Issue 130

GERARD HENDERSON’S MEDIA WATCH DOG – ISSUE NO. 130

23 MARCH 2012

“Media Watch Dog on Fridays…is a sort of popular read in the Crikey office”

Crikey’s Andrew Crook on ABC 2 News Breakfast, 24 September 2010.

“Gerard Henderson is big enough to take care of himself, but that doesn’t stop us worrying about him from time to time.

Lately it’s Hendo’s tendency to self-harm that has us losing sleep. For example, peruse the correspondence

he’s published in his latest Media Watch Dog blog…..There’s a part of us that just wants to ask:

“Hendo, are you OK?”

– James Jeffrey’s “Strewth!” column, The Australian, 8 November 2010.

“I realise this makes me practically retarded, but until five minutes ago

I thought Nancy was Gerard Henderson’s wife, not his dog.”

– Byronbache via Twitter, Monday 7 February 2011

“Before going further can you write to confirm that these emails

are private correspondence and not for publication” – ABC News Radio’s

Marius Benson, 11 March 2011. He did go further – see MWD Issue 86.

Media Watch Dog – “disgraceful”, “sick”

– Professor Robert Manne, April Fool’s Day 2011.

“Go to the Sydney Institute Media Watch Dog website to marvel at [its] work”

– Mark Latham The Spectator Australia 11 June 2011.

“Henderson…What a pompous, pretentious turd you are.”

- Mike Carlton, Saturday 13 August 2011 (after lunch)

“We’d better be careful what we say, just in case Gerard’s offsider pooch Nancy is keeping an eye on us for his delightfully earnest Media Watch Dog”

- Tom Cowie of The Power Index, Crikey 20 January 2012

Stop Press :  The Age’s Toulouse Howler

● Nancy’s Pick-of-the-Week : Germs and Porn-Again at Q&A Circus

● Liberty Sanger on what’s in “Our Best Interests”

● Mark Latham’s Lore: As Hacked By Nancy – Doing It Tough on the Taxpayer Drip

● Nancy’s Five Paws Award : Dan McDougall on the Late Peter Roebuck

● Can You Bear It?  Crikey – Long on Bananas and Anti-Semitism;  George Negus’s Bravery in Many a Five-Star Hotel; Paul Daley’s Tony Abbott Invention

● A Lachlan Harris Moment – On Tides High & Low

● Jonathan Holmes’ Latest Decree – Where will it all end?

STOP PRESS

THE GUARDIAN-ON-THE-YARRA’S RIGHT-WING CONSPIRACY GET SHOT DOWN IN TOULOUSE

It was during Andrew Jaspan’s late and unlamented failed editorship of The Age that MWD classified the Melbourne broadsheet as “The Guardian on the Yarra”. These days Mr Jaspan is on the taxpayer drip as editor of the government subsidised The Conversation website. But “The Guardian on the Yarra” continues to take copy from the real thing – The Guardian in London and its bevy of leftist columnists.

On Wednesday, The Age ran a piece on its Opinion Page by the Paris based writer Fiachra Gibbons, which originally appeared in The Guardian, titled “French right caught up in the storm it helped create”.  Put simply, Gibbons blamed the French right for the recent murders in the Toulouse region of France – including the killings of three Muslim members of the French Army along with a rabbi and three Jewish children outside a Jewish school.

Gibbons had no evidence of any kind to support his theory that the murderer was a member of the extreme right – but The Age gave him a run anyrate.  Here’s what The Guardian’s man in Paris had to say:

All of those who have been shot or killed in and around the city [Toulouse] in the past eight days have had one thing in common. They are from visible minorities. They had names or faces that marked them out as not being descended, as Jean-Marie Le Pen would say, from “our ancestors the Gauls”. Their roots – both Jewish and Muslim – were in the Maghreb or the Caribbean….

Police are a long way from understanding what was going through the head of someone who could catch a little girl by the hair so he wouldn’t have to waste a second bullet on her. But some things are already becoming clear. He shouted no jihadist or anti-Semitic slogans, going about his grisly business in the cold, military manner oddly similar to Anders Behring Breivik, the Norwegian gunman who massacred 77 people at a social democrats summer camp last summer.

