Sleeping Giants Oz is, in essence, a loose group of Twitter activists which labels itself as “a community initiative to make racism, bigotry and misogyny less profitable”1. As a consequence of that, much of their activity is directed at the Murdoch media, which brings out the dog-whistle regularly. This is especially true of Sky News, particularly the fruitcakes on Sky After Dark. The way they do this is to watch the various after dark shows, listing the advertisers and posting that list on Twitter. Other Twitterati then tweet or e-mail these companies, pointing out to them that they are associated with the climate change denial, homophobia, bigotry or general stupidity of these after dark fruitcakes. This seems to be having a significant effect because Janet Albrechtsen has written something that could fairly be called a dummy-spitting rant in response2.
Albrechtsen begins by telling her readers “when confronting people who do not believe in free speech there are two choices. Fight back. Or shut up.” She then relates the stories of two people, one of whom is a Sydney businessman named Alan Beasley who is ‘fighting back’ by writing to the board of NIB (a health insurance company) and calling them ‘pusillanimous’ and ‘gutless’ for giving into bullies and intimidation and entering into a ‘PC debate’ (?) and putting ‘activists before customers’. Beasley asked NIB to admit they made an error and return to advertising on the Andrew Bolt show2. The self-important Andrew Bolt had cast aspersions upon the jury verdict in the trial of Cardinal George Pell, despite the fact that much of the evidence was heard in a closed court3 and Bolt did not attend the trial every day, if at all.
Beasley accused NIB of cowardice and simultaneously was stunned by their arrogance. So, presumably he thinks it is perfectly acceptable for Bolt to pontificate on a jury verdict for which he has not seen all the evidence. I don’t. If you believe in the rule of law rather than mob rule, then you have to let the judicial process proceed to completion without trying to influence the outcome, as many Murdoch hacks seem to want to do4.
Albrechtsen states that “others have decided to be activists for free speech, abandoning NIB and sticking it to other corporate cowards” and “these anti-intellectual pygmies can’t win open and robust debates so they try to shut down those who challenge their views”. Then, unable to refer to them by their real name she terms them ‘Sleeping Midgets’2; the dummy has just flown out of the Murdoch creche. Albrechtsen lists some of the companies that have deserted Sky, and in addition to NIB, they include Hotondo Homes, Poolwerx and Hyundai. So, this campaign is having an effect on Sky News. Albrechtsen states that the companies who have dumped Sky are “destroying this country’s heritage of free speech in favour of a small group of activists”. So, what does she do? She suggests that her readers should become activists too by bullying and intimidating those companies that pull their advertising from Sky2.
Like most Murdoch hacks, Albrechtsen only ever wants conservative speech to be free. She is unconcerned about anyone else having the right to write anything which would show her various columns to be garbage. Anyway, this is not about free speech, it is about fighting back against the antidemocratic behaviour of the Murdoch media, who regularly use the dog-whistle5, climate change denial6, and simple lies7 in support of the Coalition government. The behaviour of many of their ‘journalists’ and columnists is an abject debasement of journalism and commentary that is all too common in Murdoch media around the anglophone world. Now we plebs are fighting back and the Murdoch hacks don’t like it.