MWD 234

GERARD HENDERSON’S MEDIA WATCH DOG

ISSUE – NO. 234

18 JULY 2014

The inaugural issue of “Gerard Henderson’s Media Watch” was published in April 1988 – over a year before the first edition of the ABC TV Media Watch program went to air. Since November 1997 “Gerard Henderson’s Media Watch” has been published as part of The Sydney Institute Quarterly. In 2009 Gerard Henderson’s Media Watch Dog blog commenced publication.

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“…that fu-kwitted Gerard “Gollum” Henderson….”

- Mike (“I’ll pour the gin”) Carlton, via Twitter, 12 July 2014

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● Stop Press: Lotsa Luvvies at 2014 Melbourne Writers Festival; Bonge Laments the Voice of the People Prevailing

NancyTypewriter2_thumb.jpgMWD Update: Nice Mr Scott and the Junking of the Howard Tapes

● Nancy’s Pick-of-the-Week: Tony Taylor Bungles Tony Abbott’s History in The Conversation

● Can You Bear It? : The Saturday Paper (i) with Pretentious Advertising & Richard Ackland & (ii) Guy Rundle’s Howler; Mark Latham’s AFR “Ditto” Columns; Crikey’s Non-Story on The Australian; Terry O’Gorman’s Andrew Wilkie Confusion

● Five Paws Award Goes to Avid Reader Geoffrey Luck  NANCYTypewriter1_thumb.jpg

● Great Media U-Turns of our Time: Featuring Mike Carlton

● Nancy’s Old Bones: When Anne Summers Used the “B” Word

● Correspondence: Yet More David Ransom on the ABC

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● ANOTHER LEFTIST STACK AT THE MELBOURNE WRITERS’ FESTIVAL

Nancy’s (male) co-owner is in Melbourne today for the launch of Nancy’s (female) co-owner’s book Menzies at War. Anne Henderson’s tome was launched by Josh Frydenberg MP in a unique video hook-up from Canberra where MPs have to sit today in order to pass some key legislation. Professor Geoffrey Blainey also spoke.

Early this morning a free copy of The Age arrived at Hendo’s door. On inspection, today’s edition of “The Guardian-on-the-Yarra” fell open at the program for the Melbourne Writers Festival.

As to be expected, the MWF this year is yet another taxpayer subsidised left-of-centre stack with a few libertarians invited along in search for (token) balance but barely a conservative on the program. Needless to say, Anne Henderson did not get invited to discuss her book Menzies at War covering the first Menzies Government of 1939-41. [No surprise here surely. After all, AH criticises such left-wing luvvies as David Day, Judith Brett and Stuart Macintyre – Ed]

The roll-up for the 2014 Melbourne Writers Festival include Helen Garner (of course), The Age’s very own Jason (“Gerard Henderson has no literary talents”) Steger, the incomprehensible philosopher and anti-chicken farm activist Raimond Gaita and Sophie Cunningham (also of course).

But MWD’s favourite session at this year’s MWF is titled “The Agenda” where “great minds will explore topical issues” and “challenge our perceptions of personal freedom, freedom of expression and freedom of information”. Wow. [This would be worth another trip to your home town, surely. Ed.]

The leftist or social democratic luvvies in this endeavour comprise Malcolm Fraser, Bob Carr, Anne Manne, Michael Kirby, Bob Brown (of course), Jeff Sparrow, Geraldine Doogue, the gorgeous Louise Adler, Linda Jaivin, Greg Combet, Matthew Ricketson, Michael McGuire, Morris Gleitzman, Joan Beaumont, First Dog on the Moon [thanks again for the cartoons in MWD – Ed] Sigrid Thornton, Philip Chubb, Richard King, Jill Jolliffe, Sally Warhaft, Gideon Haigh, Tara Moss, Stephen Mills, Alice Pung, Gareth Evans, Henry Rosenbloom, Chris Feik and many more besides.

Two libertarians get a run – Christopher Berg and Tim Wilson along with the small “l” Liberal Fred Chaney. But that’s about it. Except for Paul Kelly, who is relatively conservative but not a barracker for right-of-centre causes.

With a couple of exceptions, the 2014 Melbourne Writers Festival – like the ABC – is a Conservative Free Zone.

Nancy’s (male) co-owner’s favourite session is titled “Lesbian for a Year”. Here’s the blurb:

At age 30, Brooke Hemphill had sex with a woman for the first time, a one-night stand that sparked a year-long adventure of sexual self-discovery. Brooke shares her hilarious insights into the contemporary dating scene and the story behind her new book Lesbian for a Year. Venue, The Cube.

This is all very well. But not very revolutionary. For a really dangerous idea, how about a session titled “Heterosexual for a Week” to be held at a venue in Fitzroy North or, perhaps, Clifton Hill (next stop Westgarth and after that Northcote)?

