In breaking news, Labor candidates have been banned from doing radio interviews in the lead-up to the federal election.
It follows a ban on Twitter by Liberal Party headquarters, in a bid to avoid “stuff-ups and scandals”.
The Greens are boycotting TV interviews, while the Shooters Party takes aim at Facebook.
It seems they really do want to shoot the messenger.
While the aforementioned moves by Labor, the Greens and the Shooters are figments of my fertile imagination, the Liberals’ is not.
In true Twitter style, it’s already spawned a hashtag, #ThingstoodangerousfortheLNP.
“Cause twitter is more likely to damage the brand than this boofhead @TonAbbottMHR”, wrote @leftocentre.
The list also includes:
- Policy costings
- Saying what they think
- Any forum not hosted by Alan Jones
- Barnaby Joyce on Q&A
- Mark Riley asking awkward questions
- Intelligent debate on social media
Sensibly, @TurnbullMalcolm rejected the directive immediately: “Nobody has asked me to stop tweeting. And I will continue to do so. A key part of the job…”
While it’s easy to laugh off such a suggestion, it reflects a disconnection between political parties and the general public.
Politicians, corporations and lobby groups can use Twitter, Facebook, and blogs to reach a vast audience, disenchanted with the MSM (mainstream media).
As a radio broadcaster, I use Twitter to dig up stories, communicate with people too nervous to talk on air, and prosecute thoughts and ideas. Of course I’ve stuffed up; at times I’ve fed the trolls. But it’s not terminal.
What are the Libs so scared of? That their candidates are too stupid?
Unable to think before they Tweet?
Or unwilling to engage with those who disagree with them?
Sure, Twitter is left-leaning.
But I thought the purpose of an election campaign was to get as many votes as possible? Perhaps Captain Catholic prefers preaching to the converted.
There’s another problem with this edict: It’s the Luddite’s Lament.
When former US President Rutherford B. Hayes made a call from Alexander Graham Bell’s telephone in 1876, he is reported to have said, “An amazing invention, but who would ever want to use one?”
The advent of the wireless was accompanied by warnings about family breakdown and, inevitably, the disintegration of civil society.
As for TV, in the words of writer and satirist Peter De Vries, “My father hated radio and could not wait for television to be invented so he could hate that too”.
Really, the medium doesn’t matter – it’s all about the message.
Labor MP Steve Gibbons, who tweeted that Tony Abbott is a “gutless douchebag” and Julie Bishop a “narcissistic bimbo”, could have easily said those things in a newspaper column, radio interview, or TV panel.
Liberal council candidate, Matthew Hammon clearly holds anti-Islamic views, outside of his provocative tweets in the aftermath of the Sydney riots.
Our thoughts are not soley determined by the messenger.
Instead of being banned from Twitter, these politicians need a lesson in good, old fashioned common sense.
Only tweet what you would be happy to see on the front page of the newspaper; treat people the way you would like to be treated; and engage your brain before putting your mouth, or finger, into gear.
MORE ARTICLES BY TRACEY SPICER
*Tracey Spicer is a respected journalist who has worked for many years in radio, print and television.
Channel Nine and 10 news presenter and reporter; 2UE and Vega broadcaster; News Ltd. columnist; Sky News anchor …it’s been a dream career for the Brisbane schoolgirl with a passion for news and current affairs.
Tracey is a passionate advocate for issues as diverse as voluntary euthanasia, childhood vaccinations, breastfeeding, better regulation of foreign investment in Australia’s farmland, and curtailed opening hours for pubs and clubs. She is an Ambassador for World Vision, ActionAid, WWF, the Royal Hospital for Women’s Newborn Care Centre and the Penguin Foundation, Patron of Cancer Council NSW and The National Premmie Foundation, and the face of the Garvan Institute’s research into pancreatic cancer, which killed her beloved mother Marcia 11 years ago. But Tracey’s favourite job, with her husband, is bringing up two beautiful children – six-year-old Taj and five-year-old Grace. Visit Tracey’s website at www.spicercommunications.biz or follow her on Twitter @spicertracey.