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Dr Jason Wilson would have you believe that pretending to to be Andrew Bolt is fine.

In his opinion piece at “The Drum” Dr Jason Wilson mounts a spirited defence of  the person who has been pretending to be Andrew Bolt on Twitter.

The reason it occasionally antagonises the targets is that mockery is an effective tool for blunting a message, and eating away at the sender’s credibility. Parody accounts for opinion journalists like Bolt embody recognition that they are, or have been significant political actors. With Bolt, it’s probably also a sign of how large he has tended to loom in online political discussion. Bolt’s parodist has, admittedly, a relatively sharp edge compared to say, Penny Wong’s. This faker is suggesting that ultimately Bolt’s positions are irrational. He also critiques Bolt’s position by showing up how predictable, even formulaic, Bolt’s schtick is. The occasional, imagined vignette of life at the Herald and Weekly Times, or his home life are simply ridicule, and we might ask questions about whether that’s effective or not as political parody. Having said all of that, it’s interesting that the faker – at least according to my interview – attributes little or no political significance to what he does.

Jason Wilson

I found out about this business via twitter and I had this discussion with Jason Wilson on twitter:

Ok I’ll Give Dr Jason Wilson some credit  for admitting that there are some limits to behaviour on the internet but I think that he is actually far too much in love with the twitter and other social networking platforms to appreciate their implications to the wider world.

To explore this issue I went to his “interview ” with the author of the fake Andrew Bolt Tweets  where he says:

There’s a lot to say about parodying prominent journos – I’ll just offer a few brief thoughts. Parody accounts for opinion journalists embody a recognition that they are, or have been significant political actors. (Certainly, during the years of the previous Howard government, Mr Bolt appeared to have a degree of influence in Canberra beyond that we’d normally associate with a commentator or analyst.) With Bolt, it’s also a sign of how large he looms in online political discussion.

But the parody here has an edge that’s perhaps a little sharper than last week’s example. This faker is suggesting that ultimately Bolt’s positions are irrational. He also critiques Bolt’s position by showing up how predictable, even formulaic, Bolt’s schtick is. The occasional, imagined vignette of life at the Herald and Weekly Times, or his home life are simply ridicule, and we might ask questions about whether that’s effective or not as political parody. Having said all of that, it’s interesting that the faker in this case considers that his parody has little or no political significance.

Jason Wilson

Considering this and my twitter conversation with the good Doctor It occurred to me that his whole defence of fakes on twitter really hangs on one thing and that is that they be recognisable as obvious parodies. One of the terms of service with Twitter is that you are not allowed to imitate other people and I myself have had to complain about someone (it turned out to be Damian Doyle) pretending to be me on twitter This why they require that fakes be clearly labelled. From the interview and the user name, and photograph its clear that the Fake has not been doing this.

I had noticed this paragraph in his introduction:

Anyway, I’ll analyse it more in the paper, and leave you to draw your own conclusions, for now, from the interview with Andrew Bolt’s creator, who gives his name as John Winston*. Once again, comments are welcome.

Jason Wilson

Of course once I saw that pseudonym I knew at once who is responsible It is the very same idiot who thought it was so much fun to go around the internet posting comments in my name check the link if you want to see his spotty visage.

But when I read this exchange  I could not help but to think that Dr Wilson is being less than frank about his knowledge the history or John Winston/Surname. So I sent him an Email to query this aspect of the story :

I wont publish the text of his response(without his specific consent) but the gist of it is that he is claiming to have a sort of  journalistic responsibility to “protect his sources” which is a rather strange response from someone who told me in one of those tweets:

There is an obvious contradiction here If he has no idea who the author of the fake Andrew Bolt is then why should he need to protect his sources? As an academic he has an obligation to full disclosure when he writes about and that has to include the fact that he knows that when the person he is interviewing is not being honest because this question and answer  from Wilson’s interview is just such obvious bullshit and the good Doctor must have know it to be so:

Q Do you publish elsewhere, either in or out of character?

A Nope.

Jason Wilson

He just lets this through to the keeper and does not challenge the lie. Surely as someone who is regularly called  as an expert on twitter by the ABC he has a duty to the truth? To do as any journalist does and ask the harder questions rather than just being all pally with the “sources” because he shares their political position and mutual friends. there is also a clear conflict of interest in Jason Wilson citing people he knows, no matter how casually, in his research with out disclosing that fact. He does not have to reveal their identities but pretending that they are unknown to him when the facts suggests otherwise is something that should be acknowledged.

One of the things The good doctor suggested  in his response to my email was that I contact the creator of the Fake Andrew Bolt via twitter  Which I did by posting this tweet.

Click for picture link

And I have thus far received no response. So I thought that I would post comments linking to the same picture at the pure  Pure Poison post about the issue:

click for link to edited post

and I likewise posed the question at the Crikey piece authored by the Fake Andrew Bolt

Strangely “Tobias Ziegler”  at PP edited my comment completely out of existence and at the Fake Bolt authored Crikey piece My comment has twice been deleted without explanation, Anyone would think that Crikey has a vested interest in protecting someone 🙄 .

