Is Australia’s most popular right wing blogger Tim Blair set to become a cat among the pigeons at Fairfax? This morning, Crikey heard from a well-placed industry source that the blogger has been signed up to run a blog at Fairfax.

A move to Fairfax would be unusual for Blair, a former Daily Telegraph chief of staff whose political views are more commonly associated with the News Ltd stable.

Trying to get to the bottom of the story, Crikey was this morning led on a charming wild goose chase.

Blair was being cagey about details when we first called him, adopting a playfully ironic tone. Initially he told us that “there’s been intense talk of contracts” before confirming that, yes,”contracts have been signed”. He added, however, “note that I haven’t specified with whom”. It’s a situation that’s “been developing for months”, he says.

So was the contract with Fairfax? Crikey asked online editor of The Age, Simon Johanson, who was equally oblique on the issue, saying he didn’t wish to comment. “Because you don’t know or because you’re not allowed to tell?” we asked. A bit of both, came the enigmatic reply.

Then Mike Van Niekirk, online editor-in-chief of The SMH and The Age, emailed this through: “It’s not true, Tim Blair will not be blogging for Fairfax.”

So we trudged back to Blair. After further questioning, he confirmed that he has indeed signed a contract in relation to his employment. He would not elaborate. “So you’ll just allow us to speculate wildly?” Yes, came the reply, “that’s what Crikey does best”.

So here’s a wild speculation. Blair will begin some kind of work at Fairfax, most likely as a columnist.

Peter Fray

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