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Feb 18, 2013

Latham v the commentariat: three howlers from Akerman

The former Labor leader turns his attention to Daily Telegraph warrior Piers Akerman -- three errors in one sentence from his Sunday Tele column.

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Excitement is building in election year 2013. The nation’s extreme right-wing commentators are racing for the title of Australia’s greatest nincompoop.

Gerard Henderson set an impressive benchmark in his Media Watch Dog in December. Writing about Tony Abbott’s accusation of criminality against Julia Gillard in the ancient Australian Workers Union/Slater and Gordon matter, Henderson made four errors in just one sentence. He had the wrong date, the wrong Abbott interview, the wrong spelling of Abbott’s name and the wrong Abbott quote.

Now Piers Akerman (yes folks, he’s still alive) has made a lunge for the title with his effort in The Sunday Telegraph yesterday:

“Because of the cascade of Labor leadership spills, from Simon Crean’s ousting of Kim Beazley, through Mark Latham’s axing of Crean, Crean’s dumping in favour of Beazley, followed by Rudd’s undermining of Beazley and Gillard’s subsequent knifing of Rudd, all pretence of loyalty has long evaporated.”

Crean did not oust Beazley; Beazley stood down from the Labor leadership on the night of the 2001 election and then, at the next caucus meeting, Crean won the position unopposed.

I did not axe Crean. He resigned from the position in November 2003 and supported me to take over the leadership in the subsequent caucus ballot.

Crean was not dumped in favour of Beazley; no such thing ever happened. It is pure invention, a product of Akerman’s fading faculties.

That’s three errors in one sentence. Gerard’s title is safe but the evidence suggests Piers is a serious contender. He came close — only one howler behind the Great Pedant. Can you bear it?

It’s bad enough for Australian media consumers to have to put up with the reactionary piffle of Henderson and Akerman, opinions out of place in a modern liberal society. But when they make multiple errors in one sentence, surely it’s time to put them out to pasture.

No wonder the nation’s newspapers are dying.  They continue to publish Gerard and Piers — Australia’s answer to Statler and Waldorf, the two old codgers whinging about everything they see from the balcony in the Muppets.

Mark Latham —

Mark Latham

Political commentator and former Labor leader

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