Apr 29, 2009

The Monthly’s knife fight in a dinghy

If your principal fund of ideas is coming from the man who is also about to be/actually is the country's leader, then you're less a publication of critical commentary than a mouthpiece.

Guy Rundle — Correspondent-at-large

Guy Rundle


“Academic politics are vicious because the stakes are so small,” the old saying goes. By that comparison, magazine politics are like a knife-fight in a dinghy. So one can only speculate on what the mood has been like in the office of The Monthly over the past, erm, months.

Editor Sally Warhaft quit last week, announcing that she could no longer work on the title, and that she was having problems with the hands-on management style of Robert Manne — a man whom Monthly publisher Morry Schwartz regards, in the words of one Melbourne wit/barfly, as a cross between George Orwell and General Moshe Dayan — Warhaft having been Manne’s former colleague at LaTrobe. Sweet Caroline Overington has a gossip piece in The Oz media section about how Schwarz, Manne and Warhaft fell out over the autonomy of the editor vs. the Board, i.e. Schwartz and Manne — though being Overington, it’s written like a Mills and Boon, with “willowy beauty” Warhaft weeping in the back of Jimmy Watsons as Schwartz and Manne over-ride her decisions mwah-hah-hah-hah! (that’s evil laughter).

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