The case of Howard Sattler being sacked over his tasteless questions to the Prime Minister says much about the Perth media scene as well as the machinations of power in general.

Here's a guy who is paid big bucks to be provocative, aggressive and offensive. That's what the listeners find compelling, after all. Day in, day out for years on end he's been annoying the great and the good of Perth and his employers have been very pleased with him.

He clearly finds the combative approach invigorating, even therapeutic:

(SATTLER) thinks that unleashing his aggressive attack-dog radio persona helps him fight (Parkinson's) disease, which is thought to be caused by a lack of dopamine in the brain. "When I do the go-for-the-jugular type interviews and nasty things are said, and I savage them unashamedly, I find that the adrenalin flows and somehow it helps the dopamine (levels). So when I go for it, I still go for it. It's good to have one of those interviews early in the program. It seems to keep me going through the program." (Sattler's producer Kate) Cuthbert also notices an improvement in his performance after an aggressive encounter on air: "If he has a nice big fight with a politician, I know it's going to be a good program."

Then one day, he stumbles stupidly over a line relating to privacy (which has never been adequately defined, mind you) and is swiftly given the boot. Not only that, he instantly becomes a pariah in other circles as well. And he wasn't even being aggressive or overtly provocative. He actually claims to have been trying to "help" Gillard with his line of questioning.

Obviously, the fact that he would think this shows just how naive he is about human nature. Still, it's an ameliorating factor that leads me to have some sympathy for him.

Also, you have to remember that -- as Piers Akerman so controversially pointed out on Insiders -- Canberra journos have been gossiping about the first bloke's alleged sexual preferences for quite some time. So it's a bit rich for them to fulminate about Sattler broaching the subject in his interview with Gillard.

Just goes to show that media influence -- just like political power -- can be as fleeting as it is intoxicating. One false move and you're gone, baby gone!