Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The medium is the message

THEODORA | Justinian | 2 May 2010
Fitting the message to the messenger ... Michael Pelly, Ruddock's former spin doctor, lands a gig with the new AG in NSW, Greg Smith ... Then there's that biography of Smiler
Former journalist Michael Pelly has ditched his columnising for The Australian only to fetch-up as NSW Attorney General Greg Smith's flack merchant.
Not only that but he has persuaded Smiler Gleeson to give him access to his treasure trove of files with a view to penning a biography of the great jurist.
Memorably Pelly worked as Commonwealth AG Phil Ruddock's spin doctor where, among other glamorous tasks, he put his shoulder to the wheel of the Howard government's campaign to demonise David Hicks and run a beefed-up war on terror campaign.
One of his first duties as Smith's flack was to funnel information to his old organ, The National Rupert, spelling out his new boss' eccentric views about shield laws for journalists.
A pressing topic, to be sure.
Essentially the NSW attorney general doesn't like the Greens' input into the federal amendments to the Evidence Act, which extended the reptiles' rebuttable presumption against fingering sources to bloggers and "citizen journalists".
NSW will be following Soapy Brandis' model and will confine the protection to the "mainstream media", even though it appears the mainstream media is a steadily dwindling force in the land.
The other complication is that the mainstream media itself hosts numerous bloggers. Are those bloggers in or out of the tent?
Smith came up with a quotable rationalisation for shutting out the modern media in favour of the old world:
"The bloggers are coming from all areas - some are activists in particular causes, some may be criminals doing some blogging to block or deflect police and to con politicians and the media."
What with massaging the message for Smith and delving into Smiler's inner secrets, Pelly will be a busy muffin.

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