In the course of 30 minutes, he managed to grovel to Tony Abbott, savage an Afghan Refugee, subject the audience to Latham and Kroger’s furious agreement about how terrible Julia Gillard is, and then a very confused rant about the killing of Osama bin Laden.
Even Abbott seemed uncomfortable about the whole thing. Bolt is a known climate-change denier. Abbott has been at pains to show voters that he doesn’t ignore reality.
So there was a miniature trainwreck coming when Bolt asked Abbott: ‘Why didn’t you ask my favourite question? How long would it take the government to reduce the temperature of the Earth?’
Of course, the question is nonsensical. Action on climate change is designed to slow the rate of temperature increase; not reduce the current temperature.
Smelling a trap, Abbott avoided the problem by evading the topic. You know a show’s in trouble when even Abbott thinks the host is a crazy.
Not that other conservatives on Twitter seemed to mind. Summing up most of the Tweets, @VikingQuester wrote: ‘#BoltReport is filling a massive void in the left, politically correct world of TV.‘
As a conservative, I was really hoping that Bolt would manage to get on a few conservative guests who could discuss and analyse issues. Instead, we were treated to a confused rush of nonsense.
For the sake of clarity, I’ll be more precise with my terms. The sort of ‘conservativism’ on display during the Bolt Report and most of the Tweets is that malevolent neo-conservatism that’s drowned out most of the right.
If there’s one things neo-cons hate, it’s political correctness. They hate it so much that they’re willing to sacrifice correctness altogether. There was no substance to the Bolt Report. It was content to make inflammatory assertions about people, most of whom were unable to fight back. Admittedly, it fell into the same void as Insiders – in an attempt to make journalists seem knowledgeable, they skirt across issues so quickly to avoid anybody making any substantial comment. The key difference between Bolt Report and Insiders was BR‘s rapid cycling through issues, rather than moving into new territory.
So the opening monologue was about ‘boat people’ and how dreadful they were. He moved quickly on to a different topic. He then returned to ‘boat people’ for a quick chat with Latham and Kroger before moving on quickly again. He then interviewed an Afghan refugee, asking a string unrelated questions as if to bait the poor guy, then closed down the interview. I forget if ‘boat people’ returned in the closing section (I was stunned by the last section: it was an unrelenting attack on the senses).
The media has a right-wing bias. The default reporting of events is written from a right-wing perspective (even on the ABC): Coalition talking points are normalised, even when they’re batshit insane; Greens are considered left extremists (I’m no fan of the Greens — I think they’re tricky and deceptive — but I wouldn’t call their position extreme). Opinion writing is overwhelmingly left-wing, with most of our highest profile writers being ‘progressives’. If Bolt was to fill a gap, he’d be filling the ‘Analytical and critical right-wing opinion’ gap which we conservatives have left seeping.
Unfortunately, it seems far too much to expect from Bolt, who seems far too content trolling public debate rather than contributing to it.