Turnbull's multitasking kicks off social media scrum

This picture, posted on Saturday on Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's Facebook page alongside the caption, "Multitasking at the footy", triggered criticism that was quickly picked up by Australia's mainstream media. But Mr Turnbull also go
This picture, posted on Saturday on Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's Facebook page alongside the caption, "Multitasking at the footy", triggered criticism that was quickly picked up by Australia's mainstream media. But Mr Turnbull also got support, including from his political opponents.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

MELBOURNE • Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has triggered both backlash and support after posting a picture of himself holding his infant grandchild, Alice, and a cup of beer while he watched a football match over the weekend.

The picture, posted on Saturday on his Facebook page alongside the caption, "Multitasking at the footy", triggered criticism that was quickly picked up by Australia's mainstream media.

Some netizens took him to task for setting a bad example - drinking and grandparenting at the same time - while others scolded him for breathing alcohol-laden fumes near the baby's vulnerable nostrils, reported BBC News.

"Disgraceful, holding a child with alcohol in hand!" wrote Ms Marg Walker. Another social media user wrote: "Does anyone see anything irresponsible with an adult hold(ing) a baby and juggling a beer? And when was drinking while holding a child OK?"

Mr Turnbull said the backlash was only from a minority. "I think it's in the sort of craziness of social media that you see things like that," he told Melbourne radio station Triple M. "You've just got to be yourself, as long as you're comfortable in your own skin, be yourself."

After one tabloid newspaper ran a headline calling the reaction an "online meltdown", the Sydney Morning Herald assigned a journalist to check out the numbers.

IRRESPONSIBLE BEHAVIOUR

Does anyone see anything irresponsible with an adult hold(ing) a baby and juggling a beer? And when was drinking while holding a child OK?"

A SOCIAL MEDIA USER, criticising Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull for consuming alcohol while carrying his grandchild.

IT'S JUST SOCIAL MEDIA ACTING UP

I think it's in the sort of craziness of social media that you see things like that.

AUSTRALIAN PRIME MINISTER MALCOLM TURNBULL, reacting to the criticism.

"The number of Facebook commenters who were 'outraged' by the PM holding a beer while cuddling a baby, numbered two," it said, adding: "On Monday morning, the post had been 'liked' by 17,000 Facebook users, and 1,500 people had commented on it."

As the affair turned into controversy about fake media outrage, even the Prime Minister's strongest political opponents weighed in on his side.

"I've found something Malcolm and I can agree on. This is rubbish. Let him be a grandpa," tweeted opposition Labor leader Bill Shorten, Agence France-Presse reported.

Even controversial lawmaker Pauline Hanson, long a fierce critic of Mr Turnbull, jumped to his defence. She said "whingers" who attacked Mr Turnbull over the photo should "get a life".

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 12, 2017, with the headline 'Turnbull's multitasking kicks off social media scrum'. Print Edition | Subscribe