GERARD HENDERSON’S MEDIA WATCH DOG – ISSUE NO. 187
21 JUNE 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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BRAND NEW ENDORSEMENT : FROM THE LORD-HIGH-SNEERER DAVID MARR
Thanks to the David Marr/Mike Carlton leftist tag team, MWD has received yet another brand new endorsement. Lotsa appreciation to the Nancy fan who located this on the web:
“Gerard Henderson is a crank”
– David Marr at the 2013 Sydney Writers’ Festival (as reported by Mike Carlton )
See Correspondence section for documentation of David Marr’s most recent endorsement..
For other MWD endorsements, see the end of this issue. Now read on.
● Can You Bear It? Ray Martin’s Conspiracy Theory; Robert Manne’s Murdochphobia; Phil Kafcaloudes’ Buttonless Shirts
● Nancy’s Pick-of-the-Week: The Wind Behind Admiral Barrie
● New Series: Some Suggested Fact-checking for Nice Mr Scott Re Gael Jennings and Mohammed El-leissy
● Your Taxes at Work: Ray Gaita’s Leftist Love-In at Melbourne Law School
● Correspondence : With a Little Help from Stephen Heydt on WikiLeaks and David Marr on Himself
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▪ Clive Palmer Lays It On Tony Jones With A Trowel
It used to be said that flattery gets you nowhere. Not anymore. Because flattery seems to deliver interviews on ABC1’s Lateline. Clive Palmer was on the program (yet again) last night. Mr Palmer told presenter Tony Jones (yet again) that he has “a professional standard second to none in the country” and that he is “the greatest journalist in Australia”. Stand-by for another Clive Palmer appearance on Lateline any time soon saying not very much of substance at all.
▪ Julian Assange’s Breakfast Free-Kick
Wasn’t Fran (“I’m an activist”) Kelly in slumber mode when interviewing Julian Assange on Radio National Breakfast this morning?
There were no tough questions of the kind reserved for Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott (but not for Bob Brown or Christine Milne). Mr Assange was not questioned by Ms Kelly about the evident lack of empathy he has shown concerning individuals who have been adversely affected by the WikiLeaks dump of Western intelligence. (For documentation see this week’s Correspondence section).
Nor did the activist in Sydney ask the activist currently domiciled in the Embassy of Ecuador in London about his refusal to be questioned by authorities in Sweden. Rather Assange was allowed to get away with the statement that he would never travel to Sweden – where police want to question him concerning the sexual assault of two left-wing females.
Also, Fran Kelly obviously did not want to disturb Julian Assange’s delusional state. The RN Breakfast presenter did not challenge Assange’s RN Breakfast assertion that the WikiLeaks political party in Victoria – where Julian Assange intends to be a Senate candidate – is “polling 26 per cent in of the voting intention” according to four polls in the lead-up to the 2013 election.
Sure a UMR Research poll in April 2013 found that 26 per cent of voters were likely to vote for Julian Assange and the WikiLeaks Party if he ran for a Senate seat. But no other political parties were referred to in this poll.
And, sure, a Morgan Poll on new fringe parties in June 2013 found that 21 per cent of Australians would vote for the WikiLeaks Party, 16 per cent for the Katter Australian Party (KAP) and 16 per cent for the Palmer United Party (PUP). A staggering 53 per cent in total. This means that the remaining 47 per cent of voters were split between the Coalition, Labor and the Greens. [Hang on a minute. What about gorgeous Fiona Patten’s Australian Sex Party. How’s that going? – Ed].
This is somewhat unrealistic. In the latest Morgan Poll, published on Monday, the results are as follows:
Labor : 30.5 per cent
Coalition: 47.5 per cent
Greens: 14.5 per cent
Independents/Others: 14.5 per cent.
This suggests that the total vote for WikiLeaks, KAP and PUP combined is 14.5 per cent – somewhat south of 53 per cent.
Yet Ms Kelly just allowed Mr Assange to get away with the claim that – according to four polls – WikiLeaks “represent or symbolise the values that people found to be important”. Life’s easy when you’re Green – when Fran (“I’m an activist”) Kelly is in the presenter’s chair.
CAN YOU BEAR IT?
▪ Ray Martin’s View From The Dismissal’s Grassy Knoll
Did anyone see Ray Martin on The Observer Effect with Ellen Fanning on SBS last Sunday? MWD has had reason to question Mr Martin’s historical recall in the past. See MWD Issue 154. It seems that he is into historical confusion once again.
