GERARD HENDERSON’S MEDIA WATCH DOG – ISSUE NO. 174
15 MARCH 2013
See the end of this week’s MWD for details of much appreciated comments on/endorsements of Nancy’s work by Jonathan Green & Michael Rowland, Malcolm Farr, Bob Ellis, Tom Cowie, Mike Carlton, Mark Latham, Robert Manne, Marius Benson, James Jeffrey, Andrew Crook and more besides. Well done chaps – and lotsa thanks.
BREAKING NEWS – BRAND NEW ENDORSEMENT FROM MIKE CARLTON
“You are a fool Henderson, a malicious and mendacious piece of shit…Now f_ck off.”
Mike Carlton to Gerard Henderson sent at Hangover Time (9.53 am) on Monday 11 March 2013. See full endorsement at the end of MWD.
THIS WEEK – READ ALL ABOUT:
● Stop Press: Would Max Moore-Wilton Be Acceptable as the Public Interest Media Advocate Under An Abbott Government?; ABC Canberra Confidential Trashes History, Mocks ASIO But Lets Communist Party Off the Hook
● Nancy’s Pick-of-the-Week: Maurice Newman Segment
● Can You Bear It?
Chris Geraghty Sees the Mote in Benedict XVI’s Eye; Paul Collins and the News Breakfast Team Failed to Pick a Winner; Phillip Adams/Paul Collins LNL Love-In; Peter Munro’s Invincible Ignorance on Lent; Charles Waterstreet’s Invincible Ignorance on Papal Infallibility & The Guardian-on-the-Yarra uses Papal Election for Yet Another George Pell Attack
● Correspondence: Mike (“Why don’t you Fu_k Off?”) Carlton Steps Up
* * * * *
● STOP PRESS: THE PUBLIC INTEREST MEDIA ADVOCATE
Interesting that there has been speculation that Michael Kirby might be just the chap to become the Public Interest Media Advocate under a Gillard Government. But what about a chap like Max Moore-Wilton under a possible Abbott Government? How would that go? And would that bring out the likes of Robert Manne and Margaret Simons and Clive Hamilton and Sarah Maddison and all the others who complained that their freedom of expression was being constricted under what some regarded as the “Howard Fascist Dictatorship”?. Probably. What’s interesting in the current debate is that those who proclaimed the need for as much free expression as possible under the Coalition seems to be prepared to accept restrictions to free expression under Labor. MWD will be following this up next week. Stay tuned.
● STOP PRESS MEETS HISTORY CORNER
CANBERRA CONFIDENTIAL – DOCUMENTING A FARCE
What a stunning performance by the gorgeous presenter of ABC 1’s Canberra Confidential: A Century of Spies, Lies and Scandals with Annabel Crabb last night. Truly stunning. Except, that is, for the content.
For the record, what was presented by the ABC as a documentary on Canberra – and funded by the taxpayer under the National Documentary Program – was written by Annabel Crabb, Simon Nasht and Simon Walker and directed by Ian Walker. Leftist journalist (and Julian Assange admirer) Philip Dorling was the consultant while Trish Evans did the research. [What research? – Ed].
Canberra Confidential was financed in association with the ACT Government and Screen ACT. It was developed and produced in association with ABC Television. Chris Thorburn was the commissioning editor. So Canberra Confidential is yet another example of your taxes at work.
In a perceptive review in the Weekend Australian last Saturday, Stephen Matchett commented:
After a career at the Fairfax papers, Crabb left print journalism and went to the ABC – where management, rarely seeing such talent, had no idea what to do with her.
In truth, Canberra Confidential was a farce. All the more so since Ms Crabb presented the program in the 1950s style hat and overcoat and flirted with the camera as she channelled a sexy Miss Marple, two decades younger. In a farcical kind of way.
What was supposed to be a documentary to co-incide with Canberra’s 100th birthday celebrations ended up as an attack on Australia’s intelligence services – particularly ASIO.
In fact, Canberra has had some real spies. Most notably in the 1940s and 1950s when Communist Party of Australia member Wally Clayton spied for the Soviet Union. Clayton ran Soviet agents within the Department of External Affairs in Canberra with the aim of getting access to the military and intelligence secrets which the United States and Britain shared with Australia. The Australian spies for the Soviet Union included Jim Hill, Ian Milner and Ric Throssel (who passed material to his mother Katherine Susannah Pritchard). And more besides.
Some of this was revealed when the US secretly broke the Soviet Union’s code and some when Vladimir Petrov defected from the Soviet Embassy in Canberra in 1954. Yet Canberra Confidential did not even once mention the defection of Vladimir and Evdokia Petrov or the subsequent establishment of the Royal Commission on Espionage – commonly known as the Petrov Royal Commission. [Gee. Ms Crabb’s Canberra Confidential really was confidential – Ed].
