GERARD HENDERSON’S MEDIA WATCH DOG – ISSUE NO. 201
27 September 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.


BRAND NEW ENDORSEMENTS – FROM NICE MR SCOTT AND PETER VAN ONSELEN

Following the enormous response to the segment in MWD’s Bicentennial Special titled “ABC’s Nice Mr Scott in Conversation with Nancy” see here, Nancy’s (male) co-owner has been urged to include Mark Scott’s recent reference to him in the “Endorsements” section. So, Nice Mr Scott’s reference is now included along with an OMG reference from Peter Van Onselen.

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“[Gerard Henderson’s analysis of the ABC] is absolutely simplistic.”
– ABC managing director Mark Scott talking to ABC presenter Jonathan Green on ABC Radio National Drive, 2 May 2013. Brought to you per courtesy of the Australian taxpayer with no right-of-reply allowed.

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“Oh my God; you’re as bad as Gerard Henderson.”
– Dr Peter Van Onselen (for a doctor he is), The Contrarians, Sky News, 20 September 2013.
For further MWD endorsements, see the end of this issue. Now read on.




    NONE OF THE NEWS THAT’S FIT TO PRINT ABOUT THE MUFTI

    Interesting story by Phillip Coorey in yesterday’s Australian Financial Review. According to the paper’s chief political correspondent, on 9 September 2013 Dr Ibrahim Abu Mohammed, the Grand Mufti of Australia, sent an email to Labor Party MPs and officials. Written by a spokesman, it effectively black-balled any attempt by AWU national secretary Paul Howes to fill Senator Bob Carr’s Senate position on account of Howes’ support for Israel. The email read in part:

    Paul [Howes] has a repeated pattern of blind bias towards Israel. His appointment would not at all help the engagement effort between the ALP and the wider Muslim community. As you know we have worked very hard to marshal our community to support and successfully retain the majority of ALP seats in Western Sydney against all odds, and the choice of Paul will threaten our efforts to maintain this momentum, especially if new elections are called in next year.

    In recent years such ABC programs as Lateline and News Breakfast have exhibited an obsession with the affairs of the Christian churches. If a leading archbishop or bishop had written to the ALP warning that a particular Labor Party member should be black-balled from becoming a parliamentarian because of his position on an aspect of Australian foreign policy – all hell would have broken loose.
    But there was no mention of the Grand Mufti’s email on ABC 1 Lateline last night. Or during the ABC 1 News Breakfast “Newspapers” segment this morning. Or on ABC Radio AM today. Yet the story was still big news this morning – following Phillip Coorey’s report in today’s AFR that Labor frontbencher Michael Danby had criticised his NSW Labor colleagues over this issue. In an ironic statement, Mr Danby commented: “I am sure the NSW Labor Party does not decide who its senators are on the basis of such instructions from Sheik Hilaly’s successors.”

    During the 2013 election, Michael Danby publicly opposed Senator Bob Carr’s decision – as Foreign Minister – that Australia break with the United States, Canada and Israel at the United Nations and support a resolution to give the Palestinian Authority observer status at the UN.

    The division between Danby and Carr is news. And the Mufti’s strike against Howes (who has now indicated that he will not pursue Senate preselection) is big news. The issue was discussed on David Speers’ The Nation program on Sky News last night. However, so far at least, not a word has been heard on the taxpayer funded public broadcaster.

    LAIR OF LIVERPOOL VERSUS ALBO: OLD NEWS AT BEST

    Last night on Lateline, it was the case of Don’t-talk-about-the-Mufti’s -political-intervention against Paul Howes. However, during his interview with acting Labor leader Chris Bowen, presenter Tony Jones did raise Mark Latham’s column in yesterday’s AFR titled “Labor reform doomed under Albo”. Jones specifically asked Bowen about Latham’s comment: “The caucus and the party membership have no choice but to vote ABA – Anyone But Albo.”

