21 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.



    Film maker Anna Broinowski’s latest documentary Aim High in Creation! premieres at the Melbourne International Film Festival in July. No surprise there. As usual with such endeavours, Aim High in Creation! has received taxpayer funds from the Australian Government, the NSW Government, Screen NSW, the Victorian Government, Film Victoria Australia and the South Australian Government. Oh yes, the film is the product of the taxpayer funded Screen Australia and Unicorn Films. [Is that all? – Ed]

    This is how the official blurb describes Anna Broinowski:

    Aim High In Creation! is a revolutionary comedy about the cinematic genius of North Korea’s late Dear Leader Kim Jong-Il, with a ground breaking experiment at its heart: a propaganda film, made according to the rules of his 1987 manifesto The Cinema and Directing.

    Determined to stop a new gas mine near her Sydney home, director Anna Broinowski (Forbidden Lie$) goes to North Korea to learn from the masters of propaganda cinema. In a worldwide first, Pyongyang’s top directors, composers and movie stars take her to script rehearsals, Taekwondo stunt fights, group dances, drunken picnics, and a film shoot on a real-life captured US spy ship – to teach her Kim Jong Il’s techniques.

    Back in Sydney, Anna’s fearless cast follow the North Koreans’ instructions to produce a didactic socialist melodrama, full of song and kick-ass fights, in which “heroic workers” rise up to defeat the “evil, gas-fracking miners.” Through the shared love of cinema, Aim High! forges an astonishing new bond – between North Korea’s hidden filmmakers, and their collaborators in the Free World. Revealing an unexpected truth about the most isolated nation on earth: Filmmakers, no matter where they live – are Family.

    How naive can you get? Anna Broinowski reckons that “film makers, no matter where they live – are Family”. But would she regard Leni Riefenstahl, Adolf Hitler’s film director of choice, as Family? Perhaps not – but no one is asking the director of Aim High In Creation! tough questions at the moment.

    During a soft interview on ABC 1 News Breakfast yesterday (with Beverley O’Connor and Paul Kennedy on the presenters’ couch), Broinowski demonstrated that she is a Princess of Naivety. She even described Kim Jong-Il, the late and unlamented mass murderer and kidnapper, of North Korea, as “the Spielberg of the Eastern Bloc”. Steven Spielberg, no doubt, would disagree.

    Let’s go to the transcript where the film director explains her rationale for making a documentary in a communist totalitarian dictatorship which kills or incarcerates all who disagree with the line of the North Korean Communist Party:

    Beverley O’Connor: Let’s talk about why you, though, wanted to learn these techniques for a propaganda film.

    Anna Broinowski: Yeah, well, at the time that I started to make this film, just 200 metres from my house a company called Dart Energy wanted to drill for coal seam gas in this park – Sydney Park – in the middle of the inner west, one of the most populated areas, I should add, in Sydney. And I thought that was a little bit rich but I didn’t have the billions of dollars needed to fight the propaganda of the coal seam gas industry.

    I thought I’d fight fire with fire with a cheaper version of propaganda which is the North Korean style propaganda. I know it sounds farfetched at first but then one of Kim Jong-il’s first rules was that every great socialist propaganda film must have a capitalist enemy that the film smashes. And I couldn’t think at the time of a better capitalist enemy than the coal seam gas miners that were about to frack near my – near where my daughter went to school. That led me to go to North Korea. I had to educate them about coal seam gas and they educated me how to make a propaganda film in their style.

    So there you have it. Anna Broinowski does not see much difference between Dart Energy (which wanted to explore for coal seam gas in the vicinity of St Peters in inner-city Sydney) and Kim Jong-Il’s propaganda outfit (which is an arm of the oppressive North Korean state).

    Questioned about access, the film director replied:

    Anna Broinowski: …I eventually got it by being honest. I said to them, look, I’m genuinely fascinated by your films. They said, “Yeah, join the queue”. And then I said, “No, no, no, I want to make a film in your style. I want to make a film just about your film industry and not about the human rights abuses, that’s the story I want to tell and I want you to tell me how to do it”. So, when they realised it was a creative collaboration, that suited them at the time. It was useful to them as well.

