Friday, February 4, 2011

Don’t Blog Back in Anger

Yesterday at lunch I read a blog post in The Australian by Caroline Overington that made me so angry I actually had to go for a walk around the block to calm down.  The flippancy with which I believed she was treating Cyclone Yasi had me walking around clenching my fists. As I’ve written before, I lived for 11 years in Cairns and so I have quite a few very close friends who were bunkering down on Wednesday night; and knowing the area so well, the scenes of destruction shown in the media yesterday morning hit very close to home. And so when I read what I took to be her very blasé view of the destruction caused by Yasi, well I was angry in a way that I am never so when reading some piece in the media that gets me irritated.

On my drive home, which takes about 30 minutes, and during which I usually start thinking about what I will write, I was writing some bloody angry prose in my head. After dinner, I sat down, as I always do, and let fly on the keyboard. I went in as hard on Overington as I have ever gone in on anyone. It felt bloody good. I had the evidence, I had the pictures, and I had the words all on my side.

And as I always do, I posted the link on Twitter, and lo did the tweets follow. And many were not pretty at all.

I soon reflected on my piece and felt that I had overstepped the mark and so did a slight retraction. I posted the retraction on Twitter – and apologised to Caroline for what I had insinuated. She hadn’t asked me to, and no one had said I should. Many people – including some journalists, tweeted to me that I had no need to retract what I had written, that she was fair game, and that I had not written anything legally wrong.

And yet in my gut, the more I thought about it, the more I thought I was wrong, even if not in a legal sense. It is to do with the tone of my piece, and given I was attacking Caroline Overington for the tone of her piece, I think it is only right to admit I got the tone of mine wrong as well.

Now I attack journalists and politicians everyday on this blog. When I get stuck into The Australian I’ll insinuate stupidity and bias and bias and stupidity. And you know what – I think I am on the money every bloody time. (You may disagree, and that’s fine by me.)

But here’s the thing: when I go in hard on something Matt Franklin or Patricia Karvelas has written, I go in hard on what they have written. I could not give a stuff about what they think privately. That is, the focus of the attack is their words not them. I may insinuate that they are poor journalists; but poor human beings who don’t love their friends and family? No. Now maybe with politicians I play the man a bit more than the ball, but again I keep the attacks to those based on what they say, and stay away from personal slurs. (Professional slurs? You betcha.)

I have a wonderful curse that I am generally able to throw out a line of sarcastic scorn with little trouble. It is a curse because whenever I do it – and I mean a personal, spot-on, right between the eyes hit – I hate myself afterwards for a very long time. Once about 18 years ago I drilled my sister with a line of scorn. I doubt she even remembers it now, but I still think about it pretty regularly, and I hate the memory of the look on her face just after I said it. Now my sister and I spent most of our childhood arguing with each other, but that was the only time I said a line to her that I had thought up earlier and workshopped in my head and then let fly when the moment arose.

What does this have to do with my post yesterday?

Well that is the one time I have let fly a post that as soon as I thought about, I knew I would hate myself for having written.

I think Overington made a joke that badly misfired. And that should have been my target. And yes, it largely was. I took her words off the page and I showed them to be stupid and uncaring. But you know what? At the end of the day it was just a stupid joke on her part that she has now acknowledged on Twitter could be seen as flippant. Did it deserve scorn? Yeah I think it did. She is paid to write for the flagship paper of If she, and The Australian, cannot be criticised for what is published on its site, then we might as well all give up on democracy.

But in my anger I let the tone drift from scorn on her attempt at a joke, to scorn on her. I suggested she was uncaring, whereas what was right was that her words could be read as uncaring.

Now some may say, who cares, what’s the difference?

Now some may say, so what? She wrote it, she gets the scorn.

But the more I thought about it, the more I knew I had missed the mark. Not by much. It isn’t so much what I wrote about was wrong, but the way I went about it.

A couple things on Twitter last night hit me. Stephen Spencer – a bloke in the press gallery I have a lot of time for, and certainly no friend of The Australian or – tweeted:

It was a joke that like @Catherinedeveny at the logies missed the mark, but the assault on @overingtonc is a little OTT don't you think?

He then followed it up with:

people who supported Deveny now bagging @overingtonc and vice versa. Not a fan of the pack attack.