    Mark Latham did not do a full disclosure in his AFR opinion piece. Nor did Tony Jones pick up the issue last night. The fact is, there is history between the Lair of Liverpool and Albo. When he was running for Labor leadership in late 2003, Latham phoned Albanese and asked him for his support. The conversation went something like this:

    Mark Latham: You have known me longer than any other Caucus member. Why won’t you vote for me?

    Anthony Albanese: Because I have known you longer than any other Caucus member.

    Telling point, eh?

    The Lair of Liverpool’s rant against Albo in yesterday’s AFR was just re-cycled anger. In The Latham Diaries, Albanese was described as an “habitual liar”. So it came as no surprise when, in yesterday’s AFR, Latham called Albanese “an intellectual lightweight”.

    CONSERVATIVE-FREE-ZONE JOURNOS ON UNLAWFUL BOAT ARRIVALS

    From watching and listening to the ABC in recent days, it would be easy to get the impression that a majority of journalists at the Conservative-Free-Zone support Indonesia – and not Australia – on the handling of unlawful boat arrivals. Not because they like the political leadership in Jakarta. But because they want Tony Abbott’s asylum seeker policy to fail.

    This suggests that quite a few ABC journalists are prepared to accept a 4 per cent drowning rate among asylum seekers – since it would demonstrate that the Abbott government is not able to stop-the-boats and, consequently, won office illegitimately.

    MWD will return to this topic next week.




    DAVID MARR’S HOWLER RE TONY ABBOTT, CARDINAL GEORGE PELL, BOB SANTAMARIA AND THE LIBERAL PARTY

    As readers of Media Watch Dog and The Sydney Institute Quarterly will be aware, the award winning journalist David Marr is a fine writer but makes numerous factual errors and appears to have a bad memory.
    David Marr’s Quarterly Essay Issue 51 2013, titled “The Prince: Faith, Abuse and George Pell”, has just been released by the left-wing publisher Black Inc. As is usual with Marr’s work, The Prince contains a number of serious errors along with many unsourced and unproven allegations.

    David Marr also has a tendency to fantasise and to project his theories as a reality. In a soft interview with Philip Clark on Radio National Breakfast on Monday, both the interviewer and the author got caught up in hyperbole:

    Philip Clark: David Marr’s my guest, a journalist these days with The Guardian of course, has written a Quarterly Essay on Cardinal George Pell. He [Pell] is, as you point out in your essay, in the remarkable position now – something that a prince of the Church has always wanted – he’s the prince of the Church and he’s also the principal spiritual advisor to the leader of our country, Tony Abbott. Now, that may make it sound much more than it is –

    David Marr: [interjecting] It is a dream isn’t it? It is a Medieval dream….But it is an astonishing situation in Australia. These two old followers of Bob Santamaria are now a Cardinal and a Prime Minister – of a political movement which – so many people wrote off and thought was dead and gone in the 1970s – is running the country in 2013.

    The “political movement” reference was to the Catholic political organisation formed by B.A. Santamaria (1915-1998). It was initially formally titled the Catholic Social Studies Movement (in 1945) and became the National Civic Council (in 1957). But it was invariably referred to as The Movement.

    David Marr, as is his wont, exaggerates Bob Santamaria’s influence on both Tony Abbott and George Pell and also exaggerates the influence of the Cardinal on the Prime Minister.
    Among the most serious howlers in The Prince is David Marr’s claim at Page 60 concerning the relationship between the late B.A. Santamaria and the Liberal Party of Australia, viz:

    Pell”s oldest political loyalties were to the DLP [Democratic Labor Party] but when the party collapsed Santamaria had directed his followers to cross the bridge to the Liberals. It was not altogether comfortable for either party, so it mattered a great deal for Santamaria”s people when Howard reconciled with the old man at the very end. Pell was at the bed-side as Santamaria lay dying…. Howard ordered a state funeral for Santamaria. Two hundred priests and bishops turned out at St Patrick’s. Pell did the honours.

