Australia’s longest running and least profitable satire and humour publication is considering closing its doors after a savaging over a fake #newspoll yarn posted online late yesterday.
The two washed-up old hack journos who write and publish The Bug are understood to be meeting later today to decide whether it’s time to give the game away after 30 years.
The meeting has been called after a respected Tasmanian psephologist Kevin Bonham tweeted last night: “The same supposed satire site that sent out a reheated fake #Newspoll last fortnight is doing it again. Their fake 2PP is 50.5 to L-NP. Newspoll does not normally release 2PPs to decimals outside pre-election final polls.”
It’s the second time in a fortnight that eagle-eyed Kevin has called The Bug a “supposed” satire site. And his tweet sparked a series of exchanges that really put The Bug and its owners in their place.
Co-writer and co-publisher Don Gordon-Brown was still in a foetal position in a corner of The Bug newsroom this morning as he tried to defend the fake post between chest-heaving sobs and some thunderous nose blows.
“We simply didn’t realise that Newspoll is apparently sacrosanct and must not, ever, have the mickey taken out of it,” he said.
“I see Kevin’s Twitter title describes him as a psephologist and political observer/meddler with no party loyalties.
“As an amateur psephologist myself, I have to acknowledge he certainly knows his business by picking up so quickly that our post had to be fake because Newspoll doesn’t do decimals until the final campaign polls. How on earth did we ever think we could put anything past Kevin!
“Readers far less clever and astute than Kevin would have had to wait until they read the first words of the intro – “Australia’s gutsy ‘wartime’ Prime Minister…” or indeed the second paragraph – describing The Australian as the nation’s most respected national broadsheet and the LNP winning the 2016 poll that “kept all Australians safe” – to realise the pisstake was well and truly on about The Australian and its Newspoll.”
“And never mind that the entire post then plummeted into absurdity and farce.”
Mr Gordon-Brown said he and his publishing partner also accepted that Kevin was quite entitled to find The Bug unfunny or bad at satire.
“We’re old enough and ugly enough to accept The Bug is not to everyone’s taste,” he said. “That’s why you won’t find us taking cheap shots at him over his criticisms.
“But I do suspect Kevin needs to lighten up a bit and not take himself, The Australian or Newspoll too seriously.
“In fact, I think I might have had a female Kevin in some of my classes in state school. We all had one, didn’t we? – that dibber-dobber goody-two-shoes who always had their hand up to blab to teacher that someone up the back – and it was generally me – was playing up.
“Or perhaps Kevin would prefer a recent political example being a politics tragic like myself. Remember those two blonde MHRs who sat behind Turnbull in Question Time? I called them the blonde snitches because they were always trying to signal to Speaker Smith when anyone on the Labor side was doing something naughty.
“I wonder if Kevin is a bit like that? ‘Sir, sir. There’s this ‘supposed’ satire site making fun of The Australian and Newspoll’.
“No, Kevin’s entitled to his view but some of the people who responded to his tweets really cut to the quick,” Mr Gordon-Brown said as he succumbed to more sobs and another runny nose.
“@Trixie_Boo simple responded to Kevin with “not satire”. And to think I follow her!
“@Donvoegt tweeted Kevin: “They? are idiots seeking attention”. Well, okay, fair enough.
“But I see that Don Voegt describes himself as just on the left of centre and an ALP member.
“Really, Don? And still you saw no merit whatsoever in our pisstake about a truly awful newspaper not even fit to wipe an arse with?”
Mr Gordon-Brown stiffled another sob and dabbed away fresh tears.
“But the one that really hurt was @sorceror43 who tweeted to Kevin: “Think that website should be banned!”
But let’s leave the last word to Kevin, who after all includes “common sense does not live here” in his twitter handle.
He told @sorceror43: “Or at least to carry a note reading “THIS IS SATIRE YOU IDIOTS!”
Beautifully summed up, Kevin. If we do another #newspoll sendup in a few weeks time, we’ll consider putting right at the top “THIS IS SATIRE YOU IDIOTS!”
Not for you, Kevin, because you clearly can spot satire, good or bad, from the get-go but for all those idiots out there who, bless their cotton socks, can’t tell the different between fake news, which can be very harmful and damaging to our society and our way of life, and an obvious pisstake, which causes neither of those outcomes but hopefully gives some people who don’t take themselves too seriously a giggle or two.