Interesting theory. Pity about the facts.  Last night (Australian time) French authorities shot dead Mohammed Merah after a siege in Toulouse.  It is alleged that Merah, a French citizen of Algerian background and of Jihadist bent, committed all the murders.  In other words, Fiachra Gibbons’ conspiracy theory blaming the French right for the killings was hopelessly wrong.  Also there is evidence that Merah is said to have filmed his murders and that he did shout jihadist slogans when killing the French soldiers.

In Crikey on Wednesday, Guy Rundle came up with a similar conspiracy theory as that advanced by Fiachra Gibbons.  However, Rundle apologised for his error yesterday.  Not so The Age. The Thursday edition carried no correction and there is no correction today in the print edition or on The Age’s website where Fiachra Gibbon’s howler-ridden column remains in its original form.

NANCY’S PICK-OF-THE-WEEK

A NIGHT AT THE Q&A CIRCUS – STARRING GERMAINE GREER AS LEAD THESPIAN WITH CHRISTA HUGHES ON VOCALS AND A BLESSING FROM PORN-AGAIN PASTOR THE NOT-SO-REVEREND CRAIG GROSS

What a stunning Q&A last Monday when marketing strategist Toby Ralph, feminist and author Germaine Greer, blues singer Christa Hughes, American-porn pastor Craig Gross and freelance writer and self-declared “card-carrying homosexual” Benjamin Law were asked to tackle the Big Issues of the Day.  According to Q&A presenter Tony Jones last Monday, these were:

▪ Are We Stupid?

▪ Advice for Julia

▪ Racism

▪ Porn

▪ Afghanistan

▪ Margaret Whitlam/Tony Abbott

On the burning question of whether Australians are stupid – all the Aussies on the panel said “Yes”.  The collective breast-beating on the Q&A panel was so loud that it nearly awakened deaf Nancy.  First up Greer declared that the Australian media was “stupid”.  Ralph declared that politicians and non-politicians were “equally puerile”.  Hughes said that Julia was an “idiot” while Law suggested that Tony Abbott was a “wizard”.  The only relief came from Gross who commented that “you guys sound smart compared to us over in the States and our politicians”.

Then it was time to give advice to the Prime Minister. Ralph said that Julia Gillard should “experiment with the truth”.  Greer advised Gillard to get over the fact that she has a “big arse”.  Law opined that Gillard has “the speaking style of an animatronics bunyip”.  Ms Hughes joined in the chorus, nearly falling out of her chair in response to Dr Greer about the PM’s posterior. [Are you sure the heading wasn’t “Abuse for Julia”? – Ed].

The alienation drums were beating loudly when discussion turned on racism.  To Hughes, Australia is “a racist country” while Ralph regards Australians as “xenophobic” and maintains that “we haven’t matured as a country” and Law raised the issue of “what does being Australian really mean?”  Greer, fresh from a discussion with a taxi driver, referred to Australia’s “terrible insecurity” and declared that “we know our presence is illegal”.  Gross reflected, “What I’m hearing a lot is just the fear.”

When it came to porn, Law declared that “pornography needs to be discussed”. Gross was in-like-Flynn – well, sort of – with a reference to the price of anal sex in LA.  He dwelt on this topic and its implications – at some length. Hughes called for the return of the vagina [Did she say where it has been? – Ed].  Then Gross, who was in Australia for the Sydney Sexpo, described his message as follows: “We’re telling people –  know that Jesus loves porn stars just as much as he loves pastors.”  Law expressed his disappointment at the condition of modern pornography and raised the following deep philosophical issues: “It’s missing all body hair. It’s missing body hair. Where are the pubes? Where’s the bush? Where’s the vagina? Where’s everything? [Good question.  Where’s Mr Law’s card – for example? – Ed].

On Afghanistan, Ralph initially said that “if we’re going to be in Afghanistan, let’s stay there and do the job”.  However, a minute later he conceded that such interventions “don’t work and end up hurting the country”.  Hughes declared that she was “just anti-war” – opining that all wars, including presumably the Second World War, are “so destructive, so futile and so horrendous”. She maintained that “the Afghanis should be in Afghanistan” [Where does she think they are? – Ed].  Gross also criticised NATO’s Afghanistan commitment.  Law said that he opposed the war in Iraq and that while he backed the Afghanistan commitment initially “the situation has changed”.

