Monday, March 14, 2011

Bolt makes me question my ancestry

At a party a couple weeks ago, a friend asked me if Andrew Bolt had ever bothered to have a go at me. I replied that other than suggesting I should be sacked he hadn’t taken any notice of me – and to be honest, why would he?

But then yesterday oh joy of joys, Bolt did decide to target me. You see while watching Insiders, I let forth a series of tweets suggesting that the show had become a joke as it pandered to Bolt’s bias. Bolt as is his want, rushed home and wrote a blog about all the ruckus he created on Twitter (yes I know). In his blog he singled me and my tweets out for particular attention. Oh what an honour. If only my grandparents were still alive to witness it.

I say this because Bolt for some reason decided to not only single me out, but also my parents and grandparents:

image

Now firstly, what does my ancestry have to do with my criticism of Insiders? It doesn’t have anything to do with it of course, but Bolt just put it in there because he knows his readers hate public servants (lazy lay-about, sucking off the public tit, good for nothings that they are) and so being the last of three generations of Canberra public servants just about puts me in the pantheon of lazy, lay-about, sucking off the public tit, good for nothings.

You can see how this label is received by his readers, by the comment left on my blog by someone who came from his blog (got about 530 hits via his blog, so cheers for that Andrew):

Anonymous said...
Your blog is a simple minded reflection of a third generation public servant... And your chicken shit disclaimer about it being your viewpoint and yours only is a joke - I would fire your arse as soon as possible if you were in the private sector reporting to me. Oh, but you would never survive there anyway. That's where us regular taxpayers work to meet our forced obligations to pay tax to keep useless sacks of meat like you employed on projects that offer little value to society...
 
How charming.

But here’s the thing, while I can understand Bolt wanting to label me as a public servant, and also a third generation one, and also a third generation Canberran one (laziest of the lot they are!) there’s just one slight problem:

It is not true.

You see the statement that I am a third-generation Canberra public servant is an untruth, a falsehood, a fiction, a furphy. In short, a lie.

Now I know Bolt is pretty big on people’s ancestry, but I was at a loss as to why he was making up this lie about me. The post that he linked to to prove his statement doesn't even mention that I live in Canberra, let alone where my parents live or did for work.

You see, I have only lived in Canberra for 5 years. Before that (as I have written) I lived in Cairns for 11 years, but I actually grew up (as I have also written) in South Australia. My father also grew up in South Australia, as did his father, and his father’s father, and his father’s father’s father, and his father’s… well you get the point.

Secondly, neither my father nor my mother were public servants. My mother held all manner of jobs (the list is long and impressive and starts with nurse and ends with canteen operator), but my father (as I have written) was a primary school teacher. Now admittedly he worked in the the South Australian public system, but like all teachers he considered himself a teacher and not a public servant – and oddly the Tax Office also considered him that because he, unlike me, put “teacher” on his tax form, whereas I write “public servant”.

Now maybe Bolt, like some right wing types in the US, has decided to start having a go at teachers, and wants the fact my Dad was a teacher to be seen in a negative light? But I doubt it. Or perhaps Bolt was referring to the two years in 1967 and 1968 when my father was in the army fighting in the Vietnam War as part of national service (I have written about that as well, and I assume Bolt did his research on my family history before making the statement in his piece). Soldiers in the army are technically public servants so perhaps Bolt was wishing to sneer about the fact my Dad fought for this country? But again, I think not.

Where his assertion really breaks down (not that it isn’t already in tiny pieces) is when we get to my grandparents. My grandfathers on both my father’s and my mother’s sides were farmers. My Dad’s father owned a fruit block in the Riverland (that’s in South Australia) and my Mum’s father owned a wheat farm just out of Loxton (also in South Australia). Both men, as you can well expect given they were farmers, were not exactly friends of the left side of politics. I have no doubt they viewed Whitlam as a communist, and the thought of them voting for Labor ever would have been about as unlikely an occurrence as could ever happen.

So given it is all wrong why the hell did Bolt make this up?

I had no idea, especially as I searched my blog for evidence of me incorrectly writing my Dad and grandfather had lived in Canberra also worked as public servants (because you know I make those kind of factual errors all the time…).

