Lachlan Harris: Rise of the opinion cycle makes Andrew Bolt the most influential man in media

The news cycle has been replaced by the opinion cycle, with Andrew Bolt now the most significant media voice, Kevin Rudd’s former press secretary Lachlan Harris has argued.

Delivering the keynote address at the Public Relations Institute of Australia’s annual conference, Harris warned that the cycle was now in a “brutal and divisive place” with media a “rougher, tougher game”. Harris said:

“Opinion happened.

“One of the most significant structural changes in the media landscape in the last five eyars has been the rise of the opinion cycle. The most underestimated change in the last five years is that the opinion cycle is now more important than the news cycle. In Australia in the last five years, news has been eclipsed by opinion.

“In the Australian media market the apprentice has become the master. Opinion new reigns supreme. Noone knows just how to deal with this. None of us have really caught up with the new fundamentals that govern the opinion cycle.

“The reality is that the opinion cycle is slowly smothering the news cycle like ivy smothers a fully grown tree.

“The tweets, comments blogs, emails and talkback calls that a news story generates are now so are so pervasive they become more important and more influential than the actual story as first written.”

Harris argued that whereas PRs could at least “nudge” the 24 hour news cycle, it was far harder to influence the opinion cycle.

“Now so much of the information we are exposed to has absolutely nothing to do with facts and nothing to do with news. In the opinion cycle, facts don’t matter. Arguments do.”

Harris argued that rather than Kerry O’Brien in his days at the helm of The 7.30 Report on the ABC, media is now dominated by those who can start an argument.

“The talent in the opinion cycle are not the journalists. They are the people who start the debates, find the fault lines, stir up community antagonism. In the opinion cycle it’s commentators who matter, not journalists.

“Five years ago Kerry O’Brien was one of the most influential media personalities in Australia. Some people would bitterly disagree with me, but I would argue that Andrew Bolt is now sitting in a similar position of influence that Kerry O’Brien was sitting in just a few years ago.”

“Andrew’s influence comes from his almost genius talent in provoking and prolonging arguments. When a news journalist sees a meaningless squabble, Bolt sees an opportunity to stir up community debate. That talent makes him one of the most bankable assets in the Australian media today.”

Harris went on: ‘Every year the number of journalists goes down and the number of commentators goes up.”

Harris, whose media work now includes a column for the Sunday Telegraph, and punditing on Sky News, said: “When you are a guest on one of these shows you are not there as a journalist, you are there to get into an argument and take a side.”

“Opinion is cheaper than fact. A columnist can fill a whole page of a newspaper on a single salary, no expenses, no travel.

“The majority of people appearing on political shows do it for free.

“Opinion is cheap and facts are expensive.”

He argued that the rise of self published content, particularly on social media was also driving the opinion cycle. He said: “When was the last time you saw a tweet saying ‘I’ve just spoken to a source in Treasury and they told me X’?”

“Forget about citizen journalists. I’ve never met a citizen journalist. Almost all of them are citizen opinionists.”

He said that social media behaviour was also harder to predict. He said: “It’s harder to judge how a million tweets will respond to an event, than 100 journalist who you know personally.”

He said that criticisms of negative behaviour by politicians was not at the heart of cynicism about politicians. He said: “The vast majority of this hyper negative, super critical content is coming directly from the community. Tweets, blogs, talkback calls.”

“Over the last 12 months, I’ve sat in countless boardrooms and spoken to business leaders who are literally petrified of being torn to shreds by the opinion cycle. I’m not talking about controversial CEOs who love stirring up community debate. These are ordinary, straight down the line Australian companies who spend every day hiding in the cupboard almost so worried about getitng smashed in the twitterverse, hammered in a blog or torn apart by talkback calls. The all-pervading sense of fear is new.”

Harris read examples of abusive comments written online about himself in the last few days that led his mother to call him and ask if he was okay. He said: “On a daily basis when I was working for Kevin Rudd it was my job to console a minister, a backbencher, a staffer, a partner of a politician beause of the way they had been brutalised by the opinion cycle. I didn’t have to make too many of those calls in 2004. By 2008-2009 it was almost a full time job.”