Then the final question was taken from Irena Lucklus in Tasmania.  It was as follows:

Tony Abbott and [sic] his condolence message named Margaret Whitlam as Gough’s consort.  On such a sad day for the Whitlam family, he went on to rubbish the Whitlam Government in the next breath using it as a political opportunity.  I’d like to know what the panel thinks about this.

In fact, this is what Tony Abbott said on the occasion of Margaret Whitlam’s death:

On behalf of the Coalition, I offer my deep condolences to Gough Whitlam on the passing of Margaret. Margaret was a marvellous consort to a very significant Labor leader and an epochal Australian prime minister. There was a lot wrong with the Whitlam Government, but nevertheless it was a very significant episode in our history and Margaret Whitlam was a very significant element in the political success of Gough Whitlam. She was a great patron of the arts, she was a woman of style and substance and we should mourn her passing as we extend our deep sympathies to her friends, to her family and especially to her husband.

Still it was a suitable Q&A occasion for another bashing Abbott moment. So the panel lined up for a go.

Ben Law:  “Oh, Tony Abbott can’t seem to help himself, can he”?

Toby Ralph replied in the affirmative to Tony Jones’ assessment that Abbott’s comment exhibited “poor judgment”. Ralph added: “He overstepped the mark and he shouldn’t have said it.”

Germaine Greer : “What a surprise. What a surprise that Tony Abbott embarrasses us. I’m dreading, if it’s true, that he’s going to be [prime minister].”

Christa Hughes: “I agree, I agree, I think everyone in this room agrees, I just roll my eyes. Tony!

So Q&A finished in the familiar ABC way – with everyone agreeing with everyone else in a leftist-luvvie way.  What a (taxpayer funded) circus.

A LIBERTY SANGER INTERLUDE

While on the topic of Q&A, it’s great to hear that Q&A will be back to its traditional three left-of-centre types (plus presenter Tony Jones) to two right-of-centre types next week.  Among the former is the sassy Melbourne solicitor Liberty Sanger whom Tony Jones refers to as a “Labor lawyer”.  MWD just loves Ms Sanger’s regular appearances on ABC 1 News Breakfast program, where she occasionally uses the opportunity to say not so much what is in the newspapers but what should be in the newspapers.

For example, this is what Liberty Sanger had to say about a report in The Age concerning the Mineral Resources Rent Tax during her News Breakfast appearance on 14 March 2012:

Liberty Sanger: It’s [the MRRT]  in the Senate now, and obviously looking for passage there, and, as we all know, the Senate’s a different game to the House of Representatives. The Greens are now saying that they will block, I believe it’s the company tax cut for large business, rather than small businesses, because they would like to see those, or that money redirected into things like health, education, infrastructure.

I understand that, but the whole scheme has been set up such that the company tax rate is able to fund things like superannuation increases. I think it’s pretty dangerous to be tampering with that arrangement now. The article also alerts us, quite properly, to the fact that it’s not only the Greens in the Senate that could constitute a majority with Labor to pass this package; we can look to the Opposition to do the same. The Opposition, however, came out yesterday and said that they would be opposing the Minerals Resources Rent Tax completely, which is a great shame. One can only hope that they’ll have a change of heart.

Ms Sanger went on to rail about “what’s in the nation’s best interests” and to lecture all and sundry about the need “to work together” – interspersed with exhortations of “For goodness sake” genre.

Once again, Nancy has been able to hack into a draft of Mark Latham’s “Latham’s Law” column on its way to The Spectator Australia.  This draft bears a certain resemblance to the real thing which was published on 17 March 2012 and 10 March 2012.  Here we go.

* * * * *

Life’s not getting any easier.  Here I am, a man of 50 summers and just 600 full moons, and I have to mix with the lowest of the low – journalists. Fair dinkum.    The lousy Australian taxpayer only has me on the taxpayer funded drip to the tune of a lousy $75,000 a year (fully indexed for life).  Talk about ingratitude for a Labor leader in the tradition of such Labor losers as my hero Bert Evatt and Arthur Calwell.  At least they had the good grace to lose to the conservatives on every occasion they led Labor. Like me.  The taxpayer should appreciate this. But, no. That’s why I have to get down and dirty with the journalistic scum of the earth and supplement my meagre taxpayer funded pension by writing for Tommie Switzer at the “Aussie Speccie” and making occasional paid appearances on Sky News – despite the fact that it is part-owned by that scumbag Rupert Murdoch.

