“I didn’t know Kevin Rudd was dead actually.”

There’s one in every forum situation. Someone who has less of a question and more of a statement with an ending which is a little bit higher in pitch than the rest of the statement.

The best moderators work with it. Politicians pretend it never happened, ‘rephrase’ the question in ‘their own words’ and end up Kevin Rudding away and interviewing themselves. Occasionally they will laugh.

On Saturday, the statementer was clapped. Loudly. By most of the audience. The journalists in the crowd and those of us who hoped that Annabel Crabb would see us not clapping, become misty eyed and proclaim us her mentee, sat shiftily in our seats while the following conversation ensued (Now, this is not word for word, but I’m not making it up. It’s the gist)

StatementLady (she was quite a lovely character for the day. Her voice was like Colleen on Home and Away):  Now everyone’s saying we had a lousy election and the politicians didn’t focus on policy and we didn’t have a proper debate, but the media insisted on talking about Kevin Rudd’s MURDER his ASSASSINATION (I didn’t know he was dead actually) *audience applauds* and no one was interested.

Now, it went on for a while longer, and she was quite mad about it, but when the applause finally died down, I think moderator Heather Ewart handled the whole thing quite well, laughing in an industry-deprecating kind of way, but Annabel stepped up and quelled the laughter and clapping to say (jokingly) that she would answer on behalf of the media.

She explained why Kevin Rudd’s ‘assasination’ deserved so much coverage. She described the repercussions that it had for the campaign. But really she had hit the problem that the really massive fail the media had in this election wasn’t letting Latham into the club, David Marr’s ‘treason’ ( oh thank you Bob Ellis you fucking brilliant nutter ), or ruining the election by asking questions about fish and ear lobes. It was failing to explain why the hell anything mattered at all.

I like to think that StatementLady inspired this gem, which, similar to the explanation of press access on the campaign trail that she wrote during the election, is a great read, oh so true, and only needs to be prefaced with a gushing ‘oh Annabel’

Never mind the conflict, Lets report the Parliament

J

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