1 August 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 and Nancy are awful human beings.”

– Alexander White, Twitter, 25 July 2014

Alexander White, who claims to have “exceptional people-management skills”, is a board member of Greenpeace Australia-Pacific.  He does not boast about having exceptional canine-management skills – hence the unconscionable attack on deaf Nancy.


    7.30 presenter Sarah Ferguson has become adept of late at asking leading questions. That is, queries which suggest answers suitable to Ms Ferguson’s mindset. The couple of recent examples are set out below:

    ▪ Here is a question which Sarah Ferguson addressed to Mark Regev, a spokesman for Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, on 14 July 2012:

    Sarah Ferguson : You say you don’t target civilians, but the question is the amount of care that’s taken to avoid hurting civilians. There was a rocket attack on the home of the Gaza police chief. He has known sympathies to Hamas. At the same time, a number of children were killed in that attack. Do you take enough care to avoid those casualties, because it appears the answer is no?

    How about that? Sarah Ferguson asked a question and provided an answer (in almost the same breath?)

    ▪ And here is a question which Sarah Ferguson addressed to Immigration Minister Scott Morrison on 30 June 2014:

    Sarah Ferguson: Alright. Just very briefly, because we need to clear this up before we go. So there’s no confusion over the orange boats. You did consider the use of the orange boats to return those asylum seekers to India?

    So once again Sarah Ferguson made a statement – and put a question mark on the end of her statement of belief. To which Scott Morrison remarked : “Sarah, I’m not going to let you put words in my mouth.” Quite so.

    However, Sarah Ferguson did not engage in leading questions last night when interviewing Professor Gillian Triggs, the president of the Human Rights Commission.

    In an extraordinary display, Professor Triggs decided to comment publicly on a Human Rights Commission hearing over which she is currently presiding – namely children held in immigration detention. This would be equivalent to a judge giving a running media commentary while presiding over a court case.

    In her soft interview, Sarah Ferguson neglected to ask the telling question. Namely, why did Professor Triggs and the Human Rights Commission totally ignore the plight of children in detention during the time of the Rudd/Gillard/Rudd Labor government? And why is it that the HRC only seems concerned when children are detained under a Coalition government?

    And the 7.30 presenter did not query Professor Triggs commenting on evidence presented to her in the midst of an enquiry.

    So there are two kinds of Sarah Ferguson interviews. There are tough interviews with many an interruption and many leading questions. These are directed at interviewees with whom Ms Ferguson essentially disagrees. And there are soft interviews with no assertions or interruptions – these are directed at interviewees with whom Ms Ferguson agrees.


    While on the topic of ABC interviewers, did anyone hear James Carleton’s (so-called) interview with Israeli Ambassador to Australia Shmuel Ben-Shmuel on RN Breakfast this morning?

    RNB did not have to interview Ambassador Shmuel. But once it decided to do so, it might have asked someone other than James Carleton to do the job. It is no secret that James Carleton is a fervent critic of post 1967 Israel in general and the Netanyahu government in particular. This morning he could not disguise his partisanship.

    The interview ran for a long time for a breakfast program – 12 minutes, in fact. Ambassador Shmuel stated his case with fervour. But he had to deal with Mr Carlton’s condescending and self-righteous style. So there was James Carleton attempting to exhibit what he regards as his higher morality on matters Middle East. And there was Ambassador Shmuel attempting to defend Israel against Hamas which is explicitly committed to his country’s destruction.

    The Ambassador did manage to correct Carleton’s incorrect claim that Gaza is an occupied territory – in fact, Gaza is run by a Hamas government. Otherwise no one learnt much from the exchange. It would have made more sense for Radio National to arrange for Ambassador Shmuel to interview James Carleton – who seems to know lotsa stuff about almost everything and is only too keen to let his listeners know what he knows. [ Brilliant idea. I was going to suggest that RN might get a conservative to interview the Israeli Ambassador until I remembered that the ABC is a Conservative-Free-Zone – Ed].


