Devine retribution

Twitter can sometimes offer an intriguing insight into journo-PR relations that would otherwise fly under the radar.

Take today’s exchange between Ogilvy PR’s Nathalie Swainston and strident Fairfax columnist Miranda Devine.  

Swainston started the ball rolling with a tweet declaring her hatred of Devine, possibly forgetting that Devine is herself on Twitter and in fact (although Dr Mumbo has always considered her to be a satirical creation) a real person who might see it.

Devine sternly responded: “You need to seek professional help. Hating someone because they express an opinion you don’t like is not healthy.”

At which Swainston caved, responding: “You’re right, I don’t hate you, sorry. Bad choice of words. I just strongly disagree with your opinions. Very strongly.”

And with that, she deleted her original tweet…

A narrow points victory for the passive aggressive climate change sceptic, Dr Mumbo thinks.


  1. acatinatree
    28 Jan 10
    4:54 pm

  2. Are we so sure she’s a real person and not just a bot running an RSS feed from

    I’m not angry at Devine, I’m just disappointed…

  3. long time listener, first time caller...
    28 Jan 10
    4:59 pm

  4. Seh hits me because she loves me…

  5. Jason Whittaker
    28 Jan 10
    6:16 pm

  6. I’d love to engage Miranda on Twitter. But sadly she blocked me. Was it something I said…?

    Meanwhile, I’m a proud member of the Facebook group ‘There’s nothing divine about Miranda Devine’. Feel free to join!

  7. glen
    28 Jan 10
    7:00 pm

  8. I’m angry at Devine. And I hate the persona she has created for herself in the newspaper. A cold, seething, complete hatred. If she got the sack tomorrow, then I would throw a party. Why? For someone who isn’t entirely stupid every single line of argument I have read her develop in her column attempts to reduce people’s thinking about a topic. Her columns are normally a cascade of assumptions based on someone else’s assumptions.

    BOT, Devine is a hypocrite; valorising climate skeptics and then having the audacity to suggest someone else is doing something that isn’t ‘healthy’. She is the one denying that the planet is currently being poisoned and that we don’t need to do anything to try to make it healthier. It is such nonsense that it is almost comedic.

    Shame, Miranda. Shame. Shame. Shame.

  9. Melissa Leong
    28 Jan 10
    7:44 pm

  10. Without the odd skirmish, Twitter would be a boring place!

    That aside, I find it sad that in order to keep a place in Australian journalism, Devine has had to rely on sullen biggotry rather than the skill of fair and balanced reporting.

    Instead of making this a ‘PR vs (idiot) Journalist’ debate, perhaps it can be boiled down to the fact that one thing Twitter does have going for it is that it’s a forum for the exchange of free speach and ideas..and inevitably conflicting ideas ignite heated discussions – just ask A.A Gil what he thinks about bloggers.

    ‘Hate’ is a passion word. Perhaps a little strongly used here, but in my opinion, it’s definitely better to feel passionately against Devine’s idiotic drivel, rather than agree with it.

  11. Someguy
    29 Jan 10
    11:09 am

  12. Just PR pros creating more publicity (& hopefully followers) via drama.

  13. Maarinke
    29 Jan 10
    11:23 am

  14. This example of Miranda’s bullying is indicative of what makes her column so problematic, her power to spread negative discourse, to use her power for bad.

    Why someone of her following felt challenged by this tweet is interesting. Why did she feel the need to respond? Was it purely image maintenance, or stemming from something else that unnerved? To me it demonstrates, even if she doesn’t admit it consciously, she may sometimes feel cracks in her rock solid arguments.

    Maybe similar to the cracks in the melting glaciers, or the dried up banks of the Murray. I am forever hopeful.

    In this context Tim I wouldn’t chalk it up as points for Devine. The points should go to anyone fights the good fight, and who gets a response. In my eyes Nat’s removal of words which may cause negativity shows an elevation of character, when thinking of the hundreds of odious words still on public record which have been penned Miranda’s hand.

  15. Bloggs
    29 Jan 10
    11:42 am

  16. I use Miranda Devine’s column as preparation for my boxing sessions at the gym. I reckon she is just and agent provocateur, nobody could really be such a nutcase!

  17. Dave
    29 Jan 10
    11:47 am

  18. I find it odd that most of the people who have commented above, state that they hate Devine but quite obviously read her column.

    If you don’t like it, stop reading it, just like I avoid the back page of The Age every morning…….

  19. Andrew
    29 Jan 10
    12:04 pm

  20. Bullies. There are plenty of them, on the left and on the right. They are a dime a dozen.

  21. Stuart Ridley
    29 Jan 10
    12:05 pm

  22. Like it or not, she’s bloody good at serving up opinions that get people talking.
    Yep, she can irritating / antagonistic as all hell — that’s the point of opinion columns, after all.
    Opinion pieces are not meant to be ‘fair and balanced reporting’ — they’re meant to provoke discussions/arguments. Who knows how much of what she writes is Miranda’s personal belief? Who cares?

  23. tr
    29 Jan 10
    12:58 pm

  24. Yes everytime someone clicks on her badly researched, provocative articles the SMH keeps feeding her. Do not be tempted to click on that headline designed to infuriate you.
    Whatever Miranda’s personal beliefs are (or morals) – she is paid by the Fairfax to be antagonistic. Let her face her demons (& her childrens’ judgement) if the environment goes to hell in the future.

  25. anon1
    5 Feb 10
    8:51 am

  26. Miranda Devine is a dreadful writer: her prose is turgid, her ideas hackneyed (she’ll pick an issue or a trends weeks after everyone else is done with it) and her arguments are usually weak and uncompelling.

    I understand she is the daughter of some “iconic” Australian journalist?

    If so this is not surprising, since there is no way she would ever merit a newspaper column on her own talents.

  27. Rob
    5 Feb 10
    1:36 pm

  28. Sullen Bigot? Excellent description, thank-you Melissa: it describes this terrible person perfectly.

    Incidentally, she’s the single reason I switched for the SMH to the Australian.

  29. Stuart Ridley
    5 Feb 10
    2:02 pm

  30. @anon1 She’s the daughter of Frank Devine. He was an icon (love him or hate him). He died last year. You’ll find them both on Wikipedia…
    …and you’ll find this quote from Miranda herself about why she does her job her way:
    “You are contesting ideas and you have to do it in a polarising way. When you write a column, you can’t sit on the fence.”

    So… I don’t come here to defend or bury her, except to say I stick to my first point: she’s good at inciting debate.


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