Home > #NewsCorpFail, Boneheaded stupidity > Bolt, ten years on

Bolt, ten years on

July 12th, 2013

Since we’ve been discussing Andrew Bolt, I thought I’d dig up another of his columns from ten years ago, in which he denounces all those who criticised the lies he help to propagate. It was published in the Herald-Sun on 9 June 2003, but can now only be found via republications in Internet forums – the link they give is broken. Comment is, I think, superfluous.

BRAVE, Senator Bob Brown is, to call for a Senate inquiry into the
“political dishonesty” of claims made about Iraq before the war.

“It is now apparent that the claims made in the lead-up to the war” were
“exaggerated and, in some cases, fabricated”, the Greens leader huffed last
week.
You said it, Bob. And let’s hope your inquiry starts by looking at
“exaggerated and, in some cases, fabricated” claims that you and your fellow
Greens may be guilty of, too.

Brown, of course, wants this inquiry to see whether the Howard Government
was misled when it warned us before the war about Iraq’s weapons of mass
destruction — weapons we find strangely hard to find, now that Saddam
Hussein has been quite rightly blasted out of power.

But before Brown gets too excited, he should explain the far worse whoppers
made by his own party as it tried to stop us from liberating Iraq from
Saddam’s genocidal regime.

Let’s start with Brown’s warning on the ABC’s Insiders program last
September that “there may be hundreds of thousands of civilian casualties in
Iraq”.

Well, that proved false, didn’t it? The true civilian death toll seems fewer
than perhaps 3000. Tragic, but it’s still fewer than an average month’s
violent deaths under Saddam. So let’s have an inquiry into that bit of
disgraceful scaremongering.

At the time, Brown told me “it’s not scaremongering, that’s what people are
saying in the streets”. But we should check whether his kind of research
qualifies as the kind of “political dishonesty” he condemns.

Let’s also investigate the claims promoted by his fellow Greens Senator,
Kerry Nettle, when she hosted the launch in Parliament House last November
of a report by the Medical Association for Prevention of War.

THIS report, treated by the media with great respect, said the war in Iraq
was “likely to result in between 48,000 and 260,000 deaths”, and perhaps
“millions of refugees and displaced people”, as well as “famine and
epidemics”.

Each of those predictions has been proved utterly wrong. In fact, instead of
creating millions of refugees, the war achieved the opposite — refugees are
returning to freed Iraq.

So were these claims, endorsed by the Greens, another example of “political
dishonesty”? Were they “exaggerated and, in some cases, fabricated”?

Brown’s inquiry should also examine a speech made by the Greens’ sole member
in the House of Representatives, Michael Organ, in February.

Organ claimed this would be a war “in which 5 million residents of Baghdad
face the imminent possibility of death”, and “as many as 100,000 children
will die” in a “veritable holocaust”.

Was this, too, “political dishonesty”, involving “exaggerated and, in some
cases, fabricated” claims?

So, yes, let’s check the claims the Government made about Iraq’s weapons of
mass destruction. Were they false, and why?

But let’s remember two things. First, this war was just. Iraqis themselves
celebrated their liberation, and are now digging up tens of thousands of
corpses from Saddam’s killing fields.

One of the latest mass burial sites to be found reportedly contains the
bodies of perhaps 200 Kurdish children, buried with their toys. We also know
Iraq has had weapons of mass destruction — and used them.

Second, let’s remember that those who — like Bob Brown and his Greens –
tried so hard to stop us from freeing Iraq should be the last to criticise
anyone for making false claims.

No politicians I know incited more hysteria with suspect predictions than
did the Greens themselves. If they want an inquiry into “political
dishonesty”, let’s start with them.

Categories: #NewsCorpFail, Boneheaded stupidity Tags:
  1. Jarrah
    July 12th, 2013 at 19:59 | #1

    “First, this war was just.”

    In order for a war to be just, three things are necessary. First, the authority of the sovereign. Secondly, a just cause. Thirdly, a rightful intention.

    – Thomas Aquinas

    0/3, Mr Bolt.

  2. Pete Moran
    July 12th, 2013 at 20:06 | #2

    Sickening.

