by Chris Mitchell
Melbourne University Press
Poor Kevin Rudd. Not only was he foiled in his quest to succeed Ban Ki-moon as UN secretary general. Now we can see why Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull was right in saying Rudd did not have the temperament for the job. In Making Headlines, Chris Mitchell, editor of The Australian newspaper for 13 years until 2015, describes his dealings with former prime minister Rudd and other Australian leaders in ways that make clear the interdependent relationships between politicians and newspaper editors. He recalls such episodes as Rudd (the godfather of one of Mitchell’s children) intentionally allowing Mitchell to listen in on a “confidential” telephone conversation Rudd was having with former US president George W. Bush. After the call both decided it would make a good story, which it did, after Mitchell had checked his quotes with Rudd’s office. Betraying the confidences of many is one way of ensuring Making Headlines sells, although it’s probably safe to say the book will make only above-the-fold coverage in newspapers with primarily Australian readerships.