GERARD HENDERSON’S MEDIA WATCH DOG – ISSUE NO. 127
2 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.
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 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are private correspondence and not for publication” – ABC News Radio’s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: Great Jacket – Pity About the Analysis :
Scott Burchill on RN Breakfast
● Michelle Grattan’s Yes/No on Bob Carr as Foreign Minister
● A Fran Kelly Moment: Yet Another RN Breakfast Discussion where
Everyone Agrees with Everyone Else
● Nancy’s Pick-of-the-Week Meets Sectarian Watch : Q&A on Tony Abbott as a Mad Monk
● Can You Bear It? : Nathan Rees on the NSW Disease; AFR Opinion Poll Confusion; Mike Carlton’s Forgotten Youth; George Negus Goes the Full Circle
● Nancy Channells De Botton/Uhlmann Interview
● Documentation on David McKnight’s Taxpayer Subsidised Murdochphobia
NANCY’S FASHION ADVICE SETS NEW TONE ON NEWS BREAKFAST
Last week MWD commented on how leftist Deakin University senior academic Dr Scott Burchill (for a doctor he is) only seems to do the Newspapers gig on the ABC News Breakfast program when he was on the way to – or from – the tip. This, MWD maintained, explained the fact that the learned doctor invariably turned up on the ABC set unshaven and shabby.
Well, there have been two reactions to MWD’s BIG STORY. First, staff at the Knox Waste Transfer Station in Wantirna South contacted MWD to advise that their customers dressed better than Scott Burchill. Many men dumping rubbish at the Knox Waste Transfer Station were shaven and had not chosen their clothing from the local clothing recycle bins.
Second, there was a brand new Scott Burchill on News Breakfast this morning. There he was shaven and dressed in a fetching brown jacket with a bespoke light-green shirt. Initially it seemed that Dr Burchill may have decided to observe the dress code at the Knox Waste Transfer Station, which is not that far from Deakin University’s Burwood Campus. However, at the end of the Newspapers segment, all was revealed. Let’s go to the audio tape:
Michael Rowland : And before we cut you off, I have to say, I’m very impressed with your improved dress standards.
Scott Burchill : Thank you. It’s going to please a lot of people.
Michael Rowland : Yeah. There’s a certain viewer who’s watching out there who’s been critical of – I mean, I think for all the wrong reasons – for the way you’ve dressed. But it’s good to see you’ve taken that friendly advice on board.
Scott Burchill : Well, it’s good to know there are fashionistas watching this early in the morning. That’s the main thing.
Michael Rowland : We get them all on this show.
So there you have it. Scott Burchill’s improved dress standards are a response to Nancy’s fashion critique. How good is that? Well, better than Dr Burchill’s analysis this morning – which was as valuable as junk disposed at the Knox Waste Transfer station.
First up, Dr Burchill bagged Wayne Swan’s article in the March 2012 issue of The Monthly criticising the likes of Gina Rinehart and Clive Palmer. Burchill maintained that “one of the reasons we have them [i.e. billionaires] is because the Labor Party’s adopted policies over the last 20 odd years which have enabled people to enrich themselves in that way”. How shocking is that? Under the Hawke, Keating, Rudd and Gillard governments, some Australians have enriched themselves.
Then, reflecting on Kevin Rudd’s replacement as foreign minister, Burchill declared that the prime candidates to replace Rudd as Foreign Minister “seem to be people who voted for Kevin Rudd in the vote last week”. Not so. The leading candidates to become Minister for Foreign Affairs as of this morning were Stephen Smith, Simon Crean and Craig Emerson – all of whom supported Julia Gillard in the leadership ballot. Burchill also declared that Bob Carr was out of the picture since “there would have had to be an acting foreign minister before he [Carr] would have got the real job”. The Prime Minister announced that Bob Carr had been appointed Foreign Minister not long after midday.
Scott Burchill is an academic.
GREAT MEDIA U-TURNS OF OUR TIME – MICHELLE GRATTAN ON BOB CARR
▪ Michelle Grattan on why Bob Carr is a non-starter in the Foreign Minister job application. Blame Bob Carr.
“Former NSW premier Bob Carr was sounded out but was not interested.” – The Age, 29 February 2012.
