Sinclair Davidson, who seems to be a close friend of Franklin (and people at Catallaxy sometimes comment on the incestuous world of Labor politics!) is making a (pretty typical for him) hash of the defence of Franklin's comment:
Roger asked, what I thought, a perfectly good question:This is just an inane line to take on the matter: there was no "valid question" - it was a rhetorical device which Franklin answers himself - by saying explicitly that the world would have been better for it.
True – an early version, quickly retracted, was a bit more intemperate but the question remains valid.What if that blast had detonated in an Ultimo TV studio? Unlike those young girls in Manchester, their lives snuffed out before they could begin, none of the panel’s likely casualties would have represented the slightest reduction in humanity’s intelligence, decency, empathy or honesty.
Look, the simple fact of the matter is that Davidson is just about the last person to show sensible judgement when it comes to matters of civility, as he has been at the very forefront of providing for Australian Right wing reactionary "conservatives" a outlet for their voice, and he doesn't care what offence they cause, even on a blog in which he can delete offensiveness.
He rarely exercises that power, plays favourites, and is willing to continually ignore plainly defamatory or offensive material - with the Left being its main target.
I complained about this here, back in early 2013, and stopped my commenting there because of his ridiculous and partisan tolerance of incivility, defamation*, and outright plagiarism (for which he accepted the poster's apology, and then left the patently plagiarised post - from an American site - up on the blog.)
In the current kerfuffle, he has noted that people have (I don't know how recently) tried to get him into trouble at RMIT because of the blog. That wasn't me, but I do find it pretty remarkable that RMIT would not be concerned about their reputation when one of its key staff has the power to police defamation and offensiveness on a blog, and routinely chooses not to exercise it.
It would not concern me at all if there were media exposure to the blog and its threads - he used to get his head on the ABC as an economic and quasi political commentator quite often, I think viewers deserve to know that he runs a blog that positively hurts the cause of civil political debate in the country.
It's an echo chamber of the worst kind, reinforcing culture warriors and climate change deniers that they are not alone and can be as obnoxious as they like, thus coarsening public political discourse. You can actually see the place dumbing down and coarsening thread participants over the years, as those who expect civility in argument and would put up counter views have all abandoned the place.
Franklin deserves to lose his job at Quadrant; I reckon more might be achieved if Catallaxy enforced civility on its own pages, but that would require a change of its hopeless leadership.
* unless it's a friend