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David Penberthy

Jun 24, 2009

Memo Penberthy: Look in the mirror

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

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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.

15 comments

15 thoughts on “Memo Penberthy: Look in the mirror

  1. zoomster

    All we need now is a scandal involving sheep, a dog called Bluey and a Hills hoist.

  2. confessions

    skeptic @ 11: some of the comments are great and nice to see a news ltd blog that attracts readers who are prepared to disagree with the author.

    i’m loving utegate. The italians can keep the women, divorces and so on that their PM is being scandalised over, that we get utes and second-hand car dealers that taint our pollies is just so….well, Australian. A shame that parliament goes into recess for a coupla months. 🙁

  3. Jim Parker

    Oh come on, the News Ltd hacks want to move on from the story because their side is losing. It’s that simple.

  4. TheMissus

    It is wonderful theatre so very enjoyable, but at the end of the day you really want your tax money to go to people to run the country and not the Canberra Comedy Club.

    There will be a tipping point, if not already past where we say ..ok we are the boss, you had your school recess fun now on with the job!

    The Missus

  5. skeptic

    He’s really copping it in the neck in the comments although he hasn’t got the balls to answer any of his critics.

    I particularly like this comment posted by RT:

    The main people sick of utegate are the Liberals and their supporters. They were pretty enthusiastic about it until the ute backed up and ran over their leader.

  6. Jeremy Sear

    It’s his bloody site, and the paper of which he was editor, both run by the company for which he still works, that have been the main drivers of the story! Unbelievable balls turning around and being all holier-than-thou about it.

  7. monkeywrench

    Well, let’s face it, Savvas@8, no-one else comes anywhere near that particular high-water mark of cant, hypocrisy and moral duplicity…..

  8. savvas jwnhs

    Without Bolt to bag…. it just ain’t the same!!! LOL

  9. monkeywrench

    I agree with Spot @ 6: Utegate is shaping to be the biggest political story so far in the life of this Labor government. Any efforts by News Ltd. journos to scoff at the importance of it smacks of desperation.
    Speaking of desperation, does anyone watch News Breakfast on ABC2 in the morning? Virginia Trioli is reprising the rather Liberal stance she took on ABC Radio; there was a bit of pro-Turnbull puffery this morning, extolling his “fighting qualities” and his “not being a quitter” etc. She should be learning from Barrie Cassidy, not trying to talk over him.

  10. spot the bigger dog

    As a member of the public I would like to tell Mr. Penberthy that I’m not sick of utegate. There is nothing exciting than watching the Liberals dig their own political graves.

    In fact I would like to thank News Ltd. and in particular The Punch for their unique reporting style that got me hooked on this saga in the first place.

  11. skeptic

    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.

    Gee, he balanced those 2 options fairly – I wonder which one he gives greater weight to?

    Our biggest bank is thumbing its nose at the Reserve over interest rates.

    So he agrees with the govt when it had a go at the Comm bank over this? Bloody lefty interfering in the market-place!

  12. confessions

    it’s simpler than that dam buster. The only reason news ltd want to move on from this is because the Liberal party are getting hammered. if it were labor under pressure there’s no way they’d be wanting to move on.

  13. dam buster of Preston

    Well why doesn’t he practise what he preaches?

    Simple – Ban all correspondence on Utegate from his website. Send his column to all punch contributors and get on with it.

    Oh wait.. that might mean some hard ‘Journalism’. In reality all he is doing is the classic “Who is sick of hearing about …..” (insert current b-s media beat up here like Ramsay, Sam Newman, Bar mat woman, Schappelle, swine flu etc) and wait for the comments from readers.

  14. confessions

    And…don’t forget…if the media didn’t produce anything….this site would have nothing to talk about!

    correction: if the media didn’t produce intellectually faulty garbage, this site would have nothing to talk about!

  15. baldrick

    The media created ‘the media cycle’ and now the politicians seem driven by it. Who’s going to break the cycle? My guess, no one. They feed on each other.

    The problem is the media have to report something…anything…or they won’t sell or get read.

    And…don’t forget…if the media didn’t produce anything….this site would have nothing to talk about!

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