14 February 2014

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.


Complete stranger comes up to me:

that Gerard Henderson’s a xxxxxx.

– Jonathan Green via Twitter, 8 February 2014

See Documentation and Correspondence sections below.



Terrific performance by former Age editor and Inside Public Relations director Mike Smith on ABC 1’s News Breakfast this morning in the Newspapers segment. Let’s go to the transcript:

Virginia Trioli: Before we get to your papers that you want to look at today, we’ve got to make mention of this item that popped up in “Strewth!” in The Australian newspaper – which is their gossip column – about a broadside that you fired off to 7.30 Report, after a story about the Gunns Pulp Mill. You have made a complaint about an assertion that was made in relation to the administrators, KordaMentha. And, if this report is to be believed, you wrote a very, very strongly worded, angry, ticked-off email. I’ve never seen language like this from you.

Mike Smith: Well that was after I’d cooled down.

Virginia Trioli: What was that about? You taking issue with the 7.30 Report?

Mike Smith: Eh, yeah –

Virginia Trioli: You got a problem, mate – you take it to the official complaints channel.

Mike Smith: I got a problem – that’s where I’ve been bounced to, the official complaints channel –

Virginia Trioli: Good, that’s how it works.

Mike Smith: – Into the dead water of the ABC complaints department

Virginia Trioli: Don’t go saying that.

Mike Smith: The ABC began a report the other night saying, “We can now reveal that the Tasmanian Government gave the Gunns’ receivers, KordaMentha, a copy of – a draft copy of – legislation before it was made public.”

Virginia Trioli: And you say that’s untrue?

Mike Smith: That’s dead wrong –

Virginia Trioli: Alright.

Mike Smith: – That’s not right, that’s untrue, it’s a straight factual matter –

Virginia Trioli: Well look, I’ll leave it to [ABC] audience research to deal with the errors there –

Mike Smith: And they [7.30] were told it was untrue before they put that story to air.

Virginia Trioli: Ok, all I wanted to raise here was just the fabulous phrases that you wrote in your email – such as, “dead wrong”, “unprofessional”, “irresponsible”, “breathtaking incompetence”. Mike you ever send me an email like that and there’ll be words between us, I tell you. [Laughs]

So now Mike Smith knows what it’s like complaining to the ABC. When Mr Smith was editor of The Age, an error in Monday’s paper could be corrected on Tuesday at the direction of the editor-in-chief.

However, the ABC’s editor-in-chief Mark Scott declines to act in this role. So the ABC flicks complaints to its Audience and Consumer Affairs bureaucracy in Canberra where most complaints take at least six weeks to assess and where around 95 per cent of complaints are dismissed.

At least Mike Smith now seems to understand what it is like to deal with the ABC. The only proper way to correct an error on 7.30 last Monday is to issue a correction on Tuesday. However, the ABC likes to “bounce” (Mike Smith’s term) its complaints into its bureaucracy. In the unlikely situation that an error is conceded, it is far too late for there to be an effective correction.

MWD never complains to ABC’s Audience and Consumer Affairs’ bureaucrats. Life’s too short. Instead MWD believes that Nice Mr Scott should do what he is paid to do – and, where necessary, act as the ABC’s editor-in-chief. But don’t hold your breath.

nancy's pick graphic


The British journalist Malcolm Muggeridge, who once edited the satirical Punch magazine, reflected half a century ago how difficult humour had become. He drew up a mock program ridiculing the proposed visit by a member of the Soviet Union leadership group to Britain. Only to find that the

ruthless communist successor to Josef Stalin was scheduled to have morning tea and cucumber sandwiches at Buckingham Palace – and so on.

Alas, much the same has happened with Morry Schwartz’s The Saturday Paper which is to be launched on Saturday 1 March 2014. The Launch Media Kit contains a glowing endorsement from The Guardian in London (which currently loses a cool $50 million a year). Here it is:

“Morry Schwartz’s

Vision Has

Become An


And A


The Guardian

Wow. Well done Morry and so on – you’re a star. Nancy’s (male) co-owner just loved the Launch Media Kit’s pitch to potential readers of The Saturday Paper – under the heading “Creative, With A High Disposable Income”:

The Saturday Paper will be read by young professionals. It will be bought by well-educated people living in the inner-suburbs. They are 35-49. They are image conscious and environmentally-conscious, brand-aware and socially-aware. They are creative, with a high disposable income.

They see shows and travel frequently. They drive compact cars. He has a Moleskine and Netflix account. She subscribes to Vanity Fair and the New Yorker. They are both lighthouse consumers, ignored in the current newspaper market but catered for specifically by The Saturday Paper.

