Sep 14, 2011

The Oz playing the Manne: why it’s a barracker and a bully

The Australian is launching a major response to Robert Manne's Quarterly Essay, and the blurbs tell us that there will be more to come on Saturday, with the usual suspects lining up to respond.

Margaret Simons

Journalist, author and director of the Centre for Advanced Journalism

Robert Manne’s Quarterly Essay on the impact of The Australian has been out for more than a week now. It was much anticipated, yet has hardly been mentioned in the mainstream media.

This is perhaps partly because the publishers kept it under close wraps until the release date, and reading the densely argued 25,000 words takes time.

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56 thoughts on “The Oz playing the Manne: why it’s a barracker and a bully

  1. Stevo the Working Twistie

    When people who have a genuine contribution to make are afraid to speak up because they know how they will be dealt with in the Murdoch press, then we have a problem. Ask Cate Blanchett if she’ll think twice about speaking out on something she believes in. Or better still, ask Dick Smith, who has admitted that concern for how he will be attacked by Limited News has kept him quiet on climate issues. That’s where the Oz’s true influence lies.

  2. wayne robinson

    I have just finished reading Robert Manne’s essay, and I agree with every word he writes.

    I used to subscribe to the ‘Australian’ until I was revolted by one of Henry Ergas’ diatribes earlier this year, I think it was the one on ‘discounting’ the future. I wrote a comment for the Australian’s website disputing Henry Ergas’ claims, that is, it’s better not to spend $1 billion dollars avoiding climate change now, it’s better to put it into government bonds so that in 70 years time you’re have vastly more money to adapt, and the Australian refused of course to publish it.

    The Australian is extremely selective in the comments it publishes. No comment, no matter how illiterate, devoid of logic or irrelevant to the topic of the article, won’t be published if it fits the paper’s agenda.

    The ‘cut and paste’ column is even worse, with its attacks on people such as Tim Flannery using selective extracts ( he got attacked twice in this manner I’m aware of).

    This year I received a letter asking me if I’ve ‘woken up to the Australian this morning’. I regret that I didn’t return it to the Australian with a note informing them that I had woken up to the Australian months ago, instead of throwing it in the rubbish bin.

  3. Michael James

    Yet its approach is inconsistent. There are favoured arguments, and favoured individuals, and there are those who will never gain anything more than attacks and scorn. There are arguments and views that gain uncritical acceptance, and others that are only ridiculed. The paper is not an even-handed scrutineer, but rather a barracker and, sometimes, a bully.


    Hey Crikey, nice to see you are applying a mirror to yourself. You have described yourself to a T.

    You attack the Australian for a partisan viewpoint, while being at least as guilty. At least the Australian provides space for dissenting views from columnists and opinion writers, something conspicuously lacking from your coverage of pretty much anything.

    Tamas Calderwood comes to mind as the closest thing to a dissenting voice to regularly appear on Crikey, mostly it seems to give your partisan commenter’s an opportunity to attack his views.

  4. TormentedbytheDs

    Typical of the OZ that Kelly’s article does not allow comments. Gutless.

  5. drmick

    Spot on Margaret

    The term Bully perfectly describes what they do and backs up Manne’s considered opinion as well.
    They abuse a hard earned reputation with pettiness and defensiveness and ruin credibility firing off unchecked incorrect rubbish. Then, they don’t have the balls to say they were wrong or sorry.
    Bring on the “attack on freedom of speech”. Maybe we can get integrity, honest and accuracy back and force them to act nice.

  6. rubiginosa

    Saturday should be good. I can save at least two of them the trouble.

    Graham Lloyd: You may agree or disagree, but as Environment Editor, let me talk politics.

    Chris Kenny: You may agree or disagree, but Hicks, Cameron, al-ABC, inner-city leftards, QED.

  7. Troy C

    The Oz is an essential counterbalance to the left-wing agendas run by the ABC and Fairfax. If the Oz writes something “nasty” about you, then sue them. Otherwise, it’s called a free press. Grow a thick skin. Get over it.

  8. jonah Stiffhausen

    Tried reading Manne’s article but fell asleep on page 2. Which was about as far as I got with this article.
    I think for the chattering classes, The Oz’s greatest fault is that it appears sceptical of schemes of political improvement, bless its little heart.

  9. Son of foro

    I like The Australian now, especially the letters page, it stops me from having to buy the Herald Sun.

  10. jonah Stiffhausen

    Not sure if the Herald Sun qualifies as a newspaper. A comic perhaps?

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