▪ Michelle Grattan on why Bob Carr is a non-starter in the Foreign Minister job application. Blame Stephen Smith.
“Although the NSW ALP and, it seems, the PM were attracted to the radical idea of the Carr experiment, Stephen Smith and presumably some others were not.” – The Age, 1 March 2012.
A FRAN KELLY MOMENT – IN WHICH HER GUESTS AGREE WITH EACH OTHER ON ALMOST EVERYTHING
On RN Breakfast last Wednesday, Fran Kelly and her production team decided it would be a you-beaut idea to discuss who should replace Kevin Rudd as Foreign Minister. So RN Breakfast assembled two commentators – Hugh White and Bruce Haigh – who did not like Stephen Smith much.
White agreed with Haigh that Bob Carr would have made a good Foreign Minister. Then White agreed with Haigh that Stephen Smith had been a poor Foreign Minister. Then Haigh suggested either Greg Combet or Penny Wong. Then White suggested Simon Crean or Chris Bowen. Then – following Kelly’s prompting – White endorsed Craig Emerson, even though he thought that Emerson was “too good” for the job.
Then White criticised Kevin Rudd’s performance. Then Haigh said: “I couldn’t agree more with what Hugh said” and fully endorsed his remarks. Then Haigh and White suggested that there was little point in Australia continuing its bid for a seat on the UN Security Council.
This is what passes for debate on RN these days. [Good point – you should return to the topic next week. – Ed].
SECTARIANISM WATCH – Q&A APPROVES SECTARIAN SNEER AT TONY ABBOTT’S CATHOLICISM
On Q&A last Monday, the invariable 3/2 left of centre/right of centre divide became a 4/2 divide following the decision to have a panel of six – namely, Chris Evans, Peter Beattie, Christine Milne and Lachlan Harris from the left-of-centre and Barnaby Joyce and Janet Albrechtsen from the right-of-centre. And then there was presenter Tony Jones [Say no more. – Ed].
The word count for the night was as follows: Chris Evans – 1964 words; Tony Jones – 1871 words; Peter Beattie – 1718 words; Lachlan Harris – 1668 words; Barnaby Joyce – 1350 words; Christine Milne – 1280 words and, Janet Albrechtsen – 1079 words. [Don’t tell Nancy that the blokes did all the talking. This will inflame her feminist advocacy tendencies – Ed]. This means that left-of-centre types dominated the conversation – Joyce and Albrechtsen had 22 per cent of the speaking time compared with 60 per cent for Evans/Beattie/Milne/Harris.
Also, there were three Labor Party types on the panel (Messrs Evans, Beattie and Harris), along with one National Party member (Senator Joyce) and one Green (Senator Milne). But no one from the Liberal Party – even if Dr Albrechtsen is regarded as a conservative commentator.
So, when Peter Beattie declared that “the last time Tony Abbott got elected [Liberal Party leader] he won by one vote, one vote” – no one corrected the howler – and Milne endorsed it. This is absolute tosh. The Liberal Party’s rules require that all leadership positions are spilled after each election. In August 2010 Tony Abbott contested the Liberal Party leadership and was elected unopposed. In other words, the last time Mr Abbott got elected Liberal Party leader he was endorsed by 100 per cent of his parliamentary colleagues. But, alas, no one told the Q&A audience.
Then, seven minutes into the program, Tony Jones called for a question from Q&A audience member Nicholas Gotsis. Such prepared questions are approved in advance by the Q&A executive producer. Here is Nicholas Gotsis’ question and the presenter’s response:
Nicholas Gotsis : The “fighting Julia” we have witnessed over the last few weeks is the Julia we would all like to see, and the Julia we want battling the Mad Monk. Could this episode help the Labor Party move towards a more genuine relationship with the public?
Tony Jones : Peter Beattie, you half answered that already. But, I mean, give us your taste on how Julia Gillard handled this past week.
The reference to the “Mad Monk” was, of course, to Tony Abbott. But Tony Abbot is not mad. And he is not, and never has been, a monk. This is just a sectarian sneer aimed at the fact that Mr Abbott is a practising Catholic and, these days, Christians in general and Catholics in particular are fair game – provided of course, they are not lefties. Particularly on such programs as Q&A where sneering secularists make up a large section of the audience.