And he’s right. I hate the pack attack as well. I hate that I could write something that would fuel not just comments on my blog saying “you nailed it”, but that it would fuel abuse at Overington on Twitter. I do think that had someone like Deveny or a political staffer, or even a humble public servant written the “joke” about the lack of damage from the cyclone, there would have been hell to pay from certain right-wing bloggers and columnists in the media.

Doesn’t make it right, and doesn't make it right when I did it either.

And yeah, Spencer is correct: I did go over-the top. Originally it was going to be just part of a larger blog (I was going to focus on the idiotic use on Today Tonight and of a countdown clock to the cyclone hitting the coast), but it grew as I wrote it. And as I wrote it, my anger grew as well.

If I ever “nailed a post” (a phrase Overington has used to describe how people react to blog posts) that was it. Doesn’t make it right though.

Her post was two lines long (three if you count the line below the duck-video), and I made every bit of all of them.

Too much in fact.

This doesn’t mean two sentences can never be worthy of an entire post; just not those two.

It was a misplaced, ill-timed joke. Call her on it, sure. But writing a post with a tone that effectively unleashed a pile of hate at someone? Sorry that’s not why I blog.

There’s a lot of hate on the net. I read some blogs on the net and the tone, if not the words, is geared towards fuelling anger. The comments on those blogs reflect that as well.

Last night I wrote a blog post that conveyed that type of tone, and it led to those types of comments.

Sometimes I hate this hobby of mine. Underneath the TV we have two DVD series each of The Wire, The Tudors and Battle Star Galactica. I have the box set of The Pacific, the old BBC series of War and Peace starring Anthony Hopkins, the mini series of Little Dorrit and Bleak House. I have the old series of Power without Glory. I have close to 50 books I desperately want to read. And each night I say, tonight we’ll start watching that series, or tonight we’ll watch that movie, or tonight I’ll go to bed early and read that book.

And yet I don’t. I’ll write a blog post; I’ll chat on Twitter; I’ll tinker with the post; and it’ll be 11:30 and I think oh bugger, not again.

And yet I absolutely love doing it. I love writing; I love the debates and laughs on Twitter.

But last night was the first time I had wished I didn't have a blog. Because even if it was in the mildest sense, I had added to the hate on the internet.

I felt like I did the moment after I had let rip at my sister 18 years ago.

This is my hobby. It has brought me a lot of joy. But a hobby that has me implying someone would prefer to see people dead? Really? Is that what I want to do each night? Is that joyful? Does that tone add anything of value? No, no and no.

I have achieved a certain amount of attention for this blog; and mostly people read it because they agree with me when I attack the media or the Liberal Party – or even occasionally the ALP or Greens – or they read it because they at least enjoy what I have to write about those topics. The one thing I hate most about all of those whom I attack (and especially the media) is when they stuff up, they don’t admit it. They see people distressed by things they have written or said, and do they apologise? No, they effectively say “up yours” and they say they’re paid to be provocative and so we need to deal with it.

Well good for them. And maybe if I were being paid to do so I would act the same. But I would like to think not.

And so I say I regret my post last night. Not because I think I was wrong and Overington right, but because sometimes, being right isn’t enough.

Others – whether because they are paid to be so, or because they enjoy it – can be mean on the internet, and go hard at a person. I choose not to. My post crossed over and I didn’t feel comfortable with where that put me.

What others on Twitter or on this blog think or don’t about whether or not I was right, really isn’t much of an issue to me.

The post had an ugly tone; one I don’t care to repeat. One that made me embarrassed to take any credit for any praise that came my way for it.

The most angry post I ever wrote was one that never saw the light of day. It was in response to my being outed. I wrote it and thankfully had people around me who told me to put it in a drawer. I had written it in red-hot anger. Sure it was all perfectly correct and right. But sometimes, being in the right isn’t enough.

Don’t blog angry.


Veggie Mama said...


Unknown said...

Cheers, for staying true to yourself. I hope you're not beating yourself up too much over this. You're a good man. Everyone knows it.

You write because you need to. If you stopped, you'd go nuts.

Mixhelle said...

I didn't read the original post, but I'm old enough to know I don't need to pick the scab off the sore.

Well done for taking a good hard look at yourself, and being big enough to take yourself to task.

debra said...


Pip said...

