GERARD HENDERSON’S MEDIA WATCH DOG – ISSUE NO. 217
14 March 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.
- Stop Press: Phillip Adams Whines about His Salary; Richard Ackland Sneers at George Brandis & Morry Schwartz Becomes a Professor
- Can You Bear It? Mark Scott Bags The Murdochs; The Age Bags George Pell (Yet Again); The Age Readers Praise Vladimir Putin
- New Feature: MWD Checks the ABC’s Corrections (Or Lack of Same) : Featuring Kerry O’Brien’s Four Corners Howler
- Nancy’s Pick-of-the-Week: The Flann O’Brien Gong for Literary Sludge Returns Along with Its Recipient Raimond Gaita
● AUSTRALIA’S RICHEST SOCIALIST CONDEMNS HIS “PITIFUL SALARY”
Nancy’s (male) co-owner walked Nancy and her “sleep-over” guest Luke, around the block last night – but barely got them back home. You see, Hendo all teared-up after hearing Phillip Adams tell Late Night Live listeners about his “pitiful ABC salary”.
According to the data covering ABC staff salaries, which was inadvertently leaked by the ABC itself in November last year, Aunty’s Man in Black received less than $170,000 in 2011-12 for presenting LNL. You wonder just how your man Adams – Australia’s wealthiest socialist – can get by on around $160,000 a year not counting any outside earnings (which ABC personnel are required to declare). It must be hard enough keeping his pile in Woollahra – not to mention his Scone farm. [But you did mention it. – Ed].
Clearly, it’s time to renew MWD’s campaign – launched in 2 December last year (see MWD, Issue 210) – to get wage justice for the Man in Black. It’s appalling, truly appalling, that Phillip Adams gets a pitiful salary for a demanding four hours a week on Radio National while Media Watch host Paul Barry receives $191,259 a year for a time-consuming 12 minutes a week on ABC 1.
Nancy’s (male) co-owner says : “Wage Justice For The Man In Black – Now”. Over to you – Nice Mr Scott.
● “SNEERING MORNING HERALD” FIRES AT ATTORNEY-GENERAL
What a wonderful piece by Sneering Richard Ackland in this morning’s Sydney Morning Herald.
The “Sneering Morning Herald”’s Friday columnist devoted a column to bagging the Abbott government’s Attorney-General George Brandis QC and the Australian columnist Chris Kenny.
Mr Ackland referred to the Attorney-General on two occasions as “George” and referred to Chris Kenny as a “bore”. Richard Ackland went on to support what he termed “the Chaser boys” whom the ABC is defending against a defamation claim by Kenny. [You should have pointed out here that the average age of The Chaser Boys is 381/2) – Ed].
Richard Ackland’s column was illustrated by Michael Mucci who depicted the Attorney General as if he were having a fit. What did George Brandis do to “The Sneering Morning Herald” to deserve this? Well, on Q&A last Monday he stood up to the chorus which was depicting News Corp columnist Andrew Bolt as a racist and argued that there was a case to amend Section 18c of the Racial Discrimination Act in the interest of encouraging free speech. That’s what – clearly sufficient to push the anger button of the civil libertarian Ackland and his illustrator this morning.
● ARISE ADJUNCT PROFESSOR (JOURNALISM) SCHWARTZ
The big media story for the day turns on the decision of RMIT University to appoint Morry Schwartz to the prestigious position of Adjunct Professor. [You’ve got to be kidding – could you be referring to A Junk Professor? – Ed].
Dr Antonio Castillo, the RMIT Program Manager for the Bachelor of Communication (Journalism) in the School of Media and Communication made the following statement.
Adjunct Professor Schwartz’s publications are seen as an independent voice in Australian media, providing a wide range of political, intellectual and cultural opinion and featuring some of Australia’s best writers.
This suggests that Dr Castillo (for a doctor he is) does not read Morry Schwartz’s publications – namely Quarterly Essay, The Monthly and The Saturday Paper. The fact is that this trio are leftist-house journals for the tertiary educated inner-city left. Virtually no conservatives write for the Quarterly Essay, or The Monthly or The Saturday Paper. But, then, perhaps the publications of Professor Schwartz (for a professor he is now) reflect the “wide range” of opinion in RMIT University’s School of Media and Communication.
