GERARD HENDERSON’S MEDIA WATCH DOG – ISSUE NO. 316
20 May 2016
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.
- Stop Press: Richard Flanagan Bags Messrs Turnbull and Abbott as Philistines; MWD’s Modest Meanjin Proposal: An Update
- Can You Bear It? Paul Barry on White Faces (of Others) & Waleed Aly on Obsessions (of Others)
- The Guardian’s Alan Rusbridger Bails Out – Blames A Failure to “Monetise”
- Manners Maketh the Canine: The Need for Nancy’s Courtesy Classes: 7.30, Libbi Gorr & The “B” Word
- History Corner: The National Portrait Gallery’s Intellectual Dishonesty
- Correspondence: Michael Hains & Shane Phelps Help Out re The Fitz Files, Cardinal Pell & Sydney University’s Wesley College
- RICHARD FLANAGAN’S ANTI-TURNBULL AND ANTI-ABBOTT RANT
Just when it looked as if there might be no Stop Press segment in today’s MWD, the Tasmanian leftist writer Richard Flanagan stepped up. For which, many thanks to The Guardian Australia. At 10.20 pm last night – it posted your man Flanagan’s speech to the Australian Book Industry Awards. The title was: “Be under no illusion, Malcolm Turnbull wants to destroy Australian literature”. That’s clear, then.
The leftist writer is oh-so-upset with the Coalition’s policy on the book industry. It seems that Mr Flanagan believes that Australian consumers should pay more money for books in order to support stay-at-home authors. So he ranted against both the Productivity Commission and the Coalition concerning the issue of territorial copyright – despite the fact that the Turnbull government has yet to respond to the Productivity Commission’s recommendations on this issue.
In his (verbal) Epistle to the Sandalistas last night, Richard Flanagan:
▪ declared that “the Abbott and now Turnbull governments’ record drips with a contempt for writers and writing”.
▪ maintained that “the Productivity Commission doesn’t call books books – instead they are called, in a flourish not unworthy of Don de Lillo – cultural externalities”.
Soon after, Flanagan quoted the Productivity Commission as referring to “the book production industries”. Note – not the “cultural externalities industries”.
▪ asserted that if “the clumsy phrase ‘book production industries’ is replaced with the word ‘kulak’… you would have ideological cant worthy of Stalin.”
In other words, Productivity Commission chairman Peter Harris is just another Joe Stalin. Really.
▪ claimed that the words of the Turnbull government are “rats feet over broken glass”.
▪ opined that “the only thing these people [i.e. members of the Turnbull government] read are The Panama Papers to see if their own name has cropped up”.
▪ alleged that “a single South Australian submarine worker gets $17.9 million” – presumably from the Commonwealth government. Each and every one, apparently.
▪ depicted the Liberal Party as “the party of philistines”.
▪ hyperbolised that the Coalition “has brought Australia only global shame”.
And what was Richard Flanagan’s final message to those attending the 2016 Book Industry Awards with respect to the Coalition government? It was this: “F_ck them” – i.e. the Turnbull government. How strange that such an accomplished Australian writer has so limited a vocabulary. [Perhaps he could be invited to attend Nancy’s Courtesy Classes. Just a thought. – MWD editor]
- A CONSERVATIVE’S MODEST PROPOSAL CONCERNING THE LEFT’S HOUSE-JOURNAL MEANJIN (CONTINUED)
There was much interest in Gerard Henderson’s proposal in last week’s MWD that the left might be able to save the left’s very own Meanjin (established 1940) by taking-round-the-hat. What MWD had in mind was that some 300 wealthy socialists could kick-in $300 a year for four years and cover the Australia Council’s decision not to fund the magazine’s request for a $95,000 grant a year for four years.
MWD was thinking of such well qualified comrades as Cate Blanchett Hon. DLitt UNSW, Macquarie Uni, plus Julian (“I just love flashing my post-nominals”) Burnside AO QC plus Phillip (“I was a teenage comm”) Adams AO, AM, Hon. D. Univ (Griffith), Hon. DLitt (ECU), Hon. D Univ (SA), DLitt (Syd), Hon. D Univ (Macquarie), FRSA, Hon. FAHA. And that’s just a selection from the As and Bs in Who’s Who in Australia.
