Why Andrew Bolt shouldn’t be gagged (even if you don’t like him)

I would not, I suspect, vote for Andrew Bolt if he was a politician.

Indeed, I watched his new show on Sunday morning, and mainly found myself disagreeing with him.

But the launch of a Facebook campaign to persuade advertisers to pull their spend from The Bolt Report is rather depressing.  

In the past there have been  moves to attack advertisers when great offence has been caused. For instance, at the time of the Kyle & Jackie O lie detector mess, Naked’s Adam Ferrier wrote an open letter urging the industry not to support the show.

But it seems a different kettle of fish to target somebody simply because you don’t want their views to be heard in the first place.

operation_bolt_cutter facebook

One of the reasons it strikes me that it was a good move by Ten to give Bolt the show is that while print and radio is arguably dominated by right-leaning commentary, it tends to be the other way round in television. The Bolt Report brings an element of balance to that.

If he shouldn’t be allowed to talk to a couple of hundred thousand people on a Sunday morning (and that was all the numbers were) then who should?

If the Facebook group is accurate in reporting that Optus reseller TeleChoice has already pulled its ads, based on the 592 Facebook users so far signing up to the campaign, then that seems pretty feeble.

If the demographics of the audience are good, and the price is right, then no reasonable advertiser should be frightened off. Bolt is not some holocaust-denying extremist. He represents a mainstream point of view even if its one that many disagree with.

You don’t have to agree with Bolt’s politics to see that trying to gag somebody you disagree with is more offensive than their views.

Tim Burrowes


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