Wonderful. Just wonderful. Your man Schwartz, a multi-millionaire property developer, is pitching The Saturday Paper at the sandal-wearing, well-educated young professional rich folk who live in the inner-city of Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra. Go on. [Perhaps your man Schwartz should have called it “The Sandalista Paper”. Just a thought. – Ed]

Erik Jensen, The Saturday Paper’s editor, is on record as having described men of a certain age as “old”. MWD did not intend to prophesy what will be the content of The Saturday Paper’s inaugural opinion page. However, the temptation was too great – and Nancy’s (male) co-owner has decided to do a “Malcolm Muggeridge” with respect to Erik (“I work for an old man”) Jensen’s inaugural opinion page. Here are highlights of likely authors and themes for the inaugural edition – designed to appeal to blokes with Netflix accounts and sheilas who read Vanity Fair :

▪ Professor Robert Manne of La Trobe University (Proudly one of Australia’s Top 500 Big Polluters) on “How the wonderful Morry became my bestie capitalist property developer – some thoughts about our combined moral superiority”.

▪ Philosopher Rai Gaita on “Making Romulus My Father even more depressing: A final intellectually incoherent and truly boring chapter featuring big words, few names or places and little meaning.”

▪ Professor Judith Brett on “How a sandal-wearing former editor of the Marxist Arena Journal fooled the ABC into believing that she was a conservative blue stocking: My academic life story”.

▪ Guy Rundle on “From Brighton Grammar School to Marxist Comedian: A Personal Dialectic”.

▪ Mungo MacCallum on “The incoherence of Australian Politics: An incoherent view from the front bar of the Billinudgel Hotel” and “How it was John Howard who drove me to drink”.

Read all about it in Erik Jensen’s The Saturday Paper coming to an inner-city newsagent near you. Provided you are aged 35-49 and feel ignored by the current newspaper market.

Erik Jensen

The Sandalista Paper’s Editor Erik Jensen Looks Out Over His Planned Readership In Inner-City Melbourne And Pitches To “Lighthouse Consumers” – Hoping that, come 1 March, lighthouses will not be going out all over the inner-city suburbs of Canberra, Melbourne and Sydney.

Can you bear it graphic


What a stunning performance by former Liberal MP Ross Cameron on Sky News’ The Contrarians last Friday. Truly stunning.

Presenter Peter Van Onselen introduced the subject of marriage. That is, marriage as defined by the Marriage Act – being the union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of others. This is what Ross Cameron – in sermonising mode – had to say:

Ross Cameron: I think that we are looking at an institution here – the instinct to couple among humans is ancient. Apparently Neanderthals didn’t couple in quite the same way but the reason, the rationale, the raison d’être –

Peter Van Onselen: I don’t even think the History Channel will go that far back

Ross Cameron: – The reason humans chose this evolutionary path – which was different to everybody else – which involved, one, a very, very long period of gestation of the child in the womb and then, secondly, this extended period of helplessness of the child once born. And so a child left alone up until about the age of five, will die of dehydration….

what happened therefore…that meant…women and children under the human strategy which has been magnificently successful, okay? – we’ve beaten all other challenges – we are at the top of the food chain. But we’ve got this period of vulnerability – vulnerability in particular for mothers and also for children. So the idea of marriage was to try and wrap a band around this relationship so the blokes just didn’t wander off. And the idea is to protect mothers and children with something stronger.

What a wonderful explanation of the genesis of marriage. According to the teaching of Ross Cameron, the union of marriage was created to protect vulnerable young mothers and children by wrapping a band around marriage – so that a bloke is inhibited from shooting through with one or more sheilas during such a vulnerable period for the mother.

MWD all choked up when hearing Ross Cameron’s Epistle to The Contrarians on – and support for – marriage as a means of keeping blokes faithful. So much so that MWD reached for the nearest Bible to use the occasion to reflect on life. It’s just that, all teared-up, MWD ended up with Who’s Who in Australia by mistake.

And so it came to pass that the good book fell open at the entry for Ross Cameron. How about that? And this what it had to say about your man Cameron’s role in the magnificently successful endeavour of wrapping a father, a mother and children into a union – to the exclusion of others – by stopping the father from wandering off. Here we go:

Cameron, Hon Ross Alexander BEc, LLB…Married (i) 1996 Genevieve (dissolved 2006) 3 sons, one daughter.

It seems that The Hon Ross Cameron’s wrap-around band with the inaugural Mrs Cameron lasted just a decade before a wander off episode.

Can you bear it?


Thanks to an avid MWD reader who drew attention to Lee Rhiannon’s article in the New Matilda on 6 February 2014. Senator Rhiannon (BSc Hons UNSW, Diploma in Revolution, International Lenin School, Moscow) looked back in happiness on the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow – commencing with a false historical comparison.