During his somewhat rambling interview with Ms Fanning, your man Martin commenced to rave about the dismissal of Gough Whitlam’s Labor government by the Governor-General Sir John Kerr on 11 November 1975. Reflecting in an interview which the Channel 9 60 Minutes did with Christopher Boyce in 1982, Ray Martin declared:
Ray Martin : The reason he [Christopher Boyce] spoke to us on 60 Minutes was that he found the Americans were spying on the Australians, on Gough Whitlam, at the time. They'd been spying and he said dirty tricks and undermining the Whitlam Government through ‑ Whitlam, as we know, was trying to, was thinking about whether he was going to keep the American base in Alice Springs and that was a very critical thing when Whitlam was kicked out.
Ellen Fanning : Mmmm. And he was outraged by that?
Mmm. What a load of tripe. There is no serious historian in Australia who believes that the Whitlam government’s position on US bases in Australia (now termed joint facilities) was “critical” to John Kerr’s decision to dismiss Gough Whitlam. Kerr always denied it and Whitlam accepted this account. Moreover, almost four decades after the event, there is no evidence to support Martin’s conspiracy theory.
Martin described Boyce in 1982 as “a highly principled young Catholic”. Turn it up. Boyce was a convicted spy who served more than 25 years in prison for selling US secrets to the communist dictatorship in the Soviet Union. Martin also failed to mention that Boyce was a convicted bank robber. How principled can a young Catholic man get? Can you bear it?
▪ Robert Manne’s Latest Murdochphobia Attack
What a stunning performance by Professor Robert Manne – currently the Vice Chancellor’s Fellow at La Trobe University – on Q&A last Monday. Discussion turned on Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s “blue-tie” speech of the previous week. It turned out that this address to the Women for Gillard conference was not well received – including by some feminists (Eva Cox, Jane Caro). But according to your man Manne it was all Rupert Murdoch’s fault. Let’s go to the transcript:
Robert Manne : I think the misogyny speech that Julia Gillard, I think, made spontaneously when something unexpected happened in the Parliament, I think undoubtedly will be regarded as her best moment. I think it was a wonderful speech. Women across the world recognised that speaking about that element of the culture with that degree of passion and precision was a great moment. I think the reason that I thought the misogyny speech last week was a mistake, or the blue tie speech I suppose it will be known as, was a mistake because it seemed like normal politics manipulation, opportunism, what I think it was Simon Crean said tin-ear for politics. I do think it was ill-advised.
There is one thing I do want to say. In my view, the biggest mistake made by a politician I most admire in Australia, Paul Keating, was to allow the Murdoch press to have the kind of control it has over the way we look at things, and I do think the – surprise to Paul [Kelly] – and I do think that the way in which a sort of line emerges and an outrage that abortion is raised and so on and so forth, everyone says the same thing, I think we don't realise how much that is – what has happened to this country. That the picture we're getting of the world is coming through a much larger control over the press than is healthy.
Robert Manne described Rupert Murdoch as a “highly ideological figure” who has a “monopoly” of the print media. The learned professor went on to claim that News Limited controlled “60 to 70 per cent of the press” and added:
Robert Manne : What I’m saying is that because of the Murdoch control, people sing the same tune too much in this country. I'm very pleased that The Guardian Online is opening because we’re going to get every morning we’re going to get a powerful, different interpretation of the nation.
So there you have it. According to Professor Robert Manne of La Trobe University (Proudly one of Australia’s Top 500 Big Polluters), there is only one interpretation of the nation and it is provided by Rupert Murdoch’s News Limited. This analysis overlooks the diversity in the Australian media provided by, among others:
(i) Fairfax Media in print and online – the Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and Australian Financial Review.
(ii) Free to air TV – Channels 7, 9 and 10.
(iii) Subscription TV – Fox News
(iv) ABC TV, ABC Metropolitan Radio, ABC Radio National, The Drum online
(vi) Social Media
Yet, according to the academic Professor Manne (who has never worked outside of the university), there is a News Limited dominated “interpretation of the nation”. Can you bear it?
▪ Shirts Happen – Phil Kafcaloudes’ TV Gear
MWD does not want to get into the debate as to whether the Prime Minister shows what Grace Collier has referred to, inter alia, as too much “flesh in Parliament”. This matter was debated with some intensity on Jonathan Green’s RN Sunday Extra program at the weekend. With Grace (“Call me Darl”) Collier on one side and Eva Cox, Bernard Keane and Jonathan Green on the other side. It was quite a (verbal) punch up.