● PAUL BONGIORNO REGARDS AUSSIE-VOTERS AS INITIATING A FIASCO

Every now and then, the ABC borrows talent from the commercial media. In recent times the taxpayer funded public broadcaster found reason to alter the line-up of its talent commenting on national policies on both Radio National Breakfast and ABC 702 Mornings with Linda Mottram in Sydney. So, where did it look for such talent? Why, to the most pro-Green/Left commercial part of the Canberra Press Gallery. To wit, Channel 10. Featuring Paul (“Call me Bonge”) Bongiorno and Stephen Spencer (who has recently parted company with his employer).

And so it came to pass that Bonge got to comment twice a week on RN Breakfast and once a week on 702. This is how your man Bongiorno commented yesterday on Tony Abbott’s success in bringing about the end of the carbon tax:

Paul Bongiorno @PaulBongiorno 17 Jul Today’s fiasco had its genesis in the defeat of @TurnbullMalcolm in 2009 and the failure of @MrKRudd to call an election.

So there you have it. The Coalition won one of the biggest victories in Australian political history in September 2013 – primarily on a policy of dumping the carbon tax. And yet Bonge considers a government getting the numbers in the Senate to implement its mandate as a “fiasco”.

According to the ABC managing director and (allegedly) editor-in-chief Mark Scott, there is no causal connection between the political stance of ABC presenters/regular commentators and their output. Perhaps Nice Mr Scott does not read Bonge’s tweets. Or perhaps he does not listen to him. On RN Breakfast yesterday, Bonge declared that the Coalition’s “boat people policies are working for one reason and that is because they are unconscionably cruel”. Unlike the previous policy which had the unintended consequence of over a thousand asylum seekers drowning in the cruel sea – apparently. At least Bonge has admitted that he is a man of the bleeding heart left. No doubt this is why the taxpayer funded broadcaster engaged him as a regular commentator on matters political.

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ON THE ABC & THE WIPING OF THE HOWARD TAPES

The most successful prime ministers in modern Australia are Bob Hawke and John Howard and the most important treasurers are Paul Keating (who also had some successes as prime minister) and Peter Costello.

Commencing in November 2013, ABC 1 ran a four-part series of interviews of Paul Keating by Four Corners presenter Kerry O’Brien (who was once a staffer for Gough Whitlam and Lionel Bowen). But, as The Australian reported last Saturday, the ABC has rejected a proposal to run a series of interviews of John Howard by Janet Albrechtsen. According to Chris Kenny’s report, the taxpayer funded public broadcaster gave all the usual excuses for remaining a Conservative-Free-Zone. It was “difficult to slot” the concept into the ABC schedule. Janet Albrechtsen lacked “on air interviewing experience”. And so on.

As MWD has constantly maintained, Mark Scott does not run the ABC. Rather it is run by a series of cliques who prevail over their own domain and appoint like-minded types when vacancies occur.

A hands-on ABC managing director would have run the Howard tapes. For starters, such a decision might have diminished the critique that the ABC is a Conservative-Free-Zone and at least would have prevented a criticism in this instance of the ABC’s double standards. What’s more, Albrechtsen interviewing Howard should be as interesting as O’Brien interviewing Keating.

The ABC’s decision to reject the Howard Tapes is a political and managerial dumb idea. Moreover, it demonstrates once again Nice Mr Scott’s inability to make his mark as ABC editor-in-chief.

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Well done to thousands upon thousands of Media Watch Dog readers who picked last week’s John-Laws-style-deliberate-mistake.

Yes, Nancy’s Five-Paws Award last week to David Stratton for his (alleged): “Please be advised that I will block you if 1. You call me Dave instead of David. 2. You’re Mike Carlton. Thanks for your understanding.” tweet was erroneous. This was taken from a fake account, after lunch. Mr Stratton did not say this – but perhaps he should have.

This is the first occasion in which Nancy’s most prestigious Five Paws Award has gone to an impostor. Lotsa apologies. For her part, Nancy is that embarrassed.


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TONY TAYLOR’S HORRIBLY HOPELESS HISTORY

It seems that Tony Taylor, author of Denial : History Betrayed (MUP), has reached the pinnacle of his truly brilliant career. Formerly on the staff at Monash University in Melbourne, Dr Taylor (for a doctor he is) now holds the esteemed title of Adjunct Professor at the University of Technology, Sydney. [Did you mean to say he is a junk professor? Please check – Ed].

Believe it or not Andrew Jaspan’s The Conversation receives an annual subsidy of around $ 2 million from the Commonwealth Government. It also picks up substantial additional funding from the taxpayer subsidised university. In spite of all this taxpayer funded largesse, it seems that Mr Jaspan’s team at The Conversation do not have enough funds to employ a fact-checker.

