GERARD HENDERSON’S MEDIA WATCH DOG – ISSUE NO. 179
26 APRIL 2013
See the end of this week’s MWD for details of much appreciated comments on/endorsements of Nancy’s work by Mike Carlton, Peter Munro, Mike Carlton (again), Jonathan Green & Michael Rowland, Malcolm Farr, Bob Ellis, Tom Cowie, Mike Carlton (yet again), Mark Latham, Robert Manne, Marius Benson, James Jeffrey, Andrew Crook and more besides. Well done chaps – and lotsa thanks.
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THIS WEEK READ ALL ABOUT :
● Anne Summers: A Margaret Thatcher Double Standard
● Maurice Newman Segment: Aunty All At One On The Anzac Legend
● Can You Bear It? Leigh Sales; Crikey’s Death Wish; Andrew Crook; Tony Walker on the Liberal Party; Fran Kelly on Pauline Hanson
● The Guardian-on-the-Yarra: All At Sea About A Dinkus
● Nancy’s Illustrated Guide to the ABC – Episode 1
● Nancy’s Pick-of-the-Week: Waleed Aly’s Terrorism Fudge
● Your Taxes at Work: Yet More on the Sydney Writers Festival
● Correspondence: Peter Lloyd Steps Forward
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● Jonathan Green’s Crystal Ball Forsees Abbott Embracing An ETS
ABC Radio presenter Jonathan Green may not know much about the past. But like Bob Ellis (the False Prophet of Palm Beach), Mr Green certainly knows about the future.
Writing in The Drum yesterday, Mr Green said that we did not really know what happened during and after the Boston marathon bombing. But your man Green does know about the future. This is what he said on the ABC News 24’s The Drum program last Wednesday:
Jonathan Green: Here’s a prediction. They [the Coalition] move to an emissions trading scheme within the first six months of the Abbott government. Having failed to knock off the carbon tax, they just bring that forward.
So, according to Jonathan Green, if Tony Abbott becomes prime minister he will not abolish the carbon tax and will introduce an emissions trading scheme. Within six months. Meanwhile the word from Palm Beach is that the False Prophet Ellis is mighty jealous that Jonathan Green is challenging for the position of Australia’s pre-eminent soothsayer.
● Occupy Movement Fails – Nancy’s Concern for Mark Latham Grows
Nancy’s (male) co-owner regrets to announce the failure of MWD’s “Occupy Macquarie Park: Bring Back The Lair of Liverpool” campaign. A major demonstration was planned outside the Sky News studio in Sydney’s Macquarie Park for Saturday morning. But, alas, it rained. Enough said.
The failure of this campaign means that Mark Latham is destined not to return as a paid contributor to the Paul Murray Live, Australian Agenda and Showdown programs. Which is bad news indeed for MWD – since the Lair of Liverpool’s copy is needed every Friday morning.
It gets worse. Mark Latham’s fortnightly column did not appear in the Australian Financial Review this week. Sure, the AFR was not published on Thursday – Anzac Day. But the column was not held over for today. The AFR ran Latham’s nemesis Grace Collier – but not the thought of the Lair of Liverpool.
MWD hopes that AFR retains Mr Latham as a columnist. Apart from the need for copy, MWD is a publication with a soft-heart. Mark Latham has to get by on a taxpayer funded superannuation payment of a mere $78,000 a year (fully indexed) and he has a wife, three children and six bookmakers to support. He needs all the cash he can get. Give Mr Latham a break.
DOUBLE STANDARDS MONITOR: IN WHICH ANNE SUMMERS REMAINS SILENT AS MARGARET THATCHER IS CALLED A WITCH
The most recent issue of the taxpayer funded issue of the Griffith Review (Issue 40) has just landed outside Nancy’s kennel. Titled “Women in Power”, its front cover carries a depiction of a woman with the word “Witch” on her head and her mouth taped up. Contributors include Anne Summers.
