GERARD HENDERSON’S MEDIA WATCH DOG – ISSUE NO. 223
2 May 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.
As avid MWD readers will be aware, MWD was going to take what journalists call a well-earned break last week – since Anzac Day fell on a Friday. But Nancy happened to rise early on Thursday 24 April and put together a hurried issue. MWD Issue 222 dealt with, inter alia, the Sydney Morning Herald’s censorship of Professor Frank Brennan’s defence of Cardinal Pell in order to cover Elizabeth Farrelly’s howler. And also, Gerard Henderson’s correspondence with Kate McClymont concerning the NSW Independent Commission against Corruption and all that.
Good Friday and Anzac Day have led to a back-log of material. MWD will cover some of the matters which occurred in the second half of April over the next couple of weeks. Now read on.
- Can You Bear It? The Age’s Anti-Catholic Sectarianism; The Sydney Morning Herald Sneers On; Julian Burnside’s Stuff Up; The SMH’s Concerns About Mike Baird’s Religion
- ABC Update: Jonathan Holmes Defends Four Corners After the Death of Neville Wran; Nice Mr Scott’s Double J
MIKE CARLTON DECLINES TO ANSWER KEY QUESTION AS TO WHAT IS WRONG WITH SHELTERED WORKSHOPS
The news this morning is that there is no news on the Mike (“I’ll pour the gin”) Carlton front. Last Monday night – after dinner, of course – your man Carlton referred to The Sydney Institute as “Gerard Henderson’s sheltered workshop”.
If anyone but the Sydney Morning Herald’s house leftist had referred to sheltered workshops in derogatory terms, they would be called to account by some anti-discrimination body for insulting the disabled. But it seems that Mike Carlton can get away with it.
MWD emailed Mr Carlton at his Whale Beach abode on 30 April asking him what he has against sheltered workshops and the disabled who are employed in them. There has been no reply from Whale Beach. [Perhaps Mike (“I’ll pour the gin”) Carlton did not hear your email arrive in his inbox because it was after lunch and he was pouring the gin. Think about it. – Ed].
ROBERT MANNE ON MALCOLM FRASER IN THE GOOD WEEKEND : HOWLERS APLENTY AND SELF-CRITICISM MISUNDERSTOOD
Robert Manne was voted Australia’s leading public intellectual. Wow. Not once; but twice. Wow; wow. How does anyone know this? Well, Mr Manne has listed this achievement on his website. Well done. [Why doesn’t your man Manne have a Ph.D? Everybody else does. – Ed]
Last Saturday, Emeritus Professor Manne of La Trobe University (“Proudly One of Australia’s Top 500 Polluters”) wrote an article titled “Shifted Alliance” in the Good Weekend magazine which is published with the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age. This was a profile of former Liberal Party prime minister Malcolm Fraser to co-incide with the publication of his book Dangerous Allies (MUP, 2014) – which, not surprisingly, was published on May Day. To coincide with Mr Fraser’s self-proclaimed move to the left, the GW’s cover story was headlined “Left turn”.
When Good Weekend editor Ben Naparstek worked for property developer Morry Schwartz on The Monthly, he did not have the money to employ a fact-checker. It seems that at the Good Weekend Mr Naparstek still has to do without the services of a fact-checker. How else to explain this howler in Robert Manne’s article last Saturday? :
Fraser joined the Menzies ministry at the time of one of the greatest political catastrophes of the 20th century, the brutal mid-1960s massacre of perhaps one million Indonesian communists, leftists and Chinese.
This is hopelessly wrong. Malcolm Fraser never served in Robert Menzies’ ministry.
Robert Menzies stepped down as prime minister on 26 January 1966. Malcolm Fraser first became a minister the same day – as Minister for the Army. Fraser was appointed to the ministry by new prime minister Harold Holt. Not Robert Menzies. Professor Manne should know this – even if it so happened that Malcolm Fraser – who has a self-declared “notoriously fallible” memory – gave him incorrect information.
Earlier in the article, Manne quoted Fraser about Australia’s (alleged) lack of independence during the first half of the 20th Century. This is how the learned professor related his conversation with the former prime minister :
Fraser did not find any British Empire policy that Australian politicians had influenced either before or after World War I. Only one Australian prime minister, Billy Hughes – in Fraser’s view, our worst – managed to throw his weight around successfully, mainly in a harmful manner, like demanding the removal of a racial equality clause from the League of Nations preamble. Australia at first declined the offer of independence in 1931 under the Statute of Westminster; conservative politicians feared that it might dilute Britain’s commitment to defend Australia.
