Snowing the critics

(Via Tim Blair) After noting Uncle at ABC Watch’s blogging of Andrew Bolt’s response to Media Watch’s slagging of him last week, I should also record that Crikey.com is hosting the ongoing slanging match, with a response from David Marr and a further riposte from Andrew Bolt.

The opera’s not over, they say, until the fat lady sings but, to mix a metaphor, Bolt is well ahead on points at this stage of the bout. I especially liked his concluding two paragraphs:

I note in conclusion that you have failed to respond to my more important concerns about the way you have hijacked Media Watch and turned it into what seems a $1.4 million taxpayer-funded vehicle for attacking your ideological enemies, and those against whom you seem to have a personal grudge. Are you aware, for instance, that you have attacked on your show some 69 media figures of the non-Left, usually with great venom, but no more than 17 of the far more numerous Left, and then only to flog them with a feather?

This, I believe, and not any “errors” on my part, lies behind the vicious, libellous and totally false allegations you made against me last Monday. And this is why I demand an apology. On Monday. In full.

Frankly, I’d take a lot of convincing that it’s even as high as 17. I must say I worry about siding with the Right over any part of this orchestrated series of attacks on the ABC, because their agenda of neutering any critical voice while pandering to Murpack is rather patent, especially from the activities of the egregious Richard Alston. But pompous, patronising, irredeemably biased turds like Marr make it just about impossible to defend Auntie in good conscience. Someone should give him the word that it’s time he did a Captain Oates and walked out permanently into the blizzard.

PS – Uncle has also reproduced Bolt’s latest response.

PPS – I was just looking for a suitable photo of Oates to attach to the post, when I discovered that he’s now alleged to be a pedophile. Is no illusion sacred? Karmic fate? Frost-bitten feet of clay.

About Ken Parish

Ken Parish is a legal academic, with research areas in public law (constitutional and administrative law), civil procedure and teaching & learning theory and practice. He has been a legal academic for almost 20 years. Before that he ran a legal practice in Darwin for 15 years and was a Member of the NT Legislative Assembly for almost 4 years in the early 1990s.
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cs
cs
2022 years ago

As I got caught up with 24 Hours in recent times, I’ve not been catching media watch, and nor have I burrowed into you links Ken, so feel free to just tell me which one to read. In my ignorance, however, this strikes me as a rather loaded statement:

…69 media figures of the non-Left, usually with great venom, but no more than 17 of the far more numerous Left …

Why isn’t the comparison just between ‘Left’ and ‘Right’? Or, if Bolts really has the point he seems so sure of and really wants to show up Marr, why doesn’t he load the dice against himself by comparing ‘Right’ with ‘non-Right’, which would give him a lay down if he was correct? And what does “the far more numerous Left” mean?

Ken Parish
Ken Parish
2022 years ago

Chris,

Obviously I can’t take your point any further, because I don’t know what Bolt’s parameters were for “left” and “right” (or “non-left”), nor which MW targets he classifies in each camp. That said, my own subjective appreciation, until I gave up watching Marr’s version of the program in disgust, pretty much coincided with Bolt’s figures.

The fact that “left” and “right” are imprecise, frequently misleading and more often than not unhelpfully pejorative terms doesn’t mean they’re entirely devoid of real content. You may have noticed that various bloggers, especially Prof Bunyip, have recently been highlighting Marr’s glaring failure to cover apparently quite seriously dishonest journalistic conduct by people who I think it’s fair to label “left”, like Phillip Adams, while viciously attacking right-wingers for much less serious (and sometimes non-existent) infractions.

mark
2022 years ago

Guessing I know, Chris, but I’d say it’s a reference to the “commies! Commies everywhere!” hallucination of the right.

Damn liberal media, and so on. Bolt’s problem would be: given that there’s an overwhelming lefty bias in the media, then how come MW isn’t ripping into more lefties than they currently are?

Re Ken’s point, I think he’s right. On the one hand, MW will probably attack the right more often anyway (partially the ABC bias, partly because let’s face it, the closest thing we have to outright, deliberate liars like Albrechtson is the sloppy and stupid Adams), but on the other, it’s far less likely to go after similar errors on the part of the left.