  3. July 12th, 2013 at 20:17 | #3

    If it had been an isolated example of being very wrong, and if it been followed at some point by an explanation and apology – it could be excused.

    The fact is that virtually everything published by Rupert Murdoch is lies and/or distortions aimed to further his fascist agenda, and staff like Bolt are doing exactly as their master wishes.

    There surely must be a maxim, like ‘Godwin’s Law’, applicable to anyone approvingly quoting something from a Murdoch source.

  4. Will
    July 12th, 2013 at 20:28 | #4

    To borrow liberally from Blackadder:

    “You really are as thick as clotted cream, that’s been left out by some clot, and now the clots are so clotted, you couldn’t unclot them with an electric de-clotter, aren’t you, Bolt?”

  5. NathanA
    July 12th, 2013 at 20:34 | #5

    Extraordinary, the article just speaks for itself.

  6. Mel
    July 12th, 2013 at 20:42 | #6

    Jarrah, you risk getting kicked out of the libertarian glee club for your heresy against Saint Andrew.

  7. Ikonoclast
    July 12th, 2013 at 21:06 | #7

    The problem is the liars are winning. I know people with good secondary and even tertiary educations (and who should know better) who think Andrew Bolt is right about most things. It’s downright scarey. Imagine how uncritically the “great un-educated” accept his pronouncements.

    Sites like Bolt’s blog and Catallaxy attract 100 times (my rough estimate) the support (in favour of the editorial view) that a Quiggin-type site attracts. Again, this is downright scarey.

    I know I am bleating, defeatist (and Mel would say exaggerating) doomster but I find it hard to muster much hope for things to improve.

  8. July 12th, 2013 at 21:31 | #8

    @Ikonoclast

    Cheer up!

    Rebekah Brookes’ trial starts in September and shortly after that Murdoch returns to front the UK Parliamentary Committee that still has enough power to hold him to some account to explain whether he was lying when he testified to them and Leveson or whether he was lying when he was secretly recorded by his own hacks (obviously a bit smarter and less trusting of the sun god than their rather backward Australian counterparts).

    Don’t give up just yet. There has never been an actual sock-puppet uprising, they just make it look as though they are ascendant to get the rest of us to think “resistance is futile”. Many of them are simply constructs (“Persona Management” is the technical term).

    HB Gary documents make it seem that it already exists — could be used to generate fake online identities, complete with Facebook, Twitter and Linked In accounts, subscriptions to RSS feeds and automated abilities to contribute content like retweets and status updates, everything that makes a fake person essentially indistinguishable from a real person online. A single operator can manage up to 10 personas, so a team of five can deploy 50 people on the Web.

    As an example, there is a bogus twitter hashtag doing the rounds on the Gold Coast purportedly lobbying the State Gov to spend money on a King Canute effort to put sand back on the beaches faster than nature would. It is a construct of the local Murdoch mono-media outlet and appears designed to rebuild their credibility with the local community. They’re fakes.

    I still razz these charlatans at every opportunity and encourage others to do the same!

    If you want to strike terror into their… whatever it is they have … demand that we have a “fit and proper person” test for media control in this country. There’s Murdoch gone straight up.

  9. TerjeP
    July 12th, 2013 at 21:36 | #9

    JQ – touché.

  10. zoot
    July 12th, 2013 at 21:39 | #10

    Megan, I’d be happy if we just required Australian media to be controlled by an Australian. But a fit and proper Australian, of course.

  11. Sancho
    July 12th, 2013 at 22:17 | #11

    Bolt’s performance during the Fukishima meltdown was extraordinary, even for him.

    Beginning of week: “See, greenie enviro-fascists? Nuclear reactors are perfectly safe even during natural disasters! Begin the public lobbying!”

    End of same week: “Heartless leftists insist on talking about nuclear power while Japan is in the midst of a tragedy! Have they no shame?”

    [Attributed statements are satirical and not direct quotes. Thank you to News Ltd and friends for lowering the quality of public debate to the point that legions of Internet commenters can't work that out for themselves.]

  12. Jarrah
    July 13th, 2013 at 00:07 | #12

    Mel, Bolt is no libertarian. Nor am I, really, but I’m closer than he is.

