YES, it is ego, but can I admit to my excitement at Jonathan Holme’s pending expose of the Drum’s cronyism and betrayal, sure as eggs to be aired on Monday night’s Media Watch? What The Drum did to my expose of the NSW Liberals’ moosegate scandal – taking it down after a pitiful few and paltry objections from hidebound traditionalist Mark Colvin -- was nothing less than discrimination. What did I say that went beyond that to which most established figures on the Left have put their names, especially at The Drum?
Tomorrow night, if I might suggest, Holmes needs to drill that carborundum eye deep into Colvin’s intolerance. If the radio presenter cannot name a representative percentage of his AM co-workers who are, like me, victims of genital warts, he stands condemned as the marginliser with a microphone, the enemy of otherness, a self-appointed Commissar of The Pudenda Police. Indeed, in the interests of full disclosure, the ABC must reveal the percentage of its workforce who are members of the genital warts community.
And while he is at it, perhaps he might care to dig deeper into Jonathan Green’s insistence that his site is fair because it has published 4000 articles. But what sort of articles, Jonathan, and who wrote them? According to the Drum’s own manifest of published authors, 1-in-8 articles are the work of just a baker’s dozen of contributors.
Here is how a more replete list of leading lights breaks down:
Bob Ellis -- 103
Ben Pobje -- 58
Helen Razer – 57
Irfan Yusuf – 55
Greg Barns – 43
Kellie Tranter – 37
David Horton – 33
Tim Dunlop -- 31
Jeff Sparrow – 29
Lauren Rosewarne – 25
Amin Saikal -- 25
Antsy Lowenstein – 22
Ben Eltham – 19
Scott Bridges – 14
Mark Bahnisch – 13
Melinda Tankard Reist -- 13
Jason Wilson – 12
Marieke Hardy – 10
Catherine Deveny – 8
Ben Sandilands – 8
Mungo MacCallum – 7
Christime Milne – 6
That list makes a total of 628 articles at a cost to the taxpayers of $125,600, allowing that stellar talents like Bob Ellis, Marieke Hardy and Ben Pobje have not negotiated themselves a better screw than the standard $200 a pop.
So why can’t I get just a little piece of that action? Why can’t I be invited to literary festivals, plied with per diems, invited to lecture at journalism schools and given a seat at The Drum’s nightly chat show on ABC-24?
None of the opinionaries listed above differs so much as an atom (sorry to use that word, readers) from the views and insights to be found here, at Verdant Hopes. Not one of those people would disagree that Mr Speedos is a vile creature and that his Catholicism is a big, big problem. There is not one climate denier on that list, nor an opponent of multiculturalism, an admirer of John Howard or a supporter of the ridiculous notion that Australia’s immigration policy be determined by Australia’s elected representatives, rather than undocumented travel agents in Indonesia.
I am one of them, my every opinion in sync with theirs – and even Jonathan Green admits as much, telling Holmes “the material on her blog was not all that unusual in the online space.” Yet I am banished. Why? Why? Why?
I have tried long and hard to answer that question, to no avail. Jonathan Homes, whose very manner confirms his superior intelligence, might have more luck tomorrow night. What is the common thread that I am missing? Tell me, Jonathan, please tell me.
And if you cannot tell me why I am not allowed to hang with the Drum’s big-bucks whales, surely I could join the swirling tide of port-flowing plankton that surges across the site on a daily basis. Those small fry contribute just an article here and there, vanishing until the next deep thought about, say, why climate denial is a mental illness and those afflicted must be treated. But they are undoubtedly of the left, as am I. I could do that, I really could, take a slap when needed at Abbott or Monckton, or Carter or Murdoch or Pell or Bailleau … Gaia help me if I seem bitter, but it should be entirely understandable when you consider that, for a few glorious hours, I really was part of the cool kids’ club. No point now in continuing to work on my Tony Abbott piñata, which I was looking forward to presenting Jonathan Green at the next election bash. To attend a party in Jill Singer’s backyard with the cream of Australia’s intelligentsia, well I think I could get myself out of the house for that. And I know Sparkles and Jill would have so much in common.
Could the reason for my exile be that I was never published on Crikey, where the most prolific Drum contributors became so well known to Jonathan Green? It was only natural, of course, that Mark Scott would authorise Green’s hiring, Crikey being such a fair, middle of the road repository for honest, unbiased and accurate reporting. So perhaps Scott told him to bring the entire crew with him and really lift standards at the ABC.
Or could it be that I did not attend that wonderful election night party in 2007, the one that produced an adorable photo of Jonathan Green smashing a John Howard piñata? Sadly, that photo is now vanished from the web.
Or have I been blackballed, as I suspect, for no better reason than my genital warts?
The ABC boasts a billion-dollar annual budget (minus, of course, the $800,000 the Drum has spent on those 4000 examples of fair, straight bat commentary, which Holmes cited), so Holmes should be able to find a little cash to underwrite tomorrow night’s investigation.
I mean, what do we have a national broadcaster for?