GERARD HENDERSON’S MEDIA WATCH DOG – ISSUE NO. 232
4 JULY 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.
● “[Gerard Henderson is a] silly prick”
– Mike (“I’ll pour the gin”) Carlton – tweeted Saturday 27 June 2014 at 4.15 pm, i.e. after lunch
- Nancy’s Five Paws Award: Step Forward Private Eye (On Jihadists) & James Carleton (On Senator Rhiannon)
RACE COMMISSION USES RACIAL TRAIN RANT TO CRITICISE GEORGE BRANDIS – PER COURTESY OF ABC RADIO
ABC Radio News led this morning with a statement by Tim Soutphommasane, Australia’s Race Discrimination Commissioner, that the racial abuse directed at a young female of Asian appearance demonstrates the need to keep sections 18(c) and 18(d) in the Race Discrimination Act. The incident occurred on a train in Sydney on Wednesday. The woman also abused a white teenager and several white children.
Dr Soutphommasane (for a doctor he is) overlooked a couple of facts. First, the Race Discrimination Act – which still contains Sections 18(c) and 18(d) – did not prevent the abuse taking place. Second, when Dr Soutphommasane made his comment to the ABC, The Daily Telegraph had already carried a front page story that the woman has been charged with using offensive language. Not with an offence under the Race Discrimination Act.
Yet the ABC Radio News ran the Race Discrimination Commissioner’s look-at-me statement at the top of its news bulletin – along with Dr Soutphommasane’s implied criticism of Attorney-General George Brandis. A Stop Press edition of “Can you bear it?”, to be sure. [By the way, did your man Soutphommasane ever produce the evidence to support the undocumented assertions he made about you in his piss-poor leftist edition collection All That’s Left? See MWD passim, ad nauseam – Ed].
● IN WHICH THE 702 PRESENTER REFLECTS ON GLOBAL WARMING, THE 2014 BUDGET, JET FIGHTERS AND MORE BESIDES
Last Monday on ABC Metropolitan Radio 702, Deborah Knight announced that she was standing in for Linda Mottram who is, wait for it, on a “well-earned break”. Journalists invariably regard themselves as taking breaks which are well-earned. The rest of us mere mortals take holidays.
It is possible that the presenter of Mornings with Linda Mottram has set off on a planned holiday to go sun-bathing on the slopes of Mount Kosciuszko. For early last week, the ABC presenter – who seems to take the fashionable catastrophic approach to climate change prevalent in the taxpayer funded public broadcaster – declared that the snow season in Australia is commencing later and finishing earlier each year. Due to global warming, you see. She foretold the virtual end of the snow season anytime soon.
Linda Mottram had barely concluded her “it ain’t half hot” warning when the skies opened up and the ski fields in New South Wales and Victoria received their biggest snow dump in over a decade.
MWD eagerly awaits the return of Linda Mottram. For those avid readers who have missed out on MWD’s “A Linda Mottram Moment”, here are a few examples to keep you comforted until the big moment of her return arrives.
● 14 May 2014 : Ms Mottram defends herself against the suggestion – from a texter – that she is being unfair to the Abbott government’s budget. Not so she declares: “I thought we had a Coalition premier on and we’ve just had a Labor backbencher – anyway, whatever.” A bit uncouth, don’t you think?Especially when the Coalition premier was Mike Baird who maintained that the budget was too tough on New South Wales and the Labor backbencher said that, er, the budget was too tough on everyone. That’s “balance” – Ms Mottram style, whatever.
Then John rings in having a whinge about the Abbott government – including its decision, which is supported by Labor, to purchase new fighter jets.
Let’s go to the audio-tape:
John : By the way, why are we getting 12 billion dollars worth of war planes? What’s wrong with the ones we’ve got now?
Linda Mottram: I don’t know. They seem to be flying very well when they go past the beach sometimes.
John : I travel past Williamstown and they still look like they’re getting in the air to me.
Linda Mottram : Okay John, good points. They are very good points, thank you very much indeed.
