11 April 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.


    In the tradition of current and one-time former ABC staffers, David Marr refuses to correct – or even acknowledge – errors. So it came as no surprise that on the ABC 1 Insiders program last Sunday Mr Marr repeated one of his many howlers about Tony Abbott, the Liberal Party and B.A. Santamaria (1915-1998). Let’s go to the transcript:

    David Marr: Joe Bullock. This amazing figure. Joe Bullock and Tony Abbott were inseparable political roisterers at Sydney University back in the 70s. They were doing Bob Santamaria’s work on the campus. They were, Joe Bullock said to me: “We thought we were in for a great battle between good and evil”. And evil in those days was represented by many of the things that Joe still thinks is [sic] evil today. Poofters, for instance, was a huge problem. The possibilities of revolution, spewing out from the campuses into the cities of Australia was another big problem.

    And these two men have got a lot of history together. But Joe went off into the Shoppies which operates as a sort of – mainly, as a sort of arm of the Catholic Church inside the Labor Party. And eventually, sort of under orders, a bit under orders from Bob Santamaria, Tony Abbott went into the Liberal Party. So here are these two old mates, facing each other, themselves, once again in parliament….

    Needless to say, your man Marr’s comments were made with much sneering. What fun. But, as is usual in such circumstances, some errors were made. Here they are – for the record, of course.

    ▪ The Shop Distributive and Allied Trades Association (SDA) – or Shop Workers Union or “Shoppies” – is not “an arm” of the Catholic Church. Although it does have enough Catholics in senior positions to upset an anti-Catholic sectarian like David Marr. In fact, the SDA is one of Australia’s best run trade unions. Senator-elect Bullock has spent decades trying to increase the pay and conditions of shop assistants, “poofter” and “non-poofter” alike in David Marr’s parlance.

    ▪ Joe Bullock had some form of association with Bob Santamaria when he was a student at Sydney University in the mid 1970s some four decades ago. But he soon became an organiser with what became the SDA where he has remained until now. As a trade unionist, it was obvious that Bullock would join the Labor Party. By the way, Joe Bullock is not, and never was, a Catholic.

    ▪ David Marr used to say that Santamaria instructed Abbott to join the Liberal Party – now he is saying that this “sort of” happened. When Abbott joined the Liberal Party, Santamaria was disillusioned with both major parties and intent on setting up a new party which would run against both the Coalition and Labor. This is documented in MWD Issue 206, November 2013.

    ▪ Santamaria did not encourage Abbott to become a Liberal Party parliamentarian. In fact, Santamaria refused to provide a reference for Abbott when he sought pre-selection for the Liberal Party seat of Warringah in 1993.

    ▪ Bob Santamaria’s influence has been over-estimated by his friends and enemies alike. However, neither group would claim that – from the grave – BAS influences the Prime Minister. That’s (yet another) David Marr fantasy.

    nancy's pick graphic


    How wonderful to see Ross Cameron presenting The Contrarians on Sky News last Friday evening. And what a wonderful end to the show when your man Cameron set the panel “a bit of a challenge”. Namely:

    Ross Cameron: …sometimes, as you go through your day or your week, you will come across a little nugget of insights, of inspiration. It might be a movie, it might be a book you’re reading, it might be a person you’ve met, a conversation you’ve had which so impressed you, which touched you, which changed you, in a way that you want to share that moment with your friends. The sort of thing you would share after dinner, you know, at a dinner party or with a few mates at a BBQ in the backyard. You just can’t wait to get it off your chest. And I think it’s one of the most lovely things we can do for each other as friends is share our best thoughts. So, Dee Madigan, I want to know from you, in recent days/weeks – give us one thought.

