News Ltd business columnist Terry McCrann unloaded with the mother of all attacks on Crikey in July which you can read in full here. But if that 6,000 word spray is not enough, he’s back for another crack after our recent criticisms of his work. Read on.
Crikey, your recent twitterings have made me realise that I omitted a word from my last missive, which you were apparently so taken by. Please therefore add the word ‘wit’ at the end of its opening sentence. (Ed – McCrann called me “a complete fuck”!)
Your frenzied mix of malice, distortion, outright lies and bizarre non sequiturs, whenever you purport to ‘discuss’ my work, is veering increasingly into the realms of the surreal.
Your frothing outrage at “mere Murdoch hack McCrann” openly deriding someone who “was in the running to become Governor of the Reserve Bank,” is up there with Dan Rather’s statement that if the phoney Bush documents he’d used on the US 60 Minutes program were fakes, “he’d like to break that story.”
Up there, that is, for asinine statement of the year.
Earth to Rather: that story has not only already been broken, but splattered all over your own face like a dozen eggs.
Earth to Mayne: there’s actually been a bit of “deriding” by literally dozens of hacks going around. And not just of people “in the running” to become RBA governor, but actual governors! Even of company directors and company chairmen – ring any bells? Indeed, even of a person “in the running” to become prime minister. Indeed, even of the prime minister himself!
Isn’t it just a tiny bit surreal for you to use me as the source for claiming that Peter Jonson was “in the running” to become RBA governor? Of course you were doing so in some weird attempt at ‘gotcha’ abuse – quoting from two comments I wrote back in 1996.
The first – if my memory serves me correctly – broke the story that new treasurer Peter Costello was considering former Reserve banker Jonson, along with then deputy Ian Macfarlane, to replace the retiring governor Bernie Fraser.
The second observed that Costello picked the right man when he went for Macfarlane. Pretty prescient, I would have thought, in view of the good times we’ve experienced over the last eight years.
VERY prescient, in the context of my contemporary critique of Jonson aka Henry Thornton. Back in 1996, I observed the selection of Macfarlane and the way the job was agreed, would give us interest rates lower than they would otherwise be.
Every month Jonson aka Thornton goes out of his way to prove the truth of that, by demanding the RBA raise rates? Do you think Jonson aka Thornton would really thank you, for ‘inviting’ me to detail his more embarrassingly inept examples through 2004?
I’m particularly taken by his opening salvo for the year that the RBA should “briskly raise interest rates.” And that if the government cut taxes and/or increased spending in the budget, which it did, “the rate increases will have to be so much larger.” Do you think zero increases meets that test?
I guess it’s not just me that’s been “deriding” the man who was “in the running” to become governor. But the man who actually “ran” all the way into the job.
As for your weird ‘gotcha’ attempt itself. You seem to be suggesting that because I didn’t attack Jonson in 1996, he must get a free pass from me for life. How does that exactly square with your journey from being share-trading buddies with Jeff Kennett, to moralising critic of his share-trading behaviour?
You ridicule my reference to the “anonymous’ Thornton, when the (web) site makes it “perfectly clear” that the editor is PD Jonson. Hmm. The site also makes clear that Thornton is intended to be anonymous. That the name’s a “non de plume of a prominent economist.”
So given that you’ve “out-sourced”, as you put it, your economic commentary (sic) to Thornton, do we assume you have his permission to publicly now ‘out’ him as Jonson?
It’s probably sensible that Jonson hides behind a non de plume, given how inaccurate his comments have been; while mine are front and centre under my own name.
Do you think that’s another example of the “arrogance” you frothed at in another post? Well if you think that’s arrogance, this is arrogance. I’ll pit my judgment against not just someone who was “in the running” to be governor of the Reserve Bank, but someone who actually was governor.
I repeat my first paragraph of the column you plucked the Thornton reference out of: the Reserve Bank will NOT raise interest rates as soon as the election is out of the way, either in November or December.
Bernie Fraser wrote in the Fin Review on September 28 that “the odds are that the Reserve Bank will raise interest rates after the election whoever wins – and the odds are shortening owing to the government’s current fiscal profligacy.”
On November 3, let’s see who’s right.
Then there’s your assertion that while I criticise fellow journalists, “heaven help anyone who has a go back.” That my earlier missive unloaded on Crikey “for daring to suggest he (McCrann) was anything other than the greatest journalistic genius in Australia.”
Just another classic, malicious, Mayne lie. I wasn’t attacking you for “having a go back.” As I hadn’t been mentioning you, far less attacking you, what exactly were you supposed to be having a “go back” at? Or for failing to endorse my greatness – believe me Stephen, I really, truly, honestly, don’t want even an endorsement from you, far less anything remotely resembling a compliment. Your ‘journalistic’ dishonesty is bad enough, your judgment of ‘good’ journalism is arguably worse.