Last week I had nothing planned to write about for young Tommie and I needed the dough.  So I turned on the Insiders on ABC 1 the previous Sunday and decided to do what journalists do – namely write about other journalists.  Talk about a conga-line of oldies.  Barrie Cassidy is still presenting the Insiders and he’s 62 years old. Fair dinkum. Sure, unlike me, Cassidy hasn’t yet qualified for a life pension.  But you get my point.  Right now, I’m calling for higher journalistic standards. So in my “Aussie Speccie” column I limited myself to just a few insults and defamations.  I alleged that someone dyed their hair and that someone had a fake tan and that somebody drove someone down the wrong side of the street somewhere in Canberra some time ago when someone else’s missus was in the car.  I may be new to journalism, but I sure know how a big story when I see one.

Tommie Switzer just loves this high-class journalism.  So he put me on the “Aussie Specie’s” cover last week.  I still don’t know why journos of a certain age bother with the fake tan and the inkpot when they go on the telly.  For my last TV doorstop, I did away with both doors and stops and conducted an interview on the run in a local park.  As for grooming, the Camden Show was on at the time.  So I got one of the shearers to put his wide comb through my locks and I borrowed some gear from the local clothing bin.  I’ve accused Cassidy of looking like George Hamilton.  On my resignation day, I looked like Norman Bates of Psycho fame. Beat that.

I’m pretty good at taking on oldies.  Remember what I did to the senile John Howard during the 2004 election campaign?  Maybe I didn’t win the election.  But I sure won the arm-wrestle outside the AM studio at the ABC head office in Ultimo.  Just as I sure beat the crap out of that wog taxi driver, when he went the right-way (and I believed he went the wrong way) during my taxpayer funded ride home from the 169th Gough Whitlam Annual Lecture held during 2003.  Anyone would have come to the same conclusion if, like me, they had passed out on the back-seat of a taxi before global positioning systems became common. Nowadays I use a GPS to get from the bathroom to the studio at Sky News and whenever I feel the need to socialise with such Tories as Michael Kroger and Janet Albrechtsen – you see I’m not used to finding my way on to conservative turf.

Tommie Switzer just loves it when I bash up the ABC (after all, there are only so many wog taxi drivers to go round). Talk about a hopeless lot.  When I was Labor leader, I went to the 2004 election calling for an increase in ABC funding.  But now I am a superannuated scribbler, I find that it’s better to bury Aunty than to praise her. I am willing to make a significant sacrifice. For a mere extra $150,000, I will become ABC chairman for a year. I will do things that Donald McDonald didn’t do. Like sell off the ABC book shops and garrotte those gender ambivalent Pyjamas in Bananas types.  Then I would get rid of all that arty-farty stuff like The Book Show and then hand over ABC TV to Sky News where Rupert Murdoch and others pay me for my performances.

Gee, those Sky News younger types David Speers, Peter Van Onselen and Paul Murray have such good judgement.  So good that they pay me to go on their program to insult people. I’ve paid out on Rudd and Gillard on Sky News. And Crean, Smith, Swan, Conroy and Roxon.  You name them.  If they’re Labor, I’ve paid out on them.  And I’ve been paid for it.

When I was Labor leader, I opposed privatisation. But I support it now – especially for the ABC. In fact, I would privatise the entire government.  Except for that section which despatches my taxpayer-funded  pension each month.  A born-again capitalist has to draw the line somewhere.

I see that my one-time employer and full-time drongo Bob Carr has been appointed Minister for Foreign Affairs.   Like me, Bob is a bit of a diarist.  During his time in State Parliament, he recorded many events.  At Page 27 of her book Bob Carr: The Reluctant Leader, author Marilyn Dodkin quoted from Bob’s diaries how I broke down “in tears” and “hung up” on him when I was told I would not be preselected for the safe seat of Liverpool in the NSW Parliament.  What would he have expected? If a Labor free-loader would not cry at losing out on a life-time superannuation hand-out, what else would he weep about?  Turn it up.

