16 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.



    It’s been a big week for news – what, with the Budget and all that. So it was great that the ABC’s very own Phil Kafcaloudes was on the money, so to speak , when he appeared on the Newspapers segment of the ABC 1 News Breakfast this morning. Virginia Trioli and Michael Rowland were the presenters.

    These days, regular News Breakfast commentator Dr Scott Burchill is dressing a bit better than in the past. He no longer looks as if he has dropped off at the ABC Southbank studio on the way to the tip. Rather, Dr Burchill (for a doctor he is) looks like he has purchased clothes from the St Vincent de Paul’s emporium in nearby South Melbourne and has chosen to sleep in them overnight.

    As for Phil Kafcaloudes, well, he is still suffering from button-creep – from the top down. Your man Kafcaloudes still can’t find a shirt which buttons up to his collar bone. Nor a barber to remove facial hair. Nor a waxer to remove the growth on his (very male) cleavage. [I wonder if the style-expert on such cleavage issues – the gorgeous Grace Collier – has commented on this matter? – Ed].

    In any event, dress and appearance aside, Phil Kafcaloudes had a clear sense of priorities today. First up, the ABC’s Special K declared:

    I don’t drink. I don’t smoke. And I’m a vegan so I don’t drink milk…I don’t drink coffee, either.

    Wow. In view of what the ABC Special K saves at the pub, the tobacconist, the milk bar and the coffee shop, he should be able to buy a shirt with buttons that work. Beyond the hirsute line all the way to the collar bone.


    How frightfully interesting that ABC managing director and (alleged) editor-in-chief Mark Scott positioned himself in Melbourne on Budget Night last Tuesday. And so it came to pass that, the following morning, he was able to be present in the ABC Southbank studio for an interview with ABC 1 News Breakfast co-presenter Virginia Trioli about how the taxpayer funded public broadcaster had been treated in the Budget.

    The ABC managing director just loves being interviewed in ABC studios by ABC staff who happen to be his employees. [Good point. As I recall, Nice Mr Scott chose ABC interviewer Jonathan (“I’m not really a leftie”) Green to bag Gerard Henderson as “absolutely simplistic”. See MWD passim ad nauseam – Ed].

    As it turned out, La Trioli’s interview with Nice Mr Scott was a soft affair. For “balance” it could only be matched by arranging for Liberal Party national director Brian Loughnane to interview Liberal Party prime minister Tony Abbott about the Budget on News Breakfast. It’s just that this will never happen.

    This is how the journalistic love-in commenced:

    Virginia Trioli: The budgets of the ABC and SBS will each be cut by 1 per cent and the government will axe the Australia Network which the ABC operates. To discuss the cuts, ABC managing director Mark Scott joins me now. Mark Scott, thank you for joining me

    Mark Scott: Good morning

    Virginia Trioli: “No cuts to the ABC” said Tony Abbott and he said that more than once. So is Tony Abbott a liar?

    Mark Scott: Well I’m not going to get into the political debates, Virginia. But the commitment was very clear. No funding cuts to the ABC and SBS and what we’re looking at is $120 million funding cut over the next four years and the bulk of that is axing of Australia Network.

    Virginia Trioli: What’s the motive, do you think, for the Abbott government to break its promise?

    And so it went on. La Trioli did not mention that the Coalition had never promised that the ABC would retain the Australia Network contract. For starters, the ABC only won the deal after two quite improper interventions by the Gillard Labor Government which led to rival bidder Sky News receiving financial compensation. Moreover, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade – from which the Australia Network is funded – regards its news/current affairs services in Asia as a dud. That’s why, on two occasions, the ABC lost a competitive tender to Sky News. If Labor had intervened in a contract process and deprived the ABC of a contract which it had won legitimately this would have been the subject of a Four Corners bagging.

    Highlights of the La Trioli/Nice Mr Scott Love-In included:

    ▪ Scott’s acknowledgement that he had not been able to obtain a standard meeting with Foreign Minister Julie Bishop to state the ABC’s case about the Australia Network.