    Just when you thought that virulent anti-semitism was a product of Europe in the 1920s and 1930s and certain contemporary Middle East dictatorships, the Sydney Morning Herald ran this Glen Le Lievre cartoon last Saturday accompanying a column by Mike Carlton:

    Anti Semitic cartoon

    How anti-semitic can you get? Le Lievre presented the Israel/Gaza conflict by depicting an old Jewish man activating military strikes on a populated area. It was the stereotypical Jew of recent memory. The man has a huge hook nose, he is wearing a religious kippah on his head and there is a Jewish Star of David on the back of his chair. All three symbols are Jewish rather than Israeli.

    Glenn Le Lievre’s cartoon illustrated an ill-informed column by Mike Carlton titled “Israel mocks laws of war and norms of civilisation”. Carlton equated the Israel Defence Force’s targeted attacks on Hamas’ missile sites as “genocide” or “ethnic cleansing” and said that Israel’s intention is “to kill Arabs”. Carlton then explicitly compared the IDF’s actions in Gaza to the “Warsaw Ghetto and the 6 million dead of the Holocaust”.

    Mike Carlton depicted the current Israel/Hamas conflict as a product of “a new and brutal Israel dominated by the hard-line, right-wing Likud party of Benjamin Netanyahu”. Carlton seems unaware that currently Mr Netanyahu has a high approval rating in Israel – with considerable support coming from the Israeli left-wing on this issue.

    A columnist can only compare Nazi Germany’s murder or attempted murder of European Jewry with the IDF’s actions in Gaza if he/she is totally ignorant of Adolf Hitler’s regime or is distorting history to score a contemporary political point. Carlton is not ignorant. So MWD readers can draw their own conclusions.

    In his column, Mike Carlton did not even seem aware of the essential Hamas threat to Israel and its Jewish, Muslim and Christian citizens. It comes not from missiles but tunnels from Gaza into that part of the state of Israel which has been ratified by the United Nations since the formation of Israel in 1948.

    Mike Carlton has never indicated that he has much knowledge of Israel. Moreover, his regular leftist rants at Israel are expected. What gave particular offence to Carlton’s column last Saturday was Glen Le Lievre’s cartoon.

    And how did the Sydney Morning Herald handle this issue? Well, editor-in-chief Darren Goodsir went into denial, claiming that the Herald deserves and enforces “the highest journalistic standards”. Oh, yeah. Moreover, the Herald spiked a letter to the editor written by Australian Jewish leaders Robert Goot and Peter Wertheim pointing to the evident anti-semitism in the Le Lievre cartoon. That’s how.

    Denial followed by censorship – this is what Darren Goodsir equates with the Herald’s “highest journalistic standards”.

    Can you bear it graphic


    Last Monday on the ABC 1 News Breakfast program, co-presenter Virginia Trioli praised the ABC Fact Check. Not for the first time. And – not for the first time – La Trioli neglected to point out that the head of the Fact Check is none other than Mr Trioli – aka Russell Skelton.

    And so it came to pass that John Barron was given time – along with a soft-interview by La Trioli – to tell us all about the ABC Fact Check’s most recent initiative. Namely, the Promise Tracker – by which the likes of Messrs Skelton and Barron will tell us whether or not Prime Minister Tony Abbott is keeping his pre-election promises. According to their opinion, of course. After all, Mr Skelton is on the record as expressing his contempt for conservatives – only describing them in The Age (of course) as “pesky possums”.

    First up, La Trioli congratulated John Barron on “a great achievement”. Then, in winding up the interview, La Trioli described the Promise Tracker as “a great thing to see” and, once again, extended her “congratulations to you and the team”. As in – “Well done, Darling”.

    And what about Mr Barron? Well, he confused Nancy’s male co-owner somewhat when he said that the Abbott government’s “inability to keep the superannuation guarantee levy at 9.25 per cent, rather than it rising to 9.5 per cent as legislated by the previous Labor government, might amount to a broken promise”. Barron’s position was that “ultimately it’s not delivering on a commitment that counts”.

    Really? According to John Barron’s apparent position, the Abbott government can be described as breaking a promise if it cannot deliver on a commitment because it is not able to get legislation passed in the Senate. Nuts – don’t you think?

    This led to a bizarre correspondence which is printed below. [Is this because today’s “Correspondence” section is already jammed full? – Ed].