OT, I wonder how TimB reacted when they actually aired the “Byrd in the KKK” story he’d been whinging about.

cs
cs
2022 years ago

Fair enough Ken, but it still strikes me as a foolishly loaded way to present one’s case, which means to an unbiased observer he immediately tends to take away from his case, i.e. on what basis can you fairly posit the problem as ‘Left’ versus ‘the Rest’? Clearly, if Marr has criticised only 15 from the Right, and all the rest are non-classifiable, he loses his argument outright. In other words, if one had to make a pro tem judgement on this limited exposure to his complaint, he himself is demonstrating the bias of which he complains … and thus his ground begins to slip away underneath him …

Ken Parish
Ken Parish
2022 years ago

Chris,

The quote I extracted is right at the end of Bolt’s rebuttal of Marr’s defence/counter-attack, which I assessed as almost a TKO to Bolt. You really need to read the Crikey exchange I linked to get the full picture. The extract was intended (by me) as a teaser, not a passage capable of being justified in isolation from its context.

mark
2022 years ago

Hrm, I’m starting to sound like a raving lefty nutcase. Which can’t be good for my image…

By the by, Ken, that site for the “I may be some time” (I love that story) is a real humdinger of nationalist furvor. I should’ve twigged by the intro to the Oates story, in that it included an accusation that successive governments were conspiracing to rid the British people of its spirit. I read on further, and Spearhead Magazine sure is a piece of work. Apparently they believe that “immigration, racial integration, abortion, homosexuality… political correctness and the treasonable ambitions of the Europhiles” are tied with drugs and incest for the place of second-most dangerous things to the way of life of patriotic Britons (first is TV). Interesting POV…

cs
cs
2022 years ago

You mean you’re not a lefty nutcase mark? Actually, I’m going to stick my chin way way out here among the Troppo readership and say that P. Adams is definitely not stupid, and I also believe it is fair to say that he is a very good interviewer and broadcaster in general. OK, I rarely find his columns very interesting, as they are usually predictable and therefore generally not worth the effort … and I have a particular aversion to discussions about god-bothering by whomever is doing it … but I do think he is a highly skilled broadcaster. The show he runs on radio is not at all easy to do, and it is simply impossible for an amateur to pull of in the way he does. Often the interviews are genuinely fascinating. I speak also from personal experience. I guess I’ve done literally some 200 or more radio interviews in my time (i.e as the one being interviewed) and I would place the time I was interviewed by Phil as probably the best of all in terms of searching questions and breadth of questions. The guy does work for his living and he’s a pro. I’ll tell you about some of the interviews I’ve done for presumably more highly paid broadcasters on commercial radio some other time … but suffice to say that they are usually pressing at their general quality standards if they can get your name right.

bargarz
2022 years ago

Of course he’s not stupid and that’s the crying shame. He’s willfully obtuse. Our Phil should be the poster boy for Cognitive Dissonance ‘r Us.

On the odd occasion that I read Adams’, I’m reminded of a emphysema sufferer begging for a smoke or a chronic gambler looking for just one more “sure thing”.

Ken Parish
Ken Parish
2022 years ago

I think we had this discussion once before on TA or its predecessor. I agree that Adams is an excellent broadcaster and interviewer, but a very ordinary and unoriginal op ed writer. The skill of an interviewer lies in getting the subjects to expose themselves, their ideas, and life experiences. He’s one of the best in Australia at that (although Andrew Denton is just as good IMO). I wonder why the ABC doesn’t sign Adams up to do a TV interview program (Late Night Live goes visual).

The skill set of the op ed pundit, on the other hand, requires the writer to have some ideas of his/her own, and to be able to express them in an original and entertaining way. PA isn’t good at this. It makes you wonder why the Oz retains him as a pundit. However, maybe he generates strong readership numbers because all the right wingers read him religiously so they have something to fulminate against. He’s the cardboard cutout leftie on a right wing newspaper, where Miranda Devine is the cardboard cutout rightie on a left wing newspaper.

Geoff Honnor
Geoff Honnor
2022 years ago

I agree with you on Adams, Ken – and his undoubted excellence increases exponentially when his topic is divorced from predictable, ideological cymbals clashing.

At the end of the day he and the Marquis de Marr share an important characteristic: they perceive themselves as part of a court in exile and act accordingly. The usurper and his dark forces must be roundly excoriated; no quarter given.

The problem is that divine right to rule, be it political or cultural, lost it’s legitimacy in the
17th century. And fanaticism is always unattractive, no matter the cause.

