17 MAY 2013

The inaugural issue of “Gerard Henderson’s Media Watch” was published in April 1988 – over a year before the first edition of the ABC TV Media Watch program went to air. Since November 1997 “Gerard Henderson’s Media Watch” has been published as part of The Sydney Institute Quarterly. In 2009 Gerard Henderson’s Media Watch Dog blog commenced publication.

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Due to overwhelming demand from MWD readers, David Marr’s defence of his error-ridden Political Animal essay on Tony Abbott on ABC News’ The Drum is included in this segment.  This was yet another occasion when the uber-loquacious Lord-High Sneerer spoke for longer than his two fellow panellists combined.

“I like to think of Gerard [Henderson] as the Inspector Clouseau of forensic journalism” – David Marr, ABC News 24 The Drum, 21 March 2013.

For other endorsements see the end of this issue.

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Stop Press: Jonathan Holmes writes to MWD but Refuses to Answer Questions About Media Standards; David Marr’s Somewhat Manic Criticism of Tony Abbott

Emma Alberici and the Lateline Tag Team 

Nancy’s Pick-of-the-Week : Mark Scott Wants More Leftist Presenters on The Conservative-Free ABC 

Can You Bear It?  Jonathan Green Does Snobbery; David Salter Does History (Sort Of); Emma-Kate Symons does Brussels-style Moralising; Alecia Simmonds Does Alienated Junk

● Mike Carlton’s Bad Language (continued)

● Your Taxes At Work: The Biggest Leftist Stack at This Year’s SWF

● Correspondence : Read All About ABC Media Watch’s Correspondence With Nancy’s (Male) Co-Owner




Jonathan Holmes, the presenter of Media Watch on ABC 1, is the Australian Heavyweight Champion in the Letters-of-Demand Division.  For over five years, Mr Holmes has been sending out letters-of-demand about this or that – with a (gratuitous) suggested deadline for replies.

Last week  Xanthe Kleinig, one of Mr Holmes’ many underlings – who happens to carry the title of Journalist (Research) Media Watch – wrote a letter-of-demand to Gerard Henderson.  In his courteous reply, Nancy’s (male) co-owner decided to return the (letter-of-demand) compliment. And so he asked Jonathan Holmes a number of questions in his capacity as Media Watch presenter and MORAL GUARDIAN OF THE MEDIA DOWN UNDER.

Guess what?  Lin Buckfield, Media Watch’s  executive producer, replied on Ms Kleinig’s behalf.  She advised that Jonathan Holmes had declined to respond to all questions.  In other words, Jonathan Holmes has “taken the 5th” on the following matters:

▪ Jonathan Holmes refuses to say whether he regards it as proper that Australians should know the taxpayer funded salary of Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott – but not his own taxpayer-funded salary or that of his colleagues Tony Jones and Fran (“I’m an activist”) Kelly.

▪  Jonathan Holmes refuses to say whether he believes that ABC presenters should declare income they receive, or have received, from companies and other organisations for moderating functions and/or delivering speeches at non-ABC events.

▪ Jonathan Holmes refuses to say whether all who appear as commentators on the public broadcaster should declare their membership of trade unions and/or environment groups – along the lines that he demands from members of political parties.

All this suggests that Jonathan Holmes is great at sending out letters-of-demand but reluctant to answer correspondence about himself and his views.  For the complete correspondence between the Media Watch team and Gerard Henderson see the increasingly popular Correspondence Section.


Guardian Australia commentator (just as soon as this online newspaper commences) and regular ABC performer David Marr likes to dismiss his critics by asking: “Are you well?  or “Tell me you’re okay”.

MWD thought about this very (personal) matter after listening to Mr Marr’s somewhat erratic, manic perhaps, performance on ABC Radio 702’s “Drive with Richard Glover” last night.

