"It doesn't matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn't matter how smart you are. If it doesn't agree with experiment, it's wrong." Richard P. Feynman

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Fake Julia Fakes it at Campaign Launch!

After Labor minders had assured the press that Gillard would not be using the auto-cue or notes the press gallery was stunned by her flawless performance sans notes , and superlatives flowed ,none more than from the true believers at the SMH.

Gillard used neither autocue nor notes, a point drilled into the large media contingent by her minders. Abbott, we were invited to recall, read his entire Coalition launch speech from an autocue. We were being treated to the real, real Julia, aided by nothing but a few dot-points and her ability to deliver her message.
Unfortunately the whole performance was a fake , as Gillard's notes were surreptiously delivered to the lectern by an aide  ,crouching low to avoid detection but not low enough to avoid the relentless eye of the TV camera.
Tony Wright of the SMH twigged to what was going on and reported on it with his cameraman dutifully recording the whole thing.
She would rely on nothing but a few dot points, her press secretaries solemnly assured the media gathered in the wings at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre. Within seconds, hardened hacks were tweeting this development.

The point, of course, was that a week before in the same place, Opposition Leader Tony Abbott had used during his campaign launch an auto cue, a device his mentor John Howard described disparagingly as "wing mirrors".
Gillard's minders wanted to convey the message that she was braver, more spontaneous and capable of speaking directly to the electors without the limiting filter of a speech carefully prepared for her.

Ah, but the distance between myth and reality, as ever during election campaigns, proved as wide as Lake Eyre in flood.

As Gillard took the stage, a thick sheaf of typed papers was discreetly placed upon the podium by a stagehand crouching almost out of sight. A video camera and The Sydney Morning Herald's chief photographer, Andrew Meares, captured the moment when the staffer slipped the papers into place.
When Gillard had finished speaking and the audience was agog at her ability to deliver an unscripted address (indeed, Gillard herself described it as "from the heart"), Meares turned his camera on the papers lying strewn upon the lectern.
Even a cursory glance showed it was a written speech. A closer inspection showed it was the very speech she had delivered, word for word.

It was a near faultless speech, barely a stumble - and the Prime Minister hardly glanced at her notes, giving the impression she has a near-photographic memory.
But so much for Julia unplugged. A case, you might think, of too much spin. No one would have cared a fig if she had read the whole thing ... if only we hadn't been hoodwinked into believing this was a free-form plea from her soul.
Which is the real Julia and which is the fake? I trust that the Aussie voters will work it out correctly and in time.

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