Hey Red, if he stopped some of us might go nuts as well.
I saw the article and felt the same response and it was only hours later that the headline sank in. Much Ado. she left off About Nothing.
In any case none of it was funny under the circumstances given that last night many of us were listening on ABC Local from Brisbane, to the voices in the dark in N. Qld.
I can't remember the young lady's name, but she spoke throughout the night to many people who were huddling in their homes with just the radio and it's listeners to keep the vigil with them.
They described the sounds outside, the roar of the wind, the dark. Some of them described their fear, while a woman told of the noise of the roof popping and blowing away and as she spoke listeners could hear weird noises which she explained was her furniture sliding around overhead, but she insisted she and her husband and two dogs were safe in their concrete bunker under the house.
Another caller was on his 40 foot cataraman, parked in a creek by the mangroves with another 40 or so boats riding out the cyclone as best they could. He said the wind lifted the front of his boat right out of the water.
The anouncer did a fantastic job with regular reports from the BOM detailing what was happening in different places, what to expect and when. She was calm and reassuring and I believe was a great comfort to probably thousands of people including callers from the UK and the US sending messages to their loved ones.
I don't know if the Walkleys people would even know about her but they should.
So Grog, don't feel too bad about yourself. I happen to think your offence was not so bad.

Anonymous said...

"Don't blog angry"

Yeah, OK, fair enough rule.
Your explanatory piece makes sense in all sorts of ways.

But ....

You must still allow yourself to get angry when angry [or disgusted or contemptuous or joyful or whatever] is the appropriate or valid or credible or, most importantly of all, ethical reaction to whatever is the stimulus.

Controlled and directed, moderated by afterthought perhaps but if you don't get angry when anger is called for [that's the essence of my point], you lose something.
Something important.

Anyway your apology and explanation in 2 parts does you credit.


Allan said...

Greg, I've been reading your blog for ages and it's the only "must" read of the number that I follow - probably because I respect your views and opinions (and also because I basically agree with most things you write). No one else is as insightful and "on the money" as you are.

I sensed your outrage in the blog in question and had a little "ooooh" moment as I read it.

Mate, I think you do a great job and would always encourage you to keep up the terrific work. We all make mistakes from time to time and the true mark of any human being is to admit they were wrong or stepped over the line.

All the best Greg!

Agnes Mack said...

It's obvious from all your blog posts that you eschew personal attacks and find pack assaults distasteful.

I recall, that in the election campaign, when a number of comments on one post were particularly scathing about an individual journalist, you called for restraint, saying readers should not focus on one person.

Your critiques of the media are invaluable in providing balance in a very skewed arena. Because you are well respected you words have a greater impact - and the potential to lift the standard of reporting.

This post, so obviously from the heart, illustrates the integrity which your readers value and which underpins the weight given to your views.

Well said, indeed. You are an example to us all.

JamesG said...

Watch Battlestar Galactica - the Cyclons reacted in anger and killed 40 billion humans. You bloodied the nose of one journo. You are no toaster (Cylon) mate.

Anonymous said...

I admire your integrity, as always, but jeez - Catholic guilt is a bitch, isn't it?


Bushfire Bill said...

You're FAR too hard on yourself, Grog.

I wrote this in your defence...

han said...


I read this post first before going to the original and from the air time you devoted to the apology I had anticipated gross insult to her dead grandma and virgin children. If there is much ado in this, it is your apology, because I see nothing wrong either in substance or tone in your original post.

Sir Ian Crisp said...

Why so timorous? I did not read the Overington piece in the Oz but I take it that it was below the belt. I’m sure a well thought out philippic aimed at Ms Overington would be understandable. It might even act as a mirror held up to Ms Overington so she may see how base her article was. Ms Overington is over 21, she has broad shoulders, and she is a member of the shark tank known as ‘the media’ so I’m sure she could handle a bit of tough language.

2353 said...


Read this post first and then the "offending" post. Even as a joke, Overington's piece was in bad taste and insulted all those who had just spent what (hopefully) will be the worst night of their lives sheltering from something that defies comprehension (and like you, I've lived through a few smaller cyclones).

Don't beat yourself up - the original comments were justified, your argument well put and if you have annoyed or upset one or a number of thepress pack - they need to grow up. Someone with Overington's media profile (which she helped to create) should know better, her bosses obviously haven't told her and someone should have. Well done.