“The reality is that there’s an absolute ocean of bile flowing around the internet.”

Offering advice to the PRs in the audience on how to deal with the opinion cycle, Harris said: “Adjust your radar. Newness is no longer the thing to look for. Faultlines are the new king.

He warned that PRs also need to ready clients for what is ahead if they find themselves in the spotlight. He said: “They have to be prepared for some pretty nasty criticism.”

“We have to be honest with each other that media is now a rougher, tougher game.”

He also warned: “The days of building a media profile for the hell of it are gone. You should only do that if you are willing to divide. The soft news opportunities are coming fewer and further between.”

Harris said that one bright spot is that because there is so much more negative coverage, those that do cop it are no longer as exposed. He said: “Bad publicity is just the new black for business.”

Comments


  1. Golfman
    25 Oct 11
    1:52 pm

  2. Yeah, another delusional labor spinster trying to blame ignorance, opinion, shock jocks and lack of “correct information transfer” from a government running on spin to an uneducated populace as the reason for their low popularity.

    Before you take another step: STOP INSULTING OUR INTELLIGENCE.

    Labor, who have taken politics, spin, lies and deceit to new levels are their own worst enemy here. Australians are not just stupid zombies reacting to the shock jocks or a negativity and criticism from the opposition. Failure to recognize this and persisting with failed, wedge politics based policies based on lies and deceit will be labor’s downfall.

  3. mumbrella
    25 Oct 11
    2:12 pm

  4. Hi Golfman,

    I’d argue that the presentation was a tad more nuanced than that.

    Cheers,

    Tim – Mumbrella

  5. Nikki
    25 Oct 11
    2:25 pm

  6. I think the Golfman has a (somewhat harshly-made) point.

    This is the sound of stuff gurgling down the drain. All these “opinion leaders” think they’re on a picnic boat ride. Rather, the public is simply tuning out and turning off.

    Exhibit One: Graham Richardson: why is this man on Q+A? And when will someone just front him up on his many, many betrayals of his public trust?

    Exhibit Two: Zillions of mean, backdoor burglers AKA public relations consultants now appear in media as “experts”! On what, exactly? Lying? (Not to menion the many who lurk behind the curtains, pumping out their nasty little fabrications.)

    Exhibit Three: Any number of half-arsed “commentators” who spend their lives talking to each other (or not): Kelly-Hartcher; Mayne-Milne; Shanahan-Shanahan; Williams-McGeogh; Marr-Manne; Albrechtson-Stutchbury; blah, blah, blah

  7. Geeps
    25 Oct 11
    2:27 pm

  8. Golfman,
    I’d love to agree with you, but I think you have missed the point, and turned this into an anti-labor post.

    I have a fist-shaking session at the TV every Monday night during Media Watch and Q&A…but the sad fact is Current Affair, Today Tonight, News Corp papers, Andrew Bolt, creepy Graham Richardson, Alan Jones….they dish out tripe every day…yet they rate. Yet someone like George Negus gets boned. Why?

    In my “opinion”, people are mostly lazy and like their thinking done for them.

    I fear Lachlan Harris is on the money.

    You should watch The Thick Of It….it’s up there with Yes Minister.

  9. Patrick
    25 Oct 11
    2:36 pm

  10. I agree with Tim – it was nuanced – and with Lachlan – opinion is what sells media.

  11. Serena
    25 Oct 11
    2:38 pm

  12. Opinion is much easier to write/speak because it is unrestrained by facts or even bounded by knowledge. Nor does bias have to be acknowledged, as we see above.

  13. Serena
    25 Oct 11
    2:40 pm

  14. Ah, the space above got populated as I wrote. The term “Above” was confined to golfman.

  15. Peter
    25 Oct 11
    3:45 pm

  16. It is nuanced and it is on the money. Opinions and filters are the vogue.

  17. Pastor Sauceplease
    25 Oct 11
    3:55 pm

  18. An ex press secretary ,whose stock in trade was to spin and try to put forward only positive stuff for his master notes with apparent sadness that spin is as important as news. Lachlan never ceases to amaze. That’s what his whole job was about !
    IMO What is more evident is conservative viewpoints being put forward with much more vigour than in the past. There was a time that conservatives only spoke up @ the ballot box. These days they are more often on the front foot and have given up turning the other cheek.

