24 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.

    Surprise Edition

    As avid Media Watch Dog readers will be aware (see Issue 221), Nancy’s (male) co-owner decided to take what journalists term a well-earned break and not publish this Anzac Day Friday. However, due to enormous demand, Nancy stirred from her kennel early this morning and has put out this Thursday pre-Anzac Day edition. Due to overwhelming public demand, of course. MWD resumes normal publication next Friday, after lunch of course.

    Issue 222 has been boosted – as the saying goes – by a brand new endorsement. This time from the Brisbane based Benjamin Law who, for some unknown reason, watches Nancy’s (male) co-owner on television by hitting the replay button very late at night and/or in the wee hours of the morning [How strange – Ed].

      Benjamin Law

      Benjamin Law ‏@mrbenjaminlaw Apr 17

      On boyfriend’s insistence, watching the notorious Gerard Henderson/@Kate_McClymont Lateline segment. GH: What an odd, angry gnome of a man.

      11:21 PM – 17 Apr 2014

      Benjamin Law ‏@mrbenjaminlaw Apr 17

      Can’t believe I just spent my Thursday evening with a video recap of Gerard Henderson. I’m a f-cking moron.

      11:23 PM – 17 Apr 2014

      Well as the cliché goes, it takes one to know one. It cannot be long now before your man Law gets his very own ABC program. On the basis that the comment attributed to Leon Trotsky that “worse is better” is perceptive, MWD is hoping that Nice Mr Scott will appoint the Brisbane leftist – who describes himself as a “writer and raconteur” – to join the taxpayer funded public broadcaster’s Conservative-Free-Zone. Soon. MWD needs the copy.



        Let’s go to the transcript of yesterday’s Radio National Breakfast program when stand-in presenter Ellen Fanning interviewed BBC presenter and publisher of The Spectator Andrew Neil.

        Ellen Fanning: …How do you think the Labor government [in Australia] – I mean this is part of the political rhetoric of any change of government, you say “the last mob didn’t do it so well and now you’ve got to clean up the mess”. What are your observations about how Labor managed the economy through the GFC and the extent to which?

        Andrew Neil: [Interjecting] I’m not a specialist in that and…again, as a BBC anchorman, I’m not of the ability to pronounce verdicts on your last government. We’re not allowed to have opinions like that. I can analyse things, but I’m not allowed to say “Labor good, Conservatives bad” or vice versa.

        During other interviews while on his Australian visit, the Scotland born Mr Neil declined to state whether or not he supported Scottish independence – although he was prepared to canvass the cases “for” and “against”.

        How refreshing. During Mark Scott’s period as ABC managing director, ABC presenters have been encouraged to state their personal views on a whole range of issues on ABC television and radio and online. Two of the most prominent in this regard are Fran Kelly and Jonathan Green.

        The taxpayer funded broadcaster would face less criticism if its supposedly impartial presenters were prevented from engaging in partisan polemics concerning various causes on ABC programs or the ABC website.

        Here Aunty Down Under could learn a lot from the real thing Aunty in Britain.

        Can you bear it graphic


        MWD’s pleasant Easter Sunday experience was interrupted by reading Claire Harvey’s column in the Sunday Telegraph. Here’s how it commenced:

        I’m a bit embarrassed to admit this, given I’m supposed to be an ardent republican, but I’m really looking forward to King William V and Queen Catherine.

        On present form, King George VII looks like a monarch worth waiting for, too.

        After the endless reign of Queen Elizabeth II, we are likely in our lifetimes to see a slightly more rapid succession of monarchs accede the throne of Britain: that is, Charles IV will be an old man when he becomes king, and his son William will be a middle-aged monarch by the time he takes over.

        And I predict Prince William and Catherine…will be as stylish and as charming in their 50s, when they finally get crowned, as they are today.

        What a load of tosh. Prince Charles, the heir to the throne, was born in 1948. His mother, Queen Elizabeth II is 88 years and still going strong – her mother Queen Elizabeth (the then Queen Mother) lived to the ripe old age of 102 years. The Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Charles’ father, was born in 1921.

