GERARD HENDERSON’S MEDIA WATCH DOG – ISSUE NO. 289
02 October 2015
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.
- Can You Bear It? ABC Covers David Marr’s Leftism; Tony Jones’ Q&A Stumble & The Drum’s Inner-City View of the World
ANTI-ABBOTT HYPERBOLE STILL ALIVE AND SICK [SIC] IN FAIRFAX MEDIA
Talk about (Fairfax Media) hyperbole. In today’s Australian Financial Review, Phil Coorey reckons “there is a guerrilla campaign afoot that would make even Kevin Rudd blush”. Your man Coorey’s line is that Tony Abbott and his supporters are attempting to undermine Malcolm Turnbull in a way that exceeds the actions of Kevin Rudd’s supporters against Julia Gillard in 2010. This overlooks the fact that, when prime minister, Julia Gillard was undermined in the months and weeks before the August 2010 election. The next election is not due until late 2016.
Likewise in the Sydney Morning Herald, Abbott-hater Mark Kenny is banging on again – this time maintaining that “if Abbott remains in the Parliament, as looks increasingly likely, he will not there as ‘someone else’s minister’”. In other words, Kenny is equating Mr Abbott’s position re Mr Turnbull in 2015 vis a vis Mr Turnbull’s position vis a vis Mr Abbott between December 2009 and September 2015. This overlooks the fact Tony Abbott is not a minister in the Turnbull government and it is by no means certain that he ever will be.
Interestingly, it was Messrs Coorey and Kenny who went on various ABC channels in the lead up to the leadership change and defended Fairfax Media against the allegation that it was waging a campaign hostile to the Abbott government. Neither Fairfax Media journalist told ABC viewers/listeners that the Sydney Morning Herald’s editor-in-chief, a certain Darren Goodsir, has been found by the Federal Court of Australia to have acted with “malice” in respect of Joe Hockey – the treasurer in the Abbott government. A convenient omission, to be sure. [Maybe you should have run this in your hugely popular “Can you bear it?” segment. Just a thought. – Ed]
AFR LETTERS EDITOR LINKS JOE ASTON WITH THE LAIR OF LIVERPOOL – REALLY
No sooner had Joe Aston returned from his visit to the Old Dart to report on the Ashes series, than the Australian Financial Review published this missive on its “Letters Page” (which it calls “Reply”) today. It read:
Latham Mark II
Is Joe Aston really Mark Latham? Well done, whoever he is!
So the AFR is willing to publish a note from a gentleman in the genteel Melbourne suburb of Kew suggesting that its well-paid “Rear Window” columnist is really the Lair of Liverpool writing under a nom de plume. Don’t be surprised if Mr Aston seeks solace with a 3-Wines Lunch at Rockpool today – bottles, that is.
After all, is there anything worse in modern Australian journalism than to compare an entrepreneurial and snappily dressed (and umbrella armed) gentleman like Young Mr Aston with the failed former Labor leader Mark Latham whose life as a writer is made possible by his taxpayer subsidised superannuation handout obtained when he was a parliamentarian and who appears to buy his gear at the Mount Hunter op-shop.
Meanwhile Nancy’s (male) co-owner has discovered from Nancy’s (female) co-owner that the Lair of Liverpool’s first appearance on the Channel 9 program titled The Verdict will be pre-recorded at midday next Thursday. This will give Channel 9’s lawyers a mere 8 hours or so to run a defamation check before The Verdict airs at 8.40 pm.
By the way, it’s just a decade since – in the final chapter of The Latham Diaries – the Lair of Liverpool wrote that in future he would “just ignore” the media and declared: “I’m stepping off the television screen and leaving it all behind.”
TOM MCILROY’S FRAN (“I’M AN ACTIVIST”) KELLY CONFUSION
What a stunning tweet yesterday by Canberra Times journalist Tom McIlroy – here it is:
— Tom McIlroy (@TomMcIlroy) September 30, 2015
What’s Mr McIlroy on about? – I hear you ask. More seriously, what is he on? Sure, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said this in his interview with Fran Kelly on Radio National Breakfast yesterday, following a question about tax:
…with great respect, I’m not going to be locked into any particular timetable at present. I think you know that I’m not somebody that drags his feet and I’m an activist. But I’m a thoughtful and considered activist. I’m expeditious, but I’m not rash.
