Bolt's responsce to Media Watch's David Marr, by Andrew
24th July 2003
is a public responce from Andrew Bolt. Trascripts
of this located at The Herald Sun and Crikey Media
Bolt's response to Media Watch's David Marr
By ANDREW BOLT
You owe me a public apology.
On Media Watch last night (July 21), you falsely accused
me of being wrong in stating Alison Broinowski had
received three grants from the Australia Council,
rather than the two you claim.
You further falsely accused me of being "hell
bent on denouncing her as a traitor".
You falsely accused me of saying she argues "we
deserved this atrocity" in Bali.
You falsely accused me of "dishonestly"
misrepresenting her views - as in knowingly having
twisted the truth.
You falsely accused me of being "not a man to
let the truth stand in the way of an insult"
- that is, of being a liar.
You falsely implied that I accused Ms Broinowski of
receiving Australia Council funding for her latest
You falsely accused me of considering Ms Broinowski
committed the "worst crime of all" in being
You falsely state that what "really rankles"
with me is Ms Broinowski's "ingratitude".
You accused me of getting the name of Ms Broinowski's
husband wrong, when you must have known that your
allegation was as best only half true.
means every single allegation you made against me
is false - bar only the last, which was partially
true at best, and utterly trivial at that.
provided you with information - from Ms Broinowski's
own CV - days before your broadcast proving that your
first allegation was simply wrong.
asking for my response, your e-mail never put to me
the other allegations - in particular the one that
I was dishonest or "not a man to let the truth
stand in the way of an insult". You ignored material
which exonerated me, and failed to give me the chance
to defend myself against hurtful and damaging allegations.
me go through each of these points, to illustrate
how shamefully you have behaved - how you have apparently
let a personal and long-standing animus towards me,
expressed by you on several occasions, distort your
point 1. You correctly quoted me in my article as
saying: "Alison Broinowski has now had three
grants of your money to become the kind of writer
she is. As in: Alison who? And the fact that she can
get so much help from the Australia Council to write
books you've never heard of is one reason you should
know of her."
you claimed: "The (Australia) Council has confirmed
that back in the 1980s, Broinowski was given two -
not three - small grants."
fact, as I told you, I was right. Here is how Ms Broinoswki
herself lists her Australia Council grants on her
1985 - Literature Board, Australia Council Purpose
1987 - Visual Arts and Craft Board, Australia Council
Can you add up, David? Two plus one equals three.
Just like I said. Your allegation that I had erred
and failed "to let the truth stand in the way
of an insult" is false.
point 2: I have never accused Ms Broinowski, or any
Australian I can recall, a traitor. That is a serious
allegation, and not one I would make lightly. But
you claimed as a matter of fact that "Bolt is
hell bent on denouncing her as a traitor". I
deny it. As my article made clear to any dispassionate
reader, I was questioning the basis on which she criticised
Australia. I should be able to do something so basic
without being accused of cartoonish McCarthyism.
point 3: You falsely claimed I accused Ms Broinowski
of saying "we deserved this atrocity" in
Bali. That is your invention. My article instead noted
that she "suggests the Bali bombing was largely
Australia's fault, because it 'invites the region's
contempt'". Not "deserved", note, but
largely brought it on ourselves. There is a huge difference
- as in the difference between saying David Marr invites
the contempt of his peers, and it's understandable
if people get cross with him, but he nevertheless
does not deserve to be bopped as a result. In fact,
I make this distinction clear in my article by quoting
Ms Broinowski herself saying: "I don't say the
tourists deserved their fate but, with hindsight,
what happened to them is predictable."
point 4: You falsely claimed that I acted dishonestly
by misrepesenting her views. First, the basic question:
How can you prove that I knowingly misrepresented
her views, rather than unwittingly make an honest
mistake? How can you prove the dishonesty here?
fact, I deny having either acted dishonestly or misrepresented
her views. Your case rests on this allegation: That
in quoting a xenophobic Malaysian writer highly critical
of Australians, Ms Broinowski is "not saying
we deserved this atrocity. She's saying bigots and
xenophobes in Asia THINK we deserve it. There's a
difference between endorsing and reporting, a difference
Bolt is ignoring here - dishonestly."
never accused Ms Broinowski of endorsing that writer,
so there is no "difference between endorsing
and reporting" here that I was "ignoring"
- honestly or otherwise. Your claim is false.
fact, I took issue with Ms Broinowski's apparent assumption
that we should heed the views of xenophobic Malaysians
and the like, and take responsibility for them. She
herself has made clear that this is indeed her view,
as I showed in my article by quoting her.
instance, I accurately quoted her as saying: "'The
dead and injured in Bali may have been the victims
of Canberra's ventriloquist mouthing of Washington's
world view, or of their Western appearance and lifestyle,
or of the longstanding hostility of many Indonesians
towards Australia, or of all of these,' Broinowski
I quoted her further, "invites the region's contempt".