  19. Carl
    25 Oct 11
    4:03 pm

  20. If, as Harris suggests, opinion, particularly of the social media variety has undermined journalism and hijacked government, then the phenomenon is likely just the blowback from the assault on our democracies that has been led for far too long by the armies of media advisors like himself who’ve encouraged elected officials to govern by opinion polls rather than by their leadership skills, or preferably their sense of doing the best for the most.

    The fact that Lachlan, a young man who rose to a position of power and trust on the basis of his ability to spin information, was presenting his lament over the ascendancy of the ‘opinion cycle’ to the PR Institute is in itself instructive, and far beyond the boundaries of simple irony.

    Those who spend their careers focusing upon the game of political media, as opposed to the responsibilities of good government may not be the best critics of a situation over which they have lost control.

    When Harris advances the rise of open forum digital media and the ability for the public at large to air their opinions, even their anger with the business leaders and politicians who hold control over their lives as a cautionary tale, he betrays his lack of faith in free speech and the democratic process, and unmasks himself and those of his profession for who they really are, the manipulators of information and fact, not their facilitators.

  21. m0nty
    25 Oct 11
    4:15 pm

  22. George Negus got boned by the other Lachlan… Murdoch. Negus’ ratings were about as bad as Bolt’s, given the different timeslots. Mr Harris is paid by News Ltd/Corp/Australia, so his thoughts on this topic should be taken in context. It is the Murdoch press that is leading this charge towards opinion, so it’s not surprising that Harris spruiks their most embattled star in the hope that people will believe the tripe he’s spouting.

    Murdoch’s slash and burn approach to Channel 10’s news division, strangely exempting the horridly rating Bolt vehicle, is in my opinion much more to do with protecting Sky News. Similarly, I think his actions in the 10 sports department with ONE HD were about protecting Fox Sports. These are my opinions only, I must stress.

    The Murdoch empire is trying desperately to pump up Bolt because it wants to manufacture the same sort of environment in which Fox News thrives in America. We’re not nearly as rabid in our political scene here, which is why Bolt’s ratings have fallen away. In radio, MTR is DOA. It’s not really the Australian way.

  23. Nikki
    25 Oct 11
    4:16 pm

  24. Judging from the above, people are confusing the business bits. I don’t see evidence that opinion is a seller. Certainly there’s a contagion. But I suspect that is more to do with the cost-cutting that happens when your business is floating above a gurgler sound. In fact I reckon opinion is a really big turnoff. The really big fact about the internet is facts. You can find them for yourself really easily. You don’t need some blokey, fancy pants to yell them at you (especially when they aren’t really facts).
    Opinions are cheap. Just look at the web. Bolt has his. Marr has his. The web picks up every mumble that used to be grumbled in every lane and pub and garden show. Free. This is no time to invest in opinion.

  25. m0nty
    25 Oct 11
    4:44 pm

  26. The bottom line of this thought bubble is that opinion is cheap, and in many cases free, to produce, which is why there is more of it nowadays with more media channels to fill with “content”. Journalism is expensive, which is why places like News can expand their production of opinion in almost infinite proportions, but funding for journalism dwindles.

    Once there is no more independent primary journalism because the business model has crashed, where do the opinionistas get their fodder? It’s no good parasiting on a carcass, pretty soon the maggots will eat everything up. Then all you’ll have are the bones.

    As has been gone over countless times before: nobody has an answer. No one had an answer for those A&R people who discovered and nurtured music talent when their business model got destroyed. The recorded music industry was gutted, there was no white knight riding in on a stallion. Lachlan Harris certainly doesn’t look like a Kid Galahad.

  27. Geeps
    25 Oct 11
    5:08 pm

  28. Nikki,
    Is this the same internet that Andrew Bolt gets his “facts” for his opinion pieces from?

    You are correct. Opinions ARE cheap…cheaper than a quality journo.

