Diigo Links

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

What did Andrew Bolt do?

He lied about facts, and then generated an opinion about those lies. Some excerpts from the 470 paragraph judgement:


"One of the positions that Mr Bolt claimed Ms Heiss had won as a “plum job” was a voluntary unpaid position. The other two positions were not reserved for Aboriginal people but were positions for which Aboriginal people were encouraged to apply. "


"The facts in question have not been proven to be true. To the contrary, in relation to most of the individuals concerned, the facts asserted in the Newspaper Articles that the people dealt with chose to identify as Aboriginal have been substantially proven to be untrue. Nine of the eighteen individuals named in the Newspaper Articles gave evidence. Each of them had been raised to identify as Aboriginal and had identified as such since childhood. None of them made a conscious or deliberate choice to identify as Aboriginal. "

"The deficiencies to which I have referred to so far, are material and constitute a significant distortion of the facts upon which a central part of the offensive imputations were based. On the basis of those deficiencies, I am satisfied that the offensive imputation was not a fair comment and that s 18D(c)(ii) is not available to exempt the offensive conduct from being rendered unlawful. "

"Mr Bolt wrote that Ms Cole was raised by her “English-Jewish” or “English” mother (1A-2; 2A-24). That statement is factually inaccurate because Ms Cole’s Aboriginal grandmother also raised Ms Cole and was highly influential in Ms Cole’s identification as an Aboriginal. He wrote that Ms Cole “rarely saw her part-Aboriginal father” (1A-3). That statement is factually incorrect. Ms Cole’s father was Aboriginal and had been a part of her life until she was six years old. Ms Cole later lived with her father for a year whilst growing up. "

"The documentary source upon which Mr Bolt relied for his statement that Ms Eatock only started to identify as Aboriginal “when she was 19 after attending a political rally” (1A-27), was in evidence. That source made an incorrect assertion as to when Ms Eatock began “publicly” identifying as Aboriginal. Mr Bolt repeated the error as to age (for which no complaint is made) but left out “publicly”. The absence of that word created the false impression that Ms Eatock had not identified as an Aboriginal person before she was 19 years old and only upon attending a political meeting. In his evidence, Mr Bolt was unimpressively dismissive of the significance of that omission. "


"As I have found, each of the nine individuals who gave evidence have either always identified as Aboriginal or have done so since their childhood. They all had a cultural upbringing which raised them to identify as Aboriginal. The fact that this is not disclosed to the reader of the Newspaper Articles in any meaningful way creates a distorted view of the circumstance in which the individuals exemplified in those articles identify as Aboriginal. "

"In my view, Mr Bolt was intent on arguing a case. He sought to do so persuasively. It would have been highly inconvenient to the case for which Mr Bolt was arguing for him to have set out facts demonstrating that the individuals whom he wrote about had been raised with an Aboriginal identity and enculturated as Aboriginal people. Those facts would have substantially undermined both the assertion that the individuals had made a choice to identify as Aboriginal and that they were not sufficiently Aboriginal to be genuinely so identifying. The way in which the Newspaper Articles emphasised the non-Aboriginal ancestry of each person serves to confirm my view. That view is further confirmed by factual errors made which served to belittle the Aboriginal connection of a number of the individuals dealt with, in circumstances where Mr Bolt failed to provide a satisfactory explanation for the error in question. "


So then no less than opposition leader Mr. Abbott comes out to defend Bolt, and criticize the judiciary. This not two weeks after he, and his ilk, were scathing in their comments against the Prime Minister for doing what? Criticizing the judiciary for the judgement on the Immigration Act. Now, I'm not saying that a. we shouldn't be allowed to criticize the judiciary or b. that the judgement on the Immigration Act was in any way flawed. I'm saying it's a bit rich to only allow criticism of the judiciary when they go against you.

Gillard (and by extension Abbott and Howard) are on the wrong side of the law with their immigration policy. The whole discussion is has been a race to the bottom since Tampa. And Abbott now finds himself on the wrong side again in defending Bolt. I don't understand where this man's numbers come from, unless of course most Australians actually do side with Bolt's "we should all just be colour-blind" straw man.

Interestingly on last night's Gruen Nation you can get an insight to Liberal Party hack attitudes towards the blue-collar aspirational voters they've been so good at gathering under their right-wing (and I think this could easily be extended to the Republican party as well). Toby Ralph (whose client short-list topped by: Liberal Party and British American Tobacco - 'nuff said?) said something to the effect of: VB was shortened to VB because the people who drink it weren't able to spell Victoria Bitter. (old joke) But my reading is that he couched this statement in a more broad sentiment, which was consistent in its disrespect for a "class" of person.

I think this is where Ron Paul is cutting through. I think he's genuine in embracing the aspirational right. I don't think he's correct in his economics, but I think his genuine respect for sub-middle class America is both what's winning him votes and winning him bile from the status quo Republican Party. And ironically, this is where Malcolm Turnbull is so easily undone in Australia. He doesn't read as someone the sub-middle class could engage with. Aspirational tradies can engage with Abbott because he's uncomplicated, direct, dare I say simple. Turnbull comes off as toffee and private school, but I think he has more scope for the sort of economic skill required to lift all boats. Crazy world.

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