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Oct 5, 2011

After a phenomenal peak, is Andrew Bolt in decline?

It is hard to remember a time when so much public debate focused on one journalist as what Andrew Bolt is going through at the moment.

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It is hard to remember a time when so much public debate focused on one journalist as what Andrew Bolt is going through at the moment.

Who else gets a full-page advertisement in today’s print edition of The Australian paid for by 1261 largely conservative older white blokes rounded up by the IPA?

(Click on the image for a readable version)

The signatories who coughed up more than $100,000 were formally supporting the following words:

Freedom of speech is fundamental to a free society.

The Andrew Bolt case shows freedom of speech in Australia is under threat. It is alarming that in 2011 someone can be taken to court for expressing an opinion.

We support freedom of speech for Andrew Bolt and every Australian.

It was surprising how few journalists or media professionals appeared alongside the various climate sceptics such as Ian Plimer and Tamas Calderwood and members of the political right, such as Peter Phelps, Philip Davis, Bob Day, Ron Boswell, George Christensen, Keith Windschuttle, Michael Kroger and the Kemp brothers.

This is because the vast majority of media professionals are appalled by Bolt. Former Daily Telegraph editor David Penberthy spoke for many when he wrote this column for The Punch, which also appeared in some of the News Ltd tabloids on Sunday. It included the following devastating critique of Bolt:

I am not inclined to defend Andrew Bolt to the death. Not even close. His columns make me laugh in disbelief or fold up the paper in anger. I am sick of seeing Bolt being held up as if he were a company spokesman.

He is no such thing. He is just one of many journalists who work at this company, albeit one who, through what can be fairly described as a decade-long commitment to writing inflammatory copy, has landed himself in a scrape which has ramifications for us all.

In my personal view journalists should examine tensions in society, not amplify those tensions. Bolt is a one-man amplifier. He has somehow got it into his head that with significant column inches and online space at Australia’s biggest-selling daily newspaper, not to mention his own TV show, he is the victim of a conspiracy of silence, and has been ganged up on by the elites.

If you wield that kind of power you’re not a victim of the elites. You are the elites.

And if that wasn’t enough, consider these words spoken by Bolt’s colleague at Network Ten, Hamish McDonald, in front of an audience of 1300 at the Sydney Opera House on Saturday night:

“Andrew Bolt is a dreadful example of what the media can be.”

“Alan Jones and Andrew Bolt as journalists do us an enormous disservice. I’m very angry about them using the title ‘journalist’.”

McDonald, who is the star reporter on 6.30 with George Negus and is tipped to potentially take over as the host in 2012, also pointed out that the ratings of The Bolt Report are in decline. He clearly wants the show axed.

After being stunned by the Anne Summers profile in The Monthly — especially the revelation that his past features a six-year de facto relationship with a former employee at The Age, which included the exchange of two ringsBolt used his Herald Sun column today entitled “Media making a monster of me” to claim he is being attacked by various lefties at Fairfax, Crikey and the ABC.

Check out the extraordinary photoshop job that accompanies the column:

Iron Man reference aside, why did Bolt ignore the Penberthy attack, which looked very much like an official public flogging from News Ltd after Bolt humiliated executive chairman John Hartigan over the Bruce Wilson affair?

While The Power Index might have declared Bolt to be Australia’s “most influential mega-phone” and former Herald Sun editor Bruce Guthrie told Summers that he discovered four years ago that Bolt was the most powerful person within the whole of News Ltd, this situation has already changed.

For instance, News Ltd has substantially wound back the national print distribution of Bolt’s columns. While the Herald Sun is still dutifully serving up two opinion packages on Wednesday and Saturday, the old coverage from Cairns to Adelaide is no more.

Then there’s Herald Sun editor-in-chief Phil Gardner’s admission to The Monthly that Bolt’s “official arrangement” to have his wife Sally Morrell moderate comments on his blog from home was removed a year ago. Bolt’s army of abusers will now have to identify themselves as well.

The three upcoming tests of Bolt’s power will be whether he can retain a radio gig if the low-rating MTR goes under, whether incoming Network Ten CEO James Warburton continues with The Bolt Report and whether News Ltd commits to spending another six-figure sum appealing the recent court decision when Bolt’s column has been shown to be full of factual errors.

The other risk he runs is an uprising by professional journalists against the likes of Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch, Gina Rinehart, John Singleton and James Packer for continuing to pay for his inflammatory opinions.

Some of these media rich listers may even withdraw their support or lose their own power to support Bolt.

After all, Hamish McDonald also told the Opera House crowd on Saturday that Max Uechtritz, the former head of news and current affairs at the ABC, has privately confessed to regretting giving Bolt a platform on Insiders 10 years ago.

Stephen Mayne — Journalist and Founder

Stephen Mayne

Journalist and Founder

Stephen Mayne founded Crikey in February 2000, and has remained as a contributor since selling it in 2005. He’s currently a City of Melbourne councillor, shareholder advocate and broad campaigner for transparency and accountability across the media, business and political sectors.

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111 comments

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111 thoughts on “After a phenomenal peak, is Andrew Bolt in decline?

  1. I’d like to see Crikey become a Bolt-free zone. I don’t read him, I don’t care about him, I don’t know why the Monthly felt they had to flog the dead horse of News Limited once again.

