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mark latham
Friday Forum
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Mark Latham’s Twitter account has a horse racing pictorial theme and it has come galloping back into life since his latest sacking.

Latham was dumped from Sky News after aiming insults at teenage boys who appeared in an International Women’s Day video and remarking that he at first thought one was gay. On the network he had also attacked the 15-year-old daughter of the Reserve Bank Governor for challenging her dad on workplace equality.

Sky News also issued apologies to its own presenter and former NSW premier Kristina Keneally over Latham’s insinuation that she was a protégé of jailed corrupt powerbroker Eddie Obeid and also to broadcaster Wendy Harmer who Latham called a commercial failure hired by the ABC’s “sheltered workshop” because she had a disability.

As he was being given his latest notice from a media employer, Latham reactivated his Real Mark Latham Twitter account with, quite literally, a vengeance.

It’s one that previously he pretended not to be author of as he directed personal abuse at various figures during the time he was, according to who you believe, sacked or resigned from being a columnist with the Australian Financial Review.

Latham has tweeted that Sky News executives, chiefly CEO Angelos Frangopoulos renamed as “Frangipane”, encouraged him and the other panellists on the Outsiders show to be outrageous but failed to support them when they were.

“Sky execs gave Outsiders every encouragement, always urging us on (love ratings), so thanks for everything, up to (the) point of (being) thrown under bus,” Latham tweets.

Latham is still employed as a columnist by Murdoch tabloid The Daily Telegraph and has hinted that the Outsiders show will find a new outlet.   His high media profile is largely assured by his volatility and willingness to insult even figures such as domestic violence survivor and campaigner Rosie Batty.

It seems incredible to think that this erratic provocateur, in some ways Australia’s answer to Milo  Yiannopoulos in his dedication to offending what he would call the politically correct and especially feminists, would in a Sliding Doors electoral result have been Australia’s prime minister.

There is perhaps not one Mark Latham but many. He has variously been the great anointed hope of Labor coming from a single mother-led household in Sydney’s disadvantaged west to stand in Gough Whitlam’s old seat, a self-appointed serious analyst and critic of economics and politics and a spectacular flame-out after losing the federal election.

He’s now what might be charitably called an unguided missile of punditry or less charitably a sad attention-seeking bully, to paraphrase ALP leader Bill Shorten.

Latham still has his defenders in the conservative press, despite the fact that he has at times been at war with most of them as well and previously fell out with the right-wing journal The Spectator Australia as he has pretty well done with every media employer.

Andrew Bolt wrote on his blog that Latham “has been a penetrating and courageous critic of the identity politics, tribalism and censoriousness that threaten us.”

For today’s Friday Forum we ask: Who do you think the real Mark Latham is and will he finally run out of chances?

Image: Jeroean van de Peppel via Twitter

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