Here are some highlights of last night’s experience – put together in the early hours of this morning by Nancy’s (male) co-owner:
▪ Canberra Confidential commenced with a mixture of tit and titillation. Ms Crabb barely kept her fetching 1950s-style hat on as she showed still footage and moving pictures of naked (female, of course) tit and bum – and more besides. The assets in question apparently belonged to a certain woman in the 1930s called Rosie. But no one knows who she was. Nevertheless, the names “Robert” and “Harold” mentioned by Rosie were enough for Canberra Confidential to imply that Robert Menzies and Harold Holt were recipients of Rosie’s services. Ms Crabb threw in a photo of Joseph Lyons for good measure. In fact, Canberra Confidential showed photos of the three conservative prime ministers Menzies, Holt and Lyons. The implication was that they partook of Rose’s services. This was defamation of the dead.
There is no evidence whatsoever linking Menzies or Holt or Lyons to Rosie – whoever she might have been. Don’t be surprised. After all, this is a taxpayer funded ABC “documentary” – where everything is certainly true – except for the facts. And where conservatives and social democrats are targeted – but never the hard left.
▪ In the category of “secrets”, Canberra Confidential declared that in 2002 Jim Cairns (for a time treasurer in the Whitlam Labor government in the early 1970s) had admitted to having an affair with his staffer Junie Morosi. In fact, former Labor MP Tom Uren revealed in his 1994 memoir Straight Left that he had provided his flat in Canberra to the couple to undertake political research, of the horizontal kind.
Annabel Crabb dismissed the Cairns/Morosi affair as of no moment – a position endorsed by Ms Morosi (who is still with us and who was interviewed for the program). But Canberra Confidential failed to mention that the one-time leftist hero Dr Jim Cairns (for a doctor he was) lied when he denied the affair and won a defamation settlement from Fairfax press. In Britain, some politicians went to prison for similar acts of perjury. Canberra Confidential did not refer to Cairns’ perjury.
▪ Annabel Crabb interviewed ASIO director-general David Irvine for Canberra Confidential. She declared that this was “the first time our spy-in-chief” has come “out of the shadows”. Nonsense. The name of the ASIO director-general has been known for eons. In recent times, the likes of Dennis Richardson, Paul O’Sullivan and David Irvine have given public talks – including to The Sydney Institute. It is pure bollocks to claim that, before last night, ASIO directors-general were in the shadows.
▪ Canberra Confidential did cover the Spirov Affair in the early 1960s. Spirov was a spy within the Soviet Embassy. It also covered the Ivanov case in the 1980s. Ivanov was also a Soviet spy within the Soviet Embassy. However, in this latter case, Crabb took the side of former Labor operative David Combe (who had dined with Ivanov) and former attorney-general Gareth Evans and bagged the social democrat Labor prime minister Bob Hawke – who handled the case with skill and professionalism.
On both occasions, Ms Crabb presented Soviet espionage in Australia as a bit of a joke. She even compared the new ASIO building in Canberra, currently under construction, with the KGB’s notorious Lubyanka headquarters in Moscow and declared that the KGB would have been jealous of the new ASIO headquarters. Really. Canberra Confidential did not mention that the Lubyanka was also a prison where democratic dissidents were tortured and murdered.
This is how Annabel Crabb concluded the documentary:
Annabel Crabb : The Griffins [Walter Burley Griffin and Marion Mahony Griffin] dreamed of a capital worthy of an open and free spirited democracy. Instead Canberra is a city in the shadows. What we ended up with was something a little more like a fortress. Protecting us from perils real and imagined. Maybe that’s the way we like it.
What absolute tosh. Canberra is not a city in the shadows. Moreover there is no city in Australia which is so open.
Annabel Crabb commenced Canberra Confidential by telling viewers:
Come with me while I rummage through a century of secrets in our nation’s capital.
In fact, Canberra Confidential revealed no secrets – certainly not of the espionage kind. Moreover, the decision by Annabel Crabb, Simon Nasht and Simon Walker to ignore Soviet espionage in Australia at the time of the Petrov Affair suggests that the only thing “confidential” about Canberra Confidential was its amnesia about Wally Clayton and other Stalinists Down Under.
Nancy stumbled out of her kennel this morning with the following assessment of Canberra Confidential – Zero Paws.
MAURICE NEWMAN SEGMENT: In which Fran (“I’m an activist”) Kelly Agrees with an Academic who Agrees with A Teacher who Agrees with a Bureaucrat that Christopher Pyne is Absolutely Hopeless : Or How Debate (Sorry, Conversation) is Conducted on RN Breakfast
Due to unprecedented demand, the Maurice Newman Segment gets another run this week. As MWD readers will know, this (hugely popular) segment is devoted to former ABC chairman Maurice Newman’s suggestion that a certain “group-think” might be prevalent at the ABC – and to ABC 1 Media Watch presenter Jonathan Holmes’ certainty that no such phenomenon is extant within the public broadcaster. See MWD passim.