The answer came from a reader of my blog, Tim Gay, who sent me a message on Twitter:

Did Bolt confuse my comment about being 3rd gen Canb on your post with you? If so, dumber than I thought

And that was it. In my post on Paul Kelly and gay marriage, Tim left a comment. This is what it looked like:

timbog74 said...

Democracy is only allowed if you agree with Paul Kelly and the Liberal Party? Got it. I suppose as a tertiary educated, 3rd generation Canberra public servant, my values are so wildly out of step with the rest of Australia that I don't really deserve to have my elected representatives make laws on my behalf. Good to know.

I don’t know about you, but to me it seems pretty obvious that the comment was written by Tim and not me (the whole “timbog74 said….” kind of gives it away).

So that leave us with two conclusions.

1. Bolt read my blog post, saw Tim’s comment and decided to lie to his readers and attribute Tim’s comments about his life to me

2. Bolt read my blog post, saw Tim’s comments and was unable to grasp that they were not written by me.

I assume Bolt is not a liar, in which case it just means that he is someone whose reading comprehension skills are, shall we say, somewhat lacking in robustness.

In a post last October in The Punch on criticism targeted at journalists, Bolt said:

“The worst abuse doesn’t hurt as much as a polite letter pointing out I’ve made a factual howler. But of the abuse, what most gives me the pip is that many of my worst critics clearly haven’t read a word I’ve actually written.”

Well, I hope Bolt considers this a polite blog post, because he clearly hasn’t read a word I’ve actually written.

66 comments:

Greybeard said...

No doubt you expect his semi-public apology at any moment? I'll check back later to see how he worded it.

Jace said...

I needed something to bring a smile to my face today and this has well and truly succeeded. A beautiful and balanced retort, somewhat unworthy in grace for the person at whom it was aimed. I think i'd have sprayed the bastard ;)

Dermott Banana said...

Of course, it's only that you're a Canberra public servant which means you could be posting a criticism of Bolt at 3.36pm on a Monday afternoon..... :p

Dave55 said...

Grog, given all the direct and indirect subsidies that farmers receive, maybe your grandparents could be considered public servants (although I don't think that was the point AB was making either).

vp said...

Dermott,

Today is a public holiday in Canberra.

Anonymous said...

Maybe he just "misremembered" the facts. He has been doing a bit oft that lately. Funny how he only seems to misremember things to his own advantage. Seems to be a common characteristic of the conservatives.

Greg Jericho said...

Dermott, as VP has pointed out - today is a public holiday in Canberra (Canberra Day as a matter of fact). I have never written or posted blogs during work hours.

Niall said...

Greg, I wish I could write a blog-post the way you do. I literally found myself chuckling out loud, to which my boss asked "what's funny?". I showed him & he too had a good laugh. I suppose if Andrew Bolt gives us a laugh a day, then he has actually contributed to the well-being of the human condition. Who'd'a thunk it?

Mr Tiedt said...

Of course, all of us (except for the 1st, 2nd or 3rd generation Canberra public servants) are reading this during work hours, so who are we to judge...

Dave Gaukroger said...

First Bernard Keane says that he doesn't read everything that you write, and now Bolt proves that he doesn't either, what is the Oz journospere coming to?

I'm sure that Andrew will move quickly to correct the error.

sflyons said...

I'll suggest that Bolt just skims quickly over things, looking for tidbits he can use, rather than reading the detail - it isn't so much muckraking as muckcombing - and so he simply missed that it was written by someone else. Maybe he thinks he's a good speedreader.

This could also explain his clanger yesterday, "misremembering" 8,000 people at the Melbourne GetUp rally as 800. He saw the number 400 for the Werribee rally so when his eyes landed on "8000" he saw "800". He "misremembered" it in the time it took to get from his retinas to his occipital lobes.

Anonymous said...