As Australia’s team arrives for the Sochi Olympic Games it is timely to remember the challenges our athletes faced just getting to the Games in 1980, the last time they were held in Russia. This is a story about overcoming the odds, reinforcing the Australian belief in a fair go for all, and how a successful union campaign played a critical role in Australia winning the right to host the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney.

The Moscow Olympic Games became embroiled in a political battle with the US leading an international boycott campaign in response to the USSR military invasion of Afghanistan in 1979. This took the Olympics into new territory. Never before had one of the world’s leading powers refused to take part in the world’s premier sporting event for non-sporting reasons.

The 1980 Moscow Games were not held in Russia. They were held in the Soviet Union – which in 1980 was a communist totalitarian dictatorship which ran a gulag containing political prisons and persecuted dissidents.

Lee Rhiannon (nee Brown who became Gorman or O’Gorman by marriage before changing her name by deed poll) was a supporter of the Soviet dictator Leonid Brezhnev (1906-1982). She failed to reveal this to readers of New Matilda. Nor did Rhiannon fess up that she supported the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan and failed to protest about the suppression of human rights in the Soviet Union and its satellite regimes in Eastern Europe throughout the 1970s and 1980.

In her New Matilda article the Greens senator supported the role played by the Seaman’s Union of Australia in backing those Australian athletes who made it to Moscow in 1980. There was no mention of the fact that the Seaman’s Union (now the Maritime Union of Australia) supported Soviet communism. Can you bear it?


MWD is a fan of the ABC 1 Insiders program – partly because it gives an insight into the members of the Canberra Press Gallery who appear on-the-couch. Like Fairfax Media’s chief political correspondent, Mark Kenny, for example.

Last Sunday Mr Kenny was in dismissive mode. This is what he said in response to Defence Minister David Johnston’s criticism of the ABC’s handling of allegations that the Australian Navy personnel had tortured asylum seekers at sea by forcing them to place their hands on a hot pipe:

Mark Kenny: Mmm. What drivel. What drivel. I mean, unbelievable…absolutely absurd.

Mark Kenny then called on Senator Johnston to “grow up” and described his comments on the ABC as “really quite a pathetic attack”. Kenny went on to allege that members of the Australian Navy “don’t know where the [Australia/Indonesia] border is”. He provided no evidence for his assertion and overlooked the fact that it was the Australian Navy which reported the border incursion to Indonesian authorities.

There was a time when words like “absurd”, “drivel”, and “pathetic” were regarded as terms of abuse. But now they are used by Fairfax Media’s chief political reporter to describe the views of a Cabinet Minister in the Coalition government.

Can you bear it?


While on the topic of Fairfax Media, how about The Saturday Age of 8 February 2014? The Guardian-on-the-Yarra last weekend was replete with opinion pieces bagging political conservatives – especially the Coalition and its supporters. Here’s how it went:

The Age editorial criticised the Abbott government’s handling of asylum seekers.

▪ Then the main opinion piece – by leftist academic June Factor – defended the ABC against its critics whom she described as “clowns and incompetents”. Ms Factor bagged one-time Coalition critics of the ABC (i.e. former Senator Richard Alston) but made no mention of one-time Labor critics of the ABC (i.e. former Prime Minister Bob Hawke).

▪ Then the Letters section carried eight letters on Australian politics. Every one bagged the Abbott government.

▪ Turn to Page 22 and “Forum Opinion”. The Age’s senior writer Martin Flanagan used such words as “fake”, “phoney” and “bullshit” to dismiss the argument of such ABC critics as Rupert Murdoch. Flanagan alleged that “Murdoch has become Catholic” – but provided no evidence for his claim.

▪ On the same page former Victorian Supreme Court judge David Harper had a swing at Tony Abbott’s business adviser Maurice Newman’s views on global warming. Mr Harper admits that he is a “self-confessed layman on matters of science” but still feels the need to bring down a finding against Mr Newman.

▪ Turn to Opinion Forum on Page 23. Saturday Age columnist Wendy Squire then bagged Education Minister Christopher Pyne and his adviser Kevin Donnelly. Ms Squire asserted that Dr Donnelly is “homophobic, bigoted and backward”. That’s all.

▪ Also on Page 23 Marion Maddox bagged government assistance to non-government schools – a familiar Age obsession.

The Guardian-on-the-Yarra seems to specialise in providing platforms to those who wish to attack Tony Abbott and the Coalition along with government assistance to non-government schools. Alternative views are rarely published – despite the fact that political conservatives buy and advertise in The Age. Or, rather, used to buy and advertise in The Age.

Can you bear it?