Meanjin editor Jonathan Green saw wisdom in the advice proposed by Nancy’s (male) co-owner. This is what he tweeted on 13 May 2016:
Due to a temporary absence from Australia – on work, not a well-earned break, commitments – Hendo missed picking up the whole story. Sure the leftist Meanjin lost its annual grant. But the conservative Quadrant magazine got nothing. Absolutely nothing. Meanwhile, lotsa leftist magazines received much taxpayer funded moolah. To wit:
▪ Australian Book Review – $560,000 (an increase of $20,000 per year).
▪ Griffith Review – $400,000 (an increase of $40,000 per year) and
▪ Overland – $320,000 (an increase of $20,000 per year).
So $80,000 of the money that Meanjin did not receive was passed around to such leftist magazines as Australian Book Review, Griffith Review and Overland. Your taxes at work. Come to think of it, wealthy socialists could fund all of the above leftist magazines and the money saved could be spent on a good cause. Like the construction of latrines on the Stuart Highway. See MWD passim.
- IS THERE NO ABC MIRROR? PAUL BARRY BEMOANS THE OVER-SUPPLY OF WHITE FACES ON AUSTRALIAN TV
What a stunning performance by ABC1 Media Watch presenter Paul Barry last Monday. Throwing self-awareness to non-operative, your man Barry bemoaned the absence of non-white presenters/journalists on Australian television. Let’s go to the transcript which commences not long after Mr Barry welcomed the fact that Waleed Aly (born in Australia of Egyptian born parents) had just won the 2016 Gold Logie Award.
…Waleed Aly does have a point. He’s the first brown face in the awards’ 57 year history to win a Gold Logie. And in a country where almost half the population was born overseas, or has a parent born overseas, he’s still a rarity.
Turn on prime-time TV News in Sydney—apart from SBS—and this is who you’ll see: all white, except for the ABC’s Jeremy Fernandez. It’s the same story in Canberra. And if you switch the dial to Melbourne the picture’s much the same.
Moving over to Hobart there’s still not a brown or black face in sight. Nor is there one in Adelaide. In Perth, Ten has an indigenous newsreader, but all the others are white. Darwin’s ABC has a newsreader of Greek parentage, and the rest are white. And in Brisbane, the ABC’s Karina Carvalho was born in Sri Lanka.
So, put all those 40 faces together and as you can see it’s a sea of white. And if you have a spare couple of minutes, check out your local radio hosts as well and you’ll find it’s just the same.
Fancy that. And what about Aunty’s very own Media Watch? – I hear you ask. Well, Media Watch has had seven presenters since it went to air in 1989 – Stuart Littlemore, Richard Ackland, David Marr, Liz Jackson, Monica Attard, Paul Barry, Jonathan Holmes and Paul Barry (yet again).
All are on the left of politics. All are white. All are Anglo-Saxon, except for Monica Attard. Moreover, Mr Barry and Mr Holmes are left-of-centre Brits – who came to Australia to better their media careers. And Paul Barry reckons that there are too many white faces on Australian TV.
Here’s a modest proposal. Mr Barry can always retire and hand over his gig to Waleed, who would at least continue Media Watch’s tradition of leftist presenters. Of course, Tim Blair has proposed Sky News’ very able commentator Rita Panahi – but she’s unlikely to get a gig inside the ABC’s Conservative-Free Zone.
The “white” TV presenters shown on Media Watch
The “white” TV presenters not shown on Media Watch
- WALEED ALY’S “THEY” OBSESSION
While on the topic of Waleed Aly, did anyone read the profile on him by John Lyons in The Australian Magazine on 23 April 2016? The piece was headed: “There Are People Out There Who Have A Very Weird & Quite Sinister Obsession With Me”. Really.
Now, this was not a rogue heading. For this is what your man Aly told Lyons:
I’m aware that there are people out there, although they wouldn’t admit this, who are on the fringes of discourse who have a very weird and I think probably quite sinister obsession with me.
How about that? The Monash University academic, who is co-host of both Network Ten’s The Project and ABC Radio National’s The Minefield, did not say precisely who the dreaded “THEY” are.
Mr Aly also seems to be upset that sometimes people see him as outraged. This is what he told Lyons – in somewhat confused syntax:
These days everyone seems to be outraged all the time. Now we demonstrate our virtue by outrage. Even when I don’t feel I am expressing outrage, it is reported that way. It’s only interesting if someone is outraged.
Once again, Waleed Aly did not name the names of individuals who seem “to be outraged all the time”. This is the kind of hyperbole which would be marked down, if presented by a student, by any half-competent academic.
