22 MARCH 2013


See the end of this week’s MWD for details of much appreciated comments on/endorsements of Nancy’s work by Mike Carlton, Jonathan Green & Michael Rowland, Malcolm Farr, Bob Ellis, Tom Cowie, Mike Carlton (again), Mark Latham, Robert Manne, Marius Benson, James Jeffrey, Andrew Crook and more besides. Well done chaps – and lotsa thanks.



[Media Watch Dog is] not a moan, more of a miserable dribble”

– Peter Munro, 21 March 2013


Editorial: ABC’s Entry Into Fact-Checking Others

Stop Press: Mark Latham”s Contradictory Positions on Julia Gillard and Kevin Rudd

Fran (“I’m an Activist”) Kelly Claims Tony Abbott is Disrespectful

Five Paws Award: David Feeney Puts Down Tony Jones on Q&A

Nancy Nominates Laura Tingle for a Walkley following  Her “Review” of David Marr’s Revised Polemic on Tony Abbott

Maurice Newman Segment: Group-Think on the Iraq War

More Iraq Group-Think: This Time in the Guardian-on-the-Yarra

You Must Remember This…How Judy Davis Claimed that the US was Nuking Iraq

● Can You Bear It? Barney Zwartz, Tony Walker & Charles Waterstreet

● Correspondence: With a Little Help from Mike Carlton, David Marr and Peter Munro





When he became ABC managing director in 2006, Mark Scott said that he would also actively fulfil his duties as ABC editor-in-chief.  This has not occurred.  These days Mr Scott refuses to be involved in criticism of ABC programs.  Instead he passes virtually all such matters down the bureaucratic chain-of-command where they are handled by middle level managers in Canberra who invariably dismiss complaints.


In recent times, Mark Scott has been unmoved by significant historical errors in ABC TV documentaries – including Menzies & Churchill at War and Vietnam: The Australian War. ABC management has refused to correct the errors in their own important documentaries.


So you have to admire Mark Scott’s chutzpah in recently obtaining an extra $10 million from the Gillard Government to fund, among other things, fact-checking. Not fact-checking the ABC necessarily but fact-checking everybody – including politicians and business leaders but not, apparently, public servants.


The Australian’s  “Media Section” last Monday carried the following advertisement:


So, under Mark Scott, the ABC will set itself up as the judge and jury with respect to “the factual accuracy of claims made by politicians, business, unions and special interest groups”.  This despite the fact that the ABC currently refuses to check its own facts and invariably goes into denial when criticism is made of the factual content of its programs, including documentaries shown on the public broadcaster.


The taxpayer funded editor of the ABC’s Network Research & Fact Checking Unit will “produce compelling content across all ABC News platforms and programs”.  And the Unit’s presenter “will deliver the work of the unit to radio, television and online audiences”.


This is a quite extraordinary – and unwarranted – entry into the public debate by the public broadcaster.  As the United States example has shown, left-wing organisations have sought to dominate the area of what is depicted as “fact-checking”. There is reason to assume that the strong left-wing orthodoxy within the ABC could well affect what it claims will be an independent fact-checking unit.


Currently Mark Scott presides over a public broadcaster which is loaded up with leftist and social democratic presenters, producers and editors – and which does not employ one conservative for any of its prominent television, radio and online outlets.  Moreover, in over two decades, ABC 1 has only had left-of-centre presenters for its Media Watch program.


And now the ABC, which is virtually a conservative-free-zone, is going to set itself up as an entity to check the comments of among others, politicians and business figures. Unless the ABC is substantially reformed, this will almost certainly lead to an improper interference in the public debate by taxpayer funded bureaucrats – many of whom will be trade union members.






What a wonderful performance by former failed Labor leader Mark Latham on Paul Murray Live last night.  Young Mr Murray looked adoringly into the eyes of the Lair of Liverpool as, in a long session, Latham gave everyone yet another “tutorial” on Kevin Rudd.  This follows Mr Rudd’s decision not to contest the Labor leadership after Prime Minister Julia Gillard had declared the leadership positions vacant.