The timing is somewhat unfortunate. Griffith Review 40 came out shortly after the death of Britain’s former prime minister Baroness Thatcher. In Britain, some women of leftist disposition welcomed Thatcher death by proclaiming “The Witch is Dead”. Writing in The Age, Michael Lynch even referred to Margaret Thatcher as “a bitch”.
There is no record of Dr Summers (for a doctor she is) condemning references to the first female British prime minster as a “witch” or a “bitch”. In fact, Dr Summers joined in the widespread denunciation of Margaret Thatcher on ABC News 24’s The Drum on Friday 12 April. Let’s go to the transcript:
Julia Baird: Anne, I noted you tweeted Glenda Jackson’s speech today – who had a very different recollection of Thatcher’s England [than Rowan Dean, the other panellist].
Rowan Dean: Yes
Anne Summers: Yes. I think, I don’t know if you were in the same country –
Rowan Dean: Certainly was.
Anne Summers: – Glenda Jackson and you, Rowan, because her six minute speech – I really would recommend that everybody go to YouTube and look at it – her recollections of Thatcher. Ther’re two things she said that were very, very compelling. One is she said that under Thatcher London became a city that Hogarth would have recognised.
Rowan Dean: [talking over] that’s ridiculous
Anne Summers: And the other thing she said that she was responsible for the most heinous social, economic and spiritual damage to the country….
In her speech in the House of Commons, the left-wing Labour MP Glenda Jackson said that Margaret Thatcher was not really a woman. Anne Summers not only endorsed Jackson’s claim that Thatcher was not female, she also said nothing to condemn the comments that Thatcher was a witch and a bitch.
MAURICE NEWMAN SEGMENT IN WHICH EVERYONE AGREES WITH EACH OTHER ABOUT THE ANZAC LEGEND AND THAT JOHN HOWARD IS TO BLAME
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.
There has been just so much group-think on the ABC of late that MWD has filed some material for future use. However, yesterday being Anzac Day and all that, Nancy’s (male) co-owner has focused on the “Imagine Australia without Anzacs” segment on Jonathan Green’s ABC Radio National Sunday Extra program last weekend.
Leftist presenter Jonathan Green essentially agreed with journalist Paul Davey who essentially agreed with academic Claire Wright who essentially agreed with Jonathan Green who essentially agreed with himself. Here’s a chronological run-down.
• Green kicked off the program by suggesting that John Howard had enforced the view that “it was in the bloody trenches of Gallipoli that the essence of the Australian nation was formed – mateship, quiet stoic heroism”.
• Davey complained that the Anzac myth had been “imposed on us” – presumably by Mr Howard and his cohorts.
• Wright commented “I think it’s definitely the way it’s [the Anzac myth] been taken up subsequently” that has led to the distortion.
• Green agreed with Wright.
• Davey said that “had the war not intervened, it might have been Federation which symbolised Australia’s national story”.
• Wright interjected: “Look, I’ve got to say, I’m in furious agreement with Paul”.
• Green asked, “what does this country become if we remove the great trauma of war 14-18 from the national account?
• Wright declared that, in such a circumstance, we would have “become a very forward looking nation”. She added: “I agree with Paul that Anzac was a kind of death of a nation”.
• Green commented that “Australia is caught in that  moment.
• Davey replied: “I think that’s right”.
And so it went on. And on. With Jonathan agreeing with Paul who agreed with Claire who agreed with Jonathan who agreed with himself.
Dr Wright (for a doctor she is) ended up agreeing with Mr Green’s introductory comment that it was the “Howard years” where Anzac Day “became so deeply politicised “. Enough said. Blame John Howard – again.
And now a check of the final score:
Maurice Newman: 3
Jonathan Holmes: Zip
And there is more. [Oh, no. Please spare us. – Ed]. Claire Wright said that she had been commissioned by the ABC to work on a four-part documentary on the First World War to be titled “The War That Changed Us” to be run in 2014. Stand by for yet another leftist documentary on the taxpayer funded public broadcaster on the First World War.
CAN YOU BEAR IT?
