I presume the Grattan and the Ponds also came a-courting but, in the end, it was the Constructive Institute that signed up the lavishly oppressed and lately on-leave Stan Grant. He thus becomes the inaugural Director of the Constructive Institute Asia Pacific at Monash University. His job? To save democracy and journalism. You’re probably wondering what the Danish outfit does. Nobody really knows. Available vagaries point to a hokey mania to counter bad press for the goodies – which is to say, the leftist establishment – with convenient pleas for comity. Think Chris Kenny regretting the absence of decorous debate about a Marxist push to blow up the Constitution. Or ask yourself what ‘constructive’ coverage of King Charles III would look like to Grant. A cross between Media Watch, Scientology and a Masonic lodge, the CI was founded in 2017 by former Jyllands-Posten reporter and PR executive, Ulrik Haagerup. Its evangelistic website boasts that “constructive news” leaves readers feeling 87 per cent better and 20 per cent more empowered. (Learn how). Site information on The Team and The Fellows indicates Grant may well be the only CI luminary whose complexion Alfred Deakin would describe as “copper-coloured.”
To delve more deeply into this cult of the “constructive” – which the ABC credits for strengthening its famed commitment to balance – you have to be aware of Denmark’s virksomhedsleder-grupper. A select network of bosses established by the Danish Company Management Association in 1962, VL has been likened to Bilderberg and criticised as a secretive threat to democracy. Membership is by invitation only. Mr Haagerup and his institute belong to VL gruppe 42. In 2020, it was reported that the Constructive Institute – based at Aarhus University – had been the fortunate recipient of millions of kroner from other companies in that group. Top Danish newspaper editors in gruppe 1, meanwhile, have been criticised for in camera conferencing with arms makers. There’s enough to be going on with here for anybody willing to ask questions about this deeply weird and hypocritical organisation. Just don’t expect a Walkley Award for your trouble.
The Haagerup approach to saving journalism involves Tony Robbins-style proselytism – possibly the inspiration for Grant’s recent faux-pious homilies in friendly company – and risible mendacity. Here he is in 2017 identifying “the question” in world journalism: “Did we create Donald Trump?” Earlier this year – despite the collapse of the Russia Hoax in the United States – Haagerup gave a speech for Constitution Day in Denmark that falsely claimed Russia was behind “Trumpism” and that it was pro-Russian to question if Vladimir Putin really bombed Nord Stream 2. It should come as no surprise that this mysteriously well-funded conspiracy theorist also voiced dogmatic support for Endless War against Russia and China. If he didn’t, kroner donors would disappear faster than flødekager. At least give this to the Danish elite: they’re open about their sneakiness. The names of those associated with the grupper are now published online, even as the extent and nature of their consorting remain shrouded. Serene insolence of this stripe has become the norm everywhere and the new ‘right side of history’ journalism is the reason why. Grant will fit right in; there will be no shortage of angles to wrangle, whites to blame or women to yell at.