What a truly stimulating discussion [perhaps you should use the trendy word “conversation” in this context – Ed] on Radio National Breakfast last Monday. The RN Breakfast team – led by executive producer Tim Latham – put together an education panel to discuss, yes, education. It comprised:
▪ Field Rickards (Dean of the Melbourne Graduate School of Education at the University of Melbourne).
▪ Greg Whitby (Executive Director of Schools at the Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta in Sydney).
▪ Pamela McAlister (Former principal of Brisbane Water Secondary College, a government high school on NSW Central Coast).
And, of course, Fran (“I’m an activist”) Kelly was in the chair. It soon came to pass that Fran agreed with Field who agreed with Greg who agreed with Pamela who agreed with Fran. All in a group-think kind of way – on such issues as the impact of Labor’s Building the Education Revolution program.
Then attention turned to Education Shadow Minister Christopher Pyne. Ms Kelly initially played an extract of an interview she had recorded with Mr Pyne a few weeks ago and then invited the panel to comment on Pyne’s comments.
First up, here is what Christopher Pyne said :
Christopher Pyne : We [a Coalition government] would immediately instigate a very short term ministerial advisory group to advise me on the best model for teaching in the world. How to bring out more practical teaching methods based on more didactic teaching methods, more traditional methods rather than the child centred learning that has dominated the system for the last 20, 30 or 40 years. So I want to make the education debate, move it on from this almost asinine debate about more money and make it about values. Because while money’s important, Fran, what we are teaching our children and how we are teaching them and who is teaching them is all much more important.
Then it was over to the education conversation [That’s better, Ed].
Field Rickards : …I found it a very interesting comment because it pushed aside problem-based learning, experiential learning and it really conjured a picture of chalk and talk, if you like. And it has a lot of spin off effects if we visualise teaching that way. And I think that it conjures a picture of teachers being information transmitters and really what they’ve got to be is learning facilitators, I mean, quality education. We heard some of the benefits of a good environment in a school from Pamela…Learning’s an activity. It’s not a passive, it’s active not passive. It’s got to be engaging. And I think when I was at school many, many years ago we had a lot of didactic teaching and many kids just couldn’t keep up with that because they were at the lower end of ability and other students were just bored and so it was really teachers presenting information to the middle of the class. Teaching is much more complex and challenging than that….
In other words, according to Field Rickards, Christopher Pyne is hopelessly wrong. Then Ms Kelly asked Greg Whitby to comment on Mr Pyne.
Greg Whitby: Look, I just take up where Field Rickards' left off. It does such a disservice to distil learning and teaching to didactic methodologies. The issue is good teachers use a repertoire of processes and that’s their expertise and it goes right down to why we need very good teachers at the moment. There is a time where you need to sit there and have a person in front of a group of students talking to them and working with them within a constructive working framework. There is a time when kids can work by themselves. There’s a time when you can do X, Y and Z. And that’s what good teachers do…It’s not just about transferring information. The problem is when you have policy agenda like that is you marginalise everything that makes a difference. The evidence is very clear. Of itself didactic teaching will not have as great an effect as the things that Professor Rickards' talking about.
In other words, according to Greg Whitby, Christopher Pyne is hopelessly wrong. Then Ms Kelly asked Pamela McAlister to comment on Mr Pyne:
Pamela McAlister: Well, I agree with the other speakers that certainly a good teacher has to have a repertoire of all those skills, that’s the nature of teaching. They have to get to genuinely care and know about their students and be able to change if a student can’t learn it one way. They’ve got to be able to teach it to them another way. This sort of talk about didactic versus student centred [education]. I mean, I’d really like to hear a definition of what Mr Pyne actually thinks didactic or student centred teaching is because they’re not one end of the spectrum. It’s about teaching kids…
In other words, according to Pamela McAlister, Christopher Pyne is hopelessly wrong.
Fran Kelly joined the chorus as Professor Rickards agreed with Dr Whitby (for a doctor he is) who agreed with Ms McAlister who agreed with Professor Rickards. All panel members bagged Christopher Pyne as hopelessly wrong – and a wonderful ideological time was had by all.
Maurice Newman: 3
Jonathan Holmes: Zip
CAN YOU BEAR IT? – A SPECIAL POPE-FOCUSED EDITION
● Chris Geraghty Casts The First Stone
Meet Chris Geraghty. Aged circa 74, Mr Geraghty has not had the most newsworthy life. He was a Catholic priest who left the priesthood at age 38 to get married. He subsequently became a solicitor, then a barrister and then a judge. At the pinnacle of his career, your man Geraghty obtained the prestigious position of Judge of the NSW Compensation Court and District Court.