And then there was The Age’s story last Monday about what the late Kerry Packer is alleged to have told the Rev. Tim Costello on his death bed about Schapelle Corby. Let’s go to the report by Age journalists Michael Bachelard and Michael Lallo:

As he lay dying, TV mogul and Australia’s richest man, Kerry Packer, called Baptist pastor Tim Costello to his bedside. Packer, still supremo of Channel Nine, was in a confessional mood. They spoke about leadership and ethics and God, who Packer had no time for. But it was December 2005, and even as death approached, there was no avoiding the story of the year – Schapelle Corby.

In the previous eight months, Packer’s TV network had become a kind of Corby innocence factory, taking the unlikely material of a part-time beauty student accused of drug smuggling, and forging from her a martyr. The story, which Nine sewed up early with exclusive access agreements, made the network millions, and ultimately ensured Corby became a household name, and a part of the zeitgeist.

”I said to Kerry, ‘What do you think? Is she guilty?’ ” Costello recalls asking at their deathbed meeting. ”And Kerry said, ‘Yes, I think she is.’ I remember saying, ‘But Nine is the cheerleader for her innocence.’ And Kerry told me that this was how current affairs TV works – the audience was totally convinced of her innocence and so the network goes with what the public feels passionate about.” Costello says he wondered at the time how that squared with their conversation about ethics and leadership.

Terrific insight, to be sure. It’s just that MWD wonders how the Rev. Tim Costello can square his babbling to The Age with the view that it is not ethical for ministers of religion to reveal death-bed confessions/conversations.

Can you bear it?


Here’s how Michael Hyde (author and university lecturer) appeared on the Persons of Interest documentary (see “At the Barricades: Then and Now”). Here he is standing in front of a site which used to contain the old house where Worker Student Alliance undergraduate revolutionaries hung out in the Melbourne suburb of Caulfield South planning the revolution that never happened.

That was then. This is what Michael Hyde said about the current house at 7 Jasmine Street, Caulfield South:

Michael Hyde: This is …7 Jasmine Street, South Caulfield, which was the centre of lots of activity in the late 60s. For a couple of years it was a political headquarters. Originally it was, of course, a wonderful old weatherboard house – which I can tell you about. But, as you can see now, it’s now a brown brick monstrosity – not to offend the owners but, you know, it is a monstrosity.

How pretentious can you get? The retired revolutionary Michael Hyde went on SBS television and described a perfectly reasonable house as “a brown brick monstrosity”. What a taxpayer subsidised snob.

Can you bear it? [Er. No. It’s a pity that Michael Hyde’s one-time mate Mao Zedong did not put him in the Chinese gulag when he visited China during the Cultural Revolution. – Ed]

Michael Hyde

Michael Hyde

five paws graphic


MWD’s on-going campaign to get advertising guru and occasional Labor Party PR consultant Dee Madigan paid some real money for her occasional appearances on Sky News appears to have failed. How else to explain the fact that she could not afford a skirt to wear on The Contrarians last Friday? In any event, what Ms Madigan lacked in clothing she certainly made up in intellectual clout. And MWD is primarily interested in the mind.

Let’s go to the transcript where presenter Dr Peter Van Onselen (for a doctor he is) is quizzing his panel Peter Bentley (executive director of the Labor-aligned McKell Institute), Ross Cameron, Simon Cowan and Dee Madigan (of Madigan Communications). PVO asked his two left-of-centre – and ALP supporting – panellists what they thought about the suggestion that the ABC is biased in its news and current affairs coverage.

This is what Peter Bentley had to say:

Peter Van Onselen: Do you think that there’s any bias in the ABC?

Peter Bentley: No, I don’t.

Peter Van Onselen: You don’t think it leans left?

Peter Bentley: No, I don’t.

Peter Van Onselen: Not even slightly?

Peter Bentley: No. As an institution, no I don’t. There’re individuals that lean left, there’re individuals that lean right.

Peter Van Onselen: Who are the ones that lean right?

Peter Bentley: When we’re talking about – when we’re talking about the ABC –

Peter Van Onselen: Who are the ones that lean right?

Peter Bentley: Oh, I’m not going through…

Alas, Peter Bentley could not name even one person at the ABC who could be categorised as a “right-winger”. Not one. This is hardly surprising since the ABC does not employ one conservative presenter or producer or editor for any of its prominent television or radio or on-line outlets. Not one.

Then PVO asked Dee Madigan, who worked on the Labor Party’s 2013 election campaign, the same question:

Peter Van Onselen: Do you think the ABC leans left?

Dee Madigan: I think the ABC probably swings left, yeah.

Peter Van Onselen: Yeah, okay. A bit of honesty here.