    And so it came to pass that the panel stepped up to the challenge to share with Contrarian friends their best thoughts for the week. Dee Madigan, who once again appeared to have rushed to the Sky News’ studio in Sydney’s Macquarie Park without having time to put on a skirt, nominated ABC election analyst Antony Green’s blog. You see, Mr Green has a blog on the need for election reform which had so blown Ms Madigan’s mind that she really wanted to share it. By the way, she declared herself to be a “boring dinner party companion”.

    Then it was the turn of Dimitri Burshtein who reminded viewers that “next week is the birthday of two people who have since passed [does he mean they died? – Ed] but whose legacy – they share the same birthday – whose legacies will go on long beyond their days”. He named Thomas Jefferson and Christopher Hitchens. So it was a joint “Happy Birthday to Thomas and Christopher”. A truly wonderful thought to share.

    Then it was Cassandra Wilkinson, of the Centre for Independent Studies’, turn. She declared that “the favourite thing that I did this week” was to donate “money to bus people out of North Korea”. [I was previously not aware of any such bus service – Ed.]

    Then it was over to Simon Cowan – also of the Centre for Independent Studies. He launched into a rave about libertarianism and welcomed the fact that “in recent times we’ve seen some actual positive representations of libertarians in the media”. But he named only one name – a certain Ron Swanson in Parks and Recreation. [Isn’t this a TV show? – Ed] and also mentioned The Lego Movie [Doesn’t your libertarian man Cowan know any real people? – Ed]

    And then it was over to Ross Cameron to have the final word. And here it is – in all its (glorious) totality:

    Ross Cameron: Well I want to pay a compliment to the Sumerians from, let’s say, from 3300 BC – rough numbers. The place of the first cities. And what we find there is in Mesopotamia at the meeting of two great rivers, the Tigris and the Euphrates. These, our ancestors in many respects the beginnings of – they were modern in a sociological sense. And while human – the human story moved in very glacial steps forward over the last 250,000 years – it’s over the last, it was really since the beginning of cities. And they got together and with the rich silts of those rivers, they started experimenting with irrigation and they domesticated wild seeds and they started growing things. And what they found – the key word is they found – [is] that if they could create a surplus they no longer had to live this completely subsistent, hand to mouth, where everyone was on the tools. Everyone was nomadically chasing a goat or a cow or something else and didn’t have time to think. And here we’ve got two people from the CIS, who are like – as I say, the priests of our [era] – you are paid to think – [Good grief. What’s he on about? – Ed].

    At this stage the skirtless Dee Madigan had the sense to interject: “Goodness me!”. But your man Cameron ploughed on and on about the Sumerians and all that.

    Ross Cameron: And what I want to say is that these Sumerian geniuses created a sufficient surplus that, for the first time, we could have a class of human beings who didn’t have to be on the tools. Who could actually think, who could learn, who could study the rudimentary writing and turn it into an alphabet which gave knowledge wings. And we saw this catapulting of the human story from what had been a slow, glacial development into this magnificent story where today we are sending men and women into space. And it’s that surplus that creates options. And that’s what we’re looking for from the Australian people, from Joe Hockey. And I want to thank you for your company today and now we look to Dick Whittaker for the weather.

    Phew. In the week leading up to Friday 4 April 2014, Ross Cameron was touched by the thought of the Sumerians who created the first cities in 3300 BC (rough numbers) and who should inspire Joe Hockey to put the 2014 budget into surplus. Really. And then it was over to the weatherman Dick Whittaker – who clearly knows which way the wind is blowing unlike the presenter of The Contrarians last Friday.

    Nancy’s (male) co-owner has never been invited on The Contrarians. But he does possess a skirt [Hint, hint]. If Hendo had the opportunity last Friday, here’ s what he would have said:

    Nancy’s (male) co-owner: Well, I want to pay a compliment to that bloke Adam and his sheila Eve. Sure Eve had an affair with the serpent. Or did Adam go off with an apple? But they were our ancestors. And we would not be here if we didn’t have ancestors. So let’s put their sins behind us, moving forward.

