GERARD HENDERSON’S MEDIA WATCH DOG

ISSUE – NO. 235

25 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.

 


Brandnewendorsement

This is my regularly scheduled “Oh Gerard” tweet for every time he appears on #insiders

– Josh Taylor, senior journalist for ZDNet, Twitter, 20 July 2014



● Stop Press: Waleed Aly on the Middle East; Geoffrey Watson SC on Himself

The Saturday Paper Misses Major News

Can You Bear It? Fairfax Media’s Body Language Expert on the PM; Leslie Cannold on Richard Wagner; David Dale on Tony Abbott; La Tingle on the Nielsen Poll; Paul Bongiorno MH17 Tweets

The Double Standards of Jonathan Holmes 

Correspondence: Paul Bongiorno & An Unwilling David Ransom



STOP PRESS GRAPHIC

● WALEED-ALY – CONDEMNS ISRAEL, NEGLECTS SYRIA

Yet another moral lecture by Waleed Aly in the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age this morning. Mr Aly (for a doctor he has not yet become) has trod a familiar left-wing career path – Monash University’s politics department, Fairfax Media columnist and ABC Radio National presenter.

Waleed Aly’s line this morning was that something of the “magnitude” of the 37 Australians dead in the MH17 disaster “happens just about every week on our roads”. So, what’s the big deal? Also, what about Gaza where “nearly 600 people – overwhelmingly civilians, a third of whom are children have been killed”? It seems that the Fairfax Media columnist is unaware that scores of children died in MH17.

Aly concluded that “Palestinians are not rich Westerners, and so their lives simply don’t matter”. He went on to bag the secular regime in Egypt which is in conflict with the Muslim Brotherhood and, consequently, at odds with Hamas.

What’s missing from Waleed Aly’s column this morning is any condemnation of the Sunni Hamas terrorist organisation (which has fired indiscriminately some 2000 missiles into Israel aimed at children, women and men) or any condemnation of the Sunni self-proclaimed Islamist State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) organisation which is busy murdering Shiite Muslims in Iraq and Syria. Nor is there any acknowledgement, right now, that the prime killers of Muslims in the Arab lands are not Israelis or Christians but other Muslims. According to reports, more Syrians died in the Syrian Civil War this week than died in Gaza over the past two weeks.

WATSON SC – MEDIA TART WITH TODAY’S “FIN”

Geoffrey Watson SC, he of the melodramatic performances before the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) hearings in New South Wales, gets a run in the media today – per courtesy of an article in the August 2014 edition of the Australian Financial Review Magazine. Believe it or not, your man Watson posed for the camera sitting on a boxer’s chair in the corner of a boxing ring in a training gymnasium. There is even a small bucket by his left-hand side in case your man needs to release any mouth fluids. [This could be handy. – Ed].

Then, in the Editor’s Letter at the front of the magazine, Geoffrey Watson is depicted wearing a mouth-guard on which is printed “Hollywood”. Which reminds MWD that it would be good to analyse Geoff Winestock’s AFR Magazine on Geoffrey “Hollywood” Watson next week – just before Watson SC re-enters the stage as a new series in the ICAC Monologues resumes in a Sydney CBD theatre in early August. [I can barely wait – Ed].

Geoffrey Watson mouthguard



SatPaper

As avid MWD readers will be aware, Nancy’s (male) co-owner reads The Saturday Paper on Mondays. The so-called Saturday Paper goes to press on Thursday night, appears in Melbourne at Fitzroy North coffee shops on Friday evening and makes it to inner-city Glebe in Sydney by brunch time on Saturdays. Sundays, of course, is a day of rest. So Hendo reads The Saturday Paper on Monday.

Except for last weekend. Hendo was in his old hometown for the Melbourne launch of Anne Henderson’s book Menzies at War covering Robert Menzies’ war-time government of 1939-1941. [That’s a pretty obvious plug. Can’t you be more subtle? – Ed].

On rising on Saturday in the Melbourne CBD, Hendo headed for the hotel foyer where he was confronted by two free hand-me-around papers. Namely Morry Schwartz’s The Saturday Paper and the Epoch Times which appears to be produced by the Falun Gong. The advertised price on The Saturday Paper was $3 – but it was free to Hendo. The Epoch Times was honest – it proudly announced that it was “free”. By the way, Hendo noticed a greater demand for the hand-me-around Epoch Times than for the hand-me-around The Saturday Paper.