That’s just fine. As a politician, Mr Turnbull is – and is entitled to be – an activist. However, Fran Kelly is an ABC presenter. As such, she is not paid by the taxpayer to be an activist. Mr McIlroy should understand that there is a difference between the role of a politician (who is expected to actively promote policies) and the role of a journalist (who is expected to report politics without actively engaging in the political process).
In any event, Fran (“I’m an activist”) Kelly did not perform like a political activist yesterday in her interview with the Prime Minister who – unlike John Howard and Tony Abbott – seems to be much liked by ABC and Fairfax Media journalists. Rather she was on her very best, non- interrupting, behaviour. Ms Kelly’s lengthy interview contained such comments, directed to Mr Turnbull, as:
▪ “Being modern and consultative is positive and everyone’s welcoming that”.
▪ “Yes, I understand that and I agree with you.”
How frightfully nice.
ABC IN DENIAL ABOUT DAVID MARR’S SELF-DECLARED LEFTISM
Here’s the promo which aired on ABC1 on Monday morning for that evening’s Q&A program:
Narrator: Tonight on Q&A. He [Barnaby Joyce] is the Nationals’ minister who had a ringside seat for the ousting of the prime minister…. She [Catherine King] is on the frontline of Labor policy. And his [David Marr’s] essay asked whether Bill Shorten has what it takes. They join conservative commentator John Roskam with arts advocate Elizabeth Ann Macgregor for Q&A. Tonight, 9.35, ABC.
How about that? John Roskam is described by the ABC as a “conservative” commentator. But David Marr is not described as a “leftist” – only as an essay writer.
Yet this is the very same David Marr who in September 2004 identified as left-wing. Moreover, on this occasion, your man Marr declared that you could not be a journalist unless, like him, you were left-wing. Here is what Mr Marr had to say when addressing audience of like-minded leftist souls at the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS) just over a decade ago:
The natural culture of journalism is a kind of vaguely soft left inquiry, sceptical of authority. I mean, that’s just the world out of which journalists come. If they don’t come out of this world, they really can’t be reporters. I mean, if you are not sceptical of authority – find another job. You know, just find another job. And that [journalism] is the kind of soft leftie kind of culture.
(ABC Radio National, Big Ideas, 26 September 2004)
So, if ABC promos are going to label John Roskam as a “conservative” – then the same ABC promos should describe David Marr as a “soft-leftie”. But don’t hold your breath. Within an ABC studio the likes of Marr are within the “one of us” category whereas the likes of Roskam are in enemy territory.
TONY JONES’ SMEARING OF CORY BERNARDI ON Q&A LEADS TO AN INADEQUATE “CLARIFICATION”
While on the topic of Q&A, it is interesting to note that in the wake of the demise of what many ABC types regarded as the Abbott Clerical Fascist Dictatorship – it was not surprising to see Q&A revert to its normal “balance” last Monday.
There was one right-of-centre politician, namely the Nationals’ Barnaby Joyce. And there was one left-of-centre politician, namely Labor’s Catherine King. Fair enough. And then there was the usual roll-up of a single right-of-centre panellist (John Roskam) plus two left-of-centre panellists (Elizabeth Anne MacGregor, David Marr). Plus left-of-centre presenter Tony Jones. A veritable 4-2 “balance” to the disadvantage of right-of-centre viewpoints. How very ABC.
Tony Jones left no doubt as to where he stood with respect to divisions in the Liberal Party of Australia, following the leadership change, when he made the following comment:
Tony Jones : I’ll just quickly go back to Barnaby [Joyce]. You mentioned Cory Bernardi there – and some on the right have urged him to start his own right-wing party, Cory Bernardi’s Golden Dawn or something, do you think this will happen?
