White men using media platforms to mock indigenous people, News Corp attacking its critics, cries of free speech, the Coalition trying to find a culture wars angle -- we've been here before.

In 2011, I found myself in the difficult position of defending Andrew Bolt, who was being prosecuted under section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act for a deeply offensive, racially abusive and typically wrong column in which he claimed nine indigenous writers, academics and community leaders somehow gained advantage from the colour of their skin.

The sight of Rupert Murdoch's company defending the right of a white reactionary male with an immensely powerful media platform to attack indigenous Australians made me deeply uncomfortable. But I thought it was even worse that a media commentator was having a judge parse his work for breaking the law, and wondered if the same fate might befall anyone who strayed beyond the bounds of good judgement -- something anyone in the media who produces a lot of copy is bound to do at some point.