But MWD does want to take issue with that part of Eva Cox’s defence of the Prime Minister when Cox declared “Men don’t have breasts to show”.
In fact, Radio Australia presenter Phil Kafcaloudes appears to have a wardrobe of buttonless shirts which reveal an oh-so-hairy chest. Last Tuesday, Mr Kafcaloudes may or may not have had something useful to say when he did the Newspapers gig on ABC 1 News Breakfast program. It’s just that Nancy could not get her eyes off Phil K’s hirsute chest. Can you bear it? [Perhaps your man Kafcaloudes should tog-up for News Breakfast a bit like Dr Scott Burchill and dress as if he is on his way to the tip. Apparently OHS laws require that tip visitors have their shirts buttoned up – Ed].
Admiral Barrie Sails Over the Edge
Nancy has always had a soft-spot for THE-END-OF-THE-WORLD-IS-NIGH types. At the very least, they have a deadline.
So Nancy just loved it when Admiral Christopher Alexander Barrie AC, AO, AM, MBA, FAIM, FAIDC (the Admiral’s Who’s Who in Australia entry refers) went on ABC 1 News Breakfast on Monday to declare that THE-END-OF-THE-WORLD-IS-NIGH. For some reason or other, he was invited on the program to discuss the Climate Commission’s most recent report along with its co-commissioner Will Steffen. Admiral Barrie has no known climate or scientific expertise but he is an expert on THE END OF THE WORLD. Let’s go to the DVD:
Chris Barrie: I think if anybody reads through this report and gets to the alarming conclusion that if we don’t correct our behaviour by the end of this decade – that is, in seven years time – then our future looks pretty bleak.
Virginia Trioli: So is climate change and global temperature rises, that’s something that has been a concern to you for some time Chris Barrie?
Chris Barrie: Yes it is. Years ago I read a book called Our Final Hour written by Lord Martin Rees – the Astronomer Royal and the former President of the Royal Society in London. Martin lays out the climate change consequences and some other behaviours that are not so good and predicts that there’s a one in two chance that by 2100 there will be no human beings left on this planet. The planet will exist. But it’s just that my granddaughter won’t be part of it. And I think that’s a pretty alarming statistic, probability, a one in two chance if we don’t correct our behaviours.
Believe it or not, neither Virginia nor Michael Rowland expressed one iota of scepticism when Admiral Barrie prophecised that there would probably be no humans on the planet in just 87 years. Fancy that.
NEW SERIES – SOME WORK FOR NICE MR SCOTT’S FACT-CHECKER
You have to admire ABC managing director Mark Scott’s business plan. While other media executives have to work out such matters as revenue and expenditure, all nice Mr Scott has to do is to travel to Canberra with a large bucket and ask – nicely, of course – that it be filled up with taxpayers’ funds. Then head back to Sandalista Central in Harris Street, Sydney and spend the lot on the Conservative-Free-Zone public broadcaster.
And so it came to pass, quite recently in fact, that Nice Mr Scott received an extra $10 million from the Gillard Government to set up a Fact Checking Unit – to check the facts (not of the ABC, of course) of political parties and business and trade unions. Naturally enough, the ABC – which does not employ one conservative presenter or producer or editor for any of its main outlets – appointed (yet another) leftie for this taxpayer funded task. A certain Russell (“Tony Abbott is a Mad Monk”) Skelton. See MWD Issues 183 and 184.
Now here’s a modest proposal. Mark Scott should travel down to Canberra again seeking more taxpayer funded money to extend Mr Skelton’s unit to check the ABC’s very own facts. This would be in the public interest since recent ABC documentaries on Robert Menzies, the Vietnam War and Gough Whitlam have been littered with factual errors.
Here are a couple of “facts” which ABC personnel might wish to check initially – taken from the “Newspapers” segment of the ABC 1 News Breakfast program over recent weeks. Let’s go to the DVD.
▪ ABC 1 News Breakfast – Wednesday 12 June 2013
Virginia Trioli: What do you think of her [Julia Gillard] putting abortion now at the centre of this federal election? Have we had a federal election before where abortion’s been front and centre?