    ▪ Trioli’s claim that News Corp did not want the contract to go to the ABC in the first place due to its “own financial interest”. She also asserted that “News Limited wanted the contract for Australia Network as well”. In fact, News Corp owns no shares in Sky News. At the time of the Australia Network tender, the (old) News Corp owned 13 per cent of Sky News.

    Discussion then turned on the 1 per cent cut to ABC’s general funding announced in the Budget. It should be easy to make a 1 per cent cut to an annual budget of $1 billion. In fact, the ABC cut is small when compared with what has been demanded of other Commonwealth Government departments and entities. But La Trioli could see a conspiracy. And Nice Mr Scott went along for the ride:

    Virginia Trioli: If it [ABC] becomes a smaller, shrunken and more reduced organisation, as you’ve indicated that you fear, that’s pretty much what a critic such as News Limited have been after.

    Mark Scott: Yeah. But it’s not what the Australian public wants. We are by far the most trusted and respected media organisation in the country. Nearly 9 in 10 Australians believe that with our funding now we represent valuable service. And three quarters of Australians are watching or listening or logging in every week. The Australian public like the ABC, they’re our strongest supporters and I don’t think they want our budget cut any further.

    Ms Trioli made no reference to the fact that the ABC does not have one conservative presenter or producer or editor for any of its prominent television or radio or on-line outlets. Not one. And Mr Scott did not mention the fact that both AC Nielsen and Newspoll have found that between a third and a half of Coalition voters believe that the ABC is biased to the left. This figure amounts to literally millions of Australians. The ABC managing director is in denial about this reality.

    Finally, La Trioli asked one telling question. And Nice Mr Scott gave one evasive answer:

    Virginia Trioli: Does this [Budget decision] speak to your lack of power of persuasion with this government?

    Mark Scott: No. I think I have a pretty good relationship with the government. There are some who suggest that those in the government would – some of the government – would seek to cut more. No, we’ll continue to engage, we’ll continue to just make the case of the compelling role of the ABC in the media landscape and the great support the public has of the ABC.

    Virginia Trioli: Mark Scott, good to talk to you, thank you.

    Mark Scott: Thanks Virginia.

    Yes thank you Mark. And thank you Virginia Trioli. It is notable that with the exception of an interview on ABC Radio in Brisbane with Steve Austin recently (see MWD 215), Nice Mr Scott invariably gets soft interviews on the taxpayer funded public broadcaster.

    Can you bear it graphic


    It is said that mere mortals should beware of prophecies. Especially about the future.

    Here is Sydney Morning Herald columnist Paul Sheehan’s tweet of 6 May 2014 predicting that there would be no deficit levy for high income tax earners in the Budget:

    Paul Sheehan ‏@Paul_Sheehan_ May 6

    The Abbott government will NOT be introducing a special deficit tax in next week’s budget. That balloon went up and it burst.

    Just a week after Paul Sheehan’s prediction, Treasurer Joe Hockey announced a deficit levy in the Budget. Can you bear it?


    Thanks to an avid MWD reader in Canberra who emailed this photo of the post Budget Fairfax Media newspaper hoardings outside a local newsagency.

    The Australian Financial Review and the Sydney Morning Herald highlight the Budget. However, the Canberra Times is focused on food and wine. Can you bear it?



    While on the topic of the Budget, consider the tweet from Julian Burnside QC in Melbourne which went out during Q&A last Monday.

    julianburnside ‏@JulianBurnside 12 May

    Government debt can help create employment. That is not true of household debt.

    What a load of tosh. If a household borrows $10 million for the construction of a luxurious holiday home – this will create employment. Clearly, when it comes to economics, your man Burnside does not know what he is talking about. Can you bear it?


    Here’s Fairfax Media Mark Kenny’s final observation on Insiders last Sunday – Mothers’ Day:

    Mark Kenny: Happy Birthday, mum.

