April 01, 2004


Andrew Bolt responds to David Marrís usual carping:

Again, David Marr uses the $1.2 million we pay for "his" ABC Media Watch program to attack his personal enemies.

On Monday, Marr was again cross with me, this time for being mean to far-Left propagandist John Pilger.

My crimes? In saying Pilger thought our troops in Iraq were "legitimate targets", I hadn't given him "a chance to put his case" for a view that is, er, inexcusable. And in saying he'd trivialised the slaughter of Iraqi civilians by the terrorist "resistance" -- "in all resistances, it happens" -- I didn't simply say "civilians". Instead, I'd made clear the dead he so dismissed included "women and children splattered over a mosque by yet more suicide bombers".

Yes, I whacked your soulmate, David, but apologists for terrorists must be exposed, despite "your" ABC.

That budget figure -- $1.2 million for 39 fifteen-minute programs (in 2003) -- is interesting. Sounds big, but it works out to just $30,769 per show, or slightly more than $2,000 per minute; not expensive for locally-produced television. At this point I should probably explain that the reason for the ABC crew at my place the other day was part of a Media Watch co-host plan for the second half of the year. Itís early days yet, so weíll see what happens; initial feedback is encouraging, however. Long live the fair and balanced ABC!

UPDATE. As several readers suspected, rampant April 1 craziness was at play here. Why, the idea is preposterous! Although Greg Sheridan might welcome some Media Watch balance:

It has ceased to be a useful monitor of media inaccuracy and other misdemeanours and has become instead a wholly self-indulgent, routinely biased and left of centre, TV oped column which simply offers Marr a chance to broadcast his views without any balance or right of reply for his targets of attack. It is hard to see how repeated attack on those it sees as ideological opponents, and equal promotion for ideological fellow travellers, fulfills the ABC charter, or is a good use of taxpayers' money.

UPDATE II. And hereís an April Fools story that ainít fooliní nobody.

Posted by Tim Blair at April 1, 2004 03:37 AM

Media Watch with Tim Blair?!

That might even get me to turn my TV on!

Posted by: Pixy Misa at April 1, 2004 at 03:52 AM

Are you suggesting co-hosting ? The Tim and Dave Show - lotsa friendly banter, some joshing, bit 'o fun like ? Maybe even a drink together after the show. You know, bonding and all that. And what about poor Imre ? He must be hurting...
Ahhh, can't wait.

Posted by: jafa at April 1, 2004 at 04:11 AM

As long as you don't jinx the ABC deal by mentioning it well before you have an offer in hand. We have a similar show here in the US. Tip: in the TV world, folding chairs are apparently always stored on-camera and are just the thing to give a guy a good beating.

Good luck, Tim, it would really be a riot.

Posted by: Matt in Denver at April 1, 2004 at 05:23 AM

I'll buy that for a dollar.

Posted by: Sandy P. at April 1, 2004 at 06:37 AM

Eeeeeuuuuuwww! Tim, don't get too close! Meanwhile what about Media Watch's pathetic new moderated forum that nothing much gets posted on.
Bring back the old guestbook where heated comment was the order of the day!

Posted by: Kate at April 1, 2004 at 06:58 AM

Sold out Tim?. MEDIA WATCH will be just that little more expensive to produce at TAX payers expense.

Posted by: Gary at April 1, 2004 at 07:23 AM

Heh, but Gary at least now there can be an even broader number of taxpayers getting their dollars worth. The money assigned to the ABC doesn't change with each new employee, now does it? It gets assigned a budget. So really, it doesn't cost us anything more.

Posted by: Ken at April 1, 2004 at 07:30 AM

Yeh they can just use the money saved by not offering apprenticeships anymore .

Posted by: Gary at April 1, 2004 at 07:42 AM

A right-wing co-host on media watch? How can this be?
Tim, methinks David Marr is in love with you.

Posted by: TimT at April 1, 2004 at 09:22 AM

i'd like to believe you Tim, but the date makes me suspicious

Posted by: Monco at April 1, 2004 at 09:44 AM

"Being mean"?

In putting words in Pilger's mouth, misrepresenting what he said (no matter how twisted his views are) Bolt uses Chompsky-style argumentative techniques. So much for moral clarity of the right, eh?

Posted by: Adam at April 1, 2004 at 09:55 AM

The date gives it away Tim but shit I'd love to see it anyway!

Posted by: Jim at April 1, 2004 at 09:56 AM
Sold out Tim?. MEDIA WATCH will be just that little more expensive to produce at TAX payers expense.
Just wait until the ABC is forced to pick up the tab for one of Tim's long lunches in preparation of his appearance. Now don't get too outraged, ya hear me? Posted by: PW at April 1, 2004 at 10:21 AM

Can I be the first to tip the goo on David Marr's pointy head? (Good 01/04 gag as well).