What a load of absolute tosh. Cory Bernardi is a socially conservative Liberal Party Senator for South Australia who works as an elected politician in the democratic process. The Golden Dawn, on the other hand, is a Lunar Right extremist political movement in Greece. Moreover, Mr Jones’ sneer did not say precisely who has “urged” Senator Bernardi to set up a “Golden Dawn” party in Australia. Presumably Tony Jones just made this up.
After Tony Jones’ partisan comment was criticised, the ABC placed the following “Clarification” on the Q&A transcript:
Clarification: Tony Jones [sic] words “Cory Bernardi’s Golden Dawn or something” were intended only a [sic] shorthand for a new conservative party and not to suggest that Senator Bernardi is a supporter of, or would be associated with, the policies and views of the Greek political party Golden Dawn which has been characterised as neo-fascist.
This “clarification” is not accurate. Tony Jones did not refer to “a new conservative party” but rather to a new “right-wing party”. However, would the ABC know what Tony Jones really “intended” when he made this comment? There was some reaction in the audience at your man Jones’ false statement – but he did not correct himself on air. It remains to be seen whether Jones will correct his libel on Q&A next Monday. ABC personnel virtually never make on-air corrections concerning their on-air comments. They prefer half-hearted “corrections” or “clarifications” made by ABC management on transcripts. Can you bear it?
[Er, no. Not really. I note that Emma Alberici still refuses to make an on-air correction following her verballing of Tony Abbott on Lateline earlier this year and also concerning her misquote of the convicted criminal Zaky Mallah which was to Mallah’s advantage and to the disadvantage of studio guest Gerard Henderson who was debating Jonathan Holmes. See Issue 275. Come to think of it, this was not a debate but rather a rigged tag-team conflict when the Alberici/Holmes tag team duo took on Hendo alone. Once again, there was only a correction to the transcript – Ed]
THE DRUM’S INNER-CITY MYOPIA
Did anyone watch The Drum last Wednesday? It was so inner-city ABC. As befits a program which is filmed in the ABC studio in the inner-city Sydney suburb of Ultimo.
Discussion turned on penalty rates in the hospitality industry. Employers argue that the high minimum hourly rate on Sundays prohibits many businesses from opening restaurants and retail shops. Penalty rates cover minimum wages. Employers, if they choose, can pay over the minimum rate to attract staff. The argument against penalty rates on Sundays is that they hit hardest in the outer suburbs and regional centres and contribute to continuing high levels of unemployment, especially among young Australians along with the less well educated of all ages.
In any event, the matter was listed for discussion on The Drum on Wednesday. Let’s go to the transcript where inner-city presenter John Barron spoke to inner-city Verity Firth who was introduced as a former NSW Labor MP:
John Barron: So do we have to adjust to the fact that people are out and about? They want to go to cafes for lunch on a Sunday?
Verity Firth: And they do, as other people say, and they do. Look the bustling town, Newtown, Surry Hills – Brunswick in Melbourne. Really? They’re not bustling? They’re bustling. You know, penalty rates exists. I think it’s important –
John Barron [interjecting] : – those people serving you breakfast on a Sunday morning – they probably had to stay at home on a Saturday night ruining their social life because they have to work.
Fair dinkum. Ms Verity does not seem to realise that Newtown and Surry Hills in Sydney and Brunswick in Melbourne are now home to the inner-city professional classes who are well cashed up. Of course, shops in these well-heeled suburbs can pay the minimum hourly rate on a Sunday, perhaps more.
It’s just that Verity Faith appears not to understand that life is different in, say, Burnie (Tasmania) or Logan City (near Brisbane) where Sunday penalty rates can be prohibitive. And John Barron reckons that those who work on Sunday should be compensated for the fact that they didn’t get on-the-turps the previous evening. This is debate, ABC-style. Can you bear it?
BARRY HUMPHRIES ON THE ABC
Interviewed by Sharri Markson for The Australian’s Media section last Monday, the Melbourne-born Barry Humphries had this to say about the ABC – while supporting Tony Abbott’s criticisms of the taxpayer funded public broadcaster.
