August 02, 2004

MARGO AND THE GLOBAL MENACE

Margo Kingston possibly imagines that interest in her global conspiracy-mongering -- "the fundamentalist Zionist lobby controls politics and the media in the US and Australia" -- has faded. It hasn't. Let's review things so far:

First, Margo announced her bold theory. The response of readers (and SMH staff) surprised her:

Obviously, I did not mean what many people believed I meant. I am not anti-semitic, and I thought what I wrote was a statement of fact. Is there a language problem here?

Note the bewildered tone, continued throughout that post. What I say? Then, after maybe getting a clue, Margo begged forgiveness:

I unreservedly retract my statement that fundamentalist Zionists "control" politics and the media in Australia.

Her "statement of fact" quickly morphed into something quite different:

I'm inexperienced in this debate, which I avoided before Ashrawi and have promised myself I will never enter again! It was a throwaway line that I deeply regret.

If Margo is "inexperienced in this debate", why did she enter it with such lunatic abandon? The blundering doofus then removed the "throwaway line" from Der Webendairystufel:

I have removed my response to this question after extreme sloppiness in my use of language caused offence to many readers.

Wrong. Margo's sloppiness didn't offend; her readers are used to that. No, people were upset by Margo's uncharacteristic precision. You can't get more precise than this: "The fundamentalist Zionist lobby controls politics and the media in the US and Australia." The Age's Pamela Bone was among the disgusted:

In Australia, swastikas on mosques and graffiti on a Sydney freeway saying "Jews make good lampshades". On the website of a respected journalist, the allegation that "the fundamentalist Zionist lobby controls politics and the media in the US and Australia". Strange that I've been in the media in Australia for 25 years and no one from this lobby has tried to control what I write.

Imre Salusinszky -- warning: Jewish! -- at The Australian then discovered that Margo had deleted earlier remarks on the debate she admits knowing little about. Specifically, these:

Far from protecting Jewish people against future atrocities, the Fundamentalist Zionist lobby is actually promoting anti-Semitism by its actions and tactics. Neither major party in either country is game to protest, because the power of the lobby is such that careers can be ruined. It is becoming increasingly obvious that John Howard is the lobby's strong choice to win the election, and that means big money and big power will be behind him.

Big money. Big power. Big Zion! Margo's unannounced deletion contravened Official Webdiary Rule #3827, which states that alterations to archives will be declared to readers. Her excuse was masterful:

Soon after publishing the item concerned on Friday night, I read an email from a work colleague who had found my comment in the previous dayís entry On the road again offensive. I then looked at the Rubenstein piece and cut out everything which I thought could conceivably offend anyone. I have no wish to personally offend people on Webdiary.

As often happens with ethics codes, a conflict can sometimes arise and a judgment must be made. Do I keep the lines Iíd taken out in and cross them out? Or do I delete them and note that Iíve deleted unspecified material? Since the piece had not been published for long, and was published at night, when few if any people would have read it, I chose to leave it at that. So I breached one ethic to protect another.

Beats me what she means by "do I keep the lines I'd taken out in and cross them out"; reads like something Dr. Seuss might scribble after a visit from Samuel Coleridge. As for "I chose to leave it at that"; at what? Margo didn't leave the line there -- she erased it. Which ethic was she protecting? Margo doesn't say.

In unrelated news, Media Watch will be fun tonight.

UPDATE. Naturally, nothing from Media Watch on Margo's meltdown. But they did cover a three-week old celebrity controversy already comprehensively dealt with by Spin Starts Here and Out With The New.

Posted by Tim Blair at August 2, 2004 02:05 PM
Comments

Margo: ...published at night, when few if any people would have read it??

I was under the impression that there was no curfew on the internet.

Posted by: Dylan at August 2, 2004 at 02:21 PM

If I were not a humanist, I would say this woman is too stupid to live. As it is, I say she's too stupid to write. Please, somebody, do the humane thing and retire her to a horse farm or something.

Posted by: Rebecca at August 2, 2004 at 02:34 PM

Australia has never really led the world in gymnastics but what I have just witnessed from the Margster fills me with hope on the eve of the Olympic$. Is it too late to include her in our team.