They basically wall themselves off in a welter of invective that can lead to nowhere ultimately other than self-parody. Adams’ hysterical piece in the Oz last week comparing Howard – unfavourably – with Richard Nixon was reminiscent of the scarier reaches of a Tim Blair comments thread. You just kind of shrug in mild disbelief and move on.

cs
cs
2022 years ago

I didn’t see the column Geoff, but Nixonite is exactly where I have our beloved PM slotted.

More generally, I agree with Ken re Adams and Devine. It’s as though they start by looking at what the opposite side thinks they are going to say, and then go right on and say it. I guess it’s a certain formula … let’s call it writing to your own caricature. So perfectly have they mastered the form, I wouldn’t be surprised if we discovered one day that each of them wrote the other’s weekly column, and then they swapped by-lines before filing.

Geoff Honnor
Geoff Honnor
2022 years ago

“Nixonite” maybe – in terms of a shared affinity with socially conservative policy. But Adams’ was making the much less believable pitch that Howard himself was Nixonian – except, more darkly so. Howard as a sociopathic, alcoholic, wife beater? Polemic outstrips believability by a country mile.

I’ve noticed that polemicists – Devine and Adams spring instantly to mind – constantly refer to their voluminous hatemail. Adams frequently reads his crazier ones out on LNL. Wonder if there’s an intoxicating/validating high thing happening there?

Homer Paxton
Homer Paxton
2022 years ago

I don’t see the scoring the same as you Kenneth but hey does anyone else find this boring seeing some smug ‘rightwing elitist’ battling with some smu ‘leftwing elitist’.

Bring back Stu and lets have a leftwing lawyery (?) elitist opinion so it is entertaining.
Wasn’t it Stu that last got stuck into bigPHIL on Mediawatch?

Geoff Honnor
Geoff Honnor
2022 years ago

I’m afraid I’m not persuaded re Brave Captain Oates Ken. That gallant fellow will remain so in my book until incontrovertible proof is produced. Edwardian parlour gossip Sir! I’ll hear no more of it!

mark
2022 years ago

I think so, Geoff: it’s a case of “if these inbred fuckwits disagree with me, I must be doing something right”.

Mork
Mork
2022 years ago

Howard is “Nixonite”? That’s just stupid.

Howard is a conservative, Nixon was basically a liberal on domestic policy and an opportunist in foreign policy.

And, you know, I don’t like the guy and I certainly think he has a lamentable disregard for the truth, but to compare Howard with a depraved, amoral sociopath like Nixon tells me that either you know very little about Nixon or Howard has driven you so crazy that you’re incapable of assessing him rationally.

Niall
2022 years ago

Bolt would have anything remotely different to his point of view expunged totally. Woe that anything or anyone differ to Andrew Bolt. The fellow rarely makes any sense to start with.

Gummo Trotsky
2022 years ago

Has anyone considered that Oates may have just slipped out to take a desperately needed slash, and got lost in the blizzard?

And much as I went for the whole gallant Captain Scott and his men versus the perfidious, dog-abusing Amundsen thing as I kid, these days I tend to have mre respect for Amundsen’s party, who ought to be recognised as every bit as gallant as Scott’s, but with a bit of nous about how to survive extreme cold thrown in.

James Russell
2022 years ago

Personally I don’t care whether P. Adams is on the left or right end of the political spectrum. I’d find him a massive bore whichever side he was on.

And calling Miranda Devine a “cardboard cutout rightie” is, frankly, an insult to cardboard.

Rex
Rex
2022 years ago

Back to the subject of the Bolt-Marr stoush. Has anybody actually read Broinowski’s book?

I have and I find it a brilliant piece of work.

She raises some very important issues for this country, which the concentration on the Bolt-Marr twaddle obscures.

She demonstrates very clearly that Asian opinion makers are deliberately and systematically marginalising Australia for their own political benefit, and that their tactics are transparently racist and hypocrtical.

Bolt’s down-market rant, is the very opposite of what is needed. We need a new sophistication in our internal debate, because the views that are crystalising in Asia are a very real threat to us.

I suggest you buy the book, and read it, and stop wasting time watching the feathers fly between Bolt and Marr.

Rex

Gummo Trotsky
2022 years ago

Rex,

After what you’ve just said, it seems a bit churlish to drag the thread back to the Bolt-Marr stoush. On the other hand, if your characterisation of Broinowski’s book is correct, its an indication that there might be more substance in Marr’s attack on Bolt than vice versa. Time for this little back duck to sit back and watch the fun from a more detached viewpoint and add Broinowski’s book to his must read sooner or later list.