So there you have it. The RAAF’s planes look okay when they fly past Ms Mottram’s abode in the NSW Central Coast and they can still get into the air at Williamstown. So there is no need for any additions to the Australian Air Force.
● 19 May 2014 : In an interview with Mitch Fifield, the Assistant Minister for Social Services, Ms Mottram asserts:
We’ve all talked about this Budget emergency notion that you guys have put out there – which, you can’t find an economist that supports that idea. And then suddenly we get a Budget that breaks so many of the promises that your leader made. It could have been so much easier than this on you.
In fact many economists support the idea that the budget is in need of repair. Including Chris Richardson, who made the following points on Radio National Breakfast on 14 May 2014:
Sheryle Bagwell: Chris Richardson…will we look back in history and say that this was the budget that put Australia back on a more sustainable spending path? Is this the
game changer that economists were looking for?
Chris Richardson: Look, it does a reasonably good job and one that I’m happy with. The toughest budget Australia’s seen since 1997. To be clear, not as tough as
we’ve seen. You know Howard and Costello were tougher in 1996 and 1997. Hawke and Keating tougher in the later eighties and to some extent the reaction that we’re getting at the moment says more about how good the economy and the budget have had it [sic] since then. But yes, toughest in quite some time – and it does do a substantial amount of budget repair.
● 25 June 2014 : In an interview with David Leyonhjelm, Linda Mottram asserts that there “is a fair bit of evidence out there” that the rest of the world is acting on climate change. Where? Such energy producing nations as Brazil, Canada, Russia? Ms Mottram does not say.
Verily a (collective) Linda Mottram Moment. Here’s hoping for more – as soon as the presenter comes off her well earned break.
● MOHAMMED EL LEISSY DOWNPLAYS MUSLIM CIVIL WAR
It was Mohammed El Leissy’s turn to do the “Newspapers” gig on the ABC 1 News Breakfast program last Monday.
Nancy just cannot understand why anyone would arrive at the Melbourne ABC studio in Southbank at around 6 am – ready to go to air at around 6.45 am to discuss the morning’s newspapers. For no fee. But there seems to be a queue of volunteers who will turn up at Southbank before dawn for no consideration – apart from getting some same-day make-up for those who are so inclined.
Last Friday, the former Labor operative Nicholas Reece did the gig on News Breakfast at 6.45 am. The previous evening he had been on Sky News’ Paul Murray Live which ends at 10 pm. The rumour is that, not having time to go home, Mr Reece travelled from the Sky News Melbourne studio in Parkville to Southbank –having a brief snooze under the Princes Bridge along the way. But MWD digresses. [Yes you do – Ed].
In the final segment of the “Newspapers” gig on Monday, Mohammed El Leissy decided to discuss matters Islam. Let’s go to the transcript:
Virginia Trioli: You’re looking at a story here on page three of The Australian – this is about Australians who are heading overseas to Syria and other
places as Jihadists to join these foreign fights.
Mohammed El Leissy: Well first, I think The Australian’s headline is deeply misleading…. It says “Muslims divided on call to Iraq”. Basically what they’ve done is they’ve gone and rung up a few imams until they could find one fringe person, Uthman Badar…..So they [ The Australian] say: “Oh now Muslims are divided on this issue” because they found one person. But –
Virginia Trioli: Divided on what exactly?
Mohammed El Leissy: Whether or not you should be allowed to go; or whether or not it’s good to go and fight overseas in this Jihad…. I really do feel the West has lost the social media war on this….I mean so many kids – and I see it on Facebook as well, you know – that are being indoctrinated in some ways or really taken – the younger they are, the more passionate they are about this. And I think because the message has been the same for the last 15 years – which is basically: “The West failed us in Bosnia, you know, watched 8000 Muslims get killed and the US and the UN did nothing. And then when Iraq – when they wanted to bomb Iraq – all of a sudden they found the ability to do it. And now what’s happening in Syria and Iraq as well when Sunni Muslims are being, you could say at war with Alawite or Shiite government. Now the West is also paralysed – and that’s why we need you to come over and fight.”