Now here’s a suggestion. Perhaps “THEY” are obsessed with Mr Aly on account of the fact that he is a media star. Take The Australian Magazine’s profile, for example. Your man Aly was on the cover with a guitar wearing a grey jacket, white shirt with tie undone. Then there’s a full-page pic with Mr Aly seated in a chair sans guitar – dressed in grey jacket, white shirt, black slacks and shoes, but tieless. Then there are photos – presumably from a family album – with Waleed playing a guitar and on his wedding day. Finally there is a photo of Waleed Aly posing in a white shirt, tie (almost) done up, dark slacks and shoes.
If Waleed Aly wants no one to be obsessed with him, then MWD suggests that he ceases drawing media attention to himself.
But this seems unlikely. As The Australian Magazine reveals, Monash University academic Waleed Aly has a full-time agent, a publicist at Channel 10 and an ABC producer. All three handle requests for interviews for someone who complains that certain (unnamed) persons are obsessed with him. Can you bear it?
LUVVIES’ HERO ALAN RUSBRIDGER BAILS OUT – WITHOUT “MONETISING” HIS ECONOMIC FOLLY
Remember the days, of not so long ago, when The Guardian’s then editor-in-chief Alan Rusbridger visited Australia to deliver the ABC’s Andrew Olle Media Lecture to a room primarily full of ABC’s luvvies. The year was 2010 and the audience just loved it as the leftist Alan Rusbridger praised the leftist Guardian and bagged Rupert Murdoch in the process.
As MWD has pointed out ad nauseam with respect to The Guardian, it’s not too difficult to run a newspaper if your print edition loses lotsa money every year. And if your online edition – which is available for free – does not make enough money to pay for a newspaper’s overall losses. Provided you don’t care much about losses. It’s called left-wing, or progressive, economics. Just spend money today in the hope that something may turn up tomorrow.
It’s called the Micawber Principle – after the character in Charles Dickens’s novel David Copperfield – who was always waiting for something to turn up. Like money. Despite Mr Micawber’s sound (theoretical) advice about the need to balance budgets, he never did. He just spent and borrowed – until entering the Debtors’ Prison.
It was much the same with Alan Rusbridger – albeit with different consequences. The front-page story in last Saturday’s International New York Times was headed: “After storied career, ex-Guardian editor is driven to resign.”
In 2015, after some two decades as The Guardian’s editor-in-chief, your man Rusbridger stepped down and was replaced by Katharine Viner. It had been understood that Rusbridger would take up the position of chairman of the Scott Trust, the not-for-profit organisation that owns The Guardian and presides over the surplus which has been rapidly drained over the past decade or so.
However, last week Rusbridger was pushed out of this position by current Guardian editor Katharine Viner and The Guardian’s chief executive officer David Pemsel. The problem? Well in 2015, under Mr Rusbridger’s leadership, The Guardian lost a mere 45.3 million Pounds. That’s all. This is just the latest in the newspaper’s massive losses as, Micwaber-like, Mr Rusbridger waited for something to turn up. It didn’t. So he was turned out.
Needless to say, the leading ABC luvvies fawned all over Rusbridger when he visited Australia for the Andrew Olle Lecture in 2010 and again last year for a function at the Opera House. That’s not surprising – since the ABC is financed by the practice of its managing director and chairman taking an empty bucket to Canberra every three years and asking the Commonwealth Government to fill it up with lotsa taxpayer funds. Then it’s a matter of returning to the ABC’s headquarters in inner-city Sydney and spending the moolah. Many ABC types do not realise that, in the private sector, you cannot forever spend money that you do not have.
The naivety of the ABC on matters in the real world of finance was never more evident than in 2010. Nice Mr Scott, in his role as the ABC’s managing director, drooled over Alan Rusbridger when he moved the vote of thanks at the 2010 Andrew Olle Lecture. The naïve drooling continued apace when PM presenter Mark Colvin interviewed The Guardian’s (then) editor-in-chief on 15 November 2010. As avid MWD readers will recall, part of the conversation went like this:
Mark Colvin: Do you think that you will be producing a Guardian in print in the year 2020, say?
Alan Rusbridger: I’ve got no idea. I think the forces that are bearing down on the industry at the moment are so unpredictable and extraordinary it’s sort of fruitless to speculate and in a sense I don’t mind. It’s beyond my control. It’ll be in the hands of people who are going to invent the digital devices, it’ll be in the decisions of readers and my overwhelming aim is just to keep on producing The Guardian in a form which will suit whatever technology people invent.
Mark Colvin: Okay, but you say that we’re in a sort of five or 10 year transition period. What is your model for getting through that transition?
