13 FEBRUARY 2015

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.




    What a media beat-up following Tony Abbott’s comments at Question Time yesterday when he accused the Rudd/Gillard/Rudd government of causing “a holocaust of job losses in defence industries”. In view of the modern word usage, it was an unfortunate reference for which the Prime Minister immediately apologised.

    But what about the media beat-up? Yesterday this is what the Sydney Morning Herald ran on its website – along with a less-than-complimentary photo of the Prime Minister winking:

    Abbott compares job losses to the Holocaust [sic]

    This is totally dishonest. The SMH journalist responsible for this seems totally unaware that the word holocaust (with a small “h”) – meaning a great destruction – was in existence well before what was termed the Holocaust (with a capital “H”) took place.

    This is how the term “Holocaust” is defined in Roderick Stackelberg’s The Routledge Companion to Nazi Germany:

    HOLOCAUST: Term originally meaning a sacrifice consumed by fire and applied historically to the mass murder of the Jews under the Nazi program of the “Final Solution of the Jewish Question.” The term did not come into widespread usage until the 1960s.

    It seems that the Sydney Morning Herald is so ready to bag the Prime Minister that it ignored the meaning of holocaust (with a small “h”). Yesterday in the House of Representatives, Tony Abbott did not refer to the Holocaust (with a capital “H”) – which is a term that became common from the 1970s in Australia to describe the approximately six million Jews murdered by the Nazi regime. This coincided with the 1978 four part TV series titled Holocaust starring James Woods, Meryl Streep and Michael Moriarty, which was shown in Australia.

    The ABC is still making the same error this morning – urged on by PM presenter Mark Colvin who should know better. On AM, presenter Michael Brissenden declared that Tony Abbott “had to apologise for invoking the Holocaust to describe job losses under Labor”. False. And on ABC1 News Breakfast, co-presenter Zoe Daniel referred to the Prime Minister’s “comments on the Holocaust “. Rubbish.

    The fact is that Tony Abbott did not refer to “the Holocaust” in the House of Representatives yesterday. The likes of The Age, Michael Brissenden and Zoe Daniel just made this up.

    Moreover, as The Australian’s “Cut & Paste” section documented this morning, the word “holocaust” – with a small “h” – has been used widely by Australian politicians in recent times. In March 2010, Paul Keating used the word holocaust with reference to economic matters. In April 2010, Bob Brown referred to the word holocaust with reference to environmental damage. And so on.

    Perhaps the ABC Fact Checking Unit should fact-check the likes of Mark Colvin, Michael Brissenden and Zoe Daniel before they sound off in all ignorance on the taxpayer funded public broadcaster. And perhaps Mark Scott, who claims to exercise the role of ABC editor-in-chief, should assume editorial control over his staff with a view to reducing errors and prejudice.


    When Nancy’s (male) co-owner lived in Melbourne, The Age was one of the world’s finest newspapers. Standards declined over the years as the paper moved more and more to the anti-business, anti-Israel, anti-Christian, anti-Coalition, anti-Labor Right reality that it is today.

    Today, under Andrew Holden’s editorship, The Age is part “Guardian on the Yarra” and part “The Melbourne Green Left Weekly”. Take today’s edition for example.

    • Page 1 is largely occupied with an editorial rant against Tony Abbott over children in detention. The Age never took such a line about children held in detention during the time of the Keating or Rudd or Gillard Labor governments.
    • Page 3 carries an article by Latika Bourke which falsely asserts that in Parliament yesterday Tony Abbott referred to the Holocaust and made inappropriate use of analogies to the Nazi genocide. This is hopelessly wrong.
    • Page 3 also carries a report by Nick O’Malley that the Council on Foreign Relations website contains an article by a certain senior fellow named Joshua Kurlantzick. Kurlantzick reckons that Tony Abbott is “shockingly incompetent”. Gee whiz. Talk about a colonial crawl. It’s impossible to imagine that the New York Times would run a piece by, say, Alan Jones declaring that President Obama is shockingly incompetent.
    • Page 16. The Age editorial is titled “Abbott fails another test of leadership.” Surprise, eh?
    • Turn to the Comment Page. It’s Mark Kenny on Tony Abbott. Yawn. And Professor Gillian Triggs (for a professor she is) on herself. More yawns.