Gael Jennings: Yes we have in the past – it has been front and centre. I think it’s a huge issue for women. I don’t know how much it’s an issue here, how real a threat it is should the Coalition get in and to many women it would be seen as a threat taking away their rights over their own bodies. What I do think is interesting and what we at the Centre for Advancing Journalism at Melbourne University is hoping to look at is some sort of objective quantification that is measurement of how much gender has influenced the vitriol against Julia Gillard over and above what she as a politician has done.
Brilliant, don’t you think? Dr Jennings (for a doctor she is) sees opportunity at her Centre for Advancing Journalism at Melbourne University to use the confected abortion debate to do some research on political misogyny and all that.
But here’s a question for an ABC fact-checker. What are the Federal elections in the past where – according to Gael Jennings – abortion has been “front and centre” of the political debate? Just the years will do.
▪ ABC 1 News Breakfast – Monday 17 June 2013
And here’s another so-called “fact” deserving of a check concerning Australia’s refugee and humanitarian intake:
Mohammed El–leissy: I think we’re seeing a change between Abbott and Howard. Howard, I think when he talked about these things, he talked about it as “Australian” and “un-Australian” per se. So you know, Muslims and refugees and everyone else is put in the “un-Australian” – and lefties and everyone else.
I think with Abbott, he’s very much made a distinction between genuine or legal and illegal. So when Abbot talks about, and I was actually at a function a few months ago where he was talking about how he would not divide Australian against Australian based on race or religion or gender and things like that. I think very much for him – if you come legally then we love you. You know, welcome. It doesn’t matter what the colour for your skin is. But if you come illegally – now we’ve seen the Coalition’s been ruthless on this issue and we’ve seen with the, you know: “If you commit a crime within one year we’re going to send you back”. And just this non-stop –
Sure, the language is confused. But here’s the “fact” which needs to be checked. When – and where – did John Howard say that Muslims, refugees and lefties were or are “un-Australian”? Just the dates and the sources will do.
Over to Nice Mr Scott – in his capacity as ABC editor-in-chief.
YOUR TAXES AT WORK – A MELBOURNE CASE STUDY STARRING RAIMOND GAITA & MELBOURNE LAW SCHOOL
As MWD readers will be aware, Robert Manne’s taxpayer subsidised Ideas and Society Program overwhelmingly hears the views of people who happen to agree with the learned professor – who happens to be Rai Gaita’s “bestie”.
It’s much the same at the taxpayer subsidised University of Melbourne. Raimond Gaita’s The Wednesday Lectures have just commenced their 2013 series. This year’s theme is “Whose Earth is it Anyhow?”. According to The Age’s Jason Steger, the series will look “at moral, political and legal issues that arise from instability, climate change and dispossession”. Say no more.
The Melbourne University Law School lists the 2013 program:
▪ Nicole Watson on “Belonging to Country: Aboriginal Depression”. Following the presentation, Ms Watson “will be in conversation with Professor Raimond Gaita and Dr Ann Genovese”.
▪ Dr Savitri Taylor on “Asylum: A Community of Nations?”. Dr Taylor is involved with the refugee sector in Australia.
▪ Professor Clive Hamilton on “What kind of human will live in the Anthropocene?” Professor Hamilton is a member of the Gillard Government’s Climate Change Authority.
▪ Professor Raimond Gaita on “Asylum: Obligation to Need”.
Speakers in this series in 2012 were Raimond Gaita, Larissa Behrendt, Gerry Simpson and (of course) Robert Manne. Speakers in 2011 were Guy Rundle, Gerry Simpson, Robert Manne (of course), Kevin Heller and Helen Pringle.
How wonderfully chummy. Yet another taxpayer subsidised “debate” featuring only left-wing thinkers with not a conservative in sight.
MWD EXCLUSIVE: MARK LATHAM IN CONVERSATION WITH NANCY
Mark Latham – aka the Lair of Liverpool – is a devoted reader of Media Watch Dog and has endorsed both the product and its author. See “Endorsements” segment at the end of this issue. The Lair of Liverpool was just so nice to refer to Nancy’s co-owners at the conclusion of his Q&A appearance on the Queen’s Birthday. After the event, Mr Latham kindly agreed to an interview with Nancy [Don’t you mean to say that he “gave generously of his time”? – Ed]. Here is a transcript of the conversation, to use the cliché. [By the way, Nancy always researches her subjects – all the references to The-Thought-of-Mark-Latham are supported by the bulging files in Nancy’s kennel.