News of the MH17 disaster reached Eastern Australia about 1 am on Friday 18 July. The Herald Sun managed to get out a late edition newspaper at about 9 am that day. Needless to say, the newspapers available in Melbourne last Saturday morning, were replete with news about the shooting-down of the Malaysian Airlines aircraft – namely The Age, the Australian Financial Review, The Weekend Australian and the Herald-Sun. In alphabetical order, to be courteous.

And what about Morry Schwartz’s The Saturday Paper last Saturday – edited by Erik (‘I work for an old man’) Jensen? Well, wait for it, the lead story in The Saturday Paper last weekend was written by Mike (‘Private schools make us dumber’) Seccombe and totally ignored perhaps the biggest story of the current decade.

Your man Seccombe had a you-beaut SCOOP. He revealed on Page 1 that Attorney-General George Brandis had appointed Heather Henderson, Dr David Kemp and Sir David Smith to the board of the Museum of Australian Democracy. On 12 December 2013, no less. How about that? The Saturday Paper, first with the news that is only seven months old. Wow. It could not cover the MH17 disaster, even though the tragedy occurred over 24 hours earlier.

Mike Seccombe’s long piece was headed “Abbott stacking an ideological pile” and was yet another rant about such frequent Seccombe targets as Tony Abbott, George Brandis, Kevin Donnelly, Tony Shepherd, David Murray, Dick Warburton, Tim Wilson, Gerard Henderson, Maurice Newman, Peter Coleman, Janet Albrechtsen and Neil Brown. Yawn. Your man Seccombe mentioned the ages of most of this lot who are older than he but did not declare his own age. [That’s strange. It seems that MS will not tell where he went to school or when he was born – Ed]

In fact, last Saturday’s The Saturday Paper was so out-of-date when it was handed out for free on Saturday that it could just as well have been printed months ago. But it did have some great inner-city focused full-page advertisements for Mercedes Benz, Harrods, Canopy Elwood (luxury apartments) and, of course, The Saturday Paper itself. This took the form of an endorsement from Adam Bandt, the Greens MP for Melbourne. No surprise here.

Mr Jensen concluded his pretentious editorial in the inaugural edition of The Saturday Paper, published on 28 February 2014, as follows:

Fundamentally, The Saturday Paper is about permission: Permission for a country to look at itself unselfconsciously; for writers to tell stories that are ignored elsewhere, in ways that challenge orthodoxy; permission to question authority and provoke debate, to round up an issue, to yap and growl and demand we be better. We promise to be a small but handsome mongrel, a blue heeler cross of the press.

Nancy’s (male) co-owner suggests that it’s time to re-write this editorial along the following lines:

Fundamentally, The Saturday Paper is about permission. Permission for a Saturday paper to be printed on Thursday; for it to come on a huge day for international news with a seven month old lead story about a museum in Canberra; permission to run the same Mike Seccombe “exclusive” week after week; permission to fill its pages with expensive full-page advertisements, selling expensive things that only a multi-millionaire property developer would regard as really affordable. We promise to be a small but pretentious poodle, a lap-dog of the press.

Moreover, Erik Jensen’s promise to be a blue-heeler was just a load of tosh. Ditto The Saturday Paper’s pre-publication claim to be aimed at “lighthouse consumers”.

Here is a real blue heeler:

TrueBlueHeeler

And here is Morry Schwartz’s idea of a blue heeler:

FakeBlueHeeler

You be the judge.

 


Can you bear it graphic

● FAIRFAX MEDIA’S “EXCLUSIVE” ON THE PM’S BODY LANGUAGE – FROM THE ROSEVILLE SCHOOL OF OTHER PEOPLE’S MOVEMENTS

Speaking on the Richard Glover Drive program on ABC Radio 702 last evening, Lisa Wilkinson said that she was in Europe last week and commented that Prime Minister Tony Abbott was widely spoken about and well regarded concerning his leadership in the aftermath of the MH17 air disaster in Ukraine.

Around this time, Nancy’s (male) co-owner decided to go on to Fairfax Media on-line to see what the powers-that-be at the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age were saying about Mr Abbott. Believe it or not, Fairfax Media was running the following assessment of the Prime Minister by, wait for it, a body language specialist titled “MH17 Stress Takes Toll on Tony Abbott”.