Virginia Trioli: So, you’re saying that this is sort of like a radicalising and almost like a self-radicalising that’s going on on social media amongst young people?
Mohammed El Leissy: Yes, absolutely. I mean, that’s predominantly where the messages are coming from, from those people. ISIS [the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria] has a
Virginia Trioli: And they’re revving each other up.
Mohammed El Leissy: Well, absolutely. I mean it’s a bit like, I guess, the same argument that was used to create Israel, in some ways. That the world will stand there and watch Jews which it did – it did watch them die. And now it’s watching Muslims die and “only we can save ourselves”. And that’s what, I think, gets people really revved up.
Virginia Trioli: And that’s what they’re telling each other. Well that’s fascinating. That’s something that perhaps deserves a little more digging
into, that online presence and discussion and argument. We’ll have to leave it there, Mohammed, we’re short of time. But nice to see you.
Mohammed El Leissy: Sure. Not a problem.
Er, but there was a problem. A number, in fact.
▪ First, The Australian did not do a media beat-up. It interviewed two Muslims who opposed Australian citizens/residents travelling overseas to fight in Syria and/or Iraq (Keysar Trad and Said Alameddine). And it reported one Muslim who supported the cause (Uthman Badar). This was a fair balance
of the contending views.
▪ Second, it was only the West which, eventually, came to the aid of Bosnian Muslims. The United Nations did nothing. And the Muslim nations did nothing. It was the NATO forces which implemented the military aspects of the Dayton Peace Agreement which liberated the Bosnian Muslims. Mohammed El Leissy does not seem to be aware of this.
▪ Third, the Muslims who are being killed in such places as Syria and Iraq right now are being killed by Muslims – in what is developing as a religious civil war between the Sunni and Shia. Most of the young men who are leaving Australia are heading to Arab lands to support the Sunni against the Shia. The West is not responsible for the decision of Sunni and Shia Muslims to kill one another.
Yet, Mohammed El Leissy told News Breakfast that the disaster in the Arab lands is all the West’s fault. And Virginia Trioli expressed the view that his analysis was “fascinating”. Can you bear it?
BONGE’S VIEW ON THE 30-PIECES-OF-SILVER MATTER
Coalition supporters over the last decade or so have always regarded Channel 10’s office in the Canberra Press Gallery as the most consistently pro green/left outfit in the commercial media – and the most hostile to the Coalition.
Recently Paul Bongiorno, a self-declared man of the left, stepped down from his full-time duties as Channel 10’s political editor. He will continue his twice weekly appearances as a political commentator on Radio National Breakfast and his weekly gig on ABC 702’s Mornings with Linda Mottram which he has taken on in recent years.
Yesterday, your man Bonge criticised the Abbott government’s decision to appoint Janet Albrechtsen and Neil Brown to the independent panel which is tasked with drawing up short lists when vacancies occur on the boards of the ABC and the SBS. Declared the Bonge, mockingly:
I’m sure that the two new members will get their fee for doing this service.
Which raises the question – does Bonge receive a fee for his ABC commentary? Can you bear it?
LIFE’S A BUMMER AS PHILLIP ADAMS PREDICTS THE EXTINCTION OF OZ
Did anyone read Phillip Adams “Incontinental Drift” piece in The Weekend Australian Magazine last Saturday?
It seems that Australia’s richest socialist is concerned that Australians earn income by exporting minerals – and that Australians benefit from the company taxes and excises paid by resource companies. Hence The-Man-in-Black’s commencement to his column:
INCONTINENT (adj): Having no or insufficient control over defecation.
In that sense Australia, the island continent, is incontinent, huge dollops of itself being plopped into ships that promptly sail over the horizon. More and more of Australia is missing. Exported. Disappeared.
A while back I reported to readers that if Italy looks like a boot and Britain a royal chess piece, Australia looms like a vast bum betwixt the Pacific and Indian oceans. This places Perth and Sydney at its hips, with Adelaide and Melbourne contesting as alternative rectums, squatting above the cold toilet
seat of the Antarctic.
