HENDERSON’S MEDIA WATCH DOG – ISSUE NO. 183
24 MAY 2013
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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See the end of this week’s MWD for details of much appreciated comments on/endorsements of Nancy’s work by Sinclair Davidson, Mike Carlton, David Marr, Peter Munro, Mike Carlton (again), Jonathan Green & Michael Rowland, Malcolm Farr, Bob Ellis, Tom Cowie, Mike Carlton (yet again), Mark Latham, Robert Manne, Marius Benson, James Jeffrey, Andrew Crook and more besides. Well done chaps – and lotsa thanks.
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● Stop Press: Hazel Craig R.I.P.; Call Out for Retired Spartacists
● Nancy’s Pick-of-the-Week: Conservative-Hater Russell Skelton Gets Fact-Check Gig in Conservative-Free-Zone
● Paul Clarke’s Confusion On Gough Whitlam and Labor
● Can You Bear It? Malcolm Farr As a Snob; Scott Johnson and Journalistic Re-cycling
● Read All About Anne Summers In The Age – Assuming You Have Not Taken Her Advice To Avoid Buying the Print Edition
● Correspondence : A Petition From Critical “North-Shore Liberals” – Or Is It?
▪ HAZEL CRAIG RIP
The Canberra Times reported on Saturday that Hazel Craig has died, aged 98. Miss Craig was the subject of an article in History Corner of MWD Issue 105. See here.
Hazel Craig worked for prime ministers Joseph Lyons, Robert Menzies, Arthur Fadden, John Curtin, Ben Chifley and Robert Menzies (again). She was Sir Robert’s personal secretary until 1976 and remained close to Menzies’ daughter Heather Henderson.
▪ CALL OUT FOR (PRESUMABLY RETIRED) SYDNEY UNI SPARTACISTS CIRCA 1978
There has been overwhelming interest in the publication of the 1978 Spartacist Bulletin – see link – in MWD Issue 156. This was titled Is a little bit of scabbing alright? Strikebreaking by ‘socialist’ SRC officers at Sydney University, 1978: a documentary record.
Nancy is oh-so-anxious to locate the names of the members of the Spartacist League of Australia and New Zealand who edited this document close to four decades ago. Information will be gratefully – and discreetly – received.
Nancy was thrilled, absolutely thrilled, earlier in the week when Bruce Belsham (Head of ABC Current Affairs) announced that Russell Skelton would become the inaugural head of the ABC Fact Check Unit. The ABC recently received an additional taxpayer funded handout of $10 million to establish a Fact Check Unit – which will check the facts of other individuals and organisations but not the “facts” of the ABC.
You see, Nancy is a family kind of sheila. She was moved by Mr Belsham’s decision to keep up the ABC tradition where ABC types appoint ABC types into their own Conservative-Free-Zone. Mr Skelton is currently a contributing editor of The Age – increasingly termed “The Guardian-on-the-Yarra” – where he fits neatly within the newspaper’s left-liberal consensus. He has previously worked with the ABC in Melbourne.
And your man Skelton is married to MWD’s favourite breakfast broadcaster – the wonderful Virginia Trioli who fronts ABC 1 News Breakfast from Monday to Thursday. La Trioli is remembered fondly for this response at the conclusion of her interview with National Party Senator Barnaby Joyce in late 2009.
It was not so long ago that the left-wing columnist Mike Carlton described attending an ABC gathering as “one of those very tribal ABC affairs, cheerful and gossipy, where almost everyone seems to be married to, living with or divorced from somebody else in the room”.
It’s great to see that the appointment of Mr Trioli will give a boost to the taxpayer funded broadcaster’s tradition of intellectual in-breeding.
And what about Russell Skelton? Well, he has written some important pieces on indigenous issues. But he is also a traditional ABC/Age Melbourne-based inner-city leftie who tends to criticise both the Coalition and Labor from the left and who dislikes News Limited. What’s more, Skelton does not like conservatives – which should work for him in his new job in the ABC’s Conservative-Free-Zone.