  2. I’d like to see the media in Australia in general become a Bolt-free zone. But despite private misgivings by people like Uechtritz, he will continue to declaim at us all through print, television and on air because of ratings. Bolt really does say what a lot of people think – I wont write what that makes them – and it’s those people who boost the ratings of whatever media organ he’s being paid by. Controversy generates interest, interest generates ratings – in the commercial world that generates advertising and on the ABC it justifies their existence to budget wielding federal governments. Journalism, free speech, and all the rest of it – nothing compared to bums on seats.

  3. My faith has been restored! Thank you all!

    Re the comment about Bolt on Insiders? I’ll start watching it when he’s gone! I can’t see any point in deliberately fouling up Sunday!

  4. “It is alarming that in 2011 someone can be taken to court for expressing an opinion.”

    What’s alarming is these people not being able to distinguish the difference between ‘getting your facts right’ and ‘expressing an opinion’. What’s alarming is these people not being able to understand the court’s findings.

    The proof of the dumbing down of Australian society could not be more clear.

  5. The fellow really is a Blot on the Mediascape. With some people, there is more to them than meets the eye, but in his case, there is quite a bit less.

    He’s not clever. He has no insights or skills or scruples or even, as far as can be told, any concern for any person that does not serve his momentary interest. He is a one-person noisemaker whose pleasure is that the world should respond to the noise he makes rather than the needs it has, and when it doesn’t, it’s a conspiracy of silence by chardonnay-swilling “elites”.

    I recall, a decade ago his advice that a book by John Marsden should not only be avoided, but borrowed from libraries and not returned. That is his actual response to speech he regards as failing his standards of political correctness.

    Blot, IMO, has as much right to voice his opinion as any ignorant loudmouth, but he is no kind of hero and if his plug is pulled when even his backers come to see him as a squeezed lemon, then it will be germane for him to explain how that could have occurred. I don’t imagine he will have a satisfactory answer on that day either however.

  6. A full page ad (full page???) in The Oz claiming that free speech is under attack. Oh the irony… The guy has every forum (TV, Radio, Newspaper, Blogoshpere) at his disposal FFS.

    Especially considering Andrew seems intent on silencing or warping any messages from the scientific community

  7. Sadly this article reflects much of the ‘yelling’ nature that J Morreau seems to castigate. Worse, it suggests that the views of journalists and commentators with whom you agree are worth more than those of 1000+ ‘white haired old blokes’ (even though many of them are women) with whom you disagree. Shame on you Stephen Mayne for simply selectively quoting from the commentary that supports your cosy view. Yet you ignore recent contributions by Wesley Aird, Gary Johns, Barry Cohen and Brendan O’Neill on freedom of speech. The issue is freedom of speech, not the views of someone with whom we may disagree on one, many or all matters. Beware, lest the yelling of the Bolt haters makes him a martyr.

  8. [The other risk he runs is an uprising by professional journalists against the likes of Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch, Gina Rinehart, John Singleton and James Packer for continuing to pay for his inflammatory opinions. ]

    Pigs will fly, they have not got the guts or spine to mount a rocking horse let alone an uprising. Witness their questioning of Abbott at his Press conferences and door stops…insipid weak lot. Bold, brazen, rude and disrespectful to the PM but scared wimps of the bullying, no policy, sloganising, bovver boy Abbott.

  9. a week after the Norway mass m*rder of centre left political youth, Bolt invited a German academic type to justify a thinly veiled anglo white supremacism in the name of anti muslim stereotypes.

    The implications for public safety were very alarming – any fanatic might see it as a rationale here.

    Here is a link as evidence, though channel 10 do not seem to carry the archive (?):

    http://australianconservative.com/2011/08/abolishing-germany-lessons-for-australia/

    It was breathtakingly irresponsible. That Network 10 could exercise such poor judgment to keep this bloke onside is a testament excessive power.

    As I continue to say, the big media, being big commercial operations must be made to comply with the same law as other big business against misleading and deceptive conduct.

    Not forgetting the editorial travesty of Gerard Henderson’s secret (big corporate?) funding sources, including on the ABC.

    By the by Bolt has been off Insiders since he got his own gig.

  10. [It is hard to remember a time when so much public debate focused on one journalist as what Andrew Bolt is going through at the moment.]

    Hate to be a picky bastard….. But “as what”????

    Mick the sub owes us all a decent bottle of Pinot Noir for letting that howler through the filter. 🙂

  11. As a liberal (not Liberal) I think Australia needs Bolt, for a free country we need to be stout in the defense of what we find to be obnoxious as well as what we find agreeable.

  12. He well may be on the way out if his comments section is any guide. Normally it is heavily moderated in his favour but not on that blog. The ratio of negative comments for a change seems to exceed that of his loyal blind followers.

  13. I wonder if the Australian gave the IPA a discount on that ad…

    Perhaps it was just a quid pro quo for the Herald and Telegraph’s profits which fund the loss-leading The Australian.

  14. Listen up you CRIKEY buffoons, the highest rating & most profitable NEWS business in the World is FOX NEWS and it’s full to the brim with nothing but NEO-CONSERVATIVES. You think lightweights like Hamish McDonald & Pemberthy have sway with News Ltd? Wishful thinking you Left Wing Gum Nuts!!

  15. Hey @Michael. I am not even sure that Rupert Murdoch has any say in what happens at Fox news. That would be Roger Ailes.

    Oh… and McDonald And Pemberthy are not exactly left wing gum nuts are they? You don’t have to be a left wing gum nut to think that Fox is tripe and that Bolt has become something of a thin skinned princess.

  16. Actually I think Bolt unwittingly has reaffirmed that the foundations of Free Speech are doing quite well in Australia – Thank you very much.