The ABC has become increasingly left wing. Blatantly so. Indeed so has another notable Australian newspaper [presumably The Age]. And I was surprised that they (ABC) can be so openly of the extreme left.
Barry Humphries: Five Paws
PETER BERNER & RACHEL CORBETT ON COAL
This is what Peter Berner and Rachel Corbett had to say about coal – Australia’s second biggest export earner – on Paul Murray Live on Friday 23 September 2015. Let’s go the transcript:
Peter Berner: The alternative to coal at the moment is freezing to death.
Rachel Corbett: Exactly, right.
Peter Berner and Rachel Corbett – Five Paws
READ ALL ABOUT MADONNA KING
What a great effort by Brisbane-based Fairfax Media journalist Madonna King to produce this absolutely stunning anonymous source about an alleged meal between the then prime minister Tony Abbott and his then chief of staff Peta Credlin at Brisbane Aria Restaurant at some time or the other on an undisclosed date. The Sydney Morning Herald carried this piece by Madonna King in its on-line edition on 24 September 2015:
Tony Abbott was digging into a juicy steak at Brisbane’s Aria restaurant. In full flight, he was trying to sell the Opposition he led, and win over his dinner guest. Peta Credlin, his chief of staff, sat next to him, toying with the salad on her plate, and answering, often, for her boss.
And then when Abbott finished his steak, Credlin seamlessly slipped her untouched steak onto his plate, and he devoured that too. She remained happy with the salad. That small story is a window into a relationship that saw Tony Abbott soon after elected prime minister, and, perhaps, dumped too.
How good – or bad – is this? Madonna King is quoting from an anonymous source about a meal in Brisbane’s Aria restaurant at an unspecified date and time, possibly in mid-2013.
Madonna King included her unsourced piece with an embarrassing pun, to wit: “Who knows, she [Credlin] might now also get the chance to eat everything on her plate.” What a zinger.
STEP FORWARD DERRYN HINCH
Is there anything more boring on Foxtel than Hinch Live which airs on Sky News at 9 pm on Sundays? Almost certainly not. For example, which other TV presenter would commence a program with a photograph of himself in a post-surgery situation after a knee replacement. [At least it wasn’t a pic of a post-piles op – Ed].
The Hinch Live format is tired and its presenter invariably runs tired arguments. Here’s hoping that the Malcolm Turnbull’s replacement of Tony Abbott as prime minister might stop Derryn (“I know more about Hinch than anyone else”) Hinch banging on about his view that Tony Abbott was not entitled to be prime minister of Australia. Yawn.
You see, your man Hinch is a “birther” – the Australian equivalent of the likes of Donald Trump who believe that Barack Obama was not born in the United States and, consequently, is not entitled to be president of the United States of America. Hinch believes that Mr Abbott has dual Australian/British citizenship and, consequently, is not entitled to hold a seat in the House of Representatives.
Hinch’s evidence? Well, he does not have any. But as recently as 10 August 2015, the self-proclaimed Human Headline was boasting on Twitter that he had a “30,000 signed petition” calling on Tony Abbott to step down as prime minister due to his (alleged) dual citizenship.
As avid MWD readers will be aware (See Issue 283), Nancy’s (male) co-owner recently expressed surprise that Hinch was ignorant of when netball had emerged as an independent sport. This from a bloke who is forever proclaiming his support for women and female interests in all walks of life.
Derryn Hinch does not like criticism. He became upset at the report in MWD concerning his wilful ignorance about netball and women’s basketball, which concluded as follows:
Derryn Hinch is obviously unaware of some facts. Namely that both Netball and Women’s Basketball are over a century old. He almost seemed unaware of the fact that the Australian female basketball team, called Opals, is currently playing in Australia. Can you bear it?
On Sunday 21 August Hinch concluded Hinch Live as follows:
Thank you Wendy, as always. And also good night to my avid viewer Gerard Henderson. At least I admit when I’m ignorant – and you [Gerard Henderson] were wrong. In Australia and New Zealand they didn’t change the name from basketball to netball until 1970.