For a glimpse of Russell Skelton, Fact Check Czar, you need to read no more than his article in The Age titled “The voice of the people is heard” which appeared in “The-Guardian-on-the-Yarra” on 25 April 2008, shortly after the conclusion of Kevin Rudd’s 2020 Summit.
In this piece, Skelton took aim at conservatives describing them as – yes “pesky possums” and “once-influential marsupials”. He added:
These are the possums of the conservative commentariat. They are an invasive, boisterous species. They make their nests within the pages of Quadrant magazine (an obscure journal with a circulation that is a fraction of the Kmart catalogue), and invade the columns of News Limited papers and the hollowed-out walls of right-wing think tanks.
In the familiar style of the Sneering Left, Mr Skelton:
▪ referred to John Howard as “the great helmsman” and rejoiced that “he was wiped from the electoral board” at the 2007 election.
▪ claimed that “Howard simply replaced Keating’s political correctness with his own” and “swapped one blinkered outlook for another”.
▪ had a swipe at “American neo-cons” – as in new conservatives, and
▪ condemned the “bone-headed determination” of Australian conservatives.
Skelton concluded his article by attacking both John Howard and Paul Keating – but not, of course, the Greens’ then leader Bob Brown:
The great significance of the  Summit, apart from canvassing overdue reform, was that a national conversation took place without the tired old agendas of the past 10 years dominating. For the first time in a generation (yes, I include the Keating years) a conversation was held without a prime minister and coterie of pompous finger-pointers telling us that they, and only they, knew what is best for this country.
Russell Skelton’s appointment is but one in a series over recent years. Leftist Jonathan Green was appointed from Crikey to edit The Drum and later to present Radio National Saturday Extra. Then leftist Chip Rolley was appointed from the Sydney Writers’ Festival to edit The Drum. And now leftist Russell Skelton has been appointed from The Age to head the ABC Fact Check Unit where he will be able to make good use of his expressed disdain of conservatives. Your taxes at work at Their ABC.
WHAT AUNTY DIDN’T FACT-CHECK : PAUL CLARKE’S HOWLERS IN THE ABC’S GOUGH WHITLAM’S DOCUMENTARY
While on the topic of fact-checking, it’s timely to report that yet another ABC documentary is littered with factual errors. This time its Paul Clarke’s documentary Whitlam: The Power and the Passion on Gough Whitlam which commences screening at 7.30 pm on ABC 1 next Sunday.
In his article in The Australian on Monday, Labor Party historian Troy Bramston wrote that Whitlam: The Power and the Passion “is undermined by historical errors, narrative exaggerations and critical omissions”. He also pointed out that “important policy changes made under Liberal prime ministers Harold Holt, John Gorton and Billy McMahon” prior to Whitlam, “are ignored”. Bramston also revealed many factual errors in the notes put out by the ABC about the documentary.
Despite numerous approaches, ABC TV Publicity has declined to provide MWD with a review copy of the program. So analysis will have to occur later – after the documentary has been aired. In the meantime, MWD draws attention to two Clarke howlers which were made during publicity interviews for the program.
Interviewed by Virginia Trioli on ABC1 News Breakfast yesterday, Paul Clarke had this to say:
…the other thing that fascinated me was how a kind of a 6 foot 5 [inch] flaming nonce could kinda kick the shit out of the Labor Party and then get the leadership in the 60s when the whole Labor team looked like, they looked like this spooky kinda Irish Catholic gothic horror kind of gallery of Dobell. You know, like they were a really nasty looking bunch. And he was so different than all of them I described him as a baby pelican in a murder of crows. You know, he just didn’t look like he belonged at all.
This is complete mythology. Gough Whitlam moved to reform the Labor Party after its 1969 election defeat. By then, the Labor Split of the 1950s had led to a situation where many Australians of Irish Catholic background had left the ALP in Victoria and Queensland and joined the Democratic Labor Party. Labor was not dominated by Irish Catholics in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
Around 1970, Whitlam moved against the ALP in Victoria – which was not run by Irish Catholics but rather by such anti-Catholic sectarians as Bill Hartley and George Crawford. Whitlam’s numbers man in this task was the South Australian Mick Young – who was of Irish Catholic background. In other words, Paul Clarke is hopelessly wrong in his suggestion that Labor operatives of Irish Catholic background opposed Whitlam.
