GERARD HENDERSON’S MEDIA WATCH DOG – ISSUE NO. 120

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are private correspondence and not for publication” – ABC News Radio’s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

● Stop Press: Occupy Ultimo & Bring Back Deb – Now

● Can You Bear It? Martin Hirst, Robert Manne, Stephen Mayne and Eric Beecher at the Tax-Payer Funded Media Inquiry

● Nancy’s Howlers of the Week : Paul Keating Fudges Asylum Seekers and First Iraq War on 7.30;

John Menadue Fudges Vietnamese Asylum Seekers In Gough Whitlam’s Time

● Nancy’s Old Bones: How Noam Chomsky Scaled Down Pol Pot’s Crimes

● Correspondence: Doctor (of Sociology) Simon Chapman Writes to MWD About Being a Respected Professor

(of Public Health) At Sydney University


STOP PRESS

NANCY’S “OCCUPY ULTIMO” MOVEMENT TO “BRING BACK DEB”

There was many a bitter tear in Hobart’s Salamanca Place last Friday afternoon as Nancy’s co-owner contemplated life without Deborah Cameron. (See “Verily A Deborah Cameron Moment”, MWD passim).  You see, news of the decision by ABC management not to renew the contract of the “Mornings with Deborah Cameron” presenter has left MWD without one of its its regular props.  MWD could invariably rely on Ms Cameron – in her role as presenter of the ABC’s very own “Green-Left-Daily” show – to say something pro-Green and anti-business, or pro-Green and anti-conservative, or pro inner-city Green and anti-suburban or whatever. Every day.

In recent years, The Australian’s “Cut & Paste” and “Strewth!” columns had moved into MWD’s traditional territory and attempted to pick the best of Deborah Cameron. However, let’s face it – there was lotsa material to go around.

Over the last month – on hearing a rumour that, after a mere four years of “Mornings with Deborah Cameron”, the ABC might axe its “Green-Left-Daily” host – Gerard Henderson happened to meet with two ABC board members and one ABC manager.  On each occasion, he begged the taxpayer funded broadcaster to leave Ms Cameron alone.  But, alas, her contract was not renewed – and an announcement was made last Friday afternoon. “Mornings with Deborah Cameron” finished yesterday. Or did it?

A grief-stricken Nancy has decided to establish the BRING BACK DEB – OCCUPY ULTIMO movement.  Supporters will be encouraged to set up camp outside the ABC’s headquarters at 400 Harris Street, Ultimo.  And to remain there until nice Mr Scott, the ABC’s managing director and editor-in-chief, RESTORES OUR DEB.

Nancy is expecting a big turn-out from Greens-voting, anti-business, anti-private-school. sneeringly-secular, eco-catastrophist, sandal-wearing Deborah supporters.  Bring your own tents.

As to portable toilets, don’t bother.  In the past senior ABC management have sanctioned the trespass by The Chaser Boys (average age 38) on private property.  So members of the Occupy Ultimo Movement can always spend-a-penny (perhaps more) by making the ABC’s private facilities, well, public.  There is a great toilet on Level 4 – near the Radio National studios.  Just gatecrash the ABC Ultimo headquarters and head for the RN Breakfast (ask for Fran Kelly) or Late Night Live (ask for Phillip Adams) studios. And then turn left.  Tell anyone who asks that nice Mr Scott sent you.

As for chants and so on at the Occupy Ultimo site – here is Nancy’s work in progress.

What do we want?

Deb Back!

When do we want it?

Now!

One side right!

One side wrong!

Well, it appears this way

After a bong

One, two, three, four

What do you think we’re camping for?

Five, six, seven, eight

Who do you think we appreciate?

D-e-b-o-r-a-h  C-a-m-e-r-o-n

Deborah Cameron

Nancy is confident that – with your support – the Occupy Ultimo campaign can work.  Already James Jeffrey has promised “Strewth!”’s full support.  What more could a grieving dog ask for?

MWD will publish a special “Verily: A Deborah Cameron Moment” segment next week.

An Editorial Reflection from Nancy’s Co-owner About Dr D and Dr S

[Could it be that another one of MWD’s targets has been silenced.  I could not find Dr Tim Soutphommasane’s “Ask the Philosopher” column in last Saturday’s Weekend Australian. Don’t tell me that editor-in-chief Chris Mitchell has dropped his empirical-free-sludge in another attempt to silence MWD’s criticism.  Or perhaps, after a mere six months, Dr T and Dr Nick Dyrenfurth have decided to take leave and go in search of some evidence to support their undocumented  allegations made against  Gerard Henderson in their co-edited book All That’s Left (UNSW Press).  See MWD passim – and obsessively.  You must return to this topic in next week’s MWD – before Nancy takes annual leave.  Sorry, before Nancy takes a well-earned break – Ed].

