GERARD HENDERSON’S MEDIA WATCH DOG – ISSUE NO. 108

19 AUGUST 2011

“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.  Lately it’s Hendo’s tendency to self-harm that has us losing sleep. For example, peruse the correspondence he’s published in his latest Media Watch Dog blog…..There’s a part of us that just wants to ask: “Hendo, are you OK?”

– James Jeffrey’s “Strewth!” column, The Australian, 8 November 2010.

“I realise this makes me practically retarded, but until five minutes ago

I thought Nancy was Gerard Henderson’s wife, not his dog.”

– Byronbache via Twitter, Monday 7 February 2011

“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are private correspondence and not for publication”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)

Vale Paul Lockyer

● Stop Press: Robert Manne to Blog On

● Nancy’s Pick-of-the-Week : Lauchie Harris on Q&A

● Can You Bear It?  Catherine Deveny on Marriage; David Marr on Catholics and Norman Hermant on the London Riots (Sort of)

● Latham’s Lore: As Hacked By Nancy

● Five Paws Award: Canberra Times Reader Corrects Andrew Wilkie Myth

● History Corner: Still No Facts At UNSW but Nick Dyrenfurth Adds to the Debate on Something Else

● Correspondence: Mike Carlton Writes to MWD

VALE PAUL LOCKYER

If all the ABC’s journalists and presenters were like Paul Lockyer, the public broadcaster would be subjected to little valid criticism for lack of balance.  Paul Lockyer is reported dead in a helicopter crash at Lake Eyre – along with cameraman John Bean and pilot Gary Ticehurst.

Paul Lockyer’s recent work, covering rural and regional Australia, was an embodiment of journalism at its best. When the dry affected much of Australia, he reported the drought.  When the drought broke and the flooding rains commenced, he reported the re-birth of the lands, rivers and lakes.

Paul Lockyer had no agenda but to cover the news, at an international and national level.  He will be personally missed by those who knew him – and his manifest professionalism should serve as a template for those who follow him.

Geoffrey Luck, a former ABC journalist and current MWD reader, sent in the following note today about Paul Lockyer:

Paul Lockyer particularly is a great loss. He is the last of the “old” journalists, trained to the standards inculcated by Wally Hamilton, and now sadly eclipsed by the modern socio-political mindset which has attracted so much criticism (eg Maurice Newman and Judith Sloan) for its cultural shift. Paul was a cadet in my day; he spent some time with me to understand finance and economics, but that didn’t interest him. When he was allowed, he pioneered the revolutionary beat of rural reporting – a need long overdue as a result of the dumbing down of the regionals, and the concentration at national level on politics and criminal trivia.

STOP PRESS

ROBERT MANNE TO CHANNEL NANCY

Eric Beecher’s Crikey newsletter is often tops with the really big media stories.  Like yesterday, when Crikey’s “Media briefs” led with the hold-the-front-pagescoop that Robert Manne has stepped down as editorial chairman of The Monthly. Gosh.

There is some good news, however.  It seems that Professor Manne has decided to follow Nancy’s lead.  The tenured taxpayer funded professor will shortly begin a blog on The Monthly’s website.  According to The Monthly’s editor Ben Naparstek, Professor Manne “wants to make clear” that his blog “will represent his personal views and not those of the magazine”.  How about that?

Nancy says: “Robert.  Welcome On Board.”

NANCY’S PICK-OF-THE-WEEK

LAUCHIE (KNOW WHAT I MEAN?) HARRIS’  VERBAL EXPLOSION

What a stunning performance on Q&A last Monday when, near the end of the program, discussion got around to discussing the impact of social media on the recent riots in England. Joanne Zeilinga was called by Tony Jones to ask the last question:

Joanne Zeilinga : Youth rebellion in various forms has been a feature of society across many generations. The scale of the London riots has been amplified due to Facebook, Twitter and the Blackberry. Could the riots be a symptom of social media rather than social policy?

Tony Jones first asked Deborah Cheetham to respond. She tried a joke about the convict era. Not much of a joke.  Then it was on to Jackie Kelly – who spoke about her time on the Australian Defence Force many years ago when she fought in the (legal) front line.  Not much of a memory. Then came the highlight of the night.  Let’s go to the transcript:

Tony Jones : Let’s go back to the other end of the panel. Lachlan Harris.

