I have always been rather skeptical about Crikey, a subscriber only alternative news website which has been in existence since around 2000.
It was originally started under the name ‘Jeffed’ (a verb which came into being in late 1992 to describe the various unpopular decisions newly elected Victorian Premier Jeff Kennett was taking) in late 1999 by its founder Stephen Mayne, a former Kennett government media advisor who became disillusioned by various of Kennett’s actions and decided to try and put a stop to him. He announced his intentions to run as an anti-Kennett, pro-Liberal, independent in the state election against Kennett in his seat of Burwood. (Due to some technicalities around his electoral enrolment, this did not eventuate, but his campaign did take on a novel dimension online.)
Since that time, Mr Mayne has undertaken various ’tilts’ as he calls them (possibly intentionally Quixotic in his reference, although I am unsure whether he has either read Cervantes or seen the musical) with varying degrees of unsuccess – for state parliament, various local councils (he did manage to get elected to the Melbourne City Council once, if I recall correctly), and the boards of numerous publicly listed companies. He also has a hobby which has more or less become a job (gotta do something you love after all) of grilling company boards at AGMs.
He also was able to sell Crikey to a new owner for a tidy sum fairly early on in the piece (2005), so his early ’tilts’ have paid off handsomely.
Whilst his apostasy to the Liberal cause might lead some (possibly even me – although to be honest I am not too sure) to have a degree of skepticism about Crikey and its motives, I am more critical of Crikey because of some inherent hypocrisy within its smug commentary. Not too long after its creation, it referred to an acquaintance of mine (a friend of a now former friend) as a ‘serial pest’.
When I read that, I thought that it was a rather smug throwaway line from a website lacking in some self-awareness, given the many enthusiastic ’tilts’ by its founder rather eclipsed anything my rather quirky acquaintance (a rather unique top hat wearing devotee of Ayn Rand) had been doing to merit the title of ‘serial pest’.
Well, as I am not chairman of a publicly listed company, I cannot find Mr Mayne’s love of attending corporate AGMs to be an annoyance personally (except for when he started asking politically correct questions at a Foster’s AGM well over a decade ago – Foster’s used to have an hour of free booze after the AGM was officially closed and I was keen to get stuck in asap!).
The takeaway from all this is that I do not take the journalistic integrity of Crikey all that seriously.
Which brings me to Jordan Shanks Esq, otherwise known as the Youtuber ‘Friendly Jordies’. His views on many things are rather different to my own (my views are best described, if you have not worked this out already, as being rather on the ‘Right’), but what I admire about him is that he has a deep intolerance of hypocrisy and dishonesty (both the actual and the intellectual variety).
He is also very funny, and I do not get offended by his constant use of a mocking Italian accent when discussing one of his regular targets.
Crikey recently made the mistake of nominating Friendly Jordies for the award of ‘Arsehat of the Year’. He then campaigned for, and apparently won this award (I am not definite about this as I do not waste my money subscribing to Crikey). He recently posted his acceptance speech for this award to his you tube channel, which has some 472,000 (as of today) subscribers. Do yourself a favour and have a look at it on this link:
Being some 20 years or so older than Mr Shanks, I hope that I have outgrown the desire for ad hominem attacks on people, but I must say that I find him very funny, and clever, and that I strongly suspect that the various journalists he savages (from Crikey, the Fairfax media, and Murdoch press) all probably have done something to deserve it.
And I wryly note, with 472,000 subscribers, Friendly Jordies has a much larger audience than the 17,000 subscribers Crikey purports to have.