Going nuts about a Bolt

Gonzo Meets the Press #6 May 12, 2011

It’s lamentable, says Tom Krause, that a new television show is creating a
wave of intolerance in the social media. Whatever happened to the famous
Australian “Fair Go”?

I had a dream last night.
It wasn’t a Martin Luther King Jnr dream about
civil rights and getting to the Promised Land. It was about a television show –
a current affairs program with a female host, and a piano.
I was watching the show in a tv newsroom, and no one else was paying attention. Then I saw a
shot of the audience, and a bloke got up and started knocking over chairs, and
pushing people over. The audience started running away, leaving empty chairs,
and I yelled to the newsroom: “Look at this.” Then the female host appeared at
the back of the studio, with a microphone on a stand and went to hit him with
it. He grabbed the microphone, knocked her over, and started screaming. A
security guard rushed into the studio and knocked him out with one punch.
I woke up.
What the hell was that dream about, I wondered. Then I remembered.
Before I drifted off to sleep after feeding the cat, I was thinking about
writing a piece about tolerance.
The angry young man hated the tv show, and was venting his rage at anything and everything connected to it.
The dream may have been prompted by comments on Twitter about The Bolt Report;
one, for example, from a young guy named Sean: “If any of my friends watches
Andrew Bolt’s new show, ‘The Bolt Report,’ I’m going to go to your
house and crap on your pillow.”
And Christian Price has set up a Facebook page, Operation: Bolt-Cutter, which now has over 1200 attendees. His
aim is to get people to watch the show (on the Ten Network) and note the
advertisers, then write to the companies, saying they’ll never buy their
products again and tell them why.
After users of the page complained Price was abusing freedom of speech, he told the Daily Spa blog: “Bolt is
entitled to his opinion, and is entitled to express it. We are also entitled to
our opinion, and are entitled to express it. I think that people trying to shout
us down using freedom of speech as their argumentative basis is pretty ironic.
This is a peaceful protest, one which people will either agree with or they
won’t. If they don’t, we’re cool with that. We hope they’ll be cool with us for
having our point of view too.”
Users of Twitter are also pointing out a similar campaign in the US managed to oust the right-wing commentator Glenn Beck
from his show on Fox News. If the advertisers pull out because of pressure from the public, the program isn’t going to last.
But back to tolerance. If you don’t want to watch The Bolt Report at 10am on Sunday, you don’t have
to, and if you do watch it, and stick around for Meet the Press at
10.30am (okay, I’m a bit biased here!), you’ll get a different viewpoint. In
fact, it’s hard to argue against someone unless you know what they stand for.
James Joyce was a scathing critic of the Irish Catholic Church, but he grew up
with it and knew it well. Witness his use of the Mass in his novel
Ulysses when the medical student Buck Mulligan holds up his shaving
bowl and invokes the Latin phrase: Introibo ad altare Dei (I will go in
to the altar of God) – that would have been blasphemous, particularly in the
year of its publication, 1922.
I guess I’m becoming a real old fart because I can’t see anything wrong with having a show on television that has an opinion
different than mine. It seems to me the social media is full of angry young men
like the one in my dream.
The world could do with a bit more tolerance. As the British journalist and bibliophile, Holbrook Jackson, once said: “Suffer
fools gladly; they might be right.”
Tom Krause is the supervising producer of Ten’s Meet the Press program. His views are his own; always have
been.

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