Put simply, Latham maintains that Rudd is hopeless.  Absolutely hopeless. And that Julia Gillard is best equipped to lead Labor to the polls on 14 September. These are the questions which young Mr Murray might have asked the failed Labor leader last night:


▪ If Gillard is such a good leader and the Australian economy so strong, why did Latham urge voters not to support Gillard Labor and to vote informal in the last election in 2010?  (The reference is to Mark Latham’s 60 Minutes program which aired on 12 August 2010).


▪ If Rudd is so hopeless, why did Latham write in his recently released Quarterly Essay  titled Not Dead Yet: Labor’s Post-Left Future  that Rudd did “much better” than him as Labor leader? (See Not Dead Yet, page 12).


▪ If Rudd is so hopeless, why did Latham recommend in Not Dead Yet that  Rudd should be promoted into the cabinet and given the climate change portfolio? (See Not Dead Yet – Page 70).


▪ Does Latham really believe that Labor can win the 2013 election with a campaign focused on global warming aimed at increasing the price on carbon?  Does he really maintain that such a message will win seats in suburban and regional Australia where most of the marginal seats are based?


[Good questions.  But I don’t believe that Young Mr Murray would ever have the courage to ask this of his idol.  You should return to Not Dead Yet  – and its author –  next time and look at the massive contradictions in his recently published work – Ed.]


Last night on Paul Murray Live Mark Latham attacked his Sky News colleague Graham Richardson.  Today on Mornings with Linda Mottram, Latham attacked Sky News presenter David Speers.  He has previously backed out of a proposal to present a weekly Sky News program with Michael Kroger.


The way he is progressing, Mark Latham looks set for yet another fall-out with somebody or other.  No matter.  They do not often last long.  Until quite recently, Mark Latham was describing Julia Gillard as childless and calling her a liar.  Now he’s the leader of the Julia Gillard Fan Club.  On this basis, the Lair of Liverpool may soon be one of Richo’s besties. Stay tuned.






It was only last year that RN Breakfast presenter Fran Kelly boasted to Tim Elliott that she was an activist. Since Ms Kelly is a Greens-left type, it could only be assumed that she regarded herself as a Greens-left activist.  Later, Kelly said that she regretted having made the remark.  Presumably because it was picked up and used (somewhat obsessively) by Nancy’s male co-owner along with The Australian’s  “Cut & Paste” segment.  See MWD passim.


It is widely known that Fran Kelly gives soft interviews to Greens politicians and much harder ones, featuring numerous interruptions, to Opposition leader Tony Abbott and his prominent frontbenchers like Christopher Pyne.  This has led to a situation where some key figures in the Coalition decline to be interviewed on Radio National Breakfast. Who can blame them?  RN Breakfast employs quote a few leftists and social democrats but not one conservative. What’s more, Kelly reserves her most aggressive interviews for Liberal politicians – except for the sainted Malcolm Turnbull, of course.  Moreover, RN Breakfast is not a vote-changing media outlet and it does not matter to the Coalition whether or not Tony Abbott appeared on the program.


But what seems like a snub has brought out the anger in the activist Kelly.  The current edition of The Age Green Guide carries an interview with the RN Breakfast presenter by Neil McMahon. Here we go:


Eight years in, it”s hard to imagine anyone else in the chair. Kelly seems completely at home. She knows that more often than not, the program can get the voices it needs on air simply because it commands such respect….There is, she notes, one exception to that rule. Not for the first time, she puts on record the refusal by Tony Abbott to come on the program.


In an election year, it”s a media strategy that threatens to become an issue in and of itself. “”It”s a matter of record we”re having trouble getting Tony Abbott,”” Kelly says. “”We”ve been asking a lot and we”re not getting him, but we”ll keep asking.””

