Bolt lands TV show, thanks to Gina

8 Apr
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Andrew Bolt has landed a Sunday morning gig on Channel 10, thanks to his über wealthy fan, mining heiress Gina Reinhart.

Reinhart recently acquired a 10% stake in the network, and has decided that it’s about time for a “Fox News style show” on 10.

Reinhart’s move into media gives her an opportunity for far wider cultural influence and control than she currently enjoys, and it looks as if she’s wasting no time getting that up and going.

Bolt is embroiled in legal action taken against him by several high profile Aboriginals, following his observations that some light-skinned Indigenous people exploit their heritage for personal gain. Bolt apparently thinks that if you don’t look Aboriginal you shouldn’t be claiming that you are, given that he thinks the claims may give you a leg up in your profession and position in the world, and an advantage over non Indigenous competitors.

All the evidence points to Bolt’s on-going enjoyment of the publicity and attention the court case has brought him. Scoring his own weekly TV show must be icing on his cake. Taking personalities such as Bolt on publicly usually does backfire: giving them an even bigger stage on which to parade their opinions seems to work largely in their favour.

Whatever you may think of Bolt’s opinions, he does have the right to express them. Easy enough to support free speech if it’s agreeable, it’s when agreement is absent that the principle really matters. And as somebody said, the only way to contest bad speech is by more and more good speech: trying to stifle opinions, no matter how wrong-headed you might think they are, isn’t going to work well.

On the question of heritage, I can understand why people want to proudly claim everything they’ve got. As someone who has no knowledge of my father and his family, I’ve had my struggles with genealogical confusion.

It also seems pretty natural to me that if one does have a heritage in which family was maligned and discriminated against, there can be a strong desire to restore that heritage and the family to its rightful human place, personally, politically and culturally. It’s a personal healing process, a fulfilling of responsibility to ancestors, and a powerful assertion of place and belonging.

I guess the fact that Andrew Bolt can see it only as exploitative and opportunistic says a great deal more about him than it does about those he’s maligned. But I’m not about to give Bolt the satisfaction of being one more person railing against him. Go for it Andy. There’s still plenty of us producing good speech. You’ve got a long way to go before you drown us out, even with the Fox News template on your side.

6 Responses to “Bolt lands TV show, thanks to Gina”

  1. gerard oosterman April 8, 2011 at 8:24 am #

    Watching any commercial TV is done at own risk. I have always been amazed that Bolt was so often on that ABC program ‘Insiders’. He seems to have that same kind of permanent smirk as so many of his party have. A kind of smugness in their hatred of anything which falls outside their credo or domain.


    • Jennifer Wilson April 8, 2011 at 3:20 pm #

      I tried to watch a commercial channel last night and got so worn down by the ads that I gave up. Like I said to David, I’m off to the States in a few days and the only redeeming thing about TV there (IMO) is that there’s a channel almost entirely devoted to one of my old favourites Law and Order. Well, there was. There may not be anymore. Great cure for jet lag – back to back episodes.


  2. David Horton April 8, 2011 at 9:59 am #

    Hi Jennifer, I don’t want to give what’s-‘is-name publicity either, so I have stayed out of the discussion. The more important issue it seems to me is the conversion of Channel Ten to a Fox-style network. It is one of the puzzling aspects of the human psyche that (a) the super rich feel that they have both a right and a duty to flood the world with their opinions, to impose their own world view on the rest of us. Gina is here beginning on the well-worn Murdoch track and I don’t think it bodes well for political discourse in Australia, already well on its way to Tea Party madness; and (b) that the average citizen seems absolutely happy to gain their opinions from such sources even when they are clearly (by definition as well as in practice) against their own interests, social and economic. I have recently had a go at the conservative think tanks on “The Drum Opinion”, now cross-posted at, which is a similar phenomenon.

    Good to see you continuing on The Drum.


    • Jennifer Wilson April 8, 2011 at 3:16 pm #

      Hi, David, I was wondering about you and the chemical warfare this morning –
      I’m off to the States in a few days on one of my bi-annual visits and whenever I’m there I complain loudly and constantly about the lack of quality news available on their five thousand and something television channels. I usually tune a tiny radio to PBS but they struggle constantly for funding.

      The prospect of us going down the same road is not a cheerful one – I always come home so admiring of and grateful for the ABC!
      It’s always been my opinion that the wrong people are rich. I’ve never found any reason to change that.
      Be well.


  3. PAUL WALTER April 8, 2011 at 3:56 pm #

    One of life’s pleasures used to comeof watching SBS. It’s become an unpleasant experience since Shaun Brown took it over. What happened to the promise of no ads during docos and current affairs?
    Jennifer at 2 – I would have thought a better cure for insomnia. It’s also true as you sort of say later that the wrong people are rich, I speak from personal experience.
    Gerard, you should be happy, that’s what Abbott and co would call” balance”.


  4. Steve at the Pub April 12, 2011 at 4:32 pm #

    “…..Bolt apparently thinks that if you don’t look Aboriginal you shouldn’t be claiming that you are, given that he thinks the claims may give you a leg up in your profession and position in the world, and an advantage over non Indigenous competitors.”

    I’ll disagree a little with that conclusion.
    He is saying that money designed to give a leg up to disadvantged (ie, send them to uni, expose them to the wider world of art, etc) is going to people who would have gone to uni anyway.

    He did note the indisputable fact that the lucky recipients of this largesse don’t look particularly indigenous. He also noted that some of them had a cultural background that wasn’t all that indigenous, & that many (most) of them live a life culturally inseparable from mainstream middle Australia.


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