High-rating 2GB presenter Ray Hadley has unloaded again on Crikey and Tim Flannery over an allegation he hatched a plot with one of his neighbours to expose Flannery as a climate change hypocrite.
On Hadley’s morning program today, the knockabout shock jock demanded an apology from this august journal and the former Australian of the Year, who he says printed “lies” alleging he had cooked up a scheme with Flannery’s Coba Point neighbour “David” to reveal his residence and accuse him of speeding in his polluting boat.
“Now, as of today there has been no apology nor retraction by either Flannery or Crikey.com.au,” Hadley said.
“They’re allowing a whole range of people just to simply tear me apart despite the fact they now know that either the professor was grossly misinformed or heaven knows what was going through his mind at the time. Heaven knows, he may have been having some sort of episode.”
He reserved special opprobrium for Crikey‘s featherweight status in the upstanding world of Australian media.
“The lightweight journalist that wrote the story is waiting for me to phone him. Mate, don’t hold your breath, I’ve got too many sock drawers to rearrange to be talking to you. I’m told that Crikey if they open the windows there’s a chance they might be blown out you’re that big a lightweight.”
Luckily, Hadley also added a disclaimer: he is not one for legal action.
The saga began on Tuesday in our media briefs section, when Crikey quoted from a letter penned by Flannery in the November edition of Quarterly Essay explaining the sequence of events.
David had called the Hadley program in July after an email from someone called “Bruce” was read out containing information about his abode. David vouched for its authenticity and agreed with Hadley that Flannery was a hypocrite for buying a house so close to the water when he had warned about sea level rises stemming from climate change.
Coba Point is only accessible by boat from Berowra Waters and has just 48 “lots”.
After David had aired his views, the environmentalist conducted his own probe into his accuser’s true identity. He and his wife knocked on David’s door who, according to Flannery, quickly admitted he “worked” for Hadley and that the call had been a set-up.
The original on-air exchange prompted follow-up media coverage in News Limited papers the Daily Telegraph and The Australian. Following legal action from Flannery, the national broadsheet was forced to remove its account by Ean Higgins from its website, publish an apology pay legal costs of $5000.
Flannery wrote in Quarterly Essay that during his August 21 meeting with David, he admitted that rather than calling in to the station himself, he had in fact been leaned upon by Hadley to appear.
“David stated emphatically that he had not called Ray Hadley at all. Instead Hadley had asked him to appear on the show, and had called him. David said that Hadley had sought him out after learning the story, and all of the supposed ‘facts’ that David was to raise during the interview, had, according to David, been assembled beforehand by Hadley and his team … David stated: ‘You’re on the other side of the fence [regarding climate change] … they hate you … they’re out to get you.'”
He added his house was higher than 1.5 metres above the river, that he had never sped in his boat, and that his boat’s engine was not excessively polluting.
Yesterday, Flannery told Crikey that David said he was a car detailer who worked on Hadley’s and other 2GB staffers’ vehicles.
“I stand by everything I wrote,” he added.
But this morning, Hadley hit back, revealing he had spent hours yesterday morning combing through his diary with a producer.
He stated he had once got his car “dry washed” by someone called “Sharon” while he was on the air. He also said that his wife’s car had been detailed by Garry Smith Detailing on Paramatta Road in Haberfield, adding the business is run by 2GB staffer Duck Creek’s brother Garry. Garry’s father, also named Garry, used to run the business before he passed away. No-one called David ever worked there, Hadley said.
This morning on Alan Jones’ breakfast program, Hadley, convinced that it was in fact Flannery who had concocted the story, unleashed on his target, who heads the Gillard government’s climate change commission. Hadley branded Flannery the “Nadia Comaneci of climate change”.
“Here’s a warning for you Tim Flannery, take me on at your peril son, because I’ll tell you something now, I’ll tell you I’m from Western Sydney, we don’t back down … You go your hardest old mate and I’ll go my hardest … you low bastard,” he said. The “low bastard” sledge also got a run yesterday.
Quarterly Essay editor Chris Feik told Crikey this morning that he stood by Flannery’s account and that the letter had been thoroughly legalled prior to publication. However, he agreed it was possible David had concocted his links with Hadley during his face-to-face conversation with Flannery and his wife.
Yesterday, in an on-air 2GB phone interview, David agreed with Hadley he had called of his own free volition and that he wasn’t cajoled or bullied.
“He’s going to his lengths again to try and silence people,” David said, by way of explanation.
Other Hadley highlights this morning included paid reads for Akubra hats, rice bran oil and a local gardening emporium.
Flannery, who was in Perth yesterday, did not respond to a follow-up request for comment left on his mobile phone.