Jaeger said...

All good, Grog; nobody's prefect.

There's more than a little irony in the fact that your retraction was as prominent and insightful as any of your other postings. Old media (assuming they acknowledged their mistake - usually by court order) would have buried it down the back of the paper next to the Hungarian Curling results.

If the ambulance chasing media are sulking, there's plenty of tragedy if they bothered to look beyond death tolls and human suffering. The reef and rainforests - the things many people go the FNQ to see - have been hammered and will take years to recover. The Cassowary Coast may not have any cassowaries for much longer, despite the best efforts of QPWS. The Mahogany Glider has also been hit hard.

Unfortunately, it'll probably be considered "too Green", and they'll go back to reporting on shonky tradesmen, diet fads, bank fees and Justin Bieber.

Anonymous said...

Be nice if people,at the Australian were as thoughtful as you

Anonymous said...

Write angry in the evening, publish with a cool head in the morning.

Rod Hagen said...

You are right, of course, Grog, but I think you are also wrong.

Yes, it is rarely a good thing to let simple anger determine your words. I found myself doing the same thing the other day in responding to comments from another journalist who seems to believe that being "provocative" excuses most sins, Miranda Devine.

I regretted it afterwards, and even thought of apologising myself, but in the end I decided that although the specific "offence" which I had reacted to was far too little to justify my response, in reality I was angry because of the totality of her output over a prolonged period. I think this is often the way such things work. The never ending jibes and pettiness of some such commentators produce a totality which is more than simply the sum of the individual components. Unfortunately I suspect that is actually just what such writers aim for

Like you, I get annoyed with myself and indulge in a certain amount of naval gazing after such things. In part my self admonition in these situations comes about because I grew up knowing that ad hominem attacks are ethically wrong. In part it is because I also know that they are rarely effective in these sorts of situations, and can lead to matters of real import ultimately getting decided on the basis of who shouts loudest or nastiest rather than on the merits.

There is another side to all this, though.

Re-reading Overington's own brief blog and your response I think a quite strong response was both warranted and needed. I had read it myself before you wrote your blog about it and had a very similar immediate reaction to it to your own. It appeared to me to be a trivialisation of people's fears and experiences in a very dangerous situation.

There were many other things she could have said, but this what she chose to say. She was not alone , of course. One heard similar comments on talkback radio and in the chat rooms all day. Consciously or unconsciously Overington, it seemed to me, was using her journalistic position to foster a particular developing "meme". Not just any "meme" either, but one which had implications in terms of both current human unhappiness and future public safety.

There is a fine line between attacking the meme and attacking its promotors in such situations. You went in hard in your blog, but for the most part you actually attacked the implications of her comments. Most of what you said needed to be said loudly and clearly, as it was. Yes, it walked the line in a few places but it only rarely crossed it.

I have had a fair amount of association with north and central Queensland myself over the last few years. Perhaps you and I are more sensitive to comments of the kind which she made in a time when the place was still "under attack" because of that? Or perhaps we both reacted in much the same way because it was actually a right and proper human response to do so?

I admire the strength and openness of your retraction, and the sentiments contained in it with respect to debate on the internet generally, but I don't think you really needed to make it.

MIa Freedman said...

I missed all this yesterday. Had I seen the hoo-ha, I would have come to Caroline's defense with bells whistles and exclamation marks. And CAPS.

I know fewer more compassionate, caring and supportive people than Caroline.
She shows it consistently both in her writing and in her private life.
She is a rare bird in our industry - one without an ounce of malice, jealousy or spite.

I understood exactly what she was saying about Yasi and I don't even think it was flippant. It was genuine relief that the worst was so much better than we were led to believe it would be. I felt the same way and it in no way trivialises what happened.

You're right about not typing when you're angry. There are too many people behind keyboards with anger of their own who are looking for a target, any target. They will grab your angry words and twist them and use them as weapons to inflict even more damage.

And in my experience, when someone triggers such an emotional response in me, it's about something going on for ME, not what they've said.

Glad you could eventually see and acknowledge that. Sad that Caroline had to suffer for it.

Bernie said...

I think it's admirable that you hold yourself to such a high standard -- your blog, your rules.