        On this basis, the Queen could live for another two decades. Assuming there is no abdication, Charles could become king in his 80s if he lives another two decades. In other words Prince William could become king in some four decades, when he and Catherine are in their 70s.

        Yet Ms Harvey believes that William “will be a middle-aged monarch by the time he takes over”. [Maybe she got this advice from your man Bob Ellis, the False Prophet of Palm Beach – Ed]. And Ms Harvey wants both “the Duke and Duchess” to become Governor-General of Australia “in five years’ time”. Can you bear it?


        You can always rely on The-Guardian-on-the-Yarra for a dose of anti-Catholic sectarianism. Especially around Easter time. So it came as no surprise when last weekend’s Sunday Age carried an article by Jonathan Swan and Lisa Visentin titled “Gospel truth: Catholics come to power”.

        This is how Mr Swan and Ms Visentin commenced their (non) story:

        The federal Coalition’s cabinet is the most powerful collection of Catholics ever assembled in Australia, with almost half its 19 minister [sic] being members of that faith, nearly double the proportion of Catholics in the general population.

        The Prime Minister, Treasurer and finance, trade, communications, education, agriculture and social services ministers are Catholics, and at least four others belong to other Christian denominations.

        Asked by Fairfax Media about their Easter plans, half the Abbott cabinet confirmed they would be attending church. And while almost a quarter of the population ticked “no religion” in the 2011 census, nobody in the Coalition cabinet would admit to being an atheist.

        Convincing thesis to be sure. Half the members of Tony Abbott’s cabinet are Catholic, apparently. But the danger does not stop there since “at least four others belong to other Christian denominations”. Gosh. Senate leader Eric Abetz is of Lutheran disposition. But, according to The Sunday Age, he deserves to get a mention in this piece. It is as if Martin Luther never existed and the Reformation never took place.

        The Swan/Visentin report also declared that “nobody in the Cabinet would admit to being an atheist”. Get the picture? They might be atheist – but they are too scared to “admit” this.

        The Sunday Age then sought the advice of a certain John Warhurst who was described as “an expert in religion and politics at the Australian National University”. This is the very same expert who claimed in his entry in James Jupp’s edited collection The Encyclopaedia of Religion in Australia, that Catholic political activist B.A. Santamaria (1915-1998) “never voted Labor” and that “this sowed the seed of an ultimate split [of Santamaria aligned Catholics] from Labor” at the time of the Labor Split of the mid 1950s. In fact, Santamaria always voted Labor up to the mid- 1950s.

        Dr Warhurst (for a doctor he is) told the gullible Fairfax Media duo that the (alleged) migration of Catholics from the Labor Party to the Democratic Labor Party and then to the Liberals happened for social and economic reasons. Dr Warhurst seems to have forgotten that thousands of anti-communist Catholics were expelled from the ALP during the Labor Split of 1954 to 1957. Upward social mobility had nothing to do with it.

        Moreover, it is unlikely that the Abbott Cabinet is “the most powerful collection of Catholics ever assembled in Australia”. There were many Catholics in the Scullin Labor government in 1929 including the top four. Namely, James Scullin (prime minister), Ted Theodore (treasurer), Frank Brennan (attorney-general) and Joseph Lyons (postmaster-general).

        What’s more, as John Douglas Pringle pointed out in his book Australian Accent (1958), “in New South Wales in 1953 all but two members of the Labor Government were Catholics”.

        And The Sunday Age reckons that Catholics have never been more prominent in Australia. Can you bear it?


        Did anyone see Phillip Adams on Australian Story on 14 April 2014 discussing his one time friend Kerry Packer? It was Part 2 of the Australian Story “A Complicated Life: Kerry Packer” documentary.

        The program presented clear evidence that when Kerry Packer was involved in a car accident in 1956 he was on the correct side of the road and the car with which he collided had drifted onto the wrong side of the road. Tragically, three young men were killed in the second car. Kerry Packer escaped with a serious leg injury.

        You would have thought that a driver who was hit by a car which had drifted on to the wrong side of the road would be free of blame. Not so, apparently, when your man Adams is involved. Let’s go to the transcript to see what Phillip Adams had to say about this matter.