On Tuesday 15 July 2014, The Conversation ran a piece by Tony Taylor titled “Tony Abbott’s history”. It was the predictable leftist rant at the Prime Minister’s policies and religion but MWD was particularly taken by this paragraph which occurs early in his essay concerning Tony Abbott’s school days :

His 1960s Jesuit schooling at St Xavier Riverview (NSW) emphasised Greek and Roman achievements before turning to a narrative history of British imperial triumphs, a perspective that turned him into a budding Anglophile.

How confused can you get? A simple Google search would reveal that there is no such entity as “St Xavier Riverview (NSW)” run by the Jesuits.

There is a Xavier College in the Melbourne suburb of Kew. And there is St Ignatius College in the Sydney suburb of Riverview. Alas, “St Xavier Riverview (NSW)” exists only in Tony Taylor’s vivid imagination.

But your man Taylor’s confusion does not end here. Tony Abbott was born in November 1957. So, most of his secondary schooling took place in the first half of the 1970s – not in the 1960s.

Moreover, Taylor produced no evidence that the Jesuit run St Ignatius College “emphasised Greek and Roman achievements before turning to a narrative history of British imperial triumphs”. It appears Taylor just made this up.

Taylor does not seem to realise that the Jesuits in Australia contained quite a few priests of Irish birth or background. They were not followers of “British imperial triumphs”. Dr Taylor also seems unaware of the Protestant Reformation and all that. The Englishmen that the Jesuits looked up to were the martyrs and the saints who had been hanged, drawn and quartered in defence of their Catholic faith for being followers of the Pope in Rome. English Jesuits like Edmund Campion (1540-1581).

[I note there has been some discussion in the office as to whether the proper term here is “hanged” or “hung”. I prefer the medieval “hung” rather than the more modern “hanged”. Alas I appear to have been out-edited by Nancy’s (female) co-owner. – Ed].

As to Tony Abbott’s so-called Anglophile status as a young man. This should not be a surprise – not even to the likes of Tony Taylor who appears to do little research. Abbott was born in Britain to a British father. Enough reason for being somewhat Anglophile, don’t you think?

Tony Taylor went on to make this point in his hopeless article in The Conversation: 

…as Abbott reports in Battlelines, his conservative political consciousness was awakened as early 1972(sic) when his year nine history teacher set an essay on the political parties contesting the election of that year.

As he remembers it, Abbott favoured the DLP for its “traditional values as well as its support for workers within a market economy”. The latter comment is a politically-motivated confabulation. The DLP had no real interest in economic policy.

This, too, is hopelessly wrong. The Democratic Labor Party, which had a connection with B.A. Santamaria’s National Civic Council, adopted a mainstream social democratic approach to economics. It was neither particularly protectionist nor particularly free market. The NCC had many members who held prominent positions in right-wing unions, particularly in Victoria, Tasmania and New South Wales. Tony Abbott’s recall that the DLP supported “workers within a market economy” is correct. Once again Tony Taylor, who appears not to have done any work in this area, simply does not know what he is talking about.


 


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● THE SATURDAY PAPER – MORRY’S ADVERTS & ACKLAND’S ANGST

The [Boring] Saturday Paper arrived at Nancy’s (male) co-owner’s office on Monday. As usual. There’s no point in receiving it earlier since publisher Morry Schwartz’s weekly product (i) goes to press on Thursday, (ii) arrives at Fitzroy North coffee shops on a Melbourne afternoon on Friday and (iii) reaches Glebe in inner-city Sydney at brunch time on Saturday.

Trailing through The Saturday Paper, produced by Australia’s wealthiest socialist, was a wonderful experience. There were advertisements for such upper-class delights as The Sydney Theatre Company, bulthaup Melbourne (“offers holistic solutions for living spaces” – kitchen, wardrobes, that sort of thing), Supernormal (an exclusive restaurant with private “intimate” dining facilities accessible by a “spectacular circular staircase”), The Saturday Paper (yes, it advertises itself), Musica Viva, Coopers “Perfection is our forte” Vintage (i.e. ale), The Melbourne Art Fair, Leonard Joel (“premiere” Auction House), ABC Books, The Monthly Book (advertising a book by Anne Manne, of course), Canopy Elwood (i.e. luxury apartments), Anna Schwartz Gallery Melbourne (Mrs Schwartz, it seems) and The Monthly. [That will do - Ed].

It would be discourteous to draw attention to the union between Morry and Anna except for the fact that Richard Ackland dwelt on such matters in his “Gadfly” column in The Saturday Paper last weekend. Mr Ackland saw relevance in the fact that Janet Albrechtsen was once married to John O’Sullivan. Mr Ackland also saw fit to have a go at one of Andrew Bolt’s young sons. [How discourteous can you get? – Ed].

GUY RUNDLE’S DISCOURTEOUS HOWLERS – PER COURTESY OF MORRY SCHWARTZ

While on the matter of The [Boring] Saturday Paper, what a stunning article last weekend from Guy Rundle – MWD’s favourite Marxist comedian.