    Gerard Henderson to John Barron – 29 July 2014


    Stunning performance on News Breakfast yesterday re the Promise Tracker.

    I have one query. In your discussion with Virginia Trioli, you described the Coalition’s failure to get its superannuation guarantee legislation through the Senate as a “broken promise”. How can it be that the government breaks a promise if it tries, but fails, to get legislation through the upper house?

    I would be interested in your views on this matter.

    Best wishes

    Gerard Henderson

    John Barron to Gerard Henderson – 29 July 2014

    Dear Gerard,

    Thanks for the feedback, very kind of you indeed.

    Your question should be submitted in writing to Sally Jackson, Media Manager ABC News and Current Affairs;

    Kind regards,


    Gerard Henderson to John Barron – 29 July 2014

    Dear John

    Can’t you answer a simple question? What’s Sally Jackson got to do with what you said on ABC TV yesterday? Is the ABC so bureaucratic these days?

    Lotsa love


    John Barron to Gerard Henderson – 29 July 2014

    Dear Gerard,

    It is ABC policy for media-related enquiries to go through the ABC media manager.

    Sincerest best wishes,


    Gerard Henderson to John Barron – 30 July 2014


    In view of the fact that many ABC presenters also appear on the ABC as commentators – it is ludicrous that a viewer/listener cannot ask an ABC presenter/commentator what he/she means. You are telling me that in order to ask you a simple question about a simple matter I have to submit myself to the vagaries of the ABC’s somewhat extensive bureaucracy.

    As I understand it, your message to me is quite inconsistent with what Mark Scott said in an email to ABC staff around a year ago. As I recall, Nice Mr Scott said that ABC presenters and commentators should be less sensitive to criticism and more ready to answer to legitimate and polite queries from the taxpayers who pay their salaries.

    I will check on this. But I have no intention of writing to Sally Jackson who surely must have something better to do than respond on your behalf about your own views.

    Best wishes


    John Barron to Gerard Henderson – 30 July 2014

    Hi Gerard,

    As I said yesterday, my understanding is that requests from media should come via Sally.


    So how about that? ABC presenters – like John Barron, Fran (“I’m an activist”) Kelly and Jonathan Green – are encouraged to go on ABC programs and spout their opinions. However, if a viewer/listener asks an ABC presenter to explain his/her opinion – there must be written correspondence directed to the Media Manager of ABC News and Current Affairs.

    Can you bear it?


    Jenna Price has spent her professional career in journalism or the academy – currently she teaches journalism at the University of Technology, Sydney. Oh yes, Ms Price also writes a weekly column for the Canberra Times.

    Last Wednesday Jenna Price did what many a columnist does when he/she runs out of ideas. Namely write a note to the Prime Minister telling him/her what they SHOULD do.

    On 29 July 2014, Jenna Price told Tony Abbott to give up his focus of recovering the bodies of the victims of MH17 air disaster and get back to work. Her piece was headed: “The Prime Minister should get back to work”.

    Ms Price, who has never worked in government or in opposition or in the public service, does not seem to understand that taking a role in the wake of air disasters is work for a prime minister. She also referred to the Australian Federal Police involved in the recovery as “servants”. Then Price said that debt deficit is not a problem but energy and the “environment emergency” is a problem.

    Finally Jenna Price concluded her column by addressing the Prime Minister as follows:

    You’ve rescued the bodies and good on you. Now you have to save the rest of us. Or get out of our way.

    Presumably Fairfax Media pays money for this tosh. Can you bear it?


    While on the topic of academics, consider the case of Jane Goodall – who is an Adjunct Professor with the Writing and Society Research Group at the University of Western Sydney. [That sounds impressive. – Ed]

    Professor Goodall wrote a piece titled “Franz Ferdinand Moments” on the Inside Story website on 29 July 2014. The article was about the assassination of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo in June 1914. And all that.

