Outspoken right-wing commentator Andrew Bolt has claimed last week’s leadership spill – that saw Tony Abbott toppled by Malcolm Turnbull – had set off a “civil war” between News’ tabloid (and pro Liberal) The Daily Telegraph and its broadsheet The Australian.
Speaking on his regular spot on 2GB’s Steve Price show yesterday afternoon, Bolt – who is a regular columnist for the (formerly) pro-Abbott Daily Tele – said The Oz was “probably” bleeding $20 million a year and was only being propped-up by The Daily Telegraph. Which, in turn, was only surviving thanks to right-wing columnists like himself.
Bolt claimed the dogmatic editor of The Oz, Chris Mitchell, had a personal vendetta against him and had inferred he’d prefer to see Bolt gone. Bolt believed that he’d been protected by News’ patriach Rupert Murdoch whilst he was in Australia recently, however, now he’d left for the US he believed Mitchell’s grievances were “on again”.
Bolt’s argument was that The Tele had been loyal to Tony Abbott throughout, while The Oz – normally pro-Abbott – had quickly changed its allegiances to Turnbull following last Monday’s spill.
Bolt had written in a Tele column that The Australian “should be slower to now insist others fall in dutifully and loyally behind Turnbull”.
To counter that, Mitchell argued that the audiences of The Tele and The Oz were markedly different.
“Bolt’s audience includes many conservative retirees whereas The Australian’s readership is younger, rich, better educated and working in legal, political or the business community,” he said. “These people don’t read The Tele or Bolt.”