Information? Oh, we don’t put that in the news anymore, silly

I didn’t watch the debate last night. I was at the pub with my derby gang after training, which was a much better way to spend an evening.

So, this morning I thought I’d check the MSM for information about the debate. You know, what Kevin Rudd and Tony Abbott said, whether they announced any policies, and how their claims stacked up when they were fact checked.

I wanted some news.

Shush, I can hear your laughter from here.

This is the debate coverage across the top of this morning:

Coverage of last night's debate between Kevin Rudd and Tony Abbott on

Coverage of last night’s debate between Kevin Rudd and Tony Abbott on

There’s an opinion piece by Peter Hartcher about who won – based on style, rather than substance – and 861 words by Judith Ireland (with AAP) about Kevin Rudd using notes during the debate and whether that makes him a cheater, and a video of the same news story. To put the 861 words about a simple “yes he had notes, no they weren’t allowed” into perspective, this whole post about the coverage on two websites is 476 words.

Hartcher’s piece mentioned that both Rudd and Abbott “ducked the question on building Sydney’s second airport”, so after reading the coverage I know about one question from an hour-long debate between the Prime Minister and Opposition Leader.

Righty-o then.

At, there was one story at the top of the website this morning:

How started their coverage of the debate.

How started their coverage of the debate.

But it was replaced a short time later by this:

MAKE IT BIGGER - the same story a short time later.

MAKE IT BIGGER – the same story a short time later.

I guess they didn’t want to be the only ones shouting CHEATING CHEATERER.

The story is by Patrick Lion and it’s from the News Limited Network so it’ll be the same story on every website: Election debate: Kevin Rudd accused of cheating after using notes during debate. It’s 496 words about the notes, and not a single mention of any of the topics that were discussed. So, after reading the coverage I don’t know anything about the questions in an hour-long debate between the Prime Minister and Opposition Leader.

Don’t get me wrong – the notes story is a story. But it’s not the story because it’s not really important. Having notes at a debate has fuck-all to do with helping people to decide which party’s plan for the future is the one they want to support. Because that’s the whole damn point of the debate.

But the notes story is an easy one to write. It’s a lot easier than reporting what Rudd and Abbott said and doing some research into their policy ideas and fact-checking their claims and finding a clever way to include all of this info in the same story so it’s actually useful to your audience.

PS – If you want to know about the content of the debate, has broken it down question by question, and’s Jess O’Callaghan explains the debate with gifs in a piece that contains more info than Fairfax and News Ltd combined.

26 responses to “Information? Oh, we don’t put that in the news anymore, silly

  1. News with a hard-on. Hard-on goofballs, dickheads and misogynists. Hard-on the debate, hard-on the trail.  Meaning most news is from men wanking their hard-ons. I like it! Hope you’re well! Keep up the good work! xx Kim.


  2. As far as I know the rule was no notes but they each were provided with blank paper and a pen.
    Back in the day when I had exams to do, one of the first things I’d do is write down, on the blank note paper provided, a few of the things you can memorize but don’t want to get wrong later when you’re busy. Physical constants, trig functions etc.
    Perhaps the PM wrote a few things on his blank paper such as tax as percentage of GDP under Howard 25%, under this government 24%.
    I don’t know because as far as I know none of the journalists have asked him. Perhaps they don’t want an answer. If he didn’t really have prepared notes then Murdoch’s Men would have to think up some other crap to impress the Dear Leader.

  3. Yes, I noticed that but I can focus on my own agenda just as much as they can so…definitely a Murduch beat up.

  4. Also – have you seen the photo doing the rounds on Twitter that showed Abbott had notes as well? Although if they both got blank paper, maybe Tones just didn’t write anything down.. Goodness knows he rarely had enough to say to fill the time allotted.

    • Yes, I saw that – do you know if it’s been verified? Because it looks A LOT like a folder of notes in front of Abbott as well. has a story on how the image is from the last election, but it’s about a different image to the one I’ve seen on twitter.

      Laurin, welcome to the News with Nipples.

      • Ooh! Why thank you 🙂 Am a long time reader, just thought I would mention the pic (which I’ve RTed a couple times lol). It hasn’t been verified, no, but they seem to have the same ties on and the background is the same. For all I know it was photo shopped though, so don’t take my word as gospel 🙂
        The other point that’s been made is that Abbott broke the rules a bunch of times by interrupting Rudd (which they were asked not to do at the start), and at one point, broke out into derisive laughter. Soooo respectful.

  5. The `no-notes` rule and #notesgate bullshit that went along with it, really shows what a scam the National Press Club and Canberra Press Gallery are running against the average viewer/voter.
    The debating clowns are shit-house at the best of times with their non-answers and avoidance. The Leaders debate is the chance for troll-media to extract some `detailed` answers out of the clowns, unlike the last 3-years, and what do they do, tell the clowns they CAN`T bring `details` to the damn debate.
    Glad to see troll-media living up to their own ideals and putting the viewer/voter foremost in their work.

  6. ABC news has an article with a little info about what was said at the debate if you’re stll looking. Mostly it’s about notesgate though. It’s busted wide open now. KR had notes all right. He says “So I acted in good faith. I think everyone would accept that.” Ha ha. Good luck with that.
    I’m crushed. Changing my vote for sure.

  7. Did you see the landing page of Guardian Australia this morning? Top right hand corner the first ‘news’ piece was the debate as blog gifs… and even that wasn’t actually much about the content of the debate. Sure, its a laugh. But actual information? And it was the positioning and prominence of the ‘story’ that interested me.

    • No, I didn’t see that. Was it like the one?

      I did see that The Guardian has Katherine Murphy running a live politics blog, which is exactly what she did at Fairfax and still isn’t worth the effort.

  8. So, a couple of hours after I published this post, one of the journalists mentioned in it – Judith Ireland – has written this: The leaders’ debate: what did we learn?: “The first leaders’ debate of the 2013 federal election campaign gave us one whole hour of Kevin Rudd and Tony Abbott making their pitch to voters”. Wonder if I can claim credit for that? I know there are a few Fairfax journos who read this blog.

    But’s main election story is a meaningless one: Liberals squirm as Abbott refers to ‘the suppository of wisdom’. Sigh.

  9. The New York Times runs its’ eye over the latest news from Australia and picks up on the main points from the debate.

  10. I want to start a campaign to encourage people to write RESPECT on their Ballot Papers at the forthcoming election to demonstrate their support for increased RESPECT in Australia:

    – RESPECT for women and girls and against violence;
    – RESPECT for women such as Julia Gillard whose achievements are belittled because they are women;
    – RESPECT for women’s decisions in matters such as abortion, and
    – RESPECT for civility and decency in our social media world, particularly in relation to women and girls – against trolling, bullying, rape culture.

    The federal law is that as long as additional writing on a ballot paper does not identify the voter or obscure their validly expressed intentions, then the vote remains valid. This idea came to me last night, watching Anne Summers speak eloquently about her book The Mysoginist Factor and remembering the Ant-Dams campaign of 1982/83.

    I believe if this campaign is picked up by Destroy the Joint, bloggers such as yourself, and other like-minded people and organisations, it could make an impact.

    • Perhaps. But would it achieve the goal? If a large number of people did it, there’d be a media release after the election and that would probably be run by the MSM as a quirky news story. Perhaps there’d be an opinion piece in a Fairfax paper. But then what?

      I’m not trying to poo on your sandwich, just wondering about the best way to achieve the goal.

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