David Marr’s mother invariably told David that he was a terrible show off. Last night your man Marr was in hyper-mode as he criticised Tony Abbott for refusing leave from the House of Representatives for a Labor female MP whose child was sick.  There is no evidence that the Opposition leader knew anything about this matter.  Marr went on to blame the Howard government for the fact that Wayne Swan had brought down six out of six budgets in deficit. Really.

The ABC’s Peter Ryan agreed with Marr on the leave issue. But not so News Limited columnist Jessica Irvine who declared, convincingly, that it was a bit of a beat-up.  The switch was thrown to manic-bizarre when Marr maintained that the whole event was an Abbott inspired conspiracy.  Let’s go to the CD:

 Richard Glover: [interjecting] Okay, I guess the question is – is it a misunderstanding as the Coalition seem to imply or does it show some sort of bad attitude to working women?

Jessica Irvine: To Women? No. And has it got anything to do with Tony Abbott? He wasn’t involved in the correspondence-

David Marr: [interjecting] Oh yes. It was all about making sure that Tony got a full house tonight when he – when he delivers his budget reply.


Richard Glover: But he didn’t necessarily make the decision

David Marr: No, No, No, No, No. But you know. There’s the whip and the whip’s job is to fill up the Parliament.

Here’s Nancy’s  message to David – No, No, No, No, No. The role of the Liberal Party whip is to fill up the Liberal Party’s places in Parliament.  It is the Labor Party whip’s responsibility to fill the ALP’s places in Parliament.  The granting of a pair means that, in the event of a vote, one member from each party will not vote.  But this doesn’t stop MPs from sitting in the Parliament. In any event, the absence of one or even two MPs from the House of Representatives’ chamber would not have been noticeable to the television audience which Tony Abbott addressed last night.


MWD just loves Emma Alberici’s performance as presenter/referee on Lateline’s “Friday Forum”. What is depicted as a debate is, in fact, a tag-team bout with the ref in the red corner with one combatant and the occupant in the blue corner home alone.

On 3 May, the “Friday Forum” guests were former Julia Gillard staffer, Stephen Koukoulas (managing director Market Economics) and Judith Sloan (The Australian’s contributing economics editor). A tag quickly formed which saw The Kouk plus La Alberici taking on Professor Sloan.  Alberici sounded like she was reading Treasurer Wayne Swan’s talking points as she took turns with The Kouk to defend the Gillard government.  Let’s go to the transcript:

Emma Alberici : It does seem Judith that part of the debate here is around the measure of a Government’s success. How you actually define a Government’s economic management skills. We have got low unemployment, trend growth, a strong investment pipeline, inflation is contained and we’ve got low interest rates. Doesn’t that demonstrate to you some level of competence in this Government’s management of the economy?

Judith Sloan : Why the hell would we have been running deficits in the last three years if it was all so hunky dory?

Stephen Koukoulas : The deficits have caused those good outcomes, Judith.

Judith Sloan : No, no, no, no they haven’t.

Stephen Koukoulas : You’re looking at it the wrong way around.

According to MWD’s enquiries, Judith Sloan thought of throwing in the towel and leaving the Lateline ring – as a protest on having to take on both The Kouk and Lateline’s  presenter.  But she persisted.  The “Friday Forum” ended with the former Gillard staffer Koukoulas bagging Kevin Rudd as “a spoiler”.

It was more of the same last Friday when La Alberici lined up with Labor frontbencher David Bradbury to take on Liberal Party frontbencher Christopher Pyne. The evidence suggests that Pyne is more a street fighter than Sloan. After being talked down by the Bradbury/Alberici tag, and prevented from responding to Bradbury, Pyne complained after the Lateline presenter changed the topic.  Let’s go to the transcript:

Emma Alberici : …. I wanted to talk about the participation issue. It was another issue raised by the Reserve Bank in its monetary statement. The Coalition –

Christopher Pyne: I think David should be rebutted actually.

 Emma Alberici: Well we’ve talked a lot about that issue and I want to move onto another.

 Christopher Pyne: I didn’t get an opportunity to rebut what he said.

