26 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are private correspondence and not for publication” – ABC News Radio’s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)

Aunty’s Jay Rosen’s Obsession

A Lachie Harris Experience : Somersaulting on Carbon Tax

A Deborah Cameron Moment : Solar Good; Mining Bad

Nancy’s Pick-of-the-Week : Mike Carlton on ABC In-breeding

● Can You Bear It? : Lawrence Money on Don Chipp; The Canberra Times’ Letters Editor

on Adolf Hitler; and Marieke Hardy on Herself

● Correspondence: Sally Neighbour and Triple J Write to MWD



Shortly after 10 pm last night, Nancy turned on the Radio National’s Late Night Live program. And there was presenter/columnist Phillip Adams talking to Jay Rosen, Professor of Journalism at New York University, about journalism and all that – in a leftie kind of way.  Worried that she was intruding a private conversation between ideological friends, Nancy switched over to Lateline.  Within a few minutes there was presenter/journalist Tony Jones talking to Jay Rosen, Professor of Journalism at New York University, about journalism.  [Did Mr Rosen sleep-over at the ABC studios last night? – Ed].

It seems that Jay Rosen is in Melbourne for the taxpayer subsidised Melbourne Writers’ Festival.  He is part of that literary festival tradition in Australia where a group of leftie-luvvies get a bucket load of taxpayers’ money and invite a group of left-luvvies to come along and talk about themselves and advocate left-wing causes, in a leftie luvvie kind of way – and get lotsa interviews by leftie-luvvie presenters on the ABC.

Nancy is a big fan of Lateline’s news judgment.  Last night the civil war in Libya was still extant, Ukraine was in turmoil, the North Atlantic economies faced the possibility of another recession, millions of Africans were in danger of starvation and so on.  But Lateline had the good sense to realise that the BIG STORY of the day turned on what Jay Rosen, journalist professor, thought about journalists.

Professor Rosen certainly knows how to ingratiate himself with journalists. In conversation with Tony Jones, Jay Rosen declared that “the strength of the ABC is certainly an advantage Australia has over the US”.  Then it was time to address Mr Jones himself.  Let’s go to the transcript:

Tony Jones:  …It would be hard to imagine us changing our own game here on this program dramatically. We do long interviews, we do probing interviews with politicians. Hopefully we see through the spin. So what is it that you’re suggesting should change?

Jay Rosen : I think this is a very good program, that’s why I’m so excited to be on it. I think you do a good job.

Go on. He did.  Until the end when Tony Jones decided that enough was enough:

Tony Jones: Jay Rosen, we’ll have to leave it there. It’s fascinating talking to you. We don’t have these kind of discussions very often about ourselves. It is quite a good thing we do it from time to time. We thank you very much for being there.

Jay Rosen : Thanks for having me on.

MWD wants even more discussions where Tony Jones and Jay Rosen talk about themselves.  Even if those listening on occasions may feel they are intruding on a private conversation.

Meanwhile Nancy is so excited that she just can’t wait until next Monday’s Q&A when Tony Jones will present the program from the Melbourne Writers’ Festival. This is the panel – Don Watson, Kate Grenville, Anna Funder, Afghani political activist Malalai Joya and Malaysian-Australian rapper Omar Musa.

Fancy that.  Not a conservative on the Q&A panel. [Looks like you could have some new material for the much admired Maurice Newman Segment next week. – Ed].


Nancy, being a canine of feminist bent, has been concerned that MWD’s highly popular “Deborah Cameron Moment” has not been balanced in a gender sense.  Fortunately Lachlan Harris’s increasingly frequent media appearances has made it possible to balance “A Deborah Cameron Moment” with “A Lachie Harris Experience”. Wacko.  Starting today.