Er, that was it. Derryn Hinch did not tell Hinch Live viewers (presumably there are some) about what Hendo wrote and where he had written it. There was no backgrounding of any kind. All that a viewer would have understood is Hinch claiming on Hinch Live that Hinch was right (again) about something or other and that someone named Gerard Henderson was wrong about something or other.
For the record, Hendo stands by his comment that both women’s netball and basketball are each a century old and that Hinch should have known this – in view of the fact that he presents himself as an advocate for sheila-friendly causes.
As to Hinch’s Abbott conspiracy theory – the presenter of Hinch Live is a fool.
“You Must Remember This” is based on the chorus line in the song As Time Goes By which was popularised by the film Casablanca. It is devoted to reminding the usual suspects of what they – and/or those they supported – once wrote or said.
WHAT ABBOTT-CRITIC NIKI SAVVA WROTE ABOUT TONY ABBOTT, MALCOLM TURNBULL & ANDREW ROBB
In a perceptive article in The Australian on 23 September 2015, Paul Kelly referred to Canberra-based commentator Niki Savva as having “been the most sustained critic of [Tony] Abbott” in the lead-up to the recent Liberal Party leadership change.
Mr Kelly’s assessment was proved correct the following morning (20 September) when Abbott critic Niki Savva appeared on the Insiders couch with Abbott critic David Marr and Abbott critic George Megalogenis. Needless to say, David agreed with Niki who agreed with George who agreed with David who agreed with Niki who agreed with herself that Tony Abbott was hopeless. Just hopeless. No other view was heard.
In his article, Paul Kelly criticised Niki Savva’s lack of self-awareness in failing to recognise the role of the media in mobilising to undermine the prime ministership of Kevin Rudd, then Julia Gillard and now Tony Abbott. Kelly pointed out that, in her article in The Weekend Australian (19 September), Ms Savva raised the prospect that Malcolm Turnbull, too, might fail.
Nike Savva, a self-described conservative-leftie [a what? – Ed], obtained much authority for her critique of the Liberal Party due to her time working for Peter Costello in John Howard’s government and later for the Howard government’s cabinet secretariat. In view of this, Nancy’s (male) co-owner decided to have a look back at how Niki Savva saw the Liberal Party in the years after Labor’s victory in the 2007 election. So Hendo went to Niki Savva’s tome So Greek: Confessions of a Conservative Leftie (Scribe, 2010):
▪ On Tony Abbott. Niki Savva wrote in So Greek that she disagreed with 90 per cent of what Tony Abbott believed in and doubted that he would ever become prime minister:
Once upon a time, not all that long ago, I would have recoiled in horror at the prospect of Tony Abbott as leader. I would probably not agree with 90 per cent of what Abbott stands for, and some of his earthier expressions made me wince. I doubt that he would ever be elected prime minister, unless he moves even further to the centre than he already has, seeks and takes advice form a much wider circle, and promises not to allow his religion to infiltrate his policies.
[Ah. Maybe that’s it. Maybe a “conservative leftie” disagrees with 90 per cent of the views of a conservative non-leftie like Tony Abbott – Ed] :
So there. Niki Savva alleged, without evidence, that Tony Abbott had a Catholic agenda. What’s more, she doubted that Mr Abbott would ever be elected prime minister. Yet, in August 2010, Abbott forced Gillard Labor into minority government and in September 2013 led the Coalition to one of the biggest victories in Australian political history.
▪ On Malcolm Turnbull. Niki Savva in So Greek wrote this about Malcolm Turnbull, who lost the Liberal Party leadership to Tony Abbott in December 2009:
Turnbull lusted after the leadership so badly that he was prepared to destroy Brendan Nelson to get it. Then, when his own leadership came under threat, he pressed the self-destruct button, seemingly determined to leave his successor nothing but rubble from which to rebuild. In what many Liberals saw as an unforgiveable act of betrayal, not only did he take no prisoners, but he set about slaughtering his own troops, too. I have never seen anything like it, not even during the years of the Howard-Peacock war and the mad Joh-for-Canberra campaign. In retrospect, they behaved like gentlemen….