NO SURPRISES AS AUNTY’S BIAS REVIEWS CLEAR AUNTY
As predicted by Nancy’s (male) co-owner, the ABC Editorial Audit No 1 titled ABC Radio Interviews With The Prime Minister And Leader Of The Opposition During The 2013 Federal Election Campaign, by former BBC and ABC staffer Andrea Wills, cleared the taxpayer funded broadcaster of any bias.
Hardly surprising – since the ABC is always at its fairest during election campaigns when its output is carefully monitored. Moreover, as Prime Minister Tony Abbott told Miranda Devine on Radio 2GB on 15 December 2013:
I agree that the ABC gives both sides of politics a hard time. But, often the critique of both the Coalition and of the Labor Party is from the left.
MWD is fascinated that the second report, into the ABC’s handling of the asylum seeker issue, was handled by one-time ABC staffer Gerald Stone. MWD will examine both reports next week.
In the meantime, MWD is interested in how Gerald Stone once defended the ABC left agenda when he worked for the ABC’s This Day Tonight program – see the article by George Shipp titled “The Impartiality of TDT: Pretence or Reality?” which was published in the May/June 1971 issue of Quadrant – here.
● NICE MR SCOTT’S MOST RECENT DELUSIONS – AS TOLD TO THE SATURDAY PAPER AND THE AFR
According to MWD’s count, a total of 10 of The Saturday Paper’s 32 pages last week consisted of full-page or half-page advertisements. Including two advertising Professor Morry Schwartz’s Black Inc publications.
The remaining 22 pages included an incredibly boring interview with managing director Mark Scott by former ABC broadcaster and board member Ramona Koval. The highlight occurred when Nice Mr Scott told Ms Koval: “The Murdochs will look after their shareholders and I’ll look after ours.”
Which raises a fascinating issue. News Corp’s shareholders at least get to vote on who should be chairman. But, pray tell MWD’s avid readers, how do they get to exercise their rights as “shareholders” with respect to Nice Mr Scott and his chairman James Spigelman QC?
The ABC managing director and editor-in-chief was also interviewed by Jennifer Hewett for yesterday’s Australian Financial Review. The highlight of this interview occurred when Nice Mr Scott revealed that ABC management has commissioned researchers to brief ABC staff on how “to make sure we are not just covering matters that might be important to us or the people we saw on the weekend or that we heard at a dinner party”.
Brilliant, don’t you think? The ABC is employing researchers to brief staff as to the world which exists outside their besties and fellow dinner party guests. Can you bear it?
● THE AGE’S ANTI-CATHOLIC SECTARIANISM: A CONTINUING SAGA
Cardinal George Pell was not referred to in The Age yesterday on the opinion page or in the editorial. And there was only a fleeting reference to Pell on the Letters Page which was not critical of the Cardinal.
Nevertheless, the Guardian-on-the-Yarra still managed to run a Dyson cartoon mocking Cardinal Pell. Here it is:
Can you bear it?
● AGE READERS BARRACK FOR PRESIDENT PUTIN (KGB Retd)
While on the subject of The-Guardian-on-the-Yarra, how about The Age’s Comment page last Tuesday?
The topic of the day was titled “Crimea Crisis”. John Lewis (Port Melbourne) said that Vladimir Putin’s actions in Crimea were not wrong. David Griffiths (Daylesford, of course) blamed the United States (of course). Ditto Rob Park (Surrey Hills). Ditto Bill Thomas (Cabramatta) who got The Age to run his missive from Sydney bagging the US and sneering at the Australian Army.
Michael Gamble (Belmont, thank God) criticised Russia. But the rest of The Age’s letter writers were pro-Putin, pro-Russia and primarily anti-US. And all were blokes. Can you bear it?
During his appearance before the Senate Environment and Communications Legislation Committee on 25 February 2014, ABC managing director and editor-in-chief Mark Scott declared “we do apologise and we do correct”. Nice Mr Scott added: “We will be happy to run corrections and clarifications because we take our accuracy very seriously”. He said that the ABC is “about to revamp” its “correction site”.
This suggests that the ABC will place corrections/clarifications on its website and will continue to refrain from making on-air corrections for the overwhelming majority of its howlers. How convenient.