Normally, you would think that so brilliant a clerical and legal career would warrant, say, a brief self-published memoir. But no. Chris Geraghty has written three volumes devoted to his life and times. An autobiographical trilogy, no less.
First there was Cassocks in the Wilderness followed by The Priest Factory followed by Dancing With The Devil: A Journey from the Pulpit to the Bench. According to Nancy’s calculations, there should be time for final missive-possibly titled “My Ultimate Life: From Womb to Tomb”. [Great. I would just love to review this in The Holy Name Monthly – if it still exists. – Ed].
On Wednesday, Chris Geragthy appeared on ABC Radio 702’s Mornings with Linda Mottram to discuss the Pope and all that – along with a priest and a laywoman. It was not long before the retired judge spoke about child sex abuse in the Catholic Church. Let’s go to the transcript:
Linda Mottram : To pick up Chris’s point, the big issue in everybody’s mind – Catholic or not – around the world is the sex abuse scandals and how the Church has, or has not, handled it. Suggestions that the Church is moving forward on this. But Chris, I think you would argue that it’s made very little progress on this. Would you?
Christopher Geraghty : Look, I think that it’s been a disaster really. The present Pope did very little. He had the opportunity to do it and he did very little. And when he was the offsider to Pope John Paul II, he did very little then too.
So Chris Geraghty is critical of Benedict XVI for doing very little to confront child abuse in the Church when he had the opportunity to do so.
But, what did (then) Fr Geraghty do about child sexual abuse in the Church when he had the opportunity to do so? You can be the judge. This is what Chris Geraghty told Linda Morris over a beer in the Royal Ascot Hotel Paddington in 2012. Linda Morris’ profile of Geraghty was published in the Sydney Morning Herald on 14 July 2012 on the occasion of the publication of Dancing With The Devil:
Geraghty has his own confession to make, admitting he never passed on to police or to his superiors information about a sexual relationship between a well known priest and one of the seminarians in his care. There were extenuating circumstances. Geraghty was sexually naive and the student spoke to him on condition of silence. Geraghty advised him to confront the priest, Father Vince Kiss, and to end the relationship, which had been going on since he had been about 12, and assisted him in “his search for a new life”. The two later renewed their friendship when the victim, a headmaster at a state school, came forward to testify against Kiss.
“I don't feel remorseful about it I don't feel guilty, but I do feel diminished. I'm regretful I was not more worldly wise, I wasn't more informed, I wasn't more educated; that I was never aware of the possibility that priests could be paedophiles as they were; and how to deal with it. If I'd known then what I know now and dealt with it aggressively, Vince maybe would not have interfered with a number of other boys and caused them untold trauma.”
So there you have it. This week, Chris Geraghty used the facilities of ABC Metropolitan Radio in Sydney to bag Benedict XVI for doing “very little” to confront child sex abuse. But Chris Geraghty neglected to mention the fact that, when confronted as a priest with one case of paedophilia, he did nothing at all.
Can you bear it?
● God Fails to Deliver an ABC-Compatible Pope – to the Disappointment of Paul Collins, Michael Rowland and Bev O’Connor
What a wonderful sight to see Paul Collins, a former Catholic priest of a liberal bent who is much loved by the ABC on ABC 1’s News Breakfast, at St Peter’s Square yesterday – just after the new pope was elected. Dr Collins (for a doctor he is) called it for the Cardinal Archbishop of Genoa. It took Lisa Millar in Rome and News Breakfast co-presenters Michael Rowland and Beverley O’Connor some time to realise that the position had gone to the Cardinal Archbishop of Buenos Aires.
Then Mr Rowland and Ms O’Connor commenced to express surprise and disappointment that the College of Cardinals had chosen Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, who opposes abortion and same sex marriage, to succeed Benedict XVI. It seems that the News Breakfast team was so busy hoping for a liberal pontiff that they forgot that the Catholic Church is a conservative organisation which is opposed to abortion and same sex marriage. Can you bear it?
● Phillip Adams on Kerry & Geraldine and Left-Liberal Company
While on the topic of the ABC’s coverage of the Papal Conclave, it’s notable that the public broadcaster tends to only hear the views of those who depict themselves as liberal or progressive Catholics. Like Paul Collins and Geraldine Doogue – both of whom are currently in Rome.
On 27 February 2013, Phillip (“I was a teenage Stalinist”) Adams spent a full hour interviewing Paul Collins on ABC RN’s Late Night Live. In this interview:
▪ Adams mockingly referred to Cardinal George Pell as “our mutual friend”. Soon after, Collins said that Pell is in “the minority”.