She says she”s never seen a politician in Abbott”s position maintain such a persistent snub towards a media outlet. “”Not quite like this, not for this length of time, and not this broadly,”” Kelly says. “”There”s generally a regard for the audience [by leaders]. We have a very informed audience. They”re not just influential, they are informed and interested, they”re a vibrant part of this voting electorate, and they deserve to be addressed. “”It”s an extreme response from the Opposition Leader and I don”t think it”s responsible. It”s disrespectful to my audience, which is there every morning for a diet of politics and intelligent discussion … and I think it”s incredibly disrespectful for the Opposition Leader to think he doesn”t need to address them.””


Even with an election due in September, Kelly says she can”t be sure that attitude will change. “”All we can do is put in the request … and the Opposition Leader, or whoever, can do as they choose. But certainly, coming up to an election I would expect the Opposition Leader would understand that there are many parts of the electorate he should be talking to that want to hear his views on things.””


Gosh. Not only does RN Breakfast have an interested and well-informed audience.  Moreover, they demand respect.  Fancy that.  And Ms Kelly has convinced herself that Tony Abbott’s apparent disinclination to appear on RN Breakfast will become an issue in the 2013 election campaign. Go on.






On current rankings, there are only three gongs that really matter.  First, the Nobel Prize. Second the Oscar Awards. And, third, Nancy’s Five Paws Award. The growing significance of the Five Paws Award was evident when Mark Latham learnt that The Spectator Australia editor Tom Switzer had received one of Nancy’s gongs for criticising  the failed Labor leader on account of his double standard on misogyny.   See MWD Issue 160.  The Lair of Liverpool immediately resigned as one of Mr Switzer’s weekly columnists in protest.


The current set of awards has been heavily contested.  And the winner is Victorian Labor Senator David Feeney, a Catholic, who told Q&A presenter Tony Jones that he didn’t know what he was talking about last Monday.  Let’s go to the transcript:


Tony Jones : Can I just ask you a political question? Is it primarily rulings from people like Pope Francis that dictate the Labor Party”s policy on gay marriage, for example?

David Feeney :  Well, of course, you’re just being nonsensical. I mean notwithstanding my religious affiliation, I supported the move towards marriage equality. The Church does not and has never sought to bind members of Parliament. That”s true for Catholics and those of any faith and those obviously of no faith….We don”t wait mindlessly at our desk for somebody to give us an order as sometimes people like to promote that image.


Denis Feeney – Five Paws for naming nonsense for what it is.





What a Walkley-worthy piece by Laura Tingle in yesterday’s Australian Financial Review. It appears that La Tingle wrote an article on the new edition of David Marr’s Political Animal: The Making of Tony Abbott (Black Inc) based merely on the publishers blurb – which was, well, just blurb. As a result:


▪ Laura Tingle claimed that the new edition of Political Animal had unearthed  copies of correspondence between Tony Abbott and B.A. Santamaria in the late 1980s which are located in the Santamaria Collection in the State Library of Victoria.


In fact, this correspondence was discovered by the Melbourne based researcher Geoffrey Browne and written up by historians Ross Fitzgerald and Stephen Holt in the front-page splash in The Weekend Australian on 13 October 2012.  The source of the Abbott/Santamaria correspondence is acknowledged by David Marr in the new edition of Political Animal.  Maybe La Tingle does not read The Australian.


▪ Laura Tingle claims that the new edition  of Marr’s book “reveals a new witness to a now notorious incident in which Mr Abbott is claimed to have punched a wall close to the head of Barbara Ramjan, a female rival in student politics at Sydney University” in 1977.


In fact, the person – who still chooses to remain anonymous some 35 years after the incident – did not witness Tony Abbott punching a wall.  He claims to have seen “the punch” commence – but not land.  Someone cannot be a witness to an event they did not see. Maybe La Tingle does not understand the laws of evidence.


Clearly Laura Tingle is up for a Walkley – on Nancy’s exclusive list.


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.