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Nancy: Mr Latham, thanks for giving so generously of your time. I know how tough life must be trying to eke out a living on a lousy taxpayer funded superannuation handout of a mere $78,000 a year (fully indexed). Especially since you have a wife, a new horse, three children and half a dozen bookmakers to support. How unjust the Australian taxpayer must be.
The Lair of Liverpool : Bloody oath. But it’s not only the Australian taxpayer who has let me down – along with my wife, my new-born and specially bred horse, my three brilliant kids and half a dozen bookmakers. It’s also the conga line of media suck-holes who have blighted my life in recent years. I had a paid gig at The Spectator Australia but I had to resign from Tom Switzer’s sink-hole when I found out that he had won one of Nancy’s Five Paws Awards for bagging me. And I lost my paid gigs on Sky News when all I ever did was to bag Sky News’ David Speers and Chris Kenny and more besides. I could not believe it when that low-life Angelos Frangopoulos told me he was not renewing my contract. What’s wrong with kicking the shit out of Sky News when you are on Sky News? Where else would I have had such an opportunity? You tell me.
Nancy: I feel your pain. But perhaps Nice Mr Scott might give you a contract at the taxpayer funded public broadcaster. Is that why you broke a long-standing promise to appear on ABC 1’s Q&A a couple of weeks ago?
The Lair of Liverpool : Don’t be an arse-hole. As I said at the end of the program, when no one else could comment, I went on Q&A to keep your nutter co-owners happy. Sure, I once said that to appear on Q&A would be like going voluntarily into the dentist’s chair and that Q&A was a refuge for political tragics and self-flagellators. But that was before I realised that there is something to be said for self-flagellations. It’s certainly more private than non-self-flagellation. And it’s nice when you stop.
Nancy : Well, yes. Good point. I’ve always admired your huge intelligence. You’re a credit to the B.Ec (Hons) course at Sydney University all those years ago. Still, going on Q&A did seem to be a bit of a somersault, don’t you think?
Lair of Liverpool : Get off the grass. I am the man I am the man, I am today because I’ve always been ready to change my opinions. In 2010 I urged voters not to vote for Julia Gillard and Labor but to vote informal instead. It worked. Gillard did not win the election and was forced into minority government. Now I am urging a vote for Gillard. Once I said that Gillard was childless and acting in a girlie manner. Now I reckon that people should lay off criticising her personal lifestyle. You may bag me for changing my mind all the time. But my volte face on Q&A worked. I got lots of attention and was able to call Kevin Rudd evil. My professors in the B.Ec (Hons) course at Sydney University all those decades ago would have been proud of my language skills, I’m sure.
Nancy : Umm. Tell me about politics. You dislike Kevin Rudd. You once disliked Julia Gillard. You now dislike Gough Whitlam, your one-time mentor. Was any Labor leader anything other than a scum-bag?
Lair of Liverpool : Turn it up. I have a bit of time for Bob Hawke and Paul Keating even though, when Labor leader, I did not always support economic reform. For example, I opposed tax reform and the GST proposals of that fascist Howard. I also embraced the welfare state with my support of the free-health Medicare Gold proposal when I led Labor in 2004. But that was then – this is now. Today I most admire Bert Evatt. Sure Dr Evatt was barking mad and a 100 per cent election loser leading Labor to defeats in 1954, 1955 and 1958. But what’s wrong with that? There is a lot to be said for Labor leaders who lead the ALP to defeat. I should know.
Nancy : And what about the Prime Minister?
Lair of Liverpool : Ah, Julia. Sure, Gillard backed me to become leader in the late 2003. But we fell out in 2005 when she launched Annabel Crabb’s crap-filled book Losing It: The Inside Story of the Labor Party in Opposition. Quite frankly, I lost it. Fair dinkum. Talk about treachery. Gillard launched this garbage in spite of the fact that I was criticised by Crabb in one footnote on Page 369. I’ve never got over Crabb’s criticism and I’ve never really forgiven Gillard. Now I realise, however, that she’s better than Rudd.
Nancy : Quite so. I especially admire your support for the right to privacy. Have you changed your mind since you breached the privacy of others in The Latham Diaries?
Lair of Liverpool : Root my boot. I’ve always advocated privacy for myself and my mates. The point is that drongos and suck-holes don’t deserve privacy. Especially that evil bastard Rudd. And that evil bastard Tony Abbott. And that evil bastard Joel Fitzgibbon. And that evil sheila Janet Albrechtsen – whom I once called a shanky-ho. I had to correct this – since I meant a skanky-ho. And Tommie Switzer. And F_cking Angelos Frangopoulos also. And all that lot that won’t do a “Lunch with the Financial Review” with me – even if Fairfax Media is paying.