Her "floor routine" consisting of a double inverted twist, spin, pike, anonymously-delete, then insert-head-up-own-anus in trying to defend her indefinsibly "Hanson-esque" simplistic and hateful rant was breathtaking.

The Sydney Morning Herald mustbe called on the answer why she has been retained as a contributor when journalists with wit, talent and INTEGRITY have been axed.

One rule for all Margo !

E

Posted by: the_GOP_Elephant at August 2, 2004 at 02:41 PM

Margo's not stupid, she's just blinded by hatred. The editors at Fairfax aren't stupid, this whole Margo thing must be a relief to them as it takes media watchers eyes off McGeough who still hasn't presented any evidence to justify his defamation of Iraq's Interim P.M. Allawi.

Posted by: David D at August 2, 2004 at 02:48 PM

I'm actually somewhat glad the response managed to shock the idea into her addled brain that Zionists controlling the world is not a "statement of fact". Maybe she'll learn to reconsider all the other "facts" she's taken for granted up to now.

Posted by: Sortelli at August 2, 2004 at 02:54 PM

Will some think the Zionist press and politics masters forced her to retract and redact her honest opinion? Just asking, 'cause this may be her claim down the line, sadly enough.

Posted by: c at August 2, 2004 at 03:05 PM

You should have called it 'Der Webendairystufel' that would have been funnier somehow.

Posted by: Amos at August 2, 2004 at 03:11 PM

Sadly, I've had discussions with liberal/progressive friends that I've always considered far above knee jerk anti-semitism or any other form of racism .

Yet, since 9/11, many inveigh against Israel and the "Zionists" and neo-cons with the fervor of KKK acolytes and skinheads.

Part of me understands their reaction as fear of the unknown but part of me is repulsed as if I'd never truly known these people.

I guess the chips are down, the masks are off, and the so-called liberals and progressives of the western world have revealed themselves for history to condemn.

Posted by: JDB at August 2, 2004 at 03:16 PM

What I find particularly disturbing is the possibility that certain members of the "koolaid krew" - including, perhaps, Kingston - will interpret the justifiable outrage at her anti-semetic remarks as evidence of the influence of the nefarious FZL.

Posted by: fidens at August 2, 2004 at 03:19 PM

Sorry c, I missed your post.

Posted by: fidens at August 2, 2004 at 03:21 PM

fidens,

Just make sure it doesn't happen, again. I have connections in high, masterful places that can stop you from expressing your opinion or from voting your will

but only in AUS and the US. :>)

Posted by: gentile collaborator c at August 2, 2004 at 03:42 PM

JDB

I guess the chips are down, the masks are off, and the so-called liberals and progressives of the western world have revealed themselves for history to condemn.

Profound, and sadly all too true.

Posted by: Spiny Norman at August 2, 2004 at 04:04 PM

I think Zionists controlling the media and exploiting the Holocaust is a Chomskiest theme and thats why it seems to be prevalent in some parts of the Left.

Posted by: drscroogemcduck at August 2, 2004 at 04:31 PM

Margo Kingston disappears, zionist conspirators unavailable for comment

Posted by: random prose at August 2, 2004 at 05:05 PM

GOP-

Sadly, Margo is only second-place on the Aus gymnastics team. Her routine took several days, while Peter Garret managed a 180ŹŹŹ-degree inverted backflip in the course of one interview question.

Posted by: Dave S. at August 2, 2004 at 05:07 PM


Margo's defense is hilarious. Does she expect anyone to believe that she's never, ever heard the anti-Semitic "Jews run the world" schtick before? She knew exactly what she was saying. She just thought it was socially acceptable again. Now, where might she have gotten that idea?

Kinda makes you wonder about the crowd she hangs out with, donnit?

Posted by: Dave S. at August 2, 2004 at 05:13 PM


Anti-Semitism in the West has been hiding under a rock for 60 years.

When it peeks out its head, it's "anti Israeli policies."

When it slithers out partways, it's "anti-Zionism."

When it kicks the rock off its back it writes a column and shows us the whole damn snake.

Posted by: Dave S. at August 2, 2004 at 05:22 PM
"As often happens with ethics codes, a conflict can sometimes arise and a judgment must be made. Do I keep the lines Iíd taken out in and cross them out? Or do I delete them and note that Iíve deleted unspecified material?"