Alan Rusbridger: The model is to continue producing great journalism, to make it adaptable and sympathetic to whatever technology is there and whatever platform – and to have a fantastic commercial department who will then work out how to monetise it.
Your man Colvin – who on his program is constantly lecturing the business community on a daily basis – accepted The Guardian editor-in-chief’s approach to business. Including the decision to take money from The Guardian’s Media Group’s investment fund, while refusing to establish a pay-wall for The Guardian’s website, until something turned up. All that happened was that losses continued apace. As Mr Rusbridger waited for someone to turn up who would monetise his folly. No one fronted up.
But don’t worry about your man Rusbridger. It appears that he has lined up a taxpayer subsidised job at Oxford University. Can you bear it?
LIBBI GORR REVISITS THE “B” WORD WITH RESPECT TO A LIBERAL PARTY CANDIDATE (OF COURSE)
Alas, it seems that Nancy’s rebuke of Sky News commentator – and former Queensland Labor premier – Peter Beattie had little impact. As you may or may not recall, MWD rebuked Mr Beattie for his discourtesy in calling Sophie Mirabella “a bitch”. See MWD Issue 314.
For this is what happened last Monday when 7.30 despatched comedian Libby Gore (why not?) to interview two of the candidates for Indi at the coming election. Namely, the Liberal Party’s Sophie Mirabella and Independent MP Cathy McGowan. Let’s go to the transcript just after the visiting comedian opined that Ms Mirabella “has certainly attracted more than her share of invective”:
Libbi Gorr to Sophie Mirabella
Libbi Gorr: How do you cope with being portrayed as a bitch? Do you feel you are portrayed as a bitch?
Sophie Mirabella: I think those sorts of labels say more about my detractors and opponents than about me.
Libbi Gorr to Cathy McGowan
Libbi Gorr: And the people that don’t like Sophie on a personal level that join your campaign?
Cathy McGowan: (Shrugs) (Shrugs again) Yeah. And people who don’t like me, of which there’s many.
Libbi Gorr: Who? Name one.
Cathy McGowan: So – so, that’s how it is. People make emotional decisions about people and that’s just the game, isn’t it?
Yeah, that’s how it is. That’s just a game. 7.30’s presenter put it to Ms Mirabella that she is a bitch. And then Libbi Gore suggested to Ms McGowan that everybody likes her. That’s balance – ABC style.
Apparently the 7.30 team of producer Jo Puccini and presenter Leigh Sales think it appropriate to put to air a question in which Libbi Gorr asked Sophie Mirabella to respond to the suggestion that she is “a bitch”.
ABC Ladies – off to Nancy’s Courtesy Classes for you.
NATIONAL PORTRAIT GALLERY’S DISHONEST COMPARISONS OF BERT EVATT AND DANIEL MANNIX
The year 1916 was an important time in 20th Century Australian history. There was the Dublin Rising in Ireland, the Battle of Fromelles on the Western Front and the first plebiscite on conscription. Dr Daniel Mannix, then the Catholic Coadjutor Archbishop of Melbourne, was active in the debates concerning Ireland, Australia’s contribution to the Allied cause in the First World War and the initial conscription plebiscite. He was more deeply involved in the second conscription plebiscite the following year.
During a trip to Canberra earlier this year, Gerard Henderson visited the National Portrait Gallery to check on how former Labor leader Dr Bert Evatt and Dr Mannix were hanging out – so to speak.
Guess what? The NPG’s painting of what it terms “H V (Doc) Evatt – by Arnold Shore” was in its usual prominent position. But there was no sign of the NPG’s painting of what it terms a “Study of Archbishop Mannix: 1962” by the famous Australian artist Clifton Pugh. On enquiring where your man Mannix might have gone – Hendo was advised that the Mannix portrait was “not on display”. This despite the fact that 2016 is the centenary of the year in which Daniel Mannix became one of the best known persons – in church or state – in Australia during the 20th Century.
No explanation was provided as to why Clifton Pugh’s important portrait was on what journalists are wont to call a “well-earned break”. Fancy that. What hopeless timing. And so on.
