I first read the headline “It is time for Julia Gillard to stand aside as leader so that vigorous, policy-driven democratic debate can flourish once again” emblazoned across the front of The Age on a freshly delivered bundle of papers out the front of a newsagent, while on a 4am stumble home on Saturday morning. I was drunk enough to think walking from the CBD to Brunswick was a good idea. But I was still able to recognise the blatant hypocrisy of a newspaper blaming Gillard for the lack of intelligent debate in the media when the same newspaper ceaselessly publishes articles on every rumour of a rumour of a “leadership crisis” or “spill”. And I use the term “newspaper” loosely. The Age has let me down.
If you’re a reader of Fairfax newspapers, this is what you woke up to today:
‘It is time for Julia Gillard to stand aside as leader of the federal parliamentary Labor Party, as Prime Minister of Australia, so that vigorous, policy-driven democratic debate can flourish once again. Ms Gillard should do so in the interests of the Labor Party, in the interests of the nation and, most importantly, in the interests of democracy.’
You’d expect to read something this pompous from the likes of Andrew Bolt or Gerard Henderson, both of whom are known for their grandiose language and outrageous sentiment. But from The Age? Offered not as one journalist’s opinion, but as the endorsed view of the entire newspaper?
It gets worse.
Assuring us that the paper ‘does not advocate this lightly,’ the editorial went on to say:
‘The Age’s overriding concern is that, under…
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