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are private correspondence and not for publication” – ABC News Radio’s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

Stop Press : Robert Manne and Geoffrey Robertson Assess Rupert Murdoch

● Mark Latham’s Historical Howler As Told To The Contrarians

● Nancy’s Pick-of-the-Week : Chris Johnson’s Non-Sources

● Lachlan Harris Bags Overweight Truck Drivers

●  A Deborah Cameron Moment : On Tax, Wind Farms &

Rugby League Brothers-in-Arms

● Can You Bear It?  David Burchell on Tony Abbott

● EXCLUSIVE: The New Latham Diaries: As Hacked By Nancy



Nancy rose early this morning in anticipation of reading extracts of Robert Manne’s much touted Quarterly Essay titled “Murdoch’s Australian and the Shaping of the Nation” which is serialised in today’s Fairfax Media newspapers.  RM’s dinkus even appeared on the front page of The Age. The Sydney Morning Herald, however, had the good sense to feature instead Jordan Baker’s article on “real men”.

In the published extract, Professor Manne proposed that The Australian should have a different editor-in-chief and owner. [Did the learned professor say who might buy The Australian? – Ed].

Alas, Robert Manne’s extract did not contain one direct quote or one documented fact.  It was all assertion – with a bit of hyperbole on the side.  MWD was particularly taken by Robert Manne’s claim that The Australian “has conducted a kind of jihad against the Greens”.  Funny that.  Last time MWD looked, Senator Bob Brown appeared to still have his neck attached to his torso.



Some watch Four Corners each Monday night. Others read the transcript on the ABC website.  Still others do neither.  Nancy’s co-owner does both.

Here’s the commencement of the ABC transcript of last Monday’s Four Corners program titled “Bad News” on Rupert Murdoch News Corporation and all that.  The program was introduced by Kerry O’Brien at great and ponderous length – and presented by Sarah Ferguson.   Let’s go to the official ABC transcript:

Kerry O’Brien, Presenter: Welcome to Four Corners. It may be premature to talk with any certainty of the fall of the House of Murdoch, but the powerful global media dynasty led by patriarch Rupert has never faced a crisis like it, with a yawning credibility gap his News Corporation may find impossible to close while ever the Murdochs remain associated with it.  Tonight we’re going to chronicle the extent of the News Corporation nightmare in Britain relating to illegal phone and computer hacking, and bribery of police, for information including salacious gossip for stories on royals, politicians, celebrities and others, which has so far led to 12 arrests including former and current senior executives….

News Reporter : Several years ago he was involved in several out of court settlements involving some phone hacking allegations to the fact…

Media Commentator : Rupert Murdoch, you’re a great Australian in the same sense that a killer was a great –

Street Vendor (handing out newspapers): Free Standard, Free Standard, thank you. (protesters shouting)

Sarah Ferguson : Throughout its millennial history London has been the stage for great events. It’s no stranger to the rise and fall of empires nor to the rise and fall of powerful men. Today the Houses of Parliament will be the courtroom to try a modern media giant and his teetering empire. It is the 19 July 2011 and Australia’s most famous expatriate Rupert Murdoch has truly become the news of the world.

Geoffrey Robertson QC : There is a kind of twilight of the gods atmosphere at the moment. Scotland Yard is falling; News Limited may crack.

What a start. Kerry O’Brien. Followed  by a female News Reporter. Followed by a male News Commentator – he was not visible but the sound was clearly the Epping accent of Australia’s very own Geoffrey Robertson QC.  Followed by a male Street Vendor.  Followed by Sarah Ferguson. Followed again by Geoffrey Robertson.

So there you have it.  According to the official Four Corners transcript, the voice which sounds just like Geoffrey Robertson was heard to say:

Rupert Murdoch, you’re a great Australian in the sense that a killer was a great –

That’s the problem with Geoffrey Robertson’s Epping accent – the kind of accent which one develops in Notting Hill when one is attempting to disguise the fact that one was born in Sydney suburban Epping.  It’s just so frightfully difficult to understand. Sometimes it’s almost impossible for a transcriber to determine what Mr Robertson is on about.

This is how the early part of the ABC transcript should have read:

Female Voice-Over : Several years ago he [Rupert Murdoch] was involved in several out-of-court settlements involving some phone hacking allegations –

Male Voice-Over [Geoffrey Robertson] : Rupert Murdoch, you’re a great Australian. In the sense, perhaps, that Attila was a great Hun.

Street Vendor : Free Evening Standard.  Free Standard, thank you.

Geoffrey Robertson did not compare Rupert Murdoch with “a killer” but, rather, with “Attila”.  MWD will be looking out for a correction on the ABC website any time soon.



