Last week Paul Keating appeared on 730 and misunderstood superannuation.

Yesterday Scott Morrison was blasted for an innocent joke about Pamela Anderson.

The response to both events highlights the problems Morrison has coming into next year’s election.

Paul Keating

Keating was praised high and low despite making the very rookie error by not acknowledging that superannuation comes from wages, a boo-boo covered immediately after the event by The Breakdown.

Among those singing his praises? Many people who should know better, including the host of 730, Leigh Sales:

Crisply and wrong.

The editor of The Guardian Australia chimed in from the same hymn sheet:

Never mind that what he said, just feel the quality.

And if you think Keating’s lines are spontaneous, you’ve been sharing Kool-Aid with Van Badham:

He stands in front of a gilded mirror and workshops them. Gua-ran-teed.

And a reminder, Keating was the man who said sometimes it was necessary to “throw the switch to vaudeville”.

(Side note: a few weeks ago Bill Shorten started using the ‘marketing-man’ line about Scott Morrison. Watch the journalists and writers using it as well. It’s a sign of their allegiances; among those who’ve adopted it? Peter van Onselen. Just saying …)

Instead of praise, Paul Keating should have gotten a right-royal slapdown from everyone for getting the fundamentals of super wrong.

He didn’t. The gallery instead fell into a deep coma of nostalgia.

Keep that in mind for a moment …

Scott Morrison

Compare the pair (as Industry Super might say) about the treatment handed out to current Prime Minister Scott Morrison. The story is everywhere but this is how CNN handled today’s moral outrage, it relates to Morrison making a joke about the former Baywatch actress and her efforts to free Julian Assange from his self-imposed prison at the Ecuadorian embassy in London:

Former model and “Baywatch” star Pamela Anderson has hit out at the Australian Prime Minister for laughing off her plea to have detained WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange brought back to his home country.

Anderson lambasted the Australian leader for his “smutty remarks,” which “trivialized and laughed about the suffering of an Australian and his family” in an open letter posted on her website and published in the Daily Beast over the weekend.

The audio appears below:

Pretty innocuous stuff.

The response began with a letter from Anderson, reproduced here:

And then the pile on began:

This is a long bow. Morrison’s comments were not unreasonable. Anderson’s sexuality and appearance are integral to who she is. She is a woman whose entire career has been built on making the most of her looks.

And a thousand more.

For the record, Lisa Wilkinson pulled the lowest card from the deck:

I’m genuinely unaware if you are up to date with the latest figures, PM, but did you know that one in five Australian women has been a victim of sexual assault? And that is just the number that’s been reported.

By all reports you’re a committed family man, Prime Minister, with a fine wife and two young daughters of your own. And I wonder if this is how you would like men in the future to be talking about your girls? No matter what they choose as their career path.

This is a genuinely despicable slur but is becoming common. Whenever anything related to women is brought up, reference sexual assault. Without a reference.

What Morrison did

Morrison made an obvious joke to an FM radio station about a women whose entire career has been built on selling her sexuality.

She has been on the cover of Playboy 13 times.

She became a superstar wearing a red bathing suit.

This was Anderson’s most recent retweet. Her looks are her fame.

It would be difficult to find a woman in recent years who has more successfully played on sexuality and appearance to craft a decades-long career. She has been very, very good at it. This is not to say that it is all she is, but it explains Morrison’s ‘joke’.

To get all jittery about the Prime Minister making the fairly obvious joke on FM radio is pathetic. And it’s not good for Morrison.

Not good for Morrison

This is not good for Morrison for one simple reason: if this is the pile on for a nothing burger, it indicates that an unconscious decision has been in the gallery and the media that he has to go before he has even begun.

This occurred to Paul Keating in 1995-96 when the magic rubbed off and he began looking tired; to John Howard after Kevin Rudd became the shiny, new opposition leader; and Tony Abbott when he tried not to play the media game by only making comments when there was something to say and then ‘banning’ Liberals from media like Q&A.

The media stops reporting what is happening (ie, policy) and starts searching for grievances. Then it escalates those grievances to 11, whether justified or not.

Morrison is at that stage. After less than 100 days.

Part of it is the fault of the decisions he has made, but it’s mainly a result of the campaign by Malcolm Turnbull (and the Turnbulls generally) who sought to damage the Liberals at the Wentworth by-election.

The result was the ‘honeymoon’ he could have expected didn’t materialise.

If he is the great marketing guru/snake-oil salesman the insults point to, it’s time to use every trick in the book because there isn’t much time left and the media vultures are getting hungry.