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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

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July 16, 2009

I wonder what happened here?

AN ONLINE article about Opposition Leader Malcolm Turnbull's fund-raising was pulled shortly before publication yesterday.

The editor of On Line Opinion, Susan Prior, had agreed to post the article by NSW Greens MP Lee Rhiannon and academic Norman Thompson yesterday morning.

But on Tuesday afternoon, Ms Prior told them the board of On Line Opinion's publisher, the National Forum, had ruled the article on Mr Turnbull's Wentworth Forum would be pulled.

I wonder whether Rhiannon and Thompson will try to publish elsewhere?


Graham Young responds

The Age published an article this morning which implies that On Line Opinion "pulled" an article by Greens MLC Lee Rhiannon for political reasons. This is completely incorrect.
| Posted by Lyn at 10:30 AM | | Comments (11)


we don't know what the article was at this stage. Graham Young says:

It is not really the sort of stuff we publish. It was a 'gotcha' on Malcolm Turnbull. If that article had been about proposed reforms on political donations then there might have been a different outcome."

The National Forum board judged that the Wentworth Forum was doing nothing illegal and therefore the Rhiannon and Thompson article was a non-story.

We will have to wait and see.

The Age article is open to interpretation, but the way I interpreted it, it seemed to be implying something about either On Line Opinion's political independence, or Malcolm Turnbull's past threats of litigation. Or both.

It's ridiculous to suggest that On Line Opinion's anything but bipartisan, in the sense that 'balance' means publishing any point of view that comes along.

It does seem odd that The Age would publish this, but not publish the article in question.

Graham has responded so I've updated the post.

The article is in New Matilda.
Seems innocuous.

OLO's purpose and ostensible mission escape me completely and I seldom read it any more. They seem to publish ever-more-extreme or plain silly pieces by writers on the fringe who can't get an audience for their own blogs. I like to make my own decisions about getting a balanced diet without OLO trying to make them for me.

i agree with fred --the Rhiannon and Thompson article is nothing much. The money quote is that:

The Wentworth Forum activities do not sit easily with Turnbull's earlier reform zeal for electoral funding when he was a humble backbencher..... Turnbull's recent actions show that he is no longer a voice for electoral funding reform. He has no interest in turning off the Wentworth Forum's river of gold.

No surprise there. Turnbull has backed away from all reform.

likewise---I used to read Online Opinion but rarely visit the site these days, in spite of receiving their daily email bulletin. The articles there are marginal, if not outside, the policy culture-- especially health policy.

Me three on OLO, although since I'm a comments nut it was as much the audience that put me off as the articles. There's only so much brawling over climate change and multiculturalism a person can take.

But on the whole they do publish without political fear or favour. If I was Graham I'd be peed off at the insinuation too. And they do provide a place for those interests and those kinds of brawls to happen. So more power to them for that.

I don't recall a Fairfax paper getting stuck into an independent online publisher or blog before, so that's another interesting aspect.

Like Fred and Nan say, the story itself is nothing special, unless you want to hate Turnbull for having rich friends. There would be an audience for that, I would think. From that angle it's surprising OLO didn't publish it.

"Ms Prior told them the board of On Line Opinion's publisher, the National Forum, had ruled the article on Mr Turnbull's Wentworth Forum would be pulled.

The National Forum's board is headed by former Queensland Liberal Party campaign chairman Graham Young and includes former Liberal adviser Greg Barns.
On Line Opinion's editorial advisory panel includes Mr Turnbull's wife, Lucy Turnbull, former Queensland Liberal MP Kathy Sullivan and conservative former ABC chairwoman Dame Leonie Kramer."

Entirely irrelevant of course.

As this explains.

"Mr Young, chief editor and publisher of On Line Opinion, said yesterday neither Mrs Turnbull nor any other members of the editorial advisory board were involved in the decision not to publish the article."

LOL yes fred, I've sometimes wondered what functions the 'editorial board' exercises in what's essentially a daily collection of wildly disparate blog posts. It's somehow of a piece with those hackocrat 'think tanks' where staff award each other pretentious titles like 'senior research fellow' and engage in other pathetic attempts to pretend they are serious learned institutions.

Get OLO myself and often enjoy the stuff, least its an accessible attempt to get discussion going on lots of stuff MSM (pointedly) ignores, re socal, political cultural issues.
But that board.
Don't I recall that Turnbull's wife was involved in that nasty smear ruckus against Hanan Ashrawi, the Palestinian academic in Sydney of few year back to receive a Sydney Peace Prize?