Former Labor leader Mark Latham’s appearance on The Contrarians last Friday afternoon – along with Peter van Onselen, Julian Morrow and Tim Wilson – gets a mention in “The Latham Diaries – As Hacked By Nancy”.

However, Mr Latham’s comments on gay marriage wins Nancy’s special gong for HOWLER OF THE WEEK.  Let’s go to the transcript where the Bloke from Camden calls for Labor and the Coalition to support gay marriage in a party vote – and opposes a conscience vote:

Mark Latham : I support the change. But let’s be clear about this. The conscience vote is a cop out, designed to paper over the factional differences in the Labor Party – where you’ve got some people like the Shoppies Union on the far-right of the party, who’d be threatening disaffiliation and all manner of retribution over this…. The cop-out is this.  It’s an amendment to the Marriage Act. And the Federal Parliament, for right, for good and for bad, in good times and bad, has been making laws about marriage and family law for 70 or 80 years, that I’m aware of. And not once has anyone said : “Oh it’s a matter of conscience”. No one said it in the Whitlam Government. No one said it with [Garfield] Barwick’s reforms in the ‘50s.

This has never ever been a matter of conscience until the Labor Party found out it’s a divisive issue within their factional system. And I don’t see how overnight it becomes a matter of conscience, when people have been voting and amending and changing and introducing marriage laws in Australia for quite some time.  The Family Law Act, and the like, was never seen as a matter of conscience. Sure, there might have been religious views about them but to be a cohesive, binding political party, you’ve gotta live with the 70 or 80 years of history, and maintain that – instead of going the cop-out route.

What a load of tripe. The last substantial revision of marriage law in Australia occurred in 1974 when the Parliament passed the Family Law Act.  Labor was in office and Gough Whitlam was prime minister.

Both the Labor Party and the Coalition gave all members and senators a conscience vote during the entire passage of the legislation from the Family Law Bill to the Family Law Act.  The process of how the law with respect to marriage was changed is well documented in Gough Whitlam’s The Whitlam Government: 1972-1975 (Viking, 1985).

In The Whitlam Government, Gough Whitlam wrote that in 1974 “Australia gained, by the free votes of the members of its national Parliament, a modern and humane code and court of family law” (Page 620). In other words, there was a conscience vote when the Family Law Act came into operation in 1974.

Mark Latham should know this.  After all, he helped write The Whitlam Government and is acknowledged by Gough Whitlam in his “Author’s Note”.



What a stunning scoop by the Canberra Times’ chief political correspondent Chris Johnson last Monday.  Mr Johnson got a Page 1 lead for his story titled “Coalition ‘angst’ at Abbott’s attitude”.

Big story, for sure.  The Johnson “exclusive” turned on the claim that Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has little trust in the Coalition’s front bench and is paranoid about being double-crossed by members of the shadow ministry.

So what were Craig Johnson’s sources for so important a claim?  Well, here they are.  The Canberra Times’ lead story was based on the following evidence: (i) “a number of senior members of his [Abbott’s] team”, (ii) “some shadow ministers”, (iii) “numerous backbenchers”, (iv) “Coalition ranks”, (v) “senior Coalition sources”, (vi) “one”, (vii) “some senior MPs”, (viii) “another”, (ix) “one shadow minister” and (x) “a number of Opposition MPs”.

Nancy says – Give your man Johnson a Walkley Award. Now.


This special feature is 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 –

And now to the present. MWD much admired Lachlan Harris’ introductory paragraph in his Sunday Telegraph column last weekend. Here it is:

Most weeks come and go in politics with little to show for them.  A grab here, a line here, a dubious assertion one day, a ridiculous defence the next.  This week was no different.

That’s all very well.  But Lachie had another 19 paras to fill.  So he decided to have a go at the Convoy of No Confidence protest which descended on Canberra last week.  Good choice, don’t you think?  Lachie is a tertiary educated son of wealthy business parents.  Also he’s trim – and thinks he’s terrific.  So why not have a go at no-so-well-educated truck drivers who may be a bit overweight.  Let’s take up to the column at paragraph___ where Lachie builds on his theory that the working class types who took part in the Convoy of No Confidence were both “clowns” and “nutters”.

Hardworking truck drivers have been claiming for years that the poor dietary options in truck stops around Australia are having a detrimental impact on their health.  Their worst fears were realised in Canberra this week as the long-term degenerative effects of prolonged exposure to dodgy dagwood dogs were obvious for all to see.

Get the message?  Truck drivers are not just nutters and clowns.  They’re fatso nutters and clowns.

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



Nancy just loves ABC Radio’s “Mornings with Deborah Cameron” program. Here’s  sample of what was heard this week on the ABC’s very own Green-Left-Daily program.

