The Adelaide Show Podcast putting South Australian passion on centre stage

198 – Never A True Word

Never A True Word by Michael Magure on The Adelaide Show Podcast

Michael McGuire is a journalist with many years experience at The Australian and The Advertiser, where he is now senior writer, and formerly a “spin doctor” for South Australian treasurer, Kevin Foley, so it made him the perfect person to write Never A True Word, an authoritative novel about modern day politics and its bedfellow, journalism. at the Advertiser and has captured .

This week, the SA Drink Of The Week is from Coriole Wines

Nigel will try to stump us, virtually, with IS IT NEWS on the topic of propoganda.

In 100 Weeks Ago we hear from Rilka Warbanoff, about the secret world of executive networking.

And in the musical pilgrimage … our musical curator has picked a track by Superdose Gangway which he says is perfect but comes with a language warning..

Suggested Tweet text: Understand the #spindoctor? Wait until you hear @MaguireMi discuss his @WakefieldPress book, Never A True Word

And please consider becoming part of our podcast by joining our Inner Circle. It’s an email list. Join it and you might get an email on a Sunday or Monday seeking question ideas, guest ideas and requests for other bits of feedback about YOUR podcast, The Adelaide Show. Email us directly and we’ll add you to the list: [email protected]

If you enjoy the show, please leave us a 5-star review in iTunes or other podcast sites, or buy some great merch from our Red Bubble store – The Adelaide Show Shop. We’d greatly appreciate it.

Running Sheet: Never A True Word

00:00:00 Outtake
Will you be offended by language?
Theme and Introduction. Our original theme song in full is here, Adelaidey-hoo.
00:02:40 SA Drink Of The Week
2011 Coriole Shiraz … tasting notes
00:07:36 Stories Without Notice

We have been trying to keep this a secret but I can’t any longer. Nigel and I are down to the final two blogging and podcasting duos, being considered to walk a world heritage listed spiritual path in Japan in November. One thing we need to ponder is gifts. What gifts would signify SA and be appreciated in Japan?

Listener survey underway. Go to

00:013:06 Michael McGuire

In his novel, Never A True Word, Michael McGuire confirms every darkest fear I have ever held about our political and media systems. The focus is always on re-election rather than schemes of grandeur for our betterment. And, even worse, the novel’s critique of our media, which is meant to be our watchdog, boils down to a barnyard of egos all vying to place themselves into the frame of history. As our protaganoist exclaims, parliament boils down to theatre for bad actors. The sad thing is, we only get to give these actors a review every four years. And my problem is, I would like to look forward to rewarding them, not punishing them with my vote. Michael Maguire, welcome.

Frontline, House Of Cards, West Wing, The Newsroom, The Thick Of It, all these shows should have prepared me for your novel, but they all look like confection, compared to yours. Do you still get invited to media launches and events?

I heard at Doug Robertson’s farewell you squeezed it in at night. Why did you need to write this?

At one point, Ray Sloan, the state treasurer, has a hard-nosed journalist on his trail and our hero, Jack, who had just been despising his boss, gets back into the saddle to save his reputation. But you note it is not because Sloan is worth it, it is because the mutal hatred towards the journalist is a uniting force. Is the political landscape just a microcosm of life on earth, where ego and pride bind or separate people?

In the story, despite the journo demanding to speak to Sloan, they send a three sentence statement. He asks if this will make her mad but the logic is clear: she is out to get you, this way you are part of the story but you don’t risk giving any other details.

There was a time when government ministers banned Matt and Dave, it shows that people need to be willing to have their backsides flogged in public for these shows to have their oomph. It is a delicate balance act of mutal need, is it not?

In this incident, the story is averted but the narrator says he would have found the worst photo of Sloan and done a graphic of Sloan’s misdemeanours. When does such treatment leave simple journalism and become editorialising?


POLITICAL offices are the oddest of environments. They give rise to delusions of grandeur you won’t find in your ordinary work setting. Even working in the ego pit that is the newsroom of your average daily metropolitan newspaper has nothing on politics. I have seen the most mild-mannered, self-effacing people enter the world of politics and quickly become entranced by the power and the influence. Politics is the only workplace where a half-smart twenty-something can issue instructions to a 50-year-old career public servant and demand to be taken seriously.

There is a point when Sloan apologises and then reflects on whether he can fight on. He says the press smell blood and that’s the end of it. What can you do as a pollie? And how lazy do you think the resignation calls are?

Also, when the treasurers says out loud he might resign, the spin doctors worry about their own jobs. One concern is they won’t get jobs again because they’ve burned bridges. How true is that?

As expected it’s the city’s number-one radio prick who has used his pudgy little fingers to press the numbers that will bring his voice to my ear. A man who inflicts his loud and often nonsensical opinions on the public each day and who considers each and every utterance to be a veritable nugget of truth. A man who has confected outrage down to such an art it could be hung in the Louvre. In other words, your bog-standard radio shock jock. Every city has one these days and this bloke is ours. It pains me more than I can say that I have to be civil to this enormous fuckwit.