Then on ABC Radio 702 this morning, Paul Clarke told presenter Philip Clark that Gough Whitlam led the protest movement against Australia’s military commitment in Vietnam. This is what he said:
Paul Clarke: …Whitlam became the figurehead for a confluence of different social protest democratic movements. He was at the forefront of the anti-Vietnam war demonstrations….It was clear that with the Moratorium, people looked to Whitlam for his advice. And so I think he was a real father figure for that world and that it kind of ran through into the rest of the electorate. I believe that politics is about emotion. Like show business is. You’re trying to elicit an emotion from the people who are watching your performance so it’s a strange kind of corridor of the entertainment industry in a funny kind of way.
Once again this is nonsense. Whitlam had little to do with the Vietnam Moratorium campaign. This was run by Whitlam’s left-wing rival Dr Jim Cairns. Whitlam came slowly to publicly oppose Australia’s Vietnam commitment.
Paul Clarke’s approach is dramatically different that adopted by Senator John Faulkner in his documentary on Gough Whitlam, which ran on SBS TV in 2002. Before the final cut, Senator Faulkner took his draft around to a number of commentators for fact-checking purposes – Gerard Henderson included. When Gough Whitlam : In His Own Words was aired, it was essentially error-free. However Paul Clarke’s interviews and his published notes suggest that Whitlam: The Power and the Passion was not fact-checked.
CAN YOU BEAR IT?
▪ Malcolm Farr – Anti-Football Snob
MWD just loves news.com.au’s Er, Ah, Malcolm Farr. Primarily because he gave Nancy’s (male) co-owner a terrific endorsement around this time last year – see the end of this issue.
In any event, Malcolm Farr put in a truly terrific performance when on the Insiders couch last Sunday. Discussion included the decision of Clive Palmer to endorse former Rugby League player Glen Lazarus as top of the Palmer United Party’s list for the Senate at the 14 September Federal election. There was also discussion about the 2013 budget on the debate about spending (or “spends” in the current jargon) and saving (or “saves”). Let’s go to the DVD.
Malcolm Farr : Can I just point out that on Thursday and Friday Mr Palmer was very critical of the economic acumen of both Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott. So what does he do? He names as his number one Senate candidate a former football player. However, I’ve got to point out that his number three on the Palmer ticket in the Senate is a former professional soccer player who was a goalie – so he will be good at “saves”.
LOL? Nancy laughed till she cried. Or did she cry till she laughed? And does it really matter? So Mr Palmer has an ex-goalie as number three on his PUP Senate how-to-vote card in Queensland – an unelectable position. Even so, Farr reckons he will be good at “saves”. Good one, eh?
And then there is the matter of Mr Lazarus. Malcolm Farr, who seems to have swallowed a snobbery pill, apparently believes that a former professional footballer does not have the “economic acumen” to be prime minister. Why? Mike Fitzpatrick is a former player from Carlton in the AFL. He also happens to have a BA (Hons) and a B. Eng (Hons) and works in the finance sector. Yet, according to Malcolm Farr’s logic (for want of a better word), an ex-footballer like Fitzpatrick is not qualified to be prime minister or Opposition leader. Can you bear it?
▪ Scott Johnson’s Re-cycled “Scoop”
What a terrific “scoop” by The Sunday Age’s intrepid federal politics reporter Chris Johnson at the weekend. Mr Johnson’s article titled “Gillard’s $500 m ‘war chest’” was run prominently on Page One over the word “Exclusive”. The first two paras read as follows:
The Gillard government has stashed away a “war chest” of nearly half a billion dollars in secret projects to be announced before the election.
In Tuesday’s budget, Treasurer Wayne Swan listed a line item of $463.9 million as “decisions taken but not yet announced”.
The only problem with The Sunday Age’s “exclusive” is that the story of the $463.9 million war-chest had been reported shortly after the budget in the Australian Financial Review and widely canvassed by Paul Murray on Sky News. Can you bear it?