    The Thought of Jane Goodall is somewhat difficult to follow. But Nancy’s (male) co-owner was doing okay until – suddenly – the author placed Tony Abbott in Sarajevo in June 1914. Or did she? You be the judge. This is the learned (adjunct) professor’s final paragraph:

    MH17 was shot down on 19 July… and the international diplomatic tensions arising from it have yet to play out. This time, though, Australia is on stage in scene one, seeking a major role in scripting UN resolutions and flirting with a high-risk proposal to send armed personnel into Ukraine to assist with the recovery of bodies. During the critical thirty-seven days of 1914, the fatal errors arose from grandstanding, the issuing of ultimatums, and nationalist opportunism. We really do need to take another look at all that.

    Er, yes. But, pray tell MWD, what does the assassination of Franz Ferdinand on 28 June 1914 have to do with the downing of MH17 on 17 July 2014? Yet Professor Goodall seems to believe that the consequence of recovering bodies from Ukraine in 2014 might be similar to the consequence of shooting an archduke in Sarajevo in 1914. Jane Goodall is an academic. Can you bear it? [Er, no; not really. – Ed]

    five paws graphic


    In its edition of 11 July 2014, the satirical Private Eye magazine revealed its most recent take on the continuing crisis which stretches from Baghdad to Damascus to Birmingham and, yes, our very own Lakemba.

    Message from New Caliph

    Private Eye. Five Paws


    Nancy’s (female) co-owner is just so excited about the arrival Down Under of Foxtel’s BBC First channel that she just cannot fight it. Hence the pre-recordings on the household IQ machine for this dedicated BBC channel covering premium British drama and comedy.

    BBC First commences transmission on Monday 3 August.

    Foxtel: Five Paws

    nancy's pick graphic


    As Q&A went to air last Monday evening, the following events were taking place in the Middle East. In Syria, Muslims were killing Muslims – with the Shia prevailing over the Sunnis. In Iraq, Muslims were killing Muslims and Christians – with the Sunni prevailing over the Shia and the Christians. And in Gaza the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) was in conflict with the Sunni Hamas terrorist organisation in and near Gaza.

    Guess what got discussed on Q&A? Only Gaza, of course. But first, let’s focus on AI (Abysmal Ignorance, that is) on Q&A.

    The first question was selected by the Q&A executive producer Peter McEvoy. Jack Littlemore received the call and immediately focused on the IDF’s military actions in Gaza. Mr Littlemore made no mention of Hamas’ missiles and tunnels directed at Israel but focused on Israel’s response. Let’s go to the transcript, as the howlers commence. Here is Tony Jones’ query to Barnaby Joyce – following up on the Jack Littlemore question:

    Tony Jones : Barnaby Joyce, we will try and get your opinion, though, if we can. I mean the average age of Gazans is 17. There are 250,000 – a quarter of a million – children under the age of ten in Gaza and they are right in the middle of the most densely populated part of the globe and many of them are dying. Does Australia have a moral responsibility to do something about this? …Australia has got a unique position in a way. It is actually on the Security Council for the first time in our history.

    Not so – as even a minimum research would have indicated. Contrary to Tony Jones’ assertion, Australia has had a seat on the United Nations Security Council on five occasions. Namely 1948-49; 1956-57; 1973-74; 1985-86 and 2013-14. During the inaugural occasion, Herbert Vere Evatt was president of the UN.

    Then it was time for Labor front bencher Mark Butler, a member of the ALP’s left-wing faction, to enter Q&A’s “Howler Zone”. This is what Mr Butler had to say:

    Tony Jones : …the questioner asked should Australia play a role in trying to bring this debate to the Security Council, pressing it.
    Mark Butler : Well, I’m not sure where it’s a debate that we have to bring to the Security Council. I think the question is whether Australia starts to take a more assertive role.
    Tony Jones : Yes.
    Mark Butler : I think you saw a debate at the New South Wales Labor Conference that sees a lot of people, who have had very longstanding support for Israel, starting to question whether we should start to play a more assertive role about how we get to the policy end – the end game I think that we’ve all agreed about for a long time but seems to be slipping further and further away from our grasp.

    Tony Jones : Is the death of children driving that?
    Mark Butler : I think the death of children is obviously driving that but even without the recent invasion of Gaza, I think you just see the politics, particularly in Israel, but also in Palestine as Hamas continues to fire rockets from the Occupied Territories into Israel….