It is impossible to imagine that the Q&A production team would approve a question which referred to a secular Muslim leader as the “Mad Mullah” or the “Mad Imam”.
CAN YOU BEAR IT?
● Nathan Rees and Richard Glover Misdiagnose “NSW Disease”
On the ABC 702 Drive program last Monday, former New South Wales Labor premier Nathan Rees condemned the tendency of Labor MPs, to constantly change the ALP leadership. Since this practice commenced in NSW – it’s called the “New South Wales disease”. Let’s go to the audio tape:
Richard Glover : Your view was that [Kevin] Rudd’s removal in the first place was a mistake but you don’t make up for that mistake by doing it again.
Nathan Rees : Precisely. Precisely. I think when a government or a party changes its leader repeatedly it demonstrates to the community that you’re not respecting yourselves – and, in that instance, how can you ask the community to respect you?
Richard Glover : Okay, I mean you know this personally, don’t you?
Nathan Rees : I do. And it’s a difficult thing for Mr Rudd, in his position now, just to keep your counsel despite your disappointment and do what is good for the party. But inevitably the party and the government are bigger than any individual and, ah, the best thing he can do is to observe his undertakings today.
Richard Glover : And to the point of “the New South Wales disease”, so called. It started here. It started in a way with you, didn’t it? Your execution? And then it seemed to move to Canberra and they did it again. Has the party realised that this is not a good look with the public?
Hang on a minute. The “New South Wales disease” did not commence when Kristina Keneally rolled Nathan Rees and became NSW premier in 2009. No. The “New South Wales disease” commenced when Nathan Rees rolled NSW premier Morris Iemma in 2008 – despite the fact that Iemma had led Labor to a victory at the 2007 State election. And, today, Nathan Rees appears to be unable to remember this.
Can you bear it?
● AFR’s Polling Confusion
Last Saturday’s edition of The Australian Financial Review led with the heading:
Exclusive AFR polls bombshell on eve of Labor leadership challenge
Rudd would crush Abbott 58:38
There followed a story by Laura Tingle and Louise Dodson, which commenced as follows:
Kevin Rudd could lead Labor to a crushing election victory over Tony Abbott if his colleagues elected him leader in the contest against Julia Gillard on Monday, an exclusive poll reveals. The poll shows 58 per cent of voters would prefer Mr Rudd as prime minister compared with 38 per cent for Mr Abbott. Nearly a quarter of Coalition voters surveyed said they preferred Mr Rudd as the nation’s leader.
The AFR team should know that electors vote for parties – not leaders. Even if Mr Rudd (as Labor leader) led Mr Abbott as preferred prime minister by 58 per cent to 38 per cent – this would not necessarily mean that Labor would defeat the Coalition. In his last opinion poll as Opposition leader in 1975, Malcolm Fraser had an approval rating of 29 per cent. However, in December 1975, Fraser led the Coalition to one of the biggest winning margins in Australian electoral history.
And the AFR reckons that the preferred prime minister rating determines election outcomes. Can you bear it?
● Mike Carlton’s (Fudged) Schooldays
Sydney Morning Herald columnist Mike Carlton has a familiar mantra. He regularly sneers at traditional Christians (particularly Catholics), political conservatives, private schools. You know – the agenda of the secular sandal-wearing left.
Last Saturday, Mike Carlton was banging on about his familiar topic – this time linking the Coalition’s criticism of the Gonski Report on school funding with private schools. Here’s what your man Carlton had to say. [Don’t be too tough on him. After all, Mike Carlton did provide the endorsement for MWD which appears on the front page – Ed].
Tony Abbott (St Ignatius, Riverview). Julie Bishop (St Peter’s Collegiate Girls’ School, Adelaide). Warren Truss (Concordia Lutheran College, Toowoomba). George Brandis (Villanova College, Brisbane). Joe Hockey (St Aloysius, Sydney). Christopher Pyne (St Ignatius, Adelaide). Barnaby Joyce (St Ignatius, Riverview). Andrew Robb (Christian Brothers Parade College, Melbourne). Malcolm Turnbull (Sydney Grammar). Sophie Mirabella (St Catherine’s School, Toorak).
