Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Specubating, masterlating

Apparently The Australian are speculating about the possibility of an early Queensland election. That's no surprise. Speculating about the possibility of an early state election is like speculating about a double dissolution election is like speculating about leadership tensions in the Labor Party is like speculating about the possibility of a handover of power from John Howard to Peter Costello in the Liberal Party is like speculating about the possibility of John Howard standing down after next election is like speculating about other people's speculating.

Every newspaper does it, every television station does it, every mainstream media source does it, which is to say they speculate about the speculations of other speculators about politics. It's easy. Here's how.
There are speculations about the possibility of a (early election/double dissolution/leadership tensions/handover of power/stand down)...
The speculations are always done by someone else, usually a competing media source. That way if the speculations turn out to be wrong (as they usually are) the competing media source is to blame. If the speculations turn out to be right, you can always claim them for your own.
An inside source who is close to (Anna Bligh/John Howard/Peter Costello/anyone else) confirms that they are (vaguely contemplating the prospect/annoyed at someone), which could lead to a (public declaration/leadership spill/showdown/newsworthy occurence) within (days/weeks/months)
The unnamed inside source, of course, could be almost anyone with passing acquaintance with any of the people in question at all, and may simply be an entirely fictitious production out of the brain of the journalist writing the article. Sometimes, journalist ethics about non-disclosure of sources can be a handy way to cover up one's own lies...
(Insert several paragraphs detailing the non-events leading up to this non event)
Make frequent reference to previous articles dealing with previous speculations about previous non-events that you (or another media source) have written about. It's the perfect way to provide details without providing any detail!

I love all this speculating about speculating. It gives the newsreaders so much news to read out, provides opinion columnists with so many ready-made opinions to have about the opinions of other opinion columnists, and in general does its best to keep our media industry afloat in these perilous financial times.

And hey, sometimes the thing that we all speculate about even happens!


Queensland election said...

A new Wankley award for the most spectacularly wrong speculation perhaps?
My fav is the upcoming joint presser by the Greens and LNP, where they show there's barely daylight between their Green Collar Economy policies, with agreement on Traveston and the 44c/kwhr feed in tariff just the start.
A tory minority government supported by a green? Which high profile latte labor seat will the LNP get behind the green campaign for?
That's what I call speculation, in for a penny, in for a kilo I say.

TimT said...

Sounds a bit like the so bad-it's-good speculation by Laborites in Victoria that the Libs were somehow in alliance with the Greens that we got last election...

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