    John Mill whose book “On Liberty” is arguably one of the most highly regarded books on the subject on the rights to freedom of expression, states that “truth will drive out falsity, therefore the free expression of ideas, true or false, should not be feared.” This was due to the fact that truth can change over time. He also argued that much of what we once considered the truth has turned out to be false. Therefore he suggests that “views should not be prohibited for their apparent falsity” because continual discussion means that eventually truth will win out. Because considering the false views means that the basis of what is true can be re-affirmed.

    There you go Andrew Bolt, thank you for telling all those porkies because in the end free speech allowed us to re-affirm the truth.

  17. I personally don’t have a problem letting Mr Bolt continue on as long as he A. Backs his opinions up with FACTS and B. Offers reasonable, considered alternatives to whatever crusade he is on against at the time.

    Until he does that, he’s much like the Brothers Grimm, nice (and not so nice) stories that may have had a basis in fact, but at the end of the day they are fantasy. I’m so over “opinion columnists” who are all comment and opinion with no analysis. Unless you have something to actually contribute, who f***ing cares. /DismountsHighHorse

  18. LOL @Michael..

    Not sure where you get that 13M from. I suspect you might find that more people watch Jersey Shore. By your logic we should do away with news altogether, with its ugly take on reality … all those facts and like… stuff… you know.

    I particularly love you take on the left. All doom and gloom eh. I am not even left and I think that sounds ridiculous. And rew Bolt is the one shouting doom and gloom here.

    Do the left make you feel uncomfortable Michael? I would have thought the shrill hysteria of the far right would be enough to put any sane person off. Have you listened to Glenn Beck???

  19. @MARK M

    The fact that I belong to Crikey should confirm that I feel no discomfort reading Leftist opinions, I may not agree with what most of you fruit loops say but I respect your right to say it. And if every now and again I am swayed by your views I accept that willingly and it becomes part of my overall point of view.
    That’s where many if not most from the Left fall apart. Your ideology brings with it a disposition to censor, violently disagree, forbid participation in discussion – it’s a Gulag mentality that is beyond your control. Hence your rabid attacks on Bolt. Fortunately Leftist thinking isn’t natural to humans so ideology always swings back to a natural state of conservatism.

  20. Even Fox couldn’t take Beck and let him go earlier this year But mainly because he was losing viewers and ad revenue based on what you read. For example “which has sunk in the ratings and has suffered from an advertiser boycott.”.

    Maybe that will happen with Bolt but only when it is impacting ratings which in turn drives ad revenues. Simple stuff really, nothing to do with what is right, left, or reasonable. Just what ever rates. Dont forget it.

  21. It is excellent to see that Bolt has been given the media scrutiny he deserves in light of this court case.

    Journalists in Crikey and Fairfax have done a great job exposing and shaming him publicly, because that is the only way to deal with a serial abuser of media power.

    Journalists are supposed to inform, not bully and humiliate people who are unable to defend themselves then broadcast it to the entire country. This guy is a nasty piece of work with a track record of writing lies to misrepresent those he is attacking.

    Take away his microphone. Take away his column. Replace him with someone who measures up to the barest minimum of ethical standards.

  22. I can feel the respect oozing from your reply @Michael.

    I thought I said I wasn’t from the left… how is it my ideology? Can I assume that the right isn’t listening?

    Bolt got his facts wrong… right. left whatever… It was shoddy journalism.

  23. Holy shit batman, you want to to talk shoddy journalism, read Mike Carlton every now & again.
    That moron should be placed gently into a very tight straight jacket and shipped out to Callan Park.
    His columns give off sparks. One has to stand back from the page to avoid the spittle.
    And yet he is a SMH star writer?
    Give me a break Mark, the Left has a mortgage on sloppy, intimidating, crude, self serving journalism.

  24. “he should be put in a very tight straight jacket”

    got a gulag of your own operating in Callum Park there Michael?

    In today’s other crikey article, the Australian stopped the AFP publicly disclosing all the ways that the paper distorted the investigation – that sounds like right wing censorship to me…

  25. @Michael

    Give me a break Mark, the Left has a mortgage on sloppy, intimidating, crude, self serving journalism.

    Ok Michael – take a break.

    I am not from the left and I am positive there is shoddy journalism, right, left whatever. That doesn’t make Andrew Bolt’s work ok. He gets a lot of stuff wrong Michael. It seems to me you think that there is a great battle between right and left waging at the moment and we must all take sides.

    By your logic it is ok to defame people with facts gleaned from “searching on Google” because… well.. the other side gets stuff wrong. That is how my primary school aged kids behave. You sound a little thin-skinned here.. like someone has attacked one of your heroes who, in your eyes, can do no wrong, except he did didn’t he.

    I wouldn’t worry Michael. Bolt is going nowhere.

  26. @MODUS

    Oh for the precision, care & extensive diligence devoted to the articles “of the Left”
    Are you serious? There are more lies, inaccuracies, push innuendo and just outright bias in one page of SMH or 10 minutes of ABC news. than every News Ltd outlet combined.

  27. If our schools could concentrate on teaching students the skills and knowledge of critical literacy (instead of mindless phonics and preparing for NAPLAN) the Andrew Bolt’s of this world would lose all credibility .

  28. @Michael

    There are more lies, inaccuracies, push innuendo and just outright bias in one page of SMH or 10 minutes of ABC news. than every News Ltd outlet combined.