SOPHIE CUNNINGHAM, MELBOURNE, HELEN GARNER AND PETER HAYES – A CLARIFICATION

MWD Issue 119 listed numerous factual errors in Sophie Cunningham’s book Melbourne (UNSW Press, 2011).

The reference to the errors at Pages 185-186, concerning the publication date of Helen Garner’s Monkey Grip and how The Herald in Melbourne reported the controversy concerning Ms Garner’s teaching, should have acknowledged Melbourne writer Peter Hayes as the source of this information. Apologies.

Peter Hayes has found even more errors in Sophie Cunningham’s book Melbourne. These will be addressed in next Friday’s MWD.

CAN YOU BEAR IT? – DAY ONE AT THE MEDIA INQUIRY

Nancy’s co-owner knocked back an invitation to appear at the public hearings of the Media Inquiry in Sydney next week.  So he was particularly interested to see how the public hearings in Melbourne – which commenced last Tuesday – went.

The answer is – Terrific.  You just have to admire the judgment of Ray Finkelstein QC  and Professor Matthew Ricketson, ably assisted by the Media Inquiry Secretariat, who scheduled Dr Martin Hirst and Professor Robert Manne as the first two witnesses at the Media Inquiry’s public hearings.

▪  Martin Hirst – A Trot With The Lot

Associate Professor Martin Hirst, who hails from Deakin University, is a former ABC journalist and a current dedicated follower of the Marxist revolutionary Leon Trotsky.  According to the website Marx Interventions, Martin Hirst claims to be the only Trotskyist to have ever worked in the Canberra Press Gallery as a journalist. [I doubt this. – Ed].

It seems strange that the Media Inquiry believes that a taxpayer funded Trotskyist is the best person to lead off its public hearings.  This is what Robert Service had to say about Leon Trotsky in his well regarded Trotsky: A Biography (Macmillan, 2009):

…Trotsky was no angel. His lust for dictatorship and terror was barely disguised in the [Russian] Civil War.  He trampled on the civil rights of millions of people including the industrial workers.  His self-absorption was extreme.

By the way, Dr Hirst is on the public record as declaring that “objectivity as a principle of journalism is no longer the holy grail”.  Martin Hirst is an academic.  Can you bear it?

▪ Robert Manne Condemns Incitements

Next up at the Media Inquiry’s Melbourne hearings was Robert Manne – another leftist.  Professor Manne told Mr Finkelstein and Professor Ricketson that he had been subjected to numerous – wait for it – “incitements” in the News Limited press.  It seems what some of us regard as criticisms, Robert Manne sees as “incitements”.  [Interesting.  Do you now classify Mr Manne’s endorsement of MWD, which runs up the front each Friday, as an incitement?  After all, he does declare that MWD is “disgraceful” and “sick”. – Ed].

Professor Manne told the Media Inquiry that News Limited’s print ownership is excessive and that it should be forced to sell several capital city newspapers.  He did not say who, if anyone, would buy these newspapers in the current difficult commercial environment for print journalism.  Robert Manne is an academic.  Can you bear it?

Stephen Mayne – Seeing the “Rogue” in Others

Next up was leftist shareholder Stephen Mayne – who has lost more board and political elections that he has contested. [Can this be a Deliberate Mistake designed to incite Professor Manne? See MWD passim – Ed].

Mr Mayne established the Crikey newsletter in February 2000.  It specialised in publishing unattributed rumours and occasional slander.  Stephen Mayne had hoped to present oral evidence – but was forced by Ray Finkelstein to engage in a question/discussion exchange.  Stephen Mayne saw fit to bag Rupert Murdoch for rewarding “rogue editors” and declared that governments should license newspaper proprietors.  Mr Mayne is a one-time rogue journalist. Can you bear it?

▪ Eric Beecher’s Call for A (Media) Parent

Next up was Eric Beecher – the current publisher of Crikey.  Under Mr Beecher’s tutelage, Crikey still publishes unattributed rumours along with the home addresses of people whom its occasional contributors – like failed Labor leader Mark Latham – do not like.  Crikey still cannot afford to employ a fact-checker – which should be a requirement before printing the unreliable Mr Latham’s copy.

