Across Rupert Murdoch's Australian newspaper and online news empire, panic is taking hold.
After campaigning so hard, so furiously, so absurdly for the Abbott government to win last September's election - to the point where even Liberal voters were saying, "I've had enough of this biased crap" - many of Murdoch's political commentators are now desperately trying to stem the terminal decline of the Abbott government in order to salvage what's left of their own reputations.
There's so many examples to choose from....
First, a quick refresher. After shredding prime ministers Julia Gillard and Kevin Rudd for almost 30 straight months on every mistake, misstep and triviality they could find, or invent, most of Murdoch's newspapers ran front pages like the one below just before polling day:
Considering this front page was also a poster on display outside of hundreds of newspapers, it was more like Liberal Party bunting.
Now, as PM Abbott racks up popularity poll numbers below that of Toronto's crack smoking mayor, Rob Ford (this is actually true), Murdoch political commentators are screeching foul because other journalists are exposing all manner of apparently dodgy dealings and 'thanks for your support' favours and questionable fundraising adventures from the Liberal Party.
And Abbott critics and non-Murdoch media also have the damn hide to republish the endless quotes of Tony Abbott proclaiming variations of 'No New Taxes' and 'No Cuts To Pensions' and every other grinning lie he told to help get himself over the line, and win just that little bit of extra support he needed in a handful of electorates to become prime minister.
How dare they! How bloody dare they hold him to account.
And Murdoch columnists, or Liberal Party support team members, or whatever they're called now days, are plenty outraged that anyone would even think to ask if Tony Abbott's daughters might have somehow benefited from their father's Murdoch media-sponsored rise to The Lodge.
'Don't bring my family into politics,' Tony Abbott responded to claims one daughter may have scored a choice $60,000 design study scholarship, and job, thanks to a key supporter, and friendly donor, of the prime minister.
Do not bring Tony's family into politics.
Only he may he do that. As we saw for countless days during the 2013 election campaign when his daughters became almost permanent fixtures by his side.
All this being held to account stuff, and being asked the tough questions, and trivia-based mockery, has gone too far. Not to mention the Budget 2014 disaster. No, really, don't mention it. A budget bonanza of cruelty and misery so extreme that even Clive Palmer's suggestion to junk the whole thing and start again is looking like a smart move.
All in all, Sunday 'Australia Needs Tony' Telegraph political columnist Samantha Maiden has had just about enough, thank you very much:
|image via @NewsAustralia|
“The question is, is everyone contributing equally,” Emma Alberici kept asking on ABC Lateline Friday night.Well, certainly not a conservative party budget anyway.
Who says that’s the question?
The budget is not meant to be a utopian wealth redistribution program.
“Poorest families pay most in budget,” screamed the headlines. “How the budget pain is unfairly shared.” “Abbott budget to make Australia more unequal.”A 'Budget Of Equality'. Where the hell did Australians get that stupid idea? Time to come clean:
Never mind how fatuous the idea of a budget of “equality” when the aim is to rescue the economy from a death spiral which includes $1billion a month in interest payments.
Admittedly, the equality meme was fuelled by the government’s own claim that its deficit reduction levy on high income earners was an “equity” measure, to “share the pain”.So it was the Abbott government's fault. Abbott and Hockey talked about equality and equity and sharing the pain. They did it.
It was a threadbare argument, and opened a savage line of attackOK, so the Abbott government is to blame for Australians thinking the budget would be about equality and 'sharing the pain', plus they're also responsible for 'opening the savage line of attack' they're now drowning in and which Maiden is so outraged by.
What these Murdoch columnists are bleating, in short, is:
LEAVE TONY ABBOTT ALONE!And we all know that isn't going to happen.
The Murdoch media made its mission to obliterate any remaining respect the general public might have bad for the office of prime minister when Gillard and Rudd were taking turns as PM, and they set the new rules for just how petty and absurd and ridiculous media attacks on a prime minister could be. Just how low they could sink.
Like raising holy hell because Julia Gillard was photographed knitting, for a feature in a women's magazine. That hysteria-tinged knitting coverage in the Murdoch media lasted for days.
Now they want everyone to lay off.
They want the rest of the media to turn down the heat on Abbott and Hockey and their miserable budget.
It's not going to happen.
They know it's not going to happen.
So they'll just whine and plead, presumably, for what remains of Abbott's time as prime minister (gone by August, 2014 perhaps?), and haughtily demand everyone else stop stooping to the levels they did. On a daily basis. For years.
There's a lot of pressure on Murdoch's Sydney Daily Telegraph and Sunday Telegraph these days, let alone the rest of the shuddering empire. Advertisers are jumping ship, and they've been forced to plug all-too-obvious ad gaps in the newspapers with double page spreads advertising their own online news subscription offerings. Not just here and there, almost every single day.
The fact is, many Murdoch columnists, besides the obvious ones like Andrew Bolt, have trashed their reputations barracking openly for Abbott for the past two years. And now they're paying the price. And their newspapers are paying the price, literally. Sales of the Daily Telegraph have plunged by some 60,000 copies a day since they became Abbott's support team.
And now their hero is going down in flames.
This Newspoll box sits on the front page of The Australian's website like a flaming bag of turds.
#MorePopularThanAbbott memes and tweets and sigh, bitterly, about how betrayed by the budget they now feel. The vast majority of Australians clearly feel betrayed:
It simply won't go away.
They are not "in control of the narrative" anymore.
Facebook and Twitter is. And these forums can't be controlled. Or tamed.
I'll leave it at that for now, but I just want to include two more images that billboard just how quickly the Abbott government has self-immolated.
First the 'We Won!' front page from Murdoch's Courier Mail front page after Election Day, Sept 2013.
And this image from today's Murdoch Adelaide Advertiser:
The political Circus Isn't Over after all, it would seem, there's just a bunch of different clowns in control of the careening clown car. For a short while anyway.
Talk of who could replace Tony Abbott as leader of the Liberal Party, and prime minister of Australia, has already begun to filter through the Australian media. Only eight months into his prime ministership. It's hard to think of another prime minister who has fallen so fast and so hard.
Does anyone really believe Tony Abbott will still be prime minister when Federal Election 2016 hurls into view?
Didn't think so.
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