It was St Patrick’s Day on Radio National’s Sunday Extra.  Presenter Jonathan Green chaired what ABC calls “a debate” on the Second Gulf War.  The occasion was the tenth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq by the Coalition of the Willing (United States, Britain, Australia, Poland).


Jonathan Green, a man of the left, always opposed the Coalition of the Willing’s invasion.  His panel comprised academic Dr Hugh White (who also always opposed the invasion of Iraq) and The Spectator Australia editor Tom Switzer (who also always opposed the invasion of Iraq).


And so it came to pass that Group-Think was let loose as Jonathan agreed with Hugh who agreed with Tom who agreed with Jonathan who agreed with Hugh who agreed with Tom.  And so on.  RN Sunday Extra could not find even one person who supported the position taken in 2003 by George W. Bush, Tony Blair and John Howard.  Not one.  Not even for a segment which was presented as a debate.



Maurice Newman – 4

Jonathan Holmes –  Zip




The Age does not have a weekly conservative columnist to place against its range of Greens voting leftists, social democrats and Abbottphobes. Which helps to explain the absence of pluralism on its Opinion Page.


On Tuesday “The-Guardian-on-the-Yarra” decided to reflect on the tenth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq. It published two columns.


▪ The first, by Professor Hugh White, criticised John Howard and ran the unusual line that Australia’s support for the Coalition of the Willing “undermined Australia’s standing as a [US] ally”. Really.


▪ The second, by journalist Lindsay Murdoch, concluded with the comment: “We have known for a very long time that there were no weapons of mass destruction [in Iraq]. The war was built on lies”. In fact it was widely believed at the time that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction – by the leadership not only in the US, Britain and Australia but also in such nations as France, Germany and Russia.


No other view was published in The-Guardian-on-the-Yarra.




This new feature has been introduced by popular demand, of course. You Must Remember This – based, as it is, on the chorus line in “As Time Goes By” which was popularised  by the film Casablanca.


It’s just over a decade since the Coalition of the Willing invaded Iraq and toppled Saddam Hussein’s repressive regime.  And it’s just a decade since the gorgeous Judy Davis declared that George W Bush had used nuclear weapons in Iraq.


This is what the actor said to the presenter on the Channel 9 Today  Show on 22 March 2003:


Judy Davis: …they’ve used one of those mini-nuclear bombs, bunker busters.

Tracey Grimshaw : MOABs [Massive Ordnance Air Bomb].


Judy Davis: Which is what they warned they would do.  They gave us ample warning that they reserved the right to use nuclear weapons. So that’s what happened.

Tracey Grimshaw : They have not used nuclear weapons. It’s certainly a big bomb but it’s –


Judy Davis :   A bunker buster.

Tracey Grimshaw :  It’s not a nuclear weapon.  I think that’s a bit different to a bunker buster.


Judy Davis :  Is it?


Tracey Grimshaw : Yes. I’m not an expert on ordnance.  The Massive Ordnance Air Bomb, I think it’s called, is certainly a different thing to a nuclear weapon. It’s the biggest thing you can get before a nuclear weapon.

Judy Davis :  Perhaps your military expert can clarify that with us some time.


Brilliant performance, don’t you think?  There was Judy Davis rising early to condemn President Bush for allegedly using nuclear weapons on Iraq – without any idea of what she was talking about. Brilliant. Truly brilliant.




▪ A Barney Zwartz Update


Barney Zwartz, The Age’s  religion editor, travelled to Rome to report the election of the new pope.  He may well have stayed at home and covered matters Vatican from his base at The-Guardian-on-the-Yarra in Melbourne.  In an article in The Age on 12 March, Zwartz profiled the top five contenders for the papacy – none of whom made it. Compare and contrast John Follain, who reports on the Vatican for The Sunday Times in London.  He named Cardinal Archbishop Jorge Bergoglio of Buenos Aires, now Pope Francis, in his top six contenders.


