What do you do when your powerful media company has been caught out, you know, hacking the phones of murder victims (including, for example, a 13 year old whose messages they apparently deleted), and you need to give your faithful acolytes something, anything, so they don’t give up on you completely? You get your more shameless hacks to peddle vague denials.

Here’s News Ltd’s Andrew Bolt this morning, with some spectacularly pissweak excuse-making and blame-shifting:

I understand that most of the guilty have long left or been pushed out.

It’s not us!

I am told – but am not able to verify – that many of the frankly disgusting allegations are not true.


I also understand only too well that this issue is being whipped up to hysterical levels by media and ideological competitors hoping for an advantage.

It’s our competitors!

I repeat: I am told that many of the allegations being made are not true and the guilty are long gone.

I’m worried you didn’t accept this vague denial that I can’t back up the first time I wrote it – so I’ll repeat it in the hope that your reading it a second time will make it seem more believable!

So, you know – don’t worry your pretty heads about it.

Why is everyone so mean to poor, oppressed News Ltd?

But you’re still angry? Well, let me direct your attention to the REAL VILLAIN in the Murdoch empire hacking scandal. The insidious, diabolical puppet master who really deserves your anger and scorn: Senator Bob Brown, who’s called for an inquiry into News Ltd’s behaviour in Australia.

Brown’s call is a disgraceful and opportunistic slander. He would know almost as well as I that there is not a single News Ltd paper or editor in this country that would stoop to the tactics alleged against the News of the World. There has never been any such suggestion, and I challenge Brown to present any evidence to the contrary.

Hacking phones? Who knows. But Brown’s got pretty good evidence that the Australian publications of News Ltd regularly tell outrageous lies. We’ve covered a lot of it here.

Still – does he have any evidence of phone hacking here that took years in the UK to expose when the same media organisation did it there?

NO! (Probably.) So, as Bolt headlines his response to the embarrassing revelations about News Ltd – “The real threat to the media isn’t the News of the World” – it is clear who that real threat is: Rebekkah Brooks Andy Coulson James Murdoch Bob Brown.

As Andy asks: Who pressured Channels Seven and Nine into treating this Prime Minister the same as they treated John Howard, in broadcasting her address just as they did his GST one? Why is the Opposition Leader’s reply not being broadcast till the following night, just like opposition leaders’ replies usually are? Why is the government unlikely to pay Phone Hacking Ltd to represent the country with the Australian Network service? Why won’t government ministers appear on every media program by even the most extreme cranks?

Clearly it’s time for us to pick up the phone and call the one media company determined to keep us safe from the out of control Bob Brown: News Ltd.

You might not even need to dial a number – just pick up the handset.

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