Dee Madigan: Five Paws



Jonathan Green’s journalistic career is of the brilliant genre. From the left-wing Age, to the left-wing Sunday Age, to the left-wing Crikey newsletter and on to the ABC. Jonathan Green initially edited the ABC’s online journal of opinion The Drum. He now presents the Radio National Sunday Extra program and is very much the taxpayer funded public broadcaster’s man for all programs – with regular appearances on the ABC’s television, radio and online outlets.

Late last year Jonathan Green’s book The Year My Politics Broke was published by MUP. It was endorsed by, among others, Jane Caro who declared: “I nodded with agreement all the way through, then went away somewhere quiet to have a good cry”. Shucks. It seems that Ms Caro, like Mr Green, has lost faith in the Australian public who recently elected the Coalition under the leadership of Tony Abbott. The Year My Politics Broke makes it clear that your man Green was barracking for Julia Gillard and became completely disillusioned when she was replaced by Kevin Rudd as prime minister and he, in turn, was defeated by Tony Abbott.

Jonathan Green presents Julia Gillard as a victim of misogyny and sexism. Yet Ms Gillard did reasonably well in the August 2010 election and was doing quite well after the election – until she broke her promise not to introduce a carbon tax in February 2011. This is how the matter is explained in The Year My Politics Broke :

We shouldn’t forget that Gillard only signed up to a carbon price and an eventual trading scheme because she was forced to by the numerical realities of a hung parliament and her wattle-strewn marriage of convenience to Bob Brown and the Australian Greens. The consequences? Well, they are familiar enough. “There will be no carbon tax under the government I lead …” is probably one of the most infamous pieces of political quotation in Australian history.

The other quotable snippet from those last days of the 2010 campaign— “but I am determined to put a price on carbon” – trips less readily off the tongue, largely due to its quite conspicuous lack of endless repetition.

That one phrase would become the unwelcome motif of the Gillard government while the other, explicatory portion went largely unheard and unremarked says a lot about the balance of authority in political messaging since 2010: the political reality has been determined by the forces ranged against Gillard, overwhelming the extended version of actual events. History might be written by the victorious, but in politics reality is constructed by the determined and competent. Relying on the subtle complexities of truth just doesn’t cut it.

Now here are some facts:

▪ Julia Gillard did not have to introduce a carbon tax to accommodate the Greens. After the 2010 election, the Greens had only one member of the House of Representatives – Adam Bandt. And Adam Bandt declared before the election that, in the event of a hung parliament, he would support Julia Gillard and Labor – not Tony Abbott and the Coalition. Jonathan Green’s assertion is simply false.

▪ There is no evidence that Julia Gillard ever qualified her 2010 promise not to introduce a carbon tax with the statement that she was “determined to put a price on carbon”.

It is impossible to imagine that, if such a statement had been made, Tony Abbott and the Coalition would not have made an issue of this in the 2010 campaign. They did not – because Julia Gillard made no such statement.

Jonathan Green – despite a number of requests – refuses to enter into correspondence on this issue or to support his claim with evidence. A similar Julia Gillard quote appears in Kerry-Anne Walsh’s The Stalking of Julia Gillard. Ms Walsh has promised to check out her source for the (alleged) statement and get back to MWD. We’ll keep you informed.

Jonathan Green’s refusal to document a key passage in The Year My Politics Broke is illustrated in the “Correspondence” section of this week’s MWD.

Jonathan Green poses

Giving Vulgarity A Bad Name. Jonathan Green Poses for The Age outside his $1.5 million Inner-City Terrace (Fitzroy, of course)

new feature at the barricades


There was huge, absolutely huge, interest in MWD’s account last week about how Darce Cassidy – who was called Jon when he worked at the ABC – contemplated killing Australians, incarcerated in sports stadiums, in order to preserve a Worker Student Alliance revolution which was planned for the late 1960s/early 1970s. See Documentation in MWD Issue 212.

As it happened, the revolution never took place – due to the lack of workers and students alike at the barricades. So Mr Cassidy did not have to engage in what W.H. Auden in his poem Spain referred to as “the necessary murder”. So Darce Cassidy became Jon Cassidy and continued in senior production and, later, management roles at the taxpayer funded public broadcaster.

Darce Cassidy’s admission about the WSA’s violent intentions was made to Haydn Keenan for his Persons of Interest documentary – which was recently shown on SBS One.

Michael Hyde was the key figure in this – second – episode of Persons of Interest which covered the self-proclaimed student revolutionaries of over four decades ago. This is how Michael Hyde described himself in Persons of Interest:

Michael Hyde: I became chairman of the Monash University Labor Club which was the most radical organisation in Australia. I helped organise the Vietnam Moratorium campaigns. I was chairman of the Worker Student Alliance and I was an active leading member of the Communist Party (Marxist-Leninist).