THE insiders use of Bolt is a joke. The person doesn't have a brain - he has a sack of bile which he lets spew at anything Labor, Rudd in particular.
To have an opinion is one thing to have a leaning is another, to have an agenda should preclude you as a member of the Insiders panel. If he's allowed on a ABC set in the future it should be as a Liberal party interviewee. Hey, but it's symptomatic of the media degeneration into talk radioland, all opinion and noise - no enlightenment, look elsewhere - like here....

Jay said...

Dermott = Fail.

Would Bolt appearing on the ABC make him a public servant also? Given it's the public broadcaster.

I can't for Bolts apology to you Greg..then again his comprehension skills are less than stellar, so in "making you question your ancestry" he might consider it a win.

Bill said...

Grog, I fear you may be labouring under the assumption that facts and knowledge matter a monkey's to people like Bolt.

Oh and Andrew, if you're reading, do please prove me wrong. I wish I was paid to complain about what people say on the internet.

Anonymous said...

Next he will be calling you Gay, accusing you of deceiving your wife and children and visiting saunas

Chris Grealy said...

You DON'T assume that Blot is a liar? You are being far, far too kind.

Elly said...

I'd make a comment in support of you but as a University lecturer my comments are next to worthless seeing as I live exclusively in an Ivory Tower. Plus I have left leaning tendencies. Thus my opinion that Bolt is part of the nasty right wing hate machine is also pretty pointless.

Anonymous said...

Oh come now, Bolt and his sidekick Ackerman are two of the great satirists of our time. Up there with Borat as comedic creations. The way they get the bigoted, the stupid and the insane to feel safe to spew their bile and idiocy is a wonder to behold. Very very funny stuff. Best just to laugh along.

Paul of Berwick said...

Well, just follow the money is all I can say....

thefactis said...

Greg, you just had me laughing so hard and you had the decency to be quite nice to Bolt in this post. I would've told Bolt to f*ck off(let's hope he doesn't mistaken this as something you said). Let's also hope Caroline Overington doesn't think this 'comment' is a Grog's Gamut 'article'.

Notus said...

Not surprised Bolt gets it so wrong after all he said on the same Insiders program that Chenobyl was a media beat up.

Anonymous said...

"I can't for Bolts apology to you Greg.then again his comprehension skills are less than stellar"

What a silly comment, we know that Mr. Bolt has no comprehension skills. This leaves him open to make the outlandish statements he makes. It is sad that he believes his own dribble. Was not he puffed up and very indignant last Sunday. He even had problems when others on the programme agreed with him. Maybe a hearing test would not go amiss. Sadly like many of his ilk, listening is not the problem, hearing is.

morewest said...

I agree with Bill about facts and knowledge not looming large in the part of the Universe inhabited by Mr Bolt and his ilk.

But then what would I know. Apart from flogging the odd newspaper in my youth, I've lived my whole life on the public tit, either as a servant of the people or pension recipient.

Paul C said...

Anonymous, 5:13pm today : "Oh come now, Bolt and his sidekick Ackerman are two of the great satirists of our time. Up there with Borat as comedic creations."

Unfortunately, there are not droves of people out there who take Borat seriously. Well, not those who watch the film, at least. They're in on the joke, at least, whereas when it comes to Bolt, Ackerman, Devine, et al., there is no joke to be had.

Greg, once again, very gracious under fire. You are to be saluted for your manners and a whole lot more besides.

Anonymous said...

"Bolt and his sidekick Ackerman are two of the great satirists of our time. Up there with Borat as comedic creations."

You lowlife!! I now have an image of Bolt and Ackerman in those green Borat bathers in my head. :( I now run from the room screaming for therapy...............

Imacca.

Saraswati said...

Greg, I would wear Andrew Bolt having a go at you as a badge of honour. It means you must be doing something right. ;-)

I avoided that particular episode of Insiders, even though I usually watch it religiously. The minute I saw Andrew Bolt was one of the panelists, I figured I had better things to do with my time. Life is too short to waste any time listening to people who are full of hatred and bile.

Chris said...

What leads him to do things like this, continually, is his feverish search for any hint of evidence supporting his pre-held views (one does this when such evidence is hard to find). He would have seen that text, and immediately jumped to the conclusion.

