13 August 2014

Mike Carlton's tirade of racist abuse

From The Australian, 6 August 2014, by Sharryn Markson
“I deeply regret the insulting, discourteous and unprofessional remarks Mike Carlton made to you,” [The Sydney Morning Herald’s editor-in-chief Darren] Goodsir emailed one businessman on Friday. “Your points are valid, and well made ... I apologise for his inappropriate conduct, and have stressed to him the need for higher standards in future.”
While Goodsir was apologising on his behalf, Carlton continued to inflame the situation, tweeting this week: 
“Now the loony Likudnik racists are infuriated I have a Jewish son-in-law. That’s okay. I’ll have him taken out and shot …” This was followed by: “No, they’re turds. The truly astounding thing of the past week has been the racism, hatred and bigotry of the Likudniks.” Another tweet said: “Oh FFS, you stupid little pissant.”
The term “Likudnik”, referring to the ruling centre-right Likud party of Benjamin Netanyahu, was also used by former Labor foreign minister Bob Carr in his criticism of what he claimed was a powerful Jewish lobby that influenced Australian government decisions.
After being confronted with evidence of Carlton’s abusive correspondence with readers, Goodsir last night issued a statement describing his actions as “completely unacceptable”.
...On Monday, Fairfax apologised for an anti-Semitic cartoon, created by illustrator Glen Le Lievre, which ran in the print edition of The Sydney Morning Herald and on The Age’s website on July 26, showing a Jew with a hooked nose casually destroying Gaza while ­reclining on a chair marked with a Star of David. The cartoon accompanied a column by Carlton under the headline: “Israel’s rank and rotten fruit is being called ­fascism.”
Fairfax has gone into overdrive over the past 10 days in an effort to stop subscribers cancelling the HeraldThe Australian understands business leaders have complained directly to Fairfax chief executive Greg Hywood and at least one board director, who was planning to discuss the issue with chairman Roger Corbett.
But Carlton has not let up on his abuse of readers over Twitter, where he is identified as a Herald columnist, and email, where he has the Herald in his signature.
“How arrogant and foolish you are,” he said to one reader, while telling another, “Looking forward to hearing from you after you have joined the IDF and gone off to kill some kids. Reluctantly, of course. Until then, f. k off.”
He told another reader, Tanya Levin: “You are a vulgar and stupid bigot.” To another, he said: “What a ridiculous little wanker you are. F. k off.”
Sydney father Yury, who did not want his surname published for security reasons, said he was shocked when, after writing to complain to Carlton, he received a torrent of abuse.
“You’re the one full of hate and bile, sunshine. The classic example of the Jewish bigot. Now f. k off,” Carlton emailed him. He later wrote: “Go f. k yourself. I gather you are some sort of jumped up hotel waiter. What a pathetic wanker you are. And A-grade liar. Anything from you in future goes straight to trash, unread.”
Yury, 36, said columnists who included their email address under their articles should be able to engage in polite discourse. “Lots of us have tried to write to Carlton to explain the inaccuracies in his articles, but you get back this ­offensive language,’’ he said.
University of Sydney media and communications graduate Allie Pollak, 25, wrote to Carlton articulating her view on his columns. 
“In my humble opinion you could be using your valuable real estate much more wisely by investing your eloquence and intelligence to shed light on how a troubling but ultimately resolvable saga could do with a whole lot more pressure for peace and a call to end the blame game,’’ she wrote. 
Despite the polite nature of her email, Carlton fired back: “As a ‘communications graduate’ you really do need to discover the dangling participle. And do something about it.”
Executive Council of Australian Jewry president Robert Goot said Carlton’s responses to some of his readers were racist and showed an intolerance of views that differed from his own.
“One expects more temperate language from a senior writer using the Herald’s Twitter handle and email account...
NSW Jewish Board of Deputies president Yair Miller said there was no place for the type of language and the tenor in Carlton’s responses. 
“It is clear that his responses are as devoid of substance as are his columns on this issue...His clear lack of any sensible and tangible responses leads to a response that is vulgar and offensive.”
“This is not the first time Mr Carlton has resorted to abusive responses to members of the Jewish community over many years and we are glad the SMH editors are now aware of this...’’
...Defamation senior counsel Bruce McClintock said some of the Herald’s readers would have grounds to pursue legal action if they wished. “Calling someone a bigot on Twitter, in the public ­domain, is clearly defamatory. Undoubtedly,’’ he said.
Carlton was also rude to a former Fairfax director, businessman David Shein, who complained, telling him: “You must be nuts. I fear so.” Mr Shein, a board member from 1999-2000 and now an investor in start-up companies, has organised a meeting with Goodsir next week to discuss the Herald’s coverage of the Israeli conflict. “After 28 years, I’ve cancelled my subscription over the one-sided coverage. It’s completely unbalanced reporting of a tragic situation for all parties involved,’’ he said.
...A Fairfax source said there was dismay at management and newsroom level that Carlton had been permitted to get away with such behaviour. Mr Corbett refused to comment when contacted by The Australian on Monday, other than to say: “My company is defended in its editorial today.”
Under the headline “We apologise: publishing cartoon in original form was wrong”, the editorial acknowledged the cartoon “closely resembled illustrations that had circulated in Nazi Germany”.
In his statement, Goodsir said it was a basic principle “that our staff, columnists and contributors should always behave with ­respect and courtesy”.