The Age of Catherine Deveny is not over

Catherine Deveny loses less than The Age

Deveny: Devil or Saint?

Catherine Deveny should not have been sacked from The Age. The paper has lost support from her fans, and gained no new readers from her dismissal. From their point of view, a devenstating mistake.

Editor-in-Chief Paul Ramadge gave her the flick after several of her tweets from the Logies were published in The Age, Herald Sun, Daily Telegraph, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Australian, the ABC, and were discussed on several radio shows including 3AW, whose parent company Fairfax also owns The Age.

Obviously The Age is worried about publishing offensive material, which is why it is their biggest story at the moment. Talk about double standards.

The Daily Telegraph, that respectable publication, has labelled her ‘acid tongued and vicious‘.

The Herald Sun, that beacon of journalistic integrity, has called it a ‘vulgar and offensive attacks on guests‘. Deveny responded by saying that ‘Twitter is online graffiti, not a news source. Offence is a healthy by-product of free speech.’ The Sun, in all their righteousness, told readers that Twitter users were all against Deveny. I invite readers to visit her Twitter account to see just how wrong they are.

So, what did she say?

“I do so hope Bindi Irwin gets laid.”

“Rove and Tasma look so cute . . . hope she doesn’t die, too.”

Sounds pretty sick, right? Probably would not get a run in the newspapers if it were a column, right?

Exactly.

Twitter, our beloved status update machine, is not a newspaper.

3AW’s Neil Mitchell disagrees. He has called Deveny “bitter…sour and confusing” this morning on his radio show. ‘Bitter’ is a bit rich coming from Mitchell. But I digress…

Gordon Farrer makes a good point about Twitter. He argues ‘posts to Twitter are not private messages.’ And he is right. But Gordon, the medium is the message. Deveny says things to friends which would be offensive to many people. Those comments can be repeated. Unless they are published in her capacity a Fairfax employee, her comments should read in the context of Twitter.

If you were offended by the Bindi Irwin comments, visit her website or her Twitter and see what (often true) things she has to say about Tony Abbott or the Catholic Church.

Oh, and you know the term ‘devo’ – as in: “OMG I was so devo to hear the news” ? Yep. Deveny.

Deveny told Jon Faine on ABC 774 radio this morning

“I’m not a journalist. I’m a writer, I’m a polemicist.”

She’s right. She is paid for her opinions. And if you sometimes find her commentary offensive, then she has succeeded. People like Deveny, Andrew Bolt, Sam Newman, are in the media to provide a polar view against which we can measure our own.

Here’s the full audio *open in another tab*

Take a look at some of Deveny’s other comments on Twitter. Her swings between eloquence and rough language keeps her readers guessing- just one of the reasons she is so successful.

Her ‘arch nemesis’ Andrew Bolt tweeted:

We gave Sam Newman a job on MTR just because he IS offensive.”

Are the Herald Sun or Melbourne Talk Radio going to fire him? I doubt it.

Of course, it is a fake Twitter account, but it’s uncannily accurate.

Deveny’s response is interesting:

This is not about Twitter my friends. This is SO not about Twitter. This is about gender, class and relevance deprivation.

Remember Kyle Sandilands and his lovely little segment on teenage rape? Back on the air within a month. Unfortunately I don’t think the same thing will happen with The Age.

I think her some comments were offensive and in bad taste. But some were not. Yea, she could have made her point without involving Bindi Irwin, or many other guests. But that is beside the point. We can read her comments and decide if we agree or not. Gordon Farrer, technology editor for The Age, says we should all be careful online and that Deveny got what was coming to her.

Sure, we have to be careful what we write and say anywhere, but her comments were not hateful, nor criminal. They are covered under free speech. George Orwell says free speech is the right to tell people what they do not want to hear. Catherine Deveny has done just that for years on several issues.

The Overstimulated blog makes a great point on this: visit for a far better argument on the implications of Deveny’s plight. The Australian just posted a great article about Twitter. And finally, The Drum editor Jonathan Green sums it up very well.

Deveny’s columns sparked my interest in being able to speak your mind and the knowledge that sometimes people will disagree with what you say, or how you say it, on a fundamental level. The beauty of free speech is that it caters to all.

The Age has lost a columnist who is unafraid to speak out against sexism, rapists, liars and religion – to name but a few imposters. She and her words will live on.

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9 Comments

Filed under The Age

9 responses to “The Age of Catherine Deveny is not over

  1. cheaaa

    ‘the age’ of catherine deveny is not over. so many levels to that title, such wit!
    the girl that gets the privilege of dating you must be so lucky…

  2. David Heslin

    Good post, but I think it is necessary to point out that “Andrew Bolt” does not have a twitter account, that I am aware of. That twitter account (where the quote about Newman is taken from) is obviously satirical. But I agree with the rest of the piece.

    • Are you sure? I checked it out and it looked legitimate and sounds exactly like him.
      Thanks for pointing that out because it is important! Ironic – I’m trying to expose
      shonky journalism and indulge in it myself. Thanks

  3. Tim

    Good points, although I know someone high up at fairfax and word on the street is they were simply looking for an excuse to get rid of her. Most of her material for her columns was recycled, which is understandable when you realise, as she said, that she’s not a journo but a comic. Her ANZAC day tweets also deserve a mention. As for Bolt and climate science, there’s this really interesting new blog that looks quite promising, looking at the media, climate change, and communication problems surrounding it. Keep an eye on it:
    http://climatecommunications.wordpress.com/

  4. Thanks for this Lachlan, nicely said.

  5. In two minds regarding Deveny: I love anything a bit controversial that stirs the pot and causes chaos and commotion BUT am not into fostering negativity in society and I find Deveny a little bitter and cynical even though she is quite brilliant and has an interesting perspective on issues….

    • I agree with juliamihai, whilst I do love satire on the whole, I don’t find it funny when it is used simply as an excuse for throwing innapropriate insults. Free speech, and all, people still need to be mindful of the way their words will be interpreted by the general public

      • Yeah free speech is a tricky one. I think she was honestly surprised by the reaction because she didn’t mean them in a mean way. But it’s too late to explain yourself or apologise when the mob has spoken…

        In the free speech debate I lean heavily towards more freedom than none. I think lying does not come under free speech (like propaganda from radicals) but comedy should.

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