In and of itself, I could ignore this and just choose not to read and listen, except that he presents his opinion as fact. For instance, on Insiders recently, he forcefully persisted that the risk to Australians as a result of a potential nuclear incident (irrespective of the fact that Fukishama is just 240km north of Tokyo), and that Kevin Rudd had 'demanded' and update and had 'show-boated' (both exaggerated characterisations). Even if the risk is near-zero, the Government has a duty of care to trust but verify.

And, whilst he doesn't consider himself a journalist, he does allow people to assume that he is. The thing is, what can we do about it except continue to pick up his errors?

MtMt said...

A moral iron fist in an articulate velvet glove – the very model of a righteous modern smack down.


And some great comments too.

Coldsnacks said...

'I would fire your arse as soon as possible if you were in the private sector reporting to me. Oh, but you would never survive there anyway. That's where us regular taxpayers work to meet our forced obligations to pay tax to keep useless sacks of meat like you employed on projects that offer little value to society..'

Ah yes, the "public servants are useless" argument.

And, considering you post well after business hours , I don't see how he could have grounds to sack you anyway.

With apologies to David Gaukroger, I'm not saying Andrew Bolt is a narcissistic, infantile purveyor of horse excrement but....

drsusancalvin said...

In the spirit of SIWONTI I want a Bolt Meter widget that clicks over every time Bolt gets it wrong.

Anonymous said...

"third-generation Canberra public servant"

Are there many of this species?

do gooder said...

Dear Grogs, I can't see what you are upset about. I would prefer to be known as a third Gen Canberra Public Servant than a South Australian any day.
Seriously though, to be sledged by a master bigot like Bolt is something to be proud of. I could only dream of getting under his thin skin like you have.
Ray

Steve Szetey said...

There's a fine line between "misremembering" (which is the same as forgetting, isn't it?) and making stuff up.

If Andrew is going to put himself out there as a credible commentator, I would have thought that memory of facts would be an important prerequisite.

Alternatively, he could be putting himself out there as the thinking person's Glenn Beck ...

Julie Posetti said...

You put the LOL in #LOLBolt, Greg. Refusing to lower himself to actually participating in the 'dunny door' of journalism (i.e. Twitter cf @overingtonc), he's had to resort to making shit up. I look forward to the correction.

Anonymous said...

Putting aside the fact that Bolt is wrong, I’d rather be a third generation public servant than a third rate journalist.

morewest said...

drsusancalvin, connect it to a generator and the widget would probably power the world!

Unfortunately, given the amount of hot air Mr Bolt emits it probably won't solve global warming. ;(

Anonymous said...

well Julia did well (I thought) :)

Doug said...

Bolt makes me question "intelligent design".
I wrote to the Insiders after yesterday's disgrace, asking what Cassidy and the show's producers were doing letting Bolt behave like that without pulling him up. The other two panelists were clearly embarrassed. If that is the direction the show is going to take, then let's just dispense with any pretence of dispassionate and objective analysis, ditch the so-called "insiders" and just get Gillard and Abbott on each week to go toe-to-toe. Why watch the monkeys when you could have the organ grinders?

Giddey Girl said...

It is a public holiday in SA, Tasmania and Victoria too, just in case Bolt might be led to think that it is only Canberra workers who have today off.

Anonymous said...

Why wasn't Andrew Bolt charged with unauthorised possession of the classified ONA analysis (prepared by Andrew Wilkie) on the likely humanitarian effects of the Iraq War when it was leaked to him by someone alleged to have been on Mr Downer's ministerial staff and who may possibly now hold a higher public office?

Anonymous said...

Grog, would be interested to read your take on Julia G's performance on QANDA? I suspect it lends itself to cricket analogy.

For my money, something along the lines of the current Zimbabwe team facing the West Indies as they were at their terrifying best many years ago??

Imacca

Anonymous said...

Questons:

1) Will someone in the MSM (or not) have the guts to do an in-depth profile of Bolt?

2) Ditto for Chris Mitchell.

These two exist with practically no scrutiny. Why? Fear.

2353 said...

First the Oz, now Bolt.

Where can I get a sticker claiming that I read Grog before he became famous?

