“Intellectual dishonesty is pure poison…” — Edward Lazarus
Intellectual dishonesty can be observed in the work of many Australian journalists and opinion writers, spanning the length and breadth of the political spectrum. It can take the form of selective quoting of stats to support a pre-determined opinion, or could involve the construction of strawman arguments to distract attention and muddle debate. A journalist’s intellectual dishonesty can be so small as to be barely noticeable — almost unintentional — and serve no greater purpose than to score a quick point, or it can become embedded and systemic, and begin to represent a significant portion of the journalist’s work.
While intellectual dishonesty is far more prevalent in the lawless bedrooms of the political blogosphere than it is in the regulated cubicles of the mainstream media, it is far less acceptable — not to mention far less ethical — for a salaried journalist writing for a mainstream news publication to rely on dishonest methods to report the news or proffer a reasoned opinion. Unfortunately, a lot of journalists just don’t get it.
That’s where we come in.
In the past our team has focused exclusively on the efforts of Andrew Bolt and Tim Blair, but we have deliberately broadened Pure Poison’s focus to scrutinise any Australian mainstream media journalist, no matter whether Left or Right.
We expose the intellectual dishonesty, the flimsy arguments and the distorted data wherever they appear in the mainstream media. We challenge the punditocracy, provide an alternative forum for discussing the day’s events. We welcome debate about politics and society, but constructive debate needs to be based on reason and facts. We’re doing our bit to hold the opinion-makers to these standards.
About the authors
- Jeremy: Jeremy Sear is a Melbourne barrister who’s been writing a relentlessly sarcastic political blog called An Onymous Lefty since 2004. He also, increasingly reluctantly, ran BoltWatch until it evolved into the group-written Blair/Bolt Watch Project in 2008, and has enjoyed the respectful and positive interactions he’s had with the News Ltd journalists in question ever since. He looks forward to spreading the love further through Pure Poison. Email Jeremy: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Dave: Dave Gaukroger lives in rural NSW and began blogging in 2007, after finally deleting his World of Warcraft account. Dave works in the technology sector, which is a better fit for someone with a psychology degree than you’d first imagine. Married, mortgaged, two kids and a dog, Dave continues to believe in quaint ideas like social equality, accountability for people’s actions and the power of indy pop music. Email Dave: email@example.com; follow Dave’s Twitter: dfg77.