Crikey have decided to monetize the various lefty groups that dine out on attacking Tim Blair and Andrew Bolt. First there was Boltwatch, then the Blair/Bolt Watch Project. Now there’s Crikey’s ‘Pure Poison‘. ‘Boltwatch’ originally belonged solely to Jeremy Sear (of Anonymous Lefty fame), but the Blair/Bolt Watch Project was a collaborative effort, recruiting the ‘talent’ (and I use that word advisedly) of the people at a blog called ‘grods corp‘ (the title refers, apparently, to underwear).
I’ve long thought the ‘grods corp’ crowd to be among the nastier bunches floating around the Oz interwebs, giving lefties some bullying nitwits for their very own. They’re also very, very unfunny. The unfunnyness seems to be catching, too, because when Jeremy blogged alone, he could be genuinely funny, in an understated Black Adderish way. Now he’s lost his sense of humour, and has joined the rest of them in mean-spirited point-scoring. Of course, they’ve cocked up on their very first day (as you do when trying to do this kind of thing), and Tim Blair is dining out at their expense.
They’ve now got a rather pathetic post up calling for help with point-scoring off lefties, but since they agree with many of the base suppositions that righties ‘call’ lefties on, I can’t see this working. Maybe they could attack likes of Robert Manne, David Marr and Phillip Adams from the left — a strategy the ABC employed against the Hawkeating government — but those kind of attacks tend to be earnest, not funny. Tim Blair — with some legitimacy — thinks he’s found a comedy gold mine, chiefly on the basis of marginal competence:
People, we have a new Margo. How I have longed for this day.
What does disappoint me particularly about this Crikey effort is that they’ve sucked in Tobias Ziegler, who is actually a good blogger. He’s never been funny, but then he’s never tried to be, either. His ‘home’ blog (called, with genuine whimsy, ‘Not a Hedgehog‘) is a place of reasoned argument and useful information, and I visit it regularly.
One entirely legitimate attack that the MSM directs at the blogosphere is based on the latter’s pettiness and nastiness. Of course, they use a broad brush, and all of us are tarred. Sure, Crikey doesn’t quite count as MSM, occupying an interesting liminal space, but I’m not sure that facilitating this aspect of the blogosphere is the way for any media organisation to go. It may be one day, but not with this group of writers.
UPDATE: Mark and Kim over at LP make some interesting observations.