MWD Issue 174 reported that Barney Zwartz had written in The Age on 11 March 2013 that Cardinal George Pell “was tainted by sex abuse scandals” – a claim he sourced to Paul Collins.  The assertion was not supported by any evidence.


Around the time that MWD was published last week, the following statement was issued by Dr Collins (for a doctor he is):


A number of media outlets have carried a report quoting comments that I made in an interview with Fairfax journalist Mr Barney Zwartz about Cardinal

Pell. I acknowledge that my words as quoted were false and grossly unfair.These remarks should never have been made and I therefore apologise

unreservedly to Cardinal Pell for the hurt that my comments have caused.


According to the Archdiocese of Sydney, Cardinal Pell has accepted Dr Collins’ apology.


Meanwhile in The Age last Monday Barney Zwartz devoted an entire column to offering Pope Francis what he acknowledges to be “gratuitous advice” on how to run the Catholic Church.  Can you bear it?


Tony Walker’s Tony Abbott Confusion


Did you read Australian Financial Review international editor Tony Walker’s piece last weekend?  Headed “Tony Abbott’s Catholic Conundrum” your man Walker went on and on about how Mr Abbott is a Catholic.  [Interesting. Would the AFR run a column titled, say, “Ed Husic’s Muslim Conundrum”?  Probably not. – Ed].


In his column, Walker drew parallels between Pope Francis, who is a Jesuit, and “the Jesuit-educated prime minister in waiting” – namely Tony Abbott.  Walker went on to write about Abbott’s “days in a Christian Brothers seminary in Sydney during which, from all accounts, he chafed at restrictions, imposed by religious orders”.


It is unclear how many “accounts” Tony Walker has read of the Opposition leader’s life.   However, Tony Abbott did not attend a Christian Brothers seminary in Sydney – or anywhere else.  Nor did he suffer restrictions imposed by a religious order.  Rather, Abbott briefly studied for the priesthood at St Patrick’s Seminary in Manly.  It was run by the Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney, which is no religious order.


All of which suggests that the Geelong Grammar educated Tony Walker writes about the St Ignatius College educated Tony Abbott without knowing much at all about Catholicism.  Can you bear it?


Charles Waterstreet’s Liza Minnelli Confusion


In his Sun-Herald column last Sunday, barrister Charles Waterstreet waxed on about the Italian election – which saw the 5 Star movement, led by comedian Beppe Grillo, do well.  Charles Waterstreet continued:


In Italy, it is often difficult to distinguish politics from comedy.  (In Australia, there hasn’t been a Bunga Bunga Party since prime minister John Gorton entertained Liza Minnelli in Canberra).


It’s true that, when prime minister in 1969, John Gorton visited Liza Minnelli backstage after one of her performances in Sydney (not Canberra).  That was about it.  There was no evidence of a sexual encounter.  Mr Waterstreet just sexed this up.  Can you bear it?




Once again this week, Nancy’s inbox in her kennel has been filled with lotsa emails from journalists who are oh-so-sensitive to criticism – making it possible for this enormously popular Correspondence section to be filled again this week.  So, many thanks to David Marr, Peter Munro and Mike (“Now f_ck off”) Carlton.




Gerard Henderson to David Marr – 21 March 2013


Top of the morning, David.

I note that you seemed somewhat agitated on The Drum last night.  Perhaps it was the harsh (taxpayer funded) lighting.  Just a thought – I don’t really know, since I have never been invited on to The Drum and do not have any idea how it is lit.

I note that last night you were given yet another opportunity to plug your Political Animal essay on Tony Abbott without anyone having the opportunity to debate your thesis.  You have had previous soft interviews on Tony Abbott with Emma Alberici (Lateline) and Geraldine Doogue (RN Saturday Extra).  At least, last night Steve Cannane did ask some challenging questions.

Since you spent a bit of time last night, during your rave, criticising my assessment of the first edition of Political Animal, I wondered if you would be so kind as to advise where I might purchase a copy.  According to the advice I have received, the second edition of Political Animal  is not yet available in Sydney.

