The Punch’s editor, David Penberthy, tells our MPs that the public is sick of the ute saga and the cheap point-scoring attempts. He notes that:

It’s not as if there’s a shortage of important issues to be discussed by our parliamentarians at the moment.

There’s this thing called the global financial crisis that the public is much more interested in. Especially those who have been sacked from their jobs.

A lot of people are interested in the emissions trading scheme, whether the nation has done enough to adjust its behaviour to deal with climate change, or whether we risk blindly supporting a faddish and iffy scientific theory at tremendous cost to workers in the mining and energy industries.

We’re at war with the Taliban in Afghanistan. Our biggest bank is thumbing its nose at the Reserve over interest rates. Our hospitals continue to struggle, amid an ongoing debate over whether a federal takeover of the health system could deliver better patient care.

There are a few things there that we should probably be concentrating on.

And he has a point. But which topics have received the most attention on his own web site?

  • Utegate
  • Peter Costello
  • Swine flu
  • Gordon Ramsay

And the list of Penberthy’s editorials shows a trend toward commentary about the sensational stories rather than digging into that meaty list of issues he pointed to.

Every news outlet in every medium is paying great attention to the Utegate saga. Just like the politicians’ handling of the issues, some of the media’s coverage is substantial and solid, while some of it is tawdry and absurd. There is a legitimate debate about how much importance should be given to the different parts of this sequence of events, but for an opinion editor to lay the blame for sensationalism and shallow discourse squarely on the politicians seems hypocritical in the extreme.

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