- · Leigh Sales On The Need For Preparation – Except, Apparently, On Margaret Thatcher
How wonderful that 7.30 presenter Leigh Sales is giving tips – via TV Tonight – as to how politicians should prepare for interviews with her formidable self. Ms Sales told MPs to be “well-prepared” and declared that she tried to be well prepared herself.
How strange, then, that Leigh Sales has chosen not to correct two howlers in her introduction to 7.30’s coverage of Baroness Thatcher’s death on 9 April 2013. There she (falsely) declared that Margaret Thatcher’s tough-minded approach to the trade unions had “earned her the nickname of ‘the Iron Lady’”. And she (falsely) claimed that Margaret Thatcher was “the instigator of the 1982 Falklands War”. In fact the Soviet Union first called Thatcher “the Iron Lady” and it was Argentina which invaded the British territory of Falklands.
Well prepared? Can you bear the lecture?
● Crikey’s Apparent Death-Wish
What a stunning piece by Cassidy Knowlton in Crikey on Monday headed “Want to save the planet? Don’t have any children”.
Cassidy Knowlton endorsed the GINKS (Green intentions, no kids) platform of Lisa Hymas and Laura S. Scott that the best way to save the planet is not to have children. If everyone accepted their advice there would be a planet – without people. This used to be called death-wish. Now it’s just environmental-consciousness. [There is an up-side, don’t you think? If there are no children, in time there will be no Crikey – with its unsourced rumours, anonymous writers and absence of a fact-checker – Ed].
● Andrew Crook Forgets That the DLP Died – Before It Rose Again
In Crikey on 16 April, senior journalist Andrew Crook looked at political operatives “who’s switched teams over the years” [It’s great to learn that Mr Crook is a senior in his profession – Ed]. This, apparently, was part of Crikey’s attempt to get former Get Up! Activist and Greens Senate candidate Simon Sheikh off the hook for fudging his recent membership of the Labor Party.
Top of the Pops of what Andrew Crook described as Crikey’s list of “political turncoats and defectors” was the Liberal Party leader. This is what Andrew Crook had to say:
Tony Abbott: Liaised long and hard with DLP acolytes during his days at Sydney University and didn’t make a call on which party to join until years later.
Tony Abbott was born in November 1957. The Democratic Labor Party had no parliamentary representation after May 1974 (when Abbott was 16) and was formally wound up in 1978 (when Abbott was 20). Moreover, the DLP was significant in Victoria and Queensland but not so much in New South Wales. In all States, the DLP preferenced the Coalition ahead of Labor.
Yet, according to Andrew Crook, Abbott is a “turncoat”. Can you bear it?
● Tony Walker on the Liberal Party Leadership Or How 8 Plus Zero Equals 10
MWD is still trying to understand the illustration which accompanied Tony Walker’s piece titled “Abbott’s inner circle” which was published in the Australian Financial Review on 6-7 April 2013. Along with the article itself.
For starters, Mr Walker referred to ten people as comprising the Liberal Party leader’s inner circle but named only eight – viz, Eric Abetz, Kevin Andrews, Julie Bishop, George Brandis, Joe Hockey, Barnaby Joyce, Christopher Pyne and Warren Truss. He claimed that “six of the 10 are Catholics” but, as pointed out, named only eight. And Walker claimed that “four of those six were, like Abbott, educated by Jesuits”. MWD can only count three in this category. But since the AFR’s staffer seems obsessed about the Catholic Church in general, and Jesuit educated Coalition politicians in particular, he probably just added one for good – or God – measure. Then he took two unnamed persons away from Abbott’s (alleged) inner circle of ten to make it eight. Or something like this.
It seems that Mr Walker learnt at the Geelong Grammar School to think in diagrams. According to the illustration, the group “In Abbott’s Orbit” consists of Politicians (Inner), Politicians (Outer), Father Confessors, Back Door (Inner) and Back Door (Outer). Wow. It was of particular interest to learn that B.A. Santamaria is one of Tony Abbott’s “Father Confessors” – albeit “in absentia”. You can say that again. Santamaria died in 1998. Can you bear it?