MWD has decided to list some of the howlers put to air by the ABC and to keep MWD readers informed as to whether corrections/clarifications have been made by Nice Mr Scott’s team and placed on the ABC’s website – in a format modelled on the corrections/clarifications section which appears on Page 2 of many newspapers. Here we go:
THE FOUR CORNERS “UNHOLY SILENCE” (STILL UNCORRECTED) ERROR
On Monday 2 July 2012, Four Corners screened a program titled “Unholy Silence” concerning child sexual abuse in the Catholic dioceses of Armidale and Parramatta. The program was the work of journalist Geoff Thompson and producer Mary Ann Jolley.
In introducing “Unholy Silence”, Four Corners presenter Kerry O’Brien claimed that the Catholic Church had been involved in a “cover-up” concerning this case. In his comments at the end of the program, Kerry O’Brien again accused the Catholic Church of an institutional “cover-up”.
Following the Four Corners program, the Catholic dioceses of Armidale and Parramatta commissioned an independent inquiry to look into the “processes related to the management of ‘F’ who has been the subject of media reports in relations to allegations of abuse of children”. “F” was the priest of the Armidale diocese who, for a period of time worked as a priest in the Parramatta diocese, concerning whom allegations of sexual assault had been made.
Former Federal Court judge, The Honourable Antony Whitlam QC, was appointed to undertake the inquiry. Mr Whitlam is not a Catholic. His detailed report – which was released on 17 January 2013 – ran for 60 pages.
Antony Whitlam QC concluded that he had no doubt that “F” was guilty of the most vile sexual abuse of Damien Jurd and Daniel Powell – both of whom committed suicide when they were 28 years old. However, in relation to the Four Corners program, Antony Whitlam QC made a number of findings.
▪ Mr Whitlam found that “F” had not made admissions concerning his behaviour to two senior priests – as claimed by Four Corners – and that “there was no ‘cover-up’ back in 1992”. In other words, Kerry O’Brien’s introduction to “Unholy Silence” and his concluding comments were found by Mr Whitlam to be false.
▪ Mr Whitlam also found that Four Corners did “mix up events concerning Daniel Powell”. Paragraph 158 of the Report Commissioned By The Bishops Of Armidale And Parramatta Into Processes Related To The Management of “F” concluded as follows:
The Four Corners reporter wrongly suggested that a report by a nun of an incident involving “F” and an altar boy at Merrylands precipitated the meeting on 3 September 1992. This error was compounded by the reporter on the 7.30 Report who implied that “F”’s abuse of Daniel was discussed at that meeting. Daniel [Jurd] never made any allegations against “F” until 2002.
Antony Whitlam QC’s report was published in January 2013 – over a year ago. Yet, as at 14 March 2014, the ABC has not corrected or clarified the transcript of the “Unholy Silence” program which is on the taxpayer funded public broadcaster’s website – despite the findings of a well-regarded and high profile QC.
Also, the ABC has still not explained why Four Corners refused to run Cardinal George Pell’s comment made to “Unholy Silence” that he was not responsible for the dioceses of Armidale or Parramatta – since, as Archbishop of Sydney, he was only responsible to the Pope for the archdiocese of Sydney.
Not only did Four Corners fail to report Cardinal Pell’s statement in “Unholy Silence”. More seriously, it cut George Pell’s extended interview – which is on the ABC’s website – from around 30 minutes to around 20 minutes. This is part of the extract from the Pell interview which was censored by Four Corners :
Geoff Thompson: Aren’t you the appropriate authority [with respect to the dioceses of Armidale and Parramatta]?
Cardinal Pell : No. No, see, I am not general manager of Australia [for the Catholic Church]. I am not the grand inquisitor. In the Church there is something like a division of powers that there is in a democracy – legislative, executive and judicial. In the Church, separated in certain dioceses, religious orders and each diocese are responsible to Rome for itself. Religious orders have significant independence from bishops. Apart from some public activities, a bishop can’t order a religious order to do something. But I do agree these particular agencies have an obligation to give out basic truth.
On 17 August 2012 Mary Ann Jolley wrote to Gerard Henderson advising that Four Corners stood by its decision to cut – without acknowledgement – the extended Four Corners/George Pell interview which appears on the ABC website. The letter concluded as follows:
Regarding the online interview with Cardinal Pell – all Four Corners online interviews are edited for duration reasons. In this instance, approximately 10 minutes was cut from the full interview. The program stands by its editing and believes it fairly reflects the range of answers provided by Cardinal Pell to questions posed by Four Corners.
