As the federal election nears, trenchant critics of the Prime Minister should be mindful not to succumb to "ScoMo-derangement syndrome", a tendency to overreach reducing credibility and persuasive power.
And, perversely, leading to growing public sympathy for the subject of that criticism.
Signs of the syndrome include a fuming public outrage attaching to every new revelation regarding Scott Morrison and a marked loss of proportionality.
The condition was first diagnosed among fulminating opponents of the then US President Donald J Trump.
The theory was that Trump's madness induced a similar level of madness among his detractors also. Even usually sober media outlets like the New York Times, Washington Post, and CNN.
Amazingly, the normally uncreative Trump may have coined the term himself. If not, he certainly used it in July 2018 to defend his scandalous toadying towards another corrupt anti-democrat, Vladimir Putin.
"Some people HATE the fact that I got along well with President Putin of Russia," he tweeted. "They would rather go to war than see this. It's called Trump Derangement Syndrome!"
The response to claims that as a private citizen in 2007, Morrison deployed racist arguments to defeat the Lebanese-Australian Michael Towke in a Liberal Party preselection race for the seat of Cook, exhibits the early signs.
The weekend story by the Saturday Paper's Karen Middleton breaking new details of the yarn via two 2016 statutory declarations containing the allegation, represent excellent investigative journalism. Credit also to Nine's David Crowe who was well advanced in reporting the same revelations.
However, the PM emphatically rejects the central assertion of his 2016 accusers and has even floated the idea of responding with his own stat dec - a serious course he presumably would not consider if he believed there was any risk at all of actual proof against him emerging.
Morrison may be slippery and inclined to political deception, but falsely testifying on a stat dec constitutes perjury.
Since Middleton's story emerged, the pile-on by people without first-hand access to the events or facts, seems freighted with the same frustrations Americans felt about Trump - that as compelling as their case was against the president, Americans might re-elected him anyway.
Morrison's emphatic response should remind people to cool their jets, especially after prominent Muslim leaders such as the universally respected medico Jamal Rifi reject any suggestion of Morrison as a racist.
Harsh criticism of Trump's disgusting fealty to the Russian dictator was of course, entirely justified - both at the time and since, given Putin's genocidal criminality.
But that's the point. Some events mean a lot, others, very little. Media critics need to make those distinctions. Voters do, too.
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