 Emma Alberici: You had, you had quite a bit of an opportunity and I want to move on –

Christopher Pyne: Not really actually. He has talked for most of the interview so far actually.

At this point in the “Friday Forum”, David Bradbury had had 43.5 per cent of air time compared to Christopher Pyne’s 31.8 per cent and presenter Alberici a loquacious 24.6 per cent – nearly as much as Pyne.  In other words, Pyne had been allowed less than a third of the total air-time with two thirds given to the Bradbury/Alberici tag.

So who will Emma Alberici tag with tonight to do battle with the political conservatives?  Who knows?  But Nancy is so excited in anticipation that she can barely wait.





What a stunning performance by ABC managing director and editor-in-chief Mark Scott on Wednesday. It was the morning after the (Budget) night before. Nice Mr Scott was oh-so-pleased that the Gillard Labor government had announced, in the Budget on Tuesday evening, that the taxpayer funded public broadcaster will receive $90 million of new money.  This is in addition to the $10 million of new money announced by Communications Minister Senator Stephen Conroy recently for, wait for it, a taxpayer funded fact-checking unit. The ABC does not propose to use this outfit to check its own facts but, rather, the facts of others.

In any event, Mark Scott came up with a you-beaut idea for what to do with the new $90 million. Currently the ABC is a Conservative-Free-Zone and employs not one conservative as a presenter or producer or editor for any of its main television, radio or online outlets. Not one.

Yet it seems that Mark Scott believes that  the ABC really needs more leftists and left-of-centre types.  He told the Sydney Morning Herald’s Jonathan Swan that the ABC would look at establishing Australian equivalents of such American programs as The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and The Colbert Report and added:

We want to be relevant to all Australians, not just older Australians. Younger audiences are interested in news … but they don’t particularly want it formatted and delivered in a way that it would’ve once been delivered to their parents.

The Daily Show (presented by Jon Stewart) and The Colbert Report (presented by Stephen Colbert) are witty, incisive and very expensive.  They also happen to be left-liberal outlets which are written by a large number of comedy writers from across the 315 million strong United States of America. The targets are invariably Republicans and right-of-centre political organisations.  Stewart and Colbert do not disguise their left-liberal beliefs or their support for the Democratic Party.

It is most unlikely that something like The Daily Show or The Colbert Report would work in Australia with a population of 23 million and much fewer political targets.  Moreover, the appeal of both programs – which go to air on the Comedy Channel – is across the generations. Neither Jon Stewart (age 50) nor Stephen Colbert (age 48) have a particular appeal to younger audiences. The ABC has previously tried a mix of comedy and news as a means of targeting younger audiences – including Good News Week.

However, Mark Scott’s comment gives a clear idea of his thinking.  According to the ABC managing director, what the ABC Conservative-Free-Zone really needs are yet more leftist presenters, producers and editors. How about that?



 ▪ Jonathan Green Bags Baz Luhrmann & Sneers At the Working Class

MWD’s favourite dose of media self-indulgence occurs between 1.10 pm and 1.30 pm each Thursday when Radio 702 Afternoons with James Valentine presenter James Valentine (in Sydney) interviews ABC Radio National Sunday Extra presenter Jonathan Green (in Melbourne) about nothing much at all.

Three weeks ago the discussion focused on how screw-tops work best on quality reds – as in red wines. Two weeks ago the focus was on the prevalence of “reds” within the public broadcaster – Mr Green’s position is that the political views of ABC presenters are unimportant.  See MWD Issue 181. [Fancy that.  If your man Green is correct, why doesn’t the ABC chance its arm and employ a few conservatives? – just one would do. – Ed].

Then, yesterday, Messers Valentine and Green decided to sneer at film director Baz Luhrmann and his recently released re-make of The Great Gatsby – which is not yet available in Australia and which neither has seen.