    Fran Kelly: Happy Mothers’ Day – and birthday

    Mark Kenny: Happy Mothers’ Day. Sorry, I should’ve clarified that.

    No, I was just thinking back to the pictures of Joe Hockey and Mathias Cormann smoking their cigars in such a self-satisfied manner. I was thinking, in the movies of the ’70s that was traditionally the way that you would depict that something had, you know, gone on and perhaps makes a – sends an ominous message about what might be in the budget.

    Fran Kelly: I think we’ll move it right along now.

    Quite so. In fact, Mark Kenny’s post-coital smoke reference sent out an ominous message about the state of mind of your man Kenny. Can you bear it?

    five paws graphic


    Peter Van Onselen wins this week’s prestigious Five Paws Award

    When it was pointed out to PVO that there is no evidence that Julia Gillard qualified her August 2010 promise that there would be no carbon tax under the government she led with a commitment to put a price on carbon, PVO conceded the point and corrected his error. See Correspondence section. Unlike Jonathan Green and Kerry-Anne Walsh who started the rumour in the first place but will neither produce the evidence nor correct the error.

    Well done PVO.



    Drop the totally self-indulgent ramble on ABC 702 in Sydney at 1.05 pm each Thursday when presenter James Valentine in Sydney and Jonathan (“I’m not really a leftie”) Green in Melbourne try to be funny. For almost half an hour. Really and truly.

    Your man Green – who is the ABC’s Sneerer-in-Chief – used the time yesterday to mock the Abbott government’s chaplains-in-schools project. The session, which runs the risk of giving self-indulgence a bad name, could be junked without loss. If you have any doubt, check out yesterday’s absolute tosh.

    Here’s how the program commenced with your man Green trying to out-do your man Valentine at mock religious chanting. [Perhaps this item should have been placed in your must-read “Can you bear it?” segment – Ed.]


    The following item appeared in the Canberra Times on Tuesday:


    Elizabeth Farrelly’s column regarding evidence at the Child Abuse Royal Commission, “Exit Pell, not with a whimper but a bombshell” (Times2, April 3, page 5) should have said Justice Peter McClellan proposed that priests could be insured, not Cardinal George Pell. Cardinal Pell endorsed the proposal.”

    It took the Canberra Times some five weeks to make this correction. But, unlike the Sydney Morning Herald, the Canberra Times did not censor Professor Frank Brennan in an attempt to protect Dr Farrelly.

    See MWD Issue 224 and also today’s Correspondence section. MWD will return to the unfinished business with respect to this matter next week.


    It only took three days. But on Monday afternoon failed Labor leader Mark Latham won MWD’s prestigious John-Laws-Style-Deliberate-Mistake Prize for picking the deliberate mistake in last week’s edition of MWD.

    Last Monday, Crikey’s “Corrections, clarifications, comments and cock-ups” section carried a letter from your man Latham. The Lair of Liverpool wrote to Crikey to complain that MWD had falsely claimed that he had depicted his former employer Bob Carr’s Diary of a Foreign Minister as “wearisome crap”. Whereas, writing in The AFR Weekend on 12-13 April 2014, Latham had said that Carr’s book was “wearisome pap”.

    Quite right. Well done. Big deal. And so on. Mark Latham wins the John-Laws-Style-Deliberate-Mistake Prize for Issue 224. It seems that nearly all of MWD’s avid readers missed this one. This is no surprise since the word “crap” was used in no fewer than 24 occasions in The Latham Diaries (plus one “crapola”) whereas “pap” only figures twice. As to “bullshit” – it gets 35 mentions and “arse” a mere 50 in The Latham Diaries, published by Melbourne University Press.

    MWD does not really see much of a difference between describing Bob Carr’s missives as “wearisome pap” or “wearisome crap”. But if the Lair of Liverpool is going to write to someone about a misquote of his column inThe AFR Weekend, he may as well write to Crikey. Especially since the very same edition of Crikey last Monday described The AFR Weekend as a “weighty tome….that no one seems to read”. (See Crikey, “Tips and Rumours”, 12 May 2014). So there would be little point in Latham writing to the AFR Weekend about such an issue since, according to Crikey, no one seems to read it.