    This unsourced assertion concerning B.A. Santamaria’s alleged direction to his “followers” is simply false. All the Democratic Labor Party senators were defeated at the May 1974 double dissolution election and the DLP was formally wound up in 1978. The current DLP is not formally linked to the original political party.

    There is no evidence that Bob Santamaria, when president of the National Civic Council in the mid 1970s, directed his followers to “cross the bridge to the Liberals”. Some of Santamaria’s followers in the mid-1970s already voted for the Liberal Party or the Nationals. Most voted DLP. A few even voted for the Australian Labor Party. Santamaria ran an anti-communist political movement which was not aligned to either the Coalition or Labor.

    Certainly, after the Labor Split in the mid-1950s, the DLP gave its preferences to the Coalition ahead of Labor. This meant that Labor did not win a Federal election between 1955 and 1969. However, by the time of the DLP’s demise in 1974, there was considerable tension between Santamaria’s NCC and the DLP on the one hand – and the Liberal Party on the other. Particularly between December 1972 and March 1975 when Bill Snedden was Liberal Party leader. These are the facts:

    ▪ B.A. Santamaria always claimed that he had never voted for the Liberal Party in his life.

    ▪ In March 1983, faced with a choice between the Coalition prime minister Malcolm Fraser and Labor leader Bob Hawke, Santamaria publicly declared that he had voted informal. This despite the fact that (the then) Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser and (the then) Treasurer John Howard had attended the 40th Anniversary of the National Civic Council in 1981.

    ▪ Santamaria had good relations with the Liberal Party leadership when it was in opposition. He rarely had good relations with incumbent Liberal Party prime ministers. During their time as prime minister, B.A. Santamaria criticised Robert Menzies, Harold Holt, John Gorton, Malcolm Fraser and John Howard.

    ▪ As Patrick Morgan documents in his edited collection B.A. Santamaria: Running the Show – Selected Documents 1939-1996 (MUP, 2008), in the early 1990s Santamaria formed a group – along with Malcolm Fraser, Robert Manne and John Carroll. This was designed to establish a new political party, separate from the Liberal Party. Santamaria’s group did not prevail – but its very existence demonstrates his ambivalent relationship with the Liberal Party.

    ▪ In 1994, Santamaria refused a request from Tony Abbott to write a reference in support for his bid to win Liberal Party pre-selection in Warringah. Santamaria indicated to Abbott that he was disillusioned with mainstream politics in general and the Liberal Party in particular.

    ▪ Towards the end of his life, Santamaria even contemplated that his supporters join the Labor Party – which many had quit consequent upon the Labor Split of the mid-1950s.

    ▪ Shortly after the NCC president died in February 1998, former Whitlam government minister Jim McClelland and his wife Gillian Appleton revealed that Bob Santamaria had told them in early 1997 that he hated John Howard.

    Conclusion

    If David Marr – or his Melbourne based researcher Russell Marks – had done sufficient research, The Prince would not contain such a howler about B.A. Santamaria and the Liberal Party. In fact, Santamaria was in no position to direct his followers “to cross the bridge to the Liberals” in the mid 1970s – and there is no evidence that he attempted to do so.

    David Marr appears to believe that Bob Santamaria’s Movement is “running the country”. This assessment is exaggerated at best – and seriously delusional at worst.




    PVO’S MEN’S SHED – AN UPDATE ON THE CONTRARIANS (“PROUDLY A FRIDAY AFTERNOON PISS-TAKE PROGRAM”)

    MWD Issue 200 got out at about 3.15 pm last Friday with yet another report on Peter Van Onselen’s The Contrarians – otherwise known as “The Testosterones”. As MWD readers will be aware, PVO’s The Contrarians is the electronic version of a “Men’s Shed” – with a group of blokes talking to other blokes.