    Beverley O’Connor let her comment go uncriticised – despite the fact that Anna Broinowski had admitted that Aim High In Creation! is helpful to the North Korean dictatorship. Anna Broinowski then proceeded to describe how she had agreed to act in a North Korean propaganda film:

    Anna Broinowski: We were given the kind of access no one to my knowledge has ever had before. Not only did I film three North Korean films being made – one of them a military thriller on a real life captured US spy ship in the middle of the Taedong River – but I ended up acting in one of their movies. Because Western females are very slim on the ground.

    Beverley O’Connor: [interjecting] Were you the enemy?

    Anna Broinowski: Oh yes. They cast me. They wrote me a cameo as an evil American secretary in a tenpin bowling alley of all things and I ended up finding as my “husband” a six foot four Caucasian man called Mr Dresnok who was North Korean, born and bred. He ended up, I found out, being the son of a GI Joe Dresnok who’d escaped to North Korea in the ’60s and Kim Jong-il had put him to work ever since as the bad guys in their movies.

    Then Anna Broinowski proceeded to white-wash North Korea by suggesting that it was a bit like – well, Sydney Park – with its nice directors and actors and the like. Let’s return to the transcript:

    Beverley O’Connor: So, how do you see North Korea now?

    Anna Broinowski: I, look, the first thing that struck me – I mean, obviously, I had the same picture that everyone has, of skeletons and gulags and labour camps and brainwashed citizens when I first got there. And within three hours of meeting Pyongyang’s top movie stars and directors and actors, I was really surprised. Pleasantly so, within three hours of meeting them, we were getting drunk and they were telling anti-Soviet jokes and they were singing songs and I think the first thing that struck me was their resilience, their sense of humour, their warmth, their generosity. And I think that’s what I was trying to do with my film, was just point my camera at North Koreans, as opposed to the regime.

    In other words, it’s a bit like home. North Koreans love their kids – and they have the Kim Jong-Il family dictatorship. Australians love our kids – and we’ve got Tony Abbott.

    So here we have Anna Broinowski sucking up to the North Korean state controlled film industry – with the help of bucket loads of Australian taxpayers’ funds.

    The entire interview passed without anyone mentioning the recent United Nations Human Rights Council’s Report on the commission of inquiry on human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, which was chaired by former Australian High Court judge Michael Kirby. Mr Kirby’s commission found that “systematic, widespread and gross human rights violations have been and are being committed” by North Korea.

    Needless to say, the UN Report will not get a mention in Anna Broinowski’s Aim High In Creation!. But an abandoned proposal to explore for coal seam gas under Sydney Park will.

    Vladimir Lenin is said to have described members of the Western intelligentsia who flirted with communism as “useful idiots”. If he did not say this, he should have. Anna Broinowski’s taxpayer subsidised Aim High In Creation! explains why.



    Can you bear it graphic


    What a stunning piece by Mike Carlton in his Sydney Morning Herald column last Saturday.

    It was not so long ago – 23 July 2011, in fact – that your man Carlton used his column to condemn the “puerile, beer-garden insults” which he claimed are constantly used by Australian parliamentarians. So much so that Carlton called Australian MPs a “rotten lot” for engaging in such put-downs.

    Well, this is what Mike (“I’ll pour the gin”) Carlton wrote in “The Sneering Morning Herald” at the weekend.

    ▪ MC described Attorney-General George Brandis QC as “saponaceous” and asserted that on Q&A the previous Monday he looked like a “cane toad”.

    ▪ MC also referred to News Corp columnist Andrew Bolt as “Melbourne’s village idiot”.

    Both of which sound like humourless and unoriginal puerile, beer-garden insults to Nancy’s (male) co-owner. Can you bear it?


    This is what Prime Minister Julia Gillard said during her interview on Channel Ten News at 5 on 16 August 2010:

    Julia Gillard: There will be no carbon tax under the government I lead. What we will do is we will tackle the challenge of climate change. We’ve invested record amounts in solar and renewable technologies. Now I want to build the transmission lines that will bring that clean, green energy into the national electricity grid. I also want to make sure we have no more dirty coal-fired power stations. I want to make sure we’re driving greener cars and working from greener buildings. I will be delivering those things, and leading our national debate to reach a consensus about putting a cap on carbon pollution.