I was unloading on the way you continually, deliberately, and maliciously distort what I write – even inventing things – in order to ridicule and abuse me. All the length of that piece speaks to, is the extent of your malice and dishonesty.
One example will suffice. In the middle of the National Bank brawl, your email of 20/04 raged: “McCrann somehow argues that all seven blokes (the seven directors that had moved to sack dissident Cathy Walter) should quit the board because one director has turned corporate terrorist.”
What did my column actually say that morning? And let’s again do the unusual of quoting the opening paragraph: “National Australia Bank chairman Graham Kraehe now has only one course of action. He must call off the proposed extraordinary general meeting and agree with dissident director Cathy Walter that the both leave the board, presumably immediately.”
Apart from the fact this is what eventually actually happened, your distorted version of what I said was as if it had just been a McCrann rave without any argument. Your “somehow argues.” When my column argued very specifically the brawl had to be ended, after NAB had announced on the preceding Friday a shock profit downgrade and its share price had been sliced $2.
You have never rebutted, privately, in emails, or on your site, a single word of that “spray.” Far less any of its substantive points exposing your lies and malice.
You think it’s just terrible that I should “denigrate” – criticise actually – my fellow journalists. Although you haven’t repeated your earlier ludicrous Rather-like assertion that journalists are “not permitted” to criticise other journalists, it remains your unstated theme. Journalists can attack everyone else – often maliciously, incorrectly and plain stupidly – but they are off limits to being held to account. Except of course, the ‘usual suspects’ which are the target of your and David Marr’s abuse.
Then as usual, you lie about what I actually wrote, presenting it again as some sort of generalised rave. That I “basically said everyone (in the Canberra Press Gallery) was stupid for the way they interpreted opinion polls.”
No, my criticism was very specific. That the Gallery was almost to a man and woman incompetent for never – NEVER – mentioning the margin of error in polls.
Now I know you don’t understand the concept, and its fundamental importance to understanding the limits of polls. And nor apparently does the ‘expert’ to whom you’ve “out-sourced” your political commentary – Christian Kerr. Whose only references to it that I’ve seen, run along these, utterly meaningless, lines: “The Dems are in margin of error territory, steady on 1 per cent.”
Why is it important? Because when Michelle Grattan and others prattle on about the government lifting its two-party preferred vote in successive polls, from, say, 48 to 50 per cent, they are prattling nonsense. The vote could actually be doing the exact opposite, going from 50 to 48 per cent. Or from 45 to 53 per cent. Or from and to all the points inbetween. Nobody knows.
As a consequence, they are misleading their readers. Either deliberately or through ignorance. Which incidentally, do you endorse as ‘good journalistic practice?’ As you must endorse one, given your attack on me.
Grattan is supposed to be the doyen of political commentators. Has she ever mentioned the margin of error? In any of her thousands of commentaries, over four decades?
I might note a small victory – Monday’s Age showed it had at last apparently decided to join its sister paper, the Sydney Morning Herald, in at least putting the margin of error in the poll fine print. The very fine print. Previously, it had cut that information from what is exactly the same poll as the one in the SMH. And we at the Herald Sun have done the same.
But Michelle, dogged as ever, seems resolutely determined to never let the term metaphorically sully her lips, in her comments. Or to properly inform her readers.
Shall we go on? My column on the Sydney Morning Herald’s business columnist, Elizabeth Knight’s rage against the way News Corporation’s plan to move to the US made a mockery of the foreign investment rules. Stirring stuff, except her rage was all based on not understanding that there were separate laws governing print and broadcast media – laws that have been around in one form or another for her entire journalistic career.
And she managed to conclude with the bizarre suggestion that the government force NewsCorp to set up a ‘structure’ like that which enabled Canwest to control the Ten Network. She obviously doesn’t know that Canwest’s structure was a device to enable it to get around the law.
In short, she wanted the government to actually force a company to do something artificial – the sort of thing governments actually try to stop – to get around a law, but a law that doesn’t, ahem, exist in the case of print media.
To you, journalists should never criticise other journalists, and certainly not by name, and certainly not by stepping outside the ‘group think’. The brotherhood comes first, and if the readers and viewers are fed distortions and errors, even malicious lies, that’s OK.
I see my job, somewhat differently. To try to explain to readers why things are happening, and where they are likely headed. I do so, out there every day, under my own name. I’m not aware of any prohibition on anyone wanting to take issue with what I write. And I stand or fall on what I write. I do object to people like you though, lying about what I write.
I’m sure you’ll understand, when I note that this was sent to you on Monday afternoon, the 4th of October.