The author of this psychological assessment was a certain Michael Kelly, from, you’ve guessed it, Kelly Speech Communication. Here it is – introduced with photographs of the Prime Minister against a background of funereal music:

Michael Kelly: Tony Abbott has had cumulative [stumbling on word] stress since becoming the Prime Minister. It’s evidenced by his furrowed brow and timid body posture when interacting with foreign leaders. When he is standing, often he is too aggressive and gets too close to people – again not sure how to interact with leaders at the same level as he is.

And I think that implies a lack of confidence in himself, he’s not really sure if he’s in the same league as the other leaders. It’s a lack of certainty. So this current situation would obviously – in addition to his lack of sleep – here is a guy who has been thrust into the limelight with: “I’m not sure if I’m in the same league as these people, but now I have to play a leading role”. And that would inflict a telling role – pain on his body.

How about that? Michael Kelly’s assessment of the PM is surprisingly inarticulate – yet he is giving Mr Abbott a lecture about how to perform in public. There is no evidence that Mr Kelly has ever spoken to Mr Abbott. Yet your man Kelly “knows” that Tony Abbott carries “pain on his body” – allegedly as a consequence of not being in the “same league” as other leaders. He also “knows” that Mr Abbott lacks confidence. And he “knows” all about what the Prime Minister thinks about himself. This, it appears, is all judged according to the criteria of “body language” interpretation. What a load of tosh. Michael Kelly just made this up. There is no such science as “body language”.

According to Kelly Speech Communication:

Michael Kelly is dedicated and relentless in giving his clients fresh, practical ideas and techniques – paired with honest feedback – to improve their personal communication, impact and influence.

Now, here’s some feedback from MWD for Michael Kelly: “Don’t engage in verbal sludge and don’t kid yourself that there is such a science as “body language”. Yet Fairfax Media runs the diagnosis of The Body Whisperer of Roseville on its website. Can you bear it?

LESLIE CANNOLD’S (WAGNERIAN) CONFUSION

Returning from Melbourne last weekend, Nancy’s (male) co-owner turned on ABC 1 and came across a repeat of the Moral Compass program which first aired on 13 July 2013.

Presenter Geraldine Doogue was in the chair. The (moral) issue up for discussion was – what to do with convicted criminal Rolf Harris’s art work? Ms Doogue invited ethicist Leslie Cannold to express her opinion. And this is what Dr Cannold (for a doctor she is) said:

Leslie Cannold: I don’t think we should wipe away history. We’ve dealt with this before. So, you know, we saw it potentially with Woody Allen. We definitely saw it with Roman Polanski. We saw it with Wagner, who was a Nazi sympathiser. So the question keeps coming up: art, artists, can we separate them? Should we separate them? If so, how? So it seems to me that what we should do with Rolf Harris is the same as what we should do with the rest of them which is that you don’t censor the art. But you use the art, the means by which to open up a conversation about the person’s misdemeanours….

Brilliant, don’t you think? With one (small) exception. Richard Wagner died in February 1883 – some four decades before Adolf Hitler became head of what became National Socialist German Workers’ Party – i.e. the Nazi Party.

Sure, Wagner was a notorious anti-semite who was a significant influence on the development of Nazism. But he was hardly a “Nazi sympathiser” if only because there was no such phenomenon in Wagner’s life-time. Yet no one on the Moral Compass corrected Dr Cannold. Can you bear it?

LECTURING TONY ABBOTT – WHY ON EARTH DOES DAVID DALE BOTHER?

Writing in the Sydney Morning Herald on 15 July 2014, shortly before The Australian’s 50th Birthday Celebration, journalist Damien Murphy had this to say about the Prime Minister:

Prime Minister Tony Abbott may be the most famous of the old alumni who will gather with Rupert Murdoch on Tuesday night to mark the 50th anniversary of The Australian. He will attend in his capacity as Prime Minister but the newspaper has proudly and often claimed him as one of their own. In fact, he only arrived at The Australian after encountering problems as a feature writer with the Packer-owned magazine The Bulletin.

Mr Abbott’s misadventures with a typewriter came to a head in 1988 when his editor, David Dale, asked him to rewrite an article five times. “Tony couldn’t seem to get the idea that a feature for The Bulletin had to be fair and balanced,” Dale said on Monday. “I told him if he kept going like that he had no future on the magazine.” Mr Abbott went on to work briefly in a concrete factory before joining The Australian as an editorial writer.

So there you have it. David Dale reckoned in 1988 that Tony Abbott had no future at The Bulletin (1880-2008) because he could not be fair and balanced. And what was David Dale’s idea of “fair and balanced” when he edited The Bulletin in 1988? You be the judge.

