Andrew Bolt is gunning for Krudd (if I may use the vernacular). He has been running a series of blog posts calling on the media to investigate “Rudd’s betrayal of Bush“. I have had several thoughts in reaction to this:
- What a shame that Bolt apparently doesn’t have the skill or motivation to perform his own investigative work and has to rely on getting real journalists to take his ideas seriously.
- Bolt flatly asserts that Rudd leaked the information. Isn’t this a terribly flawed assumption? The Bush administration has denied that Bush said what the Australian alleged. Rudd has denied that Bush said it and rubbished the notion that Bush isn’t well aware of the G20. What’s more, when asked whether the “leak” came from his office, has given an answer that approximates, “buggered if I know.” Yet Bolt still seems to be acting as though the “leak” gave information that would only be known to someone involved in, present during, or who had accurate information about, the Bush-Rudd conversation. If the information was false, then anyone could have made it up, so long as they knew the conversation took place and the general topic.
- The phone conversation happened while there was a dinner party going on at Kirribilli house. Present at that party was one Chris Mitchell, editor of the newspaper formerly known as the Government Gazzette, currently known as the Opposition Organ, which has been using its editorial content to attack the Rudd Government’s policies and conduct. Now, this paper has published the “leaked” information. If the fact that it made Rudd look like a bigshot is enough reason for Bolt to conclude that Rudd himself was the “leak”, isn’t the fact that this made Rudd look like a blabbermouth enough of a reason to suspect Chris Mitchell?
- If we take the idea of investigation seriously then, based on the information we currently have, someone fed the Australian false information about the Bush-Rudd conversation. Does the journalistic obligation to preserve confidential sources apply to a source who tells lies? Shouldn’t the investigation begin with the Australian revealing who gave them dud information?
Malcolm has been getting in on the act as well, and making some of the same errors of reasoning as Bolt. He says that the leaking of the conversation is embarrassing and a national security risk – which it might be, if the leak was accurate. Otherwise, it’s just bullshit spread by someone and believed by a newspaper who didn’t check the credibility of their sources well enough. But Malcolm adds in a call for the Australian Federal Police to head an investigation. Now I’ve never been shy about discussing the limitations of the AFP, but I would still contend that they are, in fact, a law enforcement body. So if Malcolm wants them to investigate something, should it perhaps be an allegation of some illegal activity? Just saying.