    Okay, Adam, blew the budget when he picked the apple before it ripened. After all, he was a socialist – a predecessor of the socialists who invented the mining tax. But Eve understood the laws of supply and demand in the Garden of Entitlement. That’s why she’s Joe Hockey’s ancestor.

    What I want to say is that without Mr Adam and Mrs Eve there wouldn’t be a Centre for Independent Studies [what, no Greg Lindsay? – Ed]. And there would be no Sky News – for either the skirted or unskirted to give me something to do on Friday afternoon. I seldom walk down George Street these days without thinking about what Adam and Eve did for us all. And now we look to Dick Whittaker for the weather.

    five paws graphic


    Nancy reckons that Herald-Sun columnist Rita Panahi can drop around and take her for a walk anytime.

    Last Monday, the United States born Ms Panahi – who has lived in Iran – opened up on other Australians who presume to speak for members of ethnic minorities.

    She took particular objection to Sheik Taj Din Al-Hilaly along with the luvvies Waleed Aly and George Megalogenis. Mr Aly was bagged for his views on racial discrimination and Mr Megalogenis for alleging that the Abbott government is about to introduce “bigots rights”. The Herald-Sun columnist reminded her readers that Waleed Aly had described terrorism as a “perpetual irritant” and wrongly opined that the Boston Marathon bombers were right-wing American patriots. [Perhaps that is why he’s got his own program on ABC Radio National – Ed]

    Rita Panahi continued:

    It’s not just the ethnic commentators who misrepresent minority groups. As a migrant I’ve got an endless array of eternally outraged middle-class self-loathing white Australians from Fairfax and the ABC speaking for me. The tiresome “check your privilege” choir who appeal to those trapped in a first-year arts student mentality neither understand nor represent huge sections of the migrant community.

    The migrant population is not a homogenous body; it is a layered, complex and sophisticated set of communities with varied political and social views and voting patterns…..

    The overriding finding into migrants’ voting habits showed the children and grandchildren of migrants have the same diverse range of political views as the broader Australian population. Yet to find an ethnic leader who isn’t singing from the Labor/Greens hymn book is rare .

    Rita Panahi – Five Paws.

    Can you bear it graphic


    On Monday the Sydney Morning Herald ran a total of eight letters on the Western Australian Senate election last weekend. Everyone either praised the Greens (the lead letters, of course) or criticised the Liberal Party or criticised the Labor Party or criticised Clive Palmer. A bit like the Green Left Weekly, to be sure.

    Then on Wednesday the Sydney Morning Herald ran a total of ten letters on the Australia-Japan trade agreement which Prime Minister Abbott negotiated on Australia’s behalf in Japan this week. Every one opposed the agreement.

    Can you bear it?


    As MWD readers will be aware (See Issue 215), Professor Rai Gaita has a campaign under way to prevent a chicken factory being created on the Victorian Moorlort Plains. The attempt to stop working class jobs in central Victoria presents itself under the pretentious label of “Resistance”.

    Professor Robert Manne, Dr Arnold Zable (for a doctor he is) along with your man Gaita have joined the Resistance (against chicken factories).

    And now MWD learns that author Helen Garner will be putting on her sandals and departing Fitzroy for the Phee Broadway Theatre in Castlemaine next Tuesday.

    The likes of your man Gaita, Manne, Zable and Garner have spent much of their lives on taxpayer subsidised salaries and/or grants. And now they are combining to stop a private business from employing staff in rural and regional Australia. Can you bear it?

    unfinished business


    Nancy will be remaining in her kennel on Good Friday and Anzac Day – for what journalists like to term a well earned break. So the next issue of MWD will appear on Friday 2 May (which, come to think of it, will be May Day in the Northern Hemisphere).

    This will provide time for:

    ▪ Jonathan Green to come up with a scrap of evidence to document his claim in The Year My Politics Broke that Julia Gillard qualified her August 2010 comment that there would be no carbon tax under a government she led by stating that she would put a price on carbon. See MWD passim, ad nauseam.

