Has The Age Editor called for the wrong resignation
Monday 24 June 2013
I flag from the outset that I haven't been a regular readers of newspapers for almost a decade, only slightly less than my giving up on mainstream TV News shows. As such you should take this with a grain of salt, coming as it does from someone who reads maybe a paper a week and even then only to delve into the puzzles as my preferred section of the newspaper. That said, on Saturday I read The Age editorial calling for Julia Gillard to stand aside.
Which depending upon what your political leanings are, may or may not be a fair call. But what clearly was NOT a fair call were the reasons justifying the editor making this claim. To justify this claim the editor of that piece (whom from the 2nd page of that edition I believe may have been the acting editor Michael Short), suggested that the Prime Minister Julia Gillard needed to resign because without it: 'The Age's overriding concern is that...voters will denied a proper contest of ideas and policies - and that would be a travesty for the democratic process'.
And herein then is my dliemna - If The Age can report on any details it cares to, who exactly has been focusing its attention on alleged leadership challenges inside the ALP and ignoring reporting any details of the policy and ideas?'
My understanding is that it is the editor of each paper that sets the direction and focus for the newspaper. My understanding is also that The Age is owned by the Fairfax Group which is under significant financial challenges.
For an editor of an independently run newspaper to claim that the only way they can focus on policy and ideas is for the sitting PM to resign is I feel an admission that the editor has been failing to do their job. If the Editor of the paper sets the focus and direction, the ONLY one stopping The Age from focusing on 'policy and ideas' is well, the EDITOR. The Editor claims that 'The Age is more despairing of the vacuum in policy debate' which begs the question - why instead have you been ignoring the policy position of all parties and choosing to focus on the much less important issue of leadership?
It seems to me that the failing resides not with the PM's unwillingness to resign (whether warranted or otherwise) but with the choices made by The Age in perpetuating the focus on the trivial at the expense of the important. One must wonder to what extent the troubles of the Fairfax Group have been influenced by its major papers inability to focus on what readers may want? Maybe if The Age began reporting on policy positions of all parties and independents it may foster the very discussion it claims it is currently unable to undertake?
But one thing seems clear to me - given the Editorial in Saturday's The Age, the only one who ought to be resigning their position is the Editor who wrote that piece.
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