    And what exactly do you think they are biased towards? Do they wish for a communist state? Me confuse. It’s all “them and us” with you isn’t it.

  29. @ MARK

    I agree there is bias on both sides.
    I disagree that it is “not a 2 sided argument” where one is the wrong view & the other is the Right view.
    It then becomes a question of choice unless one is persuaded otherwise.
    Robert Manne after all began his ideological journey firmly ensconced on the Right, correct?

  30. Michael, I’m as left as they come and I don’t really care for the way Mike Carlton goes on sometimes either (although it makes me snicker) but I absolutely hate Andrew Bolt. As far as I can tell, Carlton doesn’t tell outright lies whereas Bolt certainly does and definitely tries to flim-flam with selected “facts”. However, I think that kind of writing, really, from either side is really unhelpful, divisive and quite ugly. The left does not have a “mortgage” on that kind of writing. Carlton is the only one I have ever noticed to come up with the same kind of bile that Bolt carries on with on a daily basis (sometimes 10 times daily – sheesh, Bolt must have some fat arse with all that sitting).

  31. @Michael… Do you think that Manne took a great leap from the far right to the left? Maybe he kind of wandered from one side to the next… took the scenic route you might say. I am not even sure he is left wing. It’s always more complicated than right and left though isn’t it.

    Back to what I said, this is not about right or left. It is about bad journalism

  32. @MARK

    Isn’t it funny, I read Bernard Keane and always, almost without exception, find his articles laced with anti Abbott poison, mostly biased observations, sometimes outright lies and slanted innuendo throughout. And yet if you read the comments posted by the Crikey gum-nuts, they think of him as a truthful, objective professional.
    Just proves that there is no such thing as bad journalism, just differing views and so should it remain.

  33. [There are more lies, inaccuracies, push innuendo and just outright bias in one page of SMH or 10 minutes of ABC news. than every News Ltd outlet combined.]

    Previous studies shows the ABC leans conservative, and that is certainly my experience of them. Their persistence in running thre Murdoch/LNP talking points as news is pretty egregious.

    That said, your posts in this thread are so silly I’m putting you under the heading “Poe”. You simply can’t be serious.

  34. So Max Uechtritz was responsible for the Dolt being on Insiders 10 years ago. Who is responsible for leaving him there for leaving him there ever since?

    @ Michael

    “Holy shit batman, you want to to talk shoddy journalism, read Mike Carlton every now & again.
    That moron should be placed gently into a very tight straight jacket and shipped out to Callan Park.
    His columns give off sparks. One has to stand back from the page to avoid the spittle.
    And yet he is a SMH star writer?”
    Can you offer us 1 factual error Mike Carlton has ever served up? If not I suggest you retract your slur on his journalism. Between Bolt and Jones you blokes know how to dish it out but you obviously can’t take the heat when it’s dished back out.

  35. Michael posted these two comments on this very page:

    “That’s where many if not most from the Left fall apart. Your ideology brings with it a disposition to censor, violently disagree, forbid participation in discussion – it’s a Gulag mentality that is beyond your control. Hence your rabid attacks on Bolt.”

    Followed by:

    “Holy shit batman, you want to to talk shoddy journalism, read Mike Carlton every now & again.
    That moron should be placed gently into a very tight straight jacket and shipped out to Callan Park.”

    Pretty hard to make a bigger ass of yourself and completely undermine your own argument so eloquently.

  36. The Judge applied the law and made the decision, that too is freedom of speech. Hopefully the Blot will join his stablemate (the poisonous dwarf) into oblivion where they clearly belong. Meanwhile Allan Jones should keep clear of London public toilets.

  37. The sarcasm and mockery in many of these comments is exactly the freedom of speech we should be defending. Instead, too many of you (including the article’s writer) seem hell-bent on venting hatred of the very person who has highlighted the desirability of your freedom to say what you like, often hidden under pseudonym (like mine) and with complete impunity. Many should pause to reflect on the irony of their insulting, offensive and intimidatory tone in suggesting Bolt should be silenced; they should be grateful they can still espouse their views freely, rather than simply count how many people agree with them and how they can anonymously tear down dissenters.

  38. URBANCYNIC: You may be happy about Bolt basing his comments with evasions, lies and half-truths-thus presenting writing no respectable journalist would sign their names to. I however, am not. Kindly refrain from lecturing other people while holding up such a deeply flawed image.

  39. For how long had the likes of Bolt and Limited News dictated what constituted “free speech (worth consideration)” in what we, their customers, got to read and consider – including views (such as “Letters” actually printed) and articles reproduced in their publications? Those that ran contrary to their way of thinking and their agenda?
    The sort of speech that was held “free” but muted, till outlets such as this came along to provide a facility for those holding such views in confected silence to express that speech – to an audience as potentially large as their market?
    And how divergent from Bolt’s are Penberthy’s “core values”, really – going on the history of his op-ed pieces and contributions to “politics”? How much “further Right” is Bolt than he?

  40. @ Michael

    I agree with Davidk

    Please provide actual evidence where Bernard Keane “sometimes outright lies.” And remember, honest mistakes are different to The Bolt Case where a court found that his factual errors were deliberate and calculated.

    It is clear that you are a pathetic, intellectually stunted ignoramus who has nothing better to do than waste people’s time by slurring the reputation of others using blanket statements with no supporting evidence.

  41. Bolt is not a “one man amplifier” he is an integral part of the overall “Limited News Media Empire Hi-fi Sci-fi Sound System” – screaming down and over any competition, to stifle the proliferation of contrary views to theirs in the electorate – no more than a woofer among tweeters!