    It seems that, at long last, MWD’s criticism has hit the mark. The evidence indicates that, on Friday afternoon, PVO panicked after reading MWD and called on Dee Madigan (who worked as the creative director on the Labor Party’s 2013 election campaign) to come immediately to Sky News’ Macquarie Park studios. The blokes for the 4 pm program were Julian Leeser, Phil Dalidakis and Tim Wilson. For the 5 pm program, the first two were replaced by John McTernan and Precious Press (aka Jack Sumner). It seems that, at late notice, a female panellist was included.

    Ms Madigan must have been in a huge rush to get to the Sky News church on time. When the 4 pm airing of The Contrarians commenced, it was soon evident that the sassy Dee Madigan had not had the time to put on a skirt. She commenced in a Malcolm Turnbull tee-shirt (apparently to honour a wager) and soon changed to a red and black top. But still, apparently, sans skirt. Ms Madigan wore the same gear – or lack of gear – after transitioning to the 5 pm program. It was a case of four men, four sets of trousers, one woman and no skirts.

    Nancy’s (male) co-owner – being a prudish type – hopes that Dee Madigan appears on The Contrarians again this afternoon and that she is given time to don a dress or slacks. Meanwhile, let’s go to the transcript of the exchange on The Contrarians last Friday when the panellist Tim Wilson took up the MWD’s “Men’s Shed” line – and PVO defended his position. The topic turned on PVO’s ongoing criticism that there should be more than one woman in Tony Abbott’s cabinet – and the double standard involved in such a stance:

    Peter Van Onselen: The issue is this: if I was sitting there as prime minister – with my Cabinet with five or six women in it – what I would be discussing?

    Tim Wilson : [interjecting, ironically] Like this show –

    Dee Madigan : [indistinct – probably] “Why is there a GST on tampons?

    Peter Van Onselen: It wouldn’t be my man’s shed, if it was a Cabinet.

    Tim Wilson : Leadership by example!

    Phil Dalidakis : Why only five or six?

    [Much talking over]

    Peter Van Onselen [to Tim Wilson] : So you’re on this again –

    Tim Wilson : [interjecting] No. Gerard Henderson is having a go at you and he loves it –

    Peter Van Onselen: – You actually think a Friday afternoon piss-take program is the equivalent [of the Cabinet]? Oh my God, you’re as bad as Gerard Henderson.

    Alas, it seems that PVO did not learn much from last Friday’s criticism on The Contrarians, his self-declared “piss-take” program, that it should not be a Men’s Shed. Since, lo and behold, on Showdown last Tuesday PVO was still lecturing Tony Abbott that there should be more women in the Abbott cabinet. This is what PVO said about the Labor leadership debate of last Thursday – on an occasion where Showdown had two women on its panel:

    Peter Van Onselen: Alright. We’re going to keep talking about the debate when we come back…. We’ll go back to Tom Connell and get some reaction from people there who were at the debate – Labor Party members, obviously. One of the good things, of course, about doing a discussion about the Labor Party, as opposed to the front bench of the Liberal Party, is you can have two women on your panel. You couldn’t do that if you were having a discussion about the Cabinet – Tony Abbott’s Cabinet – you could only have one. It’d be Julie Bishop. We’re going to take a commercial break.

    So there you have it. There is rarely a woman on The Contrarians panel. And, when there, she invariably has to dress in a rush. But Peter Van Onselen is willing to lecture Tony Abbott about the fact that he only has one (very well dressed) woman in his Cabinet. Can you bear it?

    [Perhaps you should ask your fashion conscious readers, if they have a spare skirt to send it out to Sky News immediately in case sassy Ms Madigan arrives at The Contrarians again this afternoon somewhat underdressed [in the literal sense of the term – Ed].

    GUARDIAN-ON-THE-YARRA DOWNPLAYS KENYA TERROR ATTACK BUT FOCUSES ON DECLINING CATHOLIC MASS ATTENDANCE

    Somalia’s al-Shabab Islamist terrorists attacked the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi on Saturday killing scores of shoppers, including one Australian national. And what did The Age say about the worst terrorist attack of recent times in its edition on Monday 23 September? Not much at all. The story was not even mentioned on the front page and was not cited until Page 11.

