Joe Hildebrand: right-wing spambot

council copyBack in the day, it was considered desirable to offer arguments about people you had political disagreements with. You know, factually grounded premises, logically sound conclusions, that type of thing.

However, if you produce content for Murdoch, there’s a much easier way to win arguments. Fabrication.

Take the case of Joe Hildebrand. He’s a hilarious columnist for the Daily Telegraph. I swear, when you read his articles, you’ll find it hard to stop laughing. You’ll laugh until it hurts. Really.

For example, take this particularly pain-inducing article. Here Joe tells of his move to Marrickville, which is a bit of a concern because ‘I happen to look a bit like a “kike”.’ And apparently his kind aren’t welcome in Marrickville. There is a picture – Marrickville, Jew-free since 2003. I mean, it’s not, but who cares, right?

He then writes – in his cleverly satirical way – that the Greens anti-Semites have banned anything with Jews in them. There was a conundrum: ‘Lethal Weapon was more difficult to categorise as contraband, as even though it was directed by a descendant of Abraham it also starred Mel Gibson, whose beliefs are broadly in line with those of the Marrickville Greens.’ Get it? The Greens are as anti-Semitic as Mel Gibson! For those as ignorant as gossip as I am, Mel Gibson apparently said, ‘Fucking Jews … the Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world.’

If you think that’s pretty funny, check out another Hildebrand article. What do we learn? Fiona Byrne would boycott a meeting because there was kosher food! Oh, the delicious satire (that pun was definitely unintended – please don’t laugh at anything I write here). ‘Fiona’ then calls Jesus a ‘dirty Jew’ – because obviously she just hates Jews, right? Oh! Hilarious! How funny.

It was so funny, you can also read it at the Punch. Maybe it’ll get nominated for a Walkley, as sometimes happens with fabricated stories that serve desired political ends.

Hildebrand is a charming character (‘breasts and arses are my favourite parts of a woman, followed closely by her personality’). And he has quite the gift for satire, right? I mean, it’s obvious all the stories above were made up, to make serious political points (that people he disagreed with are racist).

So let’s recall a few more satirical pieces from a few years ago. Around APEC, he wrote: ‘But while the powerbrokers are fed and feted the Daily Telegraph has also learned of protester plans to provoke police into violent confrontation during the seven-day summit.’ He was speaking of Mutiny, an anarchist collective based around Black Rose bookstore in Sydney. That’s 30 August 2007.

On 3 September 2007, he wrote:

MILITANT APEC protesters are secretly plotting an outbreak of violence for US President George W. Bush’s arrival in Sydney tomorrow, distributing a rioter’s training manual on how to wear gas masks, confront police and even evade fares. The FLARE (For Liberation Autonomy Resistance Exodus) manual, obtained by The Daily Telegraph, openly declares an intent to commit violence.

Perhaps he had friends in ASIO leak him a copy.

The idea that anarchists have a ‘training manual’ is a little hard to credit (getting anarchists to agree on anything isn’t easy, let alone what they’d be ‘trained’ for, let alone who’d write the training, let alone anarchists agreeing on anything about any method, except that complete autonomous individualism be facilitated). I happen to have a FLARE reader. It’s pretty dull, mostly pretentious waffle. I wrote three essays for it, which reflects its lax editorial standards. I’m happy to supply them to anyone interested. No one read them – or at least I don’t think they did. It was sold after the convergence started, and people were usually busy all day for a few days, in big group environments. A close friend told me years later she’d read my essays, and was angry my footnotes had been removed.

Anyway, APEC came and went and there was no violence, except I think for one crazy guy who attacked cops with something metal. It turned out that Hildebrand’s stories had been fabricated. Except when someone writes for Murdoch papers that’s probably considered an asset.

I hadn’t heard of him since then – but now that he blogs for the Daily Telegraph, I guess he’s been promoted for peddling fabrications about anarchists, so that he can peddle the no less sleazy fabrication that the Greens are anti-Semites. This would probably rate of some interest if people had any expectations of any kind from Australian media.

In Hildebrand’s defence, I pointed this out to him. I give him the right of reply.  Here’s his response in full:


Michael Brull

Michael Brull is a columnist at New Matilda. He’s written for other publications including Fairfax, the Guardian, Crikey, Tracker and the Indigenous Law Bulletin.

More by Michael Brull ›

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  1. Michael,
    I’m sure that your po faced response to Hildebrand’s pithy satire will spur him on to greater efforts. Hyperbole is a legitimate tool in the satirists kit which enables him to confront the reader with the results of pushing his target’s views to their logical conclusion. That you wish to label this, fabrication betrays either your lack of literary education or your lack of any sense of humour. I’d suggest both.

  2. I have googled Michale Brull and all his writings have the same rhetorical devices and mocking tones as bad undergraduate writing. If you want to keep inflicting your views on the world, its time to improve your writing style.

  3. The writings of a “Right Wing SpamBot”
    Oh Michael,

    You really ought to get a couple of simple principles and your homework would be good as well. Criticism of the Greens may actually be because they are a pack of twats and their policies suck . Here are a couple of pieces I dug up in a few mins showing just what a hard line right winger Joe is. But then I read his stuff so I might know. Obviously you don’t and you don’t.
    “Okay, granted Nick Minchin is not technically a food but I sure don’t like him.

    Nick Minchin is the Federal Finance Minister. He’s never done anything to me personally but he kind of gives me the creeps. Someone once told me that he looks like the Nazi dentist in Marathon Man. I don’t know if that film was based on a true story but if it was then I bet it was based on Nick Minchin. If I saw Nick Minchin walking down the street I would run in the other direction. In fact the other night I accidentally caught him on Question Time in the Senate and I nearly fell over the cat.” (8/12/06)
    or this :

    “This week I sense Miranda Devine is angry at something, possibly communism.
    But it’s not all bad news. I sense Miranda Devine also thinks that someone should be applauded for doing or saying something. ” 8/12/06
    or this :
    ” Another major piece of policy that is apparently imaginary is the Government’s controversial workplace reform package.

    Not once in Costello’s 13-page speech did he mention WorkChoices, anything resembling WorkChoices, anything related to WorkChoices or anything that might have once been caught glancing sideways at WorkChoices.

    It was an odd silence for this Government. Normally Costello and his wily Prime Minister would have the confidence to crash through on such an issue but this one appears to be so electorally poisonous even their combined political talents are unable to conjure it into something palatable.

    This is worth paying some attention to.

    The WorkChoices legislation is the Government’s most binding ideological platform of the past decade and its most profound and far-reaching domestic policy in more than 11 years. And yet it has been completely and thoroughly ignored in the first Budget to fully chart its introduction.

    Instead the Government has thrown more than half a billion dollars at apprentices in an effort to ingratiate itself with “Howard’s battlers”, the blue-collar converts who are among the most spooked by the workplace reforms.

    The irony is that all that money isn’t really supposed to create anything. It’s just supposed to make something disappear. ”
    Perhaps you should do your homework .
    In my view Joe’s main failing is that he takes views more of the Leftall too often …(but then I am a card carrying right-winger.)

    If I wanted to waste my time I could drag out countless more examples where he piles into the Liberals and right wingers generally.

  4. Sorry. Are you fo real? Hildebrand takes the piss out of people and you don’t get it? You don’t know Alene Composta personally do you?

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