  42. Just for the record, guys, the bolter has not been on Insiders for a couple of months now. His last episode was a blinder…he could piss off a dead man.

  43. Glenn it should be noted, the only reason Bolt departed Insiders was his ch10 Sunday morning show, subsequently dead. not that the ABC had the guts to get rid of him…is well known from ‘insiders’ in the ABC, management was shite scared of him, including the host.

  44. The problem is that Andrew Bolt did not express his opinion. He was spreading lies hurting people in the process. . And I do not think it has anything to do with the code of conduct for professional journalism.
    Andrew Bolt is not the only journo who breached the code of conduct, but he is one of not many who infuriated the public.

  45. Andrew Bolt starts off his poor me article in News Ltd today by saying how awful it is to be portrayed as a demonic figure. His lack of insight about the way that he has portrayed others falsely while bemoaning that he has been portrayed accurately by a court is followed up by blaming everyone else but himself. He has a syndicated article to respond to the court’s decision whereas those who were unfairly maligned by him have not. This is his idea of freedom of speech where essentially he repeats his slurs against those people that the court vindicated without giving them the right of reply. So we have rich mainly white men who are of a certain background arguing for his freedom of speech while he is at the same time exercising that same freedom to the detriment of those who are from a minority group.
    The immaturity of this response is breathtaking – a little like the boy with his fingers in the cookie jar who says he is not to blame because it is someone else’s fault.

  46. a little like the boy with his fingers in the cookie jar who says he is not to blame because it is someone else’s fault.

    Yep. It was the cookies fault because they were so delicious. Besides that, the cookies were there for the taking really, the had to be taken, it was his responsibility to take them, someone had to take them. Where would we be without him, because the cookies were just going off. It was his unalienable right to take those cookies. “Now you’ve made me look like a monster mummy” sob.. “I am going to tell everyone you won’t feed me mummy, I am now starving… How did it come to this”.

  47. No fan of Bolt or News Ltd, you can’t help thinking Bolt may be one of the casualties as News distances itself from controversy and rebrands in a transparent lunge at lost credibility that has plummeted since ‘NOWgate’.

  48. If blots so interested in free speech why does he continually threaten the managers of Crikeys PP blog with litigation in relation to blog participants posting their very valid thoughts about him?
    He wan’ts free speech no doubt whatsoever but he wants it for himself and not for others.

  49. @SIMSONMC
    You cute little thing you. I like the way you pop up every now & again just to show us all how hard you’re trying to control your Tourettes. So very brave of you my little prince.

  50. Tom Jones – it’s not unusual, I know, but whatever happened to “If Comrade Andrew says it, it must be Right!”
    Again, “Some speech is freer than other’s.”

  51. His own TV show was always a bridge too far, as it was for Alan Jones. Bolt is dull television because he is incapable of surprising: whatever the issue, you know where he is coming from and what he is going to say, and that he will organise his “research” behind his opinion. Even the most committed Bolt supporters can only watch that for so long.

  52. Oh Dear Michael

    Thank you for your affirmation of my assessment that you evidently have a teflon brain. I still see that you haven’t actually fulfilled the requests by myself and others to provide any evidence of your assertions that certain journalists “lie.” You merely engage in sarcasm to mask your inadequacies.

    Furthermore, how dare you make fun of other people’s suffering? Do you have any idea how debilitating this neurological disorder can be? Are you that differently clued as to have no comprehension as to what sufferers and their family and friends go through? Insult me by all means, your wit is next day delivery in a nanosecond world but next time, try not to target particular groups. Such sarcasm is not funny or witty it is rude, insulting and humiliating. Although I probably shouldn’t be too surprised by your response, you are merely emulating your hero’s approach.

    I am sure that you inherited intelligence and the ability to employ congruent thought but through hard work and persistence you over came them. Although you have delusions of adequacy you obviously know so little and know it so fluently.

  53. @DIMSIM

    Dimmy please try to keep your outbursts to less than 1 volume, although raving does seems to suit your style.
    Now repeat after me “must try to be less pedantic, more relevant & once in a while, interesting”

  54. Left wing gloom and doom? Then how do you explain the latest Essential numbers showing tht conservative voters in Australia are the gloomiest by a country mile?!

  55. @CONNOR

    Nastiness is an artform honed & taught by Crikey’s legion of Marxists.
    I was actually quite decent before being exposed to the hideously depressing comrades of Crikey.

  56. @ Michael
    Still no evidence to support your slur on Carlton I see. There is a special kind of venom reserved by conservatives for the likes of those who attend posh schools and then side with the oppressed. It is evident every time they express a view about Mike Carlton. I mean he even worked in the UK for years without becoming a monarchist.
    @ Mark M
    Thankyou for that, I haven’t laughed so much since I last read FD.

  57. Anyway, its time for you’all to get used to Bolt. Clearly you all read him so he must be good value. I’m sure he reads these threads and laughs all the way to the bank. And by the way, contrary to that halfwit McDonalds opinion, The Bolt Report is rating it’s balls off, killing Insiders.

  58. Aliar Jones quoted Michael (Poe)

    [In News Ltd you’d be the coffee girl.]

    then observed:

    [Well someone has to have some credibility there…]

    Sadly, not so. I met the coffee girl there and, underpaid thing, she was in the habit of taking the money allowed for real coffee and supplying the guests with instant. When one complained she said it had been flown in fresh from Poland.

