The silence emanating from The Australian’s HQ in Holt Street, Surry Hills, is eerie. Earlier this week, Black Inc published Bad News, Robert Manne’s disturbing account of the influence of the Murdoch broadsheet and the tactics it uses to promote its conservative views and discredit its enemies.

A splenetic response from the news, opinion and editorial departments would be expected. But the dilemma for Chris Mitchell, the paper’s editor-in-chief, is apparent. A reflex campaign of aggression, ridicule and character assassination would only serve to prove Manne’s claims about thin-skinned vindictiveness.