These are the facts. The Statute of Westminster 1931 was passed by the Parliament of the United Kingdom on 11 December 1931 – which happened to be towards the end of the 1931 election campaign in Australia. The United Australia Party, led by Joseph Lyons, won the election on 19 December 1931 and Lyons was sworn in as prime minister on 6 January 1932.
It is true that United Australia Party politicians at the time did not want to implement the Statute of Westminster 1931. But neither did the Labor Party. Both the conservatives and the social democrats wanted Britain to accept the greatest burden possible for the defence of Australia. In other words, neither the UAP nor the ALP wanted to spend any more money on defence than was absolutely necessary. However, the UAP did increase defence spending in the years leading to the outbreak of the Second World War in September 1939 – while declining to formally adopt the Statute of Westminster 1931.
Labor, under the leadership of John Curtin, came to office on 7 October 1941. It was in no rush to implement the Statute of Westminster. In fact, the Statute of Westminster Adoption Act was not passed until 9 October 1942 – it was backdated to 3 September 1939.
In other words, the Fraser/Manne position that it was the conservatives who did not want to accept independence as granted by the Statute of Westminster 1931 is simply false. This was a bipartisan policy at the time.
Robert Manne, who was twice voted Australia’s leading public intellectual, has always been influenced by the strong views of strong men. His male mentors include the Catholic political activist B.A. Santamaria (1915-1998), the political philosopher Frank Knopfelmacher (1923-1995), the poet Vincent Buckley (1925-1988), Malcolm Fraser (1930 – ) and philosopher Rai Gaita (1946 – ).
There is an old joke which has an Irishman boasting that “the Irish are tops for humility”. Professor Manne’s Good Weekend piece suggests that he happens to believe that Malcolm Fraser is tops for self-criticism. But is he? This is what the learned professor wrote:
Fraser was minister for the army and later defence minister during the Vietnam War, and the highly excitable prime minister at the time of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Although he is not temperamentally inclined to breast-beating, his reappraisal of US and Australian Cold War behaviour over Vietnam and Afghanistan also involves open and unambiguous self-criticism, a quality of character not to be found in any postwar Australian PM before or after him.
However, there is no evidence of Fraser’s self-criticism in Manne’s profile. None whatsoever. Malcolm Fraser believes that he was correct in supporting Australia’s Vietnam commitment in 1966 and he believes that he is also correct in now opposing the Vietnam commitment with the benefit of hindsight. It’s much the same with the Cold War. Fraser believes that he was correct in opposing the Soviet Union’s attempted occupation of Afghanistan during the Cold War and he believes he is also correct in opposing the West’s role in the Cold War with the benefit of hindsight.
Malcolm Fraser’s attitude is that he has not changed his basic values but that others have changed by moving to the right.
Fraser supported the US/Australia joint facility at Pine Gap when he was prime minister – but he opposes it now. Fraser supported the containment of the Soviet Union when he was prime minister but opposes the containment of China now.
Professor Robert Manne does not seem to realise that questioning your previous positions and changing your mind is not an act of self criticism unless you admit that you were wrong at the time and apologise for past mistakes.
Come to think of it, there is another leading Australian (Australia’s leading public intellectual, in fact) who moved rapidly from right to left and now engages in extended self-justification – not self-criticism. It’s your man Manne.
Like Malcolm Fraser, Robert Manne was right in the 1970s when he held one view and he is also right four decades later when he holds a diametrically different view. In other words, like Malcolm Fraser, Robert Manne is always correct even as he moves from right to left. That’s not self-criticism. Just self-indulgence.
COMRADE MANNE UNITES WITH COMRADE GAITA TO STOP “POULTRY” JOBS FOR THE TOILING WORKING CLASS
While on the topic of Australia’s self-advertised leading public intellectual, the news from Castlemaine is that Professor Robert Manne celebrated May Day yesterday by talking to his bestie Professor Raimond Gaita at the Phee Broadway Theatre in downtown Castlemaine. The aim of the Robert/Rai conversation was to stop real workers from obtaining real jobs in the vicinity.