Following the roaring success of The Latham Diaries – or what some have called “The Latham Dairies” since I milk them so often in the “Aussie Speccie” – I’m hoping that Carr will take up the mantle of Labor scribe.  The more Bob writes about Labor now, the sooner everyone will forget what he wrote about me as a Labor-howler when it looked for moment that I would never achieve my life’s ambition of a fully indexed taxpayer funded pension which I blocked for others who entered parliament from 2004 on – but not for myself.  By the way, did I tell you that’s it’s a lousy $75,000 a year fully indexed for life and that the benefits pass on only to the (surviving) missus and not to the kids?  That’s how lousy the Aussie taxpayer is. Thank God for the Aussie Speccie.

* * * *

NANCY’S FIVE PAWS AWARD – DAN McDOUGALL SPEAKS TRUTH TO INTELLECTUAL FASHION ON PETER ROEBUCK

As MWD readers well know, Age journalist Greg Baum got mighty upset when attention was drawn to the tendency of The Age and the ABC to whitewash the late Peter Roebuck’s conviction for assault of a sexual nature.  See MWD Issues 121 and 123.  Baum’s view seemed to be that Peter Roebuck’s apparent death by suicide should lead to a situation where his criminal record should not be cited.  After all, he was a fine cricket writer.

Last Saturday, the Weekend Australian published an article by Dan McDougall titled “The Man Under the Hat”. The sub-heading gives an idea of the story: “Cricket writer and commentator Peter Roebuck portrayed himself as a benefactor.  But four months after his death, a much darker picture is emerging.”

Quite so.  There is growing evidence that Roebuck was a sexual predator who targeted poor young African men.   This was known for years by anyone who wanted to know.  Yet The Age and the ABC chose to exhibit one standard when it came to assault by, say, Catholic clergy and quite another when it came to assault by a cricket writer/broadcaster.

Dan McDougall, like Adam Shand before him, has revealed some facts about Peter Roebuck.

Five Paws.

CAN YOU BEAR IT?

CRIKEY’S 7.30 BANANA REVELATION

Eric Beecher, publisher of Crikey is invariably banging on about media standards. So much so that he made an appearance at Ray Finkelstein’s Media Inquiry last November and bagged journalism as practised in Australia.

This despite the fact that Crikey still does not employ a fact-checker and proudly publishes rumours contributed by anonymous sources.

On Tuesday, Crikey’s “Media briefs” segment was lead by a story contributed by “an eagle-eyed Crikey reader” which alleged that the ABC crew had deliberately re-arranged a fruit bowl before recording an interview with Chief Government Whip Joel Fitzgibbon for the 7.30 program.  You see, according to Crikey, ABC crew deliberately re-arranged a banana so that it would look like – wait for it – a penis.  How about that?  The Crikey sub-header explained all – it read “7.30’s erect banana”.  There followed a close up of the (offending) banana.  [Well, at least Mr Beecher’s time is focused on the really big issues – Ed].

Of course, it was all in Crikey’s imagination – as ABC News operative Alan Sunderland explained in Crikey on Wednesday.

Crikey – A Source for Anti-Semitic Rants

Meanwhile a source south of the Murray down Melbourne way has drawn attention to an email which was sent to Sophie Black, Crikey’s editor, on 8 March 2012.  It reads as follows:

Dear Sophie,

You might recall the last time I emailed you was when some highly slanderous and downright nasty comments about Israel and “the Jews” was left sprawled all over your website. It was only my complaint that had them later removed.

Again, I am not applying for the job of fact checker or comments checker at Crikey (one wonders if you even employ such people) but yet again you have allowed the worst kind of poison to fester on your blog. They appear under a masthead called ”Culture Mulcher”. Namely, comments in relation to two articles about Iran’s nuclear ambitions and the reactions, or possible reaction, by Israel and/or America. They include comments like:

The Israeli government is an aggressive war mongering tribe from the Bush administration cabal! These are the guys who will plunge the world into hell!

And;

A russian jew who migrated to Israel 15 years ago has more rights than an a Jerusalem arab who ancestry goes back centuries . Not only more rights but can by Israeli legal means kick that arab out of his house legally . I just don’t understand the logic in claiming Israel as a trusted friend and having western values . Just about every leader in that country has been tainted with or convicted of corruption over the last twenty years .

And;

I’ve complained about this bias many, many times to the ABC over the years. My complaints (and those of many others like me) are treated with contempt. The ABC (and SBS) are especially infuriating – because in their cases PUBLIC FUNDS are used to purvey Zionist propaganda.