    [Interesting. Perhaps next time you might examine the Melbourne Green Left Weekly’s coverage for all of this week. And perhaps next week as well. Ed.]

    Can you bear it graphic


    Here’s how 7.30 presenter Leigh Sales introduced her panel on Australian politics last Friday:

    Leigh Sales: For some analysis of this intriguing week in politics and where it could all be heading, I’m joined now by some of the best political brains in the business. In Canberra, the ABC’s political editor Chris Uhlmann and 7.30’s political correspondent Sabra Lane, and with me in Sydney, the network’s political writer and host of Kitchen Cabinet, Annabel Crabb.

    It’s always wonderful, just wonderful, when Journalist 1 talks to Journalist 2 and Journalist 3 and Journalist 4 about, er, politics. Nancy’s (male) co-owner just loves Ms Crabb, Ms Lane, Ms Sales and Mr Uhlmann. However, as far as he is aware, not one of the above four had ever worked in politics – as a politician or staffer or back- room operative or whatever. Fine commentators, yes. But not a present or past political operator among them.

    Yet, last Friday, Ms Sales described her chat room of journalists as a collection of “political experts”. Can you bear it?


    What a stunning performance on Hinch Live by Derryn (“Proudly the Human Headline”) Hinch last Saturday. In his various pieces to camera, your man Hinch:

    • described Kevin Andrews as the “Brylcreem and Bible-basher”. It seems your man Hinch confuses analysis with mere abuse.
    • claimed that he once called the former prime minister William McMahon “Billy Big Ears”. Funny eh? No, just more abuse. Hinch added: “I used to say that he looked like a Volkswagen with the doors open”. Funny eh? Well, yes. But this joke has always been attributed to Mungo MacCallum.
    • called Prince Philip, “Phil-the-Greek”. Funny, eh? No. And certainly not original. It’s just a case of racial abuse. Which raises the question – what’s wrong with Greeks?
    • introduced ABC Patricia Karvelas with a “good afternoon”. It was 9.15 pm at night.

    Can you bear it?


    While on the topic of Hinch Live, did anyone see Paul Bongiorno on the program last Saturday? Probably not. Well this is what the Channel 10 contributing editor, who also has many gigs on the ABC [Is this because he is the most left-wing journalist employed by the commercial media in the Parliamentary Press Gallery? – Ed] said last Saturday:

    Paul Bongiorno: Tony Abbott’s strength is also his weakness. When he says in 3 or 4 word slogans what he won’t do, you hear it. And you hear it clearly because he keeps repeating it. So, so he said he wouldn’t be touching pensions, he wouldn’t be touching health and education, and what’s he do? He brings in the most radical reform of higher education we’ve seen since Whitlam bought in free university without any explanation for reversing all of that.

    Look, I’ve got something I’d like to share with you Derryn tonight. There is great mistrust on the backbench that Tony Abbott – who’s famous for saying the exact opposite of what reality is – may try to pull a tricky manoeuvre in the party room and not hold a secret ballot. And I’ve been speaking to Philip Ruddock, who is the chief government whip, and he tells me that it’s really up to the Prime Minister as the chairman of the party room how this is to play out.

    Derryn Hinch: Hold on. He [Abbott] said today that virtually there would be a secret ballot. I saw him on the news.

    Paul Bongiorno: Well he said it’s up to the party room – so there was that little bit of wiggle room. Now I’ve been told, a couple of the backbenchers have said, that if he pulls it on there’ll be a riot, there’ll be motions moved and everything. But that’s the sort of mistrust that I’m tapping into in some parts of the Liberal Party room.

    What a load of tosh.

