By Gavin Atkins
Blogger/journalist Tim Blair has never been one to take a lot of notice of plaudits, awards or milestones – in fact, he assiduously ignores them – but the recent passing 10-year anniversary of his blog should not go by without comment.
For many Australians of a conservative or libertarian bent, about ten years ago, just reading or watching the news was like being asked to wade through a floating garbage dump of dogma to try and read what was written on the ground. What’s more, most of us were left cursing, as only the most watered down of our thoughts would ever make it through as a letter to the editor.
Tim Blair changed all that with his blog that tackled the idiocies of the left pretty much as they happened. His blog filled a niche that conservatives were crying out for, and his comment sections soon became almost as entertaining as the articles. For many years, his blog readership has rivalled the circulations of major newspapers.
The advent of blogging – and Tim Blair’s blog in particular – represented a kind of slow motion revolution for journalists in this country.
Journos could no longer write anything and get away with it. Those who were slow to pick this up did not fair well, and under Tim’s spotlight, the likes of Margo Kingston, Terry Lane, and Tracee Hutchison all wound up having to find alternative careers.
Many of the origins of what we now call the Culture Wars – which, grossly simplified, pits the lefties of Fairfax and the ABC against the conservatives of News Limited – are also to be found in Tim’s blogs. Although Tim never even worked for News Limited for much of the last decade, as well as being one of the Culture War’s chief chroniclers (a veritable modern day CEW Bean), he has long been a five-star general in the struggle.
Tim is probably Australia’s most awarded blogger, for which he doesn’t care a jot, but the ultimate test of his influence is the number of commentators who have been inspired to go into blogging – currently numbering about 30 (see links to Blairite blogs in the right hand column here.)
So while Tim would never think of himself in these terms, there is no doubt he has been and remains one of Australia’s most influential journalists.
Along the way, he has invented terms such as Blair’s Law and the Gore Effect as well as alerting the world to the alarming tendency of lefties to tilt their heads in photographs.
And when he’s not blogging or editing stuff, he’s busy being Australia’s answer to PJ O’Rourke… Which gets me to thinking – there are way more than enough classic Tim Blair columns to make a book. So why isn’t there one?