Mary Ann Jolley
In fact, Four Corners deleted one of Cardinal Pell’s key statements. Gerard Henderson asked ABC spokesman Michael Millett whether Mark Scott agreed that Four Corners should have “cut” Cardinal Pell’s response “for duration reasons”. Mr Millett advised that Mark Scott approved of the decision.
Mr Scott’s spokesperson declined to offer any rationalisation for the Four Corners’ act of censorship and indicated that he did not know much about the issue. Writing in Eureka Street on 21 January 2013, Fr Frank Brennan S.J. also drew attention to the error in the “Unholy Silence” program due to the ABC’s editing of Cardinal Pell’s comments.
In view of Mark Scott’s declaration to the Senate Estimates Committee on 25 February 2014 that the ABC will “revamp” its correction processes, MWD will monitor the results. In particular:
● Will the ABC now acknowledge the Honourable Antony Whitlam QC’s report and correct the errors which he identified in the “Unholy Silence”?
● Will the ABC now end its continuing censorship of what Cardinal Pell told Geoff Thompson by putting the entire unedited interview on the ABC website?
MWD will keep you posted.
FLANN O’BRIEN GONG FOR LITERARY SLUDGE
PROFESSOR RAIMOND GAITA WINS AGAIN
It’s back!!!!! – under a slightly new name – due to the enormous demand of hundreds of thousands of avid MWD readers. The inaugural winner of this prize in October 2011 – then termed the “Brian O’Nolan Gong for Literary Sludge” – was Professor Raimond Gaita (See MWD Issue 116). Of course. And the second winner is, wait for it, Professor Raimond Gaita. Of course.
But, first, some background. Nancy’s (male) co-owner is a great fan of the Irish writer Brian O’Nolan (aka Flann O’Brien) – born 5 October 1911, died April Fool’s Day 1966. He had a lot going for him. Flann O’Brien liked a drink and he disliked the Fianna Fail founder and later prime minister and president of Ireland Eamon de Valera. O’Brien wrote most of his books, essays and articles while working in the Irish Public Service. Nancy’s (male) co-owner, having spent four years in the Commonwealth Public Service in Australia, can feel his pain.
Your man O’Brien was a strident critic of literary types who wrote incomprehensible prose, poetry and the like. A warrior against literary sludge. In one of his columns in The Irish Times, Flann O’Brien wrote this about the confused poet and political advocate Ezra Pound under the title “Literary Criticism”:
By Flann O’Brien
My grasp of what he wrote and meant
Was only five or six %
The rest was only words and sound –
My reference is to Ezra £
Last time round, Rai Gaita won MWD’s most prestigious award for his latest book titled After Romulus (Text, 2011). In his introduction, your man Gaita conceded that chapters in his book are “difficult” to read and asked his readers to “read them slowly”. According to the learned professor, the reader who has “skipped” the difficult passages should return to the task and may well find “that they are not as foreign and therefore not as difficult as they had seemed in first reading”. Really. This is nothing but a rationalisation for writing sludge for which Dr Gaita (for a doctor he is) was handsomely rewarded in 2011.
The judge (for it was just one) became particularly impressed by Professor Gaita’s earth-shattering revelation that it is a “fact” that “many people wonder whether there is such a thing as someone who really is”. Wow. What a mind. And so on.
MWD Issue 215 reported that Rai Gaita had recently enlisted his besties Robert Manne, Arnold Zable and Helen Garner to campaign against the proposed construction of a chicken factory on the Moolort Plains in Victoria. This is close to the area where young Rai grew up – as readers of Romulus My Father will know, if they survived the experience.
As Jason Steger put it in his literary gossip column in The Saturday Age on 22 February 2014, the Moolort Plains affected the mood and tone of Gaita’s book Romulus, My Father. Rai Gaita claims that the Moolort Plains landscape affected “even, I believe, the rhythm of its sentences”. Wow, again. The Moolort Plains obviously have a big landscape footprint since, in Who’s Who in Australia, Professor Gaita lists his abode as Fitzroy in inner-city Melbourne. In other words, Sandalista Central.
