Has Andrew Bolt learned anything from the racial vilification case he lost in 2011? Alan Austin updates the record.
Why? [IA emphasis added]
'The lack of care and diligence is demonstrated by the inclusion in the newspaper articles of the untruthful facts and the distortion of the truth which I have identified, together with the derisive tone, the provocative and inflammatory language and the inclusion of gratuitous asides.'
Since that judicial shellacking, the distortions and derision from Bolt and News Corp directed at Indigenous Australians just keep piling up.
Bolt tried to defend himself last week against criticisms in Ian Darling’s outstanding new documentary, The Final Quarter. Bolt’s self-justification in the Herald Sun and in his Sky News segment, last week, contains at least six more untruths.
Why I criticised Goodes had nothing to do with racism and everything to do with sanctimonious adults picking on a 13-year-old girl. That girl was a Collingwood fan at the football who called Goodes an ape. Now, that is rude. But the punishment, a humiliation, dumped on this girl was way over the top, given her age.
This contains the first three falsehoods:
1. The verbal comments were trivial
Yelling the insult “ape” at an Indigenous sportsman in public is not merely rude. It is racial vilification and should be called out as such, unequivocally.
2. Goodes picked on a 13-year-old girl
The Australian Football League (AFL) code requires players to report such incidents. Goodes had no choice. Collingwood’s Dale Thomas did the same a year earlier when a spectator racially vilified a Gold Coast Suns player.
The girl’s age was not obvious to anyone at the time. It was not tattooed on her forehead, as Bolt seems to imply when he refers indignantly to her tender age in his television tirade. Seven times.
3. Goodes publicly humiliated the girl
This is the opposite of the truth. Yes, the girl was escorted from her seat by security. But care was taken to safeguard her privacy and wellbeing. It is difficult to find her family name online, at least outside those media outlets which support the anti-Goodes racist attacks. Most TV footage did not clearly identify her.
Goodes himself showed great consideration for the girl, as was clear in his comments the next morning, as well as in her letter to him expressing contrition.
Bolt’s mendacity here is confirmed by a highly deceptive edit in his TV show. The program aired a clip of Goodes saying, “Racism has a face last night and, you know, it was a 13-year-old girl, but ...” That sentence was then abruptly cut off. Why?
Because the full answer after the “but” directly contradicts Bolt’s false narrative:
“Racism has a face last night and, you know, it was a 13-year-old girl, but it’s not her fault. She’s 13, she’s still so innocent. I don’t put any blame on her. Unfortunately it’s what she hears, the environment she’s grown up in.
4. Goodes was booed for on-field misconduct, not his campaign against racism
‘That nasty booing, which I criticised, actually has a natural explanation: it was a reaction to bullying and provocation, plus Goodes’ staging for free kicks as he got older. And the more that commentators damned the mob, the more it said “stuff you”.’
There is now an overwhelming contrary consensus across Australia that the booing was profoundly racist. This is the central message of both The Final Quarter and Stan Grant’s forthcoming documentary, The Australian Dream.
5. Goodes’ supporters despise Australia as a racist country
‘Goodes’ defenders seem desperate to despise Australia as racist, as if their own self-image or cause depended on it.’
There is no truth to this. Seeking to eliminate racial hatred is advancing a nation, not "despising" it.
6. Commentators on the film The Final Quarter display hypocrisy and moral superiority
‘But last week’s documentary has triggered an explosion of hypocrisy from commentators not just high on their sense of moral superiority, but low in faith in their fellow Australians.’
Completely false. And, again, trying to deflect culpability to others.
Bolt concludes his column with this rhetorical question:
‘If the many thousands who booed Goodes are all racists, why do they not boo any other Aboriginal player? Or African?’
The answer is simple. Because no other player of any race has ever been subject to such sustained malicious attacks from media “personalities” Andrew Bolt, Alan Jones, Miranda Devine, Rita Panahi, Paul Sheehan, Neil Mitchell, Mark Latham and Barry Spurr. Plus ex-sportsmen Sam Newman, Karl Langdon, Dermott Brereton, Jason Akermanis, Shane Warne and others. Racists need permission to vent their private hate in public. These commentators gave it to them. Paul Barry confirmed that here.
Bolt has shown no remorse. As others have noted, it is unlikely he will change. So it is for his employer to withdraw his platform. They will be encouraged to do this if Australians boycott News Corp outlets and the advertisers who keep them afloat.
That should be the game plan for the rest of the season.
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