Alas, it seems that one-time editor of the monumentally boring Arena Magazine – which used to boast that it was a journal of left opinion – is lacking in matters of courtesy. Some years ago, your man Rundle invited Gerard Henderson to coffee on a Saturday afternoon at the Wentworth Sofitel in Sydney. The Marxist comedian turned up 15 minutes late and, after talking about himself at some length, left Hendo with the bill. [Do all Brighton Grammar School alumni behave like this? – Ed].

In last Saturday’s The Saturday Paper, Guy Rundle had a piece titled “Janet and her apes”. It’s about the appointment of Janet Albrechtsen and Neil Brown to the Nomination Panel which recommends a short list for appointments to the boards of the ABC and SBS. Boring, you bet. The story broke around two weeks ago but The Saturday Paper is really “The Thursday Paper” – you know the story – and Morry Schwartz and his editor Erik (“I work for an old man”) Jensen have a lot of catching up to do each week.

It turned out that Guy Rundle’s piece was essentially a left-wing rant against Janet Albrechtsen and Gerard Henderson. Rundle criticised an article defending Gerard Henderson’s appointment as chairman of the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards for History and Non-Fiction which was written by Peter Coleman. Rundle referred to Coleman’s “stirring plea in The Australian to give him [Henderson] a chance” – describing this as a “farce”.

It seems your man Rundle is confused. The article was commissioned by The Age’s Opinion Page editor Sushi Das and published in The Age on 11 June 2014. It came after The Age published two articles critical of Hendo’s appointment and refused to run his letter-to-the-editor.

So it has come to this. Guy Rundle cannot distinguish between The Age and The Australian. Also, Rundle described the late Padraic P. McGuinness as having been “terminally alcoholic”. In fact, McGuinness died from melanoma. Yet Morry Schwartz and Young Jensen are willing to run this error-fuelled Marxist comedian next to a full-page advertisement for Supernormal – which is so exclusive that the advertisement does not bother to mention that it is a restaurant. Can you bear it?

MARK LATHAM CHANNELS MARK LATHAM

Here are the highlights of Mark Latham’s column in the Australian Financial Review

Over the last couple of months:

17 May 2014 : Mark Latham defends the role played by Bruce Wilson and his associates in the Australian Workers’ Union slush fund controversy of two decades ago:

22 May 2014 : Ditto.

10 June 2014 : Ditto.

19 June 2014 : Ditto.

28 June 2014 : Ditto.

12 July 2014 : Ditto.

17 July 2014 : Ditto.

It seems the Lair of Liverpool needs another topic. Anything will do. Can you bear it?

[I predict that his next topic will be in defence of the role played by Bruce Wilson and his associates in the Australian Workers’ Union slush fund controversy of two decades ago – Ed].

CRIKEY’S ANONYMOUS SOURCES ON THE OZ

Yesterday Myriam Robin, Crikey’s media reporter, decided to run a piece suggesting that The Australian is not as influential in Canberra as many of its supporters and opponents suggest. So whom do you think she interviewed? Try this for size. The list included “plenty of people”, “political operatives”, “a chief of staff to a high profile Senator”, a “media public servant”, a “senior staffer to the previous Labor government” and “most journalists” whom Crikey interviewed. A pretty authoritative lot, don’t you think?

The only people named in Ms Robin’s (non) story were former Australian editor David Armstrong who described The Australian as influential and former failed Labor leader Mark Latham who didn’t. Mr Latham lives in Mount Hunter and no longer mixes in Canberra political circles. Also, he is an inveterate critic of The Australian. Yet Mark Latham was Crikey’s only named source for its line that The Australian is no longer as influential as it once was in Canberra. Can you bear it?

TERRY O’GORMAN’S STRANGE IDEA OF A CONSERVATIVE

What a stunning interview of Brisbane based human rights lawyer Terry O’Gorman by James Carleton on RN Breakfast yesterday. Mr O’Gorman proposed changes to the national security legislation with respect to anti-terrorism. He said that he relied on “two conservative commentators…who have both said in recent times that they are concerned about the growth of the surveillance state”.

The first conservative commentator was so well known that Terry O’Gorman, the first time around, did not cite the person’s name. And the second one was, wait for it, Andrew Wilkie MP – the Independent member for Denison. Mr Wilkie was one of the foremost critics of the Howard government’s approach to national security and can hardly be described these days as a “conservative commentator”. Yet he got away with this on RN Breakfast. Can you bear it?

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STEP FORWARD GEOFFREY LUCK

Congratulations to avid MWD reader Geoffrey Luck who had a win with the oh-so-bureaucratic ABC Audience and Consumer Affairs outfit in Canberra – which dismisses over 98 per cent of all complaints concerning the blokes and sheilas who work for Nice Mr Scott.