        Phillip Adams, Friend : It was a brief conversation, it was many years ago and it’s but dimly remembered. I didn’t interrogate him about it but he told me that he’d been involved in a fatal accident, that he’d been driving and he’d been drinking. He also said that it was that moment or that event that made him decide to give up drinking and to the best of my knowledge he never drank again.

        With testimony like this, you wonder why the Australian Story team presented Phillip Adams as a “friend” of the late Kerry Packer. Adams told Australian Story viewers that Mr Packer had “been drinking” while driving at the time of the fatal crash. This is a most serious allegation to make – especially when the person in question is dead and cannot defend himself.

        According to Adams’ own recollection, his knowledge of this event is based on a “brief conversation” which he had with Kerry Packer “many years ago” and which is “but dimly remembered”. That’s all folks.

        So Adams is prepared to allege that Kerry Packer was a drunk driver on the basis of a “dimly remembered” memory of a “brief conversation” which took place “many years ago”. You would not hang a dog on this kind of evidence. And yet Australian Story gave it prominence. Can you bear it?


        As Labor MP Michael Danby has pointed out, the ABC 1 Q&A program invariably schedules discussions on Middle East issues which happen to co-incide with Jewish holidays.

        And so it came to pass last Monday when former Labor foreign minister Bob Carr was invited to appear on Q&A to coincide with the publication of his Diary of a Foreign Minister. Carr’s book contains considerable criticism of what he identifies as an Israel Lobby in Australia which he links to the Australia Israel and Jewish Affairs Council. It so happened that last Monday was the first day of Passover in the Jewish calendar.

        Despite the fact that Carr had criticised both Labor (Michael Danby, Mark Dreyfus) and Liberal (Josh Frydenberg) parliamentarians – not one was invited on to the program. Instead the guest list was Carr, Eva Cox (an Australian of Jewish background who is critical of Israel), Nigel Kennedy (a British violin virtuoso who has described Israel as an apartheid state), Kerry Chikarovski (who admitted on the program not to know much about the Middle East) and British-born spiked editor Brendan O’Neill. Only O’Neill defended Israel on the program.

        Well before Q&A went to air, Michael Danby phoned ABC managing director and editor-in-chief Mark Scott. He requested that someone be added to the panel to balance the Carr/Kennedy/Cox position. Danby followed up this phone conversation with a letter to the ABC managing director – it has been published on the J-Wire website.

        It turned out that Nice Mr Scott told Danby that he would raise the issue with Q&A executive producer Peter McEvoy but added that he was not hopeful. In other words, the ABC’s editor-in-chief said to Michael Danby that he could not determine the composition of a Q&A panel.

        And so the unbalanced panel went ahead – with no Australian panellist capable of contesting Carr’s conspiracy theory about a so-called Israel lobby. Despite the fact that Q&A occasionally has a six person panel and Nice Mr Scott is supposed to act as the ABC’s editor-in-chief. Can you bear it?



        Due to unprecedented demand, the Maurice Newman Segment gets another run this week. As MWD readers will know, this (hugely popular) segment is devoted to former ABC chairman Maurice Newman’s suggestion that a certain “group think” might be prevalent at the ABC – and to ABC 1’s former Media Watch presenter Jonathan Holmes’ certainty that no such phenomenon is extant within the public broadcaster. See MWD passim and ad nauseam.

        What a stunning “conversation” on Richard Glover’s ABC radio 702’s Drive program last Thursday. First up, of course, discussion got around to the Independent Commission Against Corruption, the resignation of NSW premier Barry O’Farrell, a 1959 bottle of Grange and all that.

        Richard Glover fulfilled the role of an impartial presenter. However, it was soon evident that all three guests were of the one opinion that Barry O’Farrell performed poorly and needed to resign after acknowledging that he forgot to declare receipt of a bottle of expensive wine.

