Kitchen Cabinet presenter Annabel Crabb came in for a serve last week after Fairfax Media’s Ben Pobjie suggested “What a government minister is like at home – or in the kitchen – is irrelevant.”
She writes in part:
I can’t agree with this. I don’t think you can possibly separate what people are like from what they do. Political leaders – like every single one of us – are shaped by the things that have happened to them and to the people close to them. Those factors – what they’re like – exert a considerable and usually invisible influence over the most important decisions a political leader will ever make. Namely: which issues they are going to choose to die in a ditch for, which they will pop in the too-hard basket, which they might compromise on. This is the stuff that realistically drives the political process. And fleshy, human, and deeply subjective stuff it is too. Knowing what a person is like is powerful. Why should it only be political journalists and insiders who get to see it?
It was suggested to me a few times recently that “PR puff pieces” like Kitchen Cabinet are “swamping” journalism. Dear God. I have never heard such bollocks. The media landscape is heaving with old and new players, on various platforms, locked in minute-by-minute competition to expose, investigate and hold to account anyone in public life.
There is even enough space and expertise for whole squads of experts to debate the merits of individual television shows!
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