    ▪ Robert Manne to claim $7000 of Hendo’s money by supporting his claim that Gerard Henderson sent a dossier to The Age in 1993 – or was it 1995 – demanding that Manne be sacked as a columnist. According to Professor Manne, there are three copies of this (alleged) dossier in existence. All the learned professor has to do is to produce one copy of the (alleged) dossier to score $7000 for a refugee charity of his choice.

    ▪ Kerry-Anne Walsh to support her claim in The Stalking of Julia Gillard that Julia Gillard qualified her no carbon tax promise of August 2010 by stating that she would put a price on carbon and move to establish an emissions trading scheme.

    In all three cases, all that is required is evidence – or a willingness to admit to an error. Go to it.



    There was enormous – absolutely enormous – interest in last week’s “Documentation” which revealed how Fr Frank Brennan S.J. had sought to correct a howler in Elizabeth Farrelly’s Sydney Morning Herald column of 3 April 2014. The issue was also covered in the “Correspondence” section last Friday featuring Gerard Henderson’s email exchange with Peter FitzSimons.

    The story so far. In her weekly Sydney Morning Herald column on 3 April, Dr Farrelly (for a doctor she is) had a real SCOOP – or bombshell. Titled “Exit Cardinal Pell, with a bombshell”, the learned doctor’s column commenced as follows – with the kind of sneering expected from one of the “Sneering Morning Herald’s” leading columnists.

    George Pell wants to insure priests against being sued for child sexual abuse. My head is still rotating on its axis. Our man in purple, our alpha priest, moral paragon. Our Vatican princeling, just days from taking up his dauphindom in Rome: he said that? He dropped this fissile solipsism on our public debate and left, smacking the dust from his hands like, we’re done now, right?

    For this was no dinner party throw-away. The cardinal – fully frocked, schooled and premeditated – breathed his proposition into the stone tablets of a royal commission. He wanted it recorded and kept. Forever.

    A brilliant SCOOP, to be sure – give or take a “dauphindom” or a “solipsism” or two. Except that it never happened. Which explains why the many journalists reporting the hearings of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse did not report Pell’s (alleged) comment. As Frank Brennan has documented, it was Justice Peter McClennan, the head of the Royal Commission, who raised the suggestion that priests might insure themselves against paedophilia. Not Cardinal Pell – who merely responded to Justice McClennan’s thought-bubble.

    On Friday 4 April, the SMH ran two letters bagging Pell and praising Farrelly. On Saturday 5 April, the Herald ran a tiny letter pointing out that Farrelly’s assertion was incorrect but rejected a longer and more authoritative letter by Frank Brennan documenting Farrelly’s howler. Farrelly’s error was picked up and re-cycled by ANU Professor Desmond Manderson in the Canberra Times on 7 April. [Don’t law professors check facts at the ANU? – Ed] However, unlike the SMH, the Canberra Times did run a detailed letter by Frank Brennan who is an occasional critic of Pell and by no means one of the Cardinal’s barrackers.

    The Sydney Morning Herald so far has not published a correction or clarification with respect to Elizabeth Farrelly’s column. In her regular column yesterday, Farrelly made no correction and offered no apology. Nor has Professor Manderson apologised. Both bagged Pell’s (alleged) comment without one direct quote – which should have suggested to the relevant Opinion Page editors that no such quotes existed.

    The good news is that Dr Farrelly’s howler has motivated Nancy’s (male) co-owner to establish an occasional “Scribbler Watch” segment within Media Watch Dog to analyse the (weekly) thoughts of Elizabeth Farrelly and the like. Let’s start now – with this year.

    2 January. EF, who loves to really use big words, tries the usage “porosity”. Well done. She also opines: “Say paradigm and everyone thinks you are some kind of communist”. [Everyone except Nancy’s (male) co-owner perhaps – Ed]. According to EF, “everyone wants to live in town”. Go on.