Nancy’s (male) co-owner was about to sign up to the Keep Baringhup Clean campaign – in order to preserve the rhythm of future Gaita sentences by leaving the Moolort Plains alone. And then he decided to have a listen to Lecture 3, titled “The Voice of the Academy in the Conservation of Citizens”, in the Herbert & Valmae Freilich Foundation 2013 Eminent Lecture Series at the taxpayer subsidised Australian National University. This was broadcast on the ABC Radio National Big Ideas program on 22 October 2013 and can be downloaded as an audio.
After listening to the learned professor’s turgid lecture, Nancy’s (male) co-owner came to the conclusion that the more chicken factories that are built on the Moolort Plains the better. This may be the only way to kill the (alleged) rhythm of the sentences evident in your man Gaita’s Freilich Foundation’s lecture – which ran for close to an hour on Radio National – and, consequently, strike a blow against future literary sludge.
Professor Gaita’s lecture ran for some 7500 words. In addition a mere 300 words spoken by presenter ABC Radio National presenter Paul Barclay and the total number of words spoken in the two questions that were broadcast amounted to 250 words.
Rai Gaita is Australia’s Philosopher King. In this capacity, he does not need to discuss facts. In his “The Voice of the Academy in the Conversation of Citizens” lecture, Gaita only referred to 17 individuals. Including Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, John Stuart Mill, Martin Luther, John Henry Newman, Matthew Arnold, Hannah Arendt and Roy Holland (Dr Gaita’s Ph.D. supervisor). That’s one person for every 440 words. For the rest, it was only words and sound.
Now read and judge the influence of the Moolort Plains on your man Gaita’s prose. Here are some highlights – starting, of course, at the beginning – of his Freilich Foundation address in the ANU’s “Eminent Lecturer Series”.
Raimond Gaita: Now I think it’s implausible to think that an obligation to be prepared to think anything – and to proclaim its results publicly – can be derived from reflection on a career in the degraded and servile institutions that are now called universities. If one wants to render even plausible the claim that an academic is obliged to be prepared to think anything, then I think one needs to appeal to a tradition of thought about universities that is now barely recognisable to us. And that, at any rate, is what I want to argue today. One might, of course, appeal to a conception of what it is to be a real free thinker that stands independently of institutions. Socrates would then be a striking example.
Brilliant, to be sure. But precisely what is the learned professor on about? His introductory sentences are all but meaningless. But it gets worse.
Raimond Gaita: Well, the best thought, I think, about the university was not about a platonic form of it, nor was it about an historical paradigm. It was thought that it was in work with a distinctive form of the life of the mind that universities nourished. Thought in dialogue with a history of reflection that goes back at least to Socrates. It was that historical death, rather than a metaphysical essence or a historical paradigm, that ensured fertile reflection upon one historically accidental form of the life of the mind – the academic form.
And that same quiet contingent, historical death, also secured for the concept some distance from times and places to make it possible for thinkers to judge – whether they did it rightly or wrongly doesn’t matter to my point – to judge that their desires, their purposes, their aspirations and even the spirit of the times were faithful or faithless to the idea of a university. Which, though often expressed in the singular, was of course never just one thing. This is thought of a kind that can deepen without limit and can never be exhausted by a set of definitions focused on the purpose of such institutions.
Well, it’s good to know not to think about a university with reference to a “platonic form” or an “historical paradigm”. And it’s helpful to know at what is called “the idea of a university” is really more than one idea. But that’s about it. Let’s take another grab from The Thought of Raimond Gaita.
Raimond Gaita: For a long time, I believe, we’ve been bereft of a common understanding that would enable us to give authoritative voice to a conception, positive and deep, of the value of academic forms of the life of the mind. I’ve a passion for philosophy and – until back trouble set in – I had it for mountaineering as well. Both yield higher pleasures. But quite rightly the taxpayer does not pay for both.
If intrinsic value of university studies is nothing more serious than the pleasures that accompany the disciplined exercise of the powers of the mind, then it’s right that serious people should look to their extrinsic benefits, be they political or economic.
The reasons we academics find it difficult to argue persuasively for a more serious conception of the intrinsic value of study is not because philistines dominate our audience – nor is it because of the effects of unemployment on students or the effects of market driven policies on staff and courses. Such economic and political factors are important but, like their expression in managerial speak, their impact on the university is as much effect as it is cause of our inarticulacy.
In the ’60s, the universities were vulnerable to the call that they serve their requirements of political idealism. They are now vulnerable to the pressures to serve the economic imperatives of the nation.