    That was the statement in its entirety. There was no qualification to the “there will be no carbon tax” promise.

    This is what Jonathan Green wrote in his book The Year My Politics Broke (MUP, 2013) concerning Julia Gillard and the carbon tax promise on Network 10 in August 2010 :

    We shouldn’t forget that [Julia] 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.

    There is no evidence that Ms Gillard ever qualified her “there will be no carbon tax” promise by stating that she was “determined to put a price on carbon”. It appears that your man Green just made this up.

    An extensive Google search fails to reveal that such a statement was ever made by Julia Gillard. Moreover, neither Ms Gillard nor any of her advisers have ever claimed that the former Labor prime minister made such a qualifying statement.

    Jonathan Green – the ABC’s man-for-all-programs – is invariably heard on the ABC, or read in print, discussing all matters of subjects. However, Mr Green refuses to produce evidence for the quote which is located on Page 141 of The Year My Politics Broke or to answer questions on the matter. This from an ABC presenter who is in receipt of taxpayer funds to demand answers from others. Can you bear it?

    [I note that the very same Jonathan Green appeared on ABC 1 News Breakfast on 13 March 2014 – where, in a discussion on the print media, he referred dismissively to “certain people that do stuff on dead trees”. This from a chap whose The Year My Politics Broke is printed on dead trees. As the saying goes – or went – Can you bear it? – Ed.]



    What a truly touching introduction to Professor Greg Barton, of Monash University, by ABC 1 News Breakfast co-presenter Virginia Trioli last Monday. La Trioli referred to Barton as a “terrorism expert” in her lead-in to the “Newspapers” segment of the ABC 1 News Breakfast program.

    Initially, discussion focused on the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. MWD assumes that the category of “terrorism expert” means that the person in question has an established record of expertise concerning terrorism.

    Now here’s a flashback to 17 April 2013 – when Dr Barton (for a doctor he is) appeared on ABC’s News Breakfast program to discuss the bombs that exploded at the end of last year’s Boston Marathon. Initially, Barton speculated that “it very likely could be a home-grown right-wing group” and found it significant that the attack “occurred on Patriots’ Day”. Let’s go to the transcript:


    Virginia Trioli: And the dates are significant to you as well – aren’t they?

    Greg Barton: Yeah. This occurred on Patriots’ Day…the date of the Waco Siege and, for that reason, it was also chosen by Timothy McVeigh for his attack on Oklahoma City. And probably the link with Patriot’s Day and right-wing extremists who claim to be patriots in a revolution may be significant, in fact, if it turned out to be a domestic group.

    Virginia Trioli: If it turns out to be a domestic group – do you think that’s where the law enforcement agencies are heading as well because they’re being very, very circumspect in what they’re saying?

    Greg Barton: And the President [Barack Obama] in particular has been very careful. He’s come out today and said that there was a terrorist attack, but yesterday he wasn’t saying that. From his point of view, umm, he would be well advised to be very cautious anyway – particularly in the wake of the embarrassment about the Benghazi attacks and premature statements, and even premature statements after the Bin Laden attack. But also because it is interesting [sic] – right-wing extremists, we know there’s a history of right-wing extremists who say they want to kill an African-American president – they don’t believe he should be in the White House. And, so, it’s a very personal thing if that’s the case – so he has to tread carefully lest it’s just seen to be personal bias.

    Michael Rowland: Assuming it’s a group and not a lone wolf individual, how well organised are these right-wing and for that matter radical left-wing groups in the States?

    Greg Barton: Well with Timothy McVeigh he wasn’t alone but it was a pretty small group as far as we know. Of course his execution means we don’t really know as much as we should. There’s actually probably more grass roots support for right-wing extremism than there is for Islamist extremism. Muslim Americans have been conspicuous by their absence in terror plots. It’s mostly been outsiders who have come in over the last decade. These right-wing groups – we see them above ground with the Tea Party, which of course is benign but silly. But underground we find similar large structures and conspiracy theory and paranoia and in some cases a propensity to violence. And that’s the concern – there could be quite a large structure below the surface of the ground.