    When the guest said that no coffee was grown in Poland, she said she “didn’t think the mistake was of any consequence”. When the guest challenged her, calling her a liar and a cheat, she pulled out her MP3 recorder and thanked the chap:

    Your reference has just ensured I get my own News Ltd blog, she laughed.

  59. Nastiness is an artform honed & taught by Crikey’s legion of Marxists.

    Dear me Michael. I thought you asked me to give you a break. Now get your hand off it and leave it alone for a minute.

    You don’t seem to have grasped the point I have been trying to make all along. This is not a war between right and left, but you keep referring to everyone here who disgrees with you as left-wing when you really have no idea of their political persuasion.

    When all you have is a hammer, everything is a marxist I guess.

  60. @FB

    Fran I’m glad I was of assistance.
    I’m really impressed, you seem happy enough to take on a challenging job well beyond your capacity without proper training. You really are making the rounds aren’t you princess? Keep it up, I’ll check in on you later.

  61. Michael: At 10 am on Sunday mornings the Australian middle classes are mostly at either church, the coffee shop, the doggy off leash area or the local retail chamber of horrors. Not prime time.

    And could people return to the point of Mr Mayne’s article. One presumes there are things that Stephen Mayne is not telling. But then he is an experienced journalist who knows the thin legal line over which stepping comes trouble and the IPA wont come running with $100k to help him if he does. But I think Mr Mayne was insinuating that Mr Bolt has been having a bit of unfortunate contact with the CEO’s nasal hairs. Not good for long term employment prospects in any corporation I would think.

  62. [And by the way, contrary to that halfwit McDonalds opinion, The Bolt Report is rating it’s balls off, killing Insiders.]

    Yeah, what would the head of the network know about the ratings of a show on his network, not when Bolt himself has told us all on his blog how well his show is rating?!?

    Are you trying to hide the decline???

    It must be nice living in that pink, cotton-wool alternate reality you seem to inhabit, Michael!

  63. I’m surprised to hear there is some assumption of free speech being a right in Australia. What law gives you the right to free speech? The Australian constitution doesn’t, and when a bill of rights is proposed to enshrine it, the IPA are probably the most vehement objectors.

    If freedom of speech is indeed fundamental, then alter the constitution to make it so.

  64. @CONNOR

    No need to get your frilly nickers in a knot dear.
    I know it’s hard for you to converse on politics without tears, tantrums & foot stomping but I believe it will give you more credibility if you show restraint princess.

  65. No need to get your frilly nickers in a knot dear.
    I know it’s hard for you to converse on politics without tears, tantrums & foot stomping but I believe it will give you more credibility if you show restraint princes

    We’re not conversing on politics Michael, you are… I though we were commenting on the above article, which is about Bolt and the “quality” of his journalism.

    I thought connor was being restrained when he called you nasty, little troll. That is what you are doing here isn’t it… trolling. Oh – and ad hominem attacks on anyone who calls for some restraint on your behalf.

  66. There’s something miraculous about Bolt- martyred so often, yet not a mark on him.

    But what’s all the fuss about? Bolt is just another febrile shockjock. A commentator, not a journalist. Just like most Crikey writers. No more or less bogus than Savonarola Hamilton, Chapman et al…

    Anti-Bolt hysteria confirms Bolt’s sense of self-importance. It was the size of the Hoover dam to start with…

  67. @FRANKCAMPBELL

    Here’s a thought – if David Marr, that sanctimonious, obnoxious, self gratifying, hideous worm of a man, can be considered a journalist, then surely Andrew Bolt is Pulitzer Prize material.

  68. Far too harsh Michael…Marr (Patrick White) vies with the late Hazel Rowley as the best biographer in the country. True, as a commentator he is verbose, smug, predictable and self-important- but so is most of the commentariat…

  69. LOL @ Michael thinking that what he is doing is “conversing”. Dishing out abuse isn’t “conversing”, it’s trolling. And you are a nasty, little troll with whom I wouldn’t waste the energy on “conversing” with.

  70. Despite Andrew Bolt claiming he has lost his freedom of speech his latest paper column continues his calumny of the nine who took him to court and won their case. It appears that the rabid right wing are quite prepared to bear false witness.

  71. When it comes to “stifling free speech” is there a greater exponent than Bolt and those he works for? With and from their share of our media, from their privileged position in our society? Using their accouterments and outlets (with their share of that market) to broadcast their ideas (often inflammatory, not always balanced, not always impartially presented and not always “properly researched” – PCP or not) then precludes the use of those facilities (in such a narrow field of access to publicity) to those who would repudiate their “presumptions of reality” – that could balance perception?
    And sure a lot of politicians have a lot of input into their perceived shortcomings, but who chooses to extrapolate on that material, or ignore it for their own political reasons, to feed their own agenda and narrative? Who is able to and “frames” news and politics for us to “see” – as in either a positive or negative light, depending on party? Who controls our “drip feed”?

  72. Polite nod to Urbancynic, Westral and one or two others.

    Facts do not change — merely perceptions of what constitute the facts. Orthodox opinions are generally acknowledged to be facts but have frequently been changed over time. Because of this it is good to retain a degree of scepticism (objective uncertainty, if you will) about all things. I’ll throw in a few quotes from H.L. Mencken in the possibly vain hope of provoking some introspection:-

    “No-one ever heard of the truth being enforced by law. Whenever the secular arm is called in to sustain an idea, whether new or old, it is always a bad idea, and not infrequently it is downright idiotic.”