Go on. Alas, it did. Your man Adams’ derriere obsession was extended to a comment that Clive Palmer is “substantial of buttocks”. Which suggests that PA seldom uses a rear-focused mirror.
Phillip Adams went on to suggest that:
▪ “most real estate with ocean views is destined to disappear as climate change lifts the sea levels.” and “our celebrated coral reefs…are doomed by decisions to vastly increase Queensland’s coal ports.”
So the well heeled socialist Phillip Adams has joined the catastrophists. You see, he seriously believes that The-End-of-the-(Australian) World-is-Nigh. To which Nancy’s (male) co-owner says: Pig’s arse. Can you bear it?
PRIVATE EYE ON BRITISH JIHADISTS
This week Australia’s most prestigious prize goes to – among others – the current issue of Private Eye magazine (27 June 2014) for its insightful send-up coverage of the Birmingham lads who are heading off to Muslim lands to, er, kill Muslims. Plenty of them. A similar tale could be told of some of the bros based in our very Lakemba, which is the next suburb on the Western line from the Fraser Concession.
Here is the Private Eye take on the continuing crisis in the Arab lands.
Private Eye – Five Paws
JAMES CARLETON ON LEE RHIANNON
Yesterday Radio National Breakfast presenter James Carleton referred to the diverse political mix in the new Senate. Coming to Lee Rhiannon (nee Brown, who was once O’Gorman/Gorman), Mr Carleton referred to her as “a former communist who studied at the Lenin School in Moscow during the Soviet days”.
The educational achievements of Senator Rhiannon (B.Sc UNSW, Dip. Applied Revolutionary Studies, Lenin School) – during the time of the brutal Brezhnev dictatorship in the mid-1970s – was first revealed in MWD. They were confirmed when your man Carleton – apparently an avid MWD reader – threw the Greens leader an unexpected question during a Radio National last December. See MWD passim.
James Carleton – Five Paws.
ON THE ABC & CARDINAL GEORGE PELL – PHIL CLARK’S GROVELLING APOLOGY
Viewers of Muriel’s Wedding will recall the scene when the character Bill Heslop (played by Bill Hunter) catches up with his mistress Deidre Chambers in the presence of Mrs Heslop and declares: “Deidre Chambers! What a coincidence!”
Well, what a coincidence that the ABC has been forced to run three apologies this year on-air. To the conservative columnist and blogger, Andrew Bolt, to the conservative columnist and presenter, Chris Kenny and to the conservative cleric, Cardinal George Pell. Three apologies, all to conservatives. What a
The ABC is very reluctant to make on-air apologies. But it’s not surprising that the apologies which have been made have been directed at conservatives. This is what would be expected from a Conservative Free Zone and where conservatives are regarded as suitable targets for attack by presenters, producers and editors and who never work with people with whom they disagree.
On 10 June 2014 Philip Clark, the presenter of Breakfast on ABC Canberra Radio’s 666, alleged that Cardinal Pell had protected pedophiles in Australia and, consequent upon this, had been promoted to a high position in the Vatican. This was a defamatory remark – for which there is no evidence and which is inconsistent with the fact that Pell was among the first members of the Catholic Hierarchy to tackle child abuse in the Catholic Church.
As MWD understands it, the day after Mark Scott received a letter of demand, Philip Clark was forced by the ABC management to make a grovelling apology. Here it is – as posted on the “Corrections and Clarifications” segment on the taxpayer funded public broadcaster’s website on 20 June 2014:
Apology to Cardinal George Pell
Local Radio, Canberra.
On 10 June, 2014 666 ABC Canberra Breakfast presenter Philip Clark made comments in relation to Cardinal George Pell in an interview with Mr Francis Sullivan, CEO of the Truth Justice and Healing Council. On 18th June, Philip Clark read the following apology on air:
On 10 June 2014 I made comments during this program which were critical of Cardinal George Pell and his role in the handling of child sexual abuse claims by the Catholic Church and also his subsequent appointment to a role in the Vatican. My comments about these matters were inaccurate and defamatory and I wish to retract them. The ABC and I apologise to Cardinal Pell for the harm caused to him.