This is convenient for you – since it gives you the opportunity to state your case without anyone having the opportunity to check what you claim is your fresh evidence.  Here’s hoping you can advise as to how I can obtain a copy before Media Watch Dog comes out tomorrow.

Best wishes

Gerard Henderson

cc:      Steve Cannane

David Marr to Gerard Henderson – 21 March 2013


Copies should be available in shops today or tomorrow. Remember, no need to guess what I’ve done. Just ask.



PS: I understand the new account of the punch has been posted on The Monthly’s website.



Gerard Henderson to David Marr – 21 March 2013




Thanks for your gratuitous advice.  I have never guessed what’s in your published material – I always read it. However, it is difficult to ask questions about a book which is not yet available. I note your advice that the new version of “the punch” has now been posted on The Monthly’s  website. However, this is just one part of your book.


The absence of your book in Sydney made it possible for you to do your rant-to-camera on The Drum last night.


By the way, I note that you spoke longer last night (at 10 minutes 8 seconds) than Katharine Murphy (6 minutes 7 seconds) and Bruce Baird (3 minutes 48 seconds) combined.  How’s that for loquaciousness?


By the way, a viewer told me that you did much the same when you (11 minutes 30 seconds), Lenore Taylor (8 minutes) and I (6 minutes) were on Insiders on 3 February.


Perhaps it’s a habit you have developed. Or perhaps a condition sparked by agitation.


Best wishes




David Marr to Gerard Henderson – 21 March 2013


Gerard, seriously are you OK?

Gerard Henderson to David Marr – 21 March 2013




I am just fine – although I did experience a sense of relief when you finally stopped talking on The Drum last night. For a while, I thought that all the books in the Fisher Library were falling on my head.


Keep morale high.






Peter Munro to Gerard Henderson – 18 March 2013


Dear Gerard,


Nice to know you care. You might note, though, my name is Peter not Paul, as you have called me in your moan. I consider this a frightful demotion, given Peter was the rock on which the church was built.

God”s speed,




Gerard Henderson to Peter Munro – 22 March 2013

Dear Peter


Thanks for your note.  It’s great to learn that you read Media Watch Dog – even though you regard it as a “moan”.


Apologies re your name error.  I had “Peter Munro” in the headings but “Paul Munro” in the text.  The latter reference has been corrected.


Since you seem to know about “You are Peter the rock” and all that, you should readily understand that, even in the 1950s before Vatican II, eating meat on Fridays was not an act of sacrilege.  And it would certainly not lead to damnation. Moreover, the idea that Benedict XVI would care about what Bob Maguire eats says a lot about the latter’s narcissism.  But that’s all. So if you write such nonsense, you should not be surprised when MWD takes the matter up – or, in your terminology, does a “moan”.


I understand that ABC types and sections of Fairfax Media just love to gush about the likes of Fr Maguire.  Namely, a Catholic priest who proclaims not to follow the Vatican’s teachings and who expresses disdain for his archbishop and his pope.


When I stopped believing in the Catholic Church, I left. Bob Maguire, on the other hand, seems to want to hang around as a media tart much loved by some journalists – particularly ex-Catholics and disillusioned Catholics – even though he professes not to believe in the teachings of the Church as proclaimed by the Vatican.


As a loved-one in so far as many journalists are concerned, Bob Maguire invariably escapes accountability. For example, you referred to the fact that Maguire was forced to retire as the parish priest of Saints Peter & Paul in South Melbourne shortly after his 75th birthday.  But you did not refer to the financial state of the parish when Fr Maguire was in charge – which, as I understand it, was not healthy. That might have required a critical assessment of his managerial ability.


