By The Editor
Cross posted at GrodsCorp
Oh dear. Andrew Bolt has gone into martyr overdrive today in celebrating the ten year anniversary of his column in the Herald Sun.
Here’s yet another page or more of me telling you what I think. Such arrogance.
And the worst is that this has been going on for a decade. In fact, it was this week 10 years ago that I was given this twice-weekly column.
Bolta reckons he’s learned a few lessons in those ten years. Let’s have a look at them one-by-one.
Lesson 1: Don’t be shy. If I don’t fill this column space, it’s sure to be filled by an even greater idiot.
For instance, if I hadn’t filled this space with columns warning that then Labor leader Mark Latham had character flaws that could “completely destroy not just Latham, but Labor”, you’d almost certainly have had to read the exact opposite, given almost every other columnist supported him.
Truth be told, I didn’t realise that Bolta was single handedly responsible for Mark Latham losing the 2004 election. I was under the impression that Latham was single handedly responsible for Latham losing the election.
Lesson 2: Toot your own triumphs.
As shown. After all, when you start criticising fellow journalists, you’re up for pack-payback, and it’s wise to give readers some reason to think you’re not as advertised: a “village idiot”, “extremist”, “lap-dog”, “mad professor”, and, of course, “racist”.
Of course, Andy. You talk yourself up only to defend yourself. Nothing to do with being full of yourself.
Lesson 3: Facts seem barely to count against a moral crusade.
So Bolta has made it his stock in trade to counter with carefully selected facts that support his own moral crusade.
Lesson 4: The more moral the campaign, the less likely journalists are to tell the truth.
Here, for instance, are some of the facts which I found the more fashionable journalists refusing to report for fear the truth would destroy their Truth.
– The world stopped warming in 1998.
– No one can name even 10 Aboriginal children stolen from their parents just because they were black.
– Several people “helped” by euthanasia guru Philip Nitschke were not dying, or even in pain.
Name just three, Andrew. Just three. (Also, do you like the way he uses a capital ‘T’ for the other journalists’ “Truth”?)
Lesson 5: Reporting facts that others won’t will make you seem mad.
Your seeming mad has to do with other things, Andy.
Lesson 6. But being wrong hurts more than being mocked.
At first that wasn’t so. Who wants to be thought evil or dumb?
But keep your job and your cool long enough, and the truth will quietly out.
If there’s one thing that Bolta has never been able to keep, it’s his cool. A shriller, more grumpy “journalist” the world has never seen.
Lesson 7: When facts alone don’t count, naming and shaming might.
I started to call Prof Robert Manne, the leading theorist of the “stolen generations”, its leading “propagandist” instead, and I challenged him: “Name just 10 truly ‘stolen’ children.”
Personalising it like this invites revenge, that’s true, and can seem too nasty. But it can also hotly prod a response when cold facts don’t.
Manne, enraged, decided to take our debate public – to the Melbourne Writers’ Festival – and the rest is history, Manne and his list included. Just name 10, Robert.
Oh, I see. All that shrill stuff is just a journalistic tool to out Truth (sic). Makes perfect sense.
Lesson 8 – There is no “everyone”.
When someone says “everyone agrees”, they usually mean everyone like them – and that is especially true when “everyone” is the teacher-preacher class that hogs microphones, pulpits and newspaper keyboards, drowning out debate.
And Bolta sure does have a hard time getting heard. He has a twice weekly, full page column in Australia’s best selling newspaper, he appears regularly on several radio stations, he is a panelist on Insiders, and next week he’s following in Timmeh Blair’s underwhelming footsteps and appearing on Q & A. Those damn lefties and their debate-stifling ways.
On the set of Insiders I had to be given the lone chair on the far right of the screen. This, because I had the nerve to share the judgment of most Australians over four elections.
Hearts fucking bleed, Bolta.
But what is the moral of Bolta’s tale of self-love?
And that brings me to the ultimate lesson I’ve learned over these 10 years: that it’s best to write for your readers, not your peers.
Some may think you a fool or a bighead and too often wrong. But if most figure you’re just trying your best to describe things as they are, you might just have a job for a decade.
And may you bring us regular doses of “journalistic” hilarity for another ten years to come, Andy. Happy birthday.