As usual, on “Self-indulgent Afternoons with James and Jonathan”, there was much laughter as each acknowledged the other’s jokes – as well as their own jokes. Here are some highlights.

▪  Jonathan said that “Baz apparently has not read The Great Gatsby” but later admitted that he did not “know whether that’s true or not”. Jonathan added that Luhrmann’s latest film was not based on Scott Fitzgerald’s “actual published book; it’s based on an earlier manuscript”. But he added that he had not “checked any of this” either.  It was a case of “Look mum, no facts”.

▪ James declared that “even though we haven’t actually seen” Luhrmann’s film “the reviews give me a clear picture that it’s “The Great Gatsby meets Moulin Rouge”. [This surely must have been a LOL moment – Ed].

▪ James declared that “Baz has gone into the wrong business…Baz is more of an event organiser”.

▪ Jonathan agreed with James that the film – which he has not seen – “looks like a great half-time Grand Final entertainment”. [This must surely be the ultimate put-down by an inner-city, sandal-wearing, bicycle-riding leftie like Mr Green – Ed].

▪ Then James played I will always love you. To which Jonathan sneered: “I feel like I’m at a Revesby wedding.”

For non-Sydneysiders, Revesby is a one-time working class suburb in Sydney’s West.  How appropriate, then, that the inner-city taxpayer-funded sandalista Mr Green should sneer at the musical and matrimonial tastes of the good people of Revesby who help pay his salary.  Can you bear it?

▪ David Salter On the Good Stalinists Who Dominated the ABC in the 1950s – And Beyond

While on the topic of reds, did anyone read David Salter’s letter to The Australian which was published on 24 April 2013?  Salter, of the fashionable Sydney suburb of Hunter’s Hill, is a leftist journalist who was the long-time producer for the leftist Stuart Littlemore when he presented Media Watch on ABC TV, a Conservative-Free-Zone.

David  Salter felt the urge to write to The Australian after it ran extracts from Nick Cater’s book The Lucky Culture concerning the ABC.  Salter wrote:

It may…surprise Cater to learn that during the 1950s, a period of more conservative ABC broadcasting he apparently so admires, there were plenty of communists and King’s Cross libertarians in key production positions. The management of the day knew this, but trusted them to keep their personal politics out of their professional program-making despite ASIO’s paranoid urgings.

So there you have it.  David Salter concedes that, during the 1950s, there were plenty of members of the Australian Communist Party in key production positions at the ABC. Yet, according to Salter, these dedicated followers of Josef Stalin kept “their personal politics out of their program making”.  Oh, yeah?

Salter overlooks the fact that the ABC’s house-communists  in the 1950s not only made programs. They also appointed presenters, reporters and producers. Yet, according to Salter of Hunter’s Hill, there was nothing wrong with having a collective of Stalinists on the ABC payroll in the 1950s who ran the key news and current affairs programs and ASIO was paranoid for believing otherwise.  Can you bear it?

▪ Emma-Kate Symons Barracking for the EU – Who Cares About the Voters?

Emma-Kate  Symons, the Paris-based reporter for the Australian Financial Review, has become a barracker for the European Union. This is what she wrote on Wednesday, concerning British prime minister David Cameron’s visit to Washington DC:

David Cameron could hardly have made a bigger mess of the terminally vexed question of Britain in Europe.  Instead of standing up to the swelling chorus of anti-Brussels bigots and political profiteers calling for an exit from the European Union, the British Prime Minister has repeatedly given in. By constantly buckling under the growing euro-sceptic pressure and dancing to the tune of populist anti-immigrant isolationist forces like the spoiler UK Independence Party, he has encouraged defiance.

Now after failing to mount persuasive arguments in favour of Britain’s place in Europe, he is paying the price with the spreading mutiny at the highest cabinet ranks, and setting himself and his country up for ridicule on the Continent and internationally…. How embarrassing to have to be publicly reminded by US President Barack Obama that Britain would be effectively isolated if it left the EU.