By the way, this is the NPG’s description of Arnold Shore’s portrait of Bert Evatt that was purchased in 1998:
Herbert Vere Evatt (1894–1965) was a Labor politician, judge, historian and statesman. One of eight boys, he grew up in East Maitland before starting at Sydney’s Fort Street selective school in 1905. He left the University of Sydney with first class honours, prizes and medals in Arts and Law in 1918 and was called to the bar soon after. Having won the seat of Balmain for the Labor party in 1925, in 1930 he became the youngest judge ever appointed to the High Court of Australia. Elected to Federal Parliament in 1940, he held the seat of Barton for eighteen years. From 1941 to 1949 he was Attorney-General and Minister for External Affairs. After the war he led the Australian delegation to the San Francisco meeting at which the United Nations was founded, taking Jessie Street with him. In 1948 he was elected President of the General Assembly of the United Nations; the only Australian ever to have held the position, he oversaw the formulation and adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
As minister for External Affairs he assisted in Indonesia’s transition to independence. In 1949, ASIO had been established, and soon thousands of supposed communists were threatened with jail in the event of a war. When Prime Minister Menzies attempted to outlaw the Communist Party in Australia, Evatt led the effort to defeat the proposal in 1950; a referendum saw the Party’s legitimacy confirmed. In 1951, he became leader of the opposition, and he led the Labor Party until 1960. His sheer brilliance making him a rather poor team player in the workplace, he made many enemies, including the US State Department – yet also had his devoted supporters. Indigenous activist Faith Bandler said: ‘We would not find it possible to be as outspoken today as we are if Dr Evatt had not fought for us as a judge, as a politician and as an Australian.’
Arnold Shore (1897–1963) trained at the National Gallery of Victoria School during World War I. In 1932, Shore established the Bell-Shore School with George Bell, and it quickly became an important influence on the development of Melbourne modernism. Doc Evatt and his wife Mary Alice were supporters of modern art and gave him his first portrait commission, in which he showed Evatt wearing the red robe of Doctor of Laws awarded him by the University of Sydney in 1924. Shore is now represented in all major Australian galleries.
And here is the NPG’s description of Clifton Pugh’s portrait of Daniel Mannix that was purchased in 2005:
Archbishop Daniel Mannix (1864-1963) was Catholic Archbishop of Melbourne from 1917 to 1963. Mannix was born in Ireland, and was 49 when sent to Australia. Here he quickly established a reputation for belligerence and social divisiveness as he confronted enemies of the church and denounced evils such as freemasonry, mixed marriage and birth control. He gained a huge Catholic and working class following, antagonising establishment Protestants with his open hostility to the British Empire. The greatest sectarian conflict in Australian history developed out of his opposition to Billy Hughes’s bid for conscription. In 1920 the British navy intercepted a ship carrying Mannix to prevent his visiting Ireland. In later life Mannix was mentor to BA Santamaria, the scourge of communism and foe of ‘Doc’ Evatt. He died, with all faculties undiminished, at the age of 99.
How about that? The NPG’s verbiage on Bert Evatt refers to “supposed communists” in Australia in the early 1950s. In fact, the “supposed communists” at the time were all supporters of the Soviet Union’s totalitarian communist dictator Joe Stalin while some actively spied for Moscow. In his book The Family File, Mark Aarons (the son of one-time communist party functionary Laurie Aarons) documented that the Communist Party of Australia from the mid-1940s until the mid-1960s was funded by the Soviet Union.
The NPG also neglects to advise visitors that Bert Evatt – who liked to go by the pretentious title “Doc” – was primarily responsible for splitting the Labor Party in 1954/55. Also, the NPG makes no specific reference to the fact that Bert Evatt led Labor to three defeats in a row – in 1954, 1955 and 1958. In short, the NPG’s description of Bert Evatt is unbalanced and, consequently, deficient.
And then there is Daniel Mannix. NPG visitors are advised of the Catholic Archbishop’s (alleged) “belligerence and social divisiveness”. Contrary to the NPG’s assertion, Dr Mannix rarely mentioned Freemasonry and birth control. And it is completely false to state that he “denounced” the “evil” of mixed marriages between Catholics and Protestants. The NPG just made this up. Certainly mixed marriages were discouraged by the Catholic Church – but not condemned, provided the union in question was presided over by a Catholic priest.
Moreover, it is bad history to state that Archbishop Mannix, rather than Prime Minister Bill Hughes, was primarily responsible for the sectarianism that prevailed during and immediately after World War I. Moreover, the reference to B.A. Santamaria as “the scourge of communism and foe of ‘Doc’ Evatt” is a lightweight analysis. By the way, Santamaria outlived Evatt by almost four decades. So it is a woeful history to depict both Mannix and Santamaria solely with reference to the man the NPG likes to refer to as “Doc Evatt”. Daniel Mannix was born in 1864, Bert Evatt was born in 1894 and Bob Santamaria in 1915. They all came from quite different generations.
