Friday, February 13, 2004

A Suitable Case for Fisking

The sad thing about The Hun's website is that it rarely represents the quality of the writing that turns up in the print edition. For example, on Monday (or Tuesday) of this week, The Hun published a well-reasoned, intelligent and above all factual account of Paul Cudmore's so-called "escape" from Statewide Forensic Services. You won't find it on the web-site; all you'll find is last week's series of panic-mongering reports and apoplectic editorials. At a guess, I'd say that the reason that the print edition article was stronger on fact and logic is that it was written by Victoria's Public Advocate, Julian Gardner, rather than the mentally ill inmates of the HWT Tower.

The only columnist they ever feature on the site is, of course, Colostomy Lugs. So if your only access to The Hun is on the web, you'll have missed Paul Gray's article earlier this week, where he gets stuck into John Howard for lying to the Australian public on his reasons for going to war with Iraq.

I guess this has something to do with demographics; the published edition of The Hun is intended for a fairly wide and varied readership, the web site for a smaller group, possibly computer geeks whose working lives are so busy that they can rarely find the time to form their own opinions. For these people, Andrew Bolt must be a godsend.

Today, in "The truth about lies" he's excelled himself:

Let me recite, and correct, a list of lies commonly repeated in the media by our cultural elite. A list of lies? It's a catechism, really.

That word catechism worries me a little; I tend to associate it with the teaching of religious dogma; more neutrally, it's a book that teaches the basic tenets of Christian belief, usually set out in question and answer form. Here's the first paragraph of Andrew's catechism:

No, there was no "stolen generation" of children snatched from loving homes. No, there was no genocide in Tasmania. No, the smallpox that decimated Aborigines so cruelly was not brought here by European settlers. No, windfarms will not stop global warming, or do much good to anyone. No, man-made global warming is not a proven or "agreed" scientific fact.

It looks a bit more like the TV quiz show Jeopardy to me; here are the answers, now guess the questions. The category for this lot must be "Australian History and Global Warming" - an interesting mix. I think he's on thin ice with the thirty-pointer ("Was the small-pox etc brought here by European settlers?"), but maybe Andrew has read more widely on this topic than I have. In a catechism, you don't present the theological justifaction for a belief, merely what the belief is, or what the church expects to hear you say you believe when you're asked questions like "Who is God?" and so on.

There's a lot more in the new Boltian Creed, which Andrew preached for the first time at the Sydney Institute on Wednesday. If anyone's feeling like putting in a spot of fisking, I can highly reccommend it.

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