I think she's talking about the strikethrough tag. That way she could keep her ideas prejudices out there while officially disavowing them.

Posted by: Kevin at August 2, 2004 at 05:46 PM

Word has officially come through.

Having deleted all records of her stated view that a "fundamentalist Zionist lobby controls politics and the media in the US and Australia"

and of course having stated that she now believes that this false view was completely false and baseless

The Secretariat of the International Fundamentalist Zionist Lobby to Control Politics and the Media (Sydney branch) today officially decreed that Margo is free to work in the media again.

Statement ends

Posted by: the International Fundamentalist Zionist Lobby to Control Politics and the Media (Sydney branch) at August 2, 2004 at 06:12 PM

Tim, was that Imre, or the Strewth column?

Posted by: slatts at August 2, 2004 at 06:59 PM

Media Watch fun????
David Marr on leave from the SMH and permanently on leave of his senses.

Posted by: gubbaboy at August 2, 2004 at 07:37 PM

Poor Margo. Who would have thought that words would have such consequences?

Speaking of which - how is Paul McGeough going? Seems like that front page story really didn't get the traction that it needed - must have been the Zionist media controlling arrrggghhhhh!! *transmission terminated*.

Posted by: Rob at August 2, 2004 at 07:41 PM

What does Margo's SMH colleague Robert Manne, who furiuuosly pursed Helen Darville for alleged anti-Semitism, think of Margo's behaviour and "statements of fact"?

Posted by: Sue at August 2, 2004 at 07:53 PM

Full disclosure: I'm Jewish and I think Margo is annoying. I found her original statement regretable. Nevertheless I found her contrition sincere. While antisemitism is undoubtably a problem in Europe, I think it's a bit of a stretch to link the Australian left, in general, with Jew hatred. Most Australian lefties probably wouldn't even be critical of Zionism if it didn't go via anti-Americanism!

Posted by: hook nose at August 2, 2004 at 08:16 PM

I'd believe you were who you claim to be if it weren't for your offensive nickname and the fact that you aren't leaving a real email address, "hook nose." As it is, I am inclined to believe you are another troll.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at August 2, 2004 at 08:40 PM

"hook nose". How delightful. Why not "dirty kike"? Dope.

I as an American Jew am quite secure in my belief that anti semitism is now a plank of the Democratic Party and the left. As stated above, it is always stated with the mealy mouth words about "anti Zionism" or "neo cons" etc but my ears hear "Jew".

In America nationally known politicians do not hesitate to blame the Jews for problems in the world or for American policy they don't approve of: McDermott, Moran, Hollings, McKinley, etc.

My only problem with this is that the "Ghetto Jews", those Jews who have never strayed from the uber liberal Democratic party line, are too blinded to see what is obvious in that outside of their vote, they are not wanted and in fact despised.

Posted by: hen at August 2, 2004 at 09:55 PM

Well, just finished watching Media Watch (David Marr is such a fucking wanker) and surprise surprise, no mention of Margo, just wasted time on Kyle and Jackie-O (what a kill-joy, their target is teenage kids, if you don't like it David, then turn it off)

Posted by: tc at August 2, 2004 at 10:37 PM

I saw media watch tonight.
Mmmmmm, when is there going to be a media watch on media watch? David Marr wants the ABC to provide recycled leftist trash to the potential film making Michael Moores of Australia .
I hate those meeces to peeces.

Posted by: gubbaboy at August 2, 2004 at 10:41 PM

If the ABC starts selling footage to groups that are making political documentaries then the ABC should start running advertisements. Surely selling footage would hurt the ABCs independence as much as selling ad spots. :)

Posted by: drscroogemcduck at August 2, 2004 at 11:04 PM

The old "the fundamentalist Zionist lobby controls politics and the media in the US and Australia" line is one of the hallmarks of antisemitism. Antisemites have been saying nonsense like this for generations. That she believes it true says a lot about her.

Had she written any similarily stupid "statements of fact" about someone other than Jews, e.g. blacks, then she would've probably been condemned as a racist. However, it seems OK in some quarters to make blatantly antisemitic remarks.