So, according to Ms Symons, Brits who do not support the European Union are “bigots and political profiteers” and the UK Independence Party is a “spoiler” which has “encouraged defiance”. What’s more, Euro-scepticism is setting Britain up for “ridicule” and David Cameron has been embarrassed by Barack Obama’s support for the EU. Shucks.

All this suggests that Emma-Kate Symons is too close to Brussels – both figuratively and in reality. She seems to believe that Brussels bureaucrats and President Obama know what’s best for Britain – rather than the British people. Can you bear it?

▪ Ms Simmonds’ Hyperbolic Junk

Meet Alecia Simmonds – an adjunct, lecturer in law at the University of New South Wales and a Merewether Fellow at the Mitchell Library. This Ms Simmonds posted an article on the Daily Life website this week titled “Why Australia hates thinkers”.

In her call for more thought, Ms Simmonds (i) declared that “Australia hates thinkers”, (ii) described Andrew Bolt as “imbecilic”, (iii) depicted Australia as “a vast, sunny, intellectual gulag”, (iv) maintained that, for Australian men, “carrying a book and using words larger than one syllable is a former of gender treason”, (v) asserted that “real Aussie chicks just giggle” and (vi) concluded that “Australians have come to see…academics as haughty public menaces”. Go on.

According to Nancy’s research, Ms Simmonds is a junk lecturer in “Alienated and Hyperbolic Studies” at UNSW.  Can you bear it?


Mike Carlton wrote a column in The Sydney Morning Herald  on 23 July 2011 in which he called for “polite, urbane [and] civilised” debate and condemned the “puerile, beer garden insults of third rate minds”.

So how is Mr (“I write better after Gin & Tonic Time”) Carlton going in his bid to rid the world of purile insults and introduce a debate which is polite, urbane and civilised?  You be the judge.

13 April 2013 : Mike Carlton refers to the late Baroness Thatcher and “her imperious helmet of hair” and “the re-tooled teeth”. He also describes Tony Abbott as “looking for all the world like one of those plastic doggies that bob up and down in the rear window of very old Toyota Corollas”. Funny, eh?

20 April 2013 : Mike Carlton bags 2GB radio presenter Alan Jones.  He makes reference to “the pursed lips, the ruddy cheeks, the matching tie and hanky sets”.

4 May 2013 : Mike Carlton describes Peter Costello as “like some rheumy old rocker still carting his act around the country RSL clubs, croaking his half forgotten hits to a tinny backing track”.

Then on 9 May – after dinner, of course – Carlton sent out a the following tweet about Miranda Devine:

[Miranda Devine] is “embedded” with the Police Riot Squad, as she puts it.  What, all of them at once? Must be exhausting.

Mike Carlton has deleted this. He declines to answer the question as to whether the above tweet is a puerile, beer garden insult which is the product of a third rate mind.


Due to unprecedented demand, MWD is repeating its analysis of the left-wing stack that is the 2013 Sydney Writers’ Festival – see here.

In a close contest, the session titled “Beyond Climate Denial on a Neoliberal Planet” has won Nancy’s award for The Most Daring Left Wing Stack.  All the more so because it features not one climate scientist or even one scientist or engineer.

Speakers are Robert Manne (the taxpayer subsidised academic who has called for the end of the coal industry in Australia), Antoinette Abboud (a leftist academic who teaches music, English and communications), Jeremy Walker (a left wing author who lectures in political economy) and Jeff Sparrow (a leftist academic who is into eco-catastrophe).

It should be a great occasion.  To give some of the political flavour, this is the somewhat confused poem which Jeff Sparrow quoted when Margaret Thatcher died:

 Here, richly, with ridiculous display

The Politician’s corpse was laid away

While all of his acquaintances sneered and slanged

I wept: for I had longed to see him hanged.

This means that Dr Sparrow wanted Margaret Thatcher hanged.