On 20 June 2014 Mr Luck complained to the ABC concerning repeated comments that morning by RN Breakfast presenter James Carleton that dredging soil was being dumped “on the Barrier Reef”. Yesterday Mr Carleton made a correction. Fair enough. But why did it take almost a month for the ABC to issue a correction which could have been done the next day?

In any event it’s proper to say – Geoffrey Luck, Five Paws.


 


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FEATURING MIKE (I’LL POUR THE GIN”) CARLTON – WITH THANKS TO “CUT & PASTE” IN THE AUSTRALIAN AND THE DAILY TELEGRAPH.

▪ MIKE CARLTON ON THE “POOF” JOHN MARSDEN – 2006

This is what Mike Carlton wrote in the Sydney Morning Herald on 10 June following the death of John Marsden:

John Marsden, the flamboyant gay lawyer, was barely cold in his coffin before the punishers and straighteners [sic] were after him. But I know one of his brothers well and it is him I stand up for. With all his faults, the rambunctious in-yer-face attitude, the oh-so-public flying of the lavender flag, John Marsden – self-styled old poof – was much loved by his family and many friends and colleagues, not least by a tribe of nephews and nieces whose affection he returned unstintingly.

MIKE CARLTON ON WHY THE WORD “POOFTER” SHOULD NOT BE USED – 2014

This is what Mike Carlton tweeted at 7.22 pm (after pre-dinner drinks) on 13 July 2014:

Mike Carlton @MikeCarlton01. Jul 13: The trouble is: we live in a society where some fu_kwit of an AFL commentator can still use the word “poofter.”

MIKE CARLTON ON WHY BEING MIKE CARLTON MEANS YOU NEVER HAVE TO SAY “SORRY”

When “Cut & Paste” pointed out the inconsistency in The Thought of Mike Carlton on this issue, this is what the Philosopher King of Whale Beach tweeted:

Mike Carlton @MikeCarlton01 . Jul 15: How tragic to be the nutter whose sole achievement in journalism is writing the Oz’s lunatic Cut’n’Paste drivel.

So, there you go. “Cut & Paste” picks up Mike Carlton’s inconsistency concerning the use of such words as “poof” and “poofter”. And your man Carlton responds by alleging that the editor of “Cut & Paste” is a “nutter” engaged in “lunatic drivel”. The man has no shame. [By the way, what’s wrong with lunatics? – Ed].


 


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WHEN ANNE SUMMERS RAILED AGAINST “SNIGGERING BITCHES”

Nancy’s (male) co-owner places a primacy on courtesy. As he should. A modern man should be a man of manners.

So Nancy’s (male) co-owner sleeps with a copy of Anne Summers’ The Misogyny Factor (Newsouth, 2013) beside his bed. Every night, he glances at this tome to make sure that he has not transgressed courtesy during the day with respect to words or thoughts which might be described as misogynistic.

Take the use of the word “bitch”, for example. As a word to describe the canine Nancy, this is quite proper. However, as a word to describe a female, this is a NO GO area. For authority of this proposition you need go no further than The Misogyny Factor by Anne Summers.

There are no fewer than nine condemnations of the use of the word “bitch” in The Misogyny Factor. Early on, Anne Summers states why it is improper to use the word bitch with respect to a girl or woman:

…when a woman is dismissed as “weak” or “hysterial[sic] or “emotional” or “aggressive” or “a bitch”, her detractor is drawing on a repertoire of stereotypes about women that supposedly typecast the entire sex and are then seen as justification for discriminating against them.

There follows a number of critical citations of the word “bitch” with reference to former prime minister Julia Gillard – Pages 109, 113, 114, 115, 117, 144 and 150.

That’s pretty clear, then? Anne Summers (nee Cooper) believes (correctly) that it is wrong to describe a woman as a “bitch” and a number of women as “bitches”. Or does she?

In 1999 Anne Summers published her book Ducks on the Pond: An Autobiography1945-1976 (Viking). In her memoir, Summers revealed that, for a few months in early 1963, she had a clerical job at the Melbourne CBD office of Bob Santamaria’s National Civic Council. At the time, Anne Cooper was a Catholic and the NCC was a political movement of Catholics.

Young Anne (as she then was) did not much like her work among the socially conservative Catholics at the NCC. This despite the fact that she was paid above the award wage and the male employees “did not hang around and gossip and flirt with the girls”. In any event, Anne Cooper quickly became disillusioned working with Bob Santamaria’s followers:

I started to get bored. The atmosphere in the office was oppressive. Everyone was so goody-goody, even the girls my own age. I seemed to be the only one there who was not a fully signed-up member of “the cause” [i.e. Santamaria’s NCC]. Not much fun was going to be found with these people. I would have to look elsewhere.