    First, contrary to Bonge’s implication, the Abbott government did not “reverse” the free tertiary education initiative of Gough Whitlam’s Labor government. This largesse was reversed by Bob Hawke’s Labor government – when it introduced the HECS initiative – or Higher Education Contribution Scheme – in 1989.

    Second, contrary to Bonge’s conspiracy theory, Tony Abbott provided for a secret ballot at last Monday’s leadership spill. There was no “tricky manoeuvre”. Nor did the Prime Minister seek “wiggle room”. Nor was there a riot. And so on.

    Paul Bongiorno just made it all up. Can you bear it?


    What a stunning performance by News Corp’s Malcolm Farr – he of the wonderful shirts – on the ABC1 Insiders program last Sunday.

    This is what your man Farr had to say in response to presenter Barrie Cassidy’s query as to whether there was some advantage for Tony Abbott in moving the proposed date of the Liberal Party leadership spill motion from Tuesday 10 February to Monday 9 February :

    Barrie Cassidy: Why is it some advantage to Tony Abbott to have it [the spill] tomorrow rather than Tuesday?

    Malcolm Farr: Tomorrow [at] nine o’clock people will be straight off the plane. They’ll still be apprehensive because there will be a Newspoll out – so it won’t be particularly nice for the Prime Minister.

    Annabel Crabb: Question is whether the Newspoll gets brought forward, right? Because that’s usually out on Tuesdays.

    Malcolm Farr: I understand, although I couldn’t vouch for The Australian, but I understand it is going to be Monday. They’ll be certainly moving it forward to Monday now, I would suggest. But they’ll be digesting that in the Com car from the airport. They get straight in – and Tony Abbott pulls a bomb.

    Your man Farr seemed completely unaware that, at the commencement of a new parliamentary session, the majority of parliamentarians arrive in Canberra on the Sunday night – or earlier. Also, since the date of the spill motion was announced by Tony Abbott at around 9 am on Sunday there was ample time for Liberal MPs to get to the party meeting on time. He was corrected on this point by Niki Savva.

    The idea that Liberal MPs would arrive at Canberra Airport at 9 am and read Newspoll in The Australian while in a Commonwealth car on the way to Parliament House is just, well, tosh. And as to Tony Abbott pulling “a bomb” – this does not make any sense at all. Can you bear it?


    Does Jonathan (“Proudly the ABC’s Sneerer-in-Chief”) Green ever shut up? There he was on The Drum on Wednesday evening banging on about a range of issues. And there he was on ABC Radio 702 the following day blathering about nothing much at all with James Valentine in a 20 minute segment which is formally titled “Blathering On”.

    Meanwhile your man Green has been rising with the sparrows to present Radio National Breakfast while presenter Fran (“I’m an activist”) Kelly continues what journalists call a “Well Earned Break”.

    In MWD’s view it would be advisable if Mr Green pushed the switch away from quantity and on to quality journalism.

    For example, last Wednesday the stand-in RN Breakfast presenter interviewed pro-Russian commentator, and former adviser to the Kremlin, Alexander Nekrassov. In a soft interview, Mr Green neglected to ask the apologist for Vladimir Putin precisely who was supplying sophisticated weapons to the pro-Moscow rebels in Eastern Ukraine. Fancy that.

    Moreover, after a year, Jonathan Green has still not been able to produce a source – any source – to support the assertion in his piss-poor book The Year My Politics Broke that Julia Gillard ever qualified her “there will be no carbon tax under the government I lead” by stating that her intention was to put a price on carbon. See MWD ad nauseam.

    Jonathan Green’s failure to produce evidence for his assertion suggests that he just made this up. Now Mr Green is about to return to his RN Sunday Extra program as yet another of the public broadcaster’s conga line of leftist presenters on prominent programs. Can you bear it?



    What a wonderful interview on ABC Radio National’s Saturday Extra last weekend. Geraldine Doogue was in the presenter’s chair and the interviewee was the Australian travel writer and blogger Louise Southerden.

