Saturday, June 11, 2005

A big can of worms.

A few months ago Rupert Murdoch stressed the need for newspapers to adapt to new technologies to survive. Rupert is spot on here, and he shows good understanding of a younger more technically savy audience, who log on rather than visit their local newsagent to get their fix.
The Bolt Forum may well be part of Rupert's push into cyberspace, but it seems Andrew Bolt is so far out of his depth when it comes to this new medium.
As many postees to the Bolt Forum already know, Andrew shamelessly edits any well-constructed criticism of his work. If he doesn't use his "snips", Bolt responds by attacking his critics with childish abuse rather than answering any of their claims.
It is just like this awful site where people get banned at the drop of a hat. In fact it is worse.
So in other words the Bolt Forum is a sham, and somewhat of an intellectual wasteland because of the actions of the moderator. It is a shame really, because his forum could be a real marketplace of ideas rather than an internet version of commercial talk back radio.
But this post isn't about censorship or a new direction for the old media. And it isn't about Bolt's petty abuse or his sixth grade debating style. It is about honesty, or more specifically Bolt's lack of it.
On May 18 I sent this post to the Bolt Forum and Boltwatch.
The following day I received two emails form Bolt claiming he would not be running the critique because of "standards".
At 9.54 pm on May 19 I accused Bolt of censorship on Boltwatch and expressed a wish that one day his forum would be a true celebration of free speech. (See previous link just below the original post).
The following day, perhaps after Andrew had understood that the concept of universal free speech, Bolt published my critique on his forum. At the bottom of the page. He chose to answer the critique with petty abuse but, hey, if he has every right to debate in a childish manner.
When Bolt published my post, my accusations of censorship had become dated but on May 19 when I made those accusations they were 100% accurate, and I have emails in my in-box to prove it.
On June 7 in an unprovoked and fundamentally wrong attack, Bolt claimed I had accused him of, "refusing to run two of (my) turgid postings, both of which, to the great dismay of readers, I did indeed publish here." Sorry but on May 19 he had flatly refused to run two of my posts.
In response, I sent Andrew an email requesting an apology and correction because my accusations were accurate at the time of writing. At this stage he knew the score, but did he set the record straight? Was he honest with the forum participants?
Of course not, because being a conservative columnist means you never have to admit mistakes.
The following day, Bolt again (near the bottom) inferred that I was dishonest and had made false claims about censorship.
It is pretty obvious Bolt chose to censor my critique on May 19, changed his mind on May 20, and then attacks me for making false (eventhough they were true) allegations on June 7 and 8.
In other words his forum is just like his columns. An ethics free zone.
The ultimate irony is that on June 7 Bolt (a "champion" of free speech) wrote that he would censor posts for the "sheer pleasure of it". At least, for once in his life he was being honest.
But the truly great thing about this forum is that this goldmine of pettiness, hypocracy, and contradictions is all cached and waiting to be thrown back at him.