One morning, at the end of summer, Anne Cooper wore a sleeveless summer dress to work. However, her female office manager was not impressed and advised her that the men at the NCC were upset at how she dressed and believed that she should be more modest. This is how Anne Cooper reacted to the observation in 1963 – as told by Anne Summers in 1999:

This was no adventure after all, this was like a school, I raged to myself as I opened the day’s mail.. I wanted to cry but was not going to give the sniggering little bitches in the office the satisfaction of knowing I was upset. I’d show them. All the same, I knew I had to look for another job.

How about that? In 1999 Anne Summers boasted about how she regarded her female work colleagues in 1963 as “sniggering little bitches”. However, in The Misogyny Factor in 2013 Dr Summers (for a doctor she is) condemned the use of the word “bitch” or “bitches” as a stereotype which is used as a justification for discriminating against women.

Since the modern day feminists are heavily into apologies these days – how about Anne Summers apologising to the NCC women she once depicted as “sniggering little bitches”? [Don’t hold your breath – Ed].


 


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FEATURING DAVID RANSOM’S GROCER’S DOZEN OF QUESTIONS ON THE ABC

This overwhelmingly popular segment of Media Watch Dog usually works like this. Someone or other thinks it would be a you-beaut idea to write to Nancy’s (male) co-owner about something or other. And Hendo, being a courteous and well-brought up kind of guy, replies. Then, hey presto, the correspondence is published in MWD – much to the delight of its hundreds of thousands of readers.

There are occasions, however, when Nancy’s (male) co-owner decides to write a polite note to someone or other – who, in turn, believes that a reply is in order. Publication in MWD invariably follows.

As hundreds of thousands of avid readers are aware, The Guardian Australia’s deputy editor Katharine Murphy put out the following tweet on 6 June 2014 at 4.33 pm – when that issue of MWD was “hot off the press”. Here is Ms Murphy’s tweet: “Without in any way wanting to breach anyone’s human rights or free speech – why do people write emails to Gerard Henderson?” It’s a very good question. Thankfully, not everyone follows Katharine Murphy’s wise counsel. So here we go again.

DAVID RANSOM & GERARD HENDERSON

MWD Issue 232 carried former ABC journalist David Ransom’s defence of the ABC – in response to Gerard Henderson’s column in The Weekend Australian on 5-6 July 2014. Hendo, pointed out, among things, that the ABC is a Conservative-Free-Zone. In his email of 7 July 2014, David Ransom disputed this analysis – but failed to proffer the name of one conservative on any of the taxpayer funded public broadcaster’s prominent outlets. This was pointed out in Gerard Henderson’s reply which was published in last week’s Correspondence section. However, your man Ransom wrote to Hendo again on 12 July. Mr Ransom, again, did not name a conservative at Aunty. But he did ask 13 questions. Fascinating, eh? Here we go:

David Ransom to Gerard Henderson – 12 July 2014

Gerard,

Thanks for replying to my email. I don’t want to engage in a tit-for-tat discussion with you about the ABC.  I am sure we both have better things to do. You obviously have your ideas and I have mine. There is one point you made though that I should not leave unchallenged. You said in your response:

My first point was that the ABC is a Conservative Free Zone – in that it does not have one conservative presenter or producer or editor for any of its prominent television or radio or online outlets.  This statement has never been challenged.  If you are aware of one conservative who works on any ABC prominent outlet, let me know.

For someone who appears to pride himself on respect for facts, I find this an interesting statement which raises some obvious questions.

▪ How do you know the politics of these people?

▪ Is it because they don’t promote right wing ideas on the ABC?

▪ If so surely, by your own measure, you’d agree that’s not the role of employees of a public broadcaster?

▪ You say your above claim has never been challenged. Why would it be if the proper goal of a public broadcaster is objectivity?

▪ Re your claim about the ABC being a “Conservative Free Zone”, again I’d like to know – How do you know they are left wing?

▪ Are they labelled in some way I don’t know about?

▪ Do they belong to left-wing organisations?

▪ If so which ones?

▪ Exactly how do they use the ABC to promote left-wing views?

▪ Is it by their journalists challenging right-wing ideas?

▪ Do they never  challenge left wing ideas?

▪ Is it not the part of  a public broadcaster’s role to challenge all views, left and right?

▪ Does the ABC never have guests presenting conservative views?

No, in fairness Gerard, you see what you choose to see in the ABC. You use terms like “left-wing rant”. Please point me to where you have ever written the phrase “right-wing rant”  As if they don’t exist.

I don’t expect this email will have any impact on your views. And if you are entertained by them, and make a dollar that way, so be it. But I think your credibility hangs on your admitting that your views about the ABC are  based on your opinion and are not substantiated by fact.

David Ransom

Gerard Henderson to David Ransom – 18 July 2014

David

Thanks for your email of 12 July 2014 concerning your one-time employer the ABC and all that.