  13. rog
    July 13th, 2013 at 05:53 | #13

    @Ikonoclast How do you work out the support levels? I would argue that level of noise (along with the content) is meaningless.

  14. Ikonoclast
    July 13th, 2013 at 06:28 | #14

    @rog

    Megan might have hit the nail on the head. The right does do a lot of multiple sock-puppeting, astroturfing and so on. Their dishonesty runs deep.

  15. Fran Barlow
    July 13th, 2013 at 08:15 | #15

    Thanks PrQ … 500 well chosen words communicating my disgust could not have added to the shame that Blot’s ignorant scorn of The Greens here invites.

  16. kevin1
    July 13th, 2013 at 09:52 | #16

    @rog
    Yes, I wonder if the echo chamber effect exaggerates the number of his adherents, and there is some fanning of the flames. I just looked at his blog site and saw his comment from yesterday that trolling seems to be on the up on his blog. This attracted a big spike in comments but one was “Is it more trolls or that your moderators , or you , have stopped publishing sensible , polite comments supporting the Liberal party ? For example , many from myself which has caused me to stop bothering.”

    His TV presence doesn’t seem influential. According to yesterday’s review of Sunday morning TV in The Age, the ABC’s Insiders program is slightly ahead of Bolt, who gets 168,000 viewers. This puts Bolt at number 29 on the Sunday morning ranking, just below Dorothy the Dinosaur which is on an hour later. In the interest of enhanced competition, is there any chance of getting the ACCC to force the two dinosaur programs to compete head to head?

  17. Ken_L
    July 13th, 2013 at 11:53 | #17

    One of Labor’s worst errors of judgement in 2008 was the failure to commission a Royal Commission into the circumstances leading up to our participation in waging aggressive war against Iraq. It’s as if “don’t mention the war” is the motto of the whole Canberra establishment. It was not only a political error but also, and far more importantly, a mistake in public policy. It missed a golden opportunity to review and question the fundamental assumptions that have underpinned Australian foreign policy since 1942, and continue to do so.

    Sadly, it was clear from day 1 that the likes of Kevin Rudd and Stephen Smith are just an obsessed as John Howard and Alexander Downer were with getting their tummies rubbed by Washington politicians.

  18. Mel
    July 13th, 2013 at 12:47 | #18

    Jarrah:

    “Mel, Bolt is no libertarian. ”

    Maybe not but most right libertarians tend to love him. Check out comments on The Blog That Shall Not Be Named, for instance.

  19. Jim Rose
    July 13th, 2013 at 15:32 | #19

    Ken_L :
    One of Labor’s worst errors of judgement in 2008 was the failure to commission a Royal Commission into the circumstances leading up to our participation in waging aggressive war against Iraq. It’s as if “don’t mention the war” is the motto of the whole Canberra establishment. It was not only a political error but also, and far more importantly, a mistake in public policy. It missed a golden opportunity to review and question the fundamental assumptions that have underpinned Australian foreign policy since 1942, and continue to do so.
    Sadly, it was clear from day 1 that the likes of Kevin Rudd and Stephen Smith are just an obsessed as John Howard and Alexander Downer were with getting their tummies rubbed by Washington politicians.

    Since 1901, Australia’s national security is based on having a great and powerful friend. The UK was dropped as best friend as soon as the USA could be a better great and powerful friend.

    Assuming what you say is correct, you are working off false premises.

    Firstly, Australia joined the invasion because your real mates vote for you when you are wrong.

    Secondly, it the war was authorised by anything more specific than UNSC Resolution 1441 giving Iraq “a final opportunity to comply with its disarmament obligations” and the US Congress Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002, you would have opposed that war just as much on other grounds. Your interest in its legality is tactical.

    Thirdly, the right to fight wars in commonwealth constitutional law is part of the royal prerogative.

  20. Ken_L
    July 13th, 2013 at 16:39 | #20

    If Jim hopes to derail the thread by rehashing the pointless 2003 arguments about the legal justification for the Iraq invasion, I sincerely hope nobody here will indulge him.

