Megaphones

What have the Megaphones been up to this week?

Miranda Devine praises anti-greed protesters; Andrew Bolt's slammed as a monster by his former fiancee; Alan Jones hits it off with an orthodox climate scientist... Here we reveal what Australia's most powerful Megaphones have been up to over the last week. 

Miranda Devine

Who woulda thunk it? The Devine Miss M is a fan of the Occupy Wall Street movement and its Australian offshoots.

"Their very lack of coherence makes the Occupy movement something more than just another anti-globalisation rally hijacked by anarchists," the conservative columnist wrote last week.

"They defy stereotypes. They are not socialists. They claim to represent 99 per cent of people."

"They are not trying to destroy capitalism, but to make it better. They are attacking the unfairness at the heart of a dysfunctional global financial system, and the lack of accountability of the people who run it, many of whom are ethically challenged."

Devine thinks that capitalism per se is not the problem, but the people who run it.

Piers Akerman

Devine's Daily Telegraph comrade Piers Akerman isn't so enamoured with the occupiers. He writes today that they're a "smelly unwashed...rabble" and a "hardcore group of professional agitators".

And Akerman, who could be labelled a professional agitator himself, is none too pleased with Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore. The choker-clad Independent, named one of Sydney's top five most powerful people last week, has spoken out in support of the occupiers' right to protest and their goal of reducing inequality.

"Sydney should be taken out of the hands of petty-minded, pedal-pushing politicians like Moore, whose imagination has reached its limits with a tangle of unused bicycle lanes which do no more than choke access for the city's workers," Akerman blusters.

"Premier Barry O'Farrell should sack Moore and her council and put the city under a minister with planning powers that recognise the city's global status."

Alan Jones

Sydney's sultan of the airwaves was in typically feisty form at his National Press Club address last week. Jones lashed out at coal seam gas companies for mining on farmers' land without their permission and called for Queensland premier Anna Bligh to resign over the issue.

"If any general in war deliberately did to their troops, what the Premier and Treasurer in Queensland have done to their people, they would be court-martialled," Jones proclaimed.

He also expressed regret – while avoiding the dreaded 's' word – for calling for Julia Gillard to be thrown out to sea in a chaff bag and berating her for being ten minutes late for a radio interview.

But the most surprising development was yet to come. Later in the week Jones interviewed an orthodox climate scientist. Will Steffen, director of the Australian National University's Climate Change Institute, struggled to get a word in but the conversation was a convivial one. The pair even agreed to go have a coffee together.

Andrew Bolt

Kevin Rudd's former press secretary Lachlan Harris agrees with The Power Index's verdict that Bolt is the most powerful voice in the Australian media.

"Five years ago Kerry O'Brien was one of the most influential media personalities in Australia," Harris told the Public Relations Institute of Australia's annual conference. "Some people would bitterly disagree with me, but I would argue that Andrew Bolt is now sitting in a similar position of influence that Kerry O'Brien was sitting in just a few years ago."

"Andrew's influence comes from his almost genius talent in provoking and prolonging arguments. When a news journalist sees a meaningless squabble, Bolt sees an opportunity to stir up community debate. That talent makes him one of the most bankable assets in the Australian media today."

But the nation's most read-columnist wasn't feeling the love from his ex-fiancee, management guru Suzanne Walshe, over the weekend. Walshe, who used to work with Bolt at The Age, revealed that she doesn't read Bolt's columns because she finds them "distasteful". She also slammed her former partner for denying that they had ever been engaged.

"I do not know what has happened to the Andrew I knew so well," Walshe wrote in The Age. "The person he has become bears no resemblance to the ethical, highly principled and idealistic young man I loved.

"I understand he recently claimed he had been made into a monster by the media. It seems to me that he has, in fact, created his own monster."

Janet Albrechtsen

Luckily for the beleaguered Bolt, fellow travellers such as Janet Albrechtsen are still willing to stick up for him. Bolt was found guilty of breaching the Racial Discrimination Act last month and Albrechtsen is outraged that progressives such as David Marr have not rushed to his defence.

"Marr has written with far too much salivation about the Bolt case," Albrechtsen writes in The Australian today. "Indeed, it is now clear that Marr does not deserve to be sitting on the side of free speech. Instead of silencing of a conservative, there ought to be full-throttle outrage at the Federal Court decision against Bolt."

"At the heart of the Left's disdain for Bolt is an even deeper disdain for mainstream Australians who, wisely, have failed to get with the progressive program."


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