    Ms Southerden rocked up to the ABC studio last Saturday intent on telling listeners about her recent times in the quiet woods of Norway. Nancy’s (male) co-owner was listening intently. Not so the RN presenter. Let’s go to the transcript:

    Louise Southerden: I spent two weeks alone in a cabin in the forest south of Oslo. And it was really one of the best experiences of my whole travelling life, I think. It was just a time, I didn’t set out to write a travel story about it, I just wanted to do it for me, I guess. And it was such a simple thing and yet it had a real power to it. I think just being able to be with yourself but also just in nature.

    Geraldine Doogue: How long were you with yourself?

    Louise Southerden: Two weeks. And it was a real chop wood, carry water experience because I literally had to do both those things. There was no electricity, no running water – [and] of course no wi-fi or mobile reception. Occasionally a person would wander past on the walking trail that went nearby, but I didn’t see anyone on any of the walking trails. I got lost in the forest a few times. I had this cabin all to myself. It didn’t get dark until about 11.30 at night, it was mid-summer.

    Geraldine Doogue: Did you have electricity and running water?

    Louise Southerden: No no, none of that. So you really had to light a fire to even boil water for tea. I had to carry water from the lake which was about a kilometre away so I had to put the plastic containers in my backpack and walk through the forest. It was just an adventure, I think.

    Sure was. Just as well La Doogue had tuned out the first time Ms Southerden told her story of how she became a hewer of wood and a drawer of water in the fields of Norway. Otherwise listeners would not have been able to hear Louise Southerden’s repeat answer. And that would have been a shame.


    Nancy on the couch


    This is an occasional segment where Nancy’s (male) co-owner asks Nancy an on-the-couch question about psychiatry, human behaviour and all that junk. And Nancy responds. Here we go again:

    Hendo: Last Tuesday David Day turned up at a function of The Sydney Institute to listen to Blanche d’Alpuget discuss her new book The Lion Rampant in conversation with Stephanie Dowrick. Dr Day (for a doctor he is) had previously advised MWD that he is currently flat out like a lizard drinking. Even so, he fronted up at the Gallipoli Club on Tuesday. More front than Myers – or perhaps Mark Foy’s. [Is this a reference to your man Day or the Gallipoli Club? – Ed]

    I was very courteous to David Day – as you know I’m a courteous kind of guy. So I did not ask David Day whether he had found time to provide the name of one Winston Churchill biographer or one historian of Britain in the 20th Century who supports his theory that there was a serious move to replace Winston Churchill as prime minister of Britain with Robert Menzies from the colonies in 1941.

    Instead I spoke about the weather and the like. Was I correct in being so courteous? Or should I have asked Dr Day to cite his (alleged) sources? In other words, should I, as host, have shirt-fronted Day in front of four score and ten folk including the former prime minister Bob Hawke?

    Nancy: Good question. I believe you behaved courteously. Well enough to justify your post-nominal AC – aka Always Courteous. Speaking for myself, I’m not a canine who is into personal conflict and I always counsel others to renounce verbal shirt-fronters and all their works and all their pomps.

    Put it this way. If David Day had any evidence to support his theory that the powers-that-be in London thought that there was not one Brit who could lead Great Britain in 1941 and that Mr Churchill should be replaced by a chap named Menzies from the Antipodes then he could have handed it to you on Tuesday in a brown paper envelope. He didn’t. Enough said.

    This either suggests that Dr Day has no evidence for his theory or no brown paper envelopes in which to place it. The former seems the more likely since Dr Day has access to lotsa envelopes. Enough said. Perhaps you should relieve your avid readers’ evident frustration by printing – once again – your score-card. I know that your hundreds of thousands of avid MWD readers would like an update.

    ah dd 189 days



    For years on ABC1, leftist former Media Watch presenter Jonathan Holmes lectured journalists about media standards. Nowadays Mr Holmes writes a pedestrian column in The Age (aka “The Guardian on the Yarra”).