Nancy : How do you intend to spend the election campaign?
Lair of Liverpool : At last, a not so stupid question. In 2010, thanks to a 60 Minutes contract, I managed to stalk Julia Gillard. Did you see me invade her personal space at the Brisbane Showground? Gee, I really fronted her and demanded to know why she tried to stop me working for Channel 9. Remember? This time with a bit of luck the ABC might fund me to stalk that evil bastard whom I call “Chicken Kev”. Okay, I didn’t invent the term. But I have admitted in the past to being a bower-bird. Chicken Kev – good isn’t it?
Nancy : But did the Prime Minister really try to get your fired from Channel 9 in 2010?
Lair of Liverpool : No. But I thought there was a conspiracy at the time. By the way, do you remember me muscling up to Little Johnnie Howard at the ABC Studio in Sydney in 2004? I reckon that won me as many votes as breaking that wog taxi-driver’s arm in 2001. Or might it have been 2002? I was a bit tired and emotional at the time – as you would be if you have just attended yet another Gough Whitlam Dinner and had to down 47 toasts to Mao Zedong. Or was it Eddie Obeid? It was a long time ago.
Nancy : By the way, what’s on your reading list?
Lair of Liverpool : Shit. That’s a personal question. Actually, I’m re-reading Tamara Deutscher’s wonderful book on Vladimir Lenin titled Not By Bread Alone which a girlfriend gave me at Sydney Uni about 30 years ago. I said that I had sent a copy to your boss Hendo. This was a porky. Anyrate, I’m reading it now to try and find out how it led me to believe that Lenin was a real hand-holding, sandal-wearing, love-is-in-the-air type who sprayed more roses than he murdered peasants. I haven’t found the reference yet. But I’m sure I will find it. Not By Bread Alone – a wonderful book by that Trotskyist Isaac Deutscher’s missus. I don’t usually read books other than my own. But this was a corker, in so far as I remember it.
Nancy : And your hopes for Australia?
Lair of Liverpool : This time, I’m going for Labor. Sure, in 2012, I called Julia Gillard a liar and compared her to white-shoe wearing Queensland real-estate agents. But this time, she’s the one. Anyone except the Evil Rudd, I say.
Nancy : Thank you. You’ve been very generous with your time. In conclusion, is there anything else you would like to say?
Lair of Liverpool : You bet. Why don’t you sod off back to your miserable kennel and your miserable co-owners. Anne and Gerard are useless nutters. The only time they were of any bloody use was when I used them to justify my decision to break my promise not to go on Q&A. I’m still enjoying that self-flagellation experience.
If Nice Mr Scott reads this, I hope he gives me a break on the ABC to cover the 2013 election. Also I need the money since I have a wife, a new horse, half a dozen bookmakers – [Tape breaks here].
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Next in this series – Nice Mr Scott in Conversation With Nancy.
STEPHEN HEYDT DEFENDS JULIAN ASSANGE; DAVID MARR DEFENDS HIMSELF
This enormously popular segment of MWD usually works like this. Someone or other decides to write to Nancy’s (male) co-owner. Somehow or other, he replies. Then, lo and behold, the correspondence is published in full in MWD – much to the delight of MWD’s readers.
This week’s Correspondence segment contains an email initiated by Stephen Heydt of Toowong concerning WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Plus David Marr’s proud admission that he believes that Nancy’s (male) co-owner is a crank – and Gerard Henderson’s proud acceptance of such praise from the Lord-High-Sneerer.
Here we go.
● STEPHEN HEYDT AND GERARD HENDERSON RE JULIAN ASSANGE
Stephen Heydt to Gerard Henderson – 18 June 2013
Please ask Mr Henderson to refrain from cheap commentary attributing mental health problems unless he is a qualified practitioner who has conducted direct assessment and diagnosis. These ad hominem characterisations may garner publicity but are a disservice to people with mental health issues, validating snap assessments by those in all walks least qualified to make them. Narcissistic PD is far from a joke for the people who may have it, their families and those who may suffer from the actions of people with it. I also suggest to Mr Henderson that he might consider a psychoanalytic term “projection”; which requires no external diagnosis.
Stephen Heydt, MA, MEd, MAPS, CCLIN.