    ‘Since 1901, Australia’s national security is based on having a great and powerful friend.’

    Ummm yes that is one of ‘the fundamental assumptions that have underpinned Australian foreign policy’ that it would be fruitful to ‘review and question’, which was kind of the point of my comment.

  21. John Quiggin
    July 13th, 2013 at 17:20 | #21

    Please DNFTT. We can discuss the war at length elsewhere – the point here is that Bolt attacked opponents of the war on grounds that proved to be spectacularly wrong, and has never withdrawn or qualified his criticism.

  22. rog
    July 13th, 2013 at 22:27 | #22

    @Jim Rose

    Assuming what you say is correct, you are working off false premises.

    Please explain?

  23. Ikonoclast
    July 14th, 2013 at 08:09 | #23

    If I might make a point.

    ” Your interest in its legality is tactical.” – Jim Rose.

    Interest in technical points of legality is always tactical. In the broader view of moral philosophy one could even say that morality is strategic and legality is tactical.

    Discounting morality and justness of cause as fundamental guiding issues in their own right results in a loss of strategic focus (not just militarily but also socially, morally or ethically). You end up embroiled in conflicts and fights (personal, legal and military) without having a real clue about WHY you are fighting and WHAT you are fighting for. That leaves you in a very dark place. The US is in that dark place now. I fear for them and all they affect.

  24. Ikonoclast
    July 14th, 2013 at 08:33 | #24

    @John Quiggin

    Bolt is always spectacularly wrong. He has no regard for truth. His rabble rousing is flagrant, outrageous and reckless. One gets the impression that he doesn’t care what damage he does.

  25. may
    July 14th, 2013 at 10:20 | #25

    but if “murdoch org” is looked at as an under-the-radar political party it makes sense.

    how many of the “orgs’” past employees have gained positions of influence/power within OZ?

    NBN is currently in the sights of another “ex-org” functionary.

    nasty suspicious mind at work.

  26. Jim Rose
    July 14th, 2013 at 10:43 | #26

    No politicians I know incited more hysteria with suspect predictions than did the Greens themselves. If they want an inquiry into “political dishonesty”, let’s start with them.

    A perfectly reasonable, factually solid request by Bolt.

    Bolt attacked opponents of the war on grounds that proved to be spectacularly wrong, and has never withdrawn or qualified his criticism.

    do the Greens own up to inaccurate predictions? Or do they have a perfect score, and do not need to?

    do the greens sometimes under-estimate and other times over-estimate environmental threats, or are their estimates always biased to over-estimation?

  27. Andrew
    July 14th, 2013 at 10:49 | #27

    It’d certainly be interesting to see whether the Greens have accused anyone else of lying because that party refused to accept, on face value, their inaccurate preliminary estimates.

  28. Nathan
    July 14th, 2013 at 11:49 | #28

    @Jim Rose
    “A perfectly reasonable, factually solid request by Bolt.” No, it’s just his opinion of who’s the most hysterical so it’s not fact based at all. If we wanted to get into a hysteria contest, nothing he quotes compares to the fear-mongering about non-existant (and known to be highly unlikely to exist) WMD’s. Furthermore, exaggerations that lead towards starting a war are clearly more worthy of investigation than those that argue against it.

    “do the Greens own up to inaccurate predictions? Or do they have a perfect score, and do not need to?” Strawman fallacy. Unable to defend Bolt, you completely out of nowhere want to take the Greens to task for, possibly, having made an inaccurate prediction at some time. Even if you could find an example of something wrong to the same degree as Bolt on Iraq casualties, it would still be a logically disjoint to the subject.

  29. rog
    July 14th, 2013 at 11:56 | #29

    @kevin1 By way of comparison Tim Lambert runs posts with no topic and no content and often gets +1,000 comments. Bolt could try the same and improve his numbers.

  30. Jarrah
    July 14th, 2013 at 12:59 | #30

    @Mel
    “Check out comments on The Blog That Shall Not Be Named, for instance.”

    Very few libertarians there either. Lots of Blair-blog refugees, though. Besides, defending Bolt re freedom of speech (the principle reason he’s been mentioned in the last few years) isn’t the equivalent of loving him.

