John Laws must be deeply regretting having decided to take on Neil Mitchell today. Opining on the Sandilands teenage girl interrogation scandal, Mitchell had broadened his critique of Sydney radio hosts in general and referred to Laws and Alan Jones as “idiots” with “grubby ways”. Sadly the “Golden Tonsils” could not resist calling up and objecting. The exchange that resulted is both embarrassing and hilarious.
I shall tell him that I am not an “idiot”, and that cash for comment was not “grubby”, and I’m sure he’ll apologise. Particularly if I mention lawyers.
We were watching one of the earlier Frasiers last night, in which some newspaper critic publishes a nasty review of Frasier’s show, and he simply cannot restrain himself from blasting back on the air at the bloke with his own stream of insults. The scribe follows up in print with a more detailed and nastier critique, and Frasier responds with a diatribe which is only interrupted when the man (a giant physical specimen, it turns out) rings up and taunts him into agreeing to a fist-fight.
As one who has frequently failed to let things go in the past, and only succeeded in being drawn further into the quagmire, it hit more than a little close to home.
And Laws’ experience today really does demonstrate the folly of responding publicly to a critic while your blood is still hot. He had no plan. He was just angry. He wanted to hurt the man who insulted him. And all he achieved was sounding like a petulant child, while his critic got to repeat the criticism over and over and back it up in better detail. He was made to look a complete fool, and in the very medium in which he’d hope to be remembered as a leading light of his time.
If only he’d counted to ten first.
NOTE: Another lesson from this: if you’re a news media figure who has a prominent platform in the national debate, and you start threatening people with defamation, you look like a complete and utter hypocrite and buffoon. You become an object of mockery and derision. You lose professional credibility.
Look at how idiotic Laws sounded when he tried the stunt. A fearless crusader for truth, threatening to UNLEASH THE LAWYERS because someone called him a mean name?
Seriously, you don’t want to make that much of a fool of yourself.