What do Piers Akerman, Patrick Smith and Mike Carlton all have in common? They all know how to wield a poison pen to great affect (or in this case a caustic keyboard perhaps):

Piers Akerman stakes his lily white claim

Subscriber email – 24 January, second edition

We had an amusing email exchange with Daily Telegraph columnist Piers Akerman today which went as follows:

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Piers Akerman wrote:

Given the often malcious (sic) and distorted material you have presented as a representation of my career, and those of numerous of my friends and colleagues, it surprises me that you haven’t listed my 37 unbroken years in journalism on your blotter.


Stephen Mayne wrote:

I’ve torn shreds off the cadet who left you off. Due lily white credit will be granted in the next edition.


Piers Akerman wrote:

Stephen: How many times did I exhort you and others to be polite to the cadets as you could not guess where they might wind up. Go and apologise immediately.


CRIKEY: What is particularly funny about this is Crikey’s own experience as a young cadet dealing with the then rampaging Herald Sun editor in chief, Piers Akerman. Crikey started off as a finance cadet at The Sun in January 1989. Rupert then merged The Sun and The Herald in September 1990, bringing in Akerman to run the show. Over the next 15 months about 20 business reporters and subs departed such that Crikey, by this time a third year cadet, was the longest serving business reporter by December 1991.

Back then, to become a graded journalist, university graduates had to achieve 80 words a minute in short hand but those without degrees needed 120 words. Crikey started his cadetship after one year at university but over the course of the three year cadetship had continued studying full time and almost had enough points to take out a commerce degree.

This meant that I was the longest serving business reporter, had done a three year cadetship, had 80 words a minute short hand and was about to become a university graduate. So what did Piers Akerman do, a man who had never even said hello to this cadet? He sent a letter saying I should consider an alternative career if I didn’t get 120 words a minute short hand.

At this point I put feelers out at The Age and they promptly offered a C grading, which was two steps up from third year cadet. On hearing this, Akerman instructed the business editor to offer a lower D grading. When this was rejected he called me into the office and we had the following exchange:

AKERMAN: Congratulations

CRIKEY: Thank you. When do you want me to finish?

AKERMAN: Well, you’re only a cadet. Friday.

There was no other discussion of any sort and not even a hand-shake. And this is a man who claims to believe in the policy of treating cadets well on the way up because you never know where they will finish!

A private spray from Patrick Smith

Subscriber email – 25 Tuesday

Further to yesterday’s email exchange between Crikey and Piers Akerman, today we have an example of The Australian’s Patrick Smith arrogantly dishing it out to a Fitzroy supporter as his club was dying. This is from a now sadly neglected Fitzroy Supporters Group web site and shows Patrick Smith does not distinguish between celebs and plebs when dishing out the sledges.

From: Patrick Smith
Sent: Wednesday, 17 October 2001 7:56pm
To: John Kotsopoulos


Your club is bankrupt of support and credibility. You don’t understand football issues. Save your time and mine and don’t email me again. There’s a good boy. Thank you,

Patrick Smith

From: John Kotsopoulos
To: ‘sport@theage.com.au’
Cc: Patrick Smith
Date: Thursday, October 18, 2001 9:07am

No wonder he got the A from the Age

From: Patrick Smith
Sent: Thursday, 18 October, 2001 9:17am
To: John Kotsopoulos

I didn’t get the A from anywhere.

But Fitzroy did get the A from football… Now, please, just go away like your club.

Other classic exchanges – Mike Carlton

Send through other amusing email exchanges to boss @crikey.com.au that we could publish. This one is a spirited and priceless email exchange between 2UE Breakfast show host Mike Carlton and one of his listeners, a chap called Ray.

From: ray the listener
Sent: Tuesday, 10 February 2004 6:02pm
To: carlton@2ue
Subject: Didn’t hear

My Dear,

Dropkick..didn’t hear your interview with Carr this morning except bit of a promo quick grab…well done now that’s much better…I wonder if you have the guts to get that little grub David Marr on and get into him about being a misguided lying son of a b*tch..still going on about Iraq and who said what in the UK….may as well go on about what the Japanese diplomats said in Washington prior to Pearl Harbour. You might help him get over it. Then again I suppose a small step forward…I should be grateful

Regards Ray

From: Mike Carlton
To: ray the listener
Subject: RE: Didn’t hear
Date: Wed, 11 Feb 2004 03:45

Dear Raymond,

Just by chance, I have discovered a bunch of your mad little emails in my junk folder. You truly are a pig-ignorant, foul-mouthed, drivelling half-wit. I imagine that you drool saliva when you write…that your knuckles drag on the ground when you walk. You are a moron, a nerd, a sour and toxic polyp on the anus of society. You are a mental pimple.