Ultimately, Turnbull failed to convince middle-ground voters and his own MPs that he had the right temperament and the right values. He didn’t consult, he didn’t listen, and he didn’t learn from his mistakes. Sadly – and it’s sad when someone with so much promise disappoints – he failed to make himself into something other than a rich guy with impetuous personality and a charming smile used to getting whatever he wants, whenever he wants it.
So, according to Niki Savva in 2010, Malcolm Turnbull was but a charming, smiling, rich guy.
▪ Then there was Andrew Robb. This is what Niki Savva wrote about Andrew Robb – whom she thought would become Liberal Party leader in Opposition as Kevin Rudd’s prime ministership continued – in In so Greek, Ms Savva predicted that the Liberals “will remain a C-grade opposition fighting a B-grade government” until the advent of Andrew Robb :
A recovered Robb – compassionate, thoughtful, and intelligent as ever – would make a first-class leader, and provide a sound alternative to Rudd, perhaps after an Abbott reign of terror. If guts and determination count for anything – and in politics, in life, they are priceless – Robb deserves to make it.
So there you have it. In 2010 Niki Savva thought that Kevin Rudd would defeat Tony Abbott in 2010 – and that Andrew Robb would lead the Liberal Party to government three years later.
And, yes – Hendo remembers this.
HENDO’S OBSESSIONS – A CONTINUING SAGA
It’s the Australian Football League Grand Final on Saturday. Nancy’s (male) co-owner has no wish to be at the Melbourne Cricket Ground tomorrow. But he wold like to travel back in time to half a century ago to see the 1965 Grand Final again when Essendon defeated St Kilda – 14.21 (105) to 9.6 (70).
This was the Essendon team which was the premiership on 25 September 1965:
|B.||D. Gerlach||G. Brown||C. Payne|
|H. B.||G. Pryor||I. Shelton||B. Davis|
|C.||A. Epis||J. Clarke||R. Blew|
|H. F.||G. Johnston||K. Fraser||G. Gosper|
|F.||D. Shaw||E. Fordham||B. Sampson|
|Foll.||D. McKenzie||H. Mitchell|
|Res.||B. Waite||K. Egan|
This is the Essendon team – as depicted in An Illustrated History of Essendon Football Club. It contains 21 players – the addition to the 20 strong Grand Final team is John Somerville (fourth from left, top row) who suffered concussion in the previous match and did not play in the Grand Final.
And here is the photo – published in Flying Higher: History of Essendon Football Club 1872-1974 which shows coach John Coleman being chaired from the ground by Daryl Gerlach, Hugh Mitchell and Russell Blew.
And here’s Captain Ken Fraser (left) holding the Premiership Cup – taken from An Illustrated History of Essendon Football Club.
Ah, nostalgia. It’s got a lot going for it.
ON MARISE PAYNE’S PROMOTION: THE MEDIA’S CONFUSION
On Insiders last Sunday, it was a Tony-Abbott-friendless-couch as Karen Middleton, Lenore Taylor and Laura Tingle joined in an anti-Abbott chorus.
No surprise there. But the reference to new Defence Minister Marise Payne’s “overnight success” (pace Ms Middleton) and the allegation that her promotion was delayed because “she was a moderate” (pace Ms Tingle) overlooked one central fact.
Senator Payne entered the Senate in April 1997. She was overlooked for a ministry or shadow ministry position by successive Liberal Party leaders John Howard, Brendan Nelson and Malcolm Turnbull.
In fact, the moderate Marise Payne was first appointed to the shadow ministry by Tony Abbott in December 2009. She was subsequently appointed Minister for Human Services by Tony Abbott in September 2013.
Marise Payne did not experience “overnight success” when appointed Minister for Defence in September 2015 – she was promoted from the outer ministry to the cabinet. Moreover, despite being a moderate, Senator Payne’s abilities were rewarded initially by Tony Abbott as soon as he became Liberal Party leader.