This special feature will be devoted to the memorable occasion (Q&A, 15 August 2011) when Lachlan Harris responded to Tony Jones’ invitation to comment on whether the London riots may have been amplified by the social media:

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 –

The inaugural Lachie Harris Experience takes at its text Mr Harris’ column in last Sunday’s Sunday Telegraph titled “Julia heads for a spring rebirth”.  The column was devoted to arguing the thesis that the political prospects of Julia Gillard and Labor will soon recover.  Or, on second thoughts, Lachie Harris might have been on about the weather. It was difficult to tell.

Lachlan Harris’s column commenced with a reflection on the Canberra weather:

It has been a long and cold winter in Canberra, especially for the federal government. The weather has been brutish and nasty, and the politics not been much better. But even the bleakest winter eventually ends in spring, and for the government the cold seems to finally be giving way to a more balmy spring.

What an evocative piece of writing.  The Canberra winter has been dark and cold.  But, hark, Spring is hither and Labor’s prospects will soon usher in new sprouts. [Yeah. But what about Tuesday’s Newspoll which had Gillard Labor’s primary vote at 27 per cent? – Ed].

Then Lachlan Harris focused in Spring – in Sydney, of all places:

Spring arrives subtly in Sydney, with the odd mild morning, and the unexpected appearance of some warm afternoon sun. In politics the change of seasons is just as subtle. Difficult to see day by day, but easy to notice when you look back over a period of weeks.

What a perceptive piece of writing.  In politics you may not notice the advent of Winter, Spring, Summer or Autumn – but look back over a period of weeks and the change has arrived. Brilliant.

MWD was particularly impressed by Mr Harris’ view that “bad economic news” in the Northern Hemisphere is “good for the [Gillard] government”. How come?  Try this for a reason:

…any movement of the debate away from the carbon tax is good for the government. The carbon tax has come to symbolise much of the confusion and weakness that Labor has displayed in recent years. Getting it off the agenda is a good thing for Labor.

Well, that’s pretty clear then.  According to Lachlan Harris, getting carbon tax off the agenda would be good for Labor. But, hang on a minute.  When Lachlan Harris appeared on Q&A on 21 March 2011 – just after Julia Gillard had announced Labor’s carbon tax initiative – he said that putting the carbon tax on the agenda was good for Labor. Let’s go to the transcript:

Lachlan Harris : My view, and I’ve been arguing for a couple of weeks, is the carbon tax is the best decision Julia Gillard has made and not just for policy reasons, I think, on raw politics…. I think there’s no doubt that the early signs to me are people are listening to Gillard again and Abbott is now struggling to control the debate and the ball is back in her court.

So there you have it.  In Summer, Lachlan declared on Q&A that “the carbon tax is the best decision Julia Gillard has made”. And in Winter, Lachlan Harris declared in the Sunday Telegraph that “the carbon tax has come to symbolise much of the confusion and weakness that Labor has displayed in recent years”.  In between there was Autumn. Or was it Spring?

Truly, A Lachlan Harris Experience.  Know what I mean?


And now, gender balance in place, it is time for A Deborah Cameron Moment – or two.

This is how Deborah Cameron introduced a segment on her ABC Radio 702 Mornings with Deborah Cameron program last week:

Deborah Cameron: Now when change starts to happen or meets resistance it’s all about momentum.  Can the resistance hold back the change or is change inevitable?  When it becomes, when you apply that thinking to renewable energy resources the momentum seems to be with change, increasingly. Demand for solar panels, thanks to the strong Aussie dollar, rising fossil energy prices and other factors, seems to have created a self-generating success story for the solar industry.  It’s now driven, purely by an informed and highly motivated market place.

What utter tripe.  What the “Green-Left-Daily” presenter neglected to mention was that the demand for solar panels has been driven by large taxpayer funded subsidies – and that, as the Productivity Commission has pointed out, solar energy is one of the least energy efficient energy sources.

And, then, in yesterday’s “The Spin Doctors” segment, Deborah Cameron:

▪ spoke about the “colossal profits being made by companies such as BHP” and declared that it was “unclear what’s in it for any of the rest of us”.