They have programs for people like you, though. One is called the Alan Jones Show. It’s on 2GB 873, same time as mine. Go listen.

Mike Carlton

Amusing email exchanges with Latham’s office

The following email exchange between a Crikey Life Member and Mark Latham’s office, certainly raises some questions about office communication in the lead up to Christmas:

From: Crikey Life Member
To: “Latham, Mark (MP)”
Subject: The Implosion of Mark Latham
Sent: Sunday, 28 November 2004 11:45am

Mr Latham,

You’ve certainly shown yourself on more than one occasion to be able to bully, shame, and ridicule your colleagues (as well as members of the Howard government). Now, when one of your own apparently does or says something not to your liking or satisfaction, you “chuck a mental” (and a massive one at that).

Obviously, your biff, bluster, and bravado is simply a front; you’re a fraud as leader of Labor federally, and you’re getting found out much sooner than anyone expected.

I for one am going to enjoy watching you melt down during the coming six or eight months even more so than you already have since the election.

If you’re not dumped this week, you most definitely will be before the end of the Budget session of Parliament in 2005.

You’re a loser…and a very bad one at that.

Yours sincerely,
Crikey Life Member

From: “Latham, Mark (MP)”
Date: Tuesday, November 30, 2004 4:06pm


Not only will Mark still be Leader by the end of the week, he will still be Leader at the time of the next election.


Joshua Rosner
Office of Mark Latham
Federal Labor Leader

From: Crikey Life Member
Sent: Tuesday, 30 November 2004 8:33pm


If you’re correct, Labor will certainly lose even more seats at the next election than they did on 9 October.

You obviously need to display loyalty to your boss, but the general perception in the electorate is that you’re working for a dangerously unstable individual.

Before he became leader, Mark and I exchanged a few emails, and I commented to him (well before Simon Crean had the spill which opened the way for Mark Latham to become federal leader of the ALP) that I expected he would become leader one day, and indeed even PM of this great country.

However, his behaviour since losing the election leads me (as well as MANY others – and you would have to be deaf, dumb, and blind not to know for yourself) to question whether Mr Latham indeed has the gravitas, maturity, or indeed even the stability to become Prime Minister of Australia.

Perhaps Mr Latham will prove everyone wrong and surprise us, but I seriously doubt it.

Regards to you also,
Crikey Life Member

From: “Latham, Mark (MP)”
Subject: RE: The Implosion of Mark Latham


Thanks for the follow-up mail.

I agree with you, I certainly show loyalty to my boss. Mark Latham is an exceptional Leader of the Labor Party and a great human being. It is an honour and a pleasure to work for him. It’s a cliché, I realise, but I really would work for him for nothing if no pay was on offer.

However, that isn’t the point. Perhaps you won’t believe me when I say this, but for every mail like yours, there is (sic) around 9 or 10 offering unconditional support and constructive advice for Mark. Which, I might add, is passed on to him. There really was no need to pass on your mail, which I am sure is what you expected.

Am I correct in assuming you care about the future of Labor? I did take the time to mail Mark, then mail a follow up to my mail, and I assume you wouldn’t do that if you didn’t at least care a little for the fortunes of the ALP? If that is the case, surely something more constructive than words such as “You’re a loser…and a very bad one at that” would be better served all round?

I believe the people who are prepared to criticise without suggestions of how to improve are either Liberals, or nutcases. Is there a difference?

Best wishes

Joshua Rosner
Office of Mark Latham
Federal Labor Leader

From: Crikey Life Member
Date: Sat, 11 Dec 2004 4:21pm


If only members of the federal Labor caucus showed as much loyalty, devotion and fealty to Mark Latham as you do…!

You’re probably too young and naive to realise that politics is a vicious profession…idealism is but a word or dream; As Labor leader, Mark Latham is a “Dead Man Walking”, which will be confirmed before the end of the 2005 Budgetary sitting of Parliament (if not before).

Have a nice Christmas.

Crikey Life Member