Lachlan Harris : I don’t know. I mean, sometimes I find it compelling. But otherwise I think it’s kind of blaming Twitter is a bit like blaming umbrellas for bad weather. You know what I mean? Like, I mean, it was going to happen.  And what?  Is there kind of armies of lesbian mothers in the UK teaching their kids subservient tweeting courses? Like, I mean, there’s – how did the French Revolution happen without Twitter, you know? I just think –

Yeah, we know.  Like, Lauchie was almost totally inarticulate.  Know what I mean?  [Eh, no. Ed].  Like, I mean, it’s all about umbrellas and lesbian mothers and the French Revolution – know what I mean? [Ditto – Ed].

CAN YOU BEAR IT?

▪ Catherine Deveny On Marriage

On The Drum Opinion website on Wednesday, Melbourne sit-down comedian Catherine Deveny joined the long queue of commentators bagging Daily Telegraph columnist Miranda Devine for having the effrontery to support traditional marriage – as in a husband, a wife and children.

Declared Ms Deveny:

I’m against marriage. But I am passionate about the rights for same-sex couples to marry because I believe marriage is a mistake everyone has the right to make.

So there you have it. The married atheist Deveny – who only criticises Christians but never Muslims – is against marriage but she passionately supports same sex marriage. Can you bear it?

▪ David Marr on Catholics

On Insiders last Sunday, David Marr joined the chorus bagging out Miranda Devine for her views on marriage.  After the program showed some clips of the Rev Fred Nile (not a Catholic) along with Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells and the head of the Australian Family Association Terri Kelleher, David Marr opined:

David Marr: Well, you know, when you look at the usual suspects – they had a go to find anybody who is willing to sort of complain. I mean Fred Nile, give us a break. And a bunch of Catholic nasties who, you know, running down the line of, you know, the Catholic family.

So David Marr regards Catholics who oppose same sex marriages as “Catholic nasties”.  But would he term Muslims who oppose same sex marriage as “Muslim nasties”.  Not on your nelly. Can you bear it?

Lateline Spikes London Riots Critic

How about Norman Hermant’s report about the London riots on last Friday’s Lateline?  Tottenham resident Farida Montaz who expressed sympathy for the rioters, declaring:

I’ve heard a lot of people say “How can people destroy their own community?” But I don’t think some of the people that have been, you know, doing the extreme violence feel part of the community.

Norman Hermant also reported the views of a former Los Angeles gang member, a looter and then another looter – before declaring:

So far the government response has been to focus on an overhaul of police tactics and legal measures to control unrest. In an era of austerity, there’s been almost no talk of social reforms and some are warning that would eventually mean these scenes will be repeated.

So, a rolled-gold bleeding heart report.  When the footage of Farida Monraz was shown on BBC TV she was interrupted by a shop-keeper of Sub-Continent background who asked her why people who did not feel part of their community could be excused for burning it down.  Good question, don’t you think?  But it did not get a run on Lateline.  Can you bear it?

Morality aside, the response to Nancy’s hacking of Mark Latham’s diary (MWD Issue 103) was overwhelming. So much so that MWD readers – like Oliver Twist in the days of old – have asked for more. Much more.  This time round, Nancy has not been able to hack into the superannuated former politician’s diary – but she has been able to hack into a draft of his weekly column for The Spectator Australia.  This draft shows a certain similarity to the real thing – published in last week’s Spectator Australia.  See here.  Set out below is the hacked version of “Latham’s Lore” – which is destined to appear in The Spectator Australia any time soon.

* * * *

What is it about Q&A?  Some jerks are so compulsive that they watch it every Monday night.  My old mate Johnno Johnson watches it religiously every Monday at 8.35 pm – his rosary beads in one hand, an Opus Dei application form in the other. Pathetic.  I’m so glad I’ve left Federal politics and no longer have to depend on rotten Catholics in the NSW Labor Right, like Johnno, to retain my pre-selection out in Werriwa.  I feel free these days. I’ve even summoned up enough courage to declare that Graham Richardson is a total jerk.  I just could not do that when I had to rely on Richo and his right-wing Micks to avoid a rank-and-file pre-selection ballot in Werriwa.

I’ve been asked to appear on Q&A by Lindsay Olney.  But  I’ve always said no. Fair dinkum.  The pathetic Olney tells me I would have to share a platform with four other guests and the  Newington College educated moderator Tony Jones.  These days I only turn up at functions to listen to myself.  So I declined.  I even told Olney that I never even watch his dreadful program. I would rather spend time at the Malabar Sewage Treatment Farm cleaning out the left-overs – even if, on occasions, the sludge gets into my funnel.