Of the Coalition’s major frontbench players, only Scott Morrison (Sydney Boys High) and Eric Abetz (Hobart College) managed to rise above the horrors of a state school education. How despondent and alone they must feel when the ladies withdraw after dinner and the Old Boys’ chat over the port and cigars turns to rugger, cadets, year 12 skiing trips to Kitzbuhel and the creepy fingers of the junior physics master late at night in the dorm. Any further questions ?
Er, yes. Here’s a question. Why did Mike Carlton not declare that he attended the then all-boys Church of England’s Barker College on Sydney’s leafy North Shore? [According to my Gregory’s UB, Barker College is located in the somewhat commercial Hornsby. So how come Barker College types invariably place the school in Waitara? – Ed].
If he had declared his private schooling, then Mr Carlton could have regaled Herald readers with accounts of discussion among the chaps, with port in hand, over rugger and cadets and Year 12 skiing trips and the creepy fingers. [That’s enough – Ed].
Can you bear it?
● George Negus Reflects on Others in the Sack
MWD has yet to read George Negus’ 2011 tome titled The World From Down Under: A Chat with Recent History (HarperCollins). A copy has been purchased but a quick glance reveals some 500 pages of literary sludge so this Negus tome has yet to be analysed by the MWD team. Writing in The Spectator Australia on 3 February 2012, John Heard declared that George Negus “cannot write”. As the saying goes, Heard’s not wrong:
Your man Negus was set for big ships when he signed up with the Ten Network. However, one by one his shows were moved or dropped. And now Negus appears with the likes of Yumi Stynes on The Circle.
And so it came to pass on Tuesday that The Circle chose to sneer at Corporal Ben Roberts-Smith VC, who won Australia’s highest military award for bravery in Afghanistan in 2010. The Circle showed footage of Roberts-Smith in a swimming pool – after which Yumi Stynes commented: “He’s going to dive down to the bottom of the pool to see if his brain is there.” Funny, eh?
Then George Negus commented, inarticulately:
I’m sure he’s a really good guy. Nothing about poor old Ben, but that sort of bloke – and what if they’re not up to it in the sack?
Laugh? An unidentified panellist got Negus’ “joke” and quipped: “Are you intimating, George Negus, that he could be a dud root?”
How The Circle panel laughed. Until the audience commenced complaining about the Stynes/Negus infantile jokes. Then it was time for apology mode. Here is the George Negus apology:
In no way was it meant to be a comment or a reflection on Lt. Colonel Ben Roberts-Smith, directly or otherwise. However, if my comment has unintentionally offended Ben, his family, or his ADF/SAS colleagues, obviously I am sorry.
How about that? First up, George Negus referred to Corporal Roberts-Smith as “poor old Ben”. Roberts-Smith was born in 1978; Negus was born in 1942. Then Negus implied that Roberts-Smith was “not up to it in the sack”. Then, when the viewers complained, Negus declared that he never made a comment or a reflection on Roberts-Smith. Then in his formal apology Negus referred to Corporal Roberts-Smith as Lt. Colonel.
Can you bear it?
THE PHILOSOPHICAL MIND OF ALAIN DE BOTTON – AS CHANNELLED BY NANCY
Clever dog that she is, Nancy has got hold of the off-cuts of the interview which Alain de Botton conducted with Chris Uhlmann on 7.30 (21 February) during the learned philosopher’s most recent visit Down Under. Here is Nancy’s take on the bits which did not get to air – with a little help from Alain de Botton’s interview with Fran Kelly on RN Breakfast (20 February) and help from “The Diary” piece in the New Statesman (30 January) and the profile piece by Steve Meacham on The Saturday Age (28 January).
TRANSCRIPT : Posted by Nancy – Leap Day 2012
Chris Uhlmann Presenter (as channelled to Nancy): The words “best selling” and “philosopher” don’t usually appear in the same sentence, unless you’re Alain de Botton. I’m not. But you are. Alain de Botton – you have tapped a deep need in applying philosophy to life. How do you do it?
Alain de Botton: (as channelled by Nancy): Thank you. G.K. Chesterton said once – or was it twice? – that when man ceases to believe in God, he does not believe in nothing. No, hey, he believes in anything. As a philosopher, I have found this comment moving in more ways than one. I can move from Britain to Australia and meet a real need by applying my philosophy to the lives of others and selling lots of my books – which also, dare I say, taps a deep need in applying philosophy to life and adding to my bank balance. People believe in me and I’m a believer – albeit in myself.