As avid MWD readers will be aware, this is the third in a series of meetings in the rural town of Castlemaine whereby a number of members of Melbourne’s sandalista class travel from Fitzroy (or in Manne’s case Cottles Bridge) to Castlemaine to talk to Rai Gaita about each other.
The series is called “No Poultry Matter: Raimond Gaita in Conversation With…”. First up there was writer Arnold Zable (5 March), followed by writer Helen Garner (15 April), followed by Australia’s’ self-proclaimed leading public intellectual Robert Manne (1 May).
The aim of the Gang of Four Melbourne Intellectuals is to stop a proposed chicken farm in nearby Baringhup. Why? Well, young Rai grew up on the nearby Moorlort Plains and he reckons that the construction of a chicken farm near the land of his birth will affect the spirit of the place which contributed to the “rhythm” of the “sentences” in his book Romulus: My Father. Fair dinkum.
What a sight to behold as the Gang of Four Melbourne Intellectuals travel to Castlemaine to campaign against the construction of a chicken farm which would provide good jobs to hundreds of men and women living in central Victoria. Especially since Rai and Robert have spent all their careers in taxpayer subsidised employment in universities and Arnold and Helen have spent much of their lives living off taxpayer funded literary grants along with periods of employment at taxpayer funded or subsidised universities or schools.
Nancy’s (male) co-owner supports the rights of workers in Central Victoria to obtain employment at the proposed Baringhup chicken farm. It’s just that Hendo cannot stand the self-importance involved in the Gang of Four Melbourne Intellectuals rocking up to Castlemaine to talk about themselves and the cadences in Professor Gaita’s sentences of three decades ago.
So here’s a (revised) deal. Last night it cost Castlemaine locals $15 a head to hear Rai agree with Robert who agreed with Rai about their “No Poultry Matter” campaign. If 150 attended each one of Rai’s conversations with Arnold or Helen or Robert, then your man Gaita would have collected $6750 for three nights’ work.
To stop yet another series of anti-chicken motivated self-indulgence, Nancy’s’ (male) co-owner is now prepared to increase his offer to provide $6000 to the charity of your man Manne’s choice if he can provide certain evidence. Hendo is willing to increase the offer to $7000 – which will cover three nights fund-raising at $2250 a night plus an extra $250 to cover expenses in the travelling from Fitzroy to Castlemaine.
As MWD’s avid readers will be aware, this money is on offer if Robert Manne can stump up evidence to support his (undocumented) allegation that Gerard Henderson wrote a dossier calling on The Age to drop Robert Manne as a columnist some two decades ago.
Initially Manne said that Henderson sent the dossier to The Age’s Paul Austin in 1993, with a copy to Manne’s friend Morag Fraser. Then Manne changed the date to 1995. Manne claims that Austin gave him a copy of this dossier.
So, according to Manne, there are three copies of the (alleged) dossier in existence. Paul Austin has the original, Morag Fraser has the first copy and Robert Manne himself has a subsequent copy.
All Australia’s self-proclaimed leading public intellectual has to do is produce one copy of the (alleged) dossier to support his (undocumented) allegation – and the $7000 is his. If the learned professor chooses, he can hand over the $7000 to Raimond Gaita. It may not stop the proposed Baringhup chicken farm. But it will prevent the need for public displays of self-indulgence by the Gang of Four Melbourne Intellectuals on tour in Castlemaine.
● THE AGE’S ANTI-CATHOLIC SECTARIANISM CONTINUES
Last Thursday MWD covered the latest outburst of anti-Catholic sectarianism in The Age. Namely, the article by Jonathan Swan and Lisa Visentin – with the assistance of Matt Wade and Gemma Khaicy – in The Sunday Age of 20 April which (incorrectly) asserted that “the Federal Coalition’s Cabinet is the most powerful collection of Catholics ever assembled in Australia”. See MWD Issue 222.
An avid MWD reader in Doncaster, Melbourne has pointed out that The Sunday Age even thought it proper to ask a number of Catholics in Tony Abbott’s government whether they would attend Church services over Easter. Seldom before in the history of Australian media have so many journalists worked so hard to cover so trivial and intrusive a story. But that’s “The-Guardian-on-the-Yarra” (aka The Age) for you in its contemporary status as an inner-city leftist house journal.