We now know that Comrade Cassidy contemplated killing people to preserve a revolution led by Arthur Dent (nee Albert Langer) and Michael Hyde. This is what Comrade Hyde had to say in Persons of Interest about his own revolutionary intentions:

Michael Hyde: In 1967 there had been a demonstration outside the U.S. Consulate [in St Kilda Road Melbourne] which consisted of about 100 people. And then the rain came and it was a fairly dismal affair but we stayed there and we realised that the authorities were looking on our demonstrations as containable. We weren’t really annoying anybody or threatening any establishment. We decided that the July 4 1968 demonstration was to ramp up the militancy of the opposition to the war. If this meant throwing rocks and smashing up the U.S. Consulate, if this meant even occupying – if we were lucky enough – the U.S. Consulate, if this meant cutting the United States flag down, we would do so.

Voiceover – [quoting from a contemporary ASIO report]: Meeting to discuss demonstrations on the occasion of American Independence Day. Hyde said the purpose of the students’ demonstration was not to attack the police because they were police but because they were there to protect U.S. imperialism. Leaders of the Monash Labor Club, particularly Albert Langer and Michael Hyde deliberately planned a violent 4th of July demonstration.

Michael Hyde: That’s true. It was, we were going to make it as militant as hell. We organised smoke-bombs, we organised rocks to smash up the Consulate. Umm, I don’t know how I feel about this saying [this] now, and I don’t know whether the Statute of Limitations – how long it is [for] – but in any case.

[Michael Hyde reads from a contemporary ASIO report] At the meeting of the leaders, the day before the demonstration, a proposal to use petrol bombs to burn the U.S. Embassy [sic] down was defeated by only one vote.

Michael Hyde: Their whole aim was to provoke the police and to use violence. And this whole area here in July 4 1968 was – had demonstrators from St Kilda Road all the way up [Commercial Road] to about maybe a few 100 metres.

Voiceover [quoting from a contemporary ASIO report]: As if the [Worker Student] Alliance’s attitude to violence was not already well displayed, WSA Bulletin Number One described some of the functions of a WSA local branch as “bomb throwing, machine gunning, cop shop burning, and so on.”

Michael Hyde: I can’t remember ever reading that. I cannot remember ever writing that. I cannot remember ever distributing anything like that and if anybody in the Worker Student Alliance actually believed in bomb throwing, machine gunning or cop shop burning, no member in their right mind would put it down for ASIO to read.

People got shocked and horrified about the wreckage of the windows and trying to take down the flag outside the U.S. Consulate which we basically succeeded in doing. But there were cop cars and divvy wagons and smoke-bombs going off everywhere and clattering stones. And that was probably where they found this bag with rocks and there was petrol or something found.

Kerry Miller: They did find it [the bag] and I’ll tell you a story about the petrol – but not while I’m being recorded.

[At the time, Kerry Miller the daughter of a Communist Party member was engaged to Albert Langer].

So, there you have it. Michael Hyde urged his fellow revolutionaries to attack both the Victoria Police and the US Consulate. Hyde maintains that the proposal to torch the US Consulate was narrowly rejected by the WSA. However, Kerry Miller says that Victoria Police did find petrol near the US Consulate but refused to discuss this matter while being filmed by the Persons of Interest documentary. Interesting – especially since it is more than four decades since the demonstration.

So, having failed to bring about a revolution, how did the WSA types live out their careers? Here’s how – based on the credits at the end of episode 2 of Persons of Interest:

Jim Bacon – (1950-2004) Premier of Tasmania 1998-2004 – Former Trade Union official then Labor MP.

Martha Campbell – Fellow of the Australian College of Educators

Jill Jolliffe – Author and journalist

Bill Dowling – Senior public servant

Dave Nadel – Lecturer at National Centre for Australian Studies Monash University

Jules Cassidy – Senior Lecturer, University of East London

Arthur Dent – (formerly known as Albert Langer) – IT specialist

Kerry Miller – Webmaster

Michael Hyde – Author and University lecturer

How about that? Most of those who wanted to destroy the state in the late 1960s/early 1970s ended up living off the state in secure taxpayer funded jobs, or as the recipient of taxpayer funded grants, and now enjoy state pensions.

Only Albert Langer and Kerry Miller appear to have worked for any substantial period in the private sector.

correspondence header caps


This hugely popular segment of Media Watch Dog usually works like this. Someone or other thinks it would be a you-beaut idea to write to Gerard Henderson. And Hendo, being a courteous kind of guy, replies. Then, hey presto, the correspondence is published in MWD. On some occasions, Hendo initiates the exchange – which may, or may not, initiate a response. Such is life.