Needless to say, it is not expected that ABC management will take any disciplinary action against Mr Clark.
Meanwhile, the ABC has still to correct the error it made with respect to Cardinal Pell on the Four Corners program Unholy Silence which aired on Monday 2 July 2012. Four Corners has found to be in error by The Hon. Antony Whitlam QC – a former Federal Court judge who is not a
Catholic. See MWD Issue 98. But this particular Dr Pell howler has yet to make it to the ABC “Corrections and Clarifications” post. A coincidence? – MWD will keep you posted.
A CONTINUING SAGA FEATURING DR SIMON LONGSTAFF AO
As avid MWD readers will be aware, inspired by the Irish humourist Brian O’Nolan (nom de plume Flann O’Brien – 1911-1966) – and, in particular, his critique of the poet Ezra Pound. This segment is devoted to outing bad writing and incomprehensible prose.
The week’s issue focuses on Simon Longstaff, director of The St James Ethics Centre, who thought it would be a you-beaut idea to put on a session at the 2014 Festival of Dangerous Ideas titled “Honour Killings are Morally Justified”. See the Correspondence section.
On Monday your man Longstaff posted an almost incomprehensible apologia for his action on the ABC Radio National Ethics and Religion Report website consisting of almost 7000 words. Nancy’s (male) co-owner’s fav pieces in the Longstaff magnum opus turn on his declarations that:
▪ he hopes that Uthman Badar, an advocate of Sharia law, treats Simon and his mates well if an Islamist Caliphate is established in Australia.
▪ he believes that “we are bound by our own principles to provide a platform for people who wish to deny everything we stand for”.
Fancy that. Also, Longstaff proposes to take this issue to “the next stage” by looking to “the interests of key stakeholders affected by this issue”. To Nancy’s (male) co-owner, there are two groups of stakeholders. Namely, those (mainly women) who do not want to be murdered. And those (mainly men) who want to murder them. So there is not much point in progressing the issue.
Finally MWD just loved Dr Longstaff’s sentence: “From the dawn of civilisation, philosophers (like me) have been engaging in challenging debates.” [So there once was the philosopher Socrates. And now there is the philosopher Longstaff. [Interesting. I find it easier to read Socrates in classical Greek than your man Longstaff in (his) English. – Ed].
And now for a reflection, in honour of your man Flann O’Brien:
By Flann O’Brien
of Ezra Pound
My grasp of what he wrote and meant
Was only five or six %
The rest was only words and sound –
My reference is to Ezra £
Inspired by your man O’Brien, this is Nancy’s literary effort for today:
of Dr Simon Longstaff AO
My grasp of what he wrote or meant
Was only five or six per cent
His awful cant is one big fudge
Just read it here – you be the judge
FEATURING SIMON LONGSTAFF OF THE ST JAMES ETHICS CENTRE
This overwhelmingly popular segment of Media Watch Dog usually works like this. Someone or other thinks it would be a you-beaut idea to write to Nancy’s (male) co-owner about something or other. And Hendo, being a courteous and well-brought up kind of guy, replies. Then, hey presto, the correspondence is published in MWD – much to the delight of its hundreds of thousands of readers.
There are occasions, however, when Nancy’s (male) co-owner decides to write a polite note to someone or other – who, in turn, believes that a reply is in order. Publication in MWD invariably follows.
As hundreds of thousands of avid readers are aware, The Guardian Australia’s deputy editor Katharine Murphy put out the following tweet on 6 June 2014 at 4.33 pm – when that issue of MWD was “hot off the press”. Here is Ms Murphy’s tweet: “Without in any way wanting to breach anyone’s human rights or free speech – why do people write emails to Gerard Henderson?” It’s a very good question.
Thankfully, not everyone follows Katharine Murphy’s counsel. So here we go again.