FOOL OF THE WEEK – CARLTON OF THE NORTHERN BEACHES
How Young Mike Never Got A Ride on the Village Bike
What a truly stunning performance by Sydney Morning Herald columnist Mike Carlton on ABC 1’s Q&A program last Monday. It provided a wonderful insight into what your man Carlton is like – post Gin & Tonic time, of course. After all, the show commenced at 9.35 pm.
The first topic was “Female Sexuality” and historian Faramerz Dabhoiwala made the initial contribution. There followed comments by three panellists – comedian Ruby Wax, historian Sylvia Nasar and author William Dalrymple. Just as Q&A viewers were wondering: “Where’s Mike?” – presenter Tony Jones resolved the issue. Let’s go to the transcript:
Tony Jones : Mike Carlton, let’s hear from you. What do you –
Mike Carlton : I am puzzled by this because I have spent a lifetime wanting to meet one of these seductive sirens who lures men astray and leads them into temptation. When I was a kid this there was always – there was this mythical figure called “The Village Bike” and you were supposed to be able to get on her. I never found her. I never found her. I don’t think she existed.
Tony Jones : Mike, retrospectively that’s probably a good thing for your credibility. If you were about to tell us another story we might have worried about you.
Mike Carlton : No. No. We’ll stay away from that one. I never found the bike.
Golly. There was Mike Carlton (born 1946) telling Q&A viewers that he never found a (female) “bike” around half a century ago.
How Middle Aged Mike Doesn’t Let Ignorance Get In the Way of a Q&A Comment
Presenter Tony Jones decided to cut his losses and move to the next topic – which, believe it or not, was “Sexual ‘Progress’”. And so it came to pass that your man Carlton again used the occasion to talk about how some blokes are now getting what he claims not to have got some five decades ago.
Ruby Wax : Mike, let’s get your thoughts on this. Do you think we live in a hypersexualised society and have things changed a huge amount since you were a young person?
Mike Carlton : Oh God, yes. Yeah, I think we do. I think girls are now, what you might say, more giving. There was a feature I think was in – No and I don’t mean that lightly.
Ruby Wax : Well, if you can’t find a bike and now the bikes are all over.
Mike Carlton : There was a feature, and I think it was in the [Sydney Morning] Herald about a year ago, saying that now that the blow job is a common teenage preoccupation of a Saturday night, which did not happen 20 years ago. But now it’s regarded as safe, casual sex by which a girl can – I don’t know if it’s true or not. I haven’t the faintest idea.
Brilliant, eh? Your man Carlton makes a comment on casual sex among young Sydneysiders – despite the fact that he did not have the faintest idea whether it was true or not.
How Mike the Husband Regards Women
At this stage, Mike Carlton’s obsession (post Gin & Tonic time, of course) was becoming somewhat embarrassing. Then, lo and behold, Mike Carlton of the Northern Beaches started to talk about his marriages – past and present. Here we go:
Mike Carlton : Men have felt under siege for a long, long time – puzzled about their role sometimes. I was brought up to be the hunter-gatherer, bread-winner and to come back and deposit the fruits of the hunt with the wife who was at home cooking and having babies. That was my childhood –
Ruby Wax : Are you still married?
Mike Carlton : Yeah, second time around. But that was my childhood conditioning and I dare say anyone my age in the ’60s was brought up exactly that same way, to be the hunter-gatherer while the little woman stayed at home, tied to the kitchen with the apron strings. Now, my first wife disabused me of that quite firmly, very swiftly and my second wife has carried on. But men are still confused, I think, about their role. We’ve got better. We do feel under siege and I think you’re right. I mean, I read a piece, I think it was in The Guardian the other day, which began with “It’s time for us to talk about men”. And I thought, well, hang on – Maybe it’s time for us to talk about women. But if I were to write a piece like that, “It’s time for us to talk about women,” there would be howls of protest. So I think you’re right, men feel a little under siege and a little puzzled.
Which raises the question. Does anyone really care about what Mrs Carlton 1 or Mrs Carlton II ever thought – or still think – about Husband Mike?
