Two of Australia's foremost pseudo-intellectual racists and right-wing extremists, John Izzard, a frequent writer for the right-wing magazine Quadrant and Quadrant Online, and Keith Windschuttle, the well-known ‘Stolen Generations’ denialist and perverter of Aboriginal history, have both written articles defending Andrew Bolt as he is about to face Federal Court to answer charges of racial vilification.
The charges against Bolt have been made by a group of Aboriginal activists who are suing Bolt over two articles that he wrote for the Herald Sun newspaper that employs him. In the first article written in April 2009 and titled ‘White is the new black’, Bolt accuses Aboriginal people whose appearance happen to be white but who still prefer to identify themselves as indigenous, of being ‘political Aborigines’ and accuses them of identifying as Aboriginals for nefarious purposes.
In the second article titled ‘White fellas in the black’, written in August 2009, Bolt similarly accuses Aboriginal people of identifying themselves as Aboriginal in order to gain pecuniary advantages by way of grants and awards.
The question about who is black and who is white – or who is Aboriginal and who is not – is the centrepiece of the pending legal debate and both Izzard and Windschuttle discuss the background to this argument while carefully avoiding any direct discussion as to how this relates to Bolt’s case through fear of contemptuously pre-empting the courts decision.
There is also a secondary implication related to this case. Bolt argues that any decision restraining him from publicly speaking or writing about how he feels about this subject – or, indeed, any subject – violates his rights to freedom of speech and this aspect of the case is also touched on, albeit lightly, again presumably not to pre-empt any decision by the court, in the Izzard and Windschuttle articles.
If this were an isolated incident of a group of people who simply took umbrage to what someone else had said about them in the course of, say, incidental discussion then the matter would be easily resolved one way or the other by a court or even settled prior to going to court. But, in this case, it is not that simple.
While the question of ethnicity is at the centre of the debate from the legal point of view, and the question of freedom of speech will give cause for further debate depending on the judgement that will eventually be handed down, there are other, in many ways, even more important issues at stake here particularly when they relate to Andrew Bolt and his kind.
Bolt is a high profile journalist and blogger employed by a Rupert Murdoch-owned mainstream newspaper. He is well known for his racism particularly in relation to Aboriginal peoples. He is also a well known Islamophobe and xenophobe, climate change denier and pro-pollutionist.
Apart from the legal specifics relating to the case, there is also the moral question of why Bolt continually sees it necessary to vilify Aborigines and non-European foreigners at every opportunity at his blog. He does this mostly by innuendo, inference and the occasional classic double entendre whereby he writes on a subject seemingly totally unrelated to his usual run-of-the-mill xenophobic or racist rants but which is clearly meant to convey an opinion that is so offensive he could not possibly write it directly without facing further charges of vilification and discrimination. An example of this can be found here.
Bolt usually takes care not to cross the line himself. He does this by cutting and pasting sometimes quite long extracts of other peoples work obtained from all over the blogosphere and, if it’s really offensive, he ensures that the authors are out of legal reach. He then relies on his small but vocal coterie of regular commenters at his blog to endorse and amplify his intended opinion with many of the comments sometimes interpreting that opinion in a manner so crude and offensive that even Bolt or his moderators need occasionally to censor or ’snip’ it.
Bolt’s blog is not just an obscure column tucked away in some online digital recess but, rather, it is an upfront showcase of right-wing bigotry and outright racism. It’s not just Bolt the racist. The racism comes as a complete packing which is his blog; it’s ‘Bolt’s Racist Blog’, almost an entity in itself, which shamefully is paid for and published by Rupert Murdoch, and its influence, unfortunately, is potentially powerful.
It is unfortunate that Bolt’s racist views about Aboriginal people and boatpeople have now fraudulently influenced public opinion to the extent that politicians are now formulating policies relating to these peoples based on the ill-informed views of only a small but vocal rednecked and racist minority group of Australians.
One hopes that the complaints against Bolt are upheld and, while it is unlikely to see an end to the likes of Bolt’s racism, at least it would have demonstrated that Bolt’s racism is not acceptable in a multicultural society such as Australia’s.
This article can also be found at the Andrew Bolt: Ultra Racist blog.