Frank Boyle is Mike Rann

Ray Sloane is Kevin Foley

Jennifer Masters is that Mike Rann’s previous press secretary? Jan …

Chalmers is Mike Smithson

Caldicatt is Matthew Abraham

Annabel Howard is Michael Owen

“No one takes breakfast radio seriously apart from the presenters, policiticians, and their staff members.” It does seem like a game. However, in the latest ratings, 5AA is edging closer to Matt and Dave in breakfast. Talk dominates. Is it perhaps more valuable than your character concedes?

01:13:27 Is It News?

Nigel challenges the panel to pick the fake story from three stories from South Australia’s past.

The Advertiser May 1937
Nazi Propaganda
“The Nazis do not send their members and prominent people abroad for nothing,” said Dr. Alan Finger yesterday, when he spoke at a crowded meeting of i when he spoke at a crowded meeting of, the Adelaide University Politic:- and International Relations Club at the Lady Symon Hall. Dr. Finger was referring to the proposed visit of Count von Luckner to Australia in July. The doctor based his talk on Nazi organisation and more especially dealt with its power in the present Spanish situation. Reference was also made to the channels through which the Nazis worked their propaganda in other countries. The thoroughness of the Nazi .power and its relationship with radio were stressed by the speaker, who added that the shortwave broadcasts in Germany were the most efficient in the world.

South Eastern Times September 1931
“I plead guilty to having fooled the. electors from one election to another, but I am never going to do it again. As long as I have a tongue in my head I shall never again promise an elector something I know I can never give him,” said the Chief Secretary and Minister of Agriculture (Mr Whitford) at the citizens’ league “farmers’ rally” in the Adelaide town hall last week. “If I wanted to cadge votes I could promise farmers to go to the Minister of Railways and ask for a reduction in freights; I could promise to ask the State bank for help. But these things can’t be got so easily. The government has no Aladdin’s lamp or robbers’ cave. Parliament is only the reflex of the whole community. The members who have been elected in the past are those who paraded their electorates agreeing
with the people that railways and reticulation schemes were needed in the district—not those who said “No” when the people asked for such advantages. That is why you have your rotten politicians. I am not speaking as a member of any party, said Mr Whitford, but as a free man with opinions to express. Anybody who wants my job can have it tomorrow. I am done with it. I am quite prepared to go out of public life, but some people have asked me to stay in polities, so I am going-to stay.

The Advertiser November 1931
No Political Propaganda In State Schools
Stating that he had received complaints from many school teachers that they had not all been supplied with copies of a speech made by the Chief Secretary (Mr. Whitford) about State enterprises and a newspaper cutting containing “that memorable statement” about “fooling the electors,” Mr. Nieass (Socialisation Party) in the Assembly yesterday asked whether the Premier (Mr. Hill) would enquire as to who was responsible for the censorship of political matter in State schools. Mr. Nieass said that he wanted to make it clear that the Director of Education knew nothing about the distribution of political reporting in State schools. He himself said it was important for students and our future leaders to understand and how our political process worked. The Premier promised to make the enquiries requested.

01:28:25 100 Weeks Ago

In 100 Weeks Ago last week, we heard from journalism stalwart, Samela Harris. about her lifetime love affair with pelicans and her anticipation of life in Victor Harbor with unfettered views of and access to pelicans in a natural setting. Lo and behold, we got this update from her:

Ah, sadness, John Rau and his future-challenged development vandals have successfully discouraged our beautiful colony of Encounter Bay pelicans. First they imposed a big rock breakwater where the water never broke. Then, landfill was bulldozed into the bay for one set of trailer parks for the boaties changing the relationships of the old erratic rocks to the shore and reducing the pelican population. Now they have bulldozed and infilled another section of that 240-million-year-old glacial reef for yet more carparks for boaties. What was once a picture postcard habitat is no longer lovely and our beloved pelicans have gone. The pelican website remains online, rather old now, but still a definitive resource on the wonders of the Australian pelican:

(As an aside, Samela said: To know him is to pin him up…not literally but as an admired journalist. Mind you, he was decidely miffed by my true story of learning to understand the old Scots brogue when first I went to work on the paper in Scotland.)

This week, in 100 Weeks Ago, we hear from master cook and networker, Rilka Warbanoff, on her successful approach to getting things done by bringing people together for networking over meals.

01:36:18 Musical Pilgrimage
And our song this week is Call Me Anything You Need by Superdose Gangway, selected by our musical curator Dan Drummond.
02:00:32 Outtake
 Voice level Michael … propoganda course … almost made a Scottish joke

Here is this week’s preview video:

SFX: Throughout the podcast we use free sfx from for the harp, the visa stamp, the silent movie music, the stylus, the radio signal sfx, the wine pouring and cork pulling sfx, and the swooshes around Siri.











Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.