You will publish the gracious apology when you receive it, won't you Grog?

Mick O'Mara said...

Hi Greg, I think Andrew does have confusion distinguishing between original articles and tweets that follow. Last Saturday he ran a blog . It was basically about idiots who attribute Japan's disaster to global warming. Andrew gives a source, The Daily Caller. (The Daily Who?). When you open the source it is mainly tweets, some saying there is a relationship, others saying it's rubbish but, no matter, Andrew uses the source to attack those who believe climate change is happening.
Perhaps Andrew could have used Saturday's editorial in his very own Herald Sun which read,"“..... What these events prove is that climate change is real. Stark memories of the earthquake and the tsunami that took 200,000 lives in Asia remain.” Is he insinuating his editor is an idiot?

allan said...

Grog

Bolt's opinion on anything is worth chicken**** so far as I'm concerned. I get more information and entertainment out of any one sentence of your blog than anything I've had the misfortune to read of his rantings.

I was one of those lazy public servants for 34 years. My goodness how we had fun, screwing the system, telling Joe Public where to get off, turning up to work when we liked, and oh those long lunches in Manuka and Kingston - it takes me back.

Lest people think I'm serious in that last paragraph, it really p's me off when I read ill-informed idiots like Bolt generalising about the folks in the Service. The bloody job gave me a heart attack, it was so intense. Bolt wouldn't know intelligence and hardwork if it bit him on the posterior.

Keep up the good work Grog. I enjoy all your posts.

Alistair said...

Grog - I understand your wish to unmask the lies of Bolt (aka Blot on the Landscape) but it really just gives him more airspace than he is worth. He sells his "voice" for a living in the same way prostitutes (both male and female) sell their bodies. I know which people I would value more.

He stands for nothing and believes in nothing. Don't waste your valuable free time on specks like him.

I haven't watched Insiders this year and don't intend to. I'd rather read a book.

drsusancalvin said...

I suspect Bolt suffers from an extreme selective perception problem, and the side effects of years in an operant conditioning chamber. The only information that can penetrate is that which "fits", and after years of in-elastic thought, squeezing out nasties, getting "positives" from an internet button he presses with increasing rapidity, he would be almost incapable of doing or thinking anything different.

NotZed said...

Gave up on Insiders some time ago. Not much more than a 'sydney & canberra morning show'.

Or worse, a show about pollies, for pollies.

Anonymous said...

I want to know why the media in general rush to give this Bolt a seat at the table.

He contributes nothing but bile and hate and is ignorant to boot.

Last night on 6 pm on a story about kids in detention he claimed they were in their 30's and was allowed to get away with it.

I consider it a badge of honour to have been banned from his and Piers blogs.

Anonymous said...

‘Bolt’ and ‘ research’

Two words that shouldn’t be used in the same sentence grog… And I think you have proven (yet again) why these two words should never be seen together.

Rhiannon Saxon said...

I come from a 'Public Service Family' - Mum and Dad both worked for a long time in various departments (mostly ABS) and worked REALLY HARD. Their parents were factory workers and small business owners.
My parents worked as hard, and paid at least as much tax, and contributed to their communities as much.
I *hate* Public-Service-bashing - it is ignorant and vile.
Anyway, thanks for your usual entertaining and/or insightful posts, Grog. I think you contribute more to the well-being and functioning of society in all of your roles than a fourth-rate opinion-hack like Mr. Smug. (ok, juvenile, but he really IS!)

chris said...

Bolt makes me question my ancestry all the time.

I often wonder how I can part of the same species as that fool.

timbog74 said...

Happy to help.

Steve said...

Hi Grog. I was the quote above you on Bolt's website on Sunday after Insiders. I thank Bolt and my mate who alerted me that I was zapped by him, cos I'd never seen the Bolt website until then.

For now I understand Bolt's vitriol and bile.....he merely channels his flock (collective noun deliberately chosen!). What a poisonous, uninformed and verbally violent mob they are.

By comparison, Bolt himself is a pussycat ...... well, maybe I should say a feral pussycat.

Steve

Moneypenny said...

@Steve - I think you do cats a great disservice by that comparison...