These vicious comments have been on your site for days. It beggars belief then that Crikey can turn around and attack traditional media outlets for what it declares as poor journalism while holding itself as the paragon of virtue in media and a model of excellence for all to follow. The fact these comments remain on your site speaks volumes. I wait to see if the offending comments will be removed.

According to MWD’s source, no one bothered to reply and the anti-semitic ravings remain on Crikey’s website today.  And Mr Beecher still lectures-at-large about media propriety. Can you bear it?

▪ GEORGE NEGUS’ PITCH FOR A BRAVERY AWARD

Meanwhile another MWD source has drawn Nancy’s attention to George Negus’ performance on Channel 10’s The Project on 29 February 2012.  When attempting to defend his assertion that Corporal Ben Roberts-Smith might not be up to it “in the sack”, George Negus declared:

George Negus: I know that my mother was pleased I was too old for one war and too young for another. I think it’s true to say, yeah, that I’ve seen enough of war to know it doesn’t solve many problems. But I’m definitely not anti-soldier. They’re guys doing their job. I’ve been in dangerous situations myself. I don’t see myself as a hero. I was just doing my job and I’m quite sure that there were occasions when I could have lost my life. And I was just doing my job. And Ben gets that I think.

So there you have it.  There’s Corporal Roberts-Smith taking on ferocious Taliban fighters in Afghanistan.  Brave – that’s brave.  So brave that he was awarded a Victoria Cross.  And there’s George Negus also putting himself in “dangerous situations” while filing stories for television.  Brave?  According to George Negus, that’s just as brave.  Here Negus also glossed over the fact that the controversy commenced following his allegations about Corporal Roberts-Smith’s capability in the bedroom – not on the battlefield.

Can you bear it?  [Er, no. Why not just give George a VC for bravery in the Channel 10 make-up room? – Ed].

PAUL DALEY COMES TO BURY ABBOTT AND PRAISE TURNBULL

This is how Paul Daley’s column in the Sunday Canberra Times (an abridged version appears in the Sun-Herald) commenced last weekend:

The older I get the more some things that have never bothered me start to gather new import. They are big things and little things. Some are quite rational. Some are not.

Big: what trace will there be of me in 100 years and what, really, have I imparted to my children that might make the world a better place?  Small: burial or cremation?

Big: what will happen to the turtles and the dugongs? Small: why is Being Lara Bingle?

Big: will Woodley get back with Em? Small-ish but gnawing: why am I one of the only people who wrote for The Bulletin who is not, now, apparently in contention for the prime minister-ship?

And so Paul Daley went on. And on.  To what effect?  Well, by the time a reader (if such an entity existed last Sunday) reached paragraph 16 it became clear that this was yet another attack on Tony Abbott by a member of the Parliamentary Press Gallery.  PD is upset that the Opposition leader criticised the Gillard Government’s approach to border protection with respect to the illegal import of guns.

Daley referred to the Opposition leader as “Bully Boy Abbott” and “CSI Abbott”. He then presented Abbott’s case in the following terms:

One such pistol, it seems, has been used in a drive-by shooting. And clearly the racket by which said gun entered Australia has also been foiled.  But no matter – let us not let such small facts spoil a ripper yarn that would have us believe that no person less than the PM herself had been hanging out of the car window brandishing the suspect weapon.

The fact is that no one, but no one, has ever alleged that Julia Gillard has been brandishing guns while hanging out of car windows.    Paul Daley just made this up.  He went on to quote a “very close colleague” – anonymous, of course – that Liberal frontbencher Scott Morrison is “always going too far”. And then, predictably, Daley sang the praises of Malcolm Turnbull – the Press Gallery’s preferred candidate for the Liberal Party leadership.

According to Paul Daley, Mr Turnbull is “the subject of more interest and hope than any other federal politician”.  The fact is that Malcolm Turnbull has little support within the Liberal Party room in Parliament House. Can you bear it?

A LACHLAN HARRIS MOMENT

The highlight of Nancy’s Sunday occurs when she heads to the gate, brings in the Sunday Telegraph and plants it at the feet of her master [Some feat – Ed].  Then Nancy’s co-owner immediately unwraps the package and turns to the Opinion Page to check out what former Labor head-kicker turned columnist Lachlan (“call me Lachie”) Harris is on about.

