On Tuesday Quadrant online published this story - as of 9AM this morning it's still online.
It's an opinion piece about the ABC's QandA written by Quadrant's online editor, Roger Franklin and it contains this paragraph:
Life isn’t fair and death less so. What if that blast had detonated in an Ultimo TV studio? Unlike those young girls in Manchester, their lives snuffed out before they could begin, none of the QandA panel’s likely casualties would have represented the slightest reduction in humanity’s intelligence, decency, empathy or honesty.
The original version contained the sentence "Had there been a shred of justice, that blast would have detonated in an Ultimo TV studio".
I think the line was stupid, offensive and will diminish the standing of the 61 year old Quadrant magazine. But it's clearly tagged as what it is - the opinion of one man.
Quadrant editor Keith Windschuttle and Board member Nick Cater have apologised for the publication and stated that Mr Franklin (Quadrant's online editor) will be counselled and internal processes changed so Mr Franklin can't self-publish his own material.
For me that would be the end of it. But not for their ABC by a long, long way.
Here's the ABC and friends with their almost unbelievable overkill - not bad coming from the masters of offence giving.
The ABC has reported the article to the Australian Federal Police for assessment.
The normally taciturn Senator Mitch Fifield made a statement on indulgence during a parliamentary committee's hearings to condemn Quadrant, stating its story was "sick and unhinged" and sets a "new low" in Australian public debate.
It's fascinating that in condemning the article and coming so publicly to the ABC's defence, Fifield sees himself as "The Minister responsible for the ABC". File that one away.
ABC managing director Michelle Guthrie wrote to Keith Windschuttle demanding the "vicious and offensive" article be removed immediately and further demanding an apology from Quadrant.
"Quadrant promotes itself as 'the leading general intellectual journal of ideas'".
"Those words ring hollow in the wake of last night's vicious and offensive attack on the ABC, its staff and its program guests," she said.
For Ms Guthrie simply changing the article is not enough. It has to be removed, full stop. The editorial changes made before her letter "had done little to undo the damage".
"I am appalled at your willingness to turn an act of terrorism in the United Kingdom into a means of making a political point against those you disagree with," Ms Guthrie wrote.
She said the ABC was forced to reassure worried staff, "working long hours to provide extensive coverage of this unfolding [Manchester] tragedy".
Ms Guthrie said the ABC had been put to the expense of being forced to call in security experts to assess any possible impact flowing from the "inflammatory words".
Yesterday a note was sent out to ABC staff saying comments had been made that constituted "veiled threats" against the ABC's Ultimo premises and had caused concern to some staff.
"ABC takes all threats against staff seriously and pro-active steps have been taken to ensure the safety and welfare of all staff and users of ABC Ultimo.
"While consideration is given to minimise inconvenience please appreciate that intermittent increased security presence and more rigorous security screening is to ensure staff safety and well-being," the note said.
So precious are the ABC staff that ABC mandarins have taken the additional precaution of blocking internal ABC access to Quadrant online.
Seriously guys - it's one man's opinion.
It was offensive, unnecessary and intemperate.
It's been apologised for - and employers and readers can make their own minds up about whether Mr Franklin's writing is their cup of tea or not. No one forces anyone to go and seek out Quadrant's online presence.
Isn't the ABC reaction overkill?
The ABC has serious form for offence and outright life-threatening conduct.
Remember the ABC's crew dressed as Osama bin Laden etc breaching the APEC security cordon in a dodgy limousine with dodgy secret service types running alongside?
Remember the Chris Kenny copulating with dog scandal and the Chaser "sketch" satirising the Make-A-Wish-Foundation, "It's pointless making extravagant and selfish wishes come true because the children would only die anyway". As a recently bereaved father of a 5 month old baby girl I can tell you how it felt to watch that - it was "vicious and offensive". I got Mark Scott on the radio on 4BC and he apologised for it - and that was the end of the matter.
As it should be for Quadrant.
The ABC has more recently brought you
an article comparing President Trump with Hitler, stating Trump is equivalently irresponsible and narcissistic.
an opinion that drone strikes are "radical Christian terrorism".
a call for a national monument to shirkers alongside the Australian War Memorial
promotion of a tax on men masturbating to fund women's access to health care
And just a fortnight ago ABC News featured this:
Twitter has been ablaze, Fairfax foaming and the ABC won't forgive and forget.
Why maintain the rage ABC - do you want to set a precedent?
PS - for what it's worth, taken from http://quadrant.org.au/about-us/
All views expressed in Quadrant and Quadrant Online are those of the individual authors and do not reflect the thoughts, opinions or beliefs of the editors or of Quadrant Magazine Ltd.
PPS - for our readers - you'll have noted my published thoughts on the Quadrant publication - it was "stupid, offensive unnecessary and intemperate and will diminish the standing of the 61 year old Quadrant magazine".
I'll predict that by the end of the day the Left will be climbing into me for supporting Quadrant.
Anyone care to take a wager?