January 22

How can they be so wrong?

It is always surprising when media chiefs make a call which is so obviously wrong. It would not have been difficult to work out that Prince William would create great interest when he finally revisited Australia. That was obvious.

But sometime in the nineties a consensus was arrived at in much of the Australian media to play down the Royal Family. That is instead of giving the readers what they want, they would give them what they ought to want.

It’s like the way some of our broadsheets seem to despise their home subscribers. One way is to irritate them by a biased policy of letter selection. Another is to push some political policy as news. Eventually the home subscribers take the hint …and stop subscribing.

I was at the Opera House not so long ago. ‘There was a pile of Heralds beside the booking office. I asked what they were for. “Oh we give them away with ticket sales.” Indeed.

…Women's Weekly unbelievably declares no interest in the  Prince….

But let me return to the Royal Visit. How surprising  it was to see the editor in chief of The Australian Women's Weekly – of all outlets – proudly proclaim that she had no plans to do anything on the visit at all (“A lovely young man, but regally bland,” The Australian (20/1). Ms. Helen McCabe said the young prince has never even been discussed as a potential cover. 

When we put the Prince on the cover of The Australian Constitutional Defender, our readers loved it. The late Frank Devine – no monarchist –enthused.

Writing in  The Australian on 7 September, 2007, he said he was “mildly affronted,” to come upon a magazine (ACM’s Australian Constitutional Defender) in his  sitting room with a portrait of Prince William, “looking almost Paris Hiltonishly provocative and lovely, on its front cover.” “The prince was wearing a uniform that might have been run up for him to star at the Duchess of Richmond's ball on the eve of Waterloo. I guess he would have left his leather-visored cap, with its broad red band and EIIR insignia, in the gents' cloakroom. But the silver-buttoned, high-necked, gold-braided navy blue tunic and (one assumes, though the cover picture cut him off at the lower chest, matching trousers) would have made him a cynosure on the dance floor in old Brussels, or I guess at a club hop in Simla or Nairobi. This is not to mention his fine white teeth and sexily sleepy blue eyes.”

…what an error…

 In any event, to return to the Women’s Weekly, Ms McCabe imperiously declared there was a lack of interest in Prince William. Why? Because, she said, he has a long-term girlfriend in Kate Middleton, a bald spot, he is taking on the  personality of his father and wouldn’t do media interviews.

 “So,” she asserted ”there won't be too many young Australian women begging for his hand in marriage.”

 What an error. She could have made a killing both with an issue in advance of the visit and a colour supplement afterwards.  Surely Ms McCabe has completely misunderstood her readers – they are a natural constituency for such stories.

…TV programme decides there will be no interest…


There was another  example was on the first day of the visit the TV programme the 7PM Project decided the theme of the programme would be that no one was interested in the visit. So they had three or so interviews to suggest this. It was mischievous to argue that the small number of people on the ground to meet the aircraft was proof of this.  Apart from many people thinking he would come into the international terminal, airport security obviously determines only a limited number of people can be unrestricted on the ground around a landed plane.

But no, they used this to try to unnerve their guest, Jai Martinkovits, spokesman for Young  ACM. The panel was in Melbourne and he was in Sydney. But why put him on their roof with noisy peak hour traffic sounds and with the producer issuing instructions to him down the earpiece. And when he had departed guest  Steve Price insulted him.

By the way Jai didn’t complain to me. But just watch how he handled this.





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