    But I believe in this context that you are not correct in that opinion is a big turnoff….but gosh I wish you were!

    That’s why Bolts’ opinions along with megaphone Alan Jones’ opinions are big business, as they draw lots of loyal eyeballs and eardrums..hence they sell newspapers and ads around them. Nothing new about that I know. But look at what happened to 2UE when Jones defected to 2GB.

    And look at the rise again of Graham Richardson as an “important opinion maker”…a man with a questionable past if anyone cares to Google/Wikipedia him.

    But it’s much easier to listen to his opinion because, well he’s funny and may be correct about many things, and avuncular in a creepy pull-my-finger way.

  29. Andrew Rollason
    25 Oct 11
    5:10 pm

  30. Can we just review something which you’ve said here:
    “Forget about citizen journalists. I’ve never met a citizen journalist. Almost all of them are citizen opinionists.”

    Of course most people are ” citizen opinionists” because the vast majority of us don’t have our own independent news collection facility. The vast majority of use aren’t journalists. That is sort of the reason why we PAY journalists in the forms or buying news media, or having adverts on television during news programs and current affairs show.

    Rather than label the public as ignorant “opinionists”, why doesn’t the media take some responsibility for itself and start producing quality journalism? That is what and why we PAY you for.
    If you choose to label the public as ignorant and being swayed by the opinions that are put before us, then do your job properly. That seems to be a failure of systemically lazy and quite frankly pathetic class of journalists.

    Grow up Lachlan. Do your job properly.

  31. Heywood
    25 Oct 11
    5:25 pm

  32. How awesome was Golfmans response! Harris talks about the vicious opinion cycle and Golfman pounds in there in a completely overblown, uninformed ranting opinion. The delicious irony of a guy trying to squash an argument and in doing so absolutely proving its validity is truely inspirational.

  33. glenn dirix
    25 Oct 11
    5:32 pm

  34. Harris, adviced Rudd…. say no more!

  35. sasha
    25 Oct 11
    6:24 pm

  36. god i hate the way any piece on mumbrella with a remotely political flavour gets immediately hijacked by trolling politico-nutjobs like Golfman

  37. Ava
    25 Oct 11
    9:27 pm

  38. Other relevant points made by Lachlan today that are worth considering were:

    * The rise of the opinion cycle is a global trend
    * A key outcome of this trend is a more divisive society that makes change more fearful
    * The combined effect of a divisive, combative society with a fear of change paralyses politicians and decision-makers, hence mitigating against signiificant policy initiatives
    * Lachlan expressed a hope that we may see a counter trend and return to fact-based reporting

  39. Golfman
    25 Oct 11
    10:07 pm

  40. “Lachlan expressed a hope that we may see a counter trend and return to fact-based reporting”

    Back when the media was presenting ‘facts’ was it actual facts or facts ‘as represented’ by the government of the day? – all spun, twisted and packaged just the way they want you to hear it.

    I think what Lachlan is craving for is a return to reporting what the politicians say – which is not the same as ‘fact-based’ reporting – which would make the job he had easier.

    I think the opinion approach gives journalists more freedom to ‘translate the spin’. Obviously they translate it towards their own particular bias but I like the new found freedom journalists have in not accepting a politicians words ‘ad verbatim’ and not being afraid to ‘bust the spin’. So in effect the change to opinion based reporting might mean we are hearing the journo’s interpretation of the politicians’ spin instead of simply ‘raw politician spin’.

    I think it represents a healthy kind of disrespect for politicians and their spin. Hopefully it keeps them on their guard!

  41. Ted
    25 Oct 11
    11:13 pm

  42. Great article. Balanced reporting you would have to say. A little foreign in this day and age I’d admit, but with some journalistic qualities – like actually containing facts. How did that happen? I get my news from to The Australian, Andrew Bolt and Alan Jones. Facts? They are a by product.

