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sydney alternative media - non-profit community independent trustworthy
Friday, 9 January 2009
SAM editor probably first to reveal ID of Katherine Wilson expert hoaxer of Keith Windschuttle
Topic: independent media

Rabble rouser on the roof ? Quadrant bete noire Katherine Wilson in her days with Green Roofs Australia.

Rabble rouser on the roof ? Quadrant bete noire Katherine Wilson in her days with Green Roofs Australia.
Photo: Rodger Cummins

This hoax prank was discussed by Marg Simons on Crikey.com.au yesterday, both in the main ezine on Thursday:

Outing 'Sharon Gould': the hoaxer's identity revealed 8 Jan 2008

where we comment as follows:

Tom McLoughlin
Thursday, 8 January 2009 4:00:05 PM
Katherine possibly misunderstands the capacity for campaigner analysis [in thinking she could stay covert]. She hadn't written for a while so a good prospect of going under cover. She had the record on very good stories on the politics of genetically modified organisms which appeal to greenies like moi.

As I was saying on Marg's blog I can demonstrate I had it by 4.32 pm on Tuesday under my "Mmm" comment, but earlier actually as I read it early arvo at the local job agency instead of doing my job applications. Ha ha. Which is where I ought to be right now, and God bless Barry Cohen for being symapthetic in a piece in The Oz in mid December being an ex Federal ALP minister when unemployment was stalking the land.

I was thinking as I read the lead story - who wrote those strong GMO stories for crikey in the last year. Then I was trying to remember is it Murphy, is it Kate. As it was I googled the right name first time and when I saw "co-editor of Overland" on the face of the search it was doh. Motive being a rival journal. Skills being an editor. Skills having written on the topic. Motive being of the progressive side of things. And also Modus Operandi. KW's articles showed depth of research, which was a plank of the hoax too.

But you never can be sure. I thought about blogging it for myself but hey I thought the traffic should go to those that did the project so I put it in a comment. To be honest I was also thinking, if I'm wrong, or it's denied I could be sued for defamation so I left it as speculation. Bit lawyerly coward there but yeah it's true [I was cautious].

Simons also writes on her crikey sponsored blog The Content Makers here:

Who Killed "Sharon Gould"? , by Margaret Simons

SAM's editor here Tom McLoughlin was one of the first, and probably the first, to publicly state that Katherine Wilson, freelancer and researcher into the politics and science of genetically engineered organisms, was the newly famous hoaxer. Here are the relevant comment posts dated variously from Tuesday 6th January when the story ran, with ours in bold below being the crucial one naming the hoaxer Ms Wilson:

* at 'Sharon Gould' speaks: the difference between hoax and fraud crikey ezine 8th Jan 09, comment:

Tom McLoughlin
Wednesday, 7 January 2009 1:20:34 PM
I feel like writing my guess of who Shane, err sorry Sharon Gould, is on a piece of paper and giving it to a friend to keep in their wallet. But methinks the hoaxer whoever s/he may be will declare sooner or later, especially after the silly season front page prominence in the big media has got made it's mark. The clues are there without even looking at the bogus Quadrant article. But if I mentioned the lines of inquiry it might cramp their style. One google and I got my suspect. Anyway I might be totally off track. We shall see.


* at Gould and Windschuttle: The fallout crikey ezine Wed 8th Jan 09, comment:
Tom McLoughlin
Wednesday, 7 January 2009 2:16:31 PM
As said I suspect it's one for the literati, and fair enough, given they make a crust from getting this stuff right or not. True to say it's confection to displace Gaza and Israel nukes and possible Iran nukes and the who[ole] damn mess Cheney and GW have left us in. And thank heaven for little sanity breaks from that too.

And I am quite sure .... s/he the hoaxer is not thee, Margaret Simons. I reckon I know. But here's the thing - it's totally not the same as the Helen Dale fraudster case. That was genuinely fraud. This was a test because it was self declared a hoax soon after publication.

I've a good mind to call Bob Phelps of Genethics and ask him if my guess is right, and no I don't think it was him. Enjoy your fame Hoaxer you really worked hard for it.


Tom McLoughlin
Wednesday, 7 January 2009 4:17:14 PM
Damn it, I just can't sit on this, it's like I'm busting:

Katherine Wilson (and Bernard Keane, subbing?) meet Sharon Gould? Sharon Gould meet Katherine Wilson?

Exhibit 1, 21 July 2008

"CSIRO scientist's GM letter campaign 'backfires' "


Tom McLoughlin

Wednesday, 7 January 2009 4:22:30 PM
Exhibit 2?

Google Australia: Katherine Wilson Overland

Result: "Voices from the edge - Books - www.theage.com.au
Nathan Hollier and Katherine Wilson, the joint editors of Overland, the left- wing literary and cultural magazine,"

3rd entry from top etc etc. She's got the skills, the history on GMO, the wit and flair. She's my candidate until I'm told otherwise.

The comment above analysis by SAM's editor was alluded to indirectly by the SMH in today's press. Notice their use of "candidate" from SAM's "She's my candidate until I'm told otherwise.". SMH write:

"Bloggers "outed" Wilson as a likely candidate for the hoax " in The blogs of war: how Quadrant hoaxer was outed 9th January 2009

The hoax was to get a well written but bogus article into Quadrant past 'footnotes Nazi' and ABC Board member Keith Windschuttle.

