NO GARDEN grows without fertilizer. So, in order to stimulate my mental arboretum and find material for this blog, I will admit to sometimes visiting the sites and thoughts or some very mucky individuals. People like Andrew Bolt, for example, who is always good for a laugh, even if it is through gritted teeth. The great Jeremy Sear regularly dissects Bolt’s rancid tripe, and I feel inadequate trying to do what he does so easily and with such acidic aplomb. But this morning after checking the hate-spewer’s blog, my blood is boiling.
What has he done this time? Published an obscene, vicious, nasty, foul and entirely inappropriate attack on a real journalist, the Sydney Morning Herald’s Phillip Coorey.
Let me explain something before I go on. When I could still get out and about, I was no good at tennis, which my ex-partner would force me to play. I have no skills in that sport and, because I am a bit well-padded around the hips (one thing that makes me like and understand what drives Julia), I always felt uncomfortable when he trotted me out at the tennis club. When I fluffed a shot, I could watch his body language tell me that I was useless, an idiot. It was psychological abuse, pure and simple. One thing, though, that I came to understand was that my lack of aptitude for the sport of tennis obliged me to refrain from telling other people what they were doing wrong on the court.
That’s what brings me to Bolt. On every issue I can think of, Bolt is wrong. As a journalist he is as bad at writing and analysis as I was at hitting a yellow ball with a strung racket. Bolt refuses to understand that our planet is on the brink of an ecological abyss. He declines to recognize the manipulative, shameless saturation of the Murdoch press with pro-Carbon sermons inspired (and usually paid for) by Big Carbon and the greenhouse lobby. He sneers at Muslims, scoffs at the Greens and peddles a confrontational style that fills simpletons’ heads with venomous bile which, at this moment when the earth is in crisis, encourages the ignorant to resist any and all measures that might, just might if we act decisively, stabilize the global eco-sphere.
He has no qualifications to criticize decent reporters like Coorey – and he especially has no qualifications to slam the Sydney Morning Herald columnist for his thought this morning. Basically, Coorey is blasting people like Bolt and shock jocks like Neil Mitchell for their gross rudeness to our leaders, Julia most of all.
Coorey understands that, when everything hangs in the balance and direct action is the only remedy for pending disaster, it does nobody any good if the press chorus starts singing out of tune. How can you have a discussion that has a chance of reaching the appropriate conclusion if the ravening jackals of the right-wing media turn every debate into a competition to see who can heap the most abuse and ridicule on our elected leaders.
Does not the office of Prime Minister demand deference and respect by virtue of its very nature? Bolt builds his profile (and Big Carbon-subsidised income) by being rude to our leaders. So does Mitchell, who owes his ratings to his confrontational style.
That is why we really need the Fairfax press to be preserved. It is perhaps the only news outlet in the country where a recognition of the greater public good trumps the need for ratings and profits. Coorey dares to point this out today – and Bolt, of course, swoops down from the high tower of his hypocrisy to lacerate the SMH star columnist for – wait for it – his lack of rudeness!
Can you believe it! Like most of the quislings for American cultural imperialism, Bolt is taking his cues from the violent thugs of America’s Tea Party movement, which delights in assaulting the mainstream media in the same breath that it advocates homophobia, racism and the religious right. Now that cancer is spreading in Australia, and it is the hate-spewers like Bolt who are its seed cells. If he and his ilk are not silenced, the disease of me-first individualism, of a lack of respect for authorities, will metastasize.
I have a few thoughts about how this can be countered and will blog about this a bit later today.
Meanwhile, Bolt will be fit to criticize a sane, polite, deferential reporter like Coorey when I start giving tennis tips.
In other words, never.