Sunday, July 04, 2004

Hillary Bray outed, finally

Age journo Susan Brown might like to try using this new-fangled thing called Google one day. Coz her outing of Crikey’s Hillary Bray as Christian Kerr takes sloppy research to a new level.

In August 2003 I wrote that Crikey had all but given Hillary Bray’s identity away. As it turns out, I was dead right on the private school boys’ secret society/in-joke thing – Tim Blair hinted at, and then named Christian Kerr as Hillary in March 2003, but was then content to harrumph in self-satisfaction and let it blow over. Even earlier, in September 2002, Kerr/Hillary coyly* sort of outed himself on Crikey.

More serious discredit goes to Media Watch executive producer Peter McEvoy, who apparently swore to Blair that Christian Kerr hung up his Hillary Bray hat prior to joining "Media Watch" as a researcher, in January 2003. That Susan Brown missed Tim Blair's outing is one thing, but failing to pick up that Christian Kerr was a "Media Watch" staffer at the same time as being “Hillary Bray” is simply inexcusable. She has seemingly taken at face value that Kerr’s unnamed “corporate affairs position” continued from 1999 until recently. Never mind how the holder of such a position could be “[not] doing anything else Sunday afternoons” – Kerr would have to be the only Australian media-employed GenXer who wasn’t expected to regularly work [unpaid] weekend overtime. [Correction – presumably apart from Susan Brown, although I doubt she’s a GenXer]. And hint to Susan: holders of “corporate affairs position[s]” who write letters to Norwegian newspapers - under their own name - criticising their country's behaviour towards the crew of the Tampa, and noting how very glad they are to have left the employ of two Australian government Ministers would be frogmarched out of their offices faster than their divisional boss could say: "We won't be seeing ya Sunday arvo, then?". OTOH, such letter-writers probably have the constitutional right, if not requirement, to work for "Media Watch".

Finally, just to highlight the flipside of Susan Brown’s uber-lazy journalism – unintentionally hilarious breathless prose:

A social drug habit (a bit of ecstasy, a bit of cocaine) had morphed into the beginnings of an alcohol problem.

Oh really? Or is she being all cutesily ironic, as in – just like a PhD award morphs into the beginnings of the capacity to fill out Centrelink forms?

I seriously doubt Brown’s potential for winking irony though, with this end-note:

[Kerr] is doing a masters degree in politics at Adelaide University and, after being described as Australia's most feared columnist, has decided to take a tilt at mainstream journalism. Now that's scary.

I’ll tell you what's scary, Susan Brown – that a person can get paid to write such drivel

* Kerr/Hillary rather more emphatically outed himself in Quadrant late last year; "emphatically" because Kerr has never contributed to Crikey under his own byline. That this self-outing went unnoticed thus proves the point either that: (i) no one at all reads Quadrant, or (ii) that magazine's entire readership consists of harrumphing, smug private-schoolboy Tim Blair-types.


This just keeps getting better! I didn’t have time to Google “Susan Brown” properly this morning. I swear that I didn’t know the following when I wrote the main piece.

Susan Brown is no less than the bullying baby boomer from central casting. But let’s start with her all-important mediocrity first. In her younger days, she did the usual boomer rounds of cushy jobs in the public service before then working for a green group as a springboard into politics, Peter Garrett-style. Her chosen political niche – the Democrats – sounds innocuous enough (for me, anyway) at first, until you see what she actually did while there.

She’s Meg Lees’ #1 supporter – what a Telstra-stooge, saving-the-environment (sic) fuckwit! I’m not making this up – Susan Brown was actively engaged in undermining Senator Natasha Stott-Despoja's Democrats leadership days after it commenced. And fair enough, too: not only was/is Stott-Despoja ridiculously principled, she also lacked Meg Lees’ particular flair for turning the Senate into a chamber of nitpicking-for-its-own sake:

Just weeks later, Senators Lees and Allison negotiated 500 amendments to a 400 clause environment bill (same URL)

[You’ve got your perfect epitaph there, Meg]

Predictably, in mid-2002, just when Senator Stott-Despoja's leadership was swirling in crisis, the vicious one decided that it was time to turn the knife.

Former Democrats Senator Sid Spindler wrote in reply to this a few days later. This man is OLD, but what he wrote about Susan Brown sounds like it was straight out of the Paul Watson Academy of GenX {whingeing/special pleading} [take your pick]:

Susan Brown's article and others of similar ilk are an indication of the problems people encounter when they try to find a way to change society to one we would like to leave to our children and grandchildren.

See also this take on Brown's shameless treachery.

Nowadays, Susan Brown describes herself as a freelance journalist. A once-honorable calling, I would have thought, but no more – Susan Brown’s lack of scruples would make even the worst PR-whore among GenX blush. Add this to her basic journalistic incompetence and you’ve got, as I said, the baby boomer from central casting; a first among fuckwits.

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