AS VISITORS to this little blog will know, unseemly language isn’t appreciated, so this post may strike some as an exercise in hypocrisy. Why decry obscenity’s public ubiquity only to broadcast more of it, you may ask? Well, given that Australia’s quality journalists have lately become the most ardent disciples of Thomas Bowdler in declining to repeat that joke from the CFMEU dinner about Tony Abbott and Peta Credlin, the gag that failed to outrage various members of the Gillard cabinet until their media advisers noted that such a reaction would be a good idea, it seems a civic obligation to pass it on.
We all believe in fairness and equity, after all, and memory serves up no other recent example of self-censorship embraced with such silent gusto. Indeed, the enthusiasm to tattle overheard examples of Tony Abbott’s salty tongue makes this eruption of reticence curious indeed. For those with poor memories, here are a couple of reminders:
The ever-reliable Michelle Grattan used the above incident to speculate at length on the Opposition leader’s fitness of character, while little protégé Phillip Coorey performed a double twist with pike in order to splash a further exploration of that same subject, even as he conceded that accusing “Abbott of deliberately making light of a trooper's death is absurd.”
Then there was this, another eavesdropped incident resurrected of late to build the case for Abbott’s innate sexism:
All this makes media silence about that CFMEU joke a mystery – or rather, it would be if not for the gallery’s determination to kill a dying industry all the more quickly was not self-evident. With Fairfax stock at 36 cents (as of Friday) and News Ltd crippling its push to digital it is one field of endeavour in which quality journalists and their corporate masters cannot be faulted. The other, of course, is the stenographers' selective candour.
Tony Abbott's chief of staff Peta Credlin does a good Head job. Come Clean. Abbott calls her the Vacuum Cleaner she cleans up his messes.
The excuse for not publishing that joke is that it is slanderous and would see media organisations and reporters sued for defamation.