Mr Beecher told the Media Inquiry that newspapers in Australia need some “parenting” adding: “You need some discipline”.  The problem with this analysis is that Crikey exhibits signs that it was an orphan from birth since it practises scant editorial standards.   Mr Beecher is confused.  Can you bear it?

NANCY’S HOWLERS OF THE WEEK 


▪ Paul Keating Fudges Mandatory Detention and the First Gulf War – With A Little Help from Leigh Sales

MWD happens to believe that Paul Keating was a great treasurer and a good prime minister.  It’s just that, after politics, Mr Keating is running the risk of making narcissism appear to be a chronic illness.  This is not helped by journalistic members of the “I Love Paul Fan Club” – who have become so obsessed with the former prime minister that they believe his rationalisations and seem ignorant of his, er, bad memory.

Last Monday, Leigh Sales gave a soft interview to Paul Keating on 7.30 – following the publication of his book After Words: The Post-Prime Ministerial Speeches.

Let’s go to that part of the interview where Mr Keating spoke about asylum seekers and mandatory detention along with the Australian-American alliance:

Leigh Sales : You’ve written in there that political leaders should give the public a real break by telling them how things really are; that when the public isn’t let in on the problem, the political system treats them like fools. Are the public being treated by – like fools on too many issues? And the issue I’m thinking about is asylum seekers.

Paul Keating : Well, let me say this. I’ve said this often. But when they were handing out continents, not many people got one. We did. We got a continent of our own, unbelievably. 20 million of us….   I think Australia has to be a country which has the “Welcome” sign out. It has to be a country which is clear about itself. This is why I continue to say we can’t go around saying, “Oh, we’re the Australian people. We’ve got a new-made polished up economy. We’ve got a strong society. But by the way, we still – our monarch – our head of state is still the monarch of Great Britain,” you know…. “And by the way, if you want to come here, we’re putting a fence around the place. It’s verboten to cross the border. It’s alright if you fly in on a tourist visa into our main airports and overstay or run off into the community. We won’t demonise you for that, but if you arrive in a leaky boat, we will.”

Leigh Sales : So the issue is though that I think a lot of Australians aren’t sold on that message that you’ve just delivered.

Paul Keating : Well, they have to get sold – that’s the point. You see, psychologically, Australia must understand it has to live in the region around it. Australia must find its security in Asia, it cannot find its security from Asia. The from Asia camp – this was the sort of John Howard line, you know, do what the Americans want, run off to Iraq. We’re always looking for a strategic guarantor. It used to be the British and the British Navy; now it’s the Americans and the American Navy, whereas a small country as we are, we can’t exercise the unilateralist option….

An admiring Leigh Sales let all this go.  But Paul Keating’s recollections were mythology.  Pure mythology.  Let’s focus on the facts rather than follow Mr Keating’s self-interested recollections.

Mandatory detention for unauthorised arrivals – most of whom arrived by boat – was introduced in 1992.  And who was the prime minister who introduced mandatory detention in 1992 and declared that it was “verboten to cross the border” if you arrived in Australia’s shores in a leaky boat?  Why, it was Paul Keating himself – who was prime minister from December 1991 until March 1996.

Australia supported the United States led military action in Iraq in early 1991.  Guess what?  As deputy prime minister and treasurer in 1991, Paul Keating strongly supported the despatch of the Royal Australian Navy to support the US military action against Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, following Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait. [You can’t possibly mean that, in 1991, the “Keating line” entailed that Australia “run off to Iraq”  in support of the Americans?  Or can you? – Ed].

Viewers of 7.30 last Friday could have obtained the impression that Paul Keating always opposed mandatory detention and the Australian Defence Force’s involvement in Iraq.  Not so.  Leigh Sales and her executive producer should have known this – or phoned a friend – to find out what actually happened when Paul Keating was deputy prime minister and prime minister.

John Menadue Fudges His Position About Vietnamese Refugees

There was more of the same on Friday 4 November 2011 when Fran Kelly interviewed John Menadue about asylum seekers on Radio National Breakfast. The interview commenced at 7.52 am but Ms Kelly and her executive producer Tim Latham were so excited (as the saying goes) that Mr Menadue was invited back after the 8am News for an additional five minutes.

Fran Kelly told her RN Breakfast listeners that John Menadue had been head of the Department of Immigration when the Fraser Government settled tens of thousands of asylum seekers who had fled Vietnam.  This is true – sort of.  Vietnamese refugees commenced arriving in Australia in large numbers around 1976 and 1977.  According to his own entry in Who’s Who of Australia, John Menadue was Australia’s Ambassador to Japan from 1976 to 1980.  By the time that he became Secretary of the Immigration Department in 1980, most Indo-Chinese refugees had been settled in Australia.