There is nothing wrong at all with wanting to protect one’s sources in research about social phenomena like Twitter but an academic has an obligation to be honest about the sources they use and if it is someone that they know then they should disclose that fact. By the same token If they know that something they are told is a flat out lie like the denial in the good Doctor’s interview piece that “John Winston” has written elsewhere on the net under different names then academic rigour should require that the lie does not go unquestioned.

Perhaps those who want to “research” this medium should have just a little more detachment from their topic rather than just being a fan boy who has managed to find a way to make a living out his love of social networking.

Cheers Comrades


* My Bold


  1. Husky Jim says:

    Surname AKA Arthur puttey

  2. magsx2 says:

    Hi Iain,
    I read the “interview” and a couple of things really stood out:-

    “It’s surprising, since for a long time there was no indication on my profile that I’m fake.” and also this one:-
    A surprisingly large group of Liberals who don’t even know I’m fake, and constantly tweet at me “great call Andrew”, no matter what I say.

    This surely is identity theft. I’m no expert my any means, but that is how it comes across to me. But I do know that identity theft is illegal, and this person shouldn’t be allowed to continue to pretend to be someone else. I feel there should be consequences for this type of identity theft, so that others will think twice before doing the same thing.

  3. gigdiary says:

    It’s a stupid schoolboy prank, that’s what these young lefties do. They need to learn that there are ramifications. Bolt should take them for the full extent of the law.

  4. Iain Hall says:

    I hope that he does do that GD 🙂

  5. Ray Dixon says:

    It’s disappointing the way that Jason almost puts Surname on some kind of pedestal and excuses his behaviour as parody.

    The point that Jason continually (or deliberately overlooks) is that using parody from behind the protection of an alias on the Internet is fine provided it doesn’t go too far and reach into defamation and harassment.

    Clearly, the person using the alias John Winston/Surname goes way beyond parody and is just a vindictive and cowardly arsehole. The fact that Jason condones his activities speaks volumes about Jason Wilson’s own moral centre & professional ethics.

  6. Iain Hall says:

    I received an email from “Amber Jamieson journalist” at Crikey saying that my comment was disallowed because it linked to a photo I sent her an reply explaining why I had posted and inviting her to read this post. No response to that so far.

    The sphincter like characteristics of “Winston/Surname is undoubted but I think that the bigger issue here is the bias of the Good Doctor giving unreserved endorsement of this sort of rattbaggery about real people.

  7. Ray Dixon says:

    As I’ve said, The fact that Jason condones his (Surname’s) activities speaks volumes about Jason Wilson’s own moral centre & professional ethics. I also meant that to apply more widely. Jason just doesn’t seem to get, or doesn’t want to. The Internet is being misused and he seems to support that. The only thing I’ve ever seen him write about anonymous Internet abuse is giving advice to those who do it to be “careful”, unless they get found out! He even had the temerity to “warn” you about your behaviour, while refusing to condemn the behaviour of the anonymous shitbags.

  8. Ray Dixon says:

    “I really think that you, in your arrogance, really don’t know do you ?
    Wow, I thought it was all just an act, maybe I was wrong ? I think you, again Ray, are just being overly melodramatic.”

    Len, I have discovered that HJ has written libellous material about me (or more particularly about my business) that is causing my business harm & damage. I have asked him to remove that material. He has refused. That is all. Yet you call that “overly melodramatic” and compare it to the argy-bargy that both you and I engage in here? What’s “arrogance” got to do with it? What HJ has done is illegal.

    Now get off your vengeful high-horse and stay out of my business please. It doesn’t concern you.

  9. Len says:

    Ah, the threat of legal action.
    To the inept, incompetent, and illiterate, always a wise course of action.

    A worthy pursuit for you, but I would put one thing in the back of the head before venturing on such a course.

    He didn’t write the review in question that he quoted ?
    Oops, back to square one, for a rethink perhaps ?

  10. Len says:

    and again with the hissy fit when lacking any serious cred.

  11. Ray Dixon says:

    Len, I will ARROGANTLY explain something to your one-dimensional head – and then I ask you to butt out please and say no more about this:

    He has repeated and linked to the defamation. That makes him equally liable.

    Now, butt out please. Go play with yourself.

  12. Ray Dixon says:

    Say something about Jason, if you like Len. That is the topic here, not me.

  13. Len says:

    Go play with yourself

    Yes dear !

  14. Dr Jason Wilson says:

    Okay Iain, I’ll tell you. Jeremy Sear is #andrewbolt. He has the same initials as John Surname.

  15. Dr Jason Wilson says:

    Don’t ask me who John Winston is though. His initials are JW but he is not me, I promise.

  16. Dr Jason Wilson says:

    Btw Iain, in future please add my bio to any posts about me:

    “Jason Wilson lectures in journalism and communications at University of Canberra. Also dispensing opinion in various organs. Views expressed here are his own.”

