Sep 19, 2012

Eric Campbell v Greg Sheridan: it’s not over yet

An update on #sheridanchallenged, the bid by ABC Foreign Correspondent reporter Eric Campbell to get The Australian's foreign editor Greg Sheridan to give examples of "sectarian" interests.

Andrew Crook — Former <em>Crikey</em> Senior Journalist

Andrew Crook

Former Crikey Senior Journalist

Now for an update on #sheridanchallenged, the bid by ABC Foreign Correspondent reporter Eric Campbell to get The Australian's foreign editor Greg Sheridan to give some examples of "sectarian" ABC employees who support totalitarianism in the wake of David Marr's Quarterly Essay. For those coming in late, Campbell, currently holidaying in Vienna, was peeved with Sheridan's column in The Weekend Oz that alleged: "... the political lexicon of the '70s works for Marr and many in the ABC." What "lexicon" was he referring to? "If you thought the Soviet Union abused and threatened human rights, you were obviously a wild reactionary. If you happened to be a Catholic -- worse, a Catholic who played football -- you were the most dangerous conspirator in the pack." He also cites the view of campus leftists apparently partial to the idea that Pol Pot's atrocities could be explained away by the odorous analogy that "in order to make an omelette you have to break some eggs". Overnight, British Labour MP and Rupert Murdoch critic Tom Watson upped the ante, writing that Sheridan had accused the ABC of loving "genocidal commmies". Sheridan isn't happy. In his regular fortnightly appearance on Jon Faine yesterday, he stated unequivocally he didn't believe anyone in the ABC supports totalitarianism:
Faine: Eric Campbell, one of our foreign correspondents has taken great offence at your suggestion in the paper that there are many people at the ABC who support totalitarianism and he's challenged you publicly to say who those people are and in what way they support totalitarianism. Sheridan: I've never ... well no this the first I've heard of it I must admit ... where did he ... I don't know ... but anyway look the point is I never said anyone in the ABC supports totalitarianism. Faine: Yes you did, you wrote "many in the ABC support totalitarianism". Sheridan: No I never said that ever, that's absolutely wrong Jon. When did I ever say that? Faine: It's in your article. Sheridan: It's not, it's absolutely not. I said many in the ABC support this sectarian attack on Abbott. I said at the start of my piece I said the battle against totalitarianism, Milan Kundera said, is the battle of remembering against forgetting. And the Cold War as rendered by Marr in its dimensions on Australian campuses ... he was giving a completely distorted and untrue version of this and that furthermore his attacks on Abbott had been given massive publicity by the ABC and there was an element of sectarian anti-Catholicism about this ... but certainly I don't believe anyone in the ABC supports totalitarianism, I do believe a lot of people in the ABC by their excessive focus on these ridiculous allegations from 35 years ago are giving vent to a sectarian prejudice against a practicing conservative Catholic having a position of national leadership.
A coterie of late '70s Sydney Uni SRC luminaries have weighed in over the last week to give their take. There was 1976 president David Patch in The Sydney Morning Herald who says he witnessed "the punch", followed by an anonymous student pollie the next day. Lindsay Foyle then re-hashed a tale of a pub brawl -- narrowly averted by Sheridan -- with Abbott over abortion on New Matilda. Then came Sheridan in The Oz, SRC law faculty rep Irving Wallach on Q&A, Sheridan on the same episode of Q&A and then Foyle again yesterday responding to Sheridan's claims about the role of Bulletin editor Trevor Kennedy. The gripping saga is expected to drag on for weeks. "This one will play to the end," Campbell wrote menacingly on Twitter overnight. Don't say you weren't warned.

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17 thoughts on “Eric Campbell v Greg Sheridan: it’s not over yet

  1. cornelius ray

    Go get the bunny Eric, he deserves nothing less than a complete makeover. Has had it coming for years. His type are a disgrace to journalism

  2. The Pav

    If I was David Marr and Sheridan wrote “David Marr’s sloppy, frequently inaccurate …” about me I would feel defamed and my professional reptation impugned.

    Particulary since Marr is renowned for his careful reporting.

    Sheridan is in no position to criticise anybody else for their jounalistic standards

  3. Owen Gary

    Sheridan will have to weave another web of crapola & distraction in the attempt to save face.

    I concur with with Ray above chase him down his rabbit hole Eric.

  4. Sancho

    So, did Sheridan’s published article contain the line “many in the ABC support totalitarianism”?

  5. Guwardi

    Hi Sancho I believe this paragraph very much say’s ” Many in the ABC support Totalitarianism”

    So here, it seems, is how the political lexicon of the 70s works forMarr and many in the ABC. If you thought communism was a bit crook, you were obviously a reactionary fanatic. If you thought the Soviet Union abused and threatened human rights, you were obviously a wild reactionary. If you happened to be a Catholic -worse, a Catholic who played football – you were the most dangerous conspirator in the pack.But if you supported Soviet foreign policy, supported Pol Pot,believed in violence, dedicated yourself to destroying the traditional family and promoted illegal drug use, you were a progressive intellectual whose heroism deserved the nation’s thanks.

  6. Steve777

    The paragraph’s quoted by Guwardi appear in Greg Sheridan’s column in the Australian on September 15:
    w w

    I can’t find ‘Many in the ABC support Totalitarianism’ except in Twitter and Crikey, so probably Mr Sheridan can deny that he said those exact words. But the meaning of those paragraph’s in Mr Sheridan’s column is pretty close.

  7. Emma Goldmann

    Sheridan has been a lying, sniveling, despotic loving, brown noser for most of his..ahem.. ‘journalistic’ career. His support of dictatorships like Suharto’s (methinks he must surely have had to be on the payroll at some time be it money or perks) and his unequivocal support of US foreign policy (responsible for countless millions of dead and destruction of democratically elected governments) show how his ‘writings’ are nothing but extreme neo-liberal / conservative propaganda. Go get him Eric.

  8. Sancho

    Sheridan’s been at this for a while, so it would have been surprising if he hadn’t left himself room for plausible deniability.

  9. Paddy Forsayeth

    What Sheridan, Jones, Bolt etc believe is free speech is to allow them to vent their spleens, trot out opinion as fact (they occasionaly coincide) and generally threaten and smear all and sundry without hindrance by the public. The moment the Gov. or someone call for a retraction, proof of assertion or even the airing of contrary opinion these clerics of the secular religion start foaming at the mouth about how they are denied “free speech”. All sleeze bage in my view.

  10. Hamis Hill

    The Campus DLP have been at it for a while.
    In 1971 the Student Union of Melbourne University had its funds frozen for using them to protest the Vietnam War.
    A lunch time Round House meeting of the UNSW student union then voted, by a show of hands, to break this financial embargo by sending operational funding to their Melbourne counterparts.
    The Chair cast his vote in the affirmative as the hands appeared to be balanced, whereupon a black suited (Law?) student lept onto the podium, grabbed the microphone and, sobbing, declared to those who voted for the motion quote: “You’re All Communists”.
    One of of group of non suit wearing engineering students,( with more than twice the lecture load of such Arts freeloaders), who just happened to be transiting the Round House at the time, I took a great resentment at being described as communist by this obvious, emotionally distraught paranoid.
    A dangerous and ugly nutter spreading mistruths.
    The forerunners of Abbott and Sheridan placed on Campus for the political purposes of their dark masters? Was too busy at the time to enquire further.
    But the Men(Boys) In Black with their full-time eleven hours a week of lectures had plenty of time for religio-dementoid politicking. Very Ugly.

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