How 20-Something Mike Helped Richard Nixon Invade Cambodia – Really
The penultimate topic was “An Eye for an Eye” on foreign policy, terrorism and all that. It was here that Mike Carlton famously proclaimed: “I helped Richard Nixon invade Cambodia in 1970”. Really. It was only then that it became evident that it was not only the Gin & Topic talking. After all, shortly before going on Q&A, your man Carlton tweeted:
And so, after a fortifying litre of Scotch, off to do battle.
In view of the empty bottle of Scotch, the following exchange was so, er, lively that it was worth bottling in an empty container.
Sylvia Nasar: Look, the United States has made a lot of mistakes, okay. Look at Vietnam, okay. The United States certainly made terrible mistakes in Vietnam. What happened when the United States left?….There was a, you know, genocide in South-East Asia after the United States left. Okay….
Tony Jones: Sorry. We’ll just go to Mike there because you obviously covered Vietnam. Is that correct there was –
Mike Carlton: Well, no I don’t –
Tony Jones : There certainly were vast numbers of refugees who escaped from the –
Mike Carlton : There were but, no, there was no genocide after the Vietnam War.
Sylvia Nasar : Well, in Cambodia.
Mike Carlton: Yeah, and that was largely prompted by the actions of the United States, which allowed – I helped Richard Nixon invade Cambodia in 1970… And which allowed the Pol Pot regime to seize –
This was the familiar left-wing rant against President Richard Nixon along with an attempt to let communist dictator Pol Pot, the leader of the Khmer Rouge, off the hook. It is true that US forces attempted to interdict supplies from communist North Vietnam to the communist Viet Cong in South Vietnam by taking military action in east Cambodia.
However, it is pure mythology to attempt to rationalise Pol Pot’s murder of his own Cambodian people by blaming Nixon. What the communists did in Cambodia in 1975 and immediately after was not dissimilar to what Mao Zedong did in China at the commencement of the Cultural Revolution in 1966. Except that more Cambodians died.
The fact is that the left in Australia – including Mike Carlton – welcomed the success of the communist revolutions in South Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos in 1975. As late as 1978, the likes of Gough Whitlam was denying that there had been mass murders in Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge. As to your man Carlton’s claim that he helped Richard Nixon invade Cambodia in 1970s – well, another G&T anyone?
▪ How Mike Got Edited by Australian Story and Whinged About It
Australian Story aired on ABC 1 at 8 pm on Monday. It’s a documentary program and it seems that Mike Carlton was recorded before Gin & Tonic Time. He appeared calm and considered as he discussed 2GB talkback host Ray Hadley in a critical but fair way.
However, there was lotsa anger that morning after the (Australian Story) night before. An angry Carlton of the Northern Beaches described the Australian Story on Hadley as a travesty, a disgrace and garbage. He continued:
I was selectively edited… It was unethical and irresponsible. A disgraceful pierce [sic] of television.
Anyone who knows anything about Australian Story knows that it invariably adopts a sympathetic attitude to the subject of its programs. Also, it is always very heavily edited. If you don’t want to be seen to be too close to an Australian Story character, then don’t get interviewed for the program. Only a fool would expect that Australian Story would do other than what was done with Ray Hadley. But Carlton of the Northern Beaches did.
READ ALL ABOUT IT : NEWSPAPER COLUMNIST BOASTS ABOUT NOT BUYING NEWSPAPER PRINT EDITIONS
In view of this issue’s earlier coverage of the ABC/Age family, consider the case of Anne Summers who received a soft interview from Phillip Adams on Late Night Live on Wednesday. Dr Summers (for a doctor she is) has just completed a book titled The Misogyny Factor and, needless to say, is a star attraction right now at the left-wing stack which is the 2013 Sydney Writers’ Festival.
MWD just loves reading The Thought of Dr Summers in the print edition of The Age and the Sydney Morning Herald on Saturdays. Also, in the recent issue of The Saturday Age, Summers was subjected to a puff-piece by Amanda Dunn in its “The Good Life: Lunch With –” series. The article said nothing new but spoke to the hearts of The Guardian-on-the-Yarra types, as the interviewer described the setting of the conversation in Melbourne:
We digest this sobering thought [about misogyny] while looking out of Trocadero’s wide windows onto the Yarra River, an unseasonably warm day showing the city at its best. While we talk, we munch on pumpkin risotto with roast pumpkin and candied pepitas, and a miso roasted salmon with black and white eggplant puree and ginger. We also share a colourful iceberg salad.