    Nancy’s (male) co-owner very much appreciates the fact that the Lair of Liverpool is an avid MWD reader. So much so that in October 2012 he resigned as a columnist for The Spectator Australia after reading in MWD that his editor Tom Switzer had received one of Nancy’s Five Paws Awards for criticising the Lair of Liverpool.

    It was the first time that Latham had heard the news.

    This remains the only occasion in the history of Australian journalism where a columnist has resigned in protest at his editor receiving an award from a dog.

    Meanwhile, due to popular demand, MWD re-publishes the diary entry of 14 March 1989 where Bob Carr described how Mark Latham wept buckets of tears when he missed out on pre-selection for a safe Labor seat in the New South Wales Parliament – and seemed destined never to obtain a taxpayer funded annual superannuation handout – fully indexed, of course.

    …I summoned Peter [Anderson, former Labor police minister] and did a news conference in which I boldly endorsed him as my choice. Earlier, I’d had a phone conversation with Mark Latham, unsuccessful right-wing candidate and staff member. He in tears. Hung up on me. He later phoned in to resign. Bugger him. He failed to do the grassroots organisation that was necessary for a clear cut, unambiguous win (14 March 1989).

    There you go.

    nancy's pick graphic


    What a stunning performance by David (“All journalists should be lefties”) Marr on Q&A last Monday. These days the Guardian Australia and Saturday Paper contributor seems to move from one ABC studio to another. He was on Insiders in Melbourne on 4 May, on ABC 1’s The Drum in Sydney on 5 May and on Q&A on 12 May at the ABC’s studio in Ultimo circa Sandalista Central.

    In a somewhat excited and overly garrulous performance, David Marr:

    ▪ declared that Australia has had about eight good surpluses since Federation and that Labor left the Australian economy is a “very strong position” to handle an economic catastrophe. (In fact, the Howard government alone delivered more than eight surpluses and when Labor left office in September 2013 there had been six Labor deficits with a further 10 due to come).

    ▪ told Liberal MP Sharman Stone on no fewer than four occasions that she was “embarrassing”. (By this David Marr really meant that he didn’t agree with the Liberal MP).

    ▪ referred to former Prime Minister Julia Gillard as “that woman”. (Just imagine what Marr would have said if Tony Abbott had referred to the former prime minister as “that woman”).

    ▪ described Tony Abbott as a “kind of boy scout” and justified his statements about the Prime Minister as “quite rational and measured”. (Just imagine Marr’s reaction if, say, Andrew Bolt referred to Ms Gillard as a girl guide).

    ▪ blamed Tony Abbott and the Coalition for the fact that “the Labor Party has gone off into a completely ridiculous position” of “promising to oppose a tax cut on the rich”. (In other words, Prime Minister Abbott is responsible for the fact that Labor may oppose the deficit levy for individuals earning $180,000 annually. Eh?).

    ▪ referred to his “Presbyterian soul”. (According to MWD’s sources, Marr was educated at the Anglican Sydney Church of England Grammar School where the Anglican headmaster was married to his aunt). Young David would have spent much time at Anglican – not Presbyterian – services.

    ▪ interjected “We drove a Chevvy to the levee” when discussion turned on the difference between a tax and a levy. (It’s not clear if the audience was aware of the words of Don McLean’s 1971 song American Pie).

    ▪ referred to his very own “little super fund” and said that he didn’t want a tax cut. (How frightfully interesting).

    ▪ referred to Sharman Stone and Labor’s Allanah MacTiernan as “two warring women” when dressed down by Dr Stone for “uncivil and noisy and rude behaviour”. (This is the very same David Marr who wrote in 2013 that Tony Abbott made women profoundly uneasy).

