Macquarie Street correspondent Boilermaker Bill has been spending his summer break reading the overseas newspapers.
New York’s newspaper wars are fought even harder than London’s – and
News Limited’s rivals are just as keen on items on Rupert.  BB
liked this item from the Lloyd Grove column in the New York Daily News
at the end of last week:

“TROUBLE IN PARADISE?  A writer for one Rupert Murdoch-owned
newspaper is questioning the accuracy of another.  In a conference
call this week with staffers of Joe Lieberman’s presidential campaign,
the New York Post’s Vincent Morris raised questions about a Dec. 18
story in The Australian, which claimed that President Bush told Aussie
Prime Minister John Howard that Lieberman ‘would be the toughest
Democrat for him to run against.’

“A new Lieberman radio spot touts Bush’s alleged appraisal.

“ ‘What makes you think that this story in The Australian is reliable
enough to use as the basis of a campaign ad?’ Morris demanded during
the conference call.

“The Liebermanites replied that the story – by well-connected
Australian pundit Greg Sheridan – was picked up by, among other papers,
The Washington Post, and has gone uncontradicted by the prime
minister’s office and the White House.

“ ‘Until I can verify it myself, I’m skeptical of any newspaper report,’ Morris told me.

“A spokesman for Murdoch’s News Corp. told me: ‘I don’t think the Murdochs would be offended. … It’s a non issue.’ ”

Snigger.  Isn’t the Oz one of Rupert’s flagships – up there with The Times and… er… The Sunday Times and…

Boilermaker Bill noted how the Sydney Morning Herald ran David Brooks’
item from the New York Times last week on neoconservatives.  He
now wonders if they’ll also run the apology Brook put into the Times’
Ombudsman, David Okrent, for gags in the piece that could be considered
anti-Semitic.  Have a look at the grovelling response:

“For what its worth, that neo being short for Jewish was meant as a
joke.  Nothing more.  Most of the people who get labelled as
neocons are Jewish, so I was just sort of playing off that.

“As for me accusing anybody who accuses neocons of being anti-Semitic,
there are a few issues here.  First, I wasn’t saying anything
about people who criticize neocons’ ideas.  The column wasn’t
about that at all.  It was about people who imagine there is a
shadowy conspiracy behind Bush policy.  Second, I explicitly say
that only a subset of the people who talk about the shadow conspiracy
find Jewishness a handy explanation for everything.  I have no
idea how large a subset that is, but judging from my e-mail it is out
there.

“So I was careful not to say that Bush or neocon critics are
anti-Semitic.  I was careful not to say that all conspiracy
theorists are anti-Semitic.

“I am still on the learning curve here, and I do realize that mixture
of a crack with a serious accusation was incredibly stupid on my
part.  Please do pass along to readers that I’m aware of how
foolish I was to write the column in the way I did.”

Peter Fray

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