Chris Uhlmann: But you’re an atheist – like your father Gilbert de Botton, who was perhaps the atheist-in-chief at both the Rothschild Bank and Global Asset Management. What’s an atheist like you doing writing a book like Religion for Atheists?
Alan de Botton : The assumption is that if you don’t believe in anything you will be completely uninterested in the whole spectre of religion. I do not believe this to be so. For example, I’m interested in selling books to believers and non-believers alike. With a book like Religion for Atheists – you can appeal to believers, non-believers and publishers alike. Also women like my (philosophical) mind.
Chris Uhlmann: You also see a need for community in architecture. Just as atheists can benefit from non-spiritual spirituality – do all of us urban dwellers need to be at peace with our built habitat?
Alain de Botton: I believe so. Many academic philosophers, domiciled in relatively poorly paid jobs in universities, do not see the world as I see the world during my travels. Consider my recent visit to the German town of Wittenberg. It was there that Martin Luther nailed his Ninety-Five Theses to the Cathedral door in 1517. What if there had been no door or, indeed, no Cathedral? . Perhaps the Protestant Reformation would not have taken place. So, as you can see, there is a deep causal link between religion and architecture, theses and doors and so on.
Chris Uhlmann: You’ve written at length about the religiosity of doors. How important are doors to applying philosophy to life?
Alain de Botton : Well, hey, I’ve written at length about most things. Not only doors. But the door represents the embodiment of life’s challenges. Let me apply a case study. I approach a door. If it’s open, it says: “Welcome”, “Come in”. If it’s closed, what does this mean? To me the questions are : “Should I knock to gain entry? Or should I kick the door down? You see what I mean?
Chris Uhlmann: Yes, of course. You are a very passionate person – as I noticed in the YouTube clip of you asking a sassy sheila out to dinner. I spent time as a seminarian. To me, you seem to be yearning for religion, for a sense of belief in a greater entity – an entity greater than you, if such an entity is possible.
Alain de Botton : I’m genuinely an atheist – who wants to tap into the believers’ market. But I’m a cosmos kind of guy. And I can see the secular benefits of spirituality. You know, when I was a boy growing up in a small flat on the first floor of the Rothschild Bank on Main Street – people who bayed at the moon were thought to be nut-cases. So people in finely tailored white coats would come around and put them in the back of a truck and drive them to an asylum where they were hog-tied on the night of every full-moon. I thought at the time – hang on a minute. Do we really need to do this?
That was cosmos-denial behaviour. These days, I participate in the Zen Buddhist festival of Sukimi each September. We stand on a special conical platform, eat rice cakes and drink tea and recite poems in honour of the moon and the planets and our place in a vast universe. And then we write books about our experience and travel to Australia to talk about our experience to packed audiences at the taxpayer subsidised Wheeler Centre in Melbourne. And no one, but no one, turns up in a finely tailored white coast – except if Martin Bell happens to be visiting from the Old Country and is dressed in his familiar attire.
Chris Uhlmann : You’re a fan of Marcel Proust?
Alain de Botton : Yes, certainly. I read his In Search of Lost Time. I didn’t know what he was talking about. But I know that, as an author, Proust had a motivation in life. Namely, to complete the job – to finish the manuscript and expunge the publisher’s advance. Religion is like that. I’m a sensual kind of guy – and not just when asking Mrs de Botton out to dinner. If you want to touch us – give us music, give us fine cathedrals with great spires, give us ceremonies and rituals, give us fine-dining fish with altar wine, give us table candles and incense. Give us religious practices, without the religion. To paraphrase Karl (or was it Groucho?) Marx – God didn’t create man. Man created God. How clever was that? How clever am I?
Chris Uhlmann: Do you have a cosmos-like experience when hearing the Catholic hymn “Faith of our Fathers”, which I sang during my years at the seminary?