▪ Collins mockingly said that the late B.A. Santamaria “will probably be listening” to the interview.
▪ Adams then mockingly referred to “Saint Gerard of Henderson” and then laughed loudly at his own joke.
▪ Collins then put the entire blame of the Labor Split of the mid 1950s on to Santamaria.
▪ Adams then proclaimed:
Phillip Adams: This is “The Catholic Hour” on Radio National. Of course, the ABC is chocka with Catholics. I don’t see why Gerard Henderson doesn’t understand that. He thinks the ABC is full of unreconstructed Stalinists but he’s overlooking St Kerry of O’Brien and St Chris of Uhlmann and of course most notably St Geraldine of Doogue.
In fact, Gerard Henderson has said that the ABC is replete with disillusioned Catholics and alienated ex-Catholics who disagree with the Church’s teachings on sexual morality. That’s why the public broadcaster’s coverage of the Papal Conclave was so beholden to The Tablet’s left-liberal critique of the Vatican. And that’s why virtually all the ABC’s commentators on the Conclave got the eventual outcome so wrong. Can you bear it?
● Peter Munro’s Invincible Ignorance on Lent
Last Saturday, The Age’s Peter Munro wrote an uncritical profile on the Catholic priest – and Cardinal Pell critic – Fr Bob Maguire – about the Pope and all that. Maguire is much loved by critics of the Vatican. This is how Peter Munro describes his lunch with Fr (“call me Bob”) Maguire:
It's a Friday in Lent and the Catholic priest, known on TV and radio simply as Father Bob, orders a ham, spinach, mushroom and onion frittata with a side salad from the Let Me Be Frank cafe, in South Melbourne. I select a similarly sacrilegious BLAT sandwich. It's big and tasty but perhaps not worth damnation.
Glaring through the window is the gothic bluestone of Saints Peter and Paul, Father Bob's parish church for 38 years until his forced retirement in 2012. Shouldn't Catholics be abstaining from meat today, I ask. ''Nah, not pinko leftists,'' he says, his mouth full of food. ''He's gone now, I can do what I like … I haven't had a bloody omelette in years.'' ''He'' being Benedict XVI, now merely Pope Emeritus Benedict I after retiring as head of the Roman Catholic Church.
It seems that both Mr Munro and Fr Maguire are invincibly ignorant of the Church’s rules with respect to Lent. First, there is no longer a requirement that Catholics abstain from meat during Fridays in Lent. Second, a breach of such a rule – if it still existed – would never amount to “damnation”. Third, it’s unlikely that Benedict XVI ever gave a toss about what Fr Maguire had for lunch. Why would he? Can you bear it?
● Charles Waterstreet’s Invincible Ignorance on Papal Infallibility
The Sun-Herald’s Charles Waterstreet obviously knows as much about the doctrine of Papal Infallibility as his fellow columnist Peter FitzSimons. That is, nothing. Absolutely nothing.
This is what Mr Waterstreet wrote in his column last weekend:
When the rest of the Western world has long decided that absolute rule by monarchs should give way to the more democratic methods of elections, the Catholic Church maintains that not only should there be a solitary ruler, the Pope, but that on many matters he is infallible. The reports dubbed ''Vatileaks'' included the findings of an investigation by a three-cardinal commission of inquiry headed by Spanish cardinal Julian Herranz Casado. They proved just how fallible 85-year-old Pope Benedict XVI had become. The Pope's butler, Paolo Gabriele, stole and leaked Vatican correspondence that depicted the bitchery and witchery going on under the prominent nose of the pope.
This comment is hopelessly wrong. The doctrine of Papal Infallibility only applies when the Pope, speaking on behalf of the Church, binds Catholics on a matter of faith or morals. The doctrine was last invoked over six decades ago. Charles Waterstreet’s comments are invincibly ignorant. Can you bear it?
▪ The Guardian-on-the-Yarra Bashes George Pell – Without Evidence Of Course
Last Monday, The Age’s religion editor Barney Zwartz wrote yet another attack on Cardinal Pell – under the heading “Tainted Pell out of race after lobbying”. The Zwartz piece commenced as follows:
Cardinal George Pell, tainted by sex abuse scandals, has no chance of becoming the 266th pope after Australian critics campaigned to publicise allegations that have long dogged him to Italian media and voting cardinals, according to Australian commentator Paul Collins.
Barney Zwartz and his left-liberal mates at “The-Guardian-on-the-Yarra” love nothing more than bashing mainstream Catholics like George Pell. They care little that many Catholics, and other mainstream Christians, buy and advertise in The Age.
These are the facts:
▪ George Pell has never been “tainted by sex abuse scandals”. Nor has he been “long dogged” by personal allegations against him.