But then, a couple of Mondays ago, I was channel-surfing after watching Champions of Racing on the TVN pay TV channel.  It was 9 pm and I got to see the second half of Q&A.  God. There was a bloke there with a toffish accent in a black shirt and a white tie.  He looked like someone out of the Sopranos. The pom needs advice on how to present himself.  Perhaps I can help here.  After all, folks are still speaking about the elegance of my attire – and my stylish hair-cut – when I announced my resignation as Labor leader in a park somewhere in early 2005. I started a craze. Soon, every 44 year old in the vicinity of Werriwa was borrowing the local shearers’ wide combs and doing their own hair.  In time, even some sheep adopted my coiffure.

I didn’t know who this Brit jerk was – since I missed the first half of Q&A.  I did a Google search and found out that his name is Brendan O’Neill – and he was in Australia to address a function of the so-called Centre for Independent Studies. I call it “so-called” because someone or other (probably that turd Greg Lindsay) so-called it some time ago.

When I used to address the Centre for Independent Studies, I used to receive a great reception.  But I would never go there again.  Just like I would never watch Q&A – except when I am desperate for something to write about in the fascist Tim Switzer’s Spectator Australia – where I appear along with Nick Minchin, Donald McDonald and other members of my hate list.  After all, I need the money – a bloke can only do so much with the $75,000 a year parliamentary pension which the taxpayers stump up to support my lifestyle out Camden way.  So, sometimes a bloke has  to hold his nose and get on the end of a Conga-Line-Of-Suck-Holes.

Anyway, this idiot O’Neill was defending bloody Rupert Murdoch’s right to exist and publish newspapers.  I’m all in favour of free speech.  That’s why I reckon that Murdoch should be divested of all his media assets and he should be confined to the Tower of London.  It’s only when there are no newspapers that no one will have to pay for them.  That’s about as free as free speech can be.

I can’t believe that Murdoch still gets away with invading the privacy of others.  Privacy matters. That’s why when, in The Latham Diaries, I outed a couple of my Labor mates as having affairs,  I only named the blokes and the sheilas.  That’s all.  I did not cite the number of times they “did it”.  Or how often they changed the sheets.  After all, privacy matters. To me at least.

When asked about the role of the state, it is said that Louis XIV replied: “The state, I am the state”.  Which was quite an achievement when you think about it – since he was a Frenchie who spoke only French.  When Rupert asked me about the role of the media, I said something or other which I can’t remember.  But it could have been “L’etat, c’est moi” – which was pretty good for a lad from the Green Valley who does not speak French.  I hate Murdoch.  Sure, I used to love banking his cheques when I wrote for The Daily Telegraph.  But not any more. Someone suggested that I should send back to Murdoch all the money he gave me. Come off it.  Life’s a struggle as it is living in retirement on a taxpayer handout of a $75,000 a year.  A bloke has to draw the line somewhere.

As for that black shirt O’Neill.  These days I’m with the greenshirts like Bob Brown and the Greens.  Back at the show, Tony Jones signed off “until next Monday”. I won’t be watching the Q&A floggers again.  Except if I’m channel-surfing after watching Champions of Racing.  Or except if I’m looking for something to write about in The Spectator Australia.  Like today’s column. I gave last Monday’s Q&A a mention since I could not fill the entire page with my scoop on Julia Gillard’s botox injections.  It’s great that The Spectator Australia will publish my personal abuse. Thanks Tom.

I’m hoping I will find something else which Louis XIV apparently said which no one else has ever mentioned before. Don’t believe Gerard Henderson if he points out that my favourite Louis XIV quote gets a mention in They Never Said It: A Book of False Quotes, Misquotes & Misleading Attributions.

My point is this. If Louis XIV didn’t bloody well say “I am the state” then he bloody well should have. As for bloody Opus Dei, Johnno and his Catholic floggers who helped me get  my taxpayer funded indexed pension for life – [That’s enough – Ed].

FIVE PAWS AWARD

MR MACMILLAN FROM O’MALLEY NAILS A WILKIE WMDMYTH

This week, MWD’s prestigious Five Paws Award goes to Kym Macmillan of O’Malley in the Australian Capital Territory who wrote the following letter to The Canberra Times, which was published last Tuesday:

Twice in recent days The Canberra Times has run articles regarding Andrew Wilkie’s call for an inquiry into Australia’s involvement in Iraq. In both articles, it was reported that Wilkie had resigned from the ONA (Office of National Assessments) and had gone public saying that there was no evidence that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.