The NPG completely overlooks all the achievements of Daniel Mannix in overseeing the construction of Catholic schools, hospitals and welfare agencies which saved Australian taxpayers – including Freemasons, Protestants and communists – a huge amount of money. What’s more, the NPG also dismisses the important contribution Daniel Mannix made to the anti-communist cause in Australia.
The NPG’s relative descriptions of Dr Evatt and Dr Mannix are unfair and unprofessional. Absolute tosh, in fact. By the way, the National Portrait Gallery is funded by the Australian taxpayer.
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 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. There are, alas, some occasions where Hendo sends a polite missive but does not receive the courtesy of a reply. Nevertheless, publication of this one-sided correspondence still takes place. For the record and in the public interest, of course.
As MWD 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 – not even Ms Murphy herself (See MWD Issue 297).
- MICHAEL HAINS AND GERARD HENDERSON
As avid readers will be aware (see MWD Issue 314), Michael Hains wrote to the Australia Press Council complaining about Peter FitzSimons’ claim in The Fitz Files that under the Melbourne Response – set up by the (then) Archbishop George Pell in 1996 to cover reported instances of clerical child sexual abuse – not one matter was referred to Victoria Police. As documented in MWD Issue 312, Fitzy’s statement was recklessly false.
The Fitz Files’ howler was published in the online edition of the Sydney Morning Herald on 5 March 2016 and in the print edition of the Sun-Herald the following day. Neither the Sydney Morning Herald’s editor-in-chief Darren Goodsir nor his managing editor Stuart Washington made any attempt to correct this Fairfax Media falsehood. Until the intervention of the Australia Press Council that is. The APC ruled against The Fitz Files and Fairfax Media made some grudging – and little publicised – corrections. See MWD Issue 314.
Mr Hains reckons that Sydney Morning Herald’s editor-in-chief Darren Goodsir’s response – following the Australia Press Council intervention – was grossly inadequate. Let’s have a look at what Michael Hains has to say:
Michael Hains to Gerard Henderson – 16 May 2016
It was pleasing to see the Press Council compel the (Fairfax Media) to publish a correction to The Fitz Files published on Sydney Morning Herald website on 5 March 2016 (6 March in the Sun Herald). In that article Peter FitzSimons falsely asserts that not “a single call” had been made to the Victorian Police from the Melbourne Response set up by (then) Archbishop Pell.
The correction published by Fairfax Media on 27 March is really a “Claytons Correction”. You know, the correction you have when you’re not having a correction.
In part the Claytons Correction reads: “The Sun Herald accepts the article should have made clear this assertion has been challenged by a Melbourne Response independent commissioner, Peter O’Callaghan, QC, who provided the same inquiry with details of several referrals he had made to police.” My emphasis.
See MWD Issue 312 for the different forms of the correction, two of the three use the phrase “several referrals”.
The word “several” – whether you use a dictionary definition or common usage – means more than two but not very many. So let’s be generous and say it means seven. Peter O’Callaghan QC’s evidence at the Royal Commission was that 304 complaints were made under the Melbourne Response. Of these 97 were reported to the Victorian Police. A further 76 victims were encouraged to go the Police. See the transcripts of Case Study 16. These figures were quoted in a Miranda Devine article published in the Daily Telegraph on 27 February 2016, over a week before Peter FitzSimons’ article.
So according to Fairfax Media “several” (and remember we have an indulgent definition of seven) means 97. Wow, Fairfax Media’s “Claytons Correction” understated the truth by a factor of over 13! So anyone reading the “Claytons Correction” is unlikely to ever know the magnitude of FitzSimons’ howler.
It seems Fairfax Media, even when “dragged kicking and screaming” by the Press Council, has a problem with reporting basic facts about Cardinal Pell and the Catholic Church. Don’t let the truth interfere with a good story, despite what Darren (“I am concerned about any factual errors”) Goodsir may say – see MWD Issue 312.
Those readers who value truth and accuracy in reporting can drown their sorrows in a bottle of Claytons – “the drink you have when you’re not having a drink”.
Gerard Henderson to Michael Hains – 20 May 2016
Thanks for your note.
That’s a good point. Fairfax Media’s so-called “correction” was woefully inadequate for so-serious an allegation.