In your email you state that there is one comment of mine that you “should not leave unchallenged” – viz:

Gerard Henderson: My first point was that the ABC is a Conservative Free Zone – in that it does not have one conservative presenter or producer or editor for any of its prominent television or radio or online outlets.  This statement has never been challenged.  If you are aware of one conservative who works on any ABC prominent outlets, let me know.

The fact is that in your email of 7 July 2014 and your follow-up email of 12 July 2014 you yourself have let this comment pass unchallenged. You have not been able to name one conservative who presents or produces or edits even one of the ABC’s prominent outlets. Not one.

ABC managing director Mark Scott has been asked a similar question in Senate Estimates. Like you, Mr Scott has not been able to name a name. As James Allan pointed out recently, if the ABC did not have one woman working on any of its prominent outlets this would cause controversy. The same is true with respect to persons of Asian background.

However, it seems to be acceptable to you and Nice Mr Scott that the taxpayer funded public broadcaster does not employ conservatives in a prominent role. Despite the fact that the ABC is replete with leftists and social democrats.

As I documented in my column in The Weekend Australian on 6-7 July 2014, the lack of balance within the ABC’s news and current affairs areas did not come about as the result of an accident. Not at all.

As you will be aware, Ken Inglis is very much a fan of the ABC. Yet in the first volume of the public broadcaster’s history – titled This Is The ABC: The Australian Broadcasting Commission : 1932-1983, Professor K.S. Inglis documents Allan Ashbolt’s role in stacking the ABC with leftists in the 1970s.

Ashbolt, a self-declared Marxist, appointed numerous left-wingers to key positions in news and current affairs. As Ken Inglis points out, this group – which included Jon Cassidy and Marius Webb – was nick-named “Ashbolt’s kindergarten”. Over decades, the like-minded have appointed like-minded applicants to key ABC roles. This, after all, is normal human behaviour.

The various questions – 13 in all – you have raised are merely a device to avoid facing reality. I have made the argument that the ABC is a Conservative-Free-Zone. To dispute this, you would need to name the names of conservatives at the ABC working in prominent areas of television, radio or online. You have failed to do so. As your years at the ABC should have taught you – you cannot refute a proposition by asking a range of questions which are designed to distract.

Towards the end of your email, you changed the subject and made the following point with respect to me:

…in fairness Gerard, you see what you choose to see in the ABC. You use terms like “left-wing rant”. Please point me to where you have ever written the phrase “right-wing rant”  As if they don’t exist.

If you had done any research, you would be aware that I have been a consistent critic of the extreme right in Australia. I criticised the anti-semitic League of Rights. And I was an early critic of Pauline Hanson and her One Nation movement. Moreover, I invented the term “Lunar Right” to describe the extreme right in Australia. This term has recently been acquired, without acknowledgement, by Mark Latham. The term Lunar Right implies that the extreme right is into ideological rants.

Like many of my critics, you have no idea what I stand for. At The Sydney Institute, Anne Henderson and I invite a diverse group of people to present their views. In short, I practise pluralism. The ABC does not. Right now, there are a number of contracted weekly conservative presenters or commentators on Sky News. But not one conservative in a similar role on the taxpayer funded broadcaster. That’s a fact – which cannot be refuted by you asking a grocer’s dozen of questions.

Over and out.

Gerard Henderson

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Until next time. Keep morale high.

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READ ALL ABOUT IT – COMMENTS ON/ENDORSEMENTS OF MWD

“[Gerard Henderson is a] silly prick”

- Mike (“I’ll pour the gin”) Carlton – tweeted Saturday 27 June 2014 at 4.15 pm, i.e. after lunch

“If Gerard Henderson had run Beria’s public relations Stalin’s death would have been hidden for a year and Nikita and co would have been shot”

- Laurie Ferguson via Twitter - 22 June 2014

[By-line: Mr Ferguson is a member of the House of Representatives who speaks in riddles.]

“[Gerard Henderson] is the Eeyore of Australian public life”

- Mike Seccombe in The [Boring] Saturday Paper – 21 June 2014

“Without in any way wanting to breach anyone’s human rights or free speech – why do people write emails to Gerard Henderson?”

- Katharine Murphy, Twitter, Friday 6 June 2014

“[Gerard Henderson is] an unhinged prick”

- Mike Carlton, Twitter, Thursday 12 June 2014

“There’s no sense that Gerard Henderson has any literary credentials at all.”

- Anonymous comment quoted, highlighted and presumably endorsed by Jason (“I’m a left-leaning luvvie”) Steger, The Age, 31 May 2014

“There’s no sense that Gerard Henderson has any literary credentials at all.”

- Anonymous comment quoted, highlighted and presumably endorsed by Jason (“I’m a left-leaning luvvie”) Steger, The Age, 31 May 2014

On boyfriend’s insistence, watching the notorious Gerard Henderson/Kate McClymont Lateline segment. GH: What an odd, angry gnome of a man.