Still, they are a bunch of dishonest tools over there at the Australian. Whether it's because they're being paid to be that is irrelevant really.

It's very Jesus of you to have regard for their feelings.

Patricia WA said...

You have nothing to apologise for, but I understand your need to do so. Objectivity is something you prize and strive for in your work and is what brings us here to read whatever you have to say. Sometimes righteous anger has its place, though. We know yours is not confected and appreciate that. We appreciate your soul searching on it too. It's the sort of thing that journos should do more often. Maybe Caroline Overington will learn something from your eruption into rare rage and now this expression of remorse.

Anonymous said...

G'Day mate, I'm not sure where I got my gut instinct from but I avoided the blog in question, probably because it was generating blow back on Twitter.

I guess I will only add that Twitter for me, and blogs that link of it, are a treat for me, as they seem to be for you. I am sure I have lost my balance a few times, I remember withdrawing and apologising for one of my responses, although I can't remember anything about it or to whom it was directed.

Twitter is of so much value in my opinion because of the power of communication. When we write something that decreases our ability to communicate in future, we have abused our privilege. I am glad to see you defend our privilege to keep open the channels of communication.

WNBSprague- Brett

Anonymous said...

Nicely put. Kudos.

ernmalleyscat said...

Grog, it's interesting to see the process you go through when blogging and reflecting and observing reactions.

Hopefully Caroline Overington may learn something from you.

The way I see it, 1) She wrote a thoughtless piece, that highlighted the good fortune of some, completely ignoring the devastation suffered by others.
2) An editor failed to notice this and allowed it to be published.
3) She or the site administrator disallowed comments, so no negative reaction could be shown.
4) Readers used other means (Twitter, blogs and comments) to voice their thoughts.
5) She read these and became sad.
6) She wrote another piece to justify her first piece and convey her sadness at being criticised.

She appears still not to have learned anything.

small pants said...

On questions of character, compare this post with Caroline's update.

olde boots said...

I reckon you write (quite well) because you choose to, not because you have to. This is probably a big part of why I choose to read you.

Self reflection and examination is always a good thing, and the idea that you think reconsider what you write means that it has more meaning for me.

Malcolm Young said...

Hmmmm, I'm kind of in two minds about this. I don't feel there was anything wrong with the original post. At the same time, I am now at the point of barely reading most online media nowadays due to the constant stream of bile that seems to permeate the blogosphere (let alone twitter), and I can appreciate how much you'd want to avoid feeling as if you're contributing to that.

Having said that, the "journalists" of the Australian (and this is not referring specifically to Overington) are never backward about being forward, over opinionated and just damn rude from time to time. In addtion, they've become so absurdly self obsessed that now, having put themselves so prominently visible within their "journalism", I feel it's a bit much for them to complain about being targeted on a more personal level.

Just my two cents.

han said...

just followed the link to her blog post. she wrote a lengthy update but not one word on the appropriateness or otherwise of the original post, i.e. no apologies from her.

Victoria said...

Maybe the more appropriate response to Caroline's 'jokey' post would have been to merely make a jokey Tweet back at her which took the piss.
'Brevity is the soul of wit' and leaves no room for anger. :)

Steve said...

Your intelligent consideration of this matter does you honour. You should be held up as an example of the sort of thinker we need in this country. I have no idea if you or I would agree about various issues, possibly not, but I don't care. Your commitment to doing the right thing is all I need. Well done.

@AndySHastings said...

Much kudos to you, Grog, you are thoughtful and ethical and that's why many of us read you.

The fact is that there are plenty of arseholes out there, especially on Twitter, who don't think twice about abusing someone for whatever reason. To think that you might be responsible for inciting a portion of that abuse is dreadful, especially for an ethical person such as yourself, but I would be careful about imputing more blame to your words (for inciting abuse) than is justified.

You have made many invaluable contributions to raising the tone of debate around politics and the media in this country, through your blog and Twitter. Sometimes, though, there's nothing you can do about arseholes.

I hope this experience doesn't demoralise you, your writings and insights are a great asset to many of us in pursuit of more dignified and thoughtful politics in this country.

Anonymous said...

Normally I don't read Caroline - saves me a bit of angst. However I've just gone to her Media Diary page & seen her update. A few emotive words flung together, with the implication that they were either your original blog comments, or at least close synonyms.

