journalism at the moment.
After describing the debate over whether the Prime Minister did-didn't-or-should-have-said 'sorry' for this week's rise in interest rates as 'fairly semantic', News Radio's Marius Benson then goes on to spend the first minute of his interview with Howard rehashing it. He then coaxes from the PM a startling admission that yes, rising house prices are good for people who own houses but not for those trying to buy them. Oh my God! Really? (predictably, this bombshell was the lead story in News Radio's 7.30am bulletin). Not content with that, Marius then lead the PM into another semantic debate over whether Howard's support for nuclear power is 'less strong' than it was before.
I find it hard to believe that with two weeks to go to the election, the sorry/not sorry question is really the most important one for the national broadcaster and the Prime Minister to be spending their time on (not to mention mine).
Yes, interest rates are an important issue for many voters and, yes, the situation of the Reserve Bank lifting them during an election campaign is unusual, but I don't think this interview is likely to have actually contributed to anyone's understanding of it. Far more worthwhile was Ross Gittin's column in the Herald Thursday, especially this point:
"The very fact that rates are being increased less than three weeks before an election is incontrovertible proof that the economy is no longer managed by the government of the day. Rather, it - like virtually all developed economies - is managed by the central bank, acting independently of the elected government."
Marius, you owe me 80 cents ... on second thought, put it towards buying a copy of the Herald :-)