● Fran Kelly’s Pauline Hanson Confusion
MWD just loved Fran (I’m an activist”) Kelly’s interview with Michelle Grattan – formerly of The-Guardian-on-the-Yarra and now an intrepid reporter on Andrew Jaspan’s taxpayer subsidised The Conversation – about Pauline Hanson.
The date was Wednesday 17 April. In her regular slot on RN Breakfast, Ms Grattan was asked by Ms Kelly about Pauline Hanson’s claim that she might run for the House of Representatives in the forthcoming Federal election. In the Labor held NSW seat of Hunter, no less. This is how The Activist introduced the session:
Fran Kelly: Pauline Hanson’s last effort to get back into politics was at the state elections in New South Wales in 2011. She got 2.4 per cent of the votes trying to get into the Upper House then. Well, she’s having another go, trying to take on Joel Fitzgibbon in the federal seat of Hunter this election. And there’s some suggestion Joel Fitzgibbon could be a little concerned about this because it could come down to preferences. It could be important here.
Michelle Grattan was none too impressed by this suggestion. She did not believe that Hanson was likely to win Hunter. But Kelly was insistent – and she continued:
Fran Kelly: ….I wasn’t trying to suggest you she’d win the seat, but with a margin of 12.5 per cent obviously you’d think he’d [Fitzgibbon] be safe. But if she picked up 5 or 10 per cent of the vote and the preferences went the wrong way for Joel Fitzgibbon, maybe that would cause some trouble.
Fran Kelly was dreaming. She seemed unaware of a number of problems with her thesis. First, it is most unlikely that the Coalition would preference Pauline Hanson ahead of Joel Fitzgibbon if she did contest Hunter. Second to have a chance of winning on preferences, a candidate would need to win around 30 per cent of the primary vote. On her record so far, Hanson, is most unlikely to poll that high.
Yet Kelly seems to believe that Hanson is in with a chance. Can you bear it?
THE GUARDIAN-ON-THE-YARRA : AN UPDATE
As MWD pointed out previously, The Age’s dinkus to cover all aspects of sexual abuse by clergy consists of the hands of a male cleric holding rosary beads including a crucifix. The image is clearly that of a Catholic priest or brother. The message is straightforward. It is Catholic priests/brothers who pray a lot who are into child sexual abuse. Hence the absence of a dinkus representing, say, Catholic clerics tendering to the dying in an AIDS hospice or working among the homeless.
Last Tuesday,The Age used its favourite dinkus to accommodate a story by Barney Zwartz about allegations made about Uniting Church clergy. Apparently, The Age is unaware that Uniting Church clergymen do not do rosaries or display crucifixes. Zwartz’s story also covered the Anglican Church and Victorian Muslim communities – all under a dinkus representing the Catholic Church. This suggests there are anti-Catholic sectarians aplenty at The-Guardian-on-the-Yarra.
NEW FEATURE: NANCY’S ILLUSTRATED GUIDE TO THE ABC : EPISODE ONE
● Left-Of-Centre Presenters On ABC Radio National – Including Leftists And Social Democrats
The list is long and features such MWD favourites as Phillip (‘I was a teenage Stalinist’) Adams, Waleed (‘The Liberal Party is Reactionary’) Aly, Jonathan (‘The Liberal National Party is replete with Fascists’) Green, Fran (‘I’m an activist’) Kelly and Robyn (‘Climate Change Sceptics are a bit like Child-Molesters’) Williams.
Radio National’s two key programs are RN Breakfast (presented by Fran Kelly) and Late Night Live (presented by Philip Adams). Neither program has a regular conservative presenter or contracted regular commentator. Most commentators on RNB and LNL are leftists or social democrats – as listed below:
▪ Paul (“The Greens are 100 per cent right”) Bongiorno. Mr Bongiorno is regarded by the Coalition as the Canberra Press Gallery journalist who is most supportive of a Greens/Labor left position and most hostile to the Liberal/National Party. He comments – or, rather, opines – on RNB twice a week.