Believe it or not [I’m sure I’ll believe it – Ed], The Sunday Age returned to the topic in its Letters Page last weekend. There was a photograph of the Coalition cabinet under the heading “Policies repudiate Jesus Christ and his teachings”. The lead-letter read as follows:
Almost half of the 19 federal Coalition’s cabinet are Catholics and yet this is the most unchristian government in Australian history. Its treatment of asylum seekers is not only hypocritical in terms of their faith, it amounts to spiritual turpitude. Indeed, it is a repudiation of Jesus Christ and His teachings. How have we come to be led by such a morally bankrupt lot?
– William Hageman, Blackburn South
The Sunday Age’s editor decided to give prominence to William Hageman’s criticism of the Coalition’s “spiritual turpitude” over asylum seekers. It seems that The Sunday Age is unaware that the Coalition’s policy on off-shore detention for asylum seekers was initiated by the previous Labor government and that Labor’s senior ministers included such Christians as the Catholic baptised Kevin Rudd along with such Catholics as the Jesuit educated Bill Shorten plus Anthony Albanese, Tony Burke and Brendan O’Connor.
Needless to say, the other three letters also bagged the Coalition. Yet another 100 per cent anti-Abbott strike rate for “The-Guardian-on-the-Yarra”. Can you bear it?
● THE SNEERING-MORNING HERALD SNEERS ON
As MWD readers will know, NSW Liberal Party premier Barry O’Farrell resigned on 16 April 2014 after realising that – due to a memory failure – he had given incorrect evidence to ICAC concerning an expensive bottle of wine.
On Saturday 19 April, the Sydney Morning Herald used the occasion to sneer – not at the former premier but his wife Rosemary O’Farrell. Here’s what Andrew Hornery had to say in his “PS: Private Sydney” gossip column:
Toil for Royals Wasted
While Barry O’Farrell would probably prefer to forget the events of Wednesday, spare a thought for his wife Rosemary, a Country Party blueblood who missed out on the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to greet the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Blast that very, VERY expensive bottle of plonk! Rosemary would have been well briefed by the premier’s protocol office leading up to Wednesday’s arrival on her duties when it came to the royals, And what of the countless hours and energy which would have gone into figuring out the right outfits to wear? Co-ordinating shoes, hats, handbags … all for nothing. The daughter of NSW Country Party politician Bruce Cowan, Rosemary grew up in Taree, which at that time was the bosom of antipodean monarchism.
The Sneering-Morning-Herald’s Mr Hornery has no idea whether or not Mrs O’Farrell spent “countless hours and energy” on deciding what outfit she might wear to formally welcome William and Catherine. He just made this up.
And this is what the Sneering-Morning-Herald’s Letters Editor decided was fit to print on the SMH’s Letters Page on 19 April:
Don’t let that new dress go wasting
Hopefully, Barry O’Farrell can redeem himself in his wife’s eyes (Letters, April 18), by taking her to Royal Randwick for the championships. At least she will be able to wear her outfit that she would have worn to welcome the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
– Carolyn Wills, Cremorne
Needless to say, neither the SMH’s Letters Editor nor Carolyn Wills of Cremorne (a regular letter writer to the Herald) has any idea what Rosemary O’Farrell intended to wear to meet the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. None whatsoever. It’s just another sneer in the Sneering-Morning-Herald – the home of Mike (“I’ll pour the gin”) Carlton, Dr Elizabeth Farrelly (for a doctor she is) and the red-bandannaed Peter FitzSimons. Can you bear it?
● A REAL TWEET – JULIAN BURNSIDE QC’s CONSPIRACY THEORY DEMOLISHED
While on the topic of undocumented assertions, consider the case of Julian Burnside QC (Queen’s Counsel). [I understand that the republican Burnside never downgraded his QC to the title of SC (Senior Counsel) and, as a consequence, will not have to follow the trend of many of m’learned friends in restoring the QC title – Ed].
This is the tweet which m’learned friend Burnside put out last Sunday:
LNP pays $4.3 million a year for trolls to abuse us on Twitter and stalk us on Facebook. Watch out for the #4.3m ; they are easy to spot.
