Monday, July 11, 2016

Andrew Bolt crosses the line

I'm sure it's not just me.   I'm sure that Andrew Bolt has become way, way less sensible as he has aged.  Is this what happens when you become a multi-media right wing "star" and need to pump up the output to justify (what I assume is) a very substantial income?

These days, I find him positively offensive when it comes to his taunting dog-whistles about refugees and any crime they may be involved in.   He takes one semi-valid point (that the media can be overly politically correct about protecting racial identity when it comes to talking about crimes committed by recent immigrants) but continually headlines posts with "Who let them in?"  Why he doesn't just outright call for a renewed White Australia policy, I don't know.

This is lazy, bigoted commentary that is up there with the intellectual gravitas of Pauline Hanson.  Is he saying that there are no deserving African or Islamic refugees?   Is he suggesting that Immigration screening can plausibly include a foolproof method for predicting whether refugees (or their teenage children) will get involved in gang related, or other, crime?  Does he forget Vietnamese involvement in drug crime in the 1980's that caused consternation at the time but is something that (as far as I know) has passed with increased societal integration?

Because he clearly can't credibly argue these points, he avoids the specifics.  Just as he avoids the matter of the Iraq invasion being ultimately behind the current massive problem of Islamic refugee movement into Europe.    As I have said before, surely someone like him should feel at least a bit sheepish and accept that his former positions have not had great outcomes and that the West is paying for it now? 

I don't call for him or John Howard to recant and apologise on Iraq - given that I also thought at the time that the invasion was justifiable and might have had good outcomes.  And we can never know what would have happened in an alternative history scenario.  But I'm not going to do what Bolt does and act as if the Right is always right and look for someone else to blame.   He now just follows the tropes of the nutty Fox News and other Right wing commentary in the US, where everything is Obama's fault.

His latest racially tinged bit of nonsense is his completely over the top reaction to the Dallas shootings - that this was the "first skirmish" in a full blown "race war" that had just ignited.  

He subsequently spends time on figures noting comparative figures of black on white and white on black crime - while not noting (not that I have seen) how Trump in the US had tweeted 8 months ago a  completely wrong figure  about white victim-hood that was out by a factor of at least 5.  (And I have seen that figure repeated in a recent thread at Breitbart.  Trump followers will never get that dangerously wrong figure out their heads.)    Having said that, bizarrely, Trump's short response to the Dallas shootings was, compared to Bolt, full of restraint.   And even some conservative commentators in America have been starting to note concern about American policing.

Instead, Bolt goes with "End this racist war on whites"(!!) 

The best response to this panicky commentary of Bolt's type was by Ross Douthat's column "Are We Unravelling", in which he echoes Obama's point that despite the current problems, the current American situation is really no where near as bad in terms of social and political upheaval as it was in the 1960's.  But this doesn't suit the "it's always the Left's fault" meme of Fox News, Breitbart and Andrew Bolt.   So historical perspective matters nothing to them.

Clearly, Bolt has been unreliable and swayed by all the wrong people on many, many issues for a long time now:  climate change, of course, where amateur backyard and eccentric scientists have always been more convincing to him than scientific professional bodies;  his help in publicising the disgraceful 20 year old rumour campaign run by the thoroughly discredited Michael Smith and Larry Pickering against Julia Gillard;  the self pitying martyrdom (encouraged by the IPA and, I would guess, Murdoch's Australian minions for PR purposes) of his defence of s.18C action bought against him instead of just correcting errors about individuals and apologising;  his endorsement of the gormless Tony Abbott and utter loathing of Turnbull;   his acting as if ugly internet comments are solely the purview of the Left, while ignoring the blatant ugly misogyny and racist undercurrent in many Right wing commentary threads since Obama took office, such as at Breitbart, Fox and Catallaxy.  

I have thought him foolish and annoying in the extreme in his advocacy on those issues, but his race and immigration commentary is now just so silly, and offensive, that it completely crosses the line of what I find  acceptable (or forgiveable?) in political punditry.

He's become a caricature of sensible political and cultural analysis, thoroughly devoid of any common sense he once had.

No one should read anything into the fact he is on my blogroll - if he stays on it, perhaps I should just list him under a new category "Gone Stupid and Offensive"?


Not Trampis said...

I remember Possum having fun at Bolt and his misuse of Stats and then Greg Jericho showing up his misunderstanding of graphs. His brother is an expert on climate change but we never hear of him.

I was in Port Macquarie recently with my sons seeing my mother and saw the Bolt Report. It was embarrassing.

People who claim to be conservative have no shame as we \constantly see at Catallaxy

anon said...

Shut up homer, you imbecile .

Not Trampis said...

stunning repertee, any more brilliance?

Not Trampis said...

One thing that should be emphasised is laziness. If any of these clowns had a work ethic then their many mistakes would not occur.
18c only was able to be used because Bolt admitted he didn't do his homework.
The same could be levelled at Davidson, Sloan, Kates and co. Stagflation for example would not have been written if Davidson had taken the time to understood the subject.

Paul Montgomery said...

Even the Cats are now disgusted by Bolt's TV show. Lazy and stentorian, talking over guests.

It's like how Heinlein went downhill in his later years. All it needs is Bolt to announce he's writing a sf novel and the circle would be complete.

Steve said...

I've never thought of Bolt from a science fiction point of view. Perhaps a better comparison would be with L Ron Hubbard, as they share have certain rudimentary abilities in creating nonsense interpretations of the world which they then apparently start to believe in...