This just goes to perpetuate the myth that Wilkie knew then that there were no WMD and that he was exposing a “lie” – this is not the case, and we must be careful of not re-writing history. Your reporter should check the facts and not just repeat the myth. What Wilkie said at the time was that Iraq’s WMD program was “disjointed” and that there was no evidence “linking the regime to al-Qaeda” (view transcripts from ABC AM archive, March 12, 2003).

But it was clear that at that time Wilkie believed that Saddam had access to WMD and might use them – in fact, one of his prime concerns arising from an invasion was that the unprotected civilian population would be exposed to a humanitarian disaster because of Saddam’s possible use of WMD. So it is obvious that Wilkie, in his privileged position within ONA, believed that Saddam had WMD – why then does he suggest that the Government should have known any better?

Willkie was clearly entitled to believed that the war was not justified, and is to be commended for feeling so strongly about it as to resign, but let’s not pretend that he knew then any more than the government what the truth was. Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but it is wrong for Wilkie to now claim that he knew better back in 2003.

Kym MacMillan, O’Malley

Quite so.  Kym MacMillan could have added that, when interviewed on Lateline on 11 March  2003, Andrew Wilkie made the following comment:

I’m convinced a war against Iraq at this time would be wrong. For a start, Iraq does not pose a security threat to the US, or to the UK or Australia, or to any other country, at this point in time. I just don’t believe that a war at this time would be worth the risk.

In fact, a war is the exact course of action most likely to cause Saddam to do exactly what we’re trying to prevent. I believe it’s the course of action that is most likely to cause him to lash out recklessly, to use weapons of mass destruction and to possibly play a terrorism card.

Kym MacMillan. Five Paws.

So in 2003, Andrew Wilkie believed that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.  His disagreement with George W. Bush, Tony Blair and John Howard turned on what to do about Saddam’s WMD. That’s all.

HISTORY CORNER

STILL FACTLESS IN KENSO – AND ELSEWHERE.  THE HISTORY DEBATE CONTINUES WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM NICK DYRENFURTH

Nick Dyrenfurth is regarded as one of Australia’s significant young historians.  His Ph.D. thesis was supervised by Professor Marian Quartly, Dr Paul Strangio and Dr Marc Brodie.  Moreover, it was examined – and passed – by Frank Bongiorno and Mark Hearn.

Readers of MWD will be aware that Dr Nick Dyrenfurth and Dr Tim Soutphommasane co-edited All That’s Left (UNSW Press, 2010) and co-authored the book’s introduction.  At Page 9, the co-authors made certain undocumented claims about the views of Gerard Henderson – which they have not been able to support with evidence.  Surprisingly, both UNSW Press and the University of New South Wales itself have indicated that they regard such behaviour by Dr Dyrenfurth and Dr Soutphommasane as acceptable in the modern university.  This speaks volumes for what passes for historical scholarship at UNSW (See MWD passim).

After reading Nick Dyrenfurth’s book Heroes and Villains: The Rise and Fall of the Early Australian Labor Party (Australian Scholarly Publishing, 2011), Gerard Henderson wrote to the author about his undocumented claims concerning Archbishop Daniel Mannix. Heroes & Villains is Dr Dyrenfurth’s Ph.D. thesis in published form.

The correspondence between Gerard Henderson and Nick Dyrenfurth is published below in the public interest.  As a taxpayer funded academic, Dr Dyrenfurth should have the courage to debate his claims in the public domain.  Moreover, the correspondence is revealing about what passes for history in institutions like the University of New South Wales.  It is not a pretty sight.

Email from Gerard Henderson to Nick Dyrenfurth – 18 August 2011

Dr Dyrenfurth

I understand, from experience, that you are one of a new brand of historians who decline to support your assertions with documented evidence.  Nevertheless, I believe it is proper that I provide an opportunity for you to take a different course of action on this occasion.

At Page 209 of your book Heroes & Villains: The Rise And Fall of the Early Australian Labor Party (Australian Scholarly Publishing, 2011), you write:

The left-wing mythology of the “anti” side bravely defending individual liberty based on the principle that the State had no right to compel an individual to fight is…a mistaken one.  The broad Left coalition consisting of the ALP, unions, civil libertarians and peace groups, aided by Catholic Archbishop Daniel Mannix, in fact waged a scurrilous campaign.  Instead of prosecuting the liberty case, the “anti” side spuriously argued that pro-conscriptionists wanted to destroy White Australia, inaugurating a Prussian-style militarist society that Australia was ostensibly fighting against and thus undermining the hard fought wages and conditions of Australian workers.