    Yet last Monday “The Guardian-on-the-Yarra” ran a large story on Pages 2 and 3 by The Age’s religion editor Barney Zwartz titled, wait for it, “A thinning block of Catholics at all-time low”. The report, featuring a large photograph, said that regular Mass attendance among Catholics in Australia has dropped from 13.8 per cent in 2006 to 12.2 per cent in 2012. Gee wiz. Hold Pages 2 and 3. There was also a report on Page 3 that Geoffrey Edelsten has been described in the United States as “a serial con artist”. Wow. Hold the rest of Page 3.

    As for the dead and injured in Kenya, civilians and military alike, they are of little interest to the powers that be at “The Guardian-on-the-Yarra”. It’s a matter for The Age’s Page 11. Can you bear it?

    PHILIP CLARK STILL VALUES “PREFERRED PM” POLL – CIRCA THIS WEEK

    MWD has really missed Fran (“I’m an activist”) Kelly on Radio National Breakfast this week. According to her stand-in Philip Clark, Ms Kelly is on a WEB – meaning WELL EARNED BREAK. You know, the journalistic interpretation of recreational leave which goes like this: “The hoi polloi take holidays – but (we) journalists take well earned breaks”. [I get the point. But I thought that Fran (“I’m an activist”) Kelly had recently returned from long-service leave or some such – Ed]

    In any event, the RNB replacement team has filled in well and the program remains a conservative-free-zone as part of the ABC’s all encompassing Conservative-Free-Zone. Highlights this week included Philip Clark commenting (in discussion with Michelle Grattan on Wednesday) that “it’s a long road back for Labor following the 2013 election defeat” – but adding – in hope:

    The Essential Poll shows Tony Abbott as preferred prime minister on 37 per cent. If Mr Albanese was leader, it would be 31 per cent and Bill Shorten 32 per cent.

    So there you go. It’s probably three years to the next election but already your man Clark sees some significance in that Tony Abbott is 6 points ahead of Anthony Albanese and only 5 points ahead of Bill Shorten on Essential’s preferred prime minister poll. Wow.

    It seems that Mr Clark has yet to learn from the common journalistic error of the past three years. Namely, that the “preferred prime minister” rating is a fairly useless indicator of which party is likely to win an election.
    For yonks over the last three years, ABC journalists declared that Julia Gillard – and then Kevin Rudd – was ahead of Tony Abbott on the preferred prime minister poll. However, in the end it proved irrelevant. But Philip Clark still appears to believe it significant that Tony Abbott is only narrowly ahead of his Labor opponent in this category in the lead up to the, wait for it, 2016 election.

    Can you bear it?

    LA TINGLE’S FAILED “PREFERRED PM” ANALYSIS – CIRCA 2012

    While on the topic of opinion polls, does anyone remember how Laura Tingle and Louise Dodson interpreted the AC Nielsen poll in the lead-up to Kevin Rudd’s (failed) first leadership challenge against Julia Gillard in February 2012.

    Well, here’s a reminder. In the lead story in The Australian Financial Review on 25-26 February 2012, La Tingle and La Dodson wrote:

    Kevin Rudd could lead Labor to a crushing election victory over Tony Abbott if his colleagues elected him leader in the contest against Julia Gillard on Monday, an exclusive poll reveals. The poll shows 58 per cent of voters would prefer Mr Rudd as prime minister compared with 38 per cent for Mr Abbott. Nearly a quarter of Coalition voters surveyed said they preferred Mr Rudd as the nation’s leader.

    The former prime minister has regained the lead he held over Mr Abbott before he dropped the emissions trading scheme and faced a national advertising campaign against the original resource rent tax in 2010, the Nielsen poll for the Weekend Financial Review  shows.

    It turned out that in the AC Nielsen poll that really matters – the two party preferred category had the Coalition at 53 per cent and Labor at 47 per cent in February 2012. This was almost identical to the election outcome in September 2013 (following the Caucus decision to replace Julia Gillard with Kevin Rudd in June 2013).