▪ predicted that mining profits will “stop” in 10, 20, 30 years time and asked rhetorically: “Will we just have a big hole in the ground and a whole lot of poor people looking like they’ve been hit by a train and didn’t see it coming?”

▪ rejected any suggestion that, in time, mining land could be returned to farming because “all the water will be gone and there’ll be gas coming out of every second hole”.

▪ and concluded by describing Australian democracy as “battered and bruised, battered and bruised”.

Apparently Ms Cameron is unaware that mining companies pay royalties and company taxes and that mining companies employ many Australians – including fly-in/fly-out workers who earn substantially more in mining than they did in the manufacturing industry.   She seems also unaware that many Australians benefit through investing in mining companies – either directly or through superannuation.  And she seems to believe that mining is capable of destroying virtually all Australia’s available land.  All this in one session of one day.

Verily, many A Deborah Cameron Moment.



In his Sydney Morning Herald column on 13 August 2011, Mike Carlton wrote:

The British Prime Minister, David William Donald Cameron (Eton, Brasenose), his Tory Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Gideon Oliver Osborne (St Paul’s, Magdalen, and heir to a baronetcy), and the Tory mayor of London, the blond, bicycling and batty Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson (Eton, Balliol), were all Bullingdon chaps in the ’80s.

Nancy accepts that it’s good form to identify a private schooled chap by the private school that the chap attended – along with the chap’s full name.  So, henceforth, it’s “Michael Carlton (Barker College)”. So what’s Michael Carlton (Barker College) been up to?  Last Saturday, he offered the following valuable insight into the intellectual inbreeding that is the public broadcaster. Regretting the cancellation of a scheduled Four Corners’ knees-up, due to the death of three ABC staff, Michael Carlton (Barker College) opined:

It would have been one of those very tribal ABC affairs, cheerful and gossipy, where almost everyone seems to be married to, living with or divorced from somebody else in the room.

For the record, Michael Carlton (Barker College) is married to an ABC journo.  He should know.

On another matter, there has been a huge reader response to Michael Carlton (Barker College)’s description of Nancy’s co-owner as a “pompous, pretentious turd”. (See MWD Issue 108).  An avid MWD reader wrote in to advise that he had also received a similar email put-down by Michael Carlton (Barker College) and that it had also been sent on a Saturday – after lunch, of course.

The individual concerned had the temerity to disagree with the Sydney Morning Herald columnist on, wait for it, Anglo-Irish literature.  The reader, who suggested that Michael Carlton (Barker College) wrote from “lofty leftoid heights” through a “one eyed ideological prism”, received the following (after lunch) verbal bollocking:

From: Mike Carlton

Sent: Saturday, 14 May 2011, 3.50 pm

What a pompous prat you must be.

Mike Carlton

Columnist, The Sydney Morning Herald

Author:  CRUISER, The Life & Loss of HMAS Perth and Her Crew.

So there you have it.  Michael Carlton (Barker College) not only sent an angry email but also told his target that he was the author of Cruiser.


▪ Lawrence Money – Not On The Money

In The Age last Monday, Lawrence Money’s “Money’s Melbourne” column commenced with the following reflection on Don Chipp (1925-2006) – the former Liberal Party MP who founded the Australian Democrats:

There was a time as a young athlete when Don Chipp could sprint 100 metres in less than 10 seconds, but by 1996 those days were long gone.

Well those days were gone a long time before Chipp fell victim to Parkinson’s disease.  The young Don Chipp was a fine athlete. But not so good as to be able to run under 10 seconds for the 100 metres.

Don Chipp was born in 1925 and would have reached his athletic peak around 1954 at age 29.  In 1954, the world record for the 100 metres sprint was 10.2 seconds and was held by, among others, the Australian sprinter Hector Hogan. Hogan finished third in the 1956 Olympic Games in a time of 10.6 seconds. No athlete ran under 10 seconds until 1968.  And Lawrence Money reckons that, as a young man, circa 1954, Don Chipp could run faster than the world record holder. Can you bear it?