    Not so – as even a minimum research would have indicated. Gaza is not part of the Occupied Territories. Gaza was occupied by Israel from 1967 to 2005. But in 2005 Israel withdrew its military forces and all settlements from Gaza. Mark Butler and Tony Jones should know that, in recent times, Hamas fired some 2000 rockets from Hamas controlled Gaza into Israel inside the “Green Line” – that is, the area which has always been part of Israel since the formation of the nation in 1948. This is Israeli land – and acknowledged by the United Nations as such.

    Nobody on the panel saw fit to correct either the Tony Jones or the Mark Butler howlers. Both remain uncorrected on the Q&A website.

    Then Tony Jones called on the Q&A’s second approved question. This was from a certain Mohammad Hammoud – who asked the following leading question which was hostile to Israel:

    Mohammad Hammoud : In light of the war on Gaza and the consequent crisis unfolding, will Australian MPs reconsider Australia’s 99 per cent pro-Israel stance, as stated by Alexander Downer. Considering that the level of aggression on Gaza stems from attitudes such as Israeli MP, Ayelet Shaked, referring to the mothers of martyrs as enemy combatants who must be killed or Netanyahu’s call for vengeance in a fit of rage, rather than a rational call for justice and the Israeli cheer squad celebrating on the hills surrounding Gaza as bombs rained down on the Palestinians?

    The Q&A questioner made no reference to Hamas’ missiles directed indiscriminately at Israel or to its tunnels designed to launch attacks on Israeli citizens in southern Israel.

    Needless to say, no one on the Q&A panel or in the Q&A audience saw fit to draw attention to the killing of some 170,000 Muslims during the Syrian Civil War or to the current persecution of Christians by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

    But Louise Adler did manage to bag Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Moreover, British actor David Suchet and journalist Madonna King did manage to run the “give peace a chance” line without suggesting how to stop Hamas firing rockets at Israel or building tunnels under Israeli land.

    What was missing from the Q&A line up last week was anyone who both understood the Israel/Gaza conflict and who was willing to defend the current democratically elected government of Israel.

    correspondence header caps


    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.


    Dr John Carmody (for a medical doctor he is) is a man of many qualifications. He makes this clear when signing off his correspondence. On occasions there are almost as many words in his listed qualifications as in his emails.

    As avid MWD readers will soon become aware, Gerard Henderson became involved in correspondence when Nancy’s (male) co-owner wrote to Doctor/Convenor/Master/President John Carmody concerning a comment which he had made publicly about Hendo’s late mother at a meeting of the Australian Catholic Historical Society in Sydney recently.

    Your man Carmody refused to tell Hendo what he had said at the meeting. After several evasions, John Carmody concluded his part of the correspondence by proclaiming that if Hendo published details of the argument in Media Watch Dog it would damage his own reputation.

    What a challenge. Here we go again with correspondence destined to damage Gerard Henderson’s reputation. [Really? I would not have thought that such an eventuality was even remotely possible. How could Hendo’s reputation be damaged further? – Ed].

    Gerard Henderson to John Carmody – 24 July 2014

    Good morning John, I’m sorry I missed John Challis’ speech last Sunday – Anne and I were in Melbourne. I would like to read John’s paper if such an entity exists.

    A couple of people have told me that during the question/discussion period you commented that you had heard from a person that you did not name about my mother, Pauline Henderson (nee Dargavel). As I understand it, you said that you had been told that my mother visited Xavier College in either the late 1950s or early 1960s and warned the lay-teachers that they could lose their jobs if they did not support Bob Santamaria and the National Civic Council.

    I would be grateful if you could advise whether the above report is accurate – and, if not, what it was that you did say concerning my mother. As mentioned above, I understand that you did not claim direct knowledge of this matter but rather passed on information which had come to your attention.

    Best wishes


    John Carmody to Gerard Henderson – 25 July 2014

    Dear Gerard,

    Thank you for this e-mail. It would have been good to have you both at the ACHS meeting last Sunday: John Challis’s story, focussed as it principally was, on Perth, gave a new perspective on that important period in our national history – especially as, in reflecting on my own boyhood memories of Archbishop Duhig, my father’s activities [as a member of the Clerks’ Union], the attitudes of the Christian Brothers at Gregory Terrace, my own attendance of a summer school of the YCS in January 1957 etc., I realised that the story of the “Movement” was really a tale of several disparate cities (as well as diverse personalities, of clerics and laymen).