There is no evidence of any kind to support Burnside’s (undocumented) assertion that what he calls the Liberal National Party pays $4.3 million a year for trolls to abuse Burnside’s Twitter and Facebook mates.
When asked to support his assertion with evidence, Burnside cited an article by Bianca Hall in Fairfax Media on 16 February 2014.
In fact, Ms Hall did not claim that the LNP was spending $4.3 million annually on anti-leftist trolls. Rather, she claimed that the Abbott government was spending some part of $4.3 million a year to research material on Twitter and Facebook in order to gauge the assessment on social media of its immigration policies.
That’s all folks. The rest was made up by Julian Burnside QC – an unusual role for a barrister. Can you bear it?
● LEARNING FROM THE AGE : THE SMH TARGETS CHRISTIANS IN POLITICS BUT IGNORES ATHEISTS
The Age’s obsession with Catholics in Tony Abbott’s cabinet is now matched by the Sydney Morning Herald’s obsession with Christians in Mike Baird’s new cabinet.
On 26-27 April 2014, the SMH ran an article by Sean Nicholls tilted “Onward Christian soldier: a premier’s faith”. This is how the piece commenced:
As Mike Baird moved into the Premier’s office this week so did a significant influence: Jesus Christ. Mr Baird is a proud and committed Christian who once considered becoming an Anglican minister. His rise to the top has seen a concentration of powerful religious conviction among the upper echelons of the new government.
Sean Nicholls went on to mention other Christians in the Baird government. There is chief-of-staff Bay Warburton (who “prayed for guidance before taking a job” with Baird), environment minister Rob Stokes (“who holds a diploma in Bible studies”), finance minister Dominic Perrottet (who attended a school run by the conservative Catholic order Opus Dei) and deputy premier Andrew Stoner (“who attends the evangelical C3 church). Nicholls also saw fit to mention that right-faction leader David Clarke has a wife who is an Opus Dei member.
Fancy that – and what about his sisters and his cousins and aunts? – Ed].
Perhaps one day The Age and the Sydney Morning Herald will write about the number of atheists in the Federal and State parliaments. But don’t hold your breath. Neither paper ever expressed much interest in the atheism of Julia Gillard or the late Neville Wran. Can you bear it?
● JONATHAN HOLMES & THE LATE NEVILLE WRAN
The ABC never apologises and rarely makes corrections.
So it came as no surprise that one-time Four Corners executive director Jonathan Holmes devoted his column in The Age last Saturday to the topic: “Four Corners got it right, even if Wran couldn’t see it”.
Needless to say Holmes defended the program The Big League which aired on ABC1 in 1983 and which implied that the then NSW Labor premier Neville Wran had improperly intervened in a criminal case and had charges dropped against one of his “Nifty” Neville’s mates.
In fact, Neville Wran was cleared by a royal commission headed by the then NSW Chief Justice Sir Laurence Street. Needless to say, some three decades after the event, Holmes is still arguing that Four Corners “did our job”. Maybe. But the imputation against Neville Wran in the program was totally wrong. In the aftermath of Wran’s death, Jonathan Holmes could have had the grace to at least shut up.
● NICE MR SCOTT’S ABC – ONE MORE RADIO STATION BUT STILL NO CONSERVATIVES
Mark Scott has been ABC managing director since 2006. During this time the taxpayer funded public broadcaster has remained a Conservative-Free-Zone with not one conservative presenter or producer or editor for any of its prominent television or radio or on-line outlets.
Nice Mr Scott was busy this week opening yet another digital radio station which – according to the evidence – few people listen to. Especially since digital radio can only be heard in certain capital cities. In spite of this, Mark Scott told those present at the launch of ABC Double J (which is aimed at graduates from ABC Triple J) that the new station can be heard “anytime, any way and anywhere”. Provided, that is, a listener lives close to Ultimo in Sydney or Southbank in Melbourne.
According to MWD’s count, the ABC in Sydney and Melbourne has three AM radio stations, one FM radio station and five digital stations in Sydney plus four television channels plus an on-line newspaper. In spite of all this, Nice Mr Scott has still not been able to find one conservative to present one prominent program on one outlet.
STEP FORWARD AMANDA FOREMAN – FOR HER REFLECTIONS ON JEAN McCONVILLE, MURDERED BY THE PROVISIONAL IRA
At the time MWD went out this afternoon, the word from Ireland was that Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams is still under arrest by the Northern Ireland Police Service and is being questioned concerning the 1972 murder of Catholic widow and mother of ten Jean McConville.
