Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Bolter: The Gift That Keeps on Giving

It may not be common knowledge but a piece written in The Australian on Monday by Glenn Milne with allegations concerning the Prime Minister (but nothing more than a nasty muck-raking excercise) was pulled from the online edition of The Australian (it can be found here if you want to read it in full).

It was replaced by the following apology:
THE AUSTRALIAN published today an opinion piece by Glenn Milne which includes assertions about the conduct of the Prime Minister.

The Australian acknowledges these assertions are untrue. The Australian also acknowledges no attempt was made by anyone employed by, or associated with, The Australian to contact the Prime Minister in relation to this matter.

The Australian unreservedly apologises to the Prime Minister and to its readers for the publication of these claims.
Not some sort of half-arsed apology. A pretty full, all encompassing, "boy did we screw that one up", apology.

In addition to this retraction and apology, News Corporation also censored a couple of blogs posted by Andrew Bolt, he of the local tabloid, Herald-Sun.

This was all done allegedly as a a result of some harsh words between the Prime Minister and the CEO/Chair of News Limited, John Hartigan.

Good old Bolt has then had a good ol' dummy spit today.

Appararently he went on strike. For a couple of hours. I'm not sure if too many people noticed.

A bit of a whine on the radio.

And now this article which I am guessing will be in Wednesday's Herald Sun. Read it in full here:

Prime Minister Julia Gillard's Hand Overplayed.

Sometimes these blogs just write themselves, with the help of Andrew Bolt, the gift that keeps on giving.

Where to start?

For an columnist who continually oversteps the lines of decency, I find the opening line a case of the pot calling the kettle black:

THE Prime Minister overstepped the line when she called the chairman and CEO of News Limited, John Hartigan.
Then a line that seeks to suggest without actually stating:
Calls that look like an attempt at censorship have many sinister overtones, with threats of inquiries and forced sales left hanging in the air.
Then the line that promised so much. But unfortunately failed to deliver:
I was considering resigning as a News Limited columnist.
There were shouts of joy, and parties being hastily arranged. Unfortunately it appears the streamers may have been hung up a little to early, as it the resignation was only considered, and not acted carried out. More on that in a moment.

All this because of his articles were pulled from his online blog.

Interestestingly he states that on Saturday he was instructed not to comment on the alleged matters until further legal advice had been received. No mention is made of the outcome of that legal advice. But, no matter, Bolt went ahead anyway. As a result ...

Posts from my blog were pulled on Monday, although I believe they were fair, accurate and in the public interest.
Because his beliefs are apparently stronger than legal advice.

A few paragraphs down Bolt makes the implication that the Prime Minister's judgement is questionable as a result of being involved with someone who later turned out to be a con. That's pretty much it. The manner in which this involvement (which occurred many years ago) somehow means that she is not a fit person to hold the office of Prime Minister is what one might consider to be "drawing  a very-very-very long bow".

Still throw enough mud and some of it is bound to stick. Which is what Bolt hopes with blogs like this.

The fact that the Prime Minister actually has enough clout to speak directly to the News Limited CEO to get the original articles pulled and for an apology to issue is what really riles Bolt. Someone with more "power" than him has actually used it, and has stopped him from writing something.

What then follows are a couple of "join the dots" paragraphs where it is implied that News Limited could be nervous about potential political action being taken by Government to somehow affect the way News Limited operates in this country. I find this very funny indeed as the implication normally is the exact opposite, that politicians need to keep chummy with the media so that they keep the negative reporting to a minimum. I guess the current attitude by Gillard and the Government is "Bugger that. What is the media going to do that is worse than what they are doing now?" Sometimes the best form of defence is attack and Gillard is using this strategy. The bully boy media organisation doesn't like this and steps back, shaken.

Well here comes Bolt to rescue the poor media empire. But first the suggested resignation:
Not being able to report on what I consider improper pressure by a desperate Prime Minister to kill a story meant I could not report fairly on the political scene as I saw it.

I could not do my job, and I consulted friends about resigning. I am now told that News Limited was just being cautious while it checked its legal position. Hartigan told me: "At no stage is my job to stop stories getting into papers."
That's a curious, but slightly meaningless thing for Hartigan to say. And what exactly does that mean? And how is that supposed to placate Bolt? Well it seems to have. For he hasn't resigned. Yet.

So then back to attacking the Prime Minister by Bolt.  But not before a suck up to his employer:

I thank News Limited for defying the Prime Minister and letting me write as I have above.

I apologise for doubting its commitment to free speech.
And then the final insinnuation about the Prime Minister:

But be aware how endangered is our freedom to speak as we find, especially of this Prime Minister.
Something tells me this is not over. Not by a long shot. But I think Bolt needs to be careful as the Prime Minister has her back up, and quite frankly so she should. The constant smearing of her name and reputation by the likes of Bolt would slowly but inevitably lead to a reaction by the Prime Minister.I just don't think he is fully prepared for the sort of repurcussions that this will lead to.

The article is a dummy spit and reminds me of the saying "If you can't stand the heat get out of the kitchen".

I think Bolt got his fingers burnt yesterday.

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