Posted by: Habib at April 1, 2004 at 10:38 AM

"Long live the fair and balanced ABC! "

The joke is on me, you bastard.

Posted by: Gary at April 1, 2004 at 11:15 AM


Posted by: mojo at April 1, 2004 at 11:31 AM

That's right, change the system from within!

Oops, its after noon, guess I'm the Fool.

Posted by: eye at April 1, 2004 at 12:12 PM

The same sort of system (a mixture of media watchers of different political persuasions) is used with Spinsanity.org , and it works well there IMO.

Posted by: Andjam at April 1, 2004 at 12:31 PM

More on Media Watch and David Marr from Greg Sheridan. (Scroll to end of column.)

Posted by: ilibcc at April 1, 2004 at 12:38 PM

Listen to Monco you shall.

Can't believe I believed it when I first read it!

Posted by: CCD at April 1, 2004 at 01:12 PM

Hey, you could have guests on to duke it out in front of a live audience, say Tex and Pilger, Margo and Prof Bunyip, Andrea Harris and Niall .. it'd be just like Springer.
"Timmeee, Timmmeee, Timmeeee"!!!!

Posted by: slatts at April 1, 2004 at 01:24 PM

Murray Rivers was a really great artist. His duets with the beautiful Darling Downs had to be heard to be believed. In fact he was the influence behind my song Voodoo Child.

Posted by: Jimi at April 1, 2004 at 03:58 PM

Petard not Canard.Yes cannot expect you ABC boys to show polylinguistic skills but congratulations on defending Phil, the old bard . Slightly to the right of the marxist colleagues at the ABC he may be, but however is still a fully paid up member and worthy of "Solidarity" ( that's the word, we used a the L.S.E when defending POL POT another club member of the day).
Remember: The doctrine is always more important than the facts and we must use our writng skills to make sure the facts always reinforce the docrine.
i congratulate the ABC on adhering to these principles so well!

A true disciple (I hope)

Len Trotsky { no relation alas !}

Ps how i wish David Marr was running the country !

Posted by: davo at April 1, 2004 at 04:27 PM

Re Murray Rivers - is he related to the Australian Judge ?

Posted by: magoo at April 1, 2004 at 05:36 PM

Re: Greg Sheridan

Sheridan writes in his spray against Media Watch:

Far from copping flak for the column, I was rung by McCutcheon's producer to acknowledge McCutcheon's mistake in claiming Spain had gone to war in Iraq.

Perhaps, but surely this letter to the editor of The Australain should be counted as "copping flak":

GREG Sheridan (Opinion, 18/3) has convincingly outed himself as a man deaf to all but his own voice.

In attacking the ABC he used as a launch pad his appearance on Australia Talks Back on Radio National (16/3). His version of the on-air conversation he had with presenter Sandy McCutcheon is farcical.

Mr Sheridan's report of that conversation simply does not match what was said. He has even gone as far as putting his own words into Mr McCutcheon's mouth.

We're happy for Mr Sheridan to continue to argue with himself but it is unacceptable for him to use others as a print version of a ventriloquist's dummy to give the illusion that his imagined arguments are real.

Gerald Tooth
Executive Producer
Australia Talks Back
ABC Radio National

Anyway, if the actual conversation is this:

Sandy McCutcheon: No my point is Greg, I didnít know the war was over, I havenít met anyone who has thought that or said that before.

Greg Sheridan: Well thatís just ridiculous Sandy. I mean, the President announced the cessation of major combat operations. Australia is not at war in Iraq now, weíre part of a peace keeping operationÖ

And then if Sheridan writes the following:

Hang on, I replied. Spain didn't go to war in Iraq. It decided not to contribute to the war, which involved US, UK, Australian and Polish troops. It supported the war politically, but sent troops, as did dozens of other countries, only in the peacekeeping phase afterwards.

How ridiculous, replied McCutcheon. Nobody says that.

This implies that McCutcheon is dismissing Sheridan's argument as "ridiculous", when really it was Sheridan dismissing McCutcheon's observation as "ridiculous".

Sheridan can be accused of misrepresenting the conversation, and Media Watch can righty call him on it. For Sheridan to claim that he's been "verballed" and has not "copped any flak" is just as brazen as Mark Latham.

Posted by: Jethro at April 1, 2004 at 07:48 PM

Tim, Gary raises a serious point: it seems to me that you've been a consistent critic of publically-funded institutions such as the ABC, favouring private organisations.
So how do you justify accepting work and pay from the ABC?

Posted by: TimT at April 1, 2004 at 08:30 PM

TimT -- it's an April Fools gag.

Posted by: tim at April 2, 2004 at 02:50 AM


Posted by: TimT at April 2, 2004 at 09:13 AM