    So excited was David Marr on Q&A that the official transcript declares on no fewer than 3 occasions that he spoke “indistinctly”. (Enough said).

    However, the highlight of David Marr’s performance occurred when he threw the switch to aggression and exaggerated hand gestures. Let’s go to the transcript:

    Sharman Stone : …Australia has some of the lowest productivity per worker in the developed world and it has been going down over the last 10 years. We have about the highest, I have to say, minimum wage as well in the developed world –

    David Marr : [interjecting] Yes, let’s get that down.

    Sharman Stone : Let’s get that down in that it looks – it reflects on our productivity levels where we have very high and –

    David Marr : [Interjecting] Don’t you think it’s a great idea?

    Sharman Stone : Well, just look, just – just give me time, David. Just hang on.

    David Marr : [interjecting] – to make sure – to make sure that the people on the maximum don’t get taxed…. Make sure the people on the maximum, which is everybody here, don’t get taxed…

    Sharman Stone: No, just let me make a point.

    David Marr : [interjecting] – but get that minimum wage down.

    Sharman Stone: Just let me make a point, please, David.

    David Marr : [interjecting] Let’s get them poorer. Well, we’ve got to.

    Alannah MacTiernan: [interjecting] Get them down to $2 a day.

    Sharman Stone : If you can both stop yelling at me for a minute, and let me explain.

    David Marr : [interjecting] I am helping you.

    Sharman Stone : If we have a very high minimum wage and we have very low productivity, when we have a highly regulated work force, so there’s very little flexibility –

    David Marr : [interjecting] And a AAA rating (Speaks indistinctly)…

    Tony Jones : Hang on, David. Hang on, David.

    David Marr : Yes. Yes. Yes. You’re right.

    Yes, yes, yes, Tony Jones was right. It was only then that Dr Stone got to finish her point. The fact is that Australia does have one of the highest minimum wage rates in the world. David Marr, by interjections, ridicule and aggressive hand movements, tried to silence Sharman Stone.

    In Political Animal: The Making of Tony Abbott, David Marr made much of the allegation that Tony Abbott, when aged 20 in 1977, had punched a wall behind the head of a left-wing female student. There were no independent witness to this event and no contemporaneous evidence. Moreover, David Marr changed the date of the incident in the second edition of Political Animal – without explanation. See MWD passim.

    Needless to say, the Fairfax Media and ABC journalists – who had given Marr such a soft coverage when Political Man was first published – declined to report that Marr had changed the date.

    On Q&A last Monday, David Marr exhibited real and proven aggression before a live audience. He loudly punched his hand in disagreement with Sharman Stone. And he hectored her by invading her personal space with aggressive gestures.

    For David Marr’s “Qanda Punch” last Monday see here and here for this action footage.



    As avid MWD readers will be aware, Malcolm Fraser: The Political Memoirs – which former Liberal Party prime minister Malcolm Fraser co-wrote with Margaret Simons – was littered with errors. These were documented by Gerard Henderson in The Sydney Institute Quarterly (see here) and The Sydney Morning Herald (see here). Dr Simons (for a doctor she is) refuses to discuss the howlers – which remain unacknowledged. The learned doctor teaches journalistic best practice at the University of Melbourne.

    Malcolm Fraser’s Dangerous Allies, which was written with Melbourne University researcher Cain Roberts, has just been released. According to the Acknowledgements section, many people assisted in the writing of this book. Namely, Cain Roberts, the staff of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Library, Petro Georgiou, Denis White, Richard Tanter and Tim McCormack plus a number of unnamed people.

    There are nowhere near as many errors in Dangerous Allies as in Malcolm Fraser: The Political Memoirs. But a few got into print. Here is MWD’s collection:

    ▪ Page 41. MF quotes former World War I prime minister Billy Hughes as referring to the revolutionary socialist “Independent [sic] Workers of the World”. It should be Industrial Workers of the World.

