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Crikey Says

Feb 21, 2014

Crikey says: a call for doubt (just like Bolt)

Tony Abbott's new crusade: the internet. Crikey compares: just how raw is Qantas' deal? Guy Rundle on the inconvenient truth on Manus Island. Celebrating indigenous languages. Helen Razer on artists' Biennale boycott. And saving the artistic treasures of Syria. Plus your handy Follow Friday.


Sometimes this space is hard to fill. Sometimes there is no definitive response. Good arguments on both sides. Sometimes there is just grey. Doubt.

Even Andrew Bolt has doubts. Seriously. As he told the ABC’s One Plus One program (airing tonight):

“I doubt myself, whether I’m right, whether I’m being nice enough, whether I’ve got my facts there, whether what I write is of interest …”

The Herald Sun ideologue insists he isn’t always sure. And he says he admires doubt in others; he tells the program he’s attracted to Tony Abbott because the Prime Minister is not afraid to question his convictions and prevailing attitudes.

It is dogmatism that wrecks political debate, wilful certainty where there isn’t any. The words “I’m not sure” are banned from the game, and the solutions are even further away as a result.

Each day, we doubt. We certainly doubt Andrew Bolt ever demonstrates indecision in his columns — but we wholeheartedly support the sentiment.

There’s a line from the play/film Doubt that has one priest saying:

“Doubt can be a bond as powerful and sustaining as certainty.”

Amen to that.


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10 thoughts on “Crikey says: a call for doubt (just like Bolt)

  1. klewso

    words are easy

  2. susan winstanley

    Anyone with a scientific background of conjecture and refutation knows what Bolt is doing, appropriating “doubt” and cloaking himself in scientific “scepticism” to play at being an “objective” truth-telling commentator.

    Even as a rhetorical strategy this is absurd, as the court found in relation to Bolt’s “objective” commentary on aboriginal ancestry.

    Don’t give him the time of day crikey. This is not a game. This is fraud.

  3. AR

    Only bigots & fanatics are certain. Beware of the skin deep.

  4. Electric Lardyland

    I doubt that Bolt is telling the truth.

  5. Electric Lardyland

    Well said, Susan, and it’s probably worth listing just some of the things that he appears to have no doubt about. The invasion of Iraq was a good thing. People who support Indigenous Australians in their quest for justice, are part of a self serving ‘aboriginal industry’. Climate change is a conspiracy hatched up by greenies, lefties and scientists, to establish elite positions for themselves. Everything that the Labor government did was wrong. Everything that the Greens even think is wrong. The independents sold out Australia.
    And possibly most bizarrely, that by being an affluent, white, right winger living in prosperous, peaceful Australia, you are somehow a greatly put upon part of an oppressed minority.

  6. Will

    Indecision isn’t the issue. It’s about epistemological modesty, which includes local humility about what is outside your expertise and broader framework of knowledge that is probabilistic (not absolute), informed by the scientific method. It’s about basic logic, internal consistency. It’s about being able to frame an opposing argument clearly and fairly, sometimes known as the charitable principle. It’s about pluralism — ie. the capacity to accept and comprehend that there are ideas and values which are independently worthy notwithstanding that they are mutually contradictory –eg. an introspective life and extroverted life.
    Bolt display none of the above. He professes worldly expertise on economics and policy when he has none at all. He is incapable of honestly and fairly representing the views of others. If he can use a pernicious misrepresentation to score a point, it is certain he will. He is constantly deploying Manichean dichotomies about other viewpoints as if there aren’t kernels of human flourishing in every corner of politics.

  7. klewso

    And freedom of speech is best for those that control most of the editing of it?

  8. Venise Alstergren

    If Andrew Bolt researched his emissions he would be able to cease doubting the veracity of his facts.

  9. cairns50

    wtf is up with crikey giving andrew bolt a jersey and a positive wrap in your edidorial your are kidding

    how about try writing some decent articles about abbott hockeys morrisons lies

  10. klewso

    So, is he allowed to keep dribbling this self-indulgent crap or does someone clean him up?
    Doesn’t know if he’s got his fax there? Does his machine keep breaking down?
    [Of “interest”……? There’s so many that depend on him to feed and reinforce their prejudices; Murdoch depends on him – that’s why he prints him across the country, extends his reach beyond Melbourne?]


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