But, just for fun, perhaps it's time to turn the tables and cast aspersions on Bolt's ancestry. Perhaps there is a charlatan in there somewhere. Or a Dutch widow.

Anonymous said...

As Saraswati said, having Bolt target your blog can only mean you're on the right track.
Akin to earning one of the "Hated by the Daily Mail" badges so coveted by your UK peers.. congratulations!

Andrew, if you're reading, I really hope you don't fall down any stairs and crack your head and break an ankle and regain consciousness only to find you have forgotten who you are or how to write and get fired and have to live under a bridge.

Gazany

Anonymous said...

Doesn't he already live under a bridge? Isn't that where trolls generally live?

Anonymous said...

Sorry, Grog. I still haven't learnt how to post as anything but anonymous.
I'm still waiting for Bolt's apology to you. The attempted smear is a wonderful example of his m.o. - the ad hominem attack, based on either the flimsiest evidence or - in this case - downright misinformation.
An amusing discovery this afternoon: I was alerted to go to Julie Bishop's website (not somewhere I normally hang out) to her online poll about attitude to a carbon tax. As of 3.45 p.m. this afternoon, 67% strongly SUPPORTED a carbon tax, with 23% strongly opposed.
I suspect that it's possibly like Bolt's smear - an inability of some people to read properly. But it's made my day.
Thanks so much for your blog. I've even read some of your articles on sport, because you write so well.
Glad to see that you're reading Germinal. I read it as a teenager and it shook me to the core.

Anonymous said...

From Paul
He should have had a go at you for being a masochist not a P.S. My only reason for saying that is if you watch crap like Insiders you get what you deserve. If you watch Insiders with Bolt on (or Ackerman, Crabb, Kelley, Sava oh well forget that the list is too long) well you get no sympathy from me at all. Though perhaps a referral for help from Mcgory - would be punishment enough.
Why not have a raffle where the loser gets to dine with the rabble from Insiders and the proceeds go for them to do a Adult Ed course in journalism, sorry Adult Ed.

armchair opionator said...

Bolt is just a flogger, he doesn't care how much of a fool and liar (misrememberer) he looks, as long as he keeps getting paid handsomely to push the murdochracy agenda. Bolt sees himself as an influential and perhaps essential political agent, he is so full of his own importance in the scheme of things. Look at who he influences though - bigoted dimwits who are filled with hatred and envy yet completely lacking in self awareness and critical thinking skills. Bolt's goons get 'bolted' just as much as his political and ideological targets.

I'd be surprised if even Bolt takes what he writes and says as seriously as his knuckledragging fans, he's a propagandist for hire. No thought from Bolt of any moral/ethical responsibility (that's used as a weapon against the enemy), just whatever it takes, the ends justifies the means when you are a mercenary, a warrior for conservatism.

Anonymous said...

There is a solution to Andrew Dolt'ism. TiVO. I scroll through his drivel.

Anonymous said...

Bolt defends Science behind Nuclear Reactors -YET- doesn't defend Science re: Climate Change.

Anyone that can so openly contradict Science, just in one day, is either delusionalily lazy Or.....is a dangerous opinionater !

So I wonder if he has ever read facts OR Researched anything.

Anonymous said...

Is there a way we could put Mr. Bolt under the microscope as he does PM Gillard and FM Rudd.

You know twist everything he says. Explore his back ground and family.

Psychoanalyse every thing he says.

armchair opinionator said...

"...So I wonder if he has ever read facts OR Researched anything..."

That is not the traditional conservative way, why be constrained by fact and research when you can spread hearsay and bigotry to the ignorant and gullible. Besides, everyone knows that you can't trust those elites of academia! That's another reason that I disliked Howard and the conservative culture warriors, they attacked defenceless academics as elites when the real power elites are themselves (politicians) and the ultra wealthy who call all the shots.

Anonymous said...

Isn't Bolt a son of a Dutch man. You know, the types that invaded South Africa and killed locals. Is that why he doesn't believe in the 'lost generation'

Craig said...

If Bolt grabs hold of the wrong end, as he's done many times, doesn't that simply make him a Nut?