        It was “my morality is higher than his morality” time as the Sydney Morning Herald’s Kate McClymont agreed with the ABC’s Quentin Dempster who agreed with the ABC’s Hamish McDonald who agreed with Kate McClymont who agreed with herself that Mr O’Farrell had done a really bad thing which warranted resignation. No other view was heard in this The Journo’s Forum – brought to you by the taxpayer funded public broadcaster.

        Maurice Newman – 4

        Jonathan Holmes – Zip



        Last issue’s inaugural “Scribbler Watch” featuring The Thought of Elizabeth Farrelly was a huge hit. See Issue 221. Readers just loved the views of Dr Farrelly (for a doctor she is) as presented in weekly order as they appear in the Sydney Morning Herald.

        There remains ongoing interest in Dr Farrelly’s SCOOP of 3 April 2014 which was titled “Exit Cardinal Pell, with a bombshell” and which commenced as follows:

        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.

        In fact, Cardinal Pell never presented this idea to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. In fact the idea was initially floated by the royal commissioner Justice Peter McClellan. Pell simply responded to the judge’s thought bubble. The Sydney Morning Herald columnist just made it up. Her erroneous column also appeared in Fairfax Media’s Canberra Times along with another article by a certain Desmond Manderson making the same false claim. Manderson is an academic at the Australian National University.

        On 4 April, the SMH ran two letters supporting Farrelly and bagging Pell. Frank Brennan, the Australian Catholic University professor and Jesuit priest is no supporter of Cardinal Pell. But he picked the error in Farrelly’s piece and wrote to the Herald to correct the howler. On Saturday 6 April the SMH did run a very brief letter correcting its columnist but rejected Brennan’s detailed and authoritative letter.

        But Professor Brennan persisted. The details are well explained in Frank Brennan’s recent article in Eureka Street . Eventually Brennan reached an agreement with the SMH that it would run his correction as an article on its Opinion pages. But, in the end, Brennan’s piece was only run on-line last Monday – and not in the print edition.

        Moreover, the SMH would only run Brennan if he agreed to delete any reference that it was Dr Farrelly who had made the error about Cardinal Pell in the first instance. For her own part, Farrelly did not respond to – or even acknowledge – Brennan’s correspondence.

        This is what Frank Brennan had to say about the matter on his Facebook page last Tuesday:

        My article was previously published on the various Fairfax websites but they removed all references to their columnist Elizabeth Farrelly which was unfortunate. I thought her column (“Exit Cardinal Pell, with a bombshell”, 3/4) was a piece of reckless journalism which needlessly muddied the waters on some of the key questions confronting the royal commission and the Church. She obviously had not heard the relevant evidence or read the transcript….

        Her errors were unfortunately repeated by law professor Desmond Manderson in the Canberra Times. There was a flurry of letters in the Canberra Times including a couple from me in which I was able to put right some misperceptions…. It was the judge who made the error. Fairfax columnists think it an unforgivable error. So it will be interesting to see where they go from here in their coverage of the commission.

        So it was over to Dr Farrelly. On 3 April she had condemned the suggestion that Catholic priests should insure themselves against being sued for child sexual abuse. But now that it has been pointed out that the suggestion came from Justice McClellan – not from Cardinal Pell – what will the likes of Elizabeth Farrelly and Desmond Manderson say? Don’t hold your breath.

        MWD will keep you posted. Meanwhile neither the SMH nor Dr Farrelly have issued an apology or made a correction concerning her howler about George Pell.

        correspondence header caps


        This hugely popular segment of Media Watch Dog, read by hundreds of thousands of avid MWD readers, usually works like this. Someone or other believes that it would be a you-beaut idea to write to Nancy’s (male) co-owner. And Hendo, being a courteous and well brought up kind of guy, responds. And so a correspondence in born. Which, in turn, is published in MWD.

        Alternatively, it is Hendo who first fires off an email and someone or other thinks it would be a good idea to reply. You get the picture. And then there are occasions when Nancy’s (male) co-owner forwards an email to which no one bothers to respond – demonstrating that not all souls are courteous and well brought up kind of blokes or, indeed, sheilas. They have names like Jonathan (“I’ll find the Julia Gillard quote eventually”) Green. But there you go.