    9 January. EF’s word for the week is “animalcules”. Well done again. There is also a reference to “palaver”. EF tells readers how she has “been bored in some astonishing places – Mediterranean villages, Balinese mountaintops, luxury yachts”. She goes on to praise shacks and to bag McMansions, of course. This kind of writing runs the risk of giving snobbery a totally bad name.

    16 January. EF’s lead sentence reveals how “once, years ago” she “had a boyfriend who creeped me out by wearing my perfume”. However, presumably, he smelt real nice. The term for the week is “signification mash-up”. [Perhaps this is the brand name of an expensive perfume. Just a thought. – Ed]

    23 January. No big words today as EF reflects that “Australia, like some outlier district in the Hunger Games, was fitted at birth with the rape mentality”. Really. Clearly Dr Farrelly suffers from alienation.

    30 January. EF fronts up with a (somewhat delayed) Australia Day column. By the way, the big term for today is “Dewy-Kikuyu”. EF demonstrates a contempt for fellow citizens when she reflects:

    I am not especially persuaded by Australia Day, with or without green-and-gold ”stand proud” condoms. Fat men frocked in sequined Southern Crosses. Entire neighbourhoods reeking of charred steak. Is this the price of equality? Can we tolerate more fireworks? More burnt meat? More beer?

    Fancy that. Nancy’s (male) co-owner just loves the smell of fireworks-fried steak on Australia Day. But, then, he doesn’t write for the Sydney Morning Herald and only drinks when he is thirsty.

    6 February. EF calls for a reform of aged care which would lead to “fewer mustard coloured corridors reeking of death and boiled cabbage”. Er, that’s it. Would fried cabbage suit?

    13 February. The term for the day refers to “a Le Corbusier-Dali love child”. How about that? EF reflects:

    My one experience of really serious trolling wasn’t about my femaleness. It was a combination of femaleness with cycling, education and – most egregious – a presumption to speak. Smart women speaking makes many men angry. Looking back, I see that this has been a leitmotif of my life. This may not surprise you, but it surprises me, every time.

    Surprised? [Do smart women really ride bikes? – Ed]

    20 February. EF commences with a bang – not with a whimper:

    I woke in the wee hours with a question bubbling unbidden from my mental swamp. What is the difference between education and damage?

    Clearly EF has unusual nightmares. But there you go.

    It turns out that EF’s very clever children went to government funded select Sydney Girls High. But she wants to “abolish private schools”. According to EF, private schools “build enclaves of privilege for those who need it least”. But the enclaves of privilege like Sydney Girls High are appropriate for clever EF’s clever children who live in inner-city Redfern where the nearest McMansion can only be located on Google Maps.

    27 February. According to EF, Labor frontbencher Richard Marles “bleats”. EF falsely claims that Bob Hawke “built the first detention centres”. Rather it was inner-city Paul Keating who did this. EF goes on to compare Australia with “1930s Germany”. Dr Farrelly is an architectural critic.

    6 March. New month. New word – this time EF goes with Vellum. Also she refers to a “Who’s Who of Australian Letters” which includes Kate Grenville, Ivor Indyk, Andrew Riemer and – wait for it – Phillip Adams. In fact, your man Adams’ many letters are dictated.

    13 March. This time EF looks at Australian “landmark speeches”. They are Robert Menzies “forgotten people” speech, Paul Keating’s Redfern speech, Julia Gillard misogyny speech and – wait for it – Greens Senator Scott Ludlam’s “Welcome to W.A. Tony Abbott” speech. Really. Needless to say, EF manages to bag a Tony Abbott speech (which was not in her top-of-the-pops selection) and to complain that Menzies, “in validating the middle classes, helped justify a century of bloat and sprawl”. [Interesting. Dr Farrelly looks rather middle-class to me – Ed]

    20 March. EF refers to Australia’s “daggy and retrograde governments”. She concludes:

    Seems to me we have two choices. Either we form an axis of planet-lovers that includes farmers, greens, poets, priests and tourism operators, to protect nature from ourselves. Or we accept that future cockroaches, as the inheritor species, will tell their children parables about the too-clever ape-race, and how the oppressor always becomes the oppressed.