  43. Nikki
    26 Oct 11
    9:05 am

  44. Golfman: the media was presenting facts when it told you that Keating had piggery investments that the CBA was treating very kindly. It was reporting facts when it revealed that companies werre hding what they knew about asbestos and mesothelioma. There were facts in the stories about Richardson and his mates doing very strange things with printing companies and swiss banks. I could go on, but you get the drift. And yes, Geeps, these are not facts that the web will throw up because human beings have to go looking and checking and so on. But there is a lot of dierct source material out there for people who want to know about the “big issues” of opinion, like climate science and wealth distribution. You will never hear Bolt talking about Richo’s cronies and biz deals.

  45. scotty
    26 Oct 11
    11:21 am

  46. “Harris argued that whereas PRs could at least “nudge” the 24 hour news cycle, it was far harder to influence the opinion cycle.”

    And there’s the crux of your problem here Harris – you are complaining because you can’t control opinion writers like you do journalists.

    You constantly served up barely believable spin, which journos swallowed but opinion writers saw straight through – and called you on it.

    “I didn’t have to make too many of those calls in 2004. By 2008-2009 it was almost a full time job.”

    Perhaps because you were working in the most pathetic government in Australia’s history and much of that criticism was in fact valid?

    Don’t blame the opinion writers for pointing out how cr@p your policies are – write better policies and they wont criticise you!!!

  47. Golfman
    26 Oct 11
    11:46 am

  48. +1 Scotty!

  49. Rawnoceros
    26 Oct 11
    11:49 am

  50. Bolt hasn’t been axed by Murdoch and Channel 10 because arch neo-con Gina Rinehart is a major shareholder who put him on-air in the first place. Unlike one of great journalists, George Negus, the madness of Bolt is not subject to the same commercial parameters.

  51. Carl
    26 Oct 11
    12:25 pm

  52. A spin doctor and professional pundit who has for the entirety of his young and illustrious career worked in the shadows to advise politicians, influence journalists by framing debate, and now persuade the public from an editorial pulpit at a tabloid press now bemoans the ascendancy of the digital public opinion forum. That’s rich.

    The harsh nature of public discourse being inflamed by arsonists like Bolt, Jones, et.al. is a direct result of the decline of a rigorous free press that held the feet of those in power to the flame.

    Thanks to the monopolised control of the media by dominant corporations and the wealthiest in our society, and the disintegration of trust in our elected officials, in large part created by media advisors like Harris who spun the truth to such an extent that the credibility of any politician is suspect, we as a people no longer have a public source one we can trust. As a consequence, the public is encouraged to take matters into it’s own, very fragmented, highly divisive, and both more and less capable hands.

    The boy Iago in the shadows steps out into the light and alerts everyone to the fire he helped set. Only at a PR convention, and maybe here on Mumbrella could this be taken seriously.

  53. Nostalgia. I haz it.
    26 Oct 11
    2:21 pm

  54. Remember back when Mumbrella used to poke the trolls by questioning the relevance of the Yellow Pages?

    Ah…happier times.

  55. Mack
    26 Oct 11
    7:37 pm

  56. Some good comments above, best probably by Carl @ #10

    The point half-raised above is that LH’s style and methods both externally to media and internally to the rest of government played no small part in the demise and downfall of K Rudd. It raises my eyebrows regarding his current elevation to someone who should be listened to Vs someone who is unemployable and a case study for what not to do.

    The even more worrying thing to me personally was the glowing and fawning reviews of his keynote by many on my Twitter feed who were at the PRIA event. Combined with other tweets through the day, it made me wince at where too many in the PR profession are at – dazzled by some shiny new baubles and marketing insights they should have know about years ago…

  57. Poloman
    26 Oct 11
    10:48 pm

  58. Golfman waded in against Labor.

    So:

    Every time Tony Abbot opens his mouth at the moment I feel stressed. Tony stresses me out. I will simply not allow him to have my vote. Imagine him in leadership, moaning and groaning “no, no, no…” ;)

    As for commenting on what has occurred. It has been going on for years hasn’t it..?

  59. Golfman
    27 Oct 11
    10:20 am

  60. It’s ok Poloman once he’s in power there won’t be the twisted, spun, political, illogical, nation destroying, debt inducing, waste of money policies that Rudd/Gillard have carpet bombed Australia with for the last 4 years.

