The debate about Christian Kerr’s ongoing attacks on the Greens has
made for interesting reading in recent weeks but this letter from Russell Dovey in Crikey
yesterday summed up my feelings:

The people who are moaning about Crikey’s supposed decline should take
a look
at every other media publication in Australia. I challenge them to name
one which so consistently ignores the spin and digs right down to the
facts, and which prominently publishes, in full, replies from the
parties reported on. I challenge them to name one that doesn’t hesitate
to go into the dirty laundry of any prominent figure, even ones on
their own staff. Regarding Christian Kerr, he obviously has a thing
against the Greens. He also obviously has a thing against the ALP
Right, the ALP Left, Peter Costello, John Howard, the entire Federal
ministry, every state Liberal party, the Democrats, the ABC, Eddie
McGuire, lefties, rednecks, wheat farmers, weather, tectonic
activity and the laws of physics. Keep the b*stard, honest!

There’s no doubt that Christian hates the Greens, just like the
political pundit he respects enormously, ABC election analyst Antony
Green. Sometimes this might colour his view as I reckon Bob Brown’s
adviser Ben Oquist won the most recent joust on the facts. However, the
Greens have got off relatively lightly compared with the damage
inflicted on the Democrats during our two-year jihad against the party
that only
ended when Natasha Stott Despoja resigned the leadership in 2002 and
visited Steve
Price’s then lawyer, AFL operations boss Adrian Anderson, with a view
to launching defamation proceedings.

In fact, Christian is completely gloomy about all minor political parties. When I tried to launch People Power
in 2001, he attacked the move in Crikey and privately derided it as a
completely lost cause. No doubt there will be more barbs if I
proceed with tentative plans to run for a much broader version of People Power in this year’s
Victorian election.

Neville Wran told a Labor Party fundraiser in 2002 that “Crikey is
a great little website because they have a go at every one.” And it
should be pointed out that the new owners of Crikey haven’t rejected a
single item that Christian or I have submitted over the past 13 months.

Christian himself has pulled very few punches over the years. Indeed, his Hillary Bray
column started out as a major booster of Peter Costello and the Liberal
moderates in general, but Christian is now arguably the harshest critic
of the Treasurer’s performance.

The only group which I reckon gets off lightly is News Ltd – reflecting
Christian’s “pragmatic” approach to media moguls, especially since he
landed a punditry gig with Sky News during the 2004 election and also
started a column with News Ltd’s Adelaide suburbans, Messenger Community Newspapers, which
continues to this day.

However, the rest of the Crikey team more than make up for any lack of
Murdoch attacks emanating from Kerr’s corner. I’m arguably guilty of
the same in not attacking ABC local radio in Melbourne, Sydney and
Tasmania since landing weekly slots talking business and politics,
although both Sally Loane and Virginia Trioli have delivered verbal
bollockings over the years after critical pieces appeared in Crikey.

Peter Fray

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