Michael Koziol is one of the hundreds of thousands of MWD’s avid readers. He wrote to MWD yesterday following the coverage in Issue 212 of his brand new column in The Spectator Australia. Let the exchange begin:

Michael Koziol to Gerard Henderson 13 February 2014

Dear “Old Gerard”,

Thank you for your appraisal of my first “On The Contrary” column in the Spectator Australia. As Christopher Hitchens said, I always consider it a victory when critics move on to the ad hominem, as you did by having a go at my age. I would add that I always find the straw man argument very gratifying, and I note that it is one of Nancy’s favourites.

Of course, I should clarify that the cartoon caption “Young Koziol” was not written or selected by me. But I’m sure you already knew that.

While some may have viewed that column as indulgent, I thought it nice to begin on something of a personal note. After all, columns are personal in a way that news reports, for example, are not. Which goes directly to the critique I was offering of Greg Sheridan. His insights are not valuable because he is a personal friend of the PM; they could potentially be valuable in spite of that connection, but in my opinion they are not.

As always, I remain a great fan of Nancy. Friday afternoons would not be the same without her.


Michael Koziol

P.S. – a standing invitation to appear on the 2SER Fourth Estate program, which I co-host on Monday evenings, remains.

Gerard Henderson to Michael Koziol – 14 February 2014

Dear Young Koziol

Thanks for your email. How wonderful that you read Media Watch Dog and routinely follow The Thought of Nancy every Friday (after lunch, of course).

I note that you are somewhat miffed by the segment in MWD Issue 212 titled “Young Michael Koziol’s Angst – As Told By Young Michael Koziol”.

This is how the piece came about. I read the second part of your inaugural column in The Spectator Australia first – i.e. that part which contained an essentially ad hominem attack on The Australian’s Greg Sheridan. I noted that much of your critique of Mr Sheridan was taken from a critique in Morry Schwartz’s The Monthly which was compiled by a part-time comedian.

After reading your bucket job on Greg Sheridan, I thought that it would be a you-beaut idea to return the compliment – so to speak. So I read the rest of your inaugural column. It was priceless – even though The Spectator Australia sells for $9.95.

I called you “Young Koziol” since this is how you are presented in The Spectator Australia. Moreover, the first half of your inaugural column was devoted to the life-and-times of your friends who have recently graduated and who have faced, or are facing, the trauma of leaving what you depict as “the Sydney University, Glebe and Newtown” redoubt and are heading to such foreign destinations as Canberra, Melbourneor London.

It is not “an ad hominem attack” on a “straw man” to refer to your age – since you made so much of it in your inaugural Spectator Australia column. For the record, I hope you continue writing about yourself – since it should provide great copy for MWD.

I have not forgotten your kind invitation to appear on 2SER’s “The Fourth Estate” program on a Monday evening. I think I have clearance to enter the Sydney University/Glebe/Newtown redoubt but not so the Ultimo salient where 2SER is based at the University of Technology, Sydney. Especially since I have not mastered the “Maslowian notion of self-activisation” which you referred to so knowingly in The Spectator Australia on 1 February 2014. Right now, I am just-so-busy learning off by-heart Abraham Maslow’s “A Theory of Human Motivation” essay. Alas, I fear it will take some time.

Best wishes to you and your friends – transient and otherwise – in the Sydney University/Glebe/Newtown redoubt. Perhaps “womb” would be a more appropriate term.

Keep morale high.



Initially Gerard Henderson wrote to ABC presenter Jonathan Green requesting his source for an assertion in his book The Year My Politics Broke. Alas, there was no response. Later Jonathan Green wrote to Hendo about another matter – and he replied, as is Hendo’s wont. Here we go:

Gerard Henderson to Jonathan Green – 28 January 2014


I read your well written The Year My Politics Broke from cover to cover. Without an index, I needed to do this to see if I got a mention. Alas, no. Here’s hoping for a revised edition.

Just one query. On Page 141 you quote Julia Gillard as saying, in the last days of the 2010 campaign: “I am determined to put a price on carbon” – after ruling out a carbon tax.

My query is this – what is the source for the “I am determined to put a price on carbon” comment.

Best wishes

Gerard Henderson

Alas, there was no reply. And there the matter rested until your man Green wrote to Hendo about another matter. But, first, some background.

Gerard Henderson commenced his column in The Weekend Australian on 1-2 February 2014 as follows:

An ongoing consequence of the challenge of the traditional print media has seen the move of some leftist journalists from newspapers to the public broadcaster and social media.