▪ There was one allegation made against Cardinal Pell in 2002 concerning an event which allegedly occurred in 1961, when Pell was 19 and the male complainant was 12.
▪ The matter was investigated by former Victorian judge A. J. Southwell who found that he was not satisfied that the complaint had been established.
▪ Writing in The Age on 14 June 2010, Barney Zwartz acknowledged that Pell had been “cleared” of any offence by “a retired non-Catholic judge”.
The full details of this matter are discussed in Tess Livingstone’s book George Pell (Duffy & Snellgrove, 2002). The matter was never referred to Victoria Police. George Pell gave evidence under oath before the Southwell Enquiry which had the status of a royal commission.
Yet Barney Zwartz claimed that Cardinal Pell has been “tainted by sex abuse scandals” despite previously acknowledging that this is not the case. Can you bear it?
CORRESPONDENCE – WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM MIKE (“WHY DON’T YOU F_CK OFF?”) CARLTON
Last Friday, shortly before midnight, MWD received the following desperate message from a reader via an iPhone viz:
Please let Nancy know that I am shattered, just shattered to find that there was no correspondence in this week's MWD.
As MWD has previously pointed out, the Correspondence section essentially relies on anyone being foolish enough to initiate – or to respond to – correspondence with Nancy’s (male) co-owner. Last week, alas, there were no takers. This week, however, a Mike Carlton email came into Nancy’s kennel at Hangover Time on Monday morning – after the Sunday night before. This correspondence is published in its entirety below. In the public interest, of course:
Mike Carlton to Gerard Henderson – 11 March 2013
You are a fool, Henderson, a malicious and mendacious piece of shit. Someone has pointed me to your libellous claim last week that I am one of Australia’s “leading antui-Catholic [sic] sectarians.”
What rubbish. As you well know, my late father was a Catholic priest, a Missionary of the Sacred Heart – a fact I am particularly proud of. I have given his Olympic and sportuing [sic] memorabilia on permanent loan to his old school, St Joseph’s Hunters Hill, a place I admire. Hardly the act of an anti-Catholic bigot.
Do feel free to publish every word of this letter in your wretched little blog, but do not waste time replying. I will not be dragged into one of your facile and tedious bouts of “correspondence.”
Now fu_k off.
Gerard Henderson to Mike Carlton – 13 March 2013
Michael (nee Mike)
What a truly wonderful note you sent me early on Monday morning. Let’s hope it was a conscious act and not the unintended result of too many a gin-and-tonic the night before.
I am always looking for new endorsements for my Media Watch Dog blog. So your “You are a fool, Henderson…F_ck you” will receive pride of place at the top of MWD next Friday. Lotsa thanks.
As you acknowledge, I know that your father James Carlton (1909-1951) was once a Catholic priest. You write about this quite a lot. In any event, I heard about your father as long ago as the late 1950s. I also know that James Carlton left the priesthood in 1945 and married your mother, Enid Alison Symington, at St Paul’s Church of England in Chatswood later that year. I understand that neither you nor your brother was brought up a Catholic and that you attended Barker College, then very much in the tradition of the low-church and then sectarian Sydney Archdiocese of the Church of England.
In MWD last Friday, I described you as one of Australia’s “leading anti-Catholic sectarians”. This is a title which you have earned, due to all your own work. It is completely irrelevant to your current attitudes whether your father was once a Catholic priest. I cannot rationalise my sayings and writings by reference to any occupation my late father once held. I am judged by the views I hold myself and you should be judged according to the views which you express.
I have never understood why, over many years, Fairfax Media has stood back and allowed you to attack and/or pour scorn on some supporters of The Sydney Morning Herald who buy the paper, advertise in the paper and/or support the advertisers. Including Catholics loyal to the Vatican, mainstream Christians, Australians who send their children to non-government schools, business figures and so on. Especially since what you, and your sneering secularist fan club, regard as wit is usually just abuse. I often find that those who verbally abuse others are so sensitive when criticism is directed at them. You are an example of this phenomenon – along with the likes of Phillip Adams and Mark Latham.
Here are a few examples of some of your anti-Catholic sectarian comments of recent memory:
● Brothers in Christ, hi and listen up! For those who haven't met me, I'm Cardinal Vitello Tonnato, Apostolic Vicar-Prefect of the Sistine Chapel here at the Vatican, and I'm delighted to welcome you to our conclave today as we choose a new chief executive, Pope No. 266.
First up, some housekeeping. Sadly, at the last moment our good buddy Keith O'Brien, Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh, is unable to be with us. Sparing you the gory details, it seems Keith was into a bit of how's yer father at the seminary a while back. But we are thrilled to have with us Cardinal Roger Mahony of Los Angeles, whose years of concealing child sex abuse by hundreds of priests in his archdiocese have been an inspiration to us all. Ten thousand American Catholics signed a petition calling on Roger to stay away but, hey, he's made it. Like they say in Hollywood, the show must go on!
