Leigh Sales and Miranda Devine. (Images: 7.30/ABC and AAP/Joel Carratt)

The virus crisis is inspiring a plethora of what amount to deathbed conversions. Who thought Scott Morrison actually believed in big government? Or that Macquarie Wealth Management would warn us that “conventional capitalism is dying”.

But what’s going on in the media (especially in that provocative and famously unyielding space occupied by the non-progressive right)? And, in passing, is the ABC having a rush of blood to the head?

Alan Jones

“We now seem to be facing the health version of global warming,” Jones told his — largely elderly — audience last week. He’s been broadcasting, by the way, from a custom-built studio at his country estate in Fitzroy Falls, where he’s been staying to avoid the virus.

There's more to Crikey than you think.

Get more and save 50%.

Subscribe now

“Exaggeration in almost everything,” he added.

In both cases, he was right, but in neither case was it the way he meant. This morning he followed up with a column in the Daily Telegraph, titled: “Smashing the economy to bits not the best way to deal with coronavirus”.

He uses stats to put everything “in perspective”. After all, for all this hoopla, the virus has killed a mere 1696 people, he says. That is, if you “take the deaths in China, Italy, Iran, Spain and France out of the equation”…

Miranda Devine

In the aftermath of the decision to shut down non-essential business for the next six months, Miranda Devine, still on secondment to the New York Post, tweeted:

Hey, thanks Bondi Beach funsters! Your stupidity on the weekend has shut down Australian small businesses and cost thousands of jobs.

On this, as many issues, the cluster of hard-right commentators in Australia appear to be reading from the same sheet — Jones’ piece in the Telegraph similarly seems to believe that, had that crop of beach-goers stayed home, there would be simply no need for any of this shutdown malarky.

Andrew Bolt

We’re sure the Bolter is handling this crisis with the same grounded, fair and relevant approach as he always does. Let’s check in:

The coronavirus has sure killed one thing — the great global warming scare. Global warming is for now dead as an issue.

This virus shows us what a real crisis looks like, compared to a fake one.

There’s no proof that global warming has killed anyone — indeed, food crops have got bigger — but the coronavirus has killed 14,000 people already.


His most recent blog post is headlined: “CHINA URGED ITALIANS TO ‘HUG A CHINESE’, NOW BLAME AMERICA FOR VIRUS”. So, business as usual.

Prue MacSween

Our Prue is nothing if not focused on the true enemy during this awful time. Which is, of course, the horrifying scourge of bats. On Monday she tweeted at New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian:

So we now know this destructive cataclysmic virus originated from bats. When is our Govt going to stop listening to greenie bureaucrats and putting all our lives at risk? We know bats kill with this virus and others. The message is clear: exterminate now.


Leigh Sales

On the off chance you don’t want to replace your usual social schedule with indiscriminate bat murder, you could take 7.30 presenter Leigh Sales’ advice:

You are our best hope of stopping coronavirus. Your individual behaviour is the most important thing to prevent it spreading and everything else flows from that.

So far many Australians are behaving as if for some reason, we’re magically immune from going through the tragedy unfolding in Italy. We’re not, and unless people change their behaviour, that’s exactly what will happen.

Scolded on the same subject by Leigh Sales and Miranda Devine. Is that a first?

There's more to Crikey than you think.

It’s more than a newsletter. It’s where readers expect more – fearless journalism from a truly independent perspective. We don’t pander to anyone’s party biases. We question everything, explore the uncomfortable and dig deeper.

And now you get more from your membership than ever before.

Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
Get more and save 50%