No names, no pack-drill here. If, according to Rai Gaita, universities are now vulnerable to pressure to serve Australia’s “economic imperatives” – how come that someone offered your man Gaita a university job and a platform to deliver his incomprehensible message? Now, let’s hear more from Down Under’s very own Philosopher King:
Raimond Gaita: Socratic philosophy has no end in both senses of that word. It’s not an enquiry that could end in a discovery that would, at least in principle, settle the question he asks about his life – how should one live? And though it had profound significance, it’s significance did not lie in the fact that it satisfied a purpose. Not one that he set himself or one set for him by his psychology – by the psychological conditions of identity, for example.
Nor is he in the grip of a compulsion from which he is unable to free himself even if he wanted to. If he were in the grip of a compulsion, if that was the way of explaining the cannot when he says he cannot give up philosophy, if he were it would make sense for someone who thought that perhaps he’s obsessively focused on one thing and should have a more rounded life. That he should “get a life”, as we put it. To ask him to try at least for a time what he says he can’t do.
But to think like that is like thinking that Luther – as I put it last week – that Luther was simply psychologically nailed to the spot when he said: “Here I stand, I could do no other”, that perhaps he should try to do what he said he cannot do, that it might not be as hard as he thought, or perhaps he should take therapy so that he would be less anal about his principles. Rather than think we can explain our sense of such necessities by reference to our desires, needs and preferences, we should think of our desires, needs and preferences – and also our sense of who we are – are sometimes transformed by values that are sui generis and to which such necessities are intrinsic.
Gosh. At last a name. Martin Luther, to wit. Your man Gaita reckons that the Rev. Luther was a bit too anal for his own good and should have taken therapy. Brilliant advice to be sure, since it may have stopped the Protestant Reformation. But, like many a taxpayer subsidised academic, Dr Gaita arrived too late to proffer advice to the Rev. Luther – around half a millennium late. That’s all. Now let’s take another grab from your man Gaita:
Raimond Gaita: And I think I’m now in a position to attend to a question that I suspect might have been forming in your minds. Why don’t we just abandon sterile discussion about what counts as a university and focus on what we want for particular institutions of higher education in this or that place? Well, here’s an answer towards it, or a gesture towards an answer. Ethical necessities and impossibilities, of the kind I mentioned earlier, are inseparable from any idea of intrinsic value that could seriously answer Callicles’s challenge….
My sense of the university was partly formed by having been educated as an undergraduate in a university in which actually a sense of obligation to public was very strong – the University of Melbourne in the ’60s when I was there. That’s not at all inconsistent with the point – to put it most weakly – not inconsistent with the point that I made that the most distinctive public responsibility of a university is to, as it were, to protect students for a time from the pressures of worldliness.
At the moment, I mean universities are being transformed by their connection to the world. I mean when I think back, as it were, to my own upbringing, you know, at university it would’ve just been inconceivable that universities could have the connections to the military and to business and so on that they – nobody could believe that there could be such a time and the institution still be called a university. But the greatest threat, that seems to me, to academic autonomy is not power of these institutions, it’s their immensely attractive urbanity. Speaking the truth to urbanity is a more difficult thing for academics these days than speaking truth to power.
So Rai Gaita toyed with the idea of abandoning his self-confessed “sterile discussion” about what is a university. But he rejected the idea and, instead he went on and on. And on. The learned professor was banging on about the need to speak truth to urbanity, when Nancy’s (male) co-owner realised that he just could not take it anymore. So he adopted the Flann O’Brien habit and went for a pint and an Irish whisky chaser. On more than one occasion.
It worked. When drunk, Rai Gaita’s literary sludge, bereft of names and places, seems full of wisdom and insight – so much so that the listener can almost hear the wind passing over the Moolort Plains. It’s only, when sober, that listeners realise the reason why they cannot understand the learned professor turns on the fact that he is truly incomprehensible. Which lead Nancy’s (male) co-owner to pen this ode under the title “Literary Sludge”:
by Nancy’s (Male) Co-owner
I can’t put up with all this crap
Can’t even work out where he’s at
Must quit now – so see you later
The reference is to your man Gaita
Complete stranger comes up to me: that Gerard Henderson’s a xxxxxx.
– Jonathan Green via Twitter, 8 February 2014
“[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.