Get Behind A Paywall, You Parasites


"Big Harto" is the fake Twitter identity of News Limited CEO and colourful media identity John Kenneth Hartigan. He’s followed by everyone from Thomas Tudehope to Ben Pobjie.

The real John Hartigan started his career at Fairfax and took two years to win a cadetship. His initiation may explain his later career trajectory, as this anecdote, delivered to a room full of admirers and printed in The Australian, surely implies:

"On my first day as a copy boy at Fairfax the cadet supervisor Sam Lanyon told me he wanted me to wait on the roof for the mail. He said it was always delivered by helicopter. Of course I believed him.

"I stood on the roof of the old Fairfax building for hours. I waved wildly at anything that looked remotely like a chopper — long after the mail had been delivered as usual in a red Ford Transit van."

Big Harto hates journos, the internet, and the ABC — but we’re not sure in what order. He has made the pubs of the Surry Hills precinct that News Ltd calls home his own.

1. What’s the headline you’d most like to see on the front page of a daily newspaper?
"Busted! Mark Scott Facing 20 Years In Thai Jail!"

2. If you could oblige everyone in Australia to click through to one webpage, which one would it be?
This one, you f*cking parasites.

3. What is one thing you’ve always wondered about economics but were too afraid to ask?
Why is Ross Gittins such a smarmy prick?

4. When did you last eat a meat pie?
Let’s see — I had a Ned Kelly for breakfast, an apple turnover for smoko, a floater for lunch and I’m thinking I’ll have a curried chicken out of the warmer at the Aurora after work.

5. What’s the oldest thing in your fridge?
A vial of Mr Murdoch’s semen. It’s part of our forward planning for Operation Thousand Year Rupe.

6. Has anyone got a climate change policy you agree with? Who?
What’s News Limited’s again? Whatever it is, I agree with that.

7. When was the first time you changed your mind on something important?
Sorry? I’m not sure I understand the question.

8. What’s the household chore you relish the most?
Lining the budgie cage with the Sydney Morning Herald.

9. What sort of shoes do you wear to work?
Bata Scouts of course. What do you take me for, a homosexual?

10. What campaigning tactic do you most want to see in this year’s federal election?
Craven submission to the commonsense agenda of the Daily Telegraph.

11. Nominate a new public holiday.
11 March. We could call it "Patriot’s Day".

12. If you could go tomorrow anywhere in Australia for a holiday, where would you go?
I’ve heard that Harris Street, Ultimo is a congenial place to take an extended break from working.

13. What’s your favourite YouTube video?
Is there one where they tell you to pull your finger out of your arse, get off your pansy MacBook and get a f*cking Foxtel subscription? I like that one.

14. If you were given $5 million, what would you spend it on?
A shipping container’s worth of Indian sub-editors.

15. Who would you most like to sit next to on a long haul flight?
Paul Kelly would be good. Then I wouldn’t need to pack my Temazepams.

16. What trivia question/topic will you beat everyone else in the pub to the buzzer on?
"Is it really worth your job to briefly appear more knowledgeable than Big Harto in front of a mob of pissheads at the Shakespeare?"

17. Complete this sentence. I’d like to hear Kevin Rudd say " … "
We’re closing the internet, except for the paywalled bits. Also, let me apologise unreservedly to Chris Mitchell for two years of unforgivable impertinence.

18. Name someone in Australian public life who deserves a promotion.
Could we make Christopher Pearson ambassador to the Holy See? It’d get the whiny prick out of my hair.

19. In 10 words or less, summarise your food philosophy.
Chips, medium-rare, pepper sauce. And a double Jamieson’s.

20. What question should we ask our next interviewee?
What traumatic event in your childhood caused you to hate your country so much?

BONUS question from our last interviewee:
What’s your favourite monster? And why?
The monster schnitzel at the Bourbon and Beefsteak bar.

Launched in 2004, New Matilda is one of Australia's oldest online independent publications. It's focus is on investigative journalism and analysis, with occasional smart arsery thrown in for reasons of sanity. New Matilda is owned and edited by Walkley Award and Human Rights Award winning journalist Chris Graham.