SIMON LONGSTAFF & GERARD HENDERSON
In his Weekend Australian column last Saturday, Gerard Henderson criticised the lack of political balance in the annual self-proclaimed Festival of Dangerous Ideas, which is put on each year by the Sydney Opera House and the St James Ethics Centre. He was particularly critical of the proposed segment in 2014 (since withdrawn) titled “Honour Killings are Morally Justified”. Last Sunday, Hendo received a letter from a certain “Dr Simon Longstaff AO” concerning the column. He gave Dr Longstaff (for a doctor he is) the courtesy of a reply. Now read on:
Simon Longstaff to Gerard Henderson – 29 June 2014
While I respect your contribution of an occasional FODI commentary, I wonder if you might consider offering a more accurate account of the festival’s programming? It may have been a sub-editor at work (or perhaps due to lack of space) but your account of past programs was notable (and out of character) for its somewhat selective account. For example, you overlooked: Chris Berg from the IPA on asylum seekers, Jim Molan (Tony Abbott’s special envoy and SJEC Board Member) on Afghanistan, an advocate from Liberty Australia calling for the abolition of central banks (on libertarian principles) … We have headlined Alan Dershowitz defending the Pope, we have had Cardinal George Pell arguing that “without God we are nothing” and Bishop Porteous on the reality of the Devil. Then there was one of George W Bush’s advisers making the case for water-boarding terrorists and a former Baltimore policeman who advocates that flogging is better than prison. And even Uthman Badar (the source of some recent controversy) can hardly be said to be left wing!
I know that the balance is not perfect – but part of the challenge is actually to secure all of the speakers we try to invite.
This year, we invited to speak: Jeff Kennett, Janet Albrechtsen, Andrew Bolt and Alan Jones (a keen supporter of free speech – unlike some I can think of). Unfortunately, the dates did not suit. But we do try for balance – as best we can.
So, knowing you to be fair minded and inclined to support informed opinion, I wonder if you could consider all of this when assessing the aims of the Festival as a whole?
Regards and best wishes.
Gerard Henderson to Simon Longstaff – 3 July 2014
I refer to your note of last Sunday following my column in The Weekend Australian, 29-30 June 2014.
It is true that, on occasions since 2009, I have written about the Festival of Dangerous Ideas – both in my newspaper column and in my Media Watch Dog blog. As I recall, in 2012, following criticism of the lack of balance in previous FODI programs, the number of conservatives increased and some topics took a different flavour – a practice which continued in 2013 and 2014. Even so, as I am sure you would agree, the number of green/left speakers far outweighs the number of conservative speakers. And, as you know, the FODI gets quite a bit of taxpayers’ money. Also, the audiences seem to be of the green/left persuasion – reflecting the turn-out found at the various literary festivals. Pru Goward commented last week about Sydney Opera House audiences on such occasions when discussing this year’s FODI program.
At The Sydney Institute, we are able to manage a left-of-centre/right-of-centre balance in our program. In my view, the Sydney Opera House, in co-operation with the St James Ethics Centre, should be able to manage a similar kind of balance.
In my column last Saturday – to which you have taken exception – I made the following comment:
In its infancy, the FODI was essentially a leftist-stack. After criticism of its initial programs, the FODI decided to invite a few conservatives along who
invariably end up being targets against whom audiences can attest their higher morality. At the 2014 FODI, Judith Sloan, Tom Switzer and Bettina Arndt will be heard. But the Australian-speaker contingent is dominated by the likes of Jane Caro, Tim Flannery, Dan Ilic, Mark Latham, Chip Rolley and, of course,
John Pilger. Only two people with contemporary or previous associations with the Liberal Party are on the speakers’ list. Namely, Malcolm Fraser and John Hewson — both vocal critics of the current Liberal Party leadership.
These days there are few, if any, “dangerous” ideas around — since most positions are widely proclaimed and/or debated. Yet there appears to be a limit to what FODI organisers seem to regard as an acceptable topic to put before its self-identifying tolerant audience. For instance, no fundamentalist Christian has been invited to speak on the topic, “All abortion is murder”. And no fundamentalist Islamist has been asked to discuss the proposition, “All male homosexuals should have their throats cut”.