Canberra Times – On Tony Abbott as Adolf Hitler

Last Wednesday, the Letters Editor of the Canberra Times chose to run the following contribution, from Mark Fraser, under the heading “Fascism and free speech invoked during the truck rally”.

In view of the comments  by Christopher Pyne (“A rally that scars the mind”, August 19, p19) and by Tony Abbott at the rally held by the Convoy of No Confidence, a question now hangs over the future of the Liberal Party.  Why has the Liberal Party chosen (at the Federal level) to explicitly align itself with the methodologies and praxis of Mussolini’s Fascism?

Some might argue that this is an extreme interpretation of events: in reply, I would offer the following facts. Pyne’s essay, purportedly outlining the terrible nature of the assault on Parliament House by some demonstrators, can also be read as a blueprint for how to repeat, and possibly extend the exercise.

Similarly, Abbott’s fulminations on the need for new elections and a new government reflect the arguments put by both Mussolini and Hitler.  That Abbott saw the Convoy of No Confidence as an opportunity to seek further media coverage for an argument he lost politically a year ago is indicative of the ideological and ethical bankruptcy gnawing at the heart of the Liberal Party.  The members of the convoy themselves were a somewhat confused grouping of disparate ideas and ideals. As such, the misinformation of Alan Jones, together with the confused rhetoric of Abbott, Barnaby Joyce and Bronwyn Bishop can hardly have been edifying for them.

Sadly, it is possible to compare the misguided convoy, hijacked by political opportunists, with Mussolini’s march on Rome.  Fortunately, the members of the convoy were intelligent enough to not be swayed by those who would like to be their puppet masters.  Abbott, in failing to recognise  the decision of the electorate, is deliberately seeking to invest the mob with power, just as Mussolini did.

Mark Fraser, Fisher

So the Canberra Times believes that it is worth running a letter-to-the-editor from a reader who really believes that Tony Abbott reflects the argument put by both Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini – and that the 2011 Convoy of No Confidence in Canberra was similar to Mussolini’s March on Rome in 1922.  Can you bear it? [No, but this is the same newspaper which ran an article by Bruce Kent in 2007 claiming that the Howard Terror was as bad as Nazism. – Ed].

▪ Marieke Hardy’s Kit – Off For Stalin; On For Reagan

On Nancy’s calculations, like the rest of us mortal souls, Melbourne’s multi-media personality Marieke Hardy must have had two natural grandfathers.  But only one ever gets a mention – the former Communist Party writer Frank Hardy who wrote the pro-Stalin tract Journey Into The Future in 1952.

In last Saturday’s Good Weekend, John Van Tiggelen profiled the Coburg based Ms Hardy – pointing out that the lady has her standards:

…Hardy likes to get her gear off.  More unusually she likes to be known as a girl who likes to get her gear off.  On her Twitter profile, she describes herself as a “hedonist, raconteur and bon vivant”. She has posted pictures of herself naked on her popular blog (now in hiatus) as well as to her followers on Twitter, who at last count numbered more than 46,000.  But what makes her, and her breasts, particularly adorable in certain circles is that she draws the line at getting her kit off for conservatives.

Hardy, 35, might be libertine, but she’s got principles.  No nooky for neo-cons, she wags with a gloved finger. “Vote Liberal?  My arse!” it reads on the leopard-print undies she sells and models through her fashion label, Polichicks. Mind you, not all “lefties” are into her….

So Marieke Hardy is super proud of her once-a-Stalinist grandfather, Frank.  However, she will not entertain any favours for those who follow such democratic politicians as Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan.  Can you bear it?



Nancy’s co-owner, being of a certain age, no longer receives many lectures on good behaviour, good taste and the like.  So it was great to see that journalist Sally Neighbour found the time to write to MWD last Saturday expressing her concern about MWD’s bad behaviour, poor taste and so on.  Here’s the correspondence:

Email from Sally Neighbour to Gerard Henderson – Saturday 20 August 2011


I thought it was in very poor taste to use Paul Lockyer’s death to have a cheap shot at the ABC.