Last weekend your man Lachie, who was Kevin Rudd’s senior press secretary, focused on tides. Yes, tides.  Here’s the start of last Sunday’s column:

Like a tidal system muddled by a wayward moon, issues of public importance, who we are and how we live, are constantly rising and falling in popularity and prominence. Reading these wayward tides, predicting them and influencing them is part of the skill set of a master politician. Many aspire to learn these skills. Very few succeed.

Surveying the choppy water of the national conversation it is easy to notice the arguments benefiting from a rising tide, and those being weakened by a falling one. The mining tax, and the tax cuts it will fund, are clearly ideas whose time has come….

Lachie Harris continued:

On the other side of the tidal chart are two topics of debate where public support is most definitely falling. The first is Afghanistan, the second climate change….  Of all the swings in public opinion we have seen in recent years, few have been as noticeable as the swing against climate change. If the mining tax is an idea whose time has come, climate change is an idea that has extremely tough times coming.

So there you have it. According to your man Harris, political life is but a tide. The Mining Resources Rental Tax is coming in on big waves. So are tax cuts, he believes.  However, Australia’s commitment in Afghanistan and the carbon tax leading to an emissions trading scheme are becalmed on a flat sea at low tide and unlikely to reach shore any time soon. Or something like that.

As we know, tides are affected by the moon.  It seems that something has happened to Lachie’s moon of late.  Today he is saying that the carbon tax is going nowhere.  Yet, less than a year ago, Harris wrote in the Sunday Telegraph that “Julia Gillard’s decision this week to introduce a carbon tax was the best decision she has made as prime minister” (Sunday Telegraph, 19 March 2011). He made an identical point during an appearance on Q&A on 21 March 2011 when Lachie told the assembled sandal-wearers that “the carbon tax is the best decision Julia Gillard has made”

So, how to explain this somersault in Harris-speak?  Easy, really.  In 2011 Lachie looked out to sea and saw carbon tax riding on the top of a wave into shore.  But in 2012 he looked again and realised, in fact, that a rip was running on ETS Beach.  Sure, the carbon tax reached shore.  But it then quickly reversed in a rip and dragged all those who touched it out to sea again.  And then the tide went out and the sea went flat.

IT’S ALL VERY ELEMENTARY TO OUR DEAR LEFTIST HOLMES

The ABC 1 Media Watch program is ABC in the true meaning of the term – Anyone But Conservatives.  Media Watch has been on ABC TV for over two decades.  But ABC management has not been able to find one conservative to front the program.  Rather, all presenters have been lefties – Stuart Littlemore, Richard Ackland, Paul Barry, David Marr, Liz Jackson, Monica Attard and Jonathan Holmes.

The News Watch program on Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News presents a plurality of views.  Unlike the ABC’s Media Watch – which has always had a left-of-centre presenter defining what is appropriate media behaviour.

There was more of this last week when Jonathan Holmes used much of his 13 minute taxpayer funded spiel to bag scientist Dr Jennifer Marohasy over her long-held views on the River Murray.

The truth is that Jonathan Holmes comes from the ABC intellectually fashionable leftist culture and is a true believer in human induced climate change.  In his extra boring program last Monday, Holmes went on and on about the River Murray – despite having no evident qualifications to lecture-at-large about science in general or climate change in particular. At the end of his lecture, this was Jonathan Holmes’ conclusion:

We are saying that journalists too easily swallow, and pass on without challenge, highly controversial claims put forward in the name of science, by organisations whose agendas aren’t obvious from their names.

That’s all.  But Mr Holmes’ conclusion ignored the fact that Dr Marohasy is scientifically qualified to write about the River Murray. Moreover, the question is this – will the Holmes decree apply to all organisations in the climate change debate?  What about the Climate Institute – whose chief spokesman (John Connor) has no scientific qualifications?  What about the Climate Commission – whose chief spokesman (Tim Flannery) is not a climate scientist and who refuses to enter into correspondence about his false predictions about water? And so on.

[Maybe you should do what Mr Holmes does.  Send him an email and give him two days notice – over a weekend – to reply to your queries.  Then publish any answers in MWD - Ed].

* * * * *

That’s all for now.

'2012