Please note some of the rules for the conclave. No cell phones, iPads or other devices. No blogging or tweeting which might rig the betting market outside. Also, the Sistine is a smoke-free environment, so any cardinal with the urge to light up is asked to use our smoking chamber, through that door on the left beneath the two cherubim. Snacks and light meals are available at the Last Supper Trattoria just behind the Botticelli Temptation of Christ fresco; the bar is free, and if you have special dietary needs, don't hesitate to have a chat to the delightful Sister Lucrezia Borgia in the kitchen.
Those of you who still believe in God are free to pray at any time, but please try to do it quietly. That's about it, guys, so let's get down to the number crunching. Remember, what we're looking for is a geriatric, celibate male who can be relied upon to keep the church firmly anchored in the 15th century. The Vatican is not an equal opportunity employer. So, as we say around here, ''ut maneat, mimo nobiscum''. For those of you whose Latin is shaky, that's ''may the farce be with you''.
– Sydney Morning Herald, 2-3 March 2013
● If the Lord was watching, He can be in no doubt that [Cardinal] Turkson modestly sees himself as the man for the job. Turkson had the impenetrable banality of papal pronouncements off pat. ''We need to get back to being transparent to the power of the gospel again,'' he rumbled to a deeply respectful interviewer. Perhaps it sounds better in Latin, but I haven't a clue what he meant, and I doubt that he did either. This is the Tony Abbott of the College of Cardinals. The push for an African pontiff has a certain logic to it. The Catholic faith in Europe, North America and Australia remains bogged in endless paedophile scandals.
Benedict himself was tainted by his part in the cover-up, however much his apologists protest otherwise. A Pope from Africa might make the clean break that the church so desperately needs.
I imagine you would get fairly long odds against a female pope. Surely there must be a devout and talented woman amongst the world's 1 billion Catholics who could step up to the throne of Peter, but something tells me it won't be this time. It will be a while yet before they send pink smoke up the Sistine chimney.
– Sydney Morning Herald, 16-17 February 2013
● Grave of mien, choosing each word with studied care, every inch a prince of Rome, Cardinal George Pell defied the accusers. The sexual abuse of children by Catholic priests had been exaggerated, he told a news conference in Sydney on Tuesday. There was a “press campaign” against the church, with “general smears that we are covering up and moving people around. We object to being described as the only cab on the rank … because there is a persistent press campaign focused largely on us, that does not mean we are largely the principal culprits.''
With those few sentences, Australia's most senior Catholic churchman flung aside any lingering shred of moral authority attached either to his person or his office as the Cardinal Archbishop of Sydney. There were one or two perfunctory remarks about “shame” delivered in that familiar treacly baritone, but that was it. Strip away the apostolic airs and he could have been a flack for James Hardie assuring the world that the dangers of the company's asbestos products had been rather overblown.
It was monstrous. It was despicable. To portray the church as a victim in this filthy business was an Orwellian reversal of the polarity of right and wrong, truth and fiction. With self-serving hypocrisy, Pell delivered yet another slap in the face to those hundreds if not thousands of children, and their families, who suffered abuse. For the rest of us, it was an insult to the intelligence….
– Sydney Morning Herald, 17-18 November 2012
There are many, many more such examples. Including your reference to a Catholic politician as eating “fish on Fridays” and being “a fan of the Spanish Inquisition” and your attempt to link Cardinal George Pell with the Norwegian mass murderer Anders Breivik.
You claim that it is “libellous” to refer to you as a leading anti-Catholic sectarian. Yet in recent months, as documented above:
● You have said that the Catholic Church is “firmly anchored in the 15th Century” and that Catholicism is a “farce”. You have referred to the “impenetrable banality of papal pronouncements” but make no such reference to the teachings of the Muslim Hindu and Buddhist faiths.
● You have compared Cardinal George Pell’s attitude to child abuse within the Catholic Church to “a flack for James Hardie assuring the world that the dangers of the company’s asbestos products have been rather overblown”. Leave aside the fact that James Hardie has not manufactured asbestos for quarter of a century, Cardinal Pell has never said or implied that the dangers of sexual assault on children in the Catholic Church has been “rather overblown”. In fact, George Pell set up one of the first initiatives in the Catholic Church designed to tackle paedophilia – namely, the Melbourne Response almost two decades ago.
● You have classified the Catholic faith as a “farce” while proclaiming that you are not an anti-Catholic sectarian because your late father, who died over six decades ago, was once a Catholic priest. This seems contradictory to the position you took in the Sydney Morning Herald on 9-10 July 2011 where you wrote: “You can take parental precedent a bit far. My father was a Catholic priest for 13 years…but that hardly makes me one, as I am sure Cardinal Pell would agree”.