    Page 67. The Nazi-Soviet Pact of 1939 was not really a “Non-Aggression pact between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union”. Rather, it was an aggression pact by which Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin divided Eastern Europe between Germany and the Soviet Union and made it possible for Germany to invade Poland – thus commencing the Second World War.

    Page 87 : According to MF, “razor-wire detention centres were established [in Australia] in the late 1980s”. In fact, Paul Keating’s Labor government established mandatory detention in 1991.

    Page 148 : According to MF, President Richard Nixon announced the Guam Doctrine when “campaigning for the presidency in 1969”. The US Presidential election was held in November 1968 and Nixon announced the Guam Doctrine in July 1969 when resident in the White House, having defeated Hubert Humphrey.

    Page 244-5. According to MF, John Howard described Australia “as a deputy sheriff in the region”. Mr Howard never used this term – it was attributed to him by a journalist.

    That’s about it. For Gerard Henderson’s analysis of Dangerous Allies see The Weekend Australian, 17-18 May 2014.

    If any more howlers come to MWD’s notice, we’ll let you know.

    correspondence header caps


    This hugely popular segment of Media Watch Dog usually works like this. Someone or other decides to write to Nancy’s (male) co-owner. And Hendo, being a courteous and well brought up kind of guy, invariably responds. And so a correspondence is entered into. Which is published in due course – much to the delight of MWD’s hundreds of thousands of avid readers. However, occasionally, Hendo writes to someone or other and he/she responds. Publication is invariably the issue of this (literary) union. And so it has come to pass in Issue 225.

    ● PVO & Jonathan (“I’m not really a leftie”) Green and Kerry-Anne Walsh (“I’m away from my computer) Walsh and the missing Julia Gillard Carbon Tax Qualifying Quote

    As avid MWD readers will be aware, Nancy’s (male) co-owner has been attempting to get Jonathan Green and/or Kerry-Anne Walsh to document an assertion in their recent books. Both claim that Prime Minister Julia Gillard in August 2010 qualified her promise that there would be no carbon tax under the government she led by saying that she would put a price on carbon. Neither Ms Gillard nor her supporters have ever made this claim.

    Kerry-Anne Walsh made this claim in her book The Stalking of Julia Gillard (Allen & Unwin, 2013). Ditto Jonathan Green in The Year My Politics Broke (MUP, 2013).

    But neither will provide a source for the alleged qualification. Ms Walsh previously advised MWD that she has been away from her computer and would tackle the issue when she got back to the office. Meanwhile Mr Green is refusing to enter into correspondence with Nancy’s (male) co-owner on this issue and appears to have taken refuge under his bed.

    Alas, the unsourced Julia Gillard qualification spreads. Last Monday on Sky News, Peter Van Onselen used the (alleged) quote during an interview with Terry McCrann.

    Gerard Henderson took up the issue with your man Van Onselen. Unlike others, PVO quickly acknowledged the error and moved to make a correction. Here is the correspondence – which has led to Van Onselen receiving one of Nancy’s prestigious Five Paws Awards.

    Gerard Henderson to Peter Van Onselen – 15 May 2014


    I understand that in your interview with Terry McCrann on Monday you said that Julia Gillard had qualified her August 2010 promise that there would be no carbon tax under the government she led with a commitment to put a price on carbon.

    I don’t know what your source for this is. I know that both Jonathan Green and Kerry-Anne Walsh made this claim in their recent respective books. However, in private correspondence, neither has been able to come up with the source for the alleged qualification.

    My question is this. Did you just follow Jonathan and Kerry-Anne or do you have a source of your own? If so I would be grateful if you could let me know and I will follow up.

    Best wishes


    Peter Van Onselen to Gerard Henderson – 15 May 2014

    Hi Gerard

    I saw a transcript of the interview – I think it was on Channel Ten – which included words to that effect after the often quoted sentence. I have it somewhere but I have to confess, off the top of my head anyway, (i) I can’t recall from where I got it and (ii) I haven’t requested the audio from Ten to double check its accuracy. I’d go back and do that before I wrote about it if i ever did, so I assume those two would have done that, but maybe I’m being too generous in that assumption! The best bet would be to ask Ten for the footage. At Sky we only get access to 7 and 9, unfortunately.

