Oppositions get less airtime than governments as they usually have less of importance to say. Interviewers let prime ministers go on a little longer than opposition leaders. But the 7.30 Report host pushes this to extremes.
When Julia Gillard spoke with O’Brien in the first week of the campaign, a word count shows the Prime Minister spoke 65 per cent of the time.
When Tony Abbott appeared on the 7.30 Report the following week, the host dominated. The Opposition Leader talked only 42 per cent of the time.
Something similar has happened with Wayne Swan and Joe Hockey. The Treasurer was allowed to speak for 63 per cent of his interview on July 28. The previous week, Mr Hockey only got 51 per cent…
At a journalism conference in Sydney this week former Liberal leader Malcolm Turnbull, a one-time reporter on The Bulletin, lashed O’Brien’s style.
“O’Brien often reads a long mini-editorial to his victims and then seeks a response,” he said yesterday. “This is very poor technique if the objective is to elicit information from the interviewee. If, on the other hand, the object is for the interviewer to show off and spar with the interviewee it works well.