Regards, Sally Neighbour

Email from Gerard Henderson to Sally Neighbour – 23 August 2011


I refer to your email – sent last Saturday morning – concerning the “Vale Paul Lockyer” piece in last Friday’s Media Watch Dog.

I had some dealings with Paul over the years and I much admired him as a person and respected his evident journalistic professionalism.  In judging someone’s work performance, it is only proper to assess them with reference to their work. Hence my reference to the ABC.

In my considered view, if all ABC journalists were as balanced and professional as Paul Lockyer was – then the public broadcaster would have been subjected to much less criticism than is the case.  This is all I wrote in MWD last Friday.  Geoffrey Luck, a former ABC journalist, sent me a note along the same lines – which I also published in MWD.

I do not know what Paul Lockyer believed in and I do not know where he lived.  But I do know that he did not espouse the inner-city-green-leftism which is so prevalent within the ABC.  As you know, Paul made a real – and successful – attempt to connect with rural and regional Australia.  That’s why his death was so widely mourned throughout the country.  In short, Paul was a reporter – without a political or environmental agenda.

You, in your wisdom, have decided to lecture me – claiming that the “Vale Paul Lockyer” piece was “in very poor taste” and that it involved “a cheap shot at the ABC”.

I do not need your advice about what constitutes good behaviour.  No one else complained about my tribute to Paul Lockyer.  Your years at the ABC seem to have made you super-sensitive to criticism of the public broadcaster.  Many an ABC type makes a profession of criticising others, but is oh-so-sensitive when someone criticises them or the ABC which employs them.

As you know, from time to time I have both praised and criticised your work.  In my view, ABC journalists ought to toughen up a bit – and learn to accept criticism as well as praise.  Mark Scott said as much in a speech he delivered last year.

By the way, last Saturday Mike Carlton used the occasion of Paul Lockyer’s death to bag critics of the ABC.  Have you written to him as well lecturing about “very poor taste”?

Best wishes

Gerard Henderson

Email from Sally Neighbour to Gerard Henderson – 23 August 2011

goodness me, Gerard, talk about ‘super-sensitive to criticism’! regards, Sally\

* * * * *


MWD has long maintained that no one runs the ABC in a managerial sense.  Not the chairman, not the Board and not even Mark Scott – who is both Managing Director and Editor-in-Chief.

The following letter – received from Triple J – is published in the public interest since it demonstrates how this ABC station runs its own agenda.  Triple J’s Restoring the Balance program mocks the (alleged) concern of the ABC Board that the public broadcaster lacks balance by getting a couple of ABC lefties to pretend that they are Liberal Party/National Party voters and then proceeding to mock conservative causes.  Clever, eh?

The Sydney Institute has declined to play along with Triple J and has rejected Triple J’s invitation that Katharine Birbalsingh, who will address the Institute in September, should participate in such a farce.  Here we go:

Email from Serpil Senelmis to The Sydney Institute – 18 August 2011

I am the producer of Restoring the Balance, a weekly national satirical program aired on triple j, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s youth network. As I understand, the Sydney Institute is bringing out Katherine [sic] Birbalsingh and I’d like to lock in an interview with her on either Sunday 4th September (between 1-3pm) or Sunday 11th September (between 11am- 1pm) for a 10-15minute chat.

This is the third time Restoring the Balance takes to the airwaves over the past 8 years. It is a two hour satirical show that dissects current affairs issues from what the presenters/characters call a fair, balanced and unbiased perspective. The two characters Stirling Addison and Tom Tomlinson represent the views of the conservative youth of Australia and the show is aired under the pretence that the ABC board has invited the show back on air in an effort to RESTORE THE BALANCE.