    Name one Rudd/Gillard policy that hasn’t turned into a slow motion train wreck at great expense to our economy, businesses and people.

    Once good policy makers are in government there will be no need to say “no, no, no” but of course that’s all you *will* hear from Labor opposition once the Coalition form government, just like we heard from the Labor opposition in the Howard years.

    Hypocrite!

  61. Daniel
    27 Oct 11
    10:34 am

  62. There is nothing wrong with opinion per se.

    The problem is that the media is intertwined with the establishment and with business (more so than ever) and politics so we only ever hear opinion that reinforces a world view held by the elite, which is by nature conservative, antagonistic and self serving.

  63. jane
    27 Oct 11
    11:22 am

  64. Gee Golfman, parrotting the usual Liars Party spin, lies, obfuscation and distortions as brought to us by those unbiased fact hunters Andrew Dolt, Anal Jones, Ray Hadley et al.

    Oh, hang on. Dolt’s actually a fantasy opinionista, isn’t he? A lengthy opinion piece about a group of people where the only facts it contained were the correct names, and even that’s suspect.

    And gosh! Good ol’ Andrew actually knew the truth of the matter, but that wouldn’t have jibed with his racist agenda, now would it?

    Did he really think that the people he defamed wouldn’t notice that everything he wrote about them was a lie? He could take it for granted that clowns like you would swallow it whole, which was the purpose of the piece.

    Get your head out of Dolt’s and Jones’s backsides and start looking for the facts yourself. You’re never going to get them from Ltd News, and the air will smell a whole lot better away from the sewer that is the Liars party and their cheerleaders.

  65. Poloman
    27 Oct 11
    12:47 pm

  66. Go and drive around towns like Wagga, Dubbo, Coffs and Port Mcquarie. (Towns both coastal and country) out of the big smokes. Ask people living there, parents, kids abnd business folk what they think about the NBN. I can tell you that the lions share are very excited about it indeed(.)

    Go and ask the masses of people who voted Green in the last election how they feel about a tax on carbon (something that Tony Abbot was all for only a few years ago). Again, they will tell you that they are very happy indeed with some policies that are being rolled out as a result of their vote.

    I am not saying Labor are the best, I think they could certainly buck their idea’s up in a many departments for sure. Nevertheless, the present government are rolling our changes that over time WILL benefit our country for the greater good.

    – Oh, I forgtot to mention the good in taking away the ability for people who have gambling addictions; to be able to withdraw money when in a pokie den (Australian pub / club), casino etc Surely this is a good thing? Surely Golfman you do not agree that there should be ATM’s in POkie dens and Casino’s…? Alcohol and gambling = come on Golfman for the greater good of society..?

    Sometimes, to enable society to get back on track it takes big changes and this is what is happening today. It will continue to happen, for the best and if these decisions get overuled by nutjob’s who are obsessed with their peddling agenda’s and self interest, well in this climate, with folk so well informed and connected, as we have seen in many countires around this world, these peddlers will not get away with it. ‘The people’ will act and vote them out.

    As you were Golfman.

  67. Golfman
    27 Oct 11
    1:37 pm

  68. Oh Poloman, you make me laugh!

    Oh yeah, the NBN, who could forget? Maybe the 99.9% of the population who haven’t been connected yet. And already the cost is surpassing everyone’s expectations at about $4700/house passed with fiber. Of the houses passed how many have been connected so far?

    Oh yeah, I forgot, the update won’t increase until the Stalin style laws to dismantle competing technologies like copper and cable (along with the billions of dollars in compensation to Telstra, Optus and others) kick in. In the case of this NBN train wreck the train hasn’t even left the station yet and taxpayer dollars in the *billions* have been committed to the pockets of major corporations – wow, if the Liberals were pumping that sort of cash into corporations like that they’d be called neo-conservatives and the Occupy crowd would be chanting in the streets against corporate greed at the hands of the government but instead… silence.

    “Go and ask the masses of people who voted Green in the last election how they feel about a tax on carbon”

    I think you just claimed victory for a policy that Gillard explicitly opposed leading up to the last election. What, you not thinking correctly today?