Monday. Ms Cameron calls for someone/anyone to build something now.  Let’s go to the audio tape:

Deborah Cameron: Well, think about what needs doing in your neighbourhood when you look around. You’d love a new rail network, I guess. Better bus shelters would be a start, bicycle and footpaths networks. How about bigger ports, maybe you’ve got to struggle to get your truck to port. Would you like to have new expanded light rail, a new entertainment centre, do you go out to concerts? Investment in sporting facilities – were you at some tired old block at the weekend thinking “can someone please improve this”?

Then you wake up this morning and you hear that the State government is promising cuts. Weren’t they elected to actually build things? The Waratah Bonds is something that they put on the agenda as a way to maybe get things started. The idea is that it would back, with a government guarantee, investment in major infrastructure by you. It’s a different method of them borrowing. Now, I guess the thing is, could someone, somewhere, please start building something.

Ms Cameron has never worked in government or run a business. She believes in spending – apparently unaware that spending has to be funded eventually by the taxpayer.  She also believes in borrowing – apparently unaware that borrowing can force up interest rates.  Oh to be a life-time journalist.

Wednesday. Let’s go to the transcript where the Green-Left-Daily presenter disagrees with a farmer named Maureen who does not like wind farming.

Deborah Cameron : Alright, thank you very much Maureen. I think, um…that idea that they will pit farmer against farmer. Now they’re also rather like the coal seam gas industry – pits farmer against farmer, it happens the same in the coal industry. The reality is that once you’ve dug up next door’s farm there’s nothing else to dig. Whereas, with the wind farms, at least farmers can continue to farm around them if they can bear the aesthetic  damage, if they see them as ugly, to the landscape.

Ms Cameron seems unaware that coal seam extraction is not like open cut mining and that wind farms can destroy a landscape.

Friday.  Let go to the transcript where, after expressing ironic laughter that she might be interested in such a male sport as rugby league. [It was once very working class – Ed]. Deborah Cameron turned her scorn on the young men who play the game.  The discussion is taken up where Ms Cameron is discussing with two colleagues the fight that occurred during last Friday’s Manly v Melbourne game:

Deborah Cameron : I mean these guys know that they’re in the full glare of the lights. They know that everything they do will be recorded. I don’t know – I know there’s that whole “brothers-in-arms” stuff might be. But there is real danger to these people if they want to keep their day jobs. I mean, they have nothing else in their life. If they can’t play footy, they can’t do anything. So if they know that’s at risk, why, why take a risk that you’ll be rubbed out?

What disdain. Here is a member of the inner-city Sandalista intelligentsia telling “these people” that if they cannot play Rugby League they “can’t do anything”. How gratuitous can you get?

Verily, many A Deborah Cameron Moment.



Sometimes University of Western Sydney academic David Burchell talks and writes sense.  Then sometimes he appears on the ABC Radio National Counterpoint program which is presented by Michael Duffy and Paul Comrie-Thompson.

Last Monday, Dr Burchell appeared on Counterpoint.

▪ First up, David Burchell claimed that former Hawke Government minister Mick Young “lost his ministry over the import of, I think, a Paddington Bear which he’d failed to declare to Customs” and which amounted to “high treason”.

▪ Then David Burchell make the following comment about Tony Abbott:

My impression of Tony Abbott is that he’s a man who is at once ebullient and yet sort of troubled at the same time, because I think he is aware that he’s on a path here which is a precarious and dangerous one. There’s a possibility, a very real possibility, that he could seem like a man who is actually attempting to destroy political stability for a protracted period of time. It’s the phase of fear, only to a greater extent. On the other hand, my impression is that he doesn’t see any other way to go. And so in a funny kind of way for a man who holds all the aces at the moment, he is in a precarious position.

So there you have it.  Tony Abbott and the Coalition are well ahead in the polls.  However, David Burchell reckons he is in a precarious position.

Can you bear it?


Thursday, 18 August 2011

It’s tough living on a large block out Camden way when a bloke’s main source of income is a mere $75,000 a year (fully indexed) which the mug taxpayer is forced to stump up for my superannuation benefits under the Commonwealth Parliament retirement scheme.  It’s a rotten scheme.  I’m so proud that I forced John Howard to junk it for all new MPs. Good, however, that us older MPs kept the gravy.  Lucky us.

Some of my critics reckon I’m doing welfare-through-taxpayer-funded-superannuation.  They would.  They’re part of the conga-line-of-suckholes whom I referred to in the past. Losers all. Okay I lost in 2004 – but I lost to John Howard and the might of Rupert Murdoch’s media empire.  So, I didn’t really lose after all.