And as she says elsewhere: "Certainly, those
Australians who didn't know or care about how their
country was perceived in Asian countries were brutally
reminded that it mattered."
I added in my article, was even about to deliver a
lecture under the title: "Bali as Blowback."
The phrase, as you know, is meant to suggest that
the Bali bombing was the result of our own action.
Not deserved, but "invited".
may disagree with me, but honest diagreement on this
should be possible without you libelling me on national
television by accusing me of having acted "dishonestly",
something I utterly deny.
point 5: You accused me of "not being a man to
let the truth stand in the way of an insult".
I deny that, too, utterly and passionately. I challenge
you to prove that I would rather lie than waste a
good insult. If you cannot, it is you instead who
cannot "let the truth stand in the way of an
point 6: You falsely implied that I had accused Ms
Broinowski of having received Australia Council funding
for her latest book. In fact, you said I lied in doing
so. You did this by mentioning (inaccurately) my allegation
of past council funding, but then adding: "Bolt
is not a man to let the truth stand in the way of
an insult. The book he was putting the boot into ...
received no funding whatever from the Australia Council."
This clearly was meant to suggest that I had said
her book had received such grants, but that I was
lying when I said it. But nowhere in my article did
I say the book received a grant, or even tried to
inmply that. I did not make the allegation, let alone
lie in doing so.
anyone even vaguely familiar with the council's grants
would have known that by noting she had received three
such grants I was referring to a history of her receiving
them, and could not possibly mean that all three grants
had gone into the direct production of this one book.
point 7: You wrongly claimed that I accused Ms Broinowski
of "the worst crime of all - pursuing an academic
career". This is utterly false - another figment
of your imagination. Nowhere in my article or my two
emails to you do I make this allegation, or describe
having an academic career as the "worst crime
of all". Not only did I not say this, I don't
believe it. I consider an academic career to be something
very respectable indeed, and admire those close friends
of mine who lecture in our universities. You are simply
fantasising - to my detriment, on national TV and
at taypayers' expense.
point 8: You falsely claimed that "what really
rankles with Bolt is (Ms Broinowski's) ingratitude".
This is not only false, but the very reverse of what
I consider to be a writer's most honourable response
to funding - which is to be beholden to no one. In
fact, I have written often to condemn what I see as
the tendency of too many artists to toe the line of
those who hand out the grants. My main problem with
Ms Broinowski is not her "ingratitude",
but the silliness of her views. If anything, my article
suggested she was part of an arts funding clique -
having worked for the Australia Council itself - and
not in rebellion against it.
point 9: You claimed, in conclusion, that I had made
an error in naming Ms Broinowski's husband as Philip
Broinowski. "Great stuff - but his name's Richard,"
you gloated. In fact, his full name is Richard Philip
Broinowski, although he does indeed prefer to be called
Richard. Is there any reason, other than malice towards
me, why you did not tell your viewers his first name?
ended your program by telling viewers that my complete
reply to your questions - one of which, by the way,
asked me to account for an opinion about you which
I have never expressed but which you imagined I might
have - was on your website. Was it a deliberate decision
to run my reply in a format which prevented it from
being read on screen?
have other serious concerns about your conduct as
host of Media Watch, and over your pursuit of this
story in particular. They are discussed in my two
earlier e-mails to you, and I eagerly await your reply.
the meantime, however, I ask that you apologise on
next week's show for each of your false allegations,
which I take very seriously. And I ask you to reflect
on your propensity to use your program, paid for by
taxpayers to do the public a service, to instead pursue
what seems to me some private vendettas and an ideological
Herald Sun: exact URL of story
Media Watch: What Andrew Bolt thinks of them
Media Watch: Fury of Bolt - 28th July 2003
Media: Crikey as Las Vegas: Bolt v Marr - 24th July
Indymedia - Andrew Bolt
Media Watch: Marring the media?
Two Cents, by Gareth Parker: Media Watch Watch
is Media Watch?
Media Watch (credit
ABC Media Watch website)
Watch is Australia's leading forum for media analysis
and comment. Conflicts of interest, bank backflips,
deceit, misrepresentation, manipulation, plagiarism,
abuse of power, technical lies and straight out fraud:
Media Watch has built an unrivalled record of exposing
media shenanigans since it first went to air in 1989.
each Monday at 9.15 pm on ABC TV one of Australia's
finest journalists, David Marr, turns a critical eye
on the media in general and journalism in particular.
The media provides the information we need to make
decisions about our lives, but how reliable are the
media reports that shape our views of the world?
claim to report the facts without fear or favour -
but just how fair and fearless are they when personal
or corporate interests conflict with their responsibilities?
Watch turns the spotlight onto those who literally
"make the news": the reporters, editors,
sub-editors, producers, camera operators, sound recordists
and photographers who claim to deliver the world to
our doorsteps, radios, computers and living rooms.
We also keep an eye on those who try to manipulate
the media: the PR consultants, spin-doctors, lobbyists
and "news makers" who set the agenda.
Marr is currently on leave from the Sydney Morning