Go on – and was this all washed down with a pretentious vanilla-shot latte? Elsewhere in The Saturday Age Anne Summers had yet another go at Opposition leader Tony Abbott – concluding with the oh-so-familiar cliché about leopards and spots and suggesting that he might be advocating a “natalist policy” on paternity leave. Shucks.
MWD is happy to pay $3 for The Saturday Age each week to read Dr Summers – unlike Dr Summers herself. Writing in The Saturday Age on 12 January 2013 about newspapers and all that, she declared :
When I told people what I’d done, they were aghast. “I could never give them up,” was the most common reaction. “I like the touch and feel, the smell.” “How are you going to clean your barbecue?” asked one friend. Indeed, I found I did not know how to dispose safely of a glass that smashed during our Christmas lunch. Or what to do with the about-to-be-very-smelly prawn heads. Plastic just doesn’t do it.
It’s not until you get rid of them that you appreciate all the things that newspapers are good for. And I am not even talking about what’s on the page, the contents. Nor were my friends. Just before Christmas I cancelled all our newspapers. For someone who has had a four-newspaper-a-day habit for most of her adult life, this was a huge decision, taken with considerable trepidation.
So how is it all going in the Summers Newspaper-free abode? Not too well if Summers’ partner Chip Rolley is to be believed. This is what he had to say on the ABC News 24 program, The Drum on 15 February 2013:
Chip Rolley: …And the other thing I think, as Mike [Seccombe] said is that, you know, the delivery of the digital product, even just some basics. I mean, we keep – I, you know, at home, we keep running into the problem of not being able to download the iPad version of a certain broadsheet. And it’s frustrating, it’s actually worse and more ridiculous than, you know, the paperboy missed my – missed the drop this morning or whatever or there was a problem at Chullora. They’re still having, sort of, basic delivery problems.
So there you have it. Anne Summers gets paid by Fairfax Media but she boasts that she no longer buys the company’s print editions. Even though, as Chip Rolley has acknowledged, the Summers/Rolley partnership is having problems downloading at least one newspaper on its iPad.
Recently Chip Rolley beat a well qualified and experienced young journalist for the position of edition of the ABC’s The Drum online journal of opinion. Of course, Mr Rolley was also extremely well qualified for the position – having presided over the left-wing stack that was the 2011 Sydney Writers’ Festival. The ABC left loves appointing its own to the ABC.
The good news is that Dr Summers has many gigs at the 2013 Sydney Writers’ Festival this week. It has been put together by Rolley’s successor as artistic director – a certain Jemma Birrell, who has organised (another) leftist stack to match Chip Rolley’s achievement of two years ago. All financed by the Australian taxpayer.
CORRESPONDENCE : CONCERNING THE ABC AS A CONSERVATIVE-FREE-ZONE
This highly popular segment of MWD usually works like this. Someone writes to Nancy’s (male) co-owner and he replies. Then, lo and behold, the entire correspondence is published – much to the delight of MWD readers, many of whom are of the preying kind.
Today’s correspondence came in the form of a registered letter from R.B. Gilchrist from Cremorne – who claims to be writing on behalf of, wait for it, several anonymous “North Shore Liberals”. Wow. In order to preserve the grammatical integrity of Mr Gilchrist’s missive, it is published as a link below – in order to preserve the correspondent’s various capital letters, underlinings, bold type and so on. Gerard Henderson’s response is published below. Here we go:
R.B. Gilchrist (of Cremorne) to Gerard Henderson – 18 May 2013 (received 22 May)
Gerard Henderson (not of Cremorne) to R.B. Gilchrist – 23 May 2013
Dear Mr Gilchrist
I refer to your letter dated 18 May 2013 which I received by registered post on 22 May 2013.