    So there you have it. On 17 April 2013, Greg Barton clearly implied that the terrorists who targeted the Boston Marathon were right-wing extremists and even made a gratuitous reference to the Tea Party. Dr Barton also maintained that there is more grass-roots support for right-wing extremism in the United States than for Islamist extremism.

    On 21 April 2013, US authorities arrested the Chechen-born Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and charged him with the Boston Marathon bombings. His brother Tamerlan Tsarnaev was killed when attempting to evade arrest. On the available evidence, the brothers were radical Islamists at the time of the Boston Marathon bombings and committed an act of terrorism. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is currently awaiting trial in the US.

    The Boston Marathon bombing was not the only attack on the United States by Islamist Americans in recent times.

    ▪ On 5 November 2009, Nidal Malik Hasan, a US Army officer, shot and killed 13 individuals on the Fort Hood army base in Texas. He has been found guilty of murder.

    ▪ On 1 May 2010, the Pakistan-born American citizen Faisal Shahzad failed in his attempt to ignite a car bomb in New York’s Times Square. He pleaded guilty to attempting an act of terrorism.

    Clearly, Greg Barton’s claim – on 17 April 2013 – that “Muslim Americans have been conspicuous by their absence in terror plots” was not accurate. But, less than a year later, Virginia Trioli is still promoting your man Barton as a terrorism expert. Can you bear it?


    A Linda Mottram Moment



    Due to enormous popular demand, this hugely popular segment of MWD resumes in 2014.

    Yesterday, on ABC Radio 702’s Mornings with Linda Mottram program, discussion turned on the decision of the NSW government to sell valuable flats and houses near Sydney Harbour. Much of this public housing has been occupied by members of the same family for decades and some of this requires very expensive repairs and renovation. Pru Goward, the NSW Minister for Community Services, wants to sell this public housing and use the proceeds to construct new public housing elsewhere which could house many more eligible people at a lower individual cost.

    Following a discussion with Elizabeth Farrelly yesterday, 702 presenter Linda Mottram called for comments. A certain retired medical doctor named Dr John phoned to express his rage at the decision of Barry O’Farrell’s Coalition government. Dr John happens to have a private home in Millers Point – apparently he bought a derelict house from the NSW government a decade ago when he moved from Wahroonga to be close to the Sydney CBD. Let’s go to the transcript as Dr John really loses it – with a little encouragement from Linda Mottram.

    Dr John (caller) : This is not prime real-estate. This is an historic area with families living here for generations and generations. This neighbourhood is part of the fabric of this city – which I’m feeling very ashamed of at the moment, I might add. I saw neighbours walking out with pieces of paper in their hands yesterday, that were delivered under their doors, saying they were going to be evicted: crying, children crying coming home from school [saying] : “What’s happening Mum, what’s happening Dad?”

    And this is a farce that people are living here [and] not working. My next door neighbour is a teacher, her husband is a musician – they pay market rent for their house. I am livid at this government, this fascist government. That they should tear apart my community, my community – Linda. I’m offended.

    Linda Mottram: John, I’ve got a lot of other calls I’ve got to take. You points are very strong and very well made thank you very much for calling. Very much appreciated.

    Dr John (caller): Well I do take offence at this mammon, this greed of the world and this government today.

    Linda Mottram: Okay, good point. Thank you very much, John.

    Yes, thank you Dr John. Dr John believes that he should have been able to buy into Millers Point but others should not. He also believes (i) that families should live in taxpayer subsidised public housing for generations and generations and (ii) that a teacher/musician couple should be able to access public housing provided they pay market rent – overlooking the fact that maintenance costs for these historic properties are met by the taxpayer. If the properties are purchased by a private vendor then the current costs for repairs and renovations will no longer be borne by the taxpayer.

    And thank you Linda – who referred to Dr John’s “very strong” and “good” points. Which included the claim that Premier Barry O’Farrell presides over a “fascist government” and that his government is into “greed”.

    Verily, a Linda Mottram Moment. [You must do more on this segment. I imagine that you have some unused Linda Mottram Moments on file. If so, use them soonest – Ed]


    five paws graphic



    Michael Whelan’s thoughtful letter was published in The Age’s Green Guide yesterday.