  31. Ernestine Gross
    July 14th, 2013 at 13:36 | #31

    It seems to me Bolt belongs to those who make a living by saying or writing what the last person they met told them. For example, in July 2003 ‘the war’ in Iraq was finished, as per desired script (rather than on the ground).

    As JQ makes clear: “the point here is that Bolt attacked opponents of the war on grounds that proved to be spectacularly wrong, and has never withdrawn or qualified his criticism.”

    The way I see it, people like Bolt do not recognise a contradiction as evidence of an error or a lie. They do not correct errors (or lies). They do not accept the methodology of empirical research and they do not recognise the outcome of a court judgement. They never apologise. They are ‘communicators’.

    I don’t believe Bolt will ever play by JQ’s rules. What could or would Bolt say or write? I’d be happy to be proven wrong.

  32. July 14th, 2013 at 14:36 | #32

    @Ernestine Gross

    This excerpt from a 1976 essay by Alex Carey probably bears repeating (from August 2012 Sandpit!):

    “Dewey similarly holds that beliefs should be distinguished as ‘good’ and ‘bad’, not as `true’ and ‘false’. Beliefs are good if believing them has beneficial consequences.[5] ‘Facts’ do not exist for Dewey, Bertrand Russell observes, ‘in the sense that “facts” are stubborn and cannot be manipulated’.[6] For Dewey proposed to replace the notion of truth with the notion of ‘warranted assertibility’.[7] Any belief which can be claimed to bring useful consequences may acquire ‘warranted assertibility’ on that ground alone.”

    People often question/argue whether climate change deniers with megaphones (eg: Bolt) are ‘dishonest’ or ‘stupid’, but reading this essay I reckon that is the wrong way to look at what they are doing:

    “There is a remarkable correspondence in attitude to truth between pragmatists and propagandists. Both justify the promotion of false beliefs wherever it is supposed that false beliefs have socially useful consequences. Indeed the principal difference between them consists perhaps in this: the ordinary propagandist may know that he is telling lies, but the pragmatist-propagandist, having redefined truth to make it indistinguishable from propaganda, is likely to become inescapably trapped in the supposedly ‘useful’ deceptions and illusions he approves as ‘warranted assertibilities’.”

    So these people are much better described as “pragmatist-propagandists” in the sense Carey uses it.

    Here’s a link to the essay:

    http://fanonite.org/2008/02/21/pragmatists-and-propagandists-in-america/

  33. sunshine
    July 14th, 2013 at 20:46 | #33

    Are they liars or just wrong ? . 90% of people have enough urgent daily worries in their lives that they cant invest enough time to see past the popular medias slant -so they are often just wrong ,but it doesnt matter much to them anyway . Everyone tends to remember things that reinforce their views and forget those that dont – there are enough voices out there that some will support your view no matter what it is . For most people truth is secondary to practical considerations like fitting in with your peers and paying bills .In this post modern world truth is not what it used to be . Professionals only have to muddy the waters a bit in order to allow people to maintain belief.

    Its hard to believe Bolt isnt a liar. Maybe he started out not really caring about truth but now has invested so much in his current course, and has been rewarded so much for doing it, that he has become delusionally dedicated to it . He is high on his power .Historically there have been huge rewards for those who disagree with current truth and are proven right eventually (Einstein, Copernicus ,Darwin etc etc etc ). I think he is betting everything on the hope he will be correct about climate change .I only hope he lives long enough to see a time when all doubt has gone .

  34. July 14th, 2013 at 22:36 | #34

    @sunshine

    I’ll repost this without the link because it appears to have gone to indefinite moderation detention:

    This excerpt from a 1976 essay by Alex Carey probably bears repeating (from August 2012 Sandpit!):

    “Dewey similarly holds that beliefs should be distinguished as ‘good’ and ‘bad’, not as `true’ and ‘false’. Beliefs are good if believing them has beneficial consequences.[5] ‘Facts’ do not exist for Dewey, Bertrand Russell observes, ‘in the sense that “facts” are stubborn and cannot be manipulated’.[6] For Dewey proposed to replace the notion of truth with the notion of ‘warranted assertibility’.[7] Any belief which can be claimed to bring useful consequences may acquire ‘warranted assertibility’ on that ground alone.”