Amanda Foreman (who, by the way, delivered The Sydney Institute’s Annual Lecture in 2013) wrote a column titled “My hero: Jean McConville) in The Guardian, 30 October 2010 – see here.
Amanda Foreman’s tribute to the late Jean McConville is well worth a read – and well worth Nancy’s Five Paws Award. Well done Dr Foreman.
JONATHAN KING’S U-TURN ON THE GREAT WAR
Due to enormous popular demand, this much admired MWD segment returns.
What a truly stunning article in The Age on Anzac Day by Jonathan King titled “Time to honour sacrifices on the Western Front”. This is how Dr King (for a doctor he is) commenced:
As Australia gears up for next year’s centenary of our favourite battle, Gallipoli, we should spare a thought for the first Australian to fall in World War I: Lieutenant William Chisholm, 22, killed – not at Gallipoli – but in France at the outbreak of war. After the enemy captured Mons, Chisholm was part of a brave force that helped slow Germany’s aggressive advance just long enough for Allied armies to dig Western Front trenches, drawing a line in the sand which saved Paris and from which they later won the war….
Chisholm, who died eight months before the first Anzacs killed at the 25 April 1915 Gallipoli landing and also weeks before the Australians killed in the September 1914 raid on Rabaul, was the first of 46,000 Australians who died on that Western Front helping win the war in this main theatre. Their massive sacrifice, larger than the 8709 killed at the abortive Gallipoli campaign, inspires me to start commemorating the centenary of WWI eight months early, leading a Boronia battlefield tour to the Western Front for the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of WWI on 4th August, to pay homage to brave Chisholm and his 46,000 comrades who fell there.
So here stands Jonathan King – patriot and military historian – who is proud to stand up as a booster for the Australian Imperial Force which played an important role in the defeat of Germany on the Western Front in late 1918. Fair enough.
But could this be the very same Jonathan King – leftist and propagandist – who once condemned Australia’s involvement in World War I and who declared that the likes of Lieutenant William Chisholm had died in vain? Er, sure could.
This is what Jonathan King wrote in his piss-poor book Waltzing Materialism, which was published in 1978, in a chapter ironically titled “Our Glorious Anzacs”.
Australians have shown themselves to be an extremely pugnacious nation. In our short history we have joined in eleven major skirmishes and lost nearly a hundred thousand lives before stopping to ask why. The fact that involvement was rarely needed or justified and that the campaigns were often catastrophic was apparently inconsequential. This predisposition to military adventure has been so important that a collection of myths has developed around the catastrophies turning them into victories in such a way that it rarely occurs to admiring audiences to enquire into the reasons why so many Australians should die in the first place…
Within weeks of the outbreak of the First World War 20,000 volunteers were sailing west, and three times that number were to die on European soil. Their first taste of action – Gallipoli – tempered their militarist enthusiasm when 7600 were killed but the “little Digger” Billy Hughes countered this with his “we must win the war” hysteria. The subsequent campaign on conscription which followed in 1916 and 1917 did much to consolidate the national belief that those who volunteered to fight in others’ wars were good Australians and those who questioned the worth of the fight were traitors.
It’s okay for an historian to change his or her mind on an issue like the First World War. It’s just that Jonathan King has never explained why he went from a John Pilger type leftist, describing 1914-1918 as an example of Australia’s commitment to “other people’s wars”, to proclaiming that the Great War was a just conflict in which Australia should have played a part.
Meanwhile Nancy will keep digging. If any MWD reader can explain Dr King’s metamorphosis please get in touch.
A CERTAIN MIKE HAMILTON STEPS UP AND WRITES TO HENDO ABOUT NOTHING MUCH AT ALL – EXCEPT THE WINDSORS
This hugely popular segment of Media Watch Dog – read by hundreds of thousands of MWD’s 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 – invariably replies. And then, hey presto, the correspondence is published in MWD. Much to the delight of avid readers.
This week a number of readers wrote to correct one hugely important issue. Namely, that the mother of the Queen (who was commonly called the Queen Mother) was Queen Elizabeth. Not Queen Mary – who was the mother of someone else. So now you know – and don’t forget it.