I say that $75,000 is not enough when a bloke’s got to keep a wife, a former wife, three kids, two horses and half a dozen bookmakers.  So I need to top up my income. Here Eric Beecher’s Crikey newsletter suits me fine. Crikey actually pays me for writing crap.  I love Eric.  He runs around the country giving lectures about journalistic standards.  But Eric can’t afford to employ a fact-checker and no one bothers about evidence in Crikey.  It’s just so post-modern. Also, Crikey doesn’t care when I tell whoppers.  So I just make stuff up.  It’s call literary licence and it’s about the only licence that’s free these days.

Today in Crikey I bagged the new Democratic Labor Party senator John Madigan for addressing a function with his young children at the side of the podium.  What a mug.  What a way to mistreat kids. Madigan’s apparently a member of the working class.  A blacksmith someone told me.  I don’t meet any blacksmiths these days.  Except at the races.

If that idiot Madigan had read my work he would know that I stuffed up when I paraded the wife and kids when I won the Labor leadership ballot in December 2003.  I thought it was a good idea at the time. But I now realise that I should not have asked the boys along when I led my very own conga-line-of-suck-holes in that dance down the Opposition corridors at Parliament House.  Blacksmith Madigan should do as I say – not do as I did.

Wednesday, 24 August 2001

I’ve just appeared on Sky News’ Paul Murray Live show with fellow panellists Joe Hilderbrand and Brian “The Sandman” Carlton. It’s a great show.  Especially since I get to deliver jokes and then laugh at them myself. What’s wrong with that?  Who else would laugh at my jokes?  I cracked a couple of corkers about that fool Craig Thomson and the brothels. Did I ever tell you that too many cooks spoil the brothel?  I told nearly everyone else. Even Eric.

Can you believe that Rupert Murdoch actually pays me to do this? Look at it this way.  That bastard Murdoch owns a third of BSkyB, which owns a third of Fox News.  So one sixth of my appearance fee on Sky News is coughed up by the Dirty Digger.  Still, someone has to take his money. It may as well be me.

Friday, 26 August 2011

I was out to Sky News again this afternoon for a live appearance on The Contrarians. It goes to air at 4.15 pm and I have yet to meet anyone who watches it.  The compere Peter van Onselen is a useless Tory.  Still, as I have previously said, Sky News pays me a retainer.  Which is fair enough.  Ever tried getting by on a mere $75,000 taxpayer (fully-indexed) hand-out a year? I tell you, it’s tough out there. And even here – in semi-rural Camden. I tell you.

The other panellists on The Contrarians tonight were Julian “The Chaser” Morrow and the Institute of Public Affairs’ in-house fascist Tim Wilson.  The things a bloke’s got to do to earn a quid to complement his mere $75,000 which he gets each year from the taxpayer. Fancy having to associate with such low-life.  Sometimes I prefer to go on a panel at Long Bay Prison. Fair dinkum.  But Long Bay, unlike the Dirty Digger, doesn’t pay blokes to go on discussion panels at 4.15 on a Friday afternoon which nobody watches.

When I was in politics, I hated Julian Morrow and the Chaser “Boys”.  So much so that I once hit one of the Chaser “Boys” with a soft instrument while being door-stopped.  It hurt their pride, I bet.  I’ve always kept the big physical hits (from behind) for wog taxi-drivers who don’t know who I am.  Even when I’m totally pissed.  Or, perhaps, because I’m totally pissed.

I sounded off tonight on The Contrarians about the Marriage Act or some such shit.  I didn’t really know what I was talking about. I’m sure that bastard Henderson was watching and will probably give me a run in the historical howlers section of his Media Watch Dog blog.  He’s probably the only viewer.  What a prick.  Doesn’t Hendo read what I write about him when I try to imitate him in Crikey?

Eric Beecher is a good bloke.  Unlike Hendo.  Eric doesn’t employ a fact-checker and doesn’t give a stuff about the Marriage Act and all that shit.  We need more Erics, I say.  Van Onselen should invite him on to The Contrarians.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Another article in Crikey today. I sounded off about columnists who I reckon repeat themselves. What mugs. I’ve never been accused of this.  Yes. No.  I just contradict myself.

Like, one day I write that the former leftist Labor leader Bert Evatt was as hopeless as that turd Kim Beazley.  Then another day I write that Bert Evatt was a great Labor leader. No one can accuse me of repeating myself.  No one can accuse me of repeating myself. No one can accuse me of repeating myself.  I just change my mind. I just change my mind.  I just change my mind.

I’ll sleep well tonight.  It’s been a good couple of days.  Thanks to Eric and Rupert who have helped boost my mere $75,000 pension pittance.  And I managed two Sky News appearances in three days – without having to change my shirt. By the way, can’t the taxpayer pay up a bit more to support a bloke, his sheila, an ex, three kids, two horses and three bookmakers out Camden way?  Perhaps I’ll write about this in Crikey one day.  Or raise the issue on Paul Murray Live or The Contrarians. Stay tuned.

* * * *

Until next time.