In our first week we interviewed the Liberal member for Longman, Wyatt Roy who joined us to talk about being the youngest member in Parliament. We also spoke to Scott Pape, the Barefoot investor who claimed on triple j’s current affairs show HACK that negative gearing should be abolished to protect the poor, which was to the disdain of the characters who couldn’t understand why everyone doesn’t have a trust fund.  Last week Bob Katter joined us from the Mt Isa Rodeo and Yvonne Allen, a matchmaker since the 70s spoke about how career aspirations are leaving women childless and lonely. This week we have a genealogist and investigative journo Paul Barry. On Sunday the 28th August we will be also joined by Julie Bishop to discuss the burning issues of whether a woman can run a country, whether a woman can wear high heels in politics and whether a woman should just stay at home and look after their children. This is all off course tongue and cheek, but a great way to discuss some of the more important issue about women and politics.

As you can see we are covering a range of topics from politics to lifestyle issues. We’d like to talk to Katherine [sic] about the idea of the benefits or cons of disciplining children.

We  pre-record the entire program ‘as live’ on Sundays from Melbourne. Would Katherine [sic] be available to join us on a either via the Sydney ABC Studios tardis or over the phone?

Here is a link to our website and podcast and here’s our facebook page

I look forward to hearing from you very soon.



Serpil Senelmis

Producer, Sunday Night Safran

A babble about religion, politics & all things Ethnic

Email from Gerard Henderson to Serpil Senelmis – 23 August 2011


I refer to your email received last Friday which was sent to Anne Henderson concerning your proposal that Katharine Birbalsingh appear on Triple J’s Restoring the Balance – which you describe as “a weekly national satirical program” – to discuss “the benefits or cons of disciplining children”. As you are aware, Anne forwarded your email to me since I am liaising with Ms Birbalsingh concerning her forthcoming Australian tour.

As the saying goes, you’ve got to be joking – in a satirical kind of way.  In your email, you describe Restoring the Balance as follows:

This is the third time Restoring the Balance takes to the airwaves over the past 8 years. It is a two hour satirical show that dissects current affairs issues from what the presenters/characters call a fair, balanced and unbiased perspective. The two characters Stirling Addison and Tom Tomlinson represent the views of the conservative youth of Australia and the show is aired under the pretence that the ABC board has invited the show back on air in an effort to RESTORE THE BALANCE.

Fascinating, eh?  The ABC has no known conservative presenters for any of its key programs on radio or television.  So Restoring the Balance has two leftist presenters who adopt the characters of “Stirling Addison” and “Tom Tomlinson” and pretend to represent the views of conservative youth of Australia from a “fair, balanced and unbiased perspective”.  Restoring the Balance is aired “under the pretence” that the ABC Board believes that the likes of Addison and Tomlinson are necessary to “restore the balance”.

The program’s website makes it clear that it is conservatives who are to be parodied. The Addison character is presented as homophobic, privately educated, rich Christian who votes Liberal and who wrote a thesis titled “Melanie Howard: A Life of Virtue”.  The Tomlinson character is presented as privately educated, super-rich, violent National Party voter.  How funny can you get?

If Triple J and the ABC Board really want to restore the balance on the public broadcaster – why not engage some real-live young conservatives instead of a couple of comedians who pretend to be conservatives for the purpose of the program?  Alternatively, how about a program which is a parody on the green-left? (Shock, horror).

Instead, Restoring the Balance attempts to ridicule the argument that the ABC does not broadcast a sufficient diversity of views – a criticism which ABC managing director Mark Scott acknowledged as valid five years ago.

Katharine Birbalsingh is an Oxford-educated highly regarded teacher who has made an important contribution to the debate about standards and discipline in government schools in London.  She has been in much demand in the media since the recent riots in England.

I am sure that Katharine Birbalsingh could handle the likes of “Stirling Addison” and “Tom Tomlinson”. However, I am also sure that, in a busy itinerary in Australia, Ms Birbalsingh will find some media outlets for her views beyond a national satirical program intent on parody.

I have forwarded a copy of this note to Mark Scott in his capacity as the ABC’s editor-in-chief.

Best wishes

Gerard Henderson

* * * * *

Until next time.