    I’m curious how Q&A determines the political allegiances of its audience. At the start of each program the percentages shown assure us the audience consists of roughly the same proportions from either side of politics. Yet it’s the left-leaning statements that consistently get the most frequent (and loudest) share of the applause. Are ”lefties” just more demonstrative?

    – Michael Whelan, Kilsyth

    Good question. As MWD readers will know, there is an answer.

    According to Q&A, the composition of the audience on Monday 10 March 2014 was as follows:

    Coalition: 48 per cent

    Labor: 36 per cent

    Greens: 12 per cent

    Yet listening to and watching the audience barrack against Attorney-General George Brandis QC and mock any reference to News Corp columnist Andrew Bolt, it would seem that a clear majority of the audience was in the Green/Left camp. How come?

    Well, the political composition of the Q&A audience is self-declared on Q&A’s “Join the Studio Audience” form which is online (see here). As Q&A producer has admitted to MWD, nobody’s application is fact-checked. If you claim to be a Coalition supporter, you will be listed as a Coalition supporter – even if you are a member of the Green Left Weekly’s editorial board – and make up part of the Coalition quota.

    In view of the fact that nearly all Q&A programs are recorded live at the ABC TV studio in Sydney’s inner-city Ultimo headquarters, where there is quite a queue of inner-city leftists attempting to gain admission,the best way for a Sandalista Central green activist to get a seat is to take off your (his/her) Che Guevara tee-shirt and put on a shirt and abandon sandals for the occasion by donning sensible shoes. Then, tell Q&A that you vote for Tony Abbott and/or Barnaby Joyce and a seat will invariably be provided to fill-up the (alleged) Coalition quota.

    Michael Whelan – Five Paws for drawing attention to the evident inconsistency between the stated “balance” of the Q&A audience and the real thing.





    The Sunday Age last weekend contained a column by Melbourne writer Anson Cameron titled “Mr Abbott, keep God out of politics”. Mr Cameron is angry that, in recent times, Prime Minister Tony Abbott has made some references to God. Really.

    MWD cannot recall Anson Cameron writing angry columns in “The-Guardian-on-the-Yarra” when Kevin Rudd wrote an article on the Rev Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945) during the time he was Opposition leader or about Mr Rudd doing media door-stops outside St John’s Anglican Church in Reid when he was prime minister. But, then, Mr Rudd professed a Protestant, not a Catholic, faith – and The Guardian-on-the-Yarra types seem obsessed with Catholicism.

    The Sunday Age was happy to run the long-time accusation of anti-Catholic sectarians – namely, that Catholics are disloyal to their own country and owe allegiance to a foreign theocratic power – namely the Pope, who is head of the Holy See. Mr Cameron referred to:

    …the long-standing suspicion of Catholicism in the many bygone kingdoms of Europe, her newer democracies, and in this country. Are you for Rome or Canberra?

    Anson Cameron continued:

    In the US, it’s a relative banality to namecheck God. The demographics demand each side of politics does it, whether they believe or not. But in Australia, namechecking God might be seen as a type of wedge issue. Labor is more atheist than the Coalition. The founding philosophers of socialism were almost all atheists. So to claim God’s imprimatur in this country might be seen as a charge to higher ground, a place Abbott knows Labor cannot, with any sincerity, follow.

    But the position for many Australians is that when you keep your god where democracy says he belongs, cosseted in his churches, we are able to ignore him. Once he is to be used as an instrument of policy, a trump card to end debate, our only option is to refute His truth. You have now brought your god to war, as it were.

    In his rush to fill “The Guardian-on-the-Yarra”’s anti-Catholic sectarianism quota, Anson Cameron overlooked the long association between the Labor Party and the Catholic Church (especially in NSW) and with Methodism. He also ignored the fact that many religious figures, who criticise Australia’s essentially bipartisan policy on border protection, are Christians who evoke God (with a capital “G”). Apparently, according to Cameron it is okay for a Christian to refer to God in support of asylum seekers but not at all okay for a Catholic to refer to God in support of forestry industry workers.



    Due to enormous demand from avid MWD readers, this new feature is designed to contest mythology – old and new.


