Thursday, January 08, 2009


It comes as no surprise that freelance journalist Katherine Wilson (aka Sharon Gould; aka weathergirl) has achieved mainstream notoriety not through fact-based reporting or well-argued opinion but rather by duping Quadrant's editorial staff into publishing a well-crafted but bogus article.

Wilson's most personally revealing writing was once found on collective blogs Larvatus Prodeo (moderate left) and Left Writes (far left). Wilson's LP posts were removed at her request after a falling out with proprietor Mark Bahnisch. It is unclear exactly why her LW posts were removed. I suspect Wilson's self-described intemperance accounts, at least in part, for the disappeance of her online writing:
This blogging medium is great for folk who have arrived at positions, or who have considered opinions, or who have a wealth of knowledge behind them. I have none of these: I’m impulsive, rash and have a bower-bird approach to knowledge. So often I’m thrashing out ideas which I haven’t thought through.
The disclaimer above comes after a Wilson post at Left Writes, followed by one several days later at Larvatus Prodeo, proposing that the previously unknown Arterial Bloc protesters, who violently disrupted the 2006 Melbourne G20 summit, were actually police agents. When her conspiracy theory was soundly rejected by LP's other bloggers and commenters alike, Wilson updated the post:
Update: please let it be clear that I don’t believe this conspiracy theory, much as I enjoy proposing it.
In order to make it appear that she never really believed the agents provocateurs theory she herself proposed, Wilson later removed the update and inserted the following into the body of the post:
(Please let it be clear that I don’t believe this conspiracy theory, much as I enjoy proposing it.)
A major edit like that should have been noted; it's a matter of integrity. Wilson's views on abortion also say something about her character:
I felt nothing but relief when undergoing abortion–the surgeon, in Townsville where I had it, even allowed me to take a peek when he scanned the bunch of cells he was about to remove. I did not for a moment wrestle with any moral question, any more than those sitting down to eat a steak from a sentient animal do. (Although a meat-eater, I find the latter more morally troubling.)
It is unclear at what point Wilson came to regard the child she now carries as something more than a valueless "bunch of cells".

None of the above has any bearing on Wilson's clever and well-executed Quadrant stunt. It does help explain Wilson's decision to seek notoriety through deception, however. In duping Quadrant she discredits (at least a bit) both the magazine and editor Keith Windschuttle; something she could never achieve through honest argument.

Update: John Quiggin:
The real hoax victims here have been those on the political right, who’ve repeatedly swallowed Windschuttle’s promises to refute well-established facts about Australian history “later this year” and who are now getting their “science” from his discredited magazine.


Anonymous TimT said...

Nice title.

Maybe Wilson likes a good conspiracy theory so much because, as she's demonstrated, she has an excellent capacity for conspiring against others. She spent over a year planning this hoax in Quadrant, and the whole thing hinged on a few footnotes and the name of the contributor. If she thinks everyone else is like her... she MUST be paranoid!

6:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Quiggin is getting more and more bitter as time goes on. A great mind ruined by hate and ideology.

10:21 AM  

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