    The decision of Laura Tingle and Louise Dodson in February 2012 to project the preferred prime minister vote on to the two-party preferred vote is a reminder of the fact that many members of the Canberra Press Gallery – La Tingle included – regarded Tony Abbott as unelectable at the time. Now the very same journalists who got the Liberal Party leadership wrong over the past four years are opining about who is best equipped to lead the Labor Party.

    Can you bear it?




    It was last Saturday morning – and a large White Flag was visible over Avalon Beach. It soon became evident what this grand gesture was about.

    You see, in his column in last Saturday’s Sydney Morning Herald, Mike Carlton had sent a message – from his abode in Avalon Beach, close to the False Prophet of Palm Beach’s domicile, to a man whom he used to call the “Mad Monk”. Here it is:

    Here is an olive branch: it would be a good idea to give Tony Abbott some time to prove himself as prime minister. No, this is not satire. Nor have I gone soft in the head. As I have written, he won the job in an unprincipled campaign of deceit and low cunning. I still believe he is unfit for the office.

    But history shows that the prime ministership can sometimes have transformative powers, elevating those who attain it. Bob Hawke abandoned his boozy larrikin ways to become Labor”s most electorally successful leader. Paul Keating, with no formal education beyond the age of 15, rose to a dazzling command of the policy heights. John Howard, like Abbott also once seen as unelectable, was the towering conservative figure of his generation for nearly 12 years.

    It is not all clear that Tony Abbott wants an “olive branch” from Mr Carlton. Or even a dead branch, of whatever colour.
    However it’s good to know that Mike (“I’ll pour the gin”) Carlton has temporarily moved his anger from Tony Abbott to others as the recent Twitter exchange – after dinner, of course – demonstrates:

    That’s more like it. Now, where I did put that brand new bottle of gin?




    HOW DR DAVID SUZUKI USES CLIMATE ANECDOTES IN THE MORNING TO PROVE GLOBAL WARMING BUT DISMISSES THEM IN THE EVENING IF THEY THROW DOUBT ON GLOBAL WARMING

    ▪ David Suzuki – On Why Anecdotes are Helpful in the Global Warming Debate “Mornings with Julia Baird”, ABC Radio 702, Monday 23 September 2013 :

    Well, six thousand people dying in the summer in Europe of heat, I would have thought that would do something [to demonstrate that the world is facing a major cataclysmic event]. Five or six hundred people died in Chicago one summer from heat. We had Katrina and Sandy. And, er, I keep saying: why isn’t Australia leading the charge to do something about it? Last I heard, you had a pretty severe drought. Last I heard, you were having bushfires of unprecedented intensity and size. I mean, are those not warnings that we should do something?

    David Suzuki – On Why Anecdotes Are Useless in Global Warming Debate ABC1 Q&A, Monday 23 September 2013 :

    …we have this all the time in Canada. We get a snow fall in the winter in Canada and it goes down to 20-below and everybody says : “See, Suzuki, you guys are full of crap. You know, here it’s cold. What’s this global warming stuff?” You can”t use that kind of anecdote as if it proves anything.




    THE ABC AND PORNO-POLITICS – TARGETING KEVIN RUDD & CHRIS KENNY

    When an academic at Melbourne University in the 1960s and 1970s, Dr Frank Knopfelmacher (1923-1995) invoked the term porno-politics to describe the tactic of the left to discredit their opponents by the use of sexual images or references. Porno-politics described the occasion when pornography was used to advance a political leftist cause by attempting to ridicule conservative right-of-centre opponents in a sexual way.

    The leftist Chaser “Boys” (average age 371/2) embraced porno-politics in their recent series on the election called The Hamster Decides – which aired at 9.30 pm on ABC 1 shortly before and immediately after the 2013 election.