    Partly because he had made some last-minute handwritten revisions and partly in response to the question/discussion period which followed his presentation, John is making some revisions to his text. He has given me the undertaking that, in due course, he will provide me with a “definitive” version for publication in the ACHS Journal. That publication appears in January of each year.

    You have been significantly misinformed by the “couple of people” to whom you referred. What I said, which was originally told to me by the late James Griffin (at the time, as I recall, on the lay-staff of Xavier College and, I think, one of your own history teachers), was rather different. As a renowned record-keeper, you should be cautious about accepting such second-hand reports.

    With best wishes from – Jack Carmody.

    Dr John Carmody

    Discipline of Physiology

    University of Sydney

    Convenor: “Medicine and Music”

    Master of Medical Humanities program

    President: Australian Catholic Historical Society

    Gerard Henderson to John Carmody – 25 July 2014


    I have not accepted any second hand reports. I simply asked you what you said about my late mother last Sunday. As I understand it, you heard this from Jim Griffin. So my request is – what did Jim say about my late mother that you passed on to the meeting?

    I can’t respond until I know what was said. And so I am asking you to tell me in your own words what you did say.

    Best wishes


    John Carmody to Gerard Henderson – 25 July 2014


    Perhaps you might first divulge to me the identities of your “couple” of informants. And what their motives might have been in their inaccurate reportage.

    What they have told you is inaccurate. Beyond that, I see no reason for any further correspondence.

    JJ Carmody

    Dr John Carmody

    Discipline of Physiology

    University of Sydney

    Convenor: “Medicine and Music”

    Master of Medical Humanities program

    President: Australian Catholic Historical Society

    Gerard Henderson to John Carmody – 25 July 2014


    All I am asking you is to tell me what you said at a public meeting last Sunday (of an organisation of which I am a financial member) about my late mother. It’s not an unreasonable request. I am simply trying to establish facts. I do not understand why you are so sensitive and defensive.

    So once again I ask – what is it that you said? As you will note, I have not automatically accepted what I was told since I believe the professional thing to do was to ask you what you said. If you won’t tell me what you said, then I can only accept what I had been told by others as the only available report . I would talk to Jim Griffin about this but, as you know, he is dead.

    If people ask me what I say at public functions I tell them.

    If you said nothing about Pauline Henderson – tell me. If you said something about Pauline Henderson – tell me what it was. I am only asking you to behave professionally as President of the Australian Catholic Historical Society.

    Best wishes


    John Carmody to Gerard Henderson – 25 July 2014

    Gerard: As I expected – and know well from the past – your correspondence [as terrier-like as ever] is becoming progressively more insistent and pompous.

    I have said all that I intend to say, except this: I certainly need no advice from you about professionalism or integrity.

    JJ Carmody

    Dr John Carmody

    Discipline of Physiology

    University of Sydney

    Convenor: “Medicine and Music”

    Master of Medical Humanities program

    President: Australian Catholic Historical Society

    Gerard Henderson to John Carmody – 25 July 2014


    Don’t try and confuse the issue. Abuse is no substitute for argument.

    The facts are as follows:

    ▪ Last Sunday, at a public meeting you made a comment about Pauline Henderson who died in 1986. You refuse to tell me what you said at this meeting.

    ▪ At the meeting last Sunday, you said that you received this information from the late Jim Griffin. You refuse to tell me what Jim said to you.

    ▪ You made your comment about the late Pauline Henderson and late Jim Griffin without attempting to check the facts with me. Obviously I knew both very well. You, on the other hand, never met my mother.

    ▪ When I attempt to check the facts with you – you go into “no comment” mode.

    In view of this, I have no alternative but to accept the statements of people who were at the meeting. I will be writing to various people concerning this matter when I get time – either later today or on Monday.

    Best wishes


    John Carmody to Gerard Henderson – 29 July 2014

    To use your own immortal phrase, Gerard, “This correspondence is now closed”.