    People often question/argue whether climate change deniers with megaphones (eg: Bolt) are ‘dishonest’ or ‘stupid’, but reading this essay I reckon that is the wrong way to look at what they are doing:

    “There is a remarkable correspondence in attitude to truth between pragmatists and propagandists. Both justify the promotion of false beliefs wherever it is supposed that false beliefs have socially useful consequences. Indeed the principal difference between them consists perhaps in this: the ordinary propagandist may know that he is telling lies, but the pragmatist-propagandist, having redefined truth to make it indistinguishable from propaganda, is likely to become inescapably trapped in the supposedly ‘useful’ deceptions and illusions he approves as ‘warranted assertibilities’.”

    So these people are much better described as “pragmatist-propagandists” in the sense Carey uses it.

  35. wilful
    July 15th, 2013 at 11:19 | #35

    I do struggle with the point of this post, Professor. Andrew Bolt is flat out spectacularly wrong, and hasn’t had the courage or grace to admit it. Yep, well I already knew that, so did everyone who reads your blog. Meanwhile, he sails on with his legion of fans, far more popular and influential than you, it sadly seems. We’re in a post-truth world here, reputations aren’t built on a basis of solid achievements in policy or prognosticating, they’re built on a foundation of confirming priors and engaging the emotions..

  36. John Quiggin
    July 15th, 2013 at 12:10 | #36

    @wilful

    As I’ve discussed before, there is a long term cost to this kind of thing.

    http://crookedtimber.org/2010/05/08/ignorance-is-strength/

    The US Republicans prospered for a long time using the methods Bolt has copied, but it’s had a destructive long-term effect on their credibility

    http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2012/08/bit-by-bit-it-takes-shape-media-evolution-for-the-post-truth-age/261741/

  37. Jim Rose
    July 15th, 2013 at 16:57 | #37

    back in the day, most of the Labor vote came from a poorly educated working class.

    did their lack of education and ignorance invalidate their views, or excuse parties from having to ask for their vote by engaging with their views.

    ‘listen here dummy’ is not the best way to ask for someones vote.

    political ignorance is an argument for smaller government, for, as Ilya Somin argues

    most voters have relatively little or no knowledge of public policy.

    The problem of political ignorance is exacerbated by the enormous size and complexity of the modern state. Even a substantial increase in political knowledge would not be enough to give most voters a more than minimal understanding of the many functions of government.

  38. Stephen Perry
    July 15th, 2013 at 17:43 | #38

    Nuts and Bolts. How long do liars have before just deserts arrive?

  39. Robert Johnson
    July 15th, 2013 at 17:48 | #39

    @wilful
    Maybe one point is that, even if Bolt was wrong(!), he would still be on safe ground with Bob Brown’s alarmist (to Bolt apparently) claims of up to 260,000 deaths. Then he could simply switch to the 1996 Albright defence of the first Iraq War (that 500,000 dead Iraqi children was “a price worth paying”).

  40. sunshine
    July 15th, 2013 at 19:30 | #40

    @Jim Rose
    Isnt the idea that sometimes the voters have to elect someone they trust to consult relevant experts and decide for them issue by issue because there are so many complex issues that most people dont have time to get across them all . I think I fall into that category of voter. Politicians are just jacks of all trades ,the real experts are those who devote their careers to particular fields . Pollies must consult them.

    @Megan
    As a leftie I like those kinds of notions of truth .Doubt encourages caution which is good ,but Im worried that typical Conservatives dont worry about that, so debates are not on a level playing field .Its generally not hard to shake faith in most truth, even in the hard sciences if you are willing to go with it for a bit .

    @John Quiggin
    I hope you are right there .I reckon that effect is detectable here in Oz .If big news papers keep getting smaller ,the media giants loose most of their agenda setting power but for free to air tv . The giants play a stabilising reference point role .As most info for most people starts to come from the internet the reference points will be more and smaller .NBN live streaming TV will weaken the current TV networks stabilising role eventually. Im not sure how this will effect your destructive effect on the Conservatives credibility that shock-jockery has .