I note that you have written to me “on behalf of a number of staunch Liberal friends who are finding” my “continual anti-ABC articles in the SMH to be totally against what they believe the Liberal party [sic] once stood for”.
How about that? I would have expected that if your “staunch Liberal friends” feel so strongly about this issue they could at least put their names to your letter. Instead you refer, variously, to your “Liberal friends”, “we”, “us”, “my Liberal group”, “one”, “he”, “us Liberals”, “our discussions” and even “North Shore Liberals”.
I note that you claim to be a Liberal Party supporter – but you have provided no evidence to support your claim. I assume that you are the R.B. Gilchrist of Cremorne who wrote to the Sydney Morning Herald on 3 June 2012 criticising George W. Bush and the invasion of Iraq – which John Howard supported.
I also note that you “have had an extremely successful career in marketing and advertising in Sydney, Melbourne, London, New York and Hong Kong”. Fancy that. This chant sounds like one of the Peter Stuyvesant cigarette advertisements of old.
Your poorly written and poorly presented 13 page letter does not contain one substantial quote from any of my writings on the ABC or any other issue. Moreover, you engage in a form of verballing which is intellectually dishonest. For example, you imply that I hold the view that Amanda Vanstone is a “traitorous leftie”. I have not said or written this – and I do not believe this to be the case.
In reply to your rambling missive, I make the following responses:
▪ I am not a member of the Liberal Party. Consequently, I have no more interest in the views of a group of alleged and overwhelmingly anonymous “staunch” Liberals than, say, a bunch of equally staunch Labor Party members.
▪ In any event, my views on the ABC today are similar to those held by Liberal Party leaders Robert Menzies, Malcolm Fraser and John Howard when they held the office of prime minister. Labor prime ministers such as Bob Hawke and Paul Keating held a similar view. Both Coalition and Labor leaders alike complained that they were being attacked by the ABC from the left. I am not aware that any Greens leader has made such a criticism of the taxpayer funded public broadcaster.
▪ As you should be aware, I have nothing to do with the headings which the SMH places on my columns.
▪ The fact that ABC managing director Mark Scott worked briefly for Terry Metherell in Nick Greiner’s Coalition government in New South Wales some two decades ago is a matter of interest – but no more than that. For the record, Mr Metherell was one of the worst performing ministers in the Greiner government. Moreover, in the early 1990s it was common for Liberal Party ministers to employ non-political staff.
My concern about Mr Scott is that, contrary to his promise when he took up his current position, he does not act as ABC editor-in-chief. Mark Scott does not run the ABC. Rather, it is run by a number of cliques who control certain programs and outlets.
▪ I have nothing to do with – and am not responsible for – the views of such individuals and organisations as Alan Jones, Ray Hadley, Andrew Bolt, Chris Berg, Donald McDonald, the Institute of Public Affairs and the Australian Taxpayers Association. If you want to state your views to any of the above, you should write to them direct.
▪ I have never said or written that the ABC or SBS is a “communist propaganda machine”. You just made this up.
▪ I have never said that any ABC presenters, producers or editors should be fired and that “only ‘conservative’ personnel be allowed” on the ABC. Once again, you just made this up.
All I have suggested is that there should be greater diversity within the ABC – which Mark Scott promised shortly after he became managing director but has manifestly failed to deliver.
▪ Contrary to the implication in your letter, I have never said or written that the ABC should be closed down or privatised.
▪ In relation to the ABC taking on the task of fact-checking others, I have made the point that many ABC productions contain numerous errors. Most recently, the documentary on Gough Whitlam which commences on ABC 1 on Sunday. I believe that the taxpayer funded public broadcaster should give priority to fact-checking ABC programs before it sets itself up as the fact-checker of other individuals and organisations.
* * * * *
In conclusion, I am happy for you to provide a copy of my response to your anonymous “North Shore Liberals” – if such an entity really exists.
* * * * *
READ ALL ABOUT IT – COMMENTS ON/ENDORSEMENTS OF MWD
“[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”
“Nancy…yes. We’ll get a nice write-up on Friday. Good morning as well, Gerard. Thanks for watching, by the way.
– Michael Rowland, 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.
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Until next time. In the meantime, keep morale high.