Fran Kelly did not tell RN Breakfast listeners that the very same John Menadue was head of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet between 1974 and 1976.  In 1975, when Saigon fell to North Vietnam, Gough Whitlam was prime minister. Mr Whitlam did everything that he could, when prime minister in 1975, to stop genuine refugees fleeing persecution in Vietnam from settling in Australia.  Gough Whitlam did not want anti-communist Vietnamese settling in Australia. There is no evidence that Mr Menadue did anything to stop Gough Whitlam at the time.

NANCY’S OLD BONES: NOAM CHOMSKY’S 1980 SEMI-DENIAL OF THE KHMER ROUGE’S MASS MURDERS IN CAMBODIA

Noam Chomsky is the umpteenth leftie to receive the Sydney Peace Prize which is sponsored by the taxpayer subsidised University of Sydney and the taxpayer funded City of Sydney.

On Wednesday 2 November 2011, Professor Chomsky delivered the Sydney Peace Prize Lecture at Sydney Town Hall.  On Thursday 3 November he answered questions at the Sydney Opera House during a forum chaired by fellow-leftie Mary Kostakidis.  There was a Gala Dinner at Sydney University on 3 November. Then on Friday Noam Chomsky participated in a “Voices Inspiring Peace” welcome at Cabramatta High School.  There was also, of course, a soft hour-long interview with leftist Phillip Adams on the ABC Radio National Late Night Live program.

The Sydney Peace Prize’s website describes Chomsky’s Sydney Peace Prize speech as follows.  He was “welcomed to the stage by a standing-ovation, the 2000 strong audience were eager to show their appreciation to Prof Chomsky, whose life’s work as a challenger of unjust power has lent influence and inspiration to activists world wide”.

How convenient, then, that none of Australia’s leftists saw fit to ask Chomsky how his public commitment to peace and his campaign against unjust power is consistent with his past attempt to diminish the crimes of Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia around the time of the Cambodian Killing Fields.

This is what Noam Chomsky and his co-author Edward S. Herman wrote about Cambodia in their 1980 book After the Cataclysm: Postwar Indochina and the Reconstruction of Imperial Ideology (Hale & Iremonger, Sydney, 1980):

▪ At Page 136, Chomsky/Herman referred to “the coverage of real and fabricated atrocities in Cambodia”.

▪ At Page 137, Chomsky/Herman referred to “alleged genocide in Cambodia”.

▪ At Page 141, Chomsky/Herman doubted the accounts of Cambodian refugees as reported by such Westerners as Francois Pouchaud and John Barron-Paul.

So, in 1980, when the Cambodian killing fields were laden with corpses, Noam Chomsky referred to “fabricated atrocities” and “alleged genocide” in Cambodia and doubted the testimony of Pouchaud and Barron-Paul, who first revealed the Khmer Rouge killing machine to the West.

Worth a standing ovation at the taxpayer funded leftie gig, don’t you think?

CORRESPONDENCE – GERARD HENDERSON AND SIMON CHAPMAN/MARTIN STOCKLER – OR IS THERE A (REAL) DOCTOR IN SYDNEY UNIVERSITY’S PUBLIC HEALTH HOUSE?

Simon (“Call me Doctor”) Chapman has been banging on for eons about the need for full disclosure, transparency and all that.  Professor Chapman has also spent much time criticising others.

How strange, then, that Simon Chapman became so upset when it was pointed out in last week’s MWD that The Age had neglected to advise its readers that he has no medical or scientific qualifications to speak in public about such matters as the proper treatment of prostate cancer.  Professor Chapman – for a professor he is – not only wrote to MWD. In the process he called Nancy’s co-owner a “piece of work”.  Really. It seems that Dr Chapman also drummed up his colleague to write to MWD to declare that he is really and truly “respected” at the University of Sydney’s School of Public Health.

The following correspondence is published in the public interest. [Of course it is. – Ed].  Here we go:

Simon Chapman to Gerard Henderson – 4 November 2011

Dear Gerard,

Our book has three authors. Martin Stockler is a senior oncologist at RPA, Alex Barratt an epidemiologist with a medical degree. Please let me know which sections of the book are incorrect, so I can refer your criticisms to the author who wrote that section.

Odd isn’t it, that the peak US agency, reviewing all the evidence nearly a year after we wrote our book, reached the same conclusion http://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/draftrec3.htm Perhaps they are infiltrated by sociologists?