Also, you failed to analyse the role Maguire played in assisting the complaint of sexual misconduct against George Pell at a time when Pell was aged 19 and the male complainant aged 12.  This matter was not prosecuted by Victoria Police and Pell was cleared by a legal enquiry headed by Alec Southwell QC, a former Victorian Supreme Court judge who is not a Catholic. Maguire declined to discuss his controversial involvement in this case with Pell’s biographer Tess Livingstone.  Maguire’s position on this issue should have been of some interest to readers of The Age –  if you had been in investigative journalism, rather than suck-up, mode when you interviewed him.


By the way, I was frightfully interested to learn – via your Maguire profile – that “you once worked at McDonald’s and remember the exhaustive rules and tight trousers” – which you liken to the Catholic Church’s “protocol and prescription”. Wonderful stuff. I can sense a Walkley Award on the way.  Perhaps you should buy a new pair of trousers in anticipation.


Best wishes


Gerard Henderson


Peter Munro to Gerard Henderson – 21 March 2013


You”re right Gerard – it”s not a moan, more of a miserable dribble.


Gerard Henderson to Peter Munro – 22 March 2013




Thanks awfully for your latest abusive spiel.  It saves time when I do not have to respond to a considered argument.


By the way, I am delighted to have a new recommendation for Media Watch Dog.  Your comment will feature on MWD’s “Endorsements” honour-roll with effect from today.



Gerard Henderson





Mike Carlton to Gerard Henderson – 16 March 2013


“Missive,” eh ?  By golly, now that’s a big word.


Henderson, you’re only worth the odd Anglo-Saxon expletive.    There is no point to anything else.   Like most arch-right wingers of your generation, your mind is closed.   It is impervious to logic, fact, reason, or even commonsense.    With nothing new or original to say, you are the bony claw of the unlamented B.A. Santamaria reaching from the grave.


Put whatever you like in your silly little blog.  I do not read it and I know no-one who does.




Gerard Henderson to Mike Carlton – 22 March 2012




Great to hear from you (yet) again.


For someone who does not read Media Watch Dog – and who claims to “know no one who does” – it’s truly surprising that you have written to me on three occasions concerning MWD in less than a week.  If you and your friends do not read MWD, how do you know what’s in it?  Divine intervention, perhaps?


In your recent emails, you have described me as (i) a fool, (ii) malicious, (iii) mendacious, (iv) a piece of  shit and (v) someone without a shred of ethics or honesty.  You also claim that I am “impervious to logic, fact, reason or even commonsense”.  Oh yes – and you have also told me to “f_ck off” on two occasions.


I do not know what you learnt at Barker College. But as a student I was told that – in an argument – content worked better than abuse.  But, then, what would I know? – being “a fool” etc.  So maybe your reference (on 9-10 March 2013) to Tony Abbott as “walking like a chimpanzee” is good journalism.


Your three emails have contained only fact-free abuse.  However, I should clarify one matter since it goes to your ignorance which is disguised as verbal aggression.


In your last email you refer to me as being “the bony claw of the unlamented B.A. Santamaria reaching from the grave”.


If you did any research at all, you would know that my book B.A. Santamaria and the Bishops – published three decades ago – was critical of Santamaria and was certainly no hagiography.  You would also know that Mr Santamaria and the Bishops was well reviewed by the likes of Alan Reid, Kate White, Richard Hall, Edmund Campion, James Jupp, Patrick O’Farrell and more besides.  And you would know that B.A. Santamaria himself wrote letters to the Sydney Morning Herald and the Catholic Weekly criticising me.  As Patrick Morgan has acknowledged, my published work was broadly critical of Santamaria’s involvements in church and state while rejecting some of the fanciful claims made about him and the organisations which he ran.


However, since you are interested in aggression fuelled by abuse, not facts, I expect that you will take no interest in the above empirical reflection.


Best wishes.  I note that you find “missive” a big word.  This from someone who uses the occasional Latin and German in his column. Fancy that.


Gerard Henderson


* * * * *




[Media Watch Dog is] not a moan, more of a miserable dribble”

– Peter Munro, 21 March 2013


“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.


* * * * * *


Until next time. In the meantime, keep morale high.