Hedley ‘Doubting’ Thomas – the National Chief Correspondent (acronym NCC, ain’t that an irony) for Rupert Murdoch’s once mighty national daily newspaper The Australian – is the envy of every journalist across the length and breadth of the Wide Brown Land.
It’s not because he has been awarded journalism’s prestigious (well, allegedly prestigous) Walkley Award four times, or because he scaled the profession’s Everest and won the Gold award in 2007.
Nor is it because he is one of (if not the) highest paid journalists in the land, pulling in a reputed substantial six-figure salary courtesy of his willingness to play his piper Mr Murdoch’s tune.
And as surprising as it seems, Doubting’s colleague’s envy is not even due to him having been awarded a doctorate from the most prestigious non-University in the land, the august and highly respected JSchool, where 30 grand will but you an online Diploma of Journalism and not much else, because it’s the only qualification on offer.
No sportsfans, it’s not any of these things.
Journalists envy Doubting Thomas simply because he’s a genius. A genius at the art of doing nothing, and making it look important. Of spinning a nothing story into something, and pumping the hell out of it for over a year, in the process making himself appear to be the busiest journalist on the face of the planet.
Just look at the myriad of stories Doubting has crafted from pretty much nothing.
Let’s be honest, you have to admire this bloke who can spin a story about a few self-righteous private school nobs who spat the dummy on Facebook about being kicked out of an indigenous space that they had no right to be in into a series of stories that keep him in well paid clover for over a year. It’s a dead set work of art, the art form of course being the art of avoiding real work.
How the hell does the ace reporter do it? That’s a story for another day. One that involves a tawdry tale about queer association with a Queer Customer. We’ll tell it in the not too distant future too, don’t you worry about that.
For now though we will tip our hat to Doubting’s brilliant skill at appearing to be doing something other than avoiding real work, and his amazing ability to twist a tale in tighter knots than Chubby Checker can on a dance floor.
Let’s be honest, who else could turn a damning judgement replete with a $40 000 plus costs order into a tear a minute sob story?
No-one but Doubting, that’s who.
Check out this tear-jerker of a quote from Alex Wood that Doubting’s penned:
“I don’t have the money to meet these costs. I don’t think she has the money to pay more than $200,000 for the three students’ costs. There are no winners in this case.”
If Doubting was talking about Clive Palmer being unable to pay court ordered costs he would be calling him every name under the sun. But because it’s one of the Sunshine Boys whose beat up story has allowed him to avoid any real work for a year the once great journalist just pulls out the violin and plays it larghissimo..
F*ck the slow, mournful refrain. Let’s talk facts instead.
Alex Wood took an action seeking costs against Susan Moriarty, the lawyer representing Cynthia Prior, the applicant in the now infamous Evil 18C case that has sparked so much faux controversy thanks to Doubting’s protracted attack on Prior’s lawsuit.
Wood did so in the knowledge that if he got dusted he could be up for costs.
He got dusted. And is now up for costs. 40 plus grand’s worth.
Boo hoo. You pay your money you take your chance. Unless of course you don’t . Pay that is. Because someone else does.
Mr Wood said it was wrong that his lawyers were unlikely to be paid their significant costs by Ms Prior due to her financial limitations while he would have to take a bank loan and ask for public help to pay Ms Moriarty’s legal bill.
I’ll bet my house that soft-hearted Rupert – the bloke who hacks dead peoples phones and throws thousands out of work – declares Wood’s self=proclaimed destitution a travesty and comes to the party with the cash. C’mon, who wants to throw their money up and try to prove me wrong?
Not Doubting, that’s for sure. He’s too busy penning pearlers like these:
Mr Wood’s solicitor Damien Bourke said he was “extremely disappointed to find that Alex hasn’t recovered any of his costs in defending himself and is now being pursued for costs”.
“Alex’s costs in defending his comment and now responding to an appeal application are substantial — in excess of $100,000,’’ Mr Bourke said.
Now a fair dinkum journo with an abiding commitment to a balanced story would do the following:
(a) Ask how a 1st year graduate engineer on no more than $70k a year before tax could possibly take a case costing over $100k, given that solicitors the length and breadth of the Wide Brown Land demand a huge dump of dollars into their trust funds before they kick off such speculative type litigation
(b) Ask why Woods has changed lawyers
(c) Question how the $100k figure Wood has allegedly racked up in costs can possiblyt be correct, given that Cynthia Prior was ordered to pay his former barrister Michael Henry the exact same sum. Wood doesn’t owe it to the millionaire lawyer tax avoidance lawyer Henry, Prior does
(d) Highlight the fact that the order for Prior to pay costs is only 8 weeks old, and that she has time to pay Wood the costs ordered by Judge Jarrett of the Federal Magistrates Court, which means of course that while Mr Bourke’s statement above about his client’s failure to recover costs may be technically true, it is at the same time horse sh*t because the deadline for payment by Prior is yet to be reached
(e) Actually spend at least a line or two explaining the Judge’s reasoning in awarding costs to Moriarty payable by Wood. Then the mug punter reading The Oz might realise that Wood isn’t as hard done by as he’s painted, but rather is a victim of his own poor decision to take action seeking costs against Moriarty and failing.
Doubting of course has done none of the above, because this whole 18C palaver isn’t journalism, it’s a political campaign against those that he and his boss perceive to be left wing Labor lackeys. Moriarty, Gillian Triggs, Tim Southphommasane and Susan Anderson (Prior’s barrister – each of them at some stage of their careers linked to the ALP – these are the real targets of Doubting’s never ending story about a storm in a teacup.
This is what it’s really all about. Don’t be a mug and delude yourself otherwise.
Freedom of speech?
My f*cking arse.