Alain de Botton: No. Not really. The cosmos is bigger than fathers – who, you know, are men. Or who used to be men, when I lived above the Rothschild Bank on Main Street. Yes/No. I can get a cosmos-hit by visiting a science observatory and wondering not about the latest telescope – but rather focusing on what is, if you like, a humanistic truth. Such as: “My goodness, we’re small in a vast universe and, due to time, death is on the wing and telescopes can only show us so much.” No one ever thought this before. Or, if they did, they never wrote about it.
Chris Uhlmann : And the future of religion? How do you see it?
Alain de Botton : Well religions are far too useful, complex, intelligent, sensual, to be abandoned to people who happen to believe in them. That’s not fair. Religion is for all of us – particularly for those of us kinder/gentler atheists who are not religious but who want to sell quickly-written books to believers. I maintain that we should repair the monasteries and fill them with Trappist monks. As humans, we all need a certain silence. Speaking for myself – as I tend always to do – I appreciate the silence of an audience when I am telling them about how to apply a philosophy to life. As to myself – well – like St Paul, my prayer is this: “(Secular) God – make me silent. But not just yet. I’ve got too many interviews to give, talks to deliver, books to flog”
Chris Uhlmann (as channelled by Nancy) : Thank you
Alain de Botton (as channelled by Nancy) : Thanks so much. By the way, after Religion for Atheists, my next book will be titled Meat for Vegetarians.
CORRESPONDENCE – ON THE LATEST POLEMIC ON RUPERT MURDOCH – THIS ONE BY DAVID McKNIGHT OUT OF THE AUSSIE TAXPAYER
Last Monday, Nick Cater reviewed David McKnight’s Rupert Murdoch : An Investigation of Political Power (Allen & Unwin) in the “Media” section of The Australian. Mr Cater was unkind enough to remind readers that Mr McKnight (as he then was) was a one-time member of the Communist Party of Australia and a one-time barracker for the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia. Dr McKnight’s (for a doctor he now is) one-time infatuation with Pol Pot’s henchmen was first revealed in MWD. See MWD Issues 87 and 88. MWD Issue 88 includes Dr McKnight’s response.
Gerard Henderson was shocked to read in the final paragraph of the Cater Review that David McKnight had received a taxpayer funded handout of a whopping $196,647 to research his polemic – which contains an introduction by the well-known Murdochphobic Professor Robert Manne. So Gerard Henderson wrote to David McKnight – and the following correspondence took place:
GERARD HENDERSON TO DAVID McKNIGHT – 27 FEBRUARY 2012
In the words of the cliché – Say It Ain’t So.
I have not bought your Rupert Murdoch book yet. However, I noted in Nick Cater’s review in today’s “Media” section in The Australian that you received a whopping $196,647 from the Australian Research Council for this latest tome on the Dirty Digger.
Can this be so? If it is – what did you spend the money on? And how does an aspiring author go about getting such moolah? I’ve written a few books in my life time but never had support from the Australian taxpayer.
Maybe Nick Cater made this up. Let me know.
DAVID McKNIGHT TO GERARD HENDERSON – 28 FEBRUARY 2012
I hope you don’t mind, but I really don’t want to get into a back-and-forth exchange of letters on this. If you suspect there is something improper about the research grant, then please contact the Australian Research Council.
If you want more information on the purpose, eligibility and assessment of research grants this can be found on the ARC website.
GERARD HENDERSON TO DAVID McKNIGHT – 1 MARCH 2012
That’s okay. It’s just that I assumed that someone in favour of openness might have provided a brief response concerning the expenditure of taxpayers’ money.
I went to the Australian Research Council website to obtain information about the (seemingly) large grant for your recently published polemic on Rupert Murdoch. It contains but one line indicating that $196,647 was paid to the University of Technology, Sydney for “A study of political commentary in the outlets of a major media corporation”. This is hardly transparent.
The reference number is DPO774025 – the same number is referred to in the “Acknowledgements” section of your Rupert Murdoch: An Investigation of Political Power (Allen & Unwin).
I never suggested that there was something “improper” about this grant. After all, I am aware that many leftist academics have been funded by the ARC to write leftist books over the years. It’s part of what the ARC does, apparently.
It’s just that $196,647 seems a lot of money for yet another book on Rupert Murdoch. It works out at around $815 per page – or $3 per word. Nice (taxpayer funded) grant – if you can get it.
* * * *
Until next time.