  41. John Quiggin
    July 15th, 2013 at 21:08 | #41

    @Jim Rose

    Whether or not “listen here, dummy” is a good way of getting votes, the right relies on dummies/suckers for their votes, and on people like you to go along with telling lies to dummies.

    At some point, it’s better to tell these fools the truth about the liars who are fooling them, than to keep on pandering to their self-conceit. As in the US, the point will eventually sink in.

  42. Fran Barlow
    July 15th, 2013 at 22:12 | #42

    Jim Rose quotes in part:

    Even a substantial increase in political knowledge would not be enough to give most voters a more than minimal understanding of the many functions of government.

    For the same reason even a substantial cut in the sweep and quality of state activity would not change the position, even if the claim were true.

  43. rog
    July 15th, 2013 at 22:45 | #43

    @Megan Megan, Alex Carey’s daughter Gabrielle wrote about her fathers suicide. If I remember correctly it wasn’t the amount of money that he lost in the stock market crash of 1987 it was the fact that he had been playing the market, something that he had previously prevailed against and been caught out.

  44. Angus Cameron
    July 16th, 2013 at 00:07 | #44

    Bolt is no doubt a hyperbolic propagandist like Bob Brown, Christine Milne, even Barak Obama or Joe Biden but to call him a liar says more about the person saying it than it does about Bolt. What did Bold lie about? What was it that he clearly knew and chose to tell falsehoods about?

    Tony Blair? Now he had less excuse. Colin Powell? Poor chap whose credit was used up by unscrupulous people like Rumsfeld and Cheney. But even Blair may not have been a liar in the severest sense.

    I write as one unconvinced by the US case for war in Iraq right from the beginning. I even doubted Saddam’s WMDs on the ground that no one wanted people to believe in them more than he did because of what it meant for his relations with Iran, Arab neighbours, even his own generals. But for Australia, which lost no one to enemy fire in Iraq, the issues were very different. John Howard probably should have tried to talk George W. out of his folly but it wouldn’t have worked and whatever we get out of America’s friendship, or did in the first 10 years of this century, might have been jeopardised. (If we hadn’t got the Free Trade Agreement that would probably have been no loss but it could seem like a good idea at the time just as Bolt no doubt thought his arguments were good at the time.)

    To ask that Bolt apologise (assuming he hasn’t made any gesture in that direction which I don’t know) is ridiculous like most claims from right and left that people should take certain public positions as if there air time or column inches or just people’s attention to them was not limited.

  45. July 16th, 2013 at 00:55 | #45

    @Angus Cameron

    He is a “liar” because he says things that are not true. He is “dishonest”.

    With only two (or three, if you count the Koch’s) billionaires paying his way, it’s a shame he needs you to defend his reputation.

    You’re probably not getting paid to do that, which is sort of perverse and sad but also a bit metaphorical.

  46. Julie Thomas
    July 16th, 2013 at 06:55 | #46

    @Angus Cameron

    “Bolt is no doubt a hyperbolic propagandist like Bob Brown, Christine Milne, even Barak Obama or Joe Biden but to call him a liar says more about the person saying it than it does about Bolt.”

    No doubt you say? Is that a rational thing to say after all the evidence that shows that there is always some doubt?

    I am sure you have ‘evidence’ somewhere in your incoherent mind but I would like to hear you put that evidence in a coherent argument for me.

    You have made your claim to truth, your hypothesis. You’ve made lots of claims but, you know what? All of your comment is about you and how you think. Why is that going to convince me that your opinion is worth reading or did you just want someone to listen to you?

    You can pay people to do that you know? Psychologists are cheap compared to other ways of coping with whatever it is that motivates you to rationalise a liar as someone deserving of respect, or pity perhaps. Why do you want to keep making excuses for his lies and failures to predict reality?

    The evidence suggests that it is your need to keep faith with your kind of person, your collective – the right, the selfish, the competitives – that drives the illogical and emotional judgements you make about human nature.

    I can provide references if you like but my reply would go into moderation and you know how to google.