And this is the poem from which Jeff Sparrow quoted when Saddam Hussein was executed:

Be assured, you will sink into the generous pool of public feeling

as gently as a leaf – accept your role, feel chosen

You are this evening’s headlines. Come, my love

This means that Dr Sparrow was a bit in love with Saddam Hussein and didn’t want him executed. But, then, Margaret Thatcher was a much detested neo-liberal of the kind who will be comprehensively bashed at the Sydney Writers’ Festival.




John Henry Newman once said that the Church needed the laity – because it would look pretty silly without it.

It’s much the same with MWD’s  Correspondence section.  Nancy’s (male) co-owner needs people to write to him – because the Correspondence section would look pretty silly without emails, letters and the like.

This week Xanthe Kleinig, who holds the exalted title of Journalist (Research) Media Watch, wrote a “Dear Gerard” email to Gerard Henderson. He replied with a “Dear Ms Kleinig” email.  Then, lo and behold, there followed a “Dear Mr Henderson” email from the even more exalted Lin Buckfield, Media Watch’s  executive producer.  Who knows?  Media Watch’s  status-inflation responses might escalate and lead to an email from Jonathan Holmes Himself.  Or perhaps even the ABC’s editor-in-chief, nice Mr Scott.

But this is for later, perhaps. For now, here is the Media Watch/Gerard Henderson correspondence – with lotsa thanks to Xanthe Kleinig and Lin Buckfield.

 ● Xanthe Kleinig  to Gerard Henderson – 9 May 2013

Media Watch is interested in the declarations or otherwise of expert commentators from institutes and think tanks who contribute frequently to the public conversation, especially in the media. We would appreciate your assistance with the following questions:

▪ Do you disclose your funders, on your website or elsewhere? If elsewhere, could you please tell us where?

▪ Do you have a policy of not disclosing your funders? If so, would you please explain why?

▪ If a topic arises during a media appearance in which one of your major funders has a vested interest, would your staff feel it proper to disclose that fact? If not, why not?

▪ If asked by the moderator or interviewer to disclose whether any of your funders have an interest in the matter, would your staff do so, without necessarily disclosing the name(s) of the funder(s) concerned?

We are sending similar questions to a number of other organisations.

A response by 5pm, Tuesday May 14 would be most helpful.


Xanthe Kleinig

Journalist (Research) –Media Watch

 Gerard Henderson to Xanthe Kleinig – 14 May 2013


Dear Ms Kleinig

I refer to your recent phone call to my office and subsequent email to me (dated 9 May 2013) advising that the ABC 1 Media Watch program “is interested in the declarations or otherwise of expert commentators from institutes and think tanks who contribute frequently to the public conversation, especially in the media”.

I watched the Media Watch credits last night.  I noted that Media Watch presenter Jonathan Holmes has three journalists/researchers and four librarians in addition to a production team of around ten (not including studio/camera/editing crew).

In view of Media Watch’s  substantial research staff, I am surprised that you do not seem to be aware of the aims and practices of The Sydney Institute.  The Sydney Institute is not a think tank.  Rather, it is a policy forum for debate and discussion.  The Sydney Institute has no policies, does no lobbying and does not advocate causes.  Speakers at the Institute, over the past six months, include Senator Christine Milne, Anthony Albanese, Tony Abbott, Senator Bob Carr and Senator George Brandis.

As you should be aware, speakers address the Institute for about 30 minutes and engage in questions/discussion for a further 30 minutes. All talks delivered are published in full (subject to only stylistic editing and/or the rare elimination of defamatory material) in The Sydney Papers Online and downloaded on the Institute’s podcast.  Most speeches are filmed by Sky News and shown on the Foxtel APAC Channel 648.  Every now and then, the ABC turns up to film and/or record our functions.

In view of the fact that The Sydney Institute is a forum for debate and discussion only – and not a think tank with a policy agenda – your questions, which imply a possible conflict of interest, are not applicable to the Institute’s work.

