George Pell agrees to interview with Andrew Bolt
By Michael Bodey
March 1, 2016
Columnist and broadcaster Andrew Bolt has secured an exclusive interview with Cardinal George Pell at the conclusion of his evidence to the Royal Commission into child abuse.
The columnist for News Corp Australia newspapers is in Rome covering the Cardinal’s evidence as a special contributor for the Sky News channel.
Bolt has secured a one-hour interview with the Cardinal to be broadcast live-to-air to Australia on Thursday morning, directly after his final day giving evidence to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
The Catholic Church is understood to have agreed to the interview with Bolt, who has defended the Cardinal in his writings, even deriding his own paper, the Herald Sun’s exclusive reporting of Victoria Police investigations into the Cardinal.
But Bolt turned after the second day of evidence from Rome, when the Cardinal denied having knowledge of the activities of notorious paedophile priest Father Gerard Ridsdale and dismissing it as a “sad story” that “wasn’t of much interest to me”.
Bolt told Sky News those words alone were “disastrous” and “terrible”.
“Those words about the Ridsdale case … I just think those will be hung around his neck for the rest of his career,” Mr Bolt said. He also questioned rhetorically whether Cardinal Pell did “what was necessary for any moral persona and pursue the interests of the children being abused?”
Sky News would not confirm whether the interview will take place but confirmed it had flown Bolt to Rome for the week to cover the hearings with the intention of securing an interview when Cardinal Pell has completed his testimony. The interview will also be broadcast across the Macquarie Radio Network, including 2GB and 3AW, for which Bolt is also a contributor.
It is the first time Bolt has been employed by Sky News; an expansion of his involvement with the subscription TV news channel is anticipated. Sky News is third-owned by Seven West Media, Nine Entertainment Co and European broadcaster Sky (a 21st Century Fox company).