▪ E.J. Dionne. E.J, RNB’s regular commentator on American politics, is a nice chap. But he is a committed social democrat in the tradition of J.F. Kennedy, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.
Late Night Live
▪ Bruce Shapiro. Bruce Shapiro comments on, – or, rather, preaches on – LNL every week. A committed leftist, he is a contributory editor to the American left-wing journal The Nation.
▪ Bea Campbell. A committed Greens/socialist, Bea Campbell is LNL’s commentator of choice on British politics.
Consistent with the RN practice, neither RNB or LNL has a regular conservative commentator to cover Australia or Britain or the United States.
● Right Of Centre Presenters (Read Presenter) On ABC Radio National – Including Conservatives And Libertarians
There is only one. Step forward Amanda Vanstone. So as not to shock RN listeners unduly, Ms Vanstone’s program is named “Counterpoint”. Get it? Views expressed on Counterpoint are expected to be counter to all the other views heard on all other programs on ABC Radio National. It’s a bit like an old-fashioned hospital which had a ward set aside out the back for the insane.
Also, Counterpoint goes to air in a non-prime time of 4 pm on Mondays. It is repeated on Fridays at 1 pm. Even for a program flagged as Counterpoint, the ABC goes out of its way not to engage a mainstream conservative as its presenter.
▪ Michael Duffy, Counterpoint’s inaugural presenter, is on record as declaring that he is not a conservative (The Australian, 6 May 2004) and that he has voted for the Greens (Sydney Morning Herald, 11 September 2008).
▪ Amanda Vanstone declared on Q&A on 7 February 2011 that she was certainly not a spokesperson for the Liberal Party. No problem there. More recently, Ms Vanstone wrote in her column in The Age and the Sydney Morning Herald on 10 December 2012 declaring that Labor icon Gough Whitlam is one of her heroes who gave Australians “permission to think differently about ourselves and our place in the world” – permission allegedly denied to Vanstone and others by Liberal Party founder Robert Menzies.
That’s Aunty’s girl. A former Liberal Party minister who is not a spokesperson for the Liberal Party and loves Gough Whitlam. Just the person to present Counterpoint at the distinctly non-prime time of 4 pm each Monday and, as such, to be Radio National’s token conservative.
For the record, MWD does not advocate that any of RN’s current presenters or contracted commentators should be replaced. MWD’s point is that there should be real pluralism within the ABC. Currently the public broadcaster is a Conservative-Free-Zone.
WALEED ALY’S BOSTON FUDGE
To accompany Nancy’s Illustrated Guide to the ABC, MWD will be doing some brief insights into leading ABC presenters/regular commentators over the next few months. Today RN Drive host Waleed Aly. Next week Paul Bongiorno. Here we go:
MWD always knew that Waleed Aly, a lecturer in politics at Monash University, was destined for a brilliant career at the public broadcaster. It became evident when Mr Aly was commissioned by Quarterly Essay, the Australian left’s house journal, to write about conservatives.
In 2010, Issue 37 of Quarterly Essay was published titled “What’s Right?: The Failure of Conservatives in Australia”. It was a somewhat turgid essay and theory-laden. But your man Aly made his points. He bagged neo-conservatism. He described the Liberal Party, under Tony Abbott’s leadership, as being in a state of ideological confusion. And he suggested that the Liberals are somewhat reactionary. A significant job offer at the ABC was surely not far away.
And so it came to pass. First up, Waleed Aly became a stand-in presenter on ABC Radio programs. Then he got a gig presenting Big Ideas on ABC television and radio. Then, last year, he was appointed presenter of the new RN Drive from Mondays to Thursdays.
Currently Waleed Aly is also a columnist for The Age (the Sydney Morning Herald runs his material from The Age). This is how The Age introduced Waleed Aly’s analysis of the Boston bombings on Friday 19, 2013. At the time of writing, no one had been apprehended for the crimes.
Waleed Aly’s column on 19 April was headed “Terrorism: how we manage it differently now”. This is how the column commenced:
Let's clear something up: our responses to terrorism are not about the loss of innocent life. We think they are because that's the first thing we talk about. We use the suffering of victims to emote, and we look at the attacks through that prism. But it's never really about the victims. It's about us.