In response to your letter, I make two points:
▪ My comment in the Weekend Australian about the FODI is accurate.
▪ Contrary to your suggestion – my column was not altered by a sub-editor or cut for reasons of space. I would write the same words again.
I note that in 2014 you have not been able to secure all the speakers you invited. This, surely, should not be unexpected when you are dealing with busy people. Also, some conservatives do not like performing in front of hostile audiences containing a host of left-wing radicals. They don’t like the abuse, they don’t like the sneering and they don’t like the confected laughter. Even so, don’t tell me there are only three Australian conservatives in 2014 worthy of a place on the FODI platform at the taxpayer subsidised Sydney Opera House. If you put more effort into locating conservatives willing to appear at the FODI, you will surely find some more.
I note that you did not deal with the central part of my Weekend Australian column. Namely, the FODI’s decision to believe it appropriate to host a session titled “Honour Killings are Morally Justified” by Uthman Badar. I see that you have now written a 7000 word piece in this issue which was published on the ABC’s Religion and Ethics website on 30 June. This article is inconsistent with some comments you made last week when the controversy broke.
On 25 June you were interviewed by James Carleton on Radio National Breakfast and made the following comment in response to a question which mentioned the word “Islamophobia”, viz:
My point has been – have we got to a point now in Australia where, because of a person’s religion or their political views, they are automatically disqualified from speaking about a matter of this kind? And the harsh reality is that, in part, that seems to be the case.
Later that day you sent out the following tweet:
Have not the “Islamophobes” already won the day when a person dare not speak on controversial matters because he is Muslim?
In other words, your response to the initial controversy was to criticise those who objected to the session. Uthman Badar ran a similar argument as you at the time. Yet, in your confused ABC article last week you conceded that it was a “mistake” to go with the “suggested wording” of the session – which you revealed was proposed by Uthman Badar. This is contrary to what Uthman Badar told Peter Van Onselen when interviewed on Sky News on 25 June 2014. I accept that your account on this matter is accurate.
In your letter of 29 June, you write that Mr Badar “can hardly be said to be left-wing”. This is not the point. Rather the point is what you consider – or considered – a suitable topic for discussion.
I doubt that FODI would have been prepared to put on Ku Klux Klan speaker on the topic: “The Lynching of Afro-Americans is morally justified”.
In other words, the FODI is quite selective in proposing so-called “dangerous” ideas. A topic endorsing the murder of Muslim females by Muslims is okay. But a topic endorsing the murder of Afro-Americans by whites is not okay. Yet, of course, both topics are abhorrent.
In conclusion, I will acknowledge the wisdom and pluralism of the taxpayer subsidised Festival of Dangerous Ideas when the FODI exhibits wisdom and pluralism in its program. 2015 might be a good year to aim for both. Over to you.
MWD is prepared to run a response by Simon Longstaff next week.
Until next time – keep morale high.
“If Gerard Henderson had run Beria’s public relations Stalin’s death would have been hidden for a year and Nikita and co would have been shot”
– Laurie Ferguson via Twitter – 22 June 2014 [By-line: Mr Ferguson is a member of the House of Representatives who speaks in riddles.]
“[Gerard Henderson] is the Eeyore of Australian public life”
– Mike Seccombe in The [Boring] Saturday Paper – 21 June 2014
“Without in any way wanting to breach anyone’s human rights or free speech – why do people write emails to Gerard Henderson?”
– Katharine Murphy, Twitter, Friday 6 June 2014
“[Gerard Henderson is] an unhinged prick”
– Mike Carlton, Twitter, Thursday 12 June 2014
“There’s no sense that Gerard Henderson has any literary credentials at all.”
– Anonymous comment quoted, highlighted and presumably endorsed by Jason (“I’m a left-leaning luvvie”) Steger, The Age, 31 May 2014
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.