Lets not give Chris Uhlmann a freebie

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Finally, a shit show that wasn’t Morrison’s fault. He’s proven himself incapable of holding a hose, ordering vaccines, or cock-blocking Xi Jinping from busting a move on the South Pacific, but I think to be fair we’d have to lay blame for last night’s raging goat rodeo on someone other than the two stunned ungulates caught in the middle of it all.

You’d probs find responsibility lurking somewhere between Nine’s Director of News and Current Affairs, Darren Wick, and the four Ninefax ‘hosts’ who were supposed to be running the show. News boss Wick, who last came to public attention outside Hornsby Local Court as the defendant in a January 2021 drunk driving case, said at the time that he had been working hard on his issues with alcohol…

Best of luck to him and I don’t doubt he’s working hard on it, because he obviously didn’t have time to put much thought into this theatrical poopfest. Or maybe he did. The incentive structure for commercial TV networks doesn’t necessarily preference enlightened discourse. Struggling, ad-based legacy media like Nine get more return on their investment when the content goes viral, and as enlightening as two bovine plodders chewing the cud on policy might be to those of us who are, lets face it, a little over-invested in politics, it doesn’t make for sellable blipverts on the old Insta channel the morning after.

On the other hand, let’s not give Chris Uhlmann a freebie. Uhlmann is Nine’s political editor, placing him much higher up the food chain than the debate’s ‘moderator’ Sarah Abo, a mere 60 Minutes reporter. Abo gets the scare quotes around ‘moderator’ the same way Jerry Springer would once have earned scare quotes around ‘talk show host’ because Springer wasn’t really there to moderate a civil exchange between the toothless methdawgs and slack-jawed yokels who made up the motley crew of his immoderate entertainments. Just like Abo wasn’t there to supervise a forensic audit of rival policy offerings.

I would watch the shit out of a six-part Netflix documentary which performed a deep dive into the preparations for this debate. Not Albo and Scotty’s prep - that would have been a bit dull, the pair of them rote memorising the cost of bread, milk and intermediate range cruise missiles capable of reaching China’s minty fresh airbases on the Solomons. No, I’d pay to watch the machinations at Nine as they tried to put together a show which served one purpose above all others - to rate higher than any other network’s efforts.

I’ve got a lazy ten bucks says Sarah Abo had nothing to do with settling the format - wherein ‘format’ means one crowded hour of frantic shrieking by our two tethered goats as Uhlmann and crew threw tin cans at them and shouted, “Eat this, goats, hahahahaha!”

Speaking after the debacle, Uhlmann seemed to think it was way cool because ‘the fact the leaders were so fiery in their clashes showed they were engaged.’

Perhaps next time we should just get them to strip down to their Y-fronts and engage in a bit of willing banter with crutching knives and fire sticks. It would certainly one-up Jerry Springer.

But as has been pointed out on the Twitz:

And while Springer undoubtedly accelerated our media culture towards… well, whatever this is now… he finished every show with a small, almost beautifully constructed sermon on human frailty and the need to be kind to each other.

None of that rubbish from Nine.

“A public affairs atrocity,” Katherine Murphy called it.

There were other moments when it seemed just possible that a practised smirk Morrison adopts in these formats to mask his existential psychic distress could escalate into hysterical laughter at the abject futility of his Sunday evening.

For his part, Anthony Albanese tried to get a grip on something. Anything really. A glass of water. His opponent. Clarity. Sense. Punctuation. A rescue helicopter.

I don’t think anyone would object if we decided, collectively, there was nothing to be had from another one of these atrocities.

Perhaps all registered voters could simply be made to read the parties’ various platforms, on pain of some large fine or humiliating punishment if they skipped the homework. There could be, like, an hour set aside for it, and then we all vote.

It couldn’t be any worse than last night.

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