Clearly, in “The Fitz Files” on 6 March 2016, Peter FitzSimons just made up his allegation that no matters were referred to Victoria Police under the Melbourne Response. Yet your man Fitzy has made no apology for his reckless falsehood. Another gutless (media) wonder.
Keep up the fight.
- SHANE PHELPS AND GERARD HENDERSON
Last week’s MWD drew attention to Peter FitzSimons’ defence of the courtesy and lack of sexism which he alleged prevailed at Sydney University’s residential Wesley College when he was a university student in the 1970s. MWD doubted the self-serving account in The Fitz Files about the ethical standards of Wesley College students compared with those in all male colleges – citing a recent report of bad behaviour by contemporary Wesley College male students. Unlike The Fitz Files, MWD is open to debate on such issues. Hence this missive, from a certain Mr Shane Phelps:
Shane Phelps to Gerard Henderson – 14 May 2016
Dear Mr. Henderson
I find myself in the surprising situation of agreeing with Peter Fitzsimons on something. Namely, his 2012 comment on Wesley College during his undergraduate days, viz:
In my [Wesley] college experience, no such rituals involved heavy sexism as – I kid you not – for the last 40 years Wesley has been noted as a place where strong women abound and we Wesley blokes weren’t allowed to be too sexist. Not surprisingly, the worst of the excesses over the years have come from the all-male colleges, as the cocktail of undiluted testosterone mixed with too much alcohol and sudden liberation from school discipline has long been a fraught one.
Peter apparently moved into Wesley College within a couple of years of my finishing, and at the time his assessment is largely correct. The all-male colleges were a continuation of the juvenile, sexist, boorish, bullying behaviour of all male boarding schools, and one can only hope that their residents subsequently became useful, thoughtful, productive members of society.
Wesley at least had refugees from that sort of environment who were learning to be adults and co-exist with people from different backgrounds. It was probably sexist by today’s standard – but, as they say, the past is a different country. As a Rugby player, Peter would have had more social contact with the “lads” than I did, so would know just how bad they were.
The 2014 (or is that 2015?) Journal is rather appalling, though, even if it is intended as a joke by the young women. Perhaps it is a “Facebook generation” thing to put every indiscretion online, but nevertheless it strikes me as extremely poor form. If this isn’t some sort of juvenile joke, it is absolutely unforgivable behaviour to publish such intimate details about somebody else.
Gerard Henderson to Shane Phelps – 20 May 2016
Dear Mr Phelps
Thanks for your note.
You could be right. Unlike Peter FitzSimons – who SMH’s editor-in-chief Darren Goodsir claims had a background as a builder’s labourer, despite his schooling at Knox Grammar – I did not attend a university residential college while a university student. Nor did I work as a builder’s labourer – although I did drive a commercial laundry truck.
It could be that Fitzy was correct when he declared that in 2012 sexism was absent in co-educational institutions like Wesley College. It’s just that Fitz’s depiction of his (campus) alma mater in 2012 bears no relationship to what some male Wesley College students wrote about their female counterparts in the current issue of the Wesley College Journal – as revealed on the news.com.au website – just a couple of years later.
I note, for the record, that there was no mention in The Fitz Files last Sunday of the recent revelation of bad blokey behaviour at Wesley College.
By the way, if Fitzy learnt at Wesley College to “co-exist with people from different backgrounds” how did it come to pass that “The Fitz Files” is replete with rampant anti-Catholic sectarianism along with attacks on political conservatives.
Over to you.
Until next time – keep morale high.
My oh my. Poor, blithering Gerard “Gollum” Henderson will be incandescent with rage after that Media Watch. The silly prick.
Mike Carlton via Twitter, 15 Feb 2016, 9:44 PM
Gerard: You are hopeless…
– David Marr, 12 February 2016
ABC is a weakened and flawed institution for sure but it is a vital balance to ranting prejudices of Gerard Henderson’s boss@rupertmurdoch
Quentin Dempster via Twitter, 10 Jan 2016,
Poor mad Gerard is obsessed. I expect he had an unhappy childhood, always the last to be chosen…
Mike Carlton via Twitter, 25 Oct 2015, 3:27 AM
Sometimes I think of Gerard Henderson like a Japanese holdout, lost in the jungles of Borneo, still fighting the war 20 years after it ended
– Erik Jensen,via Twitter, 16 Oct 2015, 4:50 PM
Gérard Henderson brain missing. Small reward
– Phillip Adams, via Twitter, 10 Oct 2015, 11:16 AM
I’ve been shot at by the Viet Cong. I once met Gerard Henderson. I can take any shit thrown at me…
Mike Carlton via Twitter, 9:22 PM – 9 Sep 2015
Gerard. You are an idiot #insiders
Bevan Shields via Twitter, 9:46 AM, 23 August 2015
“[Gerard Henderson is a] professional filing cabinet”
– Leftist scribbler Jeff Sparrow, Crikey, 13 August 2015
Leaving the house to avoid listening to GHenderson on @774melbourne
– Jonathan Green via Twitter, 31 July 2015
“gerard henderson trending on twitter, omg [looks out window, where the sun is eclipsed and the sky blood-red] oh yeah that makes sense”
– Adam Brereton via Twitter, 31 July 2015
Gerard Henderson on @891adelaide right now & I find myself shouting at my radio. What a morning”
– Louise Pascale via Twitter, 31 July 2015
“oh hell why is Gerard Henderson trending? Has boredom become the new black.”
