12 July 2013

Jerome Kennedy: ace hole digger #nlpoli

Score another one for the Telegram’s James McLeod.

He interviewed finance minister Jerome Kennedy and wrote a story that centred on Kennedy’s contention that his party’s 2011 election promises weren’t really promises at all but a general blueprint or platform intend to implement depending on the cash available.

The story caused Kennedy such problems that he took to the Thursday morning open line show to claim he was misquoted and that the comments were taken out of context.  Later on he issued a news release that claimed the Conservatives had actually delivered on 43% of their promises.  The short release include a long list that someone apparently cut and pasted from the original list of Conservative not-promises.

Kennedy just made a bad situation worse.

You see long before Kennedy made his phone call,  McLeod posted the complete transcript of the interview to his blog at the Telly’s website.  Anyone who reads it can see pretty quickly what Jerome said.  They can then read what McLeod said. 

And then they will see McLeod got it right.

What’s more, the general point Kennedy was making is the same one he and his colleagues repeated during the campaign:  all the stuff in it will depend on whether or not government has money.

Where Kennedy went wrong was making such a big deal of it.  As McLeod quoted Kennedy, he said:

“You use the word ‘promise.’ I’m not sure the Blue Book can be described as a promise,…It’s a blueprint or a platform as opposed to an absolute promise.”

That sounds like a lawyer trying to defend his client by inventing some sort of fine distinction that normal people don’t see. It’s right up there with bill Clinton explaining that he got a blowjob from Monica Lewinski, but that wasn’t sex for him because he never touched her genitals.

Not surprisingly, McLeod covered the stuff Kennedy went on about.  He quoted Kennedy directly, accurately and in context.  Kennedy actually said that he didn’t know all the commitments that were in the platform.  The criticism that Kennedy has been getting is all his own fault.

McLeod got an excellent story.  Then he got to watch a senior cabinet minister light his own backside on fire.  Then McLeod and his readers got to use the light from the fire to see Kennedy as he dug furiously to deepen the hole he and his party are already in.