Sure, the likes of Mike Carlton, Richard Ackland, Peter FitzSimons and Michael Leunig remain in place at Fairfax Media in Sydney or Melbourne. But many of this set have taken their leave (often with generous redundancies) and headed to such horizons as the ABC and Guardian Australia. Most notably Jonathan Green (now with the taxpayer-funded public broadcaster) and David Marr (now with the loss-making Guardian Australia).

Gerard Henderson used such words as “many” and “often”. However, Jonathan Green came to the view that Hendo had (specifically) claimed that Green had accepted a generous redundancy when he joined the ABC from Fairfax Media – despite the fact that MWD had stated specifically that Green left Fairfax Media for Crikey on his way to the ABC.

Whatever, on the morning of Saturday 1 February 2014 your man Green sent a very, very angry email to Hendo. And so the correspondence continued – albeit on a different topic. Here we go:

Jonathan Green to Gerard Henderson – 1 February 2014

Gerard I expect you to correct one either careless or malicious mistruth in your piece this morning. I have never received a redundancy payment from Fairfax. When I left The Age after 15 years to edit Crikey I simply resigned. I would like this to be corrected in the pages of The Australian.

– from my phone.

Jonathan Green

ABC Melbourne.

Gerard Henderson to Jonathan Green – 1 February 2014


OMG you are so sensitive to criticism – especially since taking a redundancy payment does not constitute improper behaviour.

For the record, I did not write that you had taken a redundancy payment. I did refer to the fact that “many” journalists had left Fairfax Media “often” with a generous redundancy payment and gone to the ABC or the Guardian Australia. But I later commented that you had gone to the ABC from Crikey.

In any event, I concede that the paragraph could have been more precisely written. Consequently I am willing to clarify the matter next week and will talk to The Australian about this on Monday.

I note that you have defended the ABC’s complaints procedure in the past. Under the ABC system, your email would have been referred to Audience and Consumer Affairs and the issue would have been resolved after at least six weeks.

By the way, when you have time, I still would like you to forward the evidence for your claim about Julia Gillard in The Year My Politics Broke at page 141 – my recent email refers.

Best wishes for Sunday Extra tomorrow.

Ever one to honour a promise, here’s how Gerard Henderson concluded his column in The Weekend Australian on 8-9 February 2014:

Clarification: In last week’s column I did not intend to imply that Jonathan Green took a redundancy payment when he left Fairfax Media. He didn’t.

And so it came to pass that the correspondence continued to continue when Hendo brought Jonathan Green’s attention to the clarification and again asked about his evidence for his Julia Gillard quote:

Gerard Henderson to Jonathan Green – 8 February 2014


And so it was done that the prophecy might be fulfilled (John 19:36)

At your request (demand), today I willingly clarified my comment in The Weekend Australian last Saturday. It was done in seven days and you received 100 per cent satisfaction. You support the ABC’s complaint processes. A similar request to the ABC would have taken no fewer than seven weeks with a 95 per cent plus likelihood of the complaint being rejected.

And now – when am I going to receive a response to my two requests that you provide evidence of your Julia Gillard quote in The Year My Politics Broke? My previous emails refer.

Keep morale high

Gerard Henderson

Alas, Jonathan Green still refuses to enter into correspondence about the (alleged) Julia Gillard quote which he appears to have invented. MWD will keep readers informed if your man Green ever attempts to document his claim at Page 141 of The Year My Politics Broke. MWD will also let you know if Kerry-Anne Walsh can locate her similar quote. It all sounds frightfully interesting. Stay tuned. [I can hardly wait – Ed].

“[Gerard Henderson is] a sclerotic warhorse, unhelpful to debate, unwilling to think…a wonderful study in delusion…ideologically-constipated.”

– Erik Jensen, editor of Morry Schwartz’s The Saturday Paper [forthcoming], 23 November 2013

“The last time Gerard Henderson smiled was in 1978, when he saw a university student being mauled by a pitbull.”

– Ben Pobjie, via Twitter, 13 October 2013 [Editor’s Note: Mr “Why Can’t I Score an

Invite on Q&A?” Pobjie is wrong. In fact, the year was 1977 and the dog was a blue-heeler – like Nancy]

“I think Henderson is seriously ill. There’s enough there for an entire convention of psychiatrists.”

– Mike (“I’ll pour the gin”) Carlton (after Pre-Dinner Drinks tweet to Jeff Sparrow), 8 October 2013

“Wrong, you got caught out, off to Gerard Henderson’s Media Watch Dog for you!”

– Tim Wilson tweet to Jonathan Green and Virginia Trioli, 8 October 2013.

“Nancy as ever will be the judge”

– Jonathan Green to Tim Wilson and Virginia Trioli (conceding to the arbitral authority of Nancy), 8 October 2013

[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.

“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.

“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, keep morale high.