Feb 18, 2013

Latham v the commentariat: three howlers from Akerman

The former Labor leader turns his attention to Daily Telegraph warrior Piers Akerman -- three errors in one sentence from his Sunday Tele column.

Mark Latham

Political commentator and former Labor leader

Excitement is building in election year 2013. The nation's extreme right-wing commentators are racing for the title of Australia's greatest nincompoop.

Gerard Henderson set an impressive benchmark in his Media Watch Dog in December. Writing about Tony Abbott's accusation of criminality against Julia Gillard in the ancient Australian Workers Union/Slater and Gordon matter, Henderson made four errors in just one sentence. He had the wrong date, the wrong Abbott interview, the wrong spelling of Abbott's name and the wrong Abbott quote. Now Piers Akerman (yes folks, he's still alive) has made a lunge for the title with his effort in The Sunday Telegraph yesterday:
"Because of the cascade of Labor leadership spills, from Simon Crean's ousting of Kim Beazley, through Mark Latham's axing of Crean, Crean's dumping in favour of Beazley, followed by Rudd's undermining of Beazley and Gillard's subsequent knifing of Rudd, all pretence of loyalty has long evaporated."
Crean did not oust Beazley; Beazley stood down from the Labor leadership on the night of the 2001 election and then, at the next caucus meeting, Crean won the position unopposed. I did not axe Crean. He resigned from the position in November 2003 and supported me to take over the leadership in the subsequent caucus ballot. Crean was not dumped in favour of Beazley; no such thing ever happened. It is pure invention, a product of Akerman's fading faculties. That's three errors in one sentence. Gerard's title is safe but the evidence suggests Piers is a serious contender. He came close -- only one howler behind the Great Pedant. Can you bear it? It's bad enough for Australian media consumers to have to put up with the reactionary piffle of Henderson and Akerman, opinions out of place in a modern liberal society. But when they make multiple errors in one sentence, surely it’s time to put them out to pasture. No wonder the nation's newspapers are dying.  They continue to publish Gerard and Piers -- Australia's answer to Statler and Waldorf, the two old codgers whinging about everything they see from the balcony in the Muppets.

Free Trial

You've hit members-only content.

Sign up for a FREE 21-day trial to keep reading and get the best of Crikey straight to your inbox

By starting a free trial, you agree to accept Crikey’s terms and conditions


Leave a comment

18 thoughts on “Latham v the commentariat: three howlers from Akerman

  1. Will

    I would have thought there was some scope in opinion writing to use pithy language like “ousting” to reflect a change of leadership based on the numbers contest within the party room.

    You can certainly argue some words are inappropriately aggressive, or whatever, and I can think of even clearer examples where a caretaker leader is there as part of an orderly transition to a new one where restraint is warranted. But ultimately, this is not a bloodless sport, and leadership changes aren’t spontaneous reordering.

    I think Latham is being too pedantic himself here.

  2. Milanion20

    Will: “…too pedantic…! Am I being too pedantic in applying it to your comment. Trivia maybe.

    I readily agree with Latham that there is a smaller and smaller market for written rubbish.

    I buy one newspaper each week because it reports an issue with a high level of correctness – ie the weekly TV guide.

  3. mikeb

    I don’t read Piers given that every column is critical of Labor or Greens or the ABC (you get the drift) – irrespective of fact or whatever else is happening in the Country. If Jesus himself came again and annointed Gillard as the next PM he’d say it was a faifax/ABC/commie plot. In my glance at the daily rag today however he is onto the Willesee interview with Packer. Is there a history there I wonder?

  4. Steve777

    Piers Akerman is actively campaigning for one side. He is not a commentator. He does not even pretend to be baanced. Fair enough, he’s entitled to his own opinion if not his own facts. He does not belong on shows like ‘Insiders’ as a panelist, but he could perhaps go on as an interviewee.

  5. Milanion20

    Steve777. It has long been my view that the ABC has reacted to the enforced requirement by Coalition supporters to provide “equal balance” by nominating people like Mr Akerman, and thus internally sabotaging the coalition view by having it supported by obvious fools.

  6. zut alors

    Steve777, some memorable Sunday mornings have kicked off with Akerman and Marr on the same Insiders panel.

    Milanion20 @ 3.34m, I wholeheartedly agree. Kroger on ABC’s Lateline last Friday was a prime example.

  7. klewso

    How long has it been since PCP’s mattered to Limited News’ hacks/editors?

  8. Brisbane Bloke

    Disappointing to see that Crikey is still posting Latham’s drivel. Counting typos and (his take on) factual errors is hardly the stuff of intelligent political commentary. Whether you agree with Ackerman or Henderson’s opinions, at least they are more interesting than Latham’s Yr 8 proof-reading projects. Can’t Labor find him a make-work project in a back room somewhere like they did for Wayne Swan? Maybe he could and check some of the pink batts?

  9. mikeb

    A factual error is not “his take on” an error. It is either an error or not. Anyway – a pedant deserves to be taken for task for committing the same “sin”. ML is a far more entertaining writer than GH as well.

  10. Michael Hilliard

    Milanion20 your so right. The only believable purpose for having the likes of Piers & Gerard on Insiders as to remind people why they should loath them & the politics they so obviously support. Last weekends was fantastic. Piers (as usual) couldn’t get half way through a sentence without throwing in some twisted subjective viewpoint of Labor whether the question related to them or not. His digression into bagging Combet during the MRRT discussion was astonishing. Any criticism of these two is welcome, especially Piers.

Share this article with a friend

Just fill out the fields below and we'll send your friend a link to this article along with a message from you.

Your details

Your friend's details