On 20 December 1988, under your man Dale’s editorship, The Bulletin published a cover featuring a photograph of John Howard and the following blurb:

Mr 18%

Why on earth does this man bother?

In less than eight years, John Howard was prime minister – on his way to being the second longest serving PM in Australian history.

David Dale’s assessment of John Howard in 1988 was neither fair nor balanced – and it proved to be hopelessly wrong. Yet Mr Dale now boasts that he once sacked Tony Abbott for journalistic unfairness? Can you bear it?

Mr 18 percent

AND NOW A WORD FROM LA TINGLE

Here’s the very latest Laura Tingle missive on Tony Abbott. It appeared in last Monday’s Australian Financial Review – following the release of the latest ACNielsen Poll:

Statistics can sound much more polite than words; small comfort however for the Prime Minister because when you translate the latest Nielsen poll into words, it seems voters think him an untrustworthy, unimaginative, incompetent dunderhead.

Tony Abbott’s muscular response to the tragedy of a downed plane and the search for the culpable may have given him a new authority, but the views of voters reflected in the Nielsen poll spell deep, deep trouble for the government.

So there you have it. According to the AFR’s political editor, voters surveyed by ACNielsen believe that the Prime Minister is “untrustworthy”, “unimaginative” and “an incompetent dunderhead”. In fact, not one of these words were mentioned by ACNielsen pollsters. Moreover, 52 per cent of voters said that Tony Abbott was “competent” and 54 per cent of voters said that the PM has “a clear vision for Australia”.

As to Tony Abbott’s “muscular response” to the MH17 tragedy, he has been no more “muscular” in his response to the disaster than the evidently feminine Foreign Minister Julie Bishop. Can you bear it?

BONGE’S BIG TIME TWEETS

Channel 10’s national editor Paul Bongiorno has been at his best behaviour this week during his appearances on the ABC.

Not so with respect to his tweets. Here’s what Bonge tweeted on Saturday 19 July:

Paul Bongiorno @Paul Bongiorno Jul 19: I am surprised the cheer squad isn’t urging @TonyAbbottMHR to invade Russia! Fortunately he’s smarter than the camp followers.

Apparently your man Bonge thinks that the death of 298 persons is good reason to have an allegedly ironic swipe at the (alleged) views of the Prime Minister’s supporters.

And here’s what Bonge tweeted on 23 July concerning the Prime Minister’s action in response to the MH17 disaster:

Paul Bongiorno @PaulBongiorno Jul 23: See Australia can take world leadership on key issues. Now for climate change! Oh that’s crap I forgot.

Apparently your man Bonge thinks that the plight of the dead on MH17 is a suitable opportunity to score political points on the Abbott government’s policy on climate change. Can you bear it? (See Correspondence Section)


DoubleStandards

What a stunning piece in The Age on 16 July 2014 by Jonathan Holmes, the former presenter of the ABC 1 Media Watch program. Since he stepped down from Media Watch and handed over the program to Paul Barry (who, like Holmes, is a British leftist who made a career in the taxpayer funded public broadcaster Down Under), Holmes has been engaged by “The-Guardian-on-the-Yarra” to write an occasional column. The Canberra Times usually runs his thoughts but not the Sydney Morning Herald.

Here’s what Jonathan Holmes has been up to of late.

9 July. JH’s column bags the decision to appoint Dr Janet Albrechtsen and Neil Brown QC to the Nomination Panel which provides a short list of three for appointments to the boards of the ABC and SBS. The decision was made and announced by Dr Ian Watt, the secretary of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.

In his Age piece, Holmes lectured Dr Watt about what he “should” do and described his behaviour in this instance as indicating that he is either “profoundly stupid” or “pusillanimous”. His piece concluded with a four paragraph rant telling Ian Watt what he should have said to the Prime Minister. Holmes is a life-long journalist who has never held a managerial job in the public service or the private sector and has never worked in government or opposition.

16 July. Just a week after his gratuitous and abusive put-down of Ian Watt, Holmes attacks the editor of The Australian, Chris Mitchell. Holmes accuses Mitchell of making “The Australian this country’s bitchiest newspaper”. Apparently Holmes does not regard calling a senior public servant “profoundly stupid” as a bitchy comment.

Holmes’ evidence for this assertion is an academic paper written by constant Rupert Murdoch critic Matthew Ricketson and constant Rupert Murdoch critic Andrew Dodd. Dr Ricketson (for a doctor he is) and Dr Dodd (for a doctor he also is) are employed by the taxpayer subsidised Canberra University and Swinbourne University respectively.