        Today’s issue features correspondence initiated by Hendo – two sets of which scored a response along with a failed endeavour.


        Gerard Henderson to Kate McClymont – 22 April 2014


        It was great to catch up on the set of Lateline last Wednesday. I enjoyed the occasion – although many of my (many) critics did not.

        As you will recall, there was only one occasion when we disagreed on facts. You said that my comment that both Eddie Obeid and Ian Macdonald were sacked by the Labor premier of the day – well before ICAC became involved in their cases – was “not correct”. Let’s go to the transcript:

        Gerard Henderson: … Eddie Obeid was sacked by the Labor premier. ICAC didn’t get Obeid; Labor got Obeid.

        Kate McClymont : That’s not correct.

        Gerard Henderson : Ian Macdonald was sacked by the Labor premier too.

        Kate McClymont : That is not correct. I’m sorry, that’s not –

        Gerard Henderson : But they [Obeid and Macdonald] were not in government at that stage.

        Kate McClymont : That is not correct.

        Gerard Henderson: That is correct.

        As the transcript demonstrates, you were emphatic that my comments with respect to Eddie Obeid and Ian Macdonald were erroneous. These are the facts:

        ▪ Eddie Obeid was forced out of the Labor ministry as long ago as 2003. His last day as a minister in government was on 2 April 2003. The circumstances of Obeid’s outing are well known – and were referred to by former Labor Premier Bob Carr on Q & A last night.

        As you will be aware, the ICAC finding of corrupt conduct against Eddie Obeid concerning the Mount Penny tenement was brought down in July 2013. Clearly my comment on Lateline that Labor, not ICAC, “got Obeid” out of government was correct.

        ▪ Ian Macdonald was forced out of the Labor ministry as long ago as 2010. His last day as a member in government was on 5 June 2010, when he was dismissed by premier Kristina Keneally. The circumstances of McDonald’s outing are well known – and were widely covered in the media at the time.

        As you will be aware, the ICAC finding of corrupt conduct against Ian Macdonald concerning the Mount Penny tenement was brought down in July 2013. Clearly my comment on Lateline that Ian Macdonald “was sacked by the Labor Premier” was correct.

        According to my calculations, the score line looks like this

        ▪ Incorrect comments made by Kate McClymont with respect to Gerard Henderson on Lateline 16 April 2014 – Two.

        ▪ Incorrect comments made by Gerard Henderson with respect to Kate McClymont on Lateline 16 April 2014 – Zip.

        Over to you.

        Best wishes

        Gerard Henderson

        Kate McClymont to Gerard Henderson – 22 April 2014

        Hi Gerard,

        I am not convinced by your calculations!

        Point one: “Gerard Henderson : Hang on. Let me finish. Eddie Obeid was sacked by the Labor premier. ICAC didn’t get Obeid; Labor got Obeid.”

        By this statement you implied that Eddie Obeid had been forced out of office by a Labor Premier.

        Bob Carr merely asked him not to put his name forward for the ministry in the wake of the 2003 electoral victory. Carr even gave character evidence on his behalf at his defamation trial against the Herald.

        If he had sacked him, we would have all been better off. Obeid’s own press release from that time states that he had “reluctantly” decided not to “offer myself for re-election to the ministry”.

        Obeid was able to stay on for another eight years. During this period his corruption was most rampant. He finally retired from parliament in May, 2011. He was never sacked.

        Therefore, I don’t see how you can back up your claim that “ICAC didn’t get Obeid; Labor got Obeid”. Exactly, how did Labor get him, if he was allowed to act so corruptly, for so long and then retire at a time which suited him?

        Your claim about Ian Macdonald is similarly incorrect.

        He finally resigned after revelations, made by the Herald I might add, relating to misuse of travel funds. You might be able to claim that Rees removed him from cabinet, but then Keneally put him straight back in. So no sacking there either.

        Both men were expelled from the party in June last year in the wake of ICAC finding them to be corrupt. Labor’s failure to act overall those years is a blight on them.