    Gerard Henderson to Peter Van Onselen – 15 May 2014


    I would not bother chasing up the audio. There is no evidence that Julia Gillard ever qualified her “there will be no carbon tax” promise.

    This explains why neither Jonathan Green nor Kerry-Anne Walsh have been able to support their unsourced allegation in The Year My Politics Broke and The Stalking of Julia Gillard respectively. I can only assume that they took the quote from an unreliable source.

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

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

    That was it. Terry McCrann’s comment on your Sky News program last Monday was correct.

    Best wishes


    Peter Van Onselen to Gerard Henderson – 15 May 2014

    Ah ok, thanks. I’ll correct that for my viewers on air tonight. Thankfully that’s the first time I’ve used that transcript, which presumably goes back to one or both of those books. I might try asking the authors for their source too and see how I go.



    Gerard Henderson to Peter Van Onselen – 15 May 2014

    Thanks. You are on the short list for one of Nancy’s prestigious Five Paws Award in tomorrow’s Media Watch Dog.

    As to Jonathan Green and Kerry-Anne Walsh – good luck. I do not believe either has a source. Have fun. I will watch PVO tonight.


    Peter Van Onselen to Gerard Henderson – 15 May 2014

    No worries, I kinda figured as much.


    MWD Issue 224 documented that, after just over a month and a determined effort to censor Professor Frank Brennan, the Sydney Morning Herald finally got around to issuing a correction concerning Elizabeth Farrelly’s column of 3 April 2014. Dr Farrelly (for a doctor she is) incorrectly asserted that Cardinal George Pell had come up with the idea that Catholic priests/brothers might insure themselves against child sexual abuse and then bagged him comprehensively for insensitivity and stupidity and more besides.

    The SMH and the Canberra Times have corrected the issue acknowledging that the proposal was made in the first instance by Justice Peter McClellan, the chair of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. But like Jonathan Green (see above), Elizabeth Farrelly has gone under the bed and refuses to contemplate the logic of her own logic.

    Here is Gerard Henderson’s letter to Elizabeth Farrelly asking whether she holds the same view with respect to Justice Peter McClellan as she did with respect to Cardinal Pell when she thought that the insurance thought-bubble came from Pell. We’ll keep you informed if EF comes out from under the bed. [Don’t hold your breath – Ed].

    Gerard Henderson to Elizabeth Farrelly – 7 May 2014


    I noticed that last Monday the Sydney Morning Herald published a “Correction” to your column of 3 April 2014 titled “Exit Cardinal Pell, with a bombshell”. As you are aware, the Herald acknowledges that it was Justice Peter McClellan, not Cardinal George Pell, who initially proposed that priests should be insured against child sexual abuse. Pell, non-lawyer, followed the thought-bubble of one of Australia’s most senior judges.

    In your column, you wrote that the proposal that priests should be insured against being sued for child sexual abuse:

    ▪ made your head rotate on its axis.

    ▪ led you to wonder whether the proposer thought that child abuse is some unavoidable occupational hazard.

    ▪ suggested that it would be hard to find a surer way to maximise the damage already done to countless children.

    ▪ compared the proposal to stoning rape victims rather than its perpetrators.

    ▪ claimed that the proposer wanted to downscale the entire abuse project from major moral issues to mere workplace risk and engage in appeasement and

    ▪ opined that it is not even legal to insure against a crime you might soon commit.

    You made the above criticisms when you believed (incorrectly) that it was Cardinal Pell who initially proposed that Catholic priests should insure themselves against child sexual abuse.

    Do you make the same criticisms against Justice Peter McClellan – now that the Herald has acknowledged that the proposal was his. If not, why not?

    As an SMH subscriber and reader, I look forward to your response.

    Best wishes

    Gerard Henderson

    * * * * *

    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.