The only person mentioned in this section of your book is Daniel Mannix, the Catholic Archbishop of Melbourne. So I ask:

▪ What is the evidence that Dr Mannix ever said that those who supported conscription in 1916 and 1917 wanted to destroy White Australia?

▪ What is the evidence that Dr Mannix ever said that those who supported conscription wanted to inaugurate a Prussian-style militarist society that Australia was ostensibly fighting against?

▪ What is the evidence that Dr Mannix waged a scurrilous campaign in opposing conscription for overseas service in 1916 and 1917?

I will probably cover the issue in my Media Watch Dog blog tomorrow.  So if you do decide to provide evidence in support of your assertions about Archbishop Mannix in Heroes and Villains – I would need your response by 10 am tomorrow.

Best wishes

Gerard Henderson

Email from Nick Dyrenfurth to Gerard Henderson – 18 August 2011

Dr Henderson,

I refer to your email regarding my recent book ‘Heroes and Villains’, in which you have (again) deliberately misrepresented a passage of my writing in order to confect a controversy.

I did not allege that Daniel Mannix personally ‘said that those who supported conscription in 1916 and 1917 wanted to destroy White Australia’, or ‘said that those who supported conscription wanted to inaugurate a Prussian-style militarist society that Australia was ostensibly fighting against’, and ‘waged a scurrilous campaign in opposing conscription for overseas service in 1916 and 1917’. All I have noted in the relevant passage is that Mannix was regarded as being on the side of the ‘anti-conscriptionists’.

As ‘Heroes and Villains’ shows, the broad labour movement led the ‘No’ case. The chapter that includes the passage to which you refer focuses almost exclusively upon the labour movement’s campaign against conscription for overseas service during the 1916 referendum (technically a plebiscite). The arguments you claim I attribute to Mannix are representative of the broad ‘anti’ case and not necessarily indicative of any particular individual’s views. I explicitly highlight the views of those who did use racist and/or conspiratorial arguments, such as Labor politician Frank Anstey and ‘The Worker’ newspapers.

I trust this addresses your concerns. This is the seventh unsolicited email you have sent me in the past three months in your capacity as a private citizen. This is rather unbecoming. I do not intend to correspond with you further on this matter, or on any other matter in which you make a frivolous complaint. It goes without saying that you do not have my permission to publish this correspondence in your Media Watch Dog ‘blog’ or other publications of the Sydney Institute.

Yours sincerely,

Nick Dyrenfurth

Email from Gerard Henderson to Nick Dyrenfurth  – 19 August 2011

Dr Dyrenfurth

I refer to your email concerning Heroes & Villains, which I received last night.

I am surprised by the aggressive tone of your response to my quite reasonable request for evidence about a significant claim in your book.

According to Nielsen Bookscan, Heroes & Villains (Australian Scholarly Publishing) had sold a modest 166 copies up to the end of July 2011. So, I would have thought you might have appreciated the fact that I bought and read your book.

Also, as a taxpayer funded academic in the Faculty of Business at Sydney University, you have some obligation to respond professionally to taxpayers who raise genuine questions about assertions made in Heroes & Villains. Such a response would be consistent with business “best practice” – of the kind which, I assume, is taught at your faculty.

I note that you have adopted the same tactic of denial as when I asked you to document assertions made about me in your co-authored chapter, with Tim Soutphommasane, in All That’s Left (UNSW Press).

In one sentence you list a name or names and in the next sentence you list a number of (undocumented) attitudes which you attribute to “the broad Left coalition” (Heroes & Villains) or “the Right” (All That’s Left). Then, when a reader asks for documented evidence that the person or persons cited in your book ever had such an attitude, you deny that you made the claim in the first place.

In Heroes & Villains, Daniel Mannix is the only person cited in the group you describe as “the broad Left coalition” during the time of the conscription plebiscites of 1916 and 1917.  You maintain that members of this group “argued that pro-conscriptionists wanted to destroy White Australia, inaugurating a Prussian-stylemilitarist society that Australia was ostensibly fighting against85 and thus undermining the hard fought wages and conditions of Australian workers”.

Your footnote 85 contains no reference to Archbishop Mannix.  Heroes & Villains does not contain a bibliography – but I have a large personal library and was able to check your sources.  They do not support your assertion re Dr Mannix.