        And if we are keeping score, I think I should get extra points for having my job described as “fun and games”. For more that a decade I have pursued Obeid, largely alone, despite threats from the Obeids and countless personal attacks in parliament. It has been a hard road but one that I stuck to for years. So if you could identify the Labor person who blew the whistle on Obeid, I would be pleased to meet them.

        Back to you.


        Gerard Henderson to Kate McClymont – 23 April 2014


        Thanks for your note.

        As the transcript demonstrates, on Lateline (16 April 2014) I said that both Eddie Obeid and Ian Macdonald had been sacked from their ministerial positions by Labor premiers – not as a result of ICAC hearings or findings.

        You said on three occasions that my comments were “not correct”.

        These are the facts:

        ▪ ICAC’s inquiry concerning corruption allegations concerning Eddie Obeid and Ian Macdonald commenced on 1 November 2012.

        ▪ Eddie Obeid was forced to stand down as a minister in the Carr government in April 2003 – nearly a decade before the ICAC inquiry, which found against him, commenced.

        ▪ Ian Macdonald was forced out of the Keneally government in June 2010 – over two years before the ICAC inquiry which found against him commenced. Previously he had been dismissed by premier Nathan Rees. It is true that Ian Macdonald finally stepped down following allegations made in the Herald by you concerning his travel claims. As you know, this had nothing to do with ICAC.

        These are the facts – whether or not you are “convinced by my calculations!”. By the way, I just loved your exclamation mark!!!

        I’m surprised that you accept Eddie Obeid’s 2003 statement that he “reluctantly” decided not to “offer myself for re-election to the ministry”. This must be about the only Obeid statement which you believe has credibility.

        By the time ICAC commenced its hearings with respect to Obeid and Macdonald, both men were discredited. It will be interesting to see if prosecutions follow ICAC’s findings. If not, the situation will remain that the only two high profile ICAC scalps – Nick Greiner and Barry O’Farrell – were the result of the intended or unintended consequences of ICAC’s public hearings. As you know, ICAC’s findings in the Greiner case were overturned by the NSW Court of Appeal.

        You seem upset at my references to “fun and games”. As the context makes clear, this was a reference to the reports by you – and others – concerning the 1959 Grange Hermitage. I still believe that this is a relatively trivial issue. As I read your colleague Peter Hartcher, he seems to hold a not dissimilar view.

        For the record, I have never criticised your pursuit of Eddie Obeid and Ian Macdonald. But, as you know, this preceded ICAC’s actions. On Lateline last week, the topic was ICAC – not you or me.

        I still remain interested in what evidence you have for your statement on Lateline that Barry O’Farrell consciously did not tell the truth at ICAC. As I understand it, you have no idea about his state of mind when he gave evidence to ICAC and you have no idea about his memory with respect to this issue.

        Best wishes


        Kate McClymont to Gerard Henderson – 23 April 2014

        Gerard, you made no reference to “their ministerial positions” in your statement. Anyway, as I said on air we will have to agree to disagree.


        PS It is spelled Macdonald

        Gerard Henderson to Kate McClymont – 24 April 2014


        Thanks. I agree that we should agree to disagree or something like that. Thanks also for the Macdonald spelling correction – I will correct my files to ensure that I do not make the mistake again.

        I thought it was pretty obvious that, on Lateline, I was referring to Eddie Obeid and Ian Macdonald being “sacked” from their ministerial positions by Labor premiers. The result is that they had no ministerial responsibilities when the ICAC inquiry, which found against them, commenced. In other words, ICAC had nothing to do with the fact that they lost their ministerial positions. But ICAC had a lot to do with the fact that Nick Greiner and Barry O’Farrell lost their position as premier.

        As I understand it, you have not worked in government. But you will know that backbenchers – unlike ministers – have no power to make decisions.

        Best wishes



        Gerard Henderson to Timothy Latham – 17 April 2014

        Good afternoon Mr Latham

        I hope you remember me. I knew you in days of old on Radio National Breakfast. As I recall, every Friday morning at the end of the show Fran (“I’m an activist”) Kelly used to thank RNB’s executive producer “Tim Latham”.