After obtaining an email address from The Age, Gerard Henderson wrote to Jonathan Holmes about his column of 9 July. Here Holmes wrote that the “prime qualification” of Janet Albrechtsen for her appointment by the Howard government to the ABC board “appeared to be her frequently declared conviction that the ABC was all but irredeemably biased to the left”. Holmes made no criticism of the appointment of Dr Julianne Schultz to the ABC board by the Rudd government. Since both women have similar qualifications along with strong (albeit different) views on the ABC, Hendo asked the following question of your man Holmes:

Why, in your view, was it improper for the Howard government to appoint the conservative inclined Janet Albrechtsen to the ABC board when it was proper for the Rudd government to appoint the social democratic inclined Julianne Schultz to the ABC board? Especially since both women have similar qualifications.

To which Jonathan Holmes replied:

To me, the CV’s [sic] of Schultz and Albrechtsen are chalk and cheese. Janet – although she does have a doctorate in juridical science and was a practising lawyer – is first and foremost a cultural warrior of the right. Julianne is – and was when she was appointed in 2009 – someone with a broad range of achievement, as a journalist, author of several books, academic, editor of the Griffith Review, librettist, and someone furthermore who had a deep knowledge of the ABC already, having worked there as a journalist and as manager of corporate strategy in the 90s. Her politics, it seems to me (though clearly not to you) are secondary to her board range of experience across a range of cultural and media institutions. Furthermore she was appointed only after being shortlisted by the nominating panel instituted by the Rudd government.

So there you have it – according to long-time ABC employee Jonathan Holmes. The conservative Dr Albrechtsen is a “cultural warrior” and her conservative political views are of primary importance – especially since she has criticised the ABC. Whereas the politics of the social democratic Dr Schultz are of secondary importance – especially since she has supported the ABC. How about that?

In his response to Gerard Henderson, Jonathan Holmes once again refused to justify the double standard he exercised when presenter of the ABC’s Media Watch with respect to his fellow ABC presenters. This is the section of Hendo’s letter to which Mr Holmes declined to respond:

On another matter, I note that you never responded to a series of questions I raised with you on 27 June 2013 when you presented Media Watch on the taxpayer funded public broadcaster.

Here they are – in a slightly updated form to take account of some developments over the past year:

▪ Do you still believe that the salaries paid to key ABC presenters should not be subjected to full disclosure?  Especially in Julian Morrow’s case – since in 2012 he used a public forum to remark on Mark Scott’s salary while subsequently claiming that his own entitlements from the ABC are “commercial-in-confidence”.  If not, why not?

▪ Do you believe that ABC presenters should declare (on-air or online) all payments they receive, or have previously received, from corporations and other organisations for hosting, and/or speaking at, non-ABC events – along with the quantum involved in each case?  If not, why not?

▪ If asked by a panellist on, say, the Q&A program to disclose what non-ABC payments Tony Jones has received from corporations and other organisations – what should the presenter do?

▪ On Media Watch on 13 May 2013, you expressed the view that commentators on ABC 1 News Breakfast should declare if they are a member of a political party on each occasion they appear on the program. In view of this, should all ABC presenters and reporters declare if they are members of a trade union or an environment group on each occasion when they comment or report on a matter concerning industrial relations or the environment?  If not, why not?

As presenter of Media Watch, Jonathan Holmes constantly sent letters-of-demand asking that his queries be answered. But as Media Watch presenter Jonathan Holmes simply refused to respond to the questions of others. As an Age columnist, he is continuing the double standard.


correspondence header caps

FEATURING PAUL BONGIORNO AND DAVID RANSOM

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 wise counsel. So here we go again.

PAUL BONGIORNO & GERARD HENDERSON

When the ABC decided to engage a regular commentator from the Canberra Press Gallery for slots on ABC Radio National Breakfast and ABC 702 Mornings with Linda Mottram, it went to the most pro-Green/Left commercial outlet. Namely, the Channel 10 bureau led by Paul Bongiorno. This week your man Bonge has been using the tragedy of MH 17 to score political points against Tony Abbott. This was covered early in this issue of MWD. Here is the brief correspondence which passed between Hendo and Bonge.

Gerard Henderson to Paul Bongiorno – 21 July 2014

Good afternoon Bonge

I just read your tweet which implied that Tony Abbott’s “camp followers” might be urging him to invade Russia.