In any event a certain Mike Hamilton from somewhere or other chose to write to Gerard Henderson concerning the mistake in last week’s MWD whereby the late Queen Elizabeth was called the late Queen Mother [Don’t you mean the “deliberate mistake”? – Ed].
Channelling the Lair of Liverpool (aka Mark Latham), Mr Hamilton decided to bower-bird some of Hendo’s favourite sayings and use them as his own. Can you bear it? – and so on. Now let’s go to the correspondence:
Mike Hamilton to Gerard Henderson – 29 April 2014
From “Media Watch Dog”, Issue 222, 24 April:
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 Mary (the then Queen Mother) lived to the ripe old age of 102 years.
The “load of tosh” is your egregious blunder in naming the present Queen’s mother as Mary, when she was, of course, Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon. You were dimly (and I use the word advisedly) thinking of her grandmother, Mary of Teck.
This remains uncorrected. I suppose the monarchists had an attack of the vapours and are still recovering with a cup of tea, a Bex and a good lie-down.
On the very same page, your narcissism and overweening vanity twice led you to sneer and nitpick over the trivial matter of how you prefer your first name to be spoken. You wrote “if anyone of the large Media Watch research team had bothered to contact me, I would have told them the correct pronunciation”.
GERard, GerARD, hard “G” or soft “G”: frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn and neither does anyone else.
If you really must insist on sharing your monarchical pontifications with an uninterested world, please employ a competent fact-checker to save you from further embarrassment. Matthew 7:3 also offers some useful tips.
But can you bear it?
Keep morale high,
Gerard Henderson to Mike Hamilton – 30 April 2014
How wonderful to receive your email – sent at 3.40 am on Tuesday – concerning last Thursday’s Media Watch Dog. I can think of nothing better than writing to Nancy’s (male) co-owner at such a time. You, obviously, feel the same way.
And how wonderful that you picked the “John-Laws-Deliberate-Mistake” in MWD Issue 222. As you may or may not know, MWD used to run a “John-Laws-Deliberate-Mistake” competition. It was renewed last week – without warning.
Yes, the mother of Elizabeth II was Elizabeth (the Queen Mother) not Queen Mary. Well done.
The truth is that I never studied “kings and queens” at school. As I recall, we were more fixated on the Vicar of Christ in Rome rather than the King or Queen in London. I suspect that I would have failed such a subject as Windsors 101.
I am surprised that you attribute my decision to write to ABC 1’s Media Watch to correct the mispronunciation of my first name as a consequence of my “narcissism and overweening vanity”.
I was simply making the point that getting my first name wrong was perhaps somewhat more serious than a typo in The Australian which Media Watch led with on 14 April 2014. That’s all.
I suppose it would be akin to the taxpayer funded public broadcaster deciding to bag you and then pronounce your first name as, say, “Mickey”.
For the record, I do not “insist” on sharing my monarchical pontifications with an uninterested world”. It’s not compulsory to read MWD and I am genuinely surprised that you did so last Tuesday – all the way through to the Correspondence section.
And it is not compulsory to identify the John-Laws-Deliberate-Mistake so early in the morning.
I am aware of Matthew 7:3 – being a New Testament (rather than an Old Testament) kind of guy. It’s just that I do not believe that your biblical reference works.
I wrote MWD last Thursday – very early in the morning. The Correspondence section aside, it contained over 3000 words. It was all my own work. The ABC Media Watch program which aired on 14 April 2014 contained somewhat over 2000 words. Believe it or not, Aunty’s Media Watch – presented by Paul Barry – has a total staff of 30 including three full time researchers and it cannot pronounce my first name. I would recommend Matthew 25: 14-30. It contains some useful tips.
Keep morale high.
Until next time – keep morale high.
On boyfriend’s insistence, watching the notorious Gerard Henderson/@Kate_McClymont Lateline segment. GH: What an odd, angry gnome of a man.
– Benjamin Law, via Twitter, Thursday 17 Apr 2014, 11:21 pm
Can’t believe I just spent my Thursday evening with a video recap of Gerard Henderson. I’m a f-cking moron.
– Benjamin Law, via Twitter, Thursday 17 Apr 2014, 11:23 pm
“[Gerard Henderson is an] unhinged crank”
– Mike Carlton, via 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.