How about that? According to Aly, our responses to terrorism “are not about the loss of innocent life”. Convenient, eh? Especially, as in the Boston bombings, one of the murdered was an 8 year old boy. According to Aly, no one was concerned about the 8 year old or the young woman of Asian background who also died. No, our condemnation of the Boston terror bombings was “all about us”. That’s the heartless West. Westerners don’t care about anyone but themselves – according to the Aly view of life. Of course, no evidence was provided to support any of these assertions.
Waleed Aly continued:
Terrorism is a grotesque form of theatre. It doesn't exist without its audience, which is why it is always public. The show is for us. The most futile terrorist attack is the one we fail to notice. So it is designed to seize our emotions; to make us incapable of ignoring it. Thus is terrorism's paradox: it succeeds only because we make it. We ultimately decide whether or not it is effective. And generally we react wildly, thereby rewarding the terrorists who have sought to provoke us.
This is a seriously naive comment – even for a lecturer in politics at Monash University. Terrorism is not a form of “grotesque theatre”. Rather, it is a cheap form of war. For example, in recent times, the Provisional Irish Republican Army attempted to make Britain dysfunctional by attacking the centre of government and finance in London. The Brits could not have ignored the military attacks on 10 Downing Street and the City. That’s an academic fantasy. The attempt to apprehend the Boston bombers closed down one of the United States’ major cities for a couple of days. This was not theatre. If a terrorist group managed to get access to biological or low-grade nuclear materials and releases such weapons of mass destruction, it could close down a world city for months, perhaps years. Yet to Aly, such an attack would be “futile” if we ignored it.
Waleed Aly welcomed what he regards as the development of “far more sober, pragmatic recognition that terrorism is a perpetual irritant, and that while it is tragic and emotionally lacerating, it kills relatively few people and is not any kind of existential threat”.
What a load of tosh. The only reason why terrorism kills relatively few people is because terrorists have not been able to kill more. If terrorists get access to WMDs, then the terrorist threat will be very real indeed. Moreover, it is demeaning to depict those who died, or were debilitated, due to terrorism as having to endure a mere “irritant”.
Having mocked the New York Post as being “as wrong as possible when it declared…that a Saudi national had been identified as a suspect” and having condemned the media for “proceeding cheerfully on the basis that the terrorists [at Oslo] were somehow connected with al Qaeda”, Waleed Aly went on to make his own false prophecy:
…perhaps the media have been so stung by the embarrassment of Oslo that they have recognised the virtue in shutting up occasionally. But it's possible, too, that this reticence is a product of the very real suspicion that the perpetrators here are self-styled American patriots. At this point, most analysts are leaning that way. And while it's entirely possible they are wrong, there's something chilling about realising that this violence might not be something that can be assigned to a demonic other. Maybe we're speaking in more hushed tones because our own societies might just be implicated.
It turned out that Waleed Aly’s tentative theory was hopelessly wrong. The Boston bombers were not “self-styled American patriots” of the extreme right. As we now know they were of Muslim Chechen background and were conducting Jihad on the United States, their adopted country. One of the terrorists was an American citizen, the other an American resident. In other words, neither was a member of what Aly mockingly referred to as “demonic other”.
What’s more, Aly failed to explain why there would be “something chilling” about an attack by members of the extreme right militia movement which would not be present if the attack was by Jihadists.
The illustrator of Waleed Aly’s article understood the writer’s message. Simon Letch explained Aly’s thesis by depicting a teapot draped in an American flag, looking like a bomb with a lit wick – i.e. a Tea Party bomb.
But Waleed Aly’s rush to judgment led to a completely false conclusion.
YOUR TAXES AT WORK – A CONTINUING SAGA
There has been a hugh reaction to the revelation in MWD Issue 178 last week about the left-wing stack at the 2013 Sydney Writers Festival – and which is presided over by artistic director Jemma Birrell (See here). Seldom before in the annals of literary festivals have so many leftists produced so much fashionable leftist opinion to so few. In fact, to find such a left-wing stack at the taxpayer subsidised SWF you would have to go back to well, Chip Rolley (Ms Birrell’s immediate predecessor) last year.