I would respectfully suggest that if you do not want to be classified as an anti-Catholic sectarian you should refrain from your constant attacks on the Catholic Church and its leading figures.
Best wishes. And God Bless – from an agnostic to an atheist.
Mike Carlton to Gerard Henderson – 13 March 2013
The quote was “fu_k off,” not “fu_k you.” Do try to pay attention. If you had a shred of ethics or honesty you would also include my phrase “malicious and mendacious,” but I doubt that you have the balls.
As to my column in the Herald, you would find – if you enquire – that it’s very much better read than your whining longueurs about “inner city elites” and the ABC’s refusal to give you a radio program.
The rest of your letter is not worth a reply
I repeat: fu_k off.
Gerard Henderson to Mike Carlton – 15 March 2013
I refer to your latest missive – which breaks your promise that you would “not be dragged” into one of my “facile and tedious bouts of correspondence”. But you have. Fancy that. I anticipated that this would be the case. And so it was done that MWD’s Correspondence section could be filled.
First, thanks for picking the John Laws-style “deliberate mistake”. Well done. Yes, you did say “Fu_k off” not “Fu_k you”. It’s a truly important difference and I will make sure that your profound thought is accurately recorded for posterity.
By the way, contrary to your concern, I will be running your claim that I am “malicious and mendacious” in MWD. I wouldn’t exclude it for quids. It will have a permanent – and much valued – place in MWD.
I notice that you have included yet another “Fu_k off” at the end of your most recent email. You seem to be experiencing a narrowing of language usage. I would suggest that you might benefit from a quick glance at James McDonald’s A Dictionary of Obscenity, Taboo and Euphemism. Just a thought – to be helpful, of course.
I make a few comments in response to your latest note:
- I have never doubted that you have a high readership for your Sydney Morning Herald column. It has a real appeal to the sneering secularist set who just love the taxpayer funded ABC, detest business, and dislike non-government schools and often read the paper online for free. I am more concerned about the feelings of Herald readers who buy the newspaper or who advertise in the Herald or who purchase the products which are advertised in the print or on-line editions. These are the people that you sneer at time and time again.
- Contrary to your undocumented assertion, I have never asked the ABC for a radio program. For starters, the ABC employs leftists like you – I refer to your 702 gig of recent memory. The ABC does not employ conservatives like me – which explains why it does not have one conservative presenter or producer or editor for any of its prominent outlets. Moreover, I am not so desperate as to want to spend time working in the toxic atmosphere at Ultimo – toxic, that is, for people like me.
For the record, about a decade ago I was asked if I would like to be considered as presenter of the ABC Radio National’s The Media Report. I declined the invitation. This demonstrates the wilful falsehood of your claim that I want the ABC to give me a program.
In conclusion, I would suggest that before writing to me again you should engage a fact-checker. Plus, as previously proposed, a dictionary which suits your style of (attempted) humour by abuse and which could widen your somewhat limited vocabulary.
I anticipate yet more anti-Catholic sectarianism from one of Australia’s leading exponents of this genre.
Best wishes – and Keep Morale High.
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READ ALL ABOUT IT – COMMENTS ON/ENDORSEMENTS OF MWD
“You are a fool, Henderson, a malicious and mendacious piece of shit…Now F_ck off”
– Mike Carlton, 11 March 2013 (Hangover Time).
Jonathan Green: “Nancy, will be taking notes, I suspect”
“Nancy…yes. We’ll get a nice write-up on Friday. Good morning as well, Gerard. Thanks for watching, by the way.
– Michael Rowland, ABC 1 News Breakfast, 18 October 2012
“Gerard [Henderson] is a complete f-ckwit”
– Malcolm Farr, via Twitter, 29 June 2012 (circa pre-dinner drinks)
“What a haughty flapping half-arsed buffoon he [Henderson] is”
– Bob Ellis on his Table Talk blog, 8 May 2012 (before breakfast)
“We’d better be careful what we say, just in case Gerard’s offsider pooch Nancy is keeping an eye on us for his delightfully earnest Media Watch Dog”
– Tom Cowie of The Power Index, Crikey 20 January 2012
“Henderson…What a pompous, pretentious turd you are.”
– Mike Carlton, Saturday 13 August 2011 (after lunch)
“Go to the Sydney Institute Media Watch Dog website to marvel at [its] work”
– Mark Latham The Spectator Australia 11 June 2011.
Media Watch Dog – “disgraceful”, “sick”
– Professor Robert Manne, April Fool’s Day 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.
“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
“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.
“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.
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Until next time. In the meantime, keep morale high.