    “The world always makes the assumption that the exposure of an error is identical with the discovery of truth – that the error and truth are simply opposite. They are nothing of the sort. What the world turns to, when it is cured on one error, is usually simply another error, and maybe one worse than the first one.”

    “All professional philosophers tend to assume that common sense means the mental habit of the common man. Nothing could be further from the mark. The common man is chiefly to be distinguished by his plentiful lack of common sense: he believes things on evidence that is too scanty, or that distorts the plain facts, or that is full of non sequiturs. Common sense really involves making full use of all the demonstrable evidence – and of nothing but the demonstrable evidence.”

    You are treading on very dangerous ground when you advocate coercion to shut up someone you happen not to like — even when the other guy is clearly an obnoxious git and you know yourself to be eminently reasonable in all ways. Noam Chomsky put it very succinctly when he observed: “If we don’t believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don’t believe in it at all.”

    The legitimate way to silence someone like Bolt, after he has proved impenetrable to reason, is simply to stop reading, listening to, or discussing him. He will eventually die from isolation.

    (Incidentally, it’s “straitjacket”.)

  73. “Freedom of Speech is fundamental to a free society”
    Americanizing Australia one step at a time. 

    This is where irresponsible free speech has led us:

    First we had the corporate pharmacists and doctors selling a myriad of concoctions to “better our health” including tobacco to help relieve asthma, creating a legion of addicts. 

    Then we had the rise of the corporate politician selling fear through the war and oil machine claiming “security of resources” in creating oil barons which later would have to be “disposed” as a blind eye was turned to the tyranny to their people. 

    Then was the rise of the corporate nutritionist selling a vast array of pre packaged garbage full of additivess to replace the whole food we should be eating. 

    Then there was the rise of the corporate scientist who in their moneyed wisdom fast tracked approval of and endorsed products as safe that had little testing to prove safety or had side effects that were glossed over or covered up. DDT and GM comes to mind.

    Now we see the rise of the corporate journalist, or perhaps more rightly, commentators, who spruik for those who they are affiliated with, claiming this as their right to free speech but do so under the guise of honest, researched, accurate, fair and factual reporting. The whole debate(?) on the Carbon tax is prime example of this. The Bolts, Devines, Joneses of this world have really taken us through the wringer on this one. They have done what they do best. Subvert and pervert. They get us caught up in a word or catch phrase rather than embracing an idea as a whole. In so doing, they erode our intellectuality reducing us to froth mouthed animals unable to reason beyond sloganeering.

    Yes, I’ve read all about carbon dioxide (I even have a degree in chemistry) But eliminating Carbon is not the real point of this tax, is it? It’s about pollution as a whole and making companies/people responsible and accountable for their waste, in effect having a closed loop system. The concept of leaving something in the same or better state than when you found it. Is this really such a bad idea? 

    As it stands, I do not like the planned tax. It panders too heavily to the industries/companies it is targeting. Again, we’re sold (and buy) the line that these companies who post multi million (if not billion) dollar profits each quarter are going to hurt(so they’ll lay off their employees), they’ll pack up their bat and ball and go(don’t let the door hit your arse on the way out, and please hold the door open for the ten other companies who will jump at your missed opportunity), that they’ll have to pass on cost to the consumer(do i need to mention multi million dollar profits each quarter again). The arguments, as seen in the comments here, have been subverted to a right versus left campaign, carbon tax vs no carbon tax, when we should be debating how heavily we implement this tax. 

    I’m all for free speech, but not for the free rants, irresponsible/corppratised free speech as supplied in full by “journalists” that are better suited for the comments section of Crikey than a national paper/radio. 

    We place our trust in these highly exhaulted positions/institutions which is what corporations rely on and continuously pervert and degrade. 

    I ask when are we going to wake up to the cloud of lies? Where should our real focus and anger lie?

    Brings to mind one of my favorite Star Wars quotes “Who is the greater fool? The fool or the fool who follows him?”

    Better get off the soap box now. 

  74. What I find amazing is that Andrew Bolt claims to be for freedom of speech, however not a word from him when the Liberals strengthened sedition laws and put provisions into anti-terrorism laws to curtail freedom of speech. I guess that was justified for him, because it fit his agenda.

  75. Hey you twitter-bugs, I sometimes wonder how much the awareness of having “followers” influences these increasingly personal and inflammatory exchanges. How many of you ever publicly acknowledged a mis-step in prosecuting your arguments or even bringing your jibes to a safe landing? Just wondering out loud…

    For me, Bolt is intolerable, but i get the sense that analytical sloppiness and ideological taint from people who actually warrant the title journalist has created a functional habitat for his like.

    Take a deep breath and eliminate him from your weekend. That is what i plan to do effective immediately.

  76. ANDY BOLT must be so proud; not only has he captured the following & admiration of the largest tabloid audience in Aust, he has also got the unswerving attention of finge dwelling, Left Wing wowsers in Crikey, SMH, Age, ABC, etc.
    The man’s a genious. A Pulitzer Prize can’t be far.

  77. “After being stunned by the Anne Summers profile in The Monthly — especially the revelation that his past features a six-year de facto relationship with a former employee at The Age, which included the exchange of two rings”

    Bolts blog is now reporting that this article has been removed from The Monthlys website because of the potential defamation and many errors contained within (including the one about him having had a fiance’).

    Above there are countless comments about Bolt not getting his facts straight, yet this article tipifies the shoddy journalism you are all accusing Bolt of. Unreliable sources without fully checking the facts you are writing about.