You should contact the fools at the Cancer Institute, the American Cancer Society, the WHO, the Thoracic Society of Australian & NZ, the Public Health Association, the Heart Foundation and the Academy of Social Sciences who have all given me awards for my public health work.  It’s scandalous. Probably a conspiracy?

Sir Richard Peto at Oxford is another imposter. He’s a only statistician, for heaven’s sake. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Peto — never seen a patient in his life but won’t shut up about things you know he must know nothing about.

You’re quite the piece of work, it seems.

Simon Chapman PhD FASSA

Professor & Director of Research

Sydney School of Public Health A27

University of Sydney

NSW 2006, AUSTRALIA

cc:      Alexandra Barratt

Martin Stockler

Martin Stockler to Gerard Henderson – 4 November 2011

Awaiting your responses with interest.

Sincerely,

Martin Stockler MBBS MSc FRACP

Medical Oncologist, Sydney Cancer Centre – RPA & Concord Hospitals

Associate Professor of Oncology & Clinical Epidemiology, U of Sydney

Oncology Co-Director, NHMRC Clinical Trials Centre, U of Sydney

Gerard Henderson to Simon Chapman – 4 November 2011

Dear Simon

I refer to your email of 4 November 2011 which concluded : “You’re quite the piece of work, it seems.” Shucks.  I have not been addressed in such a manner since primary school.

You have missed the point.  My Media Watch Dog blog is about the media.  It is not about medicine or cancer.

My piece in last Friday’s MWD was titled “Trust Me – I’m a Doctor (In Sociology) – The Age Does”.  This was an article about The Age.  I made no reference to the book Let Sleeping Dogs Lie? which you have written with Dr Alexandra Barratt and Dr Martin Stockler.  I made no reference to The Age’s reports of the views of Dr Barratt and Dr Stockler since they are qualified to talk about medicine

My undergraduate degrees were in arts and law.  Your undergraduate degree was in arts.  I have no qualifications to talk in the public domain about medicine.  Nor do you.

As someone who lectures-at-large about transparency, you should understand the point.  Julia Medew referred to you as Professor Simon Chapman and described you as “a respected public health professor”. She quoted your views at some length – without mentioning that you had no formal qualifications in medicine or even science.

In my view, a reader of The Age – unaware of your background – would have assumed that you spoke about the PSA test with some expertise.  This, as you know, is not the case.

As to the general debate about PSA testing for prostate cancer, I simply do not know what is the correct position – if there is a correct position.  Some medical specialists support PSA testing while others oppose it.  There are patients, like John Reynolds (who featured in Julia Medew’s report), who regret taking the PSA test.  And there are patients, like Wayne Swan, who regard the PSA test as saving their lives.

I have no objection to The Age quoting your views on the PSA test.  However, I do believe that Julia Medew should have told Age readers that you are a sociologist by training.

I note in conclusion, that for someone who criticises others – you seem remarkably sensitive to criticism.

Best wishes

Gerard Henderson

cc:  Dr Martin Stockler

Martin Stockler to Gerard Henderson – 7 November 2011

Dear Mr Henderson,

Simon is indeed a respected Professor of Public Health at the University of Sydney School of Public Health, where Alex and I also have appointments.

In addition to many other accolades, he was judged The Outstanding Cancer Researcher by the Cancer Institute NSW in 2008, and was also the 2008 recipient of the Sidney Sax Medal, Australia’s premier award for public health leadership.

I think this indicates that Julia’s claims about Simon are better founded and researched than your prejudices. The views of most public health and cancer organizations concur.
I am still awaiting any substantive response with interest.
Martin Stockler

cc:      Simon Chapman

Gerard Henderson to Martin Stockler – 7 November 2011

Dear Dr Stockler

I refer to your recent email.  As I explained to Simon Chapman, my comment was about The Age – not about the practices of the University of Sydney’s School of Public Health.

Professor Chapman has constantly called for greater transparency in public life.  Yet he – and you – seemed offended when I suggested that The Age should have advised its readers that the “respected public health professional”, who was quoted at some length by Julia Medew on prostate cancer testing, had no medical or scientific qualifications whatsoever.

If the University of Sydney is content that sociologists proffer advice about prostate cancer –  then, that is its business and I will not comment on such a practice.  However, if The Age fails to point out that Simon Chapman proffers advice on cancer treatment when he has no medical or scientific qualifications – then, as a media critic, I am entitled to draw this to the attention of the readers of my Media Watch Dog blog. What’s wrong with that?

Yours sincerely

Gerard Henderson

cc:      Simon Chapman

* * * * *

Until next time.