    The first occasion occurred on 14 August 2013 when The Hamster Decides depicted the (then) Prime Minister Kevin Rudd humping an asylum seeker boat. This was an attempt to mock Rudd Labor’s clamp-down on unlawful boat arrivals in the lead-up to the 2013 election.

    The second occasion occurred on 11 September 2013 when The Hamster Decides depicted News Corp journalist Chris Kenny having sex with a dog. Subsequently a sign described Chris Kenny as a “dog f-cker”. This was an attempt to mock Chris Kenny’s criticism of the ABC’s left-wing agenda and over-reach into new areas by the use of pornography.

    When Mark Scott became managing director of the ABC in 2006, he said that he would take seriously his other role as the public broadcaster’s editor-in-chief. For the most part, Mark Scott has declined to act as ABC editor-in-chief and has passed virtually all specific criticisms of ABC programs down the line of management – including to the ABC’s Canberra based Audience & Consumer Affairs department.

    The Chaser’s use of porno-politics against Kevin Rudd appears to have passed with little notice. Not so the depiction of Chris Kenny as a dog f-cker. This issue led to some formal complaints which are being handled by ABC bureaucrats in Canberra – not by the ABC’s managing director and editor-in-chief at the ABC’s headquarters in Ultimo, Sydney.

    There was some criticism of The Hamster Decides’ segment on Christ Kenny from within the public broadcaster. Most notably by Virginia Hausseger, Mark Colvin, Conor Duffy and Paul Barry on the ABC 1 Media Watch program (16 September 2013). Media Watch’s criticisms were dealt with by Jennifer Collins, the ABC’s Head of Entertainment. As is the ABC’s wont, criticisms were dismissed by Jennifer Collins who reviewed her own decision to put the “dog f-cker” segment to air and approved of it. Fancy that.

    Jennifer Collins confirmed that the Chris Kenny segment was not upwardly referred to ABC senior management and was passed as fit to air by ABC executive producer Sophia Zachariou. The segment was also passed by the ABC’s Legal department.

    Media Watch’s Sally Virgoe asked Ms Collins the following question:

    Do you believe it was appropriate for the ABC to depict Chris Kenny having sex with a dog he was strangling?

    Jennifer Collins replied as follows:

    The segment was within a half hour satirical comedy program about the Federal election. The piece was part of a segment called “Inside the Wheel” where the focus was a comic analysis of the different and sometimes absurd graphics and techniques used by the networks on election night. While strong in nature, the segment was consistent with the humour from the Chaser Team and in line with the target audience of The Hamster Decides. The graphic was clearly fake and absurd.

    The absurdity was further highlighted by feeding the image to a shark. The Chaser team”s style of satirical, boundary pushing comedy will not always appeal to all viewers, but must be viewed within the context of an MA rated, adult satirical comedy program.

    It was the all-too-familiar ABC lecture, even containing a directive as to what viewers and critics “must” think. The ABC position was that the segment was suitable since it was “in line with the target audience of The Hamster Decides”. In other words, the ABC blames its audience for the content which it puts to air.

    Despite the controversy, Mark Scott – who is one of the highest paid public officials in Australia – has declined to comment. He seems to reserve his public comments to spruiking on twitter about ABC programs. In short, Mark Scott does not manage problems within the ABC which clearly fall within the responsibilities of a managing director/editor-in-chief. Mark Scott is missing in action concerning the use by ABC employees of porno-politics against senior politicians and ABC critics.

    * * * * *

    Porno-Politics on the ABC – Case Study 1

    Transcript from The Hamster Decides – 14 August 2013 :

    Tony Abbott: Kevin Rudd’s not only the best friend of the people smugglers we’ve had he’s actually their travel agent

    Chas Licciardello: Keep going mate, not weird enough.

    Tony Abbott: What do you propose to do Mr Rudd? Do you want to massage the boats?

    Chas Licciardello: Okay that’s weird, that’s weird. Kevin Rudd’s a boat masseuse. Have you got anything else?

    Tony Abbott: At the moment all he’s doing is servicing the boats.