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 tens of millions of readers.
There are occasions, however, when Nancy’s (male) co-owner decides to write a polite note to someone or other – who, in turn, believes that a reply is in order. Publication in MWD invariably follows. 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.
GERARD HENDERSON AND PAUL BONGIORNO – CONCERNING BONGE’S “RIGHT-WING NUT-JOB” RANT
During John Howard’s time as prime minister, the Prime Minister’s Office regarded Channel 10’s Paul Bongiorno as the member of the Canberra Parliamentary Press Gallery who was most hostile to the Coalition – outside of the ABC. So it came as no surprise when, after he ceased full-time employment at Channel 10, Bonge was offered commentary spots at the taxpayer funded public broadcaster. Currently, Bonge is interviewed twice a week on ABC Radio National Breakfast by Fran (“I’m an activist”) Kelly and once a week on ABC Radio 702’s Mornings with Linda Mottram.
A self-declared left-of-centre kind of guy, Bonge has admitted to Linda Mottram that his opinion pieces are a “rant”.
Yesterday, in his taxpayer subsidised rant-to-air on Radio National, Paul Bongiorno labelled Liberal Party members who have left the Liberal Party following Malcolm Turnbull becoming prime minister as right-wing nut jobs. This is how Bonge put it to Ms Kelly just before 8 am:
Fran Kelly: And Paul – just 50 seconds till the news – but this suggestion that hundreds of Liberal Party members have quit the Liberal Party in protest at the shift to Malcolm Turnbull. What are you hearing about this?
Paul Bongiorno: Oh well um, this is certainly a line coming from people who are very sympathetic to Tony Abbott, more conservative Liberals. I’ve spoken to several Liberal MPs, one of them told me that a couple had quit from the branch, from the branch, were basically right-wing nut jobs and have been replaced by far more reasonable people. So that’s an interesting take on it.
Bonge repeated much the same line when he appeared on ABC 702 just after 9.30 on the very same morning. Hendo does not have Bonge’s email – which the ABC seems to regard as a state secret. So Nancy’s (male) co-owner decided to engage Mr Bongiorno by text – who is in the habit of sermonising about proper behaviour and all that – concerning his use of the term “nut job”. Believe it or not, it worked. And so – once again – MWD’s highly popular “Correspondence” segment is extant this week. Now read on.
GERARD HENDERSON TO PAUL BONGIORNO – 1 OCTOBER 2015
Good morning Bonge
I heard you this morning referring to “right-wing nut jobs”. I am surprised that you are using a mental health condition as an opportunity for political criticism. Some mistake surely.
Keep morale high
PAUL BONGIORNO TO GERARD HENDERSON – 1 OCTOBER 2015
Interesting point – I was quoting a Liberal MP. In the narrow sense you are right but I would contend in common usage it is taken to mean people with extreme and incoherent views. What about phrase like ” crazy for you” or “you’re nuts if you go for Collingwood.” Cheers
GERARD HENDERSON TO PAUL BONGIORNO – 1 OCTOBER 2015
That’s a bit of a dodge. You were quoting with approval an anonymous Liberal MP. I expect it was another example of what you have described as your “rant” every now and then on ABC Radio 702.
The reference “crazy for you” has quite a different meaning. And the Collingwood reference is an obvious example of barracking. But then, you do a lot of barracking on the ABC and elsewhere.
BTW, do you – or your anonymous source – have anyone in mind who has left the Liberal Party and who has “incoherent views”?
As to your habit of regarding mental illness as an excuse for abuse – it’s off to my Courtesy Class for you.
Gerard AC (aka Always Courteous)
PS: Sorry this is bit long but I don’t have your email
Paul Bongiorno to Gerard Henderson – 1 October 2015
Phew! Thanks anyway.
[Interesting. You should do a more detailed analysis of one of Bonge’s taxpayer subsidised leftist rants. Perhaps in Issue 290 – Ed]
Until next time.
* * * * *
“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