    EF is with the good guys – even if few know what she is on about. Not with the “cockroaches”.

    27 March. Great start for a column, don’t you think? Here it is: “When we moved to Redfern”. Turns out it was some two decades ago. EF decides to have a go at her favourite targets:

    I’ll just run the big canvas by you again. Craig Thomson misappropriated thousands to buy sex, but is still arguing his freedom. The hyper-corrupt Eddie Obeid, after a zillion pages of damning transcripts, may never be prosecuted. George Pell – yes, the Cardinal – wants to insure priests against child abuse like it’s some routine occupational hazard. And we jail teens for painting on walls? Hello?

    Yes. Hello? And Goodbye. Er, it just so happened that EF decided to develop her criticism in her column of the following week. Hence the howler which the Sydney Morning Herald has yet to fully correct.

    3 April. See above.

    MWD’s “Scribbler Watch” will return to Dr Farrelly soon – provided the Sydney Morning Herald continues to pay good money for such leftist existentialist jam-sludge.


    There has been an enthusiastic response to the competition to fill-in the remaining words of Michael Leunig’s cartoon (published in The Age on 3 April 2014) – albeit in slightly altered form.

    But first a reminder of Sandalista Leunig’s alienated cartoon:

    Leunig cartoon april 2014 smaller

    Whereas “The Guardian on the Yarra” house-leftist Leunig asked readers to “Have your say” by completing the saying “Australia is a land of….”, MWD’s competition requires that entrants complete the words: “The Age is a land of…”.

    Nancy had thousands of entries which she processed in her kennel at night. These are the top three for this week – but the competition remains open.

    ▪ The Age is a land of cartoonists who can’t draw.

    Always has been, always will be.

    – PH, Melbourne

    ▪ The Age is a land of loquacious leftist loathers of life.

    Always has been, always will be.

    – MB, Sydney

    ▪ The Age is a land of angry Abbott adversaries.

    Always has been, always will be.

    – BN, Sydney

    correspondence header caps


    This hugely popular segment of Media Watch Dog invariably works like this. Someone comes to the conclusion that it would be a you-beaut idea to write to Nancy’s (male) co-owner. And Hendo, being a courteous kind of guy, invariably responds. And then, hey presto, the correspondence is published in its entirety in MWD.

    On this occasion Mike Carlton, a leading columnist for the “Sneering Morning Herald”, concluded his one-and-only email to Gerard Henderson – which was headed “Flatulence” – with the comment that any response “will go straight to the trash folder”. Mr Carlton was educated at Anglican Barker College in Sydney’s North Shore and spent much of his working life at the ABC or Fairfax Media. It seems that North Shore Anglicans born circa 1947 whose fathers were Catholic priests and who went to work for Aunty do not do manners well.

    So there you go. And here’s the correspondence:

    Mike Carlton to Gerard Henderson – 4 April 2014, 7.45 pm


    Someone has told me that you declared in your rancorous little blog a few weeks ago that “Mike Carlton was never a sub editor at the ABC.”

    You are wrong, as you so often are. Every ABC cadet journalist of my generation was trained as a sub. Moreover, after my return to Australia from my time as a foreign correspondent, I spent a year as a sub editor on the foreign desk at ABC News in Sydney, and at times was evening and weekend Chief Sub.

    A simple enquiry would have found this out. But your hatreds blind you. As always, it’s hard to tell if you are a fool or a liar. Both, more likely.

    Interesting, too, to see you turn on Fairfax since you were sacked by the Sydney Morning Herald.