Then, when I politely ask of you what is the evidence for your assertions about Dr Mannix – you go into denial and claim:

All I have noted in the relevant passage is that Mannix was regarded as being on the side of the “anti-conscriptionists”.

This is an intellectually dishonest rationalisation. No one would need to read Heroes & Villains to learn that Daniel Mannix opposed conscription for overseas services in 1916 and 1917.  This is hardly Ph.D. style original research.  The fact is that you made an undocumented point about the nature of the cause advanced by members of what you describe as “the broad Left coalition” during the conscription plebiscites:

In your letter you write:

The arguments you claim I attribute to Mannix are representative of the broad “anti” case and not necessarily indicative of my particular individual’s views.

Again, this is intellectually dishonest.  There was no “broad” anti-conscription case in 1916/1917.  Individuals and organisations opposed conscription for reasons which were many and varied.  It is shoddy scholarship to link all these individuals and organsiations into some unidentified “broad Left coalition”.

Take Daniel Mannix, for example.  In 1916 and 1917 he publicly campaigned for the right of Australians of German background to send their children to Lutheran schools.  Yet you link Dr Mannix in with a “broad” coalition – some members of which did accuse the conscriptionists of being of Prussian disposition.

This is dreadful scholarship.  Yet on the first page of Heroes & Villains you declare that your book “began its life as a Ph.D. thesis”.  All I can say is that standards seem to have declined since I was an academic.

In your final paragraph you refer to my email of 18 August as a “frivolous complaint”. It was not frivolous. And it did not contain a complaint.  All I asked you to do was to provide evidence to support the reference to Archbishop Daniel Mannix which is on Page 209 of Heroes & Villains. That’s all. What’s wrong with that?

When I am asked for evidence to support a claim I have made, I provide it.  When you are asked for evidence to support claims you have made, your initial reaction is to deny that the claim was ever made and then you accuse the person seeking the documentation of being “frivolous”. Your co-author Tim Soutphommasane adopts the same tactic – except that he accuses the person seeking the documentation of being “vexatious”.

In my view, as a taxpayer funded academic at a taxpayer subsidised university, you have an obligation to engage in public debate and support the claims made in your taxpayer assisted books with evidence.  It’s called scholarship.

Best wishes

Gerard Henderson

CORRESPONDENCE

MIKE CARLTON AND THE TURD WAY

MWD has long held a theory that those journalists who are most critical of others are most sensitive when others are critical of them.  The journalist Philip Luker makes this point about Late Night Live presenter Phillip Adams in his recently published book Phillip Adams: The Ideas Man – A Life Revealed (JoJo Publishing, 2011).

Mike Carlton, who was trained in the ABC and currently writes a Saturday column for the Sydney Morning Herald, is another journalist who can sure dish it out but who gets oh-so-upset when someone criticises him. As the following correspondence demonstrates:

Mike Carlton to Gerard Henderson, Saturday 13 August 2011 (after lunch)

Henderson

I am told that you have recently had three or four shots at me in your tedious little Media Watch Dog thing.

What a pompous, pretentious turd you are.

Sincerely,

Mike Carlton

Gerard Henderson to Mike Carlton, Tuesday 16 August 2011 (before dinner)

Mike

I refer to your email which you forwarded on Saturday – after lunch.  Many thanks. I am always looking for endorsements to place at the front of Media Watch Dog – and your reference to me as a “pompous, pretentious turd” will work just fine.

I experienced an overwhelming sense of déjà-vu when I read that you addressed me as “Henderson”. As I recall, this was the preferred term of address used in private schools in the not too distant past.  As in: “Henderson, pay attention in class”.  It’s good to see that the influence of Barker College still lingers in you – and can find expression from, time to time, on a Saturday afternoon – after lunch.

You are one of those journalists who delight in criticising and laughing at others – but who become mightily upset when someone criticises you.

My criticism about your hyperbolic claim that there was a “seamless, linear progression of right-wing rage” from John Howard and George Pell in Australia to the mass-murderer Anders Breivik in Norway was valid (Issue 106).  The same can be said of my critique of your attempt to excuse Lee Rhiannon’s support for Soviet communism up the time she turned 38 (Issue 103).  What’s more, it is reasonable to contrast your complaint that Australian politicians engage in “puerile, beer garden insults” with your reference to David Cameron as “an old Etonian spiv” (Issue 105).

For my part, I will continue to monitor your work. In return, I look forward to receiving more invective – assuming, of course, that you have some to spare.

Best wishes

Gerard Henderson

* * * * *

Until next time.

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