  17. Iain Hall says:

    Sure No worries about that Jason. 🙂

  18. Len says:

    There is a wonderful tale, once told me, by a crusty old law prof.
    For those that dabble in media, that love to skirt the line, there awaits pitfalls, one being the threat of the inevitable defamation suit.
    Be aware, for a defamation suit to succeed, one must prove that the defamation is in fact defamation.
    For you Ray, and anyone else who wishes to discuss the matter ?

    Published ‘truth’, or indeed published ‘facts’, no matter how damaging they may appear, cannot, and will not be seen as defamation.

    Stick that in your ‘brief’ and see if it punctuates.
    Enter stage left, Jeremy ?

  19. Ray Dixon says:

    Len, I have told you to butt out of matters related to my private business.

    Now, your above statement clearly refers to the crap HJ has published/republished about my property on his blog, and you are implying that the untruths stated there are indeed true. I.E. you are confirming the defamation and now including yourself and (inadvertently) Iain in it.

    I’m asking Iain to delete your comment but before I do I have this message for you:

    Get a brain. The defence of truth requires the defendant to prove that what he said was true.

  20. Iain Hall says:

    Ray and Len
    This off topic argument is a pain in the behind so I’m going to suggest that you both drop it I have stopped Jim linking to his crap and frankly I don’t want to be arbitrating endless arguments about the nuances of defamation law. So I’m asking you both to drop it.
    There are far more interesting things to argue about like the upcoming election so can we please focus on that?
    Or even the nuances of internet parody and social networking platforms that is actually the topic here.

  21. Ray Dixon says:

    Gladly, Iain. I’ve been telling Len to butt out of commenting about my privae business and “drop it” from the start but, as usual, he just keeps going.

  22. Len says:

    OMG, better snap to it guys and gals, God up there in Bright has spoken
    Again, you show your arrogance, on a parallel to your ignorance. Ah sarcasm again from Ray. Still hasn’t got it right, but never mind.

    The last bastion of a defeated man !

    By bringing it to this “public forum”, you have foregone any rights to privacy on the matter, so there goes that strategy out the window.

    By allowing the “review in question”, to be published in the first place, also negates the strategy. If every establishment, venue, or person, that got a negative review turned around and was allowed to sue for defamation, there would be a backlog in the courts that would last a thousand years.

    I know, in your arrogance you won’t read it, but a couple of papers on the matter can be found at :
    and more can be found if you do a simple google, with the subject header reviews libel If I put any more here, the message will go into moderation, which is of course what you always want, when some of your gutter trash is reflected back to you in such cases Ray.

    Another quote which may be poignant here for you ( and anyone else that is interested in the subject matter, including Iain ? ) is :

    Of course, you never know when it’s going to be your lucky day, so be mindful that your reviews need to have some sort of reasonable basis in provable fact.

    and further

    As long as your reviews are not stating anything that is just simply false, you should not have a problem. A review is your opinion and nothing more.

    So in essence, your cries of foul, are misguided. Wouldn’t it just simply be easier to lift your game a little ? That would “stick it to the critics” better than just protestations ?

    If Iain does choose to delete these comments, due to your childish ravings, then his reputation will suffer far more than mine, or yours for that matter.

  23. Len says:

    sorry Iain, just saw your comment.
    My reply ?
    When God does.

  24. Ray Dixon says:

    Do you mind, Len. You are talking about my private business. Knock it off. You’re also talking out your arse re your examples but I won’t bother explaining how brain damaged you obviously are. Now, for the last time, stop your shit.

  25. Len says:

    Funny thing is Ray.
    I have never ever discussed your business here, or anywhere else, apart from my generic comment above, for that matter ?
    The ‘words’ that you seem concerned about are not mine, have never been mine, nor have they ever been mentioned here ?
    So what’s your beef now ?

  26. Iain Hall says:

    E N O U G H !!!!!

  27. Ray Dixon says:

    I haven’t been arguing with him, Iain. I’ve only been telling Len to stop making derogatory references to this matter concerning my private business. He now (laughably) claims he hasn’t done that. I realise you’re trying to appear impartial here, Iain, but Len’s continuance of this today is beyond the pale.

  28. Len says:

    Where ?
    Before I leave your rantings Ray,

    put up, or ffs shut the hell up you sook !
    Goodbye all.

    To pinch David’s fave expression
    Revel in your failure !

  29. Ray Dixon says:

    The only person “ranting” here today has been you, Len. You have bought in to a legal matter that doesn’t concern you and compounded it. Then you tell me to “shut the hell up”. Um, isn’t that what I have been asking you to do from the start?

  30. Dr Jason Wilson says:

    Now look what you’ve done, Iain. Some bastard has stolen my identity and is parodying me on Twitter. I warned you about this. I’m going to sook. No, I’m going to sook … and sue!

  31. Dr Jason Wilson says:

    Come on Iain, who is it? Who is impersonating me? Don’t protect your sources, only I can do that.

  32. Ray Dixon says:

    Well Jason, shoe’s on the other foot by the sound of it?

  33. Dr Jason Wilson says:

    Oh, so it’s http://twitter.com/trevor3001/ impersonating me?

    That’s why he’s one your blog, isn’t it Iain? I warned you!!!!!

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