    Obviously Poloman it must be hard for you realising that you can no longer control the media like you used to because logical, intelligent people from all walks of life are able to call your bluff in new and free media channels whenever you spew out your lies, deceit and spin topped off with the obligatory chunks of carrot and bile.

  69. Golfman
    27 Oct 11
    1:47 pm

  70. Poloman said: “Oh, I forgtot to mention the good in taking away the ability for people who have gambling addictions; to be able to withdraw money when in a pokie den (Australian pub / club), casino etc Surely this is a good thing?”

    You claim success for a policy that’s just a thought bubble and associated with legislation that is only being acted on because of a threat that they might lose power if Wilkie doesn’t get his pokie law reform through. Sorry, you can’t claim the moral high ground on this one when ALP and Union interests in clubs is well known and when the very law reform you refer to is made with a gun held at Julia’s head by Wilkie.

    If these reforms were sooooooo important why are we living through the moral injustice of not having these laws passed 4 years ago when Rudd/Gillard first came into power?

    You know man, Polo has always lived under the shadow of Golf. Long live VW!

  71. Peter Rush
    27 Oct 11
    2:12 pm

  72. Whenever there’s an oversupply of anything, it loses value. Opinion is no different. Everybody relax.This steaming pile is about to collapse under its own weight.

  73. Jim P
    27 Oct 11
    3:56 pm

  74. I have just read 35 opinions triggered by one story about Lachlan Harris. I have been tittilated, enlightened, fascinated, incredulous and driven to frequent outbursts of giggling. Most of all I have been entertained. When a journalist in the print media or television or radio can do that for me I’ll maybe think about buying a newspaper or a magazine, watching a current affairs show, or tune into a radio broadcast. Blogs don’t have to influence anybody or change minds but they can change points of view. Opinions are wonderful things because we all have them. Exchanging them is what keeps minds ticking over. The proof is right here on this page!

  75. Poloman
    27 Oct 11
    7:55 pm

  76. I like it Jim P and many of us are “anonymous…”

    Golfman, I am guessing you are from Europe?

  77. Lmc
    9 Nov 11
    1:14 pm

  78. I posted my comment on 4th November – citing article on Lachlan Harris by John Lyons in The Australian. Why today 9th November is it listed as “awaiting moderation”???!!!!

  79. mumbrella
    9 Nov 11
    1:48 pm

  80. Hi Lmc,

    If you’d like to try commenting again without using the word “twat”, I’ll be happy to take a look.

    Cheers,

    Tim – Mumbrella

  81. Lmc
    14 Nov 11
    1:50 am

  82. Harris is loathed by the media for very good reason. That he is now attempting to be a columnist is extraordinary.

    John Lyons wrote in,The Australian detailing unprofessional, misogynistic and immature behaviour by Rudd’s media minder, 28 year old Lachlan Harris.

    Harris seems fond of threatening and bullying journalists and regularly displays contempt for media and plain rudeness. It is extraordinary behaviour by the Prime Ministers main media advisor.

    An excerpt:
    The aggression has been experienced by many. One journalist said she felt highly intimidated by a conversation with Harris. He was unhappy with a story she’d written based on a leak from a Labor frontbencher.

    Harris wanted a meeting; they met in Aussie’s cafe in Parliament House. She says he rarely made eye contact but what threw her off balance was that he almost whispered as he made it clear she would pay a price for writing the story.

    “You know it’s over for you,” she says he told her. “Nobody’s going to deal with you. We’re not going to forget this.”

    After regaining her composure, she told him: “Don’t bully me. You’re trying to bully me and I’m not going to take it.”

  83. Lmc
    14 Nov 11
    1:51 am

  84. Hi Mumbrella, had to laugh at yr reply! Fair enough too.

  85. Golfman
    14 Nov 11
    3:13 am

  86. Harris’ bullying reminds me of Craig Thompson’s bullying: threatening to pull (Labor) government support for a community venture because the organizer was perceived to have not toed the Labor line. Bullying is pathetic at any level. Are these guys on one continuous power trip or what? When are they going to do some “power trip addiction rehabilitation” so they can focus on good policy that involves benefiting real Australians.