We feel we may well have been the first to ID the hoaxer which we can verify by indirect means: For instance we also published on a crikey comment string a day earlier under a pseudonym "Mmm" with the words "we have a name in mind" timed at 4.32 pm Tuesday 6th January. This was the same day that the story was published - around midday:

In How Windschuttle swallowed a hoax to publish a fake story in Quadrant By Margaret Simons 6th January 2009, comment:


Tuesday, 6 January 2009 4:32:32 PM
I already have a name in mind. It looks like a royally executed prank. Whether it really has deeper political consequences I'm really not sure. One for the literati perhaps. By all means enjoy. Something to console oneself as Howard gets his medal of freedom.

Notice how the Toad, to quote a veteran wonk, wraps himself in the flag even at this dreadful time. A bit like Henderson airbrushing perhaps a million deaths and saying history still has to judge. Like yeah we did in the street in Sydney 2003 with 250,000 -500,000 rally unprecedented in my time saying No War in Iraq.

As if the Australian people agreed with him and he still says it's a medal in our name. What a nerve the guy has. Is Windshuttle the Toad's toadlet as it were still on the ABC Board?


Purely by coincidence we explained our use of "Mmm" handle (on rare occasions) the day before 5th January 2008 waiting for crikey ezine to resume after the summer break:

In 2008: Dashed dreams and mouldy political compromise, 19 December 2008, comment,

Tom McLoughlin
Monday, 5 January 2009 1:23:20 PM
Mmm. There's a clue for you Venise. If you go back to some of the Crikey comments by Mmm that will be my alter ego. It's when personal security overcomes transparency of authorship. Otherwise I try to own what I say. .....

[That pseudonym "Mmm" was lifted off a nickname for a geek here in Sydney by the name of Kenaar then at Friends of the Earth Sydney 1995-2001. The nickname was in turn given to Kenaar probably by the now dearly departed (and somewhat famous) super geek Pred, aka Predator, aka Cave Clan member Mike Carlton, may he rest in peace.)]

We don't use "Mmm" as a handle very much. Only when we feel too insecure physically and sometimes legally which is not very often at all. In this case we

1. didn't want our identity to lead to clues who it really was, at least not for another 24 hour news cycle, and

2. a possibly misplaced sense of chivalry that if we blogged the identity which was virtually certain given the rival journal Overland connection, then we would get traffic that really belonged with the hoaxer and the chosen outlet for that reportage being crikey.com.au.

Then after the big splash in the press last Wednesday by that afternoon we sort of decided it was a race to name the hoaxer so we jumped in on a comment string late Wednesday. Even then being a little careful in case it became an issue of defamation blowback, genuinely or falsely denied ID. By Thursday the hoaxer outed herself as indeed Katherine Wilson, soon to be proud mum apparently.

It's all there via the crikey newsletter and Marg Simons blog The Content Makers. Meanwhile we press on with Google Adsense of which we will be writing about soon too.

[As an update, late Friday 9th January 2009] The SMH (above) was very flattering to Katherine Wilson with nice big picture story promoting Green Roof Australia. A great initiative by the way. We've been meaning to write on it via clips etc. The Australian quoting her father alot was also a nice touch in keeping with their patriarchical Murdoch leanings. But The Oz were putting an angle on it with their headline about her being a cultural/gmo "warrior":

Quadrant hoaxer an anti-GM warrior | The Australian9 Jan 2009

That is, to portray as an axe grinder and so be read down accordingly, and that she didn't have 'real' points of principle to make.

Keep in mind WindThrottle (!) is on the ABC Board our premier cultural institution. He wants this to go away desperately. THAT is the political dimension. He should resign for lack of credibility. His mates are keen to protect him. Earlier this evening we vented out spleen at one of his supporters, which was not much better than a flame on our part and duly moderated off the board, but gee it felt good:

In Who killed "Sharon Gould"? 8 Jan 2009, comment:

Tom McLoughlin, Posted January 9, 2009 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

Your comment is awaiting moderation.

What alot of pompous hogwash Andy George. Simons had a cracking story.

Windschuttle is a public figure. He's made a crust and reputation as Mr Fine Tooth Comb aka Footnote Nazi. He's a big tough debater. He can defend himself ... or not.

Get off your house paint white Shetland Pony you dope.

We will be lucky if we get 20 more stories like this one. Let's just repeat, the guy is arguably a creation of the Howard regime and then PMC office, a PM who was not only thrown out of government but out of his own seat. We've since had the widely celebrated Sorry Ceremony. A new high court judge who want to further improve Native Title processes. A leading business man who until the GFC got all the big players to agree to a 50K job drive for the First Australians.

And we have apologists for ruthless, murderous squattocracy, many of whom are close to white supremacists in love with mother England in the Antipodes. Well F... You. If you believe all that hogwash - then go and live there and give us Fenians, yellow, coffee and other mongel races, a bit of space to get on with the business of adaptation to the land we're in, including respect for the Originals.

It's so obvious you are [a] semi retired boomer. God I?m sick of them hogging everything. Bunch of fat arses.

The conservatives at The Oz want the story to fizzle, especially the fact WindThrottle demands but can?t meet his own academic standards. People forget the Howard Years hurt alot of people. Alot. And Windthrottle was part of that machine. That?s why they hid it away on page 4 far margin today. SMH went the even pages too, but still big summery size and picture. That says alot: Like goodbye John Howard, ousted from Bennelong for good measure.

Let the fangs of the left have their prey, it's the Darwinism The Oz itself would approve, as per big Rupert's 'be prepared for global competition' mantra.

Posted by editor at 9:38 AM EADT
Updated: Wednesday, 14 January 2009 12:19 PM EADT

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