Specialist Clinical Psychologist
Gerard Henderson to Stephen Heydt – 20 June 2013
Stephen Heydt MA, MEd, MAPS, CCLIN.
I refer to your email of 18 June 2013 in response to my Sydney Morning Herald column yesterday titled “Assange’s acts of defiance have narcissistic edge”.
I accept that you are learned in psychology and that Narcissistic PD is a serious medical condition. However, it is also true that the terms “narcissism” and “narcissistic” are used in modern language – as is evident from a quick reference to the Macquarie Dictionary. Moreover, there was a bloke in Greek mythology called Narcissus who was hanging around a long time before the birth of Julian Assange Esq.
In view of the common word usage of narcissism and narcissistic, it is unrealistic for you to expect that I will desist from using such words with reference to Julian Assange. In passing, I make a few observations:
▪ To refer to Julian Assange’s “narcissism” is not to attribute mental health problems to him. I have no idea whether or not Mr Assange is suffering from mental illness and I have never claimed that he is. As indicated above, I used this term in its common usage.
▪ I am well aware of the psychological condition known as projection. I can only assume that you are suggesting that I suffer from Narcissistic PD. Fancy that – and thanks for free diagnosis. It’s not often that I receive such learned analysis from a professional with an MA plus a MEd plus a MAPS as well as a CCLIN. I am just so lucky.
Since you are intent on defending Julian Assange and his actions which indicate a lack of empathy on his behalf – along with a capacity to be critical of others – I would be interested in your position on Mr Assange’s reported comments. Here is a selection:
▪ In his interview with Emma Alberici on Lateline last week (10 June 2013), Julian Assange referred to “the yellow press”, criticised Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Foreign Minister Bob Carr (whom he called a liar) and referred to Canberra – meaning, presumably, the Commonwealth of Australia – as “a corrupt little mini-state”.
▪ According to reports, when Julian Assange was asked if he was concerned that informants in Afghanistan might be identified through WikiLeaks and face retribution by the Taliban, Assange replied: “Well the’re informants. So if they get killed, they’ve got it coming to them. They deserve it.” – Quoted by D. Leigh and L. Harding WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange’s War on Secrecy, Guardian Books, p.111.
▪ According to reports, when Julian Assange was asked if he was concerned that material in WikiLeaks risked harming innocent people (i.e. soldiers in receipt of social security payments) he referred to such individuals as “collateral damage, if you will” – Quoted by Raffi Khatchadourian “No Secrets: Julian Assange’s Mission for Total Transparency”, The New Yorker, 7 June 2010.
According to reports, when Julian Assange was asked if he would refrain from releasing information that he knew might get someone killed, he replied that there were instances where WikiLeaks might get “blood on our hands” – Quoted by Raffi Khatchadourian – see above.
In view of your assessment that my comments can be interpreted with reference to the psychoanalytic term projection – what term/terms would you use to describe the evident lack of empathy in the comments of Julian Assange cited above? And would you approve if your own patients had their personal records dumped on the web by a WikiLeaks-style document release in the name of total transparency?
Over to you.
● GERARD HENDERSON AND DAVID MARR – WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM MIKE CARLTON
Gerard Henderson to David Marr – 17 June 2013
I have some wonderful news. My attention has just been drawn to a Mike Carlton tweet dated 25 May 2013 in which Mike wrote:
Saw David Marr @ the SWF. He says there is just one word to describe Gerard Henderson: Crank. Good one, eh? Pass it around.
Sadly, not many seemed to re-tweet the above. But my question is this. Did you call me a “crank” at the Sydney Writers’ Festival or did Mike just make it up?
Let me know.
Best wishes. Keep morale high.
David Marr to Gerard Henderson – 18 June 2013
But you are, Gerard, you are. I said so privately and am astonished to find it's been tweeted to the world. I have upbraided Carlton. And that's all I have to say.
Gerard Henderson to David Marr – 18 June 2013
Wonderful. Thanks for the confirmation. It will be a brand new you-beaut endorsement in next Friday’s Media Watch Dog.
Keep morale high
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READ ALL ABOUT IT – COMMENTS ON/ENDORSEMENTS OF MWD
“The great Australian media nutter Gerard [Henderson is an] ungrateful bastard”.
– Mark Latham, Q&A, 10 June 2013.
“[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
“I like to think of Gerard [Henderson] as the Inspector Clouseau of forensic journalism” – David Marr, ABC News 24 The Drum, 21 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 (for a doctor he is) 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.