Posted by: Larry J at August 3, 2004 at 02:37 AM

I suppose the two ethics in conflict were: (1) expressing her true thoughts and feelings in her webdiary; and (2) maintaining a public persona as something other than the clueless antismite she is.

Posted by: eoin at August 3, 2004 at 06:45 AM

I'm willing to accept that Margo said those things out of ignorance and not from a secret hatred, and I'm willing to believe she's really sorry now, but it's not like that is an excuse.

Lines like that are probably thrown around all the time in her circle of fellow travellers. It doesn't make it better that half of those people who passed it on to her probably didn't know what they were saying either.

Posted by: Sortelli at August 3, 2004 at 09:43 AM

Sortelli,
It's not like 'ignorance' and 'secret hatred' are the only two choices here. Whilst it is always risky attributing motives, I am prepared to grant that Kingston does not actually 'hate' Jews, in the sense that she wants them all out of Australia (or dead). I do think, however, that her remarks are designed to pander to the prejudices held by many of her readers, some of whom DO hate Jews. For better or worse, those who are in a position to inform and influence (indoctrinate?) have a heavier moral burden than most of us plebs - Kingston dropped hers.

"With great power comes great responsibility."

Posted by: fidens at August 3, 2004 at 09:57 AM

Yeah, you've got a point. I also think that people who get themselves into positions to influence know enough about people to know what they're saying, even when they play dumb. Margo should have known better, and it could be that her only remorse is from getting the wrong reaction.

I just have a hard time thinking of Margo as being that smart. :)

Posted by: Sortelli at August 3, 2004 at 11:58 AM

I've followed Margo's career primarily through this site, but I cannot believe that she is so dumb as not to realize the antisemitic nature of her comments before she wrote them. It's not as if it isn't a well-known slur to claim that Jews secretly control the media and governments to do their evil bidding. So, she is either (1) one of the dumbest individuals in the chattering class; (2) anti-semitic herself; or (3) not anti-semitic but willing to use anti-semitic language to further her own political beliefs. Great choice.

Posted by: eoin at August 3, 2004 at 12:08 PM

Still waiting to hear from Robert Manne. Anyone got his e-mail address?

Posted by: Sue at August 3, 2004 at 03:49 PM

I REALLY think somebody should bring a HREOC hearing against Kingston on this issue.

Posted by: neoconchick at August 3, 2004 at 05:25 PM

Stupid anti semites.. give all us left wing people a bad name.

Posted by: caspian at August 3, 2004 at 08:01 PM

The idea that anti-Semitism gives leftism a bad name reminds me of Churchill's comment that Tom Driburg gave buggery in public lavatories a bad name.

Posted by: Sue at August 3, 2004 at 09:57 PM

I still feel incredulous about this. Iíve read Kingstonís Webdiary and her ineffectual apologies: ĎIím so sorry; I thought it was a statement of fact; I never meantÖ..í Kingston seems even to be unaware that her original quote could have come direct from the authors of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion; and unaware too of the things that followed from that.

Itís happening Ė or itís happened already. In the slow march of political time, the jackboot of the left has finally found its counterpart on the right, and they have found a terrifying rhythm; they march in step, toe to toe. Itís the Jews. It always was. We knew this, even when we thought we didnít. Of course it was; itís so clear to us now. What else could explain it all? What other sense could we make of it? Theirs is the concealed hand, the hand that activates the puppet. The IZL is behind it all; itís out there, invisible but endlessly malignant.

For a hundred years the Left has had decency, common sense and Emile Zola on its side, even when it was wrong. Now, if Kingston is typical of the set, itís lost all of them. Kingstonís error was not a mistake; it wasnít something you can apologise for; you canít come back from where sheís been. Hers was a reach-back into the heart of darkness. I wonder how she can live with it.

Posted by: Rob at August 3, 2004 at 10:30 PM

Rebecca - you are a humanist - the only humane thing to do is to paper-train your dog with her column!

Posted by: Joe at August 3, 2004 at 11:37 PM

I lost a left-wing friend for good when, in an impassioned email about global politics, he included the tripwire word "zionists". It's always a dead giveaway.

Posted by: Peter Ness at August 3, 2004 at 11:52 PM

I think we can call what Margo engaged in as an "ethic cleansing".

Posted by: Bob at August 4, 2004 at 02:01 AM