on the internet, no one knows you’re a broadsheet.

Jason Wilson, 'If I Make You Angry Enough, Maybe You'll Keep Reading', The New Matilda

Well, true: a quick look at the garbage ass Web site of the actually respectable Sydney Morning Herald confirms that. The article itself is about the cutely named “trollumnists”; opinion writers who are more concerned with attracting attention than adding to public debate.

The article seems to be written from a viewpoint I basically hold; that it pays to produce quality material. Yet I’m convinced by its argument. Even broadsheet journalism is a business, and if the Herald or another such paper gets people reading by publishing people like Miranda Devine or Janet Albrechtsen, then they should publish them. It’s only a problem when these “trollumnists” become the norm. Fortunately, Australia still has people like Peter Hartcher, Paul Kelly, Annabel Crabb, David Marr — even Greg Sheridan — who are concerned with advancing debate and do so constructively. My beef is with writers like Paul Sheehan, who claim to be intelligent commentators, but in reality add nothing to public discourse. Sheehan, unlike Devine et. al., cannot even write well. He can’t construct an argument and he can’t construct a sentence. It is people like him we should be defending Australian media against, not the populist shit stirrers.