that columnist Andrew Bolt did not resign this week. He apparently came close to doing it when the Prime Minister allegedly interfered in the publication of a story which could have had (and may still have) negative consequences for her.
Our Federal Government is hanging on by a few threads - the threads of "independent" MPs who threw their lot in with the government. They are widely seen as having done so in contravention to the wishes of their own electorates and the overall vote. Losing the support of any of them or losing an MP could bring down the government.
Currently there are also MPs and Senators under scrutiny on both sides of politics. One of them is a government MP. If he goes then the government may well go with him. Naturally the government is doing everything it can to prevent this.
Dirt is being dug up and raked over by the media. Naturally the government does not like this either. In any other circumstances the MP in question would at least be answering more questions than is currently the case.
I do not know enough about the rights and wrongs of the stories in the media to be able to comment but I do know the government has been well treated by the media. Fiercely left wing individuals would undoubtedly disagree but most moderate, sensible individuals are aware that the Gillard government has had an unusual level of support from the media.
That may be what made the Prime Minister believe she could attempt to interfere in the independence of the press by 'phoning the CEO/Chairman of News Limited. I do not know. I do know that it was, at best, a tactical blunder of massive proportions. The last PM to try something like that was Gough Whitlam. Pre-internet days he might have succeeded. It is much more difficult now.
The odd thing is that the Prime Minister should even believe it might work. Had she let the story run the usual course she could then have asked for, and would have received, apologies for any inaccuracies in it. She could have used the situation to her advantage. Now the story, pulled from some websites, has sprung up in other places. It is being pulled apart. Bolt has written a column in which he discusses attempts to muzzle the media (and allegedly muzzle it with threats).
As it is readers and listeners are left wondering, "What do you have to hide?"