There is an old legal adage, ‘Silence gives consent.’
If true it means, must mean that O’Shannessy’s two-day silence is an admission that my charge is true: that he concealed some Newspolls showing Bob Katter’s party was doing well; or else he sent them in, and Murdoch’s people concealed them, hid them from public view.
Like a lot of what Murdoch does it is not illegal; but, like most of what he does, it is cheating. If Katter was on ten percent in mid-February, and it was widely known that he was on ten percent, he would have been on twenty percent by mid-March, and LNP voters peeling off and joining him in such numbers that Campbell Newman may not have won his seat, and his new party may not have won government outright.
This, if true, is not illegal. But it is cheating. In a one-newspaper state, it is cheating.
People as respectable as Kim Williams, Gough Whitlam’s son-in-law, will deny Murdoch cheats, but his people admitted it yesterday in London. Sometimes they hacked, they said, ‘in a good cause’. It is known they bugged the then Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, and by beating up what he said put his rival in Downing Street. It is known they hacked the messages of hundreds of celebrities, and sought to destabilise the ruling family of the United Kingdom by bugging its future King and with ‘Squidgiegate’, they hoped, shaming him into abdication. It is known they rorted their candidate, Bush, into the White House by an early call of the result and Fox News reports that Gore, who got the most votes, was ‘trying to steal the election’.
But it is said they would never suppress a poll result and thus keep a foe in impotence. They would never do that. Sure we bug and bring down our enemies; but we would never stifle a poll that favours them. At that we draw the line.
O’Shannessy speaks of ‘good manners’ in his response to me. I ask him now to show good manners by telling us, his literate customers, if and why he did not print a particular poll, and who asked him to do this. It is good democratic manners, good manners in freedom’s cause, in the high cause of freedom of information, to do this. Why conceal it? It is not illegal. If nothing wrong was done why hide it?
We have a right to know.