Where the Truth Goes to Die.
Until recently I was in the habit of attending a writers forum every Monday. The group was made up of poets, short story writers, journalists and would be novelists. The conveyer of our group was a wise elderly lady who in terms of the written word, knew her stuff. Primarily I am a creative writer of short stories and poetry. I have read poetry at the national gallery and I have won a few short story competitions. Of late I seem to have drifted, or been enticed (because of my interest in politics) into the world of the blogger. Anyway, one day we had a group discussion on the current standard of journalism. We were asked to take a slip of paper with a journalists name on it and the newspaper they wrote for, from a box. Bingo, lo and behold I had the name Bolt perched between thumb and forefinger.
So I gave my view. “He is a writer of very little journalistic distinction I said. He is apt to write for an audience in a style suitable for the intelligence of 13 year olds. His writing is never challenging (not even a word) in a literary sense and his sentences usually carry the weight of invective untruth. He writes with journalist flamboyance which is calculated to offend the targeted and please his cohort of followers. Because truth and journalistic shrill are incompatible he relegates truth to unconscionable practice. In short,he writes with the venom of a snake but with this snake there seems to be no antidote. He also writes for a tabloid newspaper where the truth goes to die.” And that was the end of my little rant.
I might add that it is the same style that Tony Abbott employs orally. You simply tell people what it is you think they want to hear. It’s what Abbott meant when after his “climate change is crap” comment he said. “I was speaking to an audience”. Lies, after all, are unimportant.
In a democracy the right to free speech in given by the people through the parliament. Therefore, it should be incumbent on people to display decorum, moderation, truth, fact, balance, reason, tolerance, civility and respect for the other point of view.
Andrew Bolt has never thought highly of these ideals. He prefers provocative sensationalism. After all why should he. He is probably paid loads of money to do just that. Newspapers all over the world are fighting for survival and the Herald Sun is one of many. The Australian loses huge amounts each year but Murdoch props it up because of its political influence. It is the go to newspaper for conservatives. The Melbourne Age is also losing circulation and trying to follow the same course with its own brand of tabloid nonsense. So how do you prop up circulation? You have writers like Bolt write inflammatory titillating nonsense to a largely disengaged, uninformed audience with journalism that appeals to societies lowest values.
“It is said of pornography (and I am not expert in this field) that in order to maintain the viewers interest it needs to progressively become more outlandish – more tantalising – more seductive-more flirtatious-more provocative – more stunning and more enticing. And in their desire to maintain some dominance,that’s exactly what main stream media is doing. It has chosen to prostitute itself in the forlorn hope of remaining relevant”
Recall Bolt’s recent brush with the law. For me that judgment had little to do with free speech but more to do with the standard of journalism that the Herald Sun is responsible for.Justice Bromberg, wrote that Bolt’s use of language and structure (quote) ”is highly suggestive and designed to excite”. His style was ”not careful, precise or exact” and the language ”not moderate or temperate but often strong and emphatic”. ‘There is a liberal use of sarcasm and mockery,” he wrote. ”Language of that kind has a heightened capacity to convey implications beyond the literal meaning of the words utilised. It is language, which invites the reader to not only read the lines, but to also read between the lines.”
During the London riots, Bolt in one of his pieces used the word ‘aped’ to describe the copycat behaviour of some people. The use of the word was legitimate in that sense until you appreciate that he was talking about black West Indians, and then the word took on a different connotation. That of a racist intent.
In 2002, Magistrate Jelena Popovic was awarded $246,000 damages for defamation after suing Bolt and the publishers of the Herald Sun over a 13 December 2000 column in which he claimed she had “hugged two drug traffickers she let walk free”. Popovic asserted she had in fact shaken their hands to congratulate them on having completed a rehabilitation program. The jury found that the article was not true, that it was not a faithful and accurate record of judicial proceedings and that it was not a fair comment on a matter of public import. A court of Appeal later reversed some punitive damages, though it upheld the defamation finding, describing Bolt’s conduct as “at worst, dishonest and misleading and at best, grossly careless”.
Then there is his spat with Robert Manne about the stolen generation. If you have followed this ongoing argument, you cannot but be impressed with the lucidity of Robert Manne’s writing compared with Andrew Bolt’s simple meanderings. It is astonishing. You have to be impressed by Manne’s research. The way he takes you on a factual, believable journey full of insight and truth. Manne also some time ago analysed the poisonous influence of Rupert Murdoch’s News Limited in this country, particularly through the extremist editorial policy of The Australian Newspaper, where the truth is distorted and contrary views vilified. Manne followed up with a brilliantly written and researched “Quarterly Essay” concluding that “The Australian” is more a propaganda sheet than a newspaper.
Australians have had to put up with the rantings and ravings of populist main stream media for far too long, where extremist views are regularly presented on TV, radio, and particularly via the monopolistic media empire of Rupert Murdoch, the person ultimately responsible for the scandalous phone tapping scandal in Britain, which has earned him world wide opprobrium.
In the advent of a conservative government being elected on September 14 in the year of our lord 2013. A requiem mass for the death of truth in main stream media and government will be held at old Parliament House Canberra. The service will be conducted by Archbishop Murdoch and assisted by an Abbott. The eulogy will be given by Andrew Bolt and prayers will be read by Piers Akerman and Alan Jones.
Prayers will also be offered for the death of the following by the leader of the opposition.
The National Disability Scheme.
A plebiscite for a republic.
The lose of school hand outs.
Tax cuts for lower income earners.
Increased superannuation payments.
The death of the Murray Darling.
The mining tax.
Thousands of jobs.
Equality in education.
Those who believe in the virtue of truth will not be welcome. Women will be directed toward the kitchen.