As previously mentioned, the Institute is a genuinely pluralistic organisation which fulfils an educational role.  I note such ABC1 Media Watch alumni as Richard Ackland, Monica Attard, Liz Jackson, David Marr and David Salter have addressed The Sydney Institute over the years.  It is a matter of record that all Media Watch presenters have been left-of-centre types or leftists.  Unlike Media Watch, The Sydney Institute is a genuinely pluralistic organisation. I also note that Donald McDonald (when ABC chairman) and Mark Scott (as ABC managing director) sought and obtained speaking opportunities at the Institute.

As you may or may not know, I put out my Media Watch Dog blog each Friday, ten months a year.  This runs for around 8000 words each week. MWD does not employ researchers, journalists or librarians.   ABC1’s Media Watch program, on the other hand, appears less frequently than MWD, runs for around 1200 words each episode and has a large staff.

In view of this, I am sure you will understand that I do not have any additional time to respond to further letters-of-demand from the taxpayer funded public broadcaster’s Media Watch program on this matter.

One final point.  Unlike ABC Media Watch, I am not in the habit of sending out letters-of-demand with reference to my Media Watch Dog blog.  However, in view of the fact that Media Watch wants me to answer its questions, I ask the following questions of Mr Holmes and the Media Watch team – sure in the knowledge that Mr Holmes has a large enough staff to respond by the suggested time.

▪ Does Media Watch believe it is proper that Australians are entitled to know the taxpayer funded salaries of Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott but not the taxpayer funded salaries of Jonathan Holmes, Leigh Sales, Tony Jones, Fran Kelly and Julian Morrow?  If so, what is the rationale for this view?

▪ Does Media Watch believe that the salaries paid to key ABC presenters should be subjected to full disclosure?  Especially in Julian Morrow’s case – since last year he used a public forum to remark on Mr Scott’s salary while subsequently claiming that his own entitlements from the ABC are “commercial-in-confidence”.  If not, why not?

▪ Does Media Watch believe that ABC presenters should declare on-air and online all payments they receive, or have previously received, from corporations and other organisations for hosting, and/or speaking at, non-ABC events – along with the quantum involved in each case?  If not, why not?

▪ If asked by a panellist on, say, the Q&A program to disclose what non-ABC payments Tony Jones has received – what should the presenter do?

▪ On Media Watch last night, Jonathan Holmes expressed the view that commentators on ABC 1 News Breakfast should declare if they are a member of a political party on each occasion they appear on the program. In view of this, should all ABC presenters and reporters declare if they are members of a trade union or an environment group on each occasion when they comment or report on a matter concerning industrial relations or the environment?  If not, why not?

A response by 5 pm, Thursday 16 May 2013 would be most helpful.


* * * * *

Best wishes

Gerard Henderson

cc:      Mark Scott, Managing Director & Editor-in-Chief, ABC

Richard Finlayson, Head of Television, ABC

Michael Millett, Director of Corporate Affairs, ABC

● Lin Buckfield to Gerard Henderson – 15 May 2013

Thank you for taking some of your valuable time to respond to our email.  We will be happy to post it, in full, on our website following Monday’s program.

We note what you say about the Sydney Institute.  We accept that a wide variety of guests from across the political spectrum speak at the Institute’s weekly meetings.

However, you yourself, and to a lesser degree your wife, do frequently contribute to the public conversation in the media.

That is why we included the Institute among the organisations to whom we addressed our questions.

We also note that, despite the length of your reply, you have chosen not to answer any of our questions.  That is, of course, your right.

Jonathan Holmes has chosen to exercise the same right, and will not be responding to your questions.

Kind regards

Lin Buckfield

Executive Producer

Media watch


cc:  Jonathan Holmes

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“[Gerard Henderson] is a moral dwarf …Gerard, pull your head in”

– Professor Sinclair Davidson, 24 April 2013.

“[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).


“[Gerard Henderson is] an internet pest”

– Dr Jeff Sparrow, 26 February 2013.

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.