This week MWD takes you behind some of the leading sessions – where everyone is destined to agree with everyone else and a fine ideological time will be head by all. Here are a couple of MWD’s favourites:
● DESTROYING THE JOINT
May 26, 10-11 am
Sydney Dance 1
#Destroythejoint initiator Jane Caro will ask Senator Christine Milne, Catherine Deveny, Monica Dux and Jenna Price to do what women do best – wreck a little more havoc!
Free, no bookings
So there you go. And don’t you just love the exclamation mark!!!!! Destroythejoint initiator Jane Caro will join Destroythejoint activist Jenna Price and Greens Senator Christine Milne and The-Guardian-on-the-Yarra’s former leftist columnist Catherine Deveny and Monica Dux to whinge about perceived misogyny. No other view will be heard.
● BEYOND CLIMATE DENIAL ON A NEOLIBERAL PLANET
May 24, 2.30-3.30pm
Antoinette Abboud, Jeremy Walker and Robert Manne untangle the complex relationships between climate, politics and economic doctrines with Overland editor Jeff Sparrow. Presented with Overland.
Free, no bookings
So there you go. Again. Jeff Sparrow the taxpayer subsidised academic who runs the taxpayer subsidised Overland magazine will present a session of eco-catastrophists, by eco-catastrophists, for eco-catastrophists. In which neo-liberalism (whatever it is, it isn’t nice) will be denounced. In a highly self-righteous manner by a bunch of self-righteous leftists.
Here’s Nancy’s guide as to how to get a gig at the Sydney Writers Festival. You don’t have to be a writer to be invited to address the SWF. But it sure helps to hold fashionable left-wing opinions. [Declaration: Nancy’s male co-owner has never been invited by SWF organisers to address the SWF. This upsets him greatly – since he was not given a chance to decline an invitation].
BRUCE SHAPIRO AND THE BOSTON BOMBINGS
Bruce Shapiro, contributing editor of The Nation and executive director of the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma at Columbia University, is a weekly guest on Phillip Adams’ Late Night Live each week.
On Tuesday 16 April, just after the bombing of the Boston marathon but before authorities had identified suspects, Shapiro suggested to Adams that the perpetrators could be American practitioners of home-grown terrorism:
Bruce Shapiro: I think actually that, post-Newtown [the Sandy Hook killings], we are still in a moment of deep reckoning with what American values are and how our history of violence and our history of weaponry and firearms and home-grown terrorists on issues like guns and abortion fit into that. I found myself thinking more than anybody else, any other event, about the Olympic Park bombing in Atlanta some years ago.
Phillip Adams: Yeah, well I was gonna raise that. That’s the one that comes to mind.
Bruce Shapiro: Yeah and in that case, the you know, the perp in that case was a guy named Eric Rudolph who hid out from the FBI for a long time but was a violent anti-abortion activist and a survivalist. It could well be somebody like that but we don’t know. On the other hand we do know that families from Newtown were in the VIP section as guests of the marathon in the moments that this went off. And that is already beginning to sort of resonate a little bit. We know that an 8 year old child is the first named victim. And I think that, in that sense, this may well add some momentum to the – not only the debate in Congress over background checks for weapons, but the general climate of reassessing our acceptance of violence.
That’s pretty clear. Both Shapiro and Adams hinted at the likelihood that the Boston bombing was probably initiated by anti-abortion and/or pro-gun members of the Lunar Right.
Soon after it became evident that there were two bombers – both Jihadists of Chechen background. So what did Shapiro and Adams say about this on Tuesday 23 April? Well, nothing. Shapiro was silent about his earlier suggestion that the attack on the Boston marathon might have been undertaken by anti-abortionists or members of the gun-lobby. But he did suggest that the bombers may not have been motivated by jihad.