    I am pretty sure that if you go looking for an objective opinion, you will find the evidence that supports my truth claims all by yourself; if you go looking for evidence to support your opinion you will just find the same old same old arguments that you have been making for the past decades of neo-liberalism. Those opinons that justify selfishness and competition over socialism and cooperation.

    But I heard Tony Abbott say once it was about character. So what sort of character does Bolt have, do you think, that he can ignore such obvious evidence – as JQ has provided – and not make some sort of response?

  47. Ron E Joggles
    July 16th, 2013 at 20:48 | #47

    @Jim Rose “back in the day, most of the Labor vote came from a poorly educated working class.”
    This is an unsubstantiated assumption – the working class was poor all right, but by no means ignorant nor poorly educated.
    People like my father (born in 1923) grew up in slab shacks their parents built, and trapped rabbits to supplement the family income before walking to a bush school where they learned to love the classics and value learning itself.
    Working class Australians were driven by the need to improve the lot of common people and they understood that hard work and demanding that civil rights be honoured was the way to achieve it – that’s why Australia was one of the first nations to achieve universal suffrage and why Queenslanders elected the world’s first Labour govt – not because the wealthy decreed it.
    It is today’s comfortable and complacent suburbanites who can indulge in wilful ignorance in order to preserve their illusions, despite their supposedly higher level of education.

  48. Jim Rose
    July 16th, 2013 at 23:06 | #48

    @Ron E Joggles check the data on years of schooling and university entrance. they rose over the 20th century from a low base.

  49. wobbles
    July 17th, 2013 at 15:06 | #49

    I don’t see Bolt as a propagandist as much as a pundit and self-promoter.

    He has identified a vacancy in the media for an extremist right-wing media zealot and has gladly adopted that role, along with a few others.

    He starts with a conclusion and cherry-picks those facts that support him and ignores those that do not and has been found guilty of that approach in a court of law. Yey he uses his radio, TV and media sources to complain about having no freedom of speech.

    To deliberately hold onto disproven facts in spite of evidence to the contrary is typical of an extremist zealot and if that was the case under different circumstances he would probably just as much be at home making bombs in his kitchen as promoting false claims to his acolytes.

    It’s his supporters that are addicted to their daily dose of outrage and he simply feeds them their prejudices.
    However it will be interesting to see him flip the switch from attack to defence if there is a change in Government.

  50. Will
    July 17th, 2013 at 16:19 | #50

    One of the most eye-opening courses I undertook some time ago at Uni was essentially Australian economic development since Federation. Australia began as probably the most left-wing place on Earth and led the world in some developments such as women’s suffrage, depth of the safety net and the split between private and public ownership of assets. To paint with a broad brush Labor voters as being “the party of the working poor” (with all the implied subtext) under those economic and institutional conditions of the time is a disgusting simplification of the facts, in much the same way as fringe aluminium-foil-wearing conspiratard nutters repeating the mantra that “the Democratic Party was the party of Southern racism!” is not in any way a reflection of reality.

  51. Ron E Joggles
    July 17th, 2013 at 19:33 | #51

    @Jim Rose Jim, your original statement clearly implies that the working class voted Labor because they were ignorant, and presumably stupid – while the record shows that they voted Labor because they knew where their interests lay, and the advancement of poor families into the middle class is evidence that they were right.

    You conflate education with intelligence, a common failing among the university educated – my experience is that anyone of average intelligence, equipped with a state school education, a willingness to work hard and a deep interest in their chosen field, can achieve a doctorate.

    A PhD is no substitute for native intellect.

  52. Jim Rose
    July 17th, 2013 at 20:30 | #52

    @Ron E Joggles I never said stupid. ignorance does not imply that. I am ignorant of novels because I do not read them. likewise, sport is another gap in my education. But when I was young, I was a cricket tragic, as they say.

    the working class did not know its interested because it voted for the wrong party.

    Labor did not deliver the withering away the the working class. John Q’s golden age did i.e. the menzies era. Labor was in power for 3 years between 1949 and 1983.

    I read somewhere that an IQ of 110 was required to go to university.

  53. kevin1
    July 17th, 2013 at 20:43 | #53

    @Jim Rose
    Are you feeling alright Jim?

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