    Lisa Wilkinson Gets the 1967 Referendum Wrong.

    This is what Lisa Wilkinson had to say on Q&A on Monday 10 March 2014 concerning the 1967 constitutional referendum.

    Lisa Wilkinson: The fact that Indigenous Australia is not represented in the Constitution at the moment takes my breath away. But it also takes my breath away that it was only [in] 1967 that Aborigines got the vote. So we have a lot of making up to do – and the sooner that happens, the more comfortable I would be.

    This is a myth. The 1967 referendum on Aborigines had nothing to do with giving Aborigines the chance to vote. In fact, many Aborigines voted in the 1967 referendum. The 1967 referendum was about counting Aborigines in the Census and giving the Commonwealth Government the power to make laws with respect to Aborigines.

    This is the question which Australians were asked to answer on 27 May 1967:

    Do you approve the proposed law for the alteration of the Constitution entitled “An Act to alter the Constitution” so as to omit certain words relating to the People of the Aboriginal race in any state so that Aboriginals are to be counted in reckoning the Population?

    The effect of this change to the Constitution was to give the Commonwealth Government power, under Section 51, to make laws with respect to Aborigines. The referendum also had the effect of repealing Section 127 which had entailed that “Aboriginal natives” were not to be counted when reckoning “the numbers of the people of the Commonwealth or of a State”.

    That’s all. Contrary to Ms Wilkinson’s claim on Q&A, the 1967 referendum had nothing to do with the voting rights of Aborigines.

    Marcia Langton Gets the 1999 Referendum Wrong

    Then discussion turned to the 1999 referendum on whether Australia should become a republic. This is what Professor Marcia Langton had to say:

    Marcia Langton: And I would like to say that I remember the Republican referendum….Well, I’m a republican and I did not vote for that proposition because the wrong question was put to Australians., Because, if you remember the time, it was very likely if the proposition that was the question put by the Government had succeeded, it was very likely that Pauline Hanson would be our Head of State. Because one in four Australians were voting for her at the time.

    This is a myth. The 1999 referendum did not offer voters the chance to elect Australia’s head of state if Australia had become a republic. In fact, many Australians voted “No” because they wanted a directly elected head of state which was not provided for in the referendum. This is the question which Australians were asked to answer on 6 November 1999:

    A Proposed Law: To alter the Constitution to establish the Commonwealth of Australia as a republic with the Queen and Governor-General being replaced by a President appointed by a two-thirds majority of the members of the Commonwealth Parliament.

    Do you approve this proposed alteration?

    If passed, the referendum would have established the Commonwealth of Australia as a republic with its President being appointed by a two-third majority of the members of the Commonwealth Parliament. In 2000, there was no prospect whatsoever that 66 per cent of the Labor, Coalition and Greens parliamentarians, who made up the Commonwealth Parliament, would have voted for Pauline Hanson as president of the republic of Australia. And the proposed change to the Australian Constitution did not enshrine a directly elected president.

    Contrary to Professor Langton’s claim on Q&A on 10 March 2014, the 1999 referendum had nothing to do with a directly elected president of Australia.


    History Corner



    Last Tuesday’s Sydney Morning Herald contained a report by Tim Barlass of a speech to be made by Harvey Broadbent titled “Gallipoli: A Turkish Perspective” at the Sofitel Sydney on 24 April 2014. This is what Tim Barlass had to say:

    Research based on extensive analysis of Turkish military records will throw a new perspective on the Gallipoli campaign ahead of the commemoration of the centenary of the landings next year.

    It was the disastrous naval operations in the Dardanelles on March 18, 99 years ago, that led to the amphibious landings a month later. In a significant sea victory in which the Ottoman Empire sustained just 118 casualties, the Turkish forces sunk three battleships and damaged another three with mines and artillery and inflicted 700 casualties on the British-French fleet.

    The insight into the landings on April 25 has been gained through research by historian Harvey Broadbent at Macquarie University who, with a team of translators, studied original Turkish Gallipoli documents in Ankara.

    MWD does not want to discourage anyone from rocking up on Anzac Day eve to hear the thoughts of Harvey Broadbent at the Sofitel Sydney. However, a brief search in Nancy’s (male) co-owner’s library this morning revealed that the proclaimed “new perspective” is not that new at all.