Bruce Shapiro: We actually don’t know the Tsarnaevs’ motivation. We know that the elder brother, Tamerlan, was evidently becoming radicalised in his religious observance over the last couple of years. But there’s also some intriguing evidence that this. You know, there may be, if you will, a radical Muslim overlay on top of what the forensic psychiatrist would just call a dyad – a strange family dynamic – that led these two brothers down the road of murder. There’s some concerns, some evidence today, that Tamerlan may have actually been responsible or engaged somehow in a couple of previous unsolved murders in Waltham, a town outside of Boston, a couple of years ago. There’s a lot that we don’t know and the Justice Department clearly asserted itself and said no this is a law enforcement matter. But this is going to continue to play out because now there will be an argument about the politics of terrorism and does this mean the Obama Administration needs to define a domestic terrorism policy differently? There’s going to be a real rush now, that Boston is burying its dead, to politicise what is, what would otherwise be a law enforcement process.
Phillip Adams: This must be a very, very dark time for American Muslims.
Bruce Shapiro: Well, indeed. You’ve – leading up to the arrests, of course, many Muslims were quoted as saying “we hope it’s not, we hope it’s not a Muslim”. There was one incident in a town outside of Boston a Muslim woman was attacked on a street by a screaming man blaming her for the bombings. At the same time, again, we need to be very careful. We don’t yet know the Tsarnaevs’ motivation. And you know, the crazy part of this of course –
Phillip Adams: [interjecting] Well certainly not everyone fighting in Chechnya was fighting for Islam –
Bruce Shapiro: Well, and actually the main Chechen Muslim terrorist group has already publically disavowed anything to do with this. They’ve said “look, our enemy is Russia,” there is no motivation for attacking the United States.
Phillip Adams: Yeah.
So there you have it. When Shapiro and Adams thought that the bombers were likely to be members of the American extreme right, they understood their motives. But Tamerlan Tsarnaev and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev? Well, according to Shapiro, a “strange family dynamic” might explain their actions since “we don’t yet know the Tsarnaevs’ motives”. Oh yeah.
CORRESPONDENCE: PETER LLOYD AND GERARD HENDERSON
This (hugely popular) segment of MWD usually depends on a reader of MWD writing – invariably in indignation to MWD – and receiving a reply. This week the indignant one is none other than the ABC’s very own Peter Lloyd. Lotsa thanks to Mr Lloyd. Here we go:
Peter Lloyd to Gerard Henderson – 18 April 2013
By chance I came across this snide little entry. Of course there’s an explanation. The pity is, it wasn’t sought before the cheap shot was fired.
Peter Lloyd – One Man/Two Jobs
An avid reader has drawn MWD’s attention to ABC journalist Peter Lloyd’s LinkedIn entry. Here it is:
So, according to LinkedIn, Peter Lloyd is an ABC journalist and an adviser to the Timor Leste (or East Timor) government. Both at the same time. Can you bear it?
Gerard Henderson to Peter Lloyd – 23 April 2013
I refer to your email of last Friday. I have been busy in recent days – hence the delay in responding.
You seem to be one of the many journalists who make a profession out of criticising others but who become oh-so-sensitive when someone criticises you.
This is what I wrote in the irreverent “Can You Bear It?” segment of my Media Watch Dog blog on 17 August 2012.
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As you know, and as your LinkedIn entry makes clear, g7plus.org stands for the Timor Leste Government Communications and Strategy. Your entry makes it clear that you are currently working for both g7plus.org and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
It is a reasonable question to ask how you can be a taxpayer funded employee at the Australian public broadcaster while – at the same time – being a self-declared adviser to a foreign government.
You believe this reference is “snide”. I believe it is fair reporting of what you wrote about yourself. Over to you.
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READ ALL ABOUT IT – COMMENTS ON/ENDORSEMENTS OF MWD
“[Henderson] You are mad. In the 18th century you would have been caged, with the mob invited to poke you with sticks.”
– Mike Carlton, 5.23 pm (Gin & Tonic Time) 25 March 2013
“[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.
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Until next time. In the meantime, keep morale high.