    As the nation’s most egregious pedant, no doubt you will be keen to correct

    your error. I do not expect you to cease your fatuous libels, of course.

    That would deprive you of a reason for living. What a ridiculous crank you are.

    Don’t bother with one of your ranting emails in reply. It will go straight to the Trash folder.


    Mike Carlton

    Gerard Henderson to Mike Carlton – 8 April 2014

    Viscount Carlton (the reference is to your nomenclature as announced on your recent tweets)

    I refer to your email of Friday 4 April – written after dinner, of course.

    I have deleted the comment on my Media Watch Dog blog (of 28 March 2014) that you were never a sub-editor of the ABC. I was told by a former ABC staffer that this was the case – but I am willing to delete the reference in the light of your strong denial.

    I really do not understand why you are so angry about this. After all, it is hardly an insult to claim that someone was not once an ABC sub-editor. Some of my best friends were not ABC sub-editors. To make such an assertion is hardly the expression of “hatred” – or the comment of “a fool or a liar”. Your response is over the top – even for a response drafted after dinner.

    By the way, for someone who writes a weekly column in the Sydney Morning Herald which is very short on research and facts – and very long on abuse and ridicule – I am surprised that you accuse others of “rancorous” or “egregious” behaviour or even of being a “ridiculous crank”.

    I note that you have accused me of writing “fatuous libels” – but you have not provided any evidence of any kind in support of your undocumented assertion. What alleged libels do you have in mind? It is hardly defamatory to state that you were not one of Aunty’s sub-editors.

    For the record, I have not turned on Fairfax Media. As the “Endorsements” section of Media Watch Dog documents – you were sending emails similar to your missive of 4 April when I wrote a weekly column for the Sydney Morning Herald. So I must have annoyed you when I was an SMH columnist – just as I annoy you when I am no longer an SMH columnist.

    For the record, your assertion that I was “sacked by the Sydney Morning Herald” is untrue – as I would have told you had you bothered to check the facts.

    On 29 November 2013, I received the following email from Darren Goodsir, the Sydney Morning Herald’s editor-in-chief:

    Dear Gerard

    I appreciated you coming to the office earlier this week, and our conversation. I also want to express my gratitude for your efforts over nearly a quarter of a century in writing for the Herald. It is a monumental achievement. You have always demonstrated an extraordinary commitment, and I want to officially record my thanks for this contribution.

    That said, as discussed, I wish to reduce the frequency of your column to once a fortnight, rather than once a week. I envisage this starting sometime in late January, in time for the normal end of the holiday season after Australia Day. I would also be keen to see you as part of a rotating list of columnists for the Saturday Herald – and practically speaking, this could be a once-a-month contribution. I look forward to hearing your thoughts.



    In other words, Darren Goodsir wanted me to write three times a month rather than weekly. It appears that he intended to publish Peter Reith on the SMH’s Opinion Page every second Tuesday.

    I had already received an approach from The Australian – and I decided to continue my weekly column with a newspaper which I have much admired for half a century and which I regard as Australia’s leading outlet of news and opinion.

    When I advised Darren Goodsir of my decision, he thanked me for my “service” to the Sydney Morning Herald and expressed “regret” at my “leaving”. In other words, the assertion in your (after dinner) email that I was sacked by the Sydney Morning Herald is false. You should do some research.

    I remain surprised that the powers-that-be at Fairfax Media continue to allow leftist columnists like you to constantly attack and ridicule conservatives who buy and advertise in Fairfax Media newspapers – perhaps “used to” is a more accurate expression. But that is Fairfax Media’s decision – concerning which I make occasional comments in my Media Watch Dog blog which seem to upset you. Especially after lunch as well as after dinner.

    Lotsa love

    Gerard Henderson

    Until next time – keep morale high.

    “[Gerard Henderson is an] unhinged crank”

    – Mike Carlton, Twitter, Saturday 29 March 2014, 4.34 pm

    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.