        I note from the credits at the end of last Monday’s ABC 1 Media Watch program that the program’s executive producer is a certain “Timothy Latham”. I assume that this is one and the same person. If so, well done.

        I note that Media Watch had a huge SCOOP last Monday. As you may recall, it went like this:

        Paul Barry: The Australian takes its time to correct two headline typos.

        “Taypayers funding Left ABC agenda”

        — The Weekend Australian, 5 April 2014

        Hello, I’m Paul Barry. Welcome to Media Watch.

        And that embarrassing slip-up from The Australian yes it should be TAXPAYERS – took the wind out of Gerard Henderson’s bagging of the national broadcaster.

        Yet remarkably, nine days after it appeared in the paper – and nine days after being pointed out on Twitter – a the mistake is still up online.

        Helloooo – is anybody home?

        A brilliant scoop, to be sure. And how important it was for Mr Barry to tell Media Watch viewers that the heading “taypayers” should have referred to “taxpayers” and to advise them that a typo had taken “the wind out” of my criticisms of the ABC. This was an important use of taxpayer funds on the public broadcaster, to be sure.

        By the way, since Paul Barry and the Media Watch team seem so concerned with accuracy, how is it that Mr Barry mispronounced my first name? If anyone of the large Media Watch research team had bothered to contact me, I would have told them the correct pronunciation.

        Come to think of it, the last time I was referred to on Media Watch (sometime last year) the then presenter Jonathan Holmes also mispronounced my name:

        As the saying goes – Helloooo, is anybody home?

        Have a happy (and a holy) Easter. And remember to keep morale high.

        Gerard Henderson

        Gerard Henderson to Paul Barry – 23 April 2014

        Good afternoon Mr Barry

        As the cliché goes – Is anybody home?

        Attached is an email which I forwarded to Timothy (nee Tim) Latham concerning a recent Media Watch program. Alas, Mr Latham has not replied. I can only assume he is not home.

        Over to you.

        Best wishes

        Gerard Henderson

        Timothy Latham to Gerard Henderson – 23 April 2014

        Hi Gerard,

        It must be Paul’s English lilt. I will make sure it doesn’t happen again.

        We note there were no typos in your copy so just keep an eye on those headline writers for us.

        Hope you’re well.



        Gerard Henderson to Timothy Latham – 24 April 2014


        Thanks for your response – following my communication with Paul Barry. It was nice to hear from you again.

        For the record, I have never let my own media-watching descend to the trivial pursuit of picking up “typos”. It’s all too easy – since everyone makes them. I’ll leave that to the executive team at the taxpayer funded Media Watch.

        Perhaps the problem with ABC 1’s Media Watch is that it engages too many British-born left-wing presenters. Jonathan Holmes could not pronounce my first name. Nor can Paul Barry. So help me.

        Keep morale high.



        Gerard Henderson to Jonathan Green – 23 April 2014


        Someone has drawn my attention to the wonderful tweet you sent out at 11.48 pm on Wednesday 17 April 2014 – following my appearance on Lateline with Kate McClymont and Steve Cannane.

        As you will recall, your tweet went like this:

        Jonathan Green ‏@GreenJ Apr 17

        gerard henderson determinedly not getting it …

        It’s great that you have time to tweet near midnight about me (allegedly) “not getting it” concerning a bottle of wine. In view of this, I assume you have time to “get” the reference to support your undocumented assertion in The Year My Politics Broke that Julia Gillard qualified her August 2010 promise that there would be no carbon tax under the government she led by claiming that she did intend to place a price on carbon. My previous (unanswered) correspondence refers.

        As I said, just the facts will do. Come to think of it, why not just tweet it?

        Keep morale high.


        Editor’s comment: It would seem that Mr Green is not a courteous kind of guy since he does not answer – or even acknowledge – your emails. Or perhaps he is turning over his $1.5 million Fitzroy abode trying to find a clipping or some such. In any event, keep those emails going – I’m sure MWD’s avid readers, especially those of courteous disposition – want to know the outcome of Mr Green’s search for the lost quote.

        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.