Just appalling - & not a fair reflection of your original post last night.

Another example of lowest common denominator "stirring", not untypical of most, but not all of the News Ltd stable. IMVHO she doesn't deserve oxygen, let alone a salary as a (professional) journalist.

Sleve said...

I dislike ad hominem attacks, but fear that we're all prone to them when we're angry. I have a few emails I wish I could retract.

Play the ball, not the man.

Hopefully Tony Abbott will heed these words.

Ash Ghebranious said...

Hi ya Grog!

Firstly. Told you that you would be made stronger.

Secondly. I see you discovered the flaw of emotion attraction. I say flaw because on the one hand we readers and peeps look out for raw emotion.... but it is flawed as our emotion only makes sense at that moment in time.

Sure we can talk about it later and raise that emotion but the original spark that caught our eye or ire has long passed.

Sort of like a cyclone really.

Now. What you have discovered and aptly so is the power of the word.

The irony is 'Much ado about nothing' is actually much ado about something. Shakespeare (or those monkeys he kept safely) was an interesting user of the same tricks magicians use.

When a magician says there is nothing up my sleeve and it appears to be so, you can rest assured that there is something up somewhere.

Having read Caroline's blog, I can see what may have ticked you off, but I can also see that it was NOT her words so much as her emotion.

A wave of fury had crossed the cost and by the early reports of it all, all the dread and fear we had harboured had been evaporated. This was not a comment from her or the person she quoted to make the event seem trivial, but it is the response of humans who battle odds and survive.

What you read and what you interpreted is based on the years that have made you what YOU are. What Caroline wrote was based on what has made her who she is.

There is no winner here. It is only a fleeting feeling of victory.

In a way, you have allowed yourself and the readers of this blog to understand this.

When Tony Abbott says he does not want a flood levy, it does not mean he does not want to see Queensland recover. However his stance is reflected that way to many who support the levy.

The horror of politics is that you you are forced to choose a side.

Once you commit, there is no going back. But politics is nothing other than something WE created. We give it life. We cater for its growth and we prepare our selves and our communities to be divided overnight when in reality we all want the same thing.

I doubt that Caroline wished for anyone affected by the cyclone to suffer. So in her glee that there was no suffering, she chose a rather Australian stoic view.

'Well that wasn't so tough'.

I do not believe she meant to denigrate the effects of the cyclone so much as the FEAR we harboured that MAY occur.

I do not see it as a comment that the weather is a pussy so much as the tendacy we humans have to think of the worst.

So did you over step your bounds? Hell no! Did Caroline? Hell no!

Are you wrong? Hell no! Is she wrong? Hell no!

We all are creatures of what has made us. We are influenced by what we feel and experience and see.

I am not sure if you know, but am a copt. I see the trouble in Egypt and I despair. Not because I am on one side or the other, but because people who want to make their country better can not come to a consensus on how this is achieved.

I thought that the country that helped inspire civilisation on the globe. But then I realised that it was nothing more than a land of people. People hope. They aspire. They wish.

It is when the normality of what we hope, aspire, and wish for is challenged that we realise how small we are. And when we realise that, we react with the emotion that has bought us to this moment.

What you have discovered and what Caroline has shown is we are all human.

There is nothing to regret about that. How we treat each other is something of an ongoing project.

Be at peace. You are human. This is nothing to be upset about.


Anonymous said...

I don't think your post was OTT. It was sharp and to the point but I didn't see much in the way of offence. I watched Today yesterday morning and got a vague sense that the aftermath of Cyclone Yasi was not quite dramatic enough form them, either.
Take it easy on yourself!

Thirdborn said...

Hi Grog, I think your reaction might also have been influenced (as mine was) by other similar calls from commentators (Bolt & Akerman come to mind, plus that historical nonsense from Devine). It all added up to a nasty picture and your outlet was directed at only one. I think there is an underlying rage against a more general attitude where some commentators genuinely do want to belittle the incident to make a point. Don't beat yourself up, I feel the rage too.

Hat tip to you though Sir, you are a gentleman. Show them how to do it.

Thirdborn said...

Grog, I have just had a look at the comments from the latest blog entry from Akerman. This is where your anger is coming from, there are plenty of people out there who are mocking the severity of the cyclone. There are some even claiming it was more like a cat 3 system and it was used by the govt to garnish some support for their political agenda! Go figure. There are some strange nuts in Australia.

