My mate Paddy McGuinness gives Alan Ramsey both barrels in today’s AustralianTime To Go, Mr Ramsey. He writes:

“The decline of once great figures who do not withdraw
themselves from the scene when they should is often the stuff of
tragedy, no less in journalism than in other pursuits. What used to be
a sharp critical intelligence turns into pure curmudgeonry, analysis is
replaced by prejudice, reference to other authorities becomes lazy
quotation of passages supportive of these prejudices, and care for fact
and detail is replaced by bluff and rhetoric…”

Ramsey’s “column” in the Sydney Morning Herald
last Wednesday contained just one original paragraph in ten – the rest
were direct quotes from founding US Public Affairs Television director
Bill Moyers – and has had to be corrected. Alanramseyous, King of
Kings? Look on my works, ye mighty and despair?

Paddy’s piece is the second recent go Australian
opinion editor Tom Switzer has had at the man Crikey christened “The
Lounge Bar Bore of Gallery” half a decade a go. In January, an item
headed “A Veteran Political Reporter Wipes The Egg Off His Face”
appeared on the Oz’s op-ed page, a collage of glowing – and now, excruciatingly embarrassing – quotes about the late Mark Latham from the Sydney Morning Herald’s veteran Gallery correspondent.

Ramsey
is an icon – but one that looks more likely to tumble than a wobbly
Easter Island statute. The beard isn’t being seen as a good sign. It’s
like the one Al Gore grew when he gave up.

Crikey has already reported rumours that Michael Duffy, who has seen the writing on the wall at The Daily Telegraph, is set to take over Ramsey’s Saturday space in the SMH. Is The Australian adding its weight to the push to shove Ramsey out?

CRIKEY: It’s well-known that Alan Ramsey is despised by the prime
minister and many in the government (and plenty of others in the
opposition, too). And several Fairfax directors are also members of the
‘get Ramsey’ club. Has this cabal finally found the pretext to push him
out and cleanse the newspaper they already regard as politically “out
of control” of one of the few free-thinkers in Australian journalism?
If they do, they’ll have to pay handsomely for the privilege.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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