…and if there’s nothing around tell Milne to write anything, anything at all. Senior correspondent Barry Everingham on the retracted Glenn Milne story.
Now to the base and baseless Glenn Milne attack on Julia Gillard in The Australian.
A big surprise?
I don’t think so.
This is the newspaper which is part of the conglomerate which thought nothing – nothing at all – of hacking the voice mail of a murdered girl to get a story.
The case of News International and Milly Dowler must never be allowed to gather dust.
So, yesterday, The Australian published, under the by-line of Glen Milne – the height and intellectually challenged writer with an alcohol problem – a story designed to traduce the reputation of Julia Gillard.
Our cousins over at Crikey thundered:
“Glen Milne has egg all over his face after the re-hired columnist filed an error-filled op-ed reviving discredited allegations that Prime Minister Julia Gillard had somehow been an accomplice to her one-time partner Bruce Wilson’s alleged fraud.”
The cousins are wrong.
Glen Milne’s face is always covered in egg (and bullshit permeates most of his stories).
The egg is over the face of The Australian’s editor for not checking and rechecking Milne’s actionable and, as it turns out, wrong allegations about the Prime Minister of Australia — who is firmly in the sights of all News Limited’s Australian publications and who, in their jaundiced eyes, can do absolutely nothing right.
Not content with having written about the Wilson/Gillard sage four years ago, the thuggish Milne – famous only for his alcohol fuelled brawl at the Walkley Awards – repeated yesterday an allegation about Gillard and Wilson that lawyers for News Limited had, in the previous story, removed because, frankly, it was not true.
Alarm bells started ringing early at the Holt Street headquarters of Brand Murdoch and before 9am the offending piece had been taken down from the paper’s website with an incredible Rupert Murdoch type mea culpa, not unlike the one delivered by the octogenarian publisher in the British House of Commons Inquiry into News limited (which is far from over).
Here’s how The Australian tried to squirm their way out of the mire yesterday:
THE AUSTRALIAN published today an opinion piece by Glenn Milne which includes assertions about the conduct of the Prime Minister.
The Australian acknowledges these assertions are untrue. The Australian also acknowledges no attempt was made by anyone employed by, or associated with, The Australian to contact the Prime Minister in relation to this matter.
The Australian unreservedly apologises to the Prime Minister and to its readers for the publication of these claims.
Milne had not only repeated the lie, he foolishly didn’t have the wit or the guts to check the story with the Prime Minister’s office.
Milne is like that blithering idiot in Sydney, Alan Jones, who steadfastly refuses to let the facts stand in the way of making up any story that makes the Prime Minister look incompetent or small or foolish.
Clive Mathieson, the editor of The Australian told Crikey (amongst other banalities):
“...we’re investigating the Prime Minister’s claim of inaccuracies and regret the PM was not given a chance to respond to the allegations.”
But the pearler from Mathieson was yet to come:
"Glenn Milne will remain a contributor to The Australian."
Needless to say, this story had Andrew Bolt’s fingerprints all over it.
Melbourne’s own village idiot started the ball rolling on this last weekend and was quickly followed up the chase by a clown called Michael Smith on 2UE.
Strangely, Andrew Bolt’s blog on the Herald Sun website only said this today:
“No politics until further notice. Principles to weigh up. Faith to keep. Sorry.. [sic]”
Enough is enough of this disgraceful saga — one can only hope the Herald Sun had finally had enough of Bolt and his mischief making.
It’s been years since The Australian was taken seriously by responsible Australian readers and this episode underscores the great need for an Inquiry into the local media and its ownership.
One of the most chilling rumours circulating around Melbourne is that Ron Walker is trying to put together a consortium to buy The Age.
If this is true the future of decent newspapers is in grave danger.