– MNihilon via Twitter, 31 July 2015
Told I made the late Gerard Henderson’s little blog today. Read it. What a rancorous, nauseating, humourless little turd he is.
– Mike Carlton via Twitter during Gin & Tonic Time on 12 June 2015.
“On Sunday before Insiders…I was giving you a rich and full account of what a weird shit I think you are…”
– David Marr to Gerard Henderson, 1 June 2015
To #swf2015 this morning. Sunlit harbour, fabulous crowds radiating civility. And no Gerard Henderson ! It doesn’t get any better.
– Mike Carlton, via Twitter, 1:48 PM – 21 May 2015
Gerard Henderson’s friday self-harm update is here
– Adam Brereton, via Twitter, May 15, 2015
[Gerard Henderson’s Media Watch Dog is] batshit mad.
– Guy Rundle in Crikey, 14 May 2015:
I’m in the sort of mood that if I saw Gerard Henderson in the street I’d hit him with his own umbrella
– Ben Pobjie, via Twitter, 8 May 2015
It’s a glorious day when Gerard Henderson has a go at you
– Adam Gartrell, via Twitter, 8 May 2015
Meeting of Gerard Henderson Appreciation Society tonight Sydney Opera House phone booth
– Phillip Adams, via Twitter, 28 April 2015, 1.36 pm (after lunch).
“Gerard’s condescension levels high on #insiders this morning”
– Lenore Taylor, via Twitter, 22 February 2015
“Gerard Henderson and David Marr are on #Insiders this week. Like a political Felix and Oscar.”
– Mark Scott via Twitter 19 February 2015 at 1.10 pm
“I once called Gerard Henderson `a complete f%^wit’. I deeply regret that. I was being much too harsh on f%^wits.”
– Malcolm Farr via Twitter 14 February 2015 at 10:14 am
“Oh Gerard. You total clown.”
– Jonathan (“Proudly the ABC’s Sneerer-in-Chief”) Green on Twitter, Friday 3 October 2014, 4.31 pm [Mr Green must be an obsessive avid reader to respond so soon. – Ed]
“Good morning. All the gooder for being attacked (for thousandth time) by silly Gerard in the Oz”
– Phillip Adams via Twitter, 27 September 2014
“What troubles me most is that he [Gerard Henderson] shows such low journalistic standards, yet he is politically quite influential. He is often on Insiders. It’s hard to see why: he comes across as a crank.”
– Kate Durham as told to Crikey, 16 September 2014
“The unhinged but well spoken Gerard Henderson….”
– Bob Ellis, Table Talk blog, 10 August 2014
“Gerard Henderson and Nancy are awful human beings.”
– Alexander White, Twitter, 25 July 2014
“This is my regularly scheduled “Oh Gerard” tweet for every time he appears on #insiders”
– Josh Taylor, senior journalist for ZDNet, Twitter, 20 July 2014
“…that fu-kwitted Gerard “Gollum” Henderson….”
– Mike (“I’ll pour the gin”) Carlton, via Twitter, 12 July 2014
“[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 [Khrushchev] 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
On boyfriend’s insistence, watching the notorious Gerard Henderson/@Kate_McClymont Lateline segment. GH: What an odd, angry gnome of a man.
– Benjamin Law, via Twitter, Thursday 17 Apr 2014, 11:21 pm
Can’t believe I just spent my Thursday evening with a video recap of Gerard Henderson. I’m a f-cking moron.
– Benjamin Law, via Twitter, Thursday 17 Apr 2014, 11:23 pm
“[Gerard Henderson is an] unhinged crank”
– Mike Carlton, via 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