    Chas Licciardello: Servicing the boats? Hang on, is Tony Abbott saying that Kevin Rudd likes to -?

    Andrew Hansen: Oh no, look at that. I mean that’s not statesmanlike behaviour. What must Therese think?

    Porno-Politics on the ABC – Case Study 2

    Transcript from The Hamster Decides – 11 September 2013 :

    Chas Licciardello: I think Chris Kenny does make some excellent points though Andrew, like for instance, I enjoyed the way it took them almost an hour after Tony Abbott’s victory speech to start demanding cuts to the ABC.

    Chris Kenny: They need to actually start to question the billion, 1.1 billion dollars they throw to the ABC for instance –

    Andrew Hansen: You know, I agree they’ve just got to cut ABC funding. I mean this, this is a network that broadcasts images of Chris Kenny strangling a dog while having sex with it.

    Chas Licciardello: Disgusting! Worse still, worse still, they then handed him over to Channel 9 to feed him to the sharks. ABC, what a terrible network, so juvenile.

    Andrew Hansen: They’ve got to be cut, they’ve got to be cut.



    “The nation mourns Gerard Henderson. He’s in perfect health.”

    – Phillip Adams, via Twitter, 2 July 2013 (favourited by Virginia Trioli)

    “Old Australian saying. ‘He wouldn’t know a tram was up him unless the bell rang’. Wholly appropriate to Gerard Henderson”

    – Phillip Adams, via Twitter, 7 May 2013

    “I said publicly once that I thought that Gerard’s views on the ABC came not from his brain but from his spinal cord”

    – Tim Bowden as told to Phillip (“I was a teenage Stalinist”) Adams, Late Night Live, 11 June 2013 – Queen’s Birthday Public Holiday.

    “Gerard Henderson is a crank”

    – David Marr at the 2013 Sydney Writers’ Festival (as reported by Mike Carlton)

    “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”

    Michael Rowland: “Nancy…yes. We’ll get a nice write-up on Friday. Good morning as well, Gerard. Thanks for watching, by the way.”

    ABC 1 News Breakfast, 18 October 2012

    “Gerard [Henderson] is a complete f-ckwit”

    – Malcolm Farr, via Twitter, 29 June 2012 (circa pre-dinner drinks)

    “What a haughty flapping half-arsed buffoon he [Henderson] is”

    – Bob Ellis on his Table Talk blog, 8 May 2012 (before breakfast)

    “We’d better be careful what we say, just in case Gerard’s offsider pooch Nancy is keeping an eye on us for his delightfully earnest Media Watch Dog

    – Tom Cowie of The Power Index, Crikey 20 January 2012

    “Henderson…What a pompous, pretentious turd you are.”

    – Mike Carlton, Saturday 13 August 2011 (after lunch)

    “Go to the Sydney Institute Media Watch Dog website to marvel at [its] work”

    – Mark Latham The Spectator Australia 11 June 2011.

    Media Watch Dog – “disgraceful”, “sick”

    Professor Robert Manne, April Fool’s Day 2011.

    “Before going further can you write to confirm that these emails are private correspondence and not for publication”

    – ABC News Radio’s Marius Benson, 11 March 2011. He did go further – see MWD Issue 86.

    “I realise this makes me practically retarded, but until five minutes ago I thought Nancy was Gerard Henderson’s wife, not his dog.”

    Byronbache via Twitter, Monday 7 February 2011

    “Gerard Henderson is big enough to take care of himself, but that doesn’t stop us worrying about him from time to time. Lately it’s Hendo’s tendency to self-harm that has us losing sleep. For example, peruse the correspondence he’s published in his latest Media Watch Dog blog…..There’s a part of us that just wants to ask: “Hendo, are you OK?”

    – James Jeffrey’s “Strewth!” column, The Australian, 8 November 2010.

    Media Watch Dog on Fridays…is a sort of popular read in the Crikey office”

    Crikey’s Andrew Crook on ABC 2 News Breakfast, 24 September 2010.


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