Who do you envisage might hold such a view? I am sure your twitter followers will be interested.

Lotsa love

Gerard Henderson

Paul Bongiorno to Gerard Henderson – 21 July 2014

Dear Gerard,

Satire of the Australian neo cons was the literary form. Irony a strong suit?

 

Gerard Henderson to Paul Bongiorno – 21 July 2014

Bonge

I’m not aware of any Aussie neo-cons. This is an American term which has scant application Down Under.

As to irony, I’ve never found plane crashes particularly funny. But what would I know?

Keep those gags concerning MH-17 going – perhaps a couple of your followers might find them amusing.

Cheers

Gerard

* * * * *

DAVID RANSOM & GERARD HENDERSON

As MWD’s avid readers will be aware, former ABC staffer David Ransom initiated an email exchange with Gerard Henderson. Your man Ransom took exception to Hendo’s allegation that the ABC is a Conservative-Free-Zone but has failed to name one prominent conservative at the taxpayer funded public broadcaster. Here we go again – for the very last time.

David Ransom to Gerard Henderson – 20 July 2014

Gerard

I read on your Blog your response to my latest email. I am surprised that you published my communication to you without asking me first, but never mind.

Look, I don’t want to go on with this. I have tried to explain why your “conservative free zone” argument is spurious, but you won’t address it, so let’s leave it there.

As for your question of me. I don’t know how ABC employees vote. How would I?

As for your dragging up names like Allan Ashbolt and Marius Webb from the 1970s, all I can say is: Gerard, give me a break. It’s a bit like saying dinosaur farts are responsible for global warming. I guess it fills a Blog though, doesn’t it.

You are right about one thing though. I didn’t know you were such a strident critic of the “lunar right” and I probably don’t know exactly what you stand for. I wonder why?

Perhaps it’s because I perceive you to have an obsession with “ABC bias” and that writing as you do for The Australian, you, like so many on that paper, function as lickspittles for Rupert Murdoch in his desire to demolish public broadcasting in Australia, as he attempted to do in the UK, before his underhand methods brought him undone.

But I am sure I am wrong. You must stand for more than that. You have been around too long. And no Gerard, I am not giving you permission to publish this on you Blog. It ends here.

David Ransom

Gerard Henderson to David Ransom – 25 July 2014

David

Thanks for your note. I am surprised that you are surprised that I ran your correspondence on my Media Watch Dog blog. You were a journalist for decades. The media profession has published or commented on private letters and documents for aeons.

I have addressed your argument. You deny my claim that the ABC is a Conservative-Free-Zone. But you decline to name any conservative who holds the position of presenter or producer or editor on any of the taxpayer funded public broadcaster’s prominent television or radio or online outlets.

For the record, I did not raise with you the issue about how “ABC employees vote”. You just made this up.

The point is not how ABC personnel vote every three years – that’s Mark Scott’s lightweight argument. The point is that ABC personnel invariably criticise both the Coalition and Labor from the left. The prime minister who was most critical of the ABC in recent years was not John Howard but Labor’s Bob Hawke.

The fact is that quite a few prominent ABC presenters have acknowledged the ABC’s left agenda. In his book This Day Tonight, one time prominent ABC presenter Bill Peach (1935-2013) conceded that This Day Tonight’s “selection of subjects revealed that we were less than…utterly objective”. Mr Peach made it clear that This Day Tonight (the predecessor of The 7.30 Report) campaigned against the incumbent Coalition government. Stuart Littlemore made a similar concession in his book The Media and Me where he admitted that he and his colleagues had used the ABC’s platform to rail against political conservatives. All this you simply deny.

One final point. As you should have learnt at the ABC, abuse is no substitute for argument. So I will ignore your reference to “dinosaur farts” and your suggestion that I am one of the many at The Australian who are “lickspittles for Rupert Murdoch”. In fact, I held the same position on the ABC when I wrote a weekly column for the Sydney Morning Herald from 1990 until 2013. But since you admit that you do not know much about me, it’s possible that you do not read the Sydney Morning Herald.

As far as I am concerned, this correspondence is concluded.

Best wishes

Gerard Henderson


“…that fu-kwitted Gerard “Gollum” Henderson….”

– Mike (“I’ll pour the gin”) Carlton, via Twitter, 12 July 2014

“[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

“If Gerard Henderson had run Beria’s public relations Stalin’s death would have been hidden for a year and Nikita [Khrushchev] 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 TwitterSaturday 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.