Crikey versus Andrew Bolt: more than the typical blog war
The simmering feud between left-wing independent news site Crikey and conservative Herald Sun (News Ltd) columnist and blogger Andrew Bolt has flared with Bolt's publication of an excerpt from a letter to Crikey's publisher:
Last week I drew your attention to comments and blog postings you had published over the space of just a few days calling me a “proven liar”, “nutty”, “unhinged”, “underhand”, “loopy”, “paranoid”, a “hypocrite”, a “racist”, “dishonest”, “hysterical”, “petty”, “evasive”, “deluded”, “irrational”, lacking in morality, someone guilty of “deliberately misrepresenting” people, “full of poisonous shit”, and a “notorious liar” who practices “lies, misrepresentations, and deceit”, “lies, distortions and smears”, “fakery” and “cowardice and dishonesty”, while giving “tacit approval” to “extremist sickos” and “playing the paranoid schizo’’, resembling in my person an “asylum for the criminally insane”. You conceded that these comments included a number of statements that were “untrue and unnecessarily personal in tone”.
Bolt's complaint prompting this reply from Crikey editor Jonathan Green:
In recent days, comment strings on the new Crikey blog Pure Poison have been a little too lurid in their attacks on the controversial Herald Sun columnist. There are some things you can’t say in polite journalism. “Racist” is one of them. “Liar” is another. We regret that these things were said about Andrew. We don’t believe he is either, and in no way condone web pages under the Crikey imprint furthering that impression. Which is where the problem lies, of course: the speed of internet publishing running blind into a thinly resourced but well-attended — and well intentioned — web publication. Comments can get under your guard. Things better left unsaid can be given sudden public prominence. Only if you happen to be looking of course (and that probably only runs into the hundreds) but that’s not the point.
The thing that Crikey has learned from its first real encounter in this past fortnight with the more floridly opinionated fringes of angrily politicised blog commentary is the importance not so much of immediate moderation of comments (that is now very much an given) but rather ensuring an overall tone in the conversation. To put it more simply we don’t want to be that kind of site. We’d rather build a reputation for reason and well-turned argument than for insult and glib denunciation.
All of that was earlier this year, Bolt now pointing out that despite Green's apology and vow to shun "insult and glib denunciation" he sees no changes at Crikey:
Since then one of Green’s writers has urged in a headline that I be ”sodomised”, and his site has said of me that “we are dealing with fascism, plain and simple’’ and, referring to me and my readers, “I sometimes think Stalin had the right idea - line a million or so of ‘em up against a wall”. Yesterday I was named in a Crikey article as someone so corrupt as be evidently driven to scepticsm by “a desire for funds from fossil-fuel companies”, and was smeared besides as “undoubtedly more dangerous” than a “Holocaust denier”, and, in time, ”morally worse”.
Anyway, this left versus right clash is more than your typical blog war: it has the potential to develop into something God awful nasty. Stay tuned to see what develops.
And you know, the obsessive scrutiny accorded Bolt by Crikey in general and Pure Poison in particular while flattering, must get tiresome after a while. Bolt on the other hand finds Crikey much less fascinating.
The tale of Pure Poison's fraught relationship with Daily Telegraph (also News Ltd) opinion editor and blogger Tim Blair is another story altogether. For Pure Poison it got off to a bad start and was all downhill from there.
Update: Always keen to have a dig, PP boy Tobias Ziegler taunts Bolt. Here's a newsflash PP boyz: there are other topics to blog about, lots of them.