When Mark Latham opened fire on the
political media in his ‘Diaries’ last month, he anticipated a few
salvos in return. But we’re betting he didn’t expect to be taking on a
95-year-old lady called Maud.

But that’s who The Australian‘s
livewire political columnist Glenn Milne has bowled up in his defence
against Latham. We asked Milne for a response to Latham’s sledge that
he was a “shameless and pathetic…frustrated politician.” Milne emailed
us straight back:

I just received a letter from a lovely old
lady in Bowral, on the NSW Southern Highlands. She quotes her
95-year-old friend, Maud, on Latham: ‘Someone who is so wrapped up in
themselves makes for a very small package.’

I might let Maud speak for me on this occasion.

Glenn.

Consider
it done. Maud has spoken. But other political journalists have been shy
of responding directly to allegations made against them by Latham.
We’ve emailed journalists and media types attacked by Latham offering
them a forum to tell their side of the story.

Most have ducked for cover, hoping Latham and his book will go away.

“It’s
like an enormous cone of silence has descended on Australia’s
commentariat,” Latham complained in his lively discussion with Crikey
subscribers this month. He dubbed the silent hacks “Trappist monks,”
and challenged them to respond.

Still, we’ve received some interesting responses. From the robust and dismissive: Paul Armstrong, editor of The West Australian writes: “Thanks for the chance to respond. If I cared, I might take it up.”

To the downright angry: Mark Riley, Seven’s political editor writes: ”I’m happy to accept your invitation to respond to Mark Latham’s slur against me. It is completely and utterly untrue.”

Other hacks found various ways of saying nothing.

Laurie Oakes, who copped a caning in the book wrote: “my attitude is that Mark Latham is entitled to his opinion.”

Michelle Grattan’s response? “Nothing – we dish it out, we take it.”

Janet Albrechtsen, the victim of Latham’s most public “skanky ho” broadside: “Thanks for your email but I’ll decline.”

And
from her News Ltd stablemate Piers Akerman: “Neither Latham nor Crikey,
which published more of his gratuitous insults, deserve responses.”

We’ll
keep badgering the ones who haven’t replied. If Glenn Milne can come up
with a nice little Maud-ism, surely the rest of the press gallery can muster at
least a flimsy defence?

You can check out our comprehensive list of Latham’s allegations, and the responses we’ve received so far, on the website.

And if you’ve been sledged by Latham, and we haven’t yet contacted you, drop us a line and have your say: [email protected]