  78. Just one more thing before I go. I read the articles in question, I doubt most people here have. Yes, he commented on degree of race or aboriginality. Whether one was half caste, one quarter or 1/32, but the nine in question took him to court so that they would not have to justify their race to anybody, not even if they do look as white as my Northern Italian parents. In my view convenient. However the underlying theme was the distribution of government funded grants to recipients who may not be deserving. And when I mean deserving, I mean there could be a person living in hardship elsewhere in Australia with a true indigenous background hoping to escape poverty and better themselves with the help of one of those grants. For example Professor Lisa Jackson Pulver considers herself a Jewish indigenous woman and she looks as though she just flew out from Tel-Aviv. Now I’m not saying Professor Pulver took grants but I trust you understand my meaning. On one hand Geoff Clarke wants us never to forget that he is indigenous and that aborigines were the first occupiers, he calls Australia day “Invasion Day”, yet on the other hand he is saying this court case ensures he and his people don’t have to justify their “aboriginality” no matter what their skin colour. That being the case why don’t they dispense with that check list on all government forms “Are you of aboriginal or Torres Straight Islander Descent?

    Personally I want my tax money to help the truly needy “indigenous” people, not the bureaucrats, academics and hangers on who are familiar enough with the system to take advantage of it. That’s what the article was about, the “genetics” is window dressing. The main problem is the inefficient distribution of funds. Unfair for the really needy and deserving and unfair to the tax payers, you.

  79. Blaggers
    Posted Friday, 7 October 2011 at 11:55 am

    “Brings to mind one of my favorite Star Wars quotes “Who is the greater fool? The fool or the fool who follows him?”

    A left wing chemistry graduate quoting………… “Star wars”

    Only on Crikey.

  80. The censorship and suppression of political expression and abuse of democracy by the Gillard/Brown Government is an absolute disgrace. Bolt is an easy target for the far left whose ideological commitment to cripple economies and restrict freedom continues, this time with Andrew Bolt firmly in their sight. Crikey.. whose next?

  81. Archer,

    You’ve read my comment and all you come up with is:

    “A left wing chemistry graduate quoting………… “Star wars”

    Only on Crikey”

    I’ll leave you with another oft quoted quote, from the land of TV this time:

    “I pity the fool”

  82. The censorship and suppression of political expression and abuse of democracy by the Gillard/Brown Government is an absolute disgrace. Bolt is an easy target for the far left whose ideological commitment to cripple economies and restrict freedom continues, this time with Andrew Bolt firmly in their sight. Crikey.. whose next?

    Now that sounds like a persecution complex to me, which seems to be pretty common from the right wing. I have never heard so much nonsense about free-speech in my life.

    Guys… you are missing the point. Andrew Bolt was not attacked by anyone, he got his facts wrong and was brought to account for it. That has nothing to do with politics. Bolt is an easy target for anyone who is willing to do some research on his articles.

    Speaking of crippling economies, have you ever heard of a negative externality? Oh… and loose all the nonsense platitudes about freedom. If freedom was that desirable to the “right”, then explain the “Patriot act”, or much of the legislation introduced by the Howard government to “fight terror” by infringing on basic human rights.

  83. @MARK M – Hey Mark, did you take note of what Bolt said outside the Court? He made this ‘speech’ about the importance of focusing on what we share not on what divides us? (that’s in a nutshell?). I just laughed at that! If only he’d written that before his ‘articles’ where he racially abused and used lies to do it? The arrogance of this person is mind boggling! Perhaps he was practicing his next gig on stage as a comedian? Ironic at best!

    @MICHAEL – I like Mike Carlton, who incidentally has also written a book?

    JFPE – If people need lies to exercise their so-called ‘freedom of speech’ it says more about them! He had time, ability and access to heaps of material, (also a telephone to check his facts? which he didn’t do?) conduct a REAL discussion, but instead he used people in a hateful and untrue manner to do his ‘dog whistling act’ – AGAIN!

    He didn’t deny that he’d lied; he didn’t deny that relevancy was missing; and he didn’t flinch at using patronising and offensive language to peddle his lies! Basic facts should be the goal of any person aspiring or claiming to be a journalist? or an opinion writer? or even a blogger!

    This case is a simple illustration of telling lies in order to inflame and incite. How can the perpetrators deserve being defended? I find this extraordinary? How many have condemned Julia Gillard for her alleged ‘lie’ but when Bolt does it it’s an affront to freedom of speech? Amazing! Very selective to say the least!

  84. @MARK M – Hey Mark, did you take note of what Bolt said outside the Court? He made this ‘speech’ about the importance of focusing on what we share not on what divides us? (that’s in a nutshell?). I just laughed at that! If only he’d written that before his ‘articles’ where he racially abused and used lies to do it? The arrogance of this person is mind boggling! Perhaps he was practicing his next gig on stage as a comedian? Ironic at best!

    Lisa I reckon I have attempted to comment on Bolt’s blog over 50 times. I have never, ever seen my comments published. They were filtered out. I was not being rude… I said nothing offensive… just pointed out some factual errors and commented on stuff I didn’t agree with. Never published…ever.

    Now that his wife is no longer editing out all comments that disagree with Bolt… lo and behold, lots of contradictory ideas are appearing in the comments. Free speech my @rse Andrew. His attempts to belittle scientists whose research has uncovered knowledge that contradict his world view only go to show how little he is interested in the pursuit of knowledge. This implies to me that it is not free speech he cares about, but his speech.