    The first – and only – book examined was Martin Gilbert’s In Search of Churchill: A Historian’s Journey (HarperCollins, 1994). It contains a chapter titled “The Dardanelles”. Here Churchill’s biographer documented how Churchill “pressed for military as well as naval action” in the Dardanelles. Lord Kitchener, on the other hand, “was emphatic that troops were not needed: the naval attack would do the trick”.

    In the event, a naval attack campaign went ahead. But it did not last for long. As Gilbert recorded, the attack by the British and French navies was called off after several ships hit Turkish mines and 650 men drowned. Churchill attempted to renew the naval action but was not successful. So, on 25 April 1915, a land attack commenced.

    Indeed, Winston Churchill wrote about all this in the second volume of his The World Crisis which was published in 1922 – i.e. some nine decades before Harvey Broadbent’s forthcoming “insight”.


    correspondence header caps



    This segment, much beloved by MWD’s hundreds of thousands of avid readers, usually works like this. Someone or other comes to the view that it would be a you-beaut idea to write to Nancy’s (male) co-owner. And Hendo – being a well brought up courteous kind of guy – responds. Then the correspondence is published in full in MWD – much to the delight of readers.

    Occasionally, however, Gerard Henderson instigates the correspondence – and the recipients of his missives believe it would be a good idea to reply.

    And so it came to pass, that Gerard Henderson decided to email Haydn Keenan – the writer and director of the taxpayer subsidised Persons of Interest documentary which was recently shown, in four parts, on the taxpayer subsidised SBS 1.

    Persons of Interest, the leftist Haydn Keenan’s account of the Australian Security and Intelligence Organisation (ASIO), was analysed by Gerard Henderson in his Weekend Australian column on 11-12 January 2014 and in MWD Issues 212 and 213.

    As a humble taxpayer, Nancy’s male co-owner decided to write to the taxpayer subsidised Mr Keenan with a view to obtaining the script of the four part documentary. It seemed like a simple request. Until Mr Keenan responded that he did not possess an accurate script and wondered just how much Hendo might pay for the production of one.

    In view of the importance of Haydn Keenan’s ASIO documentary, the correspondence is produced in full below:

    Gerard Henderson to Haydn Keenan – 13 March 2014


    I watch your Persons of Interest series on SBS with considerable interest and have written about it both in The Australian and on my Media Watch Dog blog.

    In general I am a supporter of ASIO while I suspect that you are concerned about the organisation’s intrusion into civil liberties. However, I did find much of the material in Persons of Interest of considerable importance with respect to contemporary Australian history.

    I was wondering how I might go about getting a script of the four part program. I would be willing to pay for this. I did make a few of my own transcripts from sections of the documentary but I would like to write up the entire program later in the year and to do this I would need the entire script.

    Please let me know.

    Best wishes


    Haydn Keenan to Gerard Henderson – 17 March 2014

    Dear Gerard,

    Thanks for your enquiry last week. More than happy for you to have a transcript of our series. There’s a fair amount of work in it for me to produce accurate, quality transcripts. What do you suggest it would be worth?


    Haydn Keenan

    Smart Street Films Pty Ltd

    Gerard Henderson to Haydn Keenan – 19 March 2014

    Dear Haydn

    Thanks for your note on St Patrick’s Day in response to my request of 13 March 2014 to obtain “a script of the four part program” Persons of Interest.

    Please excuse my (apparent) ignorance. I just assumed that there would have been an accurate, quality script of Persons of Interest before it aired on SBS 1 earlier this year.

    I thought that Smart Street Films Pty Ltd would have received sufficient funding from Screen Australia and SBS to make it possible for you to prepare a script prior to Persons of Interest going to air.

    What I had in mind was a photocopy/mailing costs. I had no idea that Persons of Interest (apparently) went to air without an accurate quality script and that it would cost (presumably) a substantial amount of money to prepare same.

    But there you go.

    Best wishes



    MWD will keep you updated if there are any developments in Haydn Keenan’s search for an accurate script of Persons of Interest which apparently aired on SBS1 in a sans-script state.

    Until next time – keep morale high.

    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.