Mark Latham submits to the ordeal of a Margo Kingston interview, made easier by the fact Margo hasn’t bothered to read his book:
One of the things that I found most interesting in the Introduction, and Mark that’s all I’ve read because I’ve been running around on my own thing but I’m definitely intending to read the whole thing …
The rest of the interview is notable mainly for highlights such as “End of Side 1 of Tape”. Until near the conclusion, when Mark and Margo launch into Sydney Morning Herald staff:
Mark: I’m after that bloody Debra Snow/Damien Murphy mob, all their bloody pretence about ethics and moralising about journalistic standards. I just think it’s all bunkum!
Margo: Well Mark, as I said, I haven’t read your actual diaries yet, but my memory is that it was The Sydney Morning Herald who first reported as fact that buck’s night thing.
Mark: Yeah, Louise Dobson.
Margo: Well, you know! That doesn’t make sense. Did she report that as fact without confirmation and without sourcing?
Mark: Yep, yep. Absolutely.
In fact, the Latham video rumour was first announced by Margo’s friends at Crikey.com.au, where Margo is these days running ads for her doomed site. (Note to Margo’s staff: Debra Snow is Deborah Snow. You’re running a quality online newspaper, for Christ’s sake; check names!) Meanwhile, Latham—who complains endlessly about intrusions on his private life—continues his campaign of bitter hypocrisy during a speech in Melbourne:
Two Saturdays ago in [The Australian], Matt Price wrote that, “Perhaps I move in the wrong circles but not once did I hear any scuttlebutt about Latham’s personal life from colleagues, opponents or anyone else”.
Have no doubt, one of the circles Matt Price has moved in for many years is Annabel Crabb’s – in fact, few journalists in Canberra are closer friends.
Oh, nice. And check this incredible Latham paranoia:
I want to thank the political and media establishment for the way in which they have received The Latham Diaries. When John Howard, the Australian Labor Party, the Canberra Press Gallery, and the Packer and Murdoch empires combine, as they have over the past fortnight, to tell people not to read this book, it sends a powerful message: the Canberra Club has a lot to worry about and a lot to hide.
What the hell is he talking about? The book’s been promoted like crazy. News Ltd paid $100,000 for extract rights; at The Bulletin, no end of positive publicity has been delivered. It’s the least we in the media establishment can do to help out a struggling stay-at-home dad. Not that Mark seems very grateful; here’s Tuesday night’s Lateline:
TONY JONES: Now, exposing public hypocrisy, political hypocrisy, and sending a sort of withering gale through public life, that’s one thing, but it seems you’ve actually engaged in casual destructiveness here. Let’s go on. You named one press gallery reporter as being a regular dope smoker, you’ve accused another prominent journalist of actually supplying drugs to the rest of the gallery. I mean, these are very serious allegations for professional people to have to deal with.
MARK LATHAM: Oh, Tony, I mean, this is on Triple J, joking around with comedians who appear on this network —the ‘Chaser Program’—you need to, you know, perhaps understand the context, but also what am I supposed to say about Tony, right? He turns up at my function in Lismore in early 2004 telling me that he’s stoned off his face, he’s been down to Nimbin and been on the hoochy coochy all day. What do you want me to say, Tony? What do you want me to say?
Latham didn’t say, as the transcript has it: “Tony, right?” He said “Tony Wright”, who is a friend and colleague at The Bulletin, and one of the finest reporters working in Australia. Latham can’t criticise him over inaccuracy or unfairness, so instead slurs him as a dope fiend.
Interestingly, Margo doesn’t appear in Latham’s book at all.
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