- Benjamin Law, Twitter, 11.21 pm 17 April 2014

Can’t believe I just spent my Thursday evening with a video recap of Gerard Henderson. I’m a f-cking moron.

- Benjamin Law, Twitter, 11.23 pm 17 April 2014

“[Gerard Henderson is an] unhinged crank”

- Mike Carlton, Twitter, Saturday 29 March 2014, 4.34 pm

“Complete stranger comes up to me:

that Gerard Henderson’s a xxxxxx.”

- Jonathan Green via Twitter, 8 February 2014

“[Gerard Henderson is] a sclerotic warhorse, unhelpful to debate, unwilling to think…a wonderful study in delusion…ideologically-constipated.”

- Erik Jensen – editor of Morry Schwartz’s The Saturday Paper [forthcoming]) – 23 November 2013

“The last time Gerard Henderson smiled was in 1978, when he saw a university student being mauled by a pitbull.”

- Ben Pobjie, via Twitter, 13 October 2013

[Editor’s Note: Mr (“Why Can’t I Score an Invite on Q&A? ”) Pobjie is wrong. In fact, the year was 1977 and the dog was a blue-heeler – like Nancy]

“I think Henderson is seriously ill. There’s enough there for an entire convention of psychiatrists.”

- Mike (“I’ll pour the gin”) Carlton – After Pre-Dinner Drinks tweet to Jeff Sparrow, 8 October 2013

“Wrong, you got caught out, off to Gerard Henderson’s Media Watch Dog for you! :- ” – Tim Wilson tweet to Jonathan Green and Virginia Trioli – 8 October 2013. “Nancy as ever will be the judge” – Jonathan Green to Tim Wilson and Virginia Trioli (conceding to the arbitral authority of Nancy) – 8 October 2013

“Oh my God; you’re as bad as Gerard Henderson.”

- Dr Peter Van Onselen (for a doctor he is), The Contrarians,

Sky News, 20 September 2013.

“The nation mourns Gerard Henderson. He’s in perfect health.”

- Tweeted by Phillip Adams – 2 July 2013 and Favorited by Virginia Trioli

“I said publicly once that I thought that Gerard’s views on the ABC came not from his brain but from his spinal cord”

- Tim Bowden as told to Phillip (“I was a teenage Stalinist”) Adams, Late Night Live, 11 June 2013 – Queen’s Birthday Public Holiday.

“The great Australian media nutter Gerard [Henderson is an] ungrateful bastard”.

- Mark Latham, Q&A, 10 June 2013.

“Gerard Henderson is a crank”

- David Marr at the 2013 Sydney Writers’ Festival (as reported by Mike Carlton) – May 2013

“Old Australian saying. ‘He wouldn’t know a tram was up him unless the bell rang’. Wholly appropriate to Gerard Henderson”

- Tweeted by Phillip Adams – 7 May 2013

“[Gerard Henderson’s analysis of the ABC] is absolutely simplistic.”

- ABC managing director Mark Scott talking to ABC presenter Jonathan Green on ABC Radio National Drive, 2 May 2013. Brought to you per courtesy of the Australian taxpayer with no right-of-reply allowed.

“[Gerard Henderson] is a moral dwarf …Gerard, pull your head in”

– Professor Sinclair Davidson, 24 April 2013.

“[Henderson] You are mad. In the 18th century you would have been caged, with the mob invited to poke you with sticks.”

- Mike Carlton, 5.23 pm (Gin & Tonic Time) 25 March 2013

“I like to think of Gerard [Henderson] as the Inspector Clouseau of forensic journalism”

– David Marr, ABC News 24 The Drum, 21 March 2013.

“[Media Watch Dog is] not a moan, more of a miserable dribble”

- Peter Munro, 21 March 2013

“You are a fool, Henderson, a malicious and mendacious piece of shit… Now F_ck off”

- Mike Carlton, 11 March 2013 (Hangover Time).

“[Gerard Henderson is] an internet pest”

– Dr (for a doctor he is) Jeff Sparrow, 26 February 2013.

Jonathan Green: “Nancy, will be taking notes, I suspect”

Michael Rowland: “Nancy…yes. We’ll get a nice write-up on Friday. Good morning as well, Gerard. Thanks for watching, by the way.

– ABC 1 News Breakfast, 18 October 2012

“Gerard [Henderson] is a complete f-ckwit”

- Malcolm Farr, via Twitter, 29 June 2012 (circa pre-dinner drinks)

“What a haughty flapping half-arsed buffoon he [Henderson] is”

- Bob Ellis on his Table Talk blog, 8 May 2012 (before breakfast)

“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

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

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

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

– Mark Latham The Spectator Australia 11 June 2011.

Media Watch Dog – “disgraceful”, “sick”

– Professor Robert Manne, April Fool’s Day 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.

“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

“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.

“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.

* * * * * *

'2012