The escalator of decline (part 3). There are signs The Australian isn’t feeling the love. Our exegesis of Paul "eeyore" Kelly’s "escalator of decline" article last week is said to have got Surry Hills very miffed, since they believe it to be a staggering work of thundering genius etc etc. Indeed, in one of those grand slams that only the Oz and the Pyongyang Daily can do, Chris Kenny devoted half of his Saturday column to saying how great  Kelly’s piece was, how he was the transcendent political sage of our era etc etc. Kelly, he said, was writing from "the fulcrum". The fulcrum? We thought he was on the escalator of decline. Ah well.

Soon after this in-house tongue-bath, the Spectator Australia published an online leader entitled "Our Best Newspaper", and defending the Government Gazette from its critics -- most recently Margaret Simons in The Monthly. Surprising to some, since Speccie Oz editor Tom Switzer was edged out as op-ed editor of The Oz, due to his opposition to the Iraq War (rumour is he came in particular conflict with Michael Stutchbury, who later became an Oz unperson himself, and a target of the two-minute hate, after he fled to the Fin).

But maybe the jockeying to succeed Chris Mitchell has already begun. Doubtless, the Oz does cover more territory than most, but it would want to -- it is subsidised to the tune of $1 per issue. Every time you pick up one of those freebies at the airport, you are literally being paid three dollars to read it -- or six bucks on the weekend (foregone cover price + $1 loss). With that sort of money, it should solve the Riemann hypothesis and give you a shiatsu. -- Guy Rundle