Anonymous said...

Glad you got it off your chest but it was way too long. I got the point about halfway through and stopped reading :)

Paul C said...

Goodonya to be 'big' enough to apologise and retract, and also for knowing the difference between what's legally right and what's morally right. I'm certainly no fan of almost anyone who writes for News Ltd., but I did see Caroline Overington's comments not much more than misguided but light-hearted (still have to wonder how anyone could write anything light-hearted about the cyclone, but there you go... pretty poor taste IMHO, so nice one for the LARTing).

I also understand how this hit you hard too, and your subsequent reaction.

It might be a silly hobby to you, Greg, but I'm hard-pressed to find a place that offers better analysis of the media and politics than Grog's Gamut. Don't stop writing, and FFS don't stop posting.

rhwombat said...

G'day Greg,
I wish that I could have written what you have - both the original post and your contemplation of the moral dimensions of having done so. Aristotle considered virtue: so have you. Never mind other's views of the world (even BSG), please keep sharing yours. Slainte

Kyna62 said...

As others have already commented, you're a good bloke, and your posts demonstrate your humanity, your integrity, and your compassion.

I think you articulated the reasons for your discomfort very well, although I wonder if some of your discomfort is because you have become well-known enough and popular enough to inadvertently start a pack attack.

You gained a lot of readers for your insightful blogging during the election campaign, and you gained more after you were outed. To some people you have became something of an anti-MSM hero.

You never set out to have a subsection of your readership turn into GrogsGroupies, and it must have been very uncomfortable for you when you realised that one angry blog post from you could set off a pack on Twitter.

Your post has me considering how prone I am to fall into the knee-jerk reaction, especially on Twitter, so thanks for the heads up on that.

Not sure if I've expressed myself very well. I can only add that I hope you keep on blogging.

Anonymous said...

I read her update. Yep, no retraction, no apologies. Excuses, excuses - it's all about how she's misunderstood and now she's somehow a victim of Greg Jericho's blog. Coming from that's rich. Difference between Overington and Deveny is that Deveny lost her job and Overington thinks she's been hard done by. Contrast her update to your thoughtful self-reflection and prominent apology. Sorry - who's the professional journalist with ethics again? You're an example of how professional journalists should behaviour.

Steve Szetey said...

It's your blog and therefore your right to either rant or apologise.

For my two cents worth, I don't think you went over the top yesterday. I thought you got it spot on.

Greg Jericho said...

Cheers for all your views. Very interesting opinions. I don't agree with all of them, but I like that they were all nicely said!

And yeah, anon it did ramble on a bit! (But I like to ramble)

Anonymous said...

Personally, your response was understandable but hers(original post and update)was not.

I have family in Queensland and was up there for Christmas. I came back to the comfort of Sydney just before the place was flooded so yes the current natural disasters in Queensland are very real to me too. My great uncle's business and whole life's work was flooded and it's going to take him years to rebuild. For someone in his 70s and who hopes to retire soon that's heartbreaking. He was lucky the family house was left relatively unscathed. Not so his neighbours.

A lot of people have lost everything. So a second natural disaster following the first is not something you make light of and expect people not to get angry, especially when its full impact was still unknown at the time of Caroline Overington's original posting.

I would be more inclined to feel some sympathy for her if she was able to admit that she had made a mistake and apologise for the offence caused to people who had yet to hear from loved ones and find her comments insensitive and dismissive. But she didn't retract and she wasn't able to undertsand why her words could be interpreted by people as insensitive. Her subsequent update was more a justification for her original posting.

Everyone makes mistakes. It's what you do afterwards that counts. Your mistake is a relatively minor one compared to hers. The fact you were able to reflect on your own words and be able to understand the negative impact they may have on public debate shows your ability to apply the same standard to yourself as you do to others. Your retraction and apology when they were not necessary earns you more respect. The same cannot be said of Overington.

Anonymous said...

sometimes when somebody is being a dickhead somebody else needs to point that out to them. Nothing wrong with that.

Agnes said...

I've been watching your blog for sometime now, but this really suprised me. Maybe you will need some anger issues^sarcasam^. Congras on staying true and self-aware. You are a great person with an amazing personality. Good luck