    I repeat – again to use one of your favourite minatory phrases – “for the record”, that you have been most inaccurately advised. So I trust that you would never contemplate publishing that report as “fact”. It would damage your reputation.

    JJ Carmody.

    Dr John Carmody

    Discipline of Physiology

    University of Sydney

    Convenor: “Medicine and Music”

    Master of Medical Humanities program

    President: Australian Catholic Historical Society

    Gerard Henderson to John Carmody – 1 August 2014


    I refer to your email of 29 July 2014 following our recent correspondence.

    I note that you have refused to advise me about what you said concerning my late mother – Pauline Henderson (nee Dargavel) – at a meeting of the Australian Catholic Historical Society in Sydney on Sunday 20 July 2014.

    As you know, I am a member of the ACHS. The function on 20 July 2014 – which John Challis addressed – was a public meeting at which you spoke in your capacity as ACHS president. Even so –

    ▪ you have refused to advise me as to what you said at the ACHS meeting about Pauline Henderson and

    ▪ you have refused to advise me as to what your alleged source said to you about Pauline Henderson.

    In view of your unwillingness to repeat what you said at a public meeting, I have no alternative but to accept the report of my sources at the meeting.

    According to my sources, you said that the late Jim Griffin told you that Pauline Henderson approached the lay staff at Xavier College either in the late 1950s or early 1960s and warned them they would be sacked by the Jesuits who ran Xavier College if they did not support the Democratic Labor Party and Bob Santamaria.

    This statement is totally false. In fact, it is quite ludicrous. Also there is no evidence of any kind to support your assertion. The facts are as follows:

    ▪ My mother was not active in politics and not particularly interested in day-to-day politics. She was never a member of the Democratic Labor Party or B.A. Santamaria’s National Civil Council.

    ▪ As far as I am aware, my mother never spoke to the Jesuits or the lay staff at Xavier College about the views of the Jesuits or the lay staff. There were no parent-teacher nights in those days. My brother and sister agree with me on this matter. Also, neither my brother nor myself spoke to our parents about the political views of our Xavier College lay teachers at the time. It was not an issue.

    ▪ I knew Jim Griffin well until his death. We met occasionally in Sydney and we corresponded. Jim never spoke to me about my parents – whom he never met.

    ▪ My brother knew Jim Griffin well until his death. They met occasionally in Melbourne – sometimes alone, sometimes in the presence of others. Paul Henderson has advised me that Jim never spoke to him about our parents.

    ▪ There is no reference to any parent approaching the Jesuits or lay staff at Xavier College to complain about the politics of members of the lay teaching staff in Jim Griffin’s book Il Illo Tempore : A Memoir of Xavier College – which was published in 2008. Jim’s book was critical of some aspects of Xavier College. As you know, Jim was opposed to the DLP and the NCC. If Pauline Henderson had approached the Jesuits or the lay staff at Xavier College to complain about Jim Griffin and some of his colleagues, Jim certainly would have mentioned this in Il Illo Tempore. He did not.

    In conclusion, I should state that I am surprised that the president of an historical society would make a statement at a public meeting about what one deceased person (allegedly) said about another deceased person. Especially since you made no attempt to fact-check the allegation with anyone who knew my parents.

    In fact, when I was a student at Xavier College in the late 1950s and early 1960s, there was very little politics evident at the school. The Jesuits did not run political lines in or outside the classroom; most had interests which were non-political. Likewise the lay teachers – some of whom voted for the Australian Labor Party (like Jim Griffin) and some of whom voted for the Democratic Labor Party – rarely if ever took their political views into the classroom. There was no such subject as politics in those days and most history courses dealt with the past. The consequences of the Labor Split of 1955 was not an occasion for class-room discussion. The only teachers whose political views I was aware of were Jim Griffin and Brian Buckley. Both at some stage were involved with the Catholic Worker which opposed the DLP and Santamaria. Like Jim, Brian never spoke to me about my parents – whom he never met.

    I would be grateful if you would correct your false statement about my mother at the next ACHS meeting.

    Yours sincerely

    Gerard Henderson

    cc: Geoff Hogan, Vice-President, AHCS

    Until next time – keep morale high.

    “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

    “…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 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.