    On Wednesday, The Age ran a column by Jonathan Holmes titled “Media has given up chasing honesty in politics”. Talk about lightweight – and lazy. The column commenced with the totally unsurprising comment that “the Canberra press gallery loves a leadership contest”. Geez. How long did it take Mr Holmes to work this out?

    There followed a leftist rant about this and that. The column contained a direct quote from only one source. Predictably Holmes citied, and criticised, Tony Abbott’s recent address to the National Press Club. No other source – direct or indirect – was cited. The 940 word column could have been thrown together in, say, 30 minutes. 45 minutes on a bad day. 60 minutes tops.

    What Holmes lacked in evidence he made up for in abuse. There were references to “radio shock-jocks”, “fruit-loop fantasy”, “nonsense” and the like. And the column ended with what’s become a cliché – a reference to the “immortal Darryl Kerrigan of The Castle” and his “Tell ‘em they’re dreamin’ line”.

    Someone should tell The Age’s editor that Jonathan Holmes’ column is lazy.

    five paws graphic

    Due to enormous popular demand, this hugely popular segment returns this week. There are three prestigious prizes worth winning these days. First up, a Nobel Prize for something or other. Then an Academy Award of one kind or another. Followed by Nancy’s Five Paws Award. The Sydney (leftist) Peace Prize – won recently by Julian (“I just love flashing my post-nominals”) Burnside AO QC comes somewhere down the list.


    The Sydney Morning Herald on 10 January 2015 carried a review by Andrew Riemer of three books published by leftist property developer Morry Schwartz’s Black Inc imprint. Namely, The Best Australian Poems 2014 (edited by Geoff Page), The Best Australian Stories 2014 (edited by Amanda Lohrey) and The Best Australian Essays 2014 (edited by Robert Manne).

    Andrew Riemer queried the use of the word “best” to describe each collection – since it is too early to make such an assessment. More seriously, Mr Riemer, who is a left-of-centre kind of guy, queried the lack of balance in the so-called “best” collections of poetry, stories and essays in 2014:

    …that pesky adjective “best” in all three of these titles proves so bothersome. In strict logic, the description cannot be justified, and to be fair, all three editors seem more than aware of the difficulty – but then, I suppose, business is business and you’ve gotta sell books to survive.

    For me, nevertheless, there is more than nit-picking involved here. The works included in these anthologies and the predilections, preferences and even perhaps prejudices of their editors raise awkward questions in my mind – questions for which I can offer no definitive answers, only possibilities and further questions.

    Why is there only one poet of obviously and recognisably indigenous background (Samuel Wagan Watson) included in Geoff Page’s collection? Why is it that 17 of the 23 short stories in Amanda Lohrey’s anthology were written by women? And why are what one might call conservative cultural or political arguments absent from Robert Manne’s choice of essays, with the possible exception of a fine excerpt from Noel Pearson’s Quarterly Essay, A Rightful Place?

    Interesting questions don’t you think? However, the answer with respect to one of the collections is evident.

    All of Morry Schwartz’s publications covering political and cultural issues are written of the left, by the left and for the left. This is true of The Saturday Paper, The Monthly and Quarterly Essay.

    Moreover, La Trobe University’s Robert Manne edits books and magazines along ABC lines. His idea of “discussion” is where everyone agrees with everyone else – in a leftist kind of way. These days, Robert Manne is into the error-has-no-rights school. Meaning that conservative views have no right to be heard in publications, which Professor Manne edits or functions which he hosts at La Trobe University.

    So the answer to Andrew Riemer’s question as to “why are what one might call conservative cultural or political arguments absent from Robert Manne’s choice of essays” in The Best Australian Essays 2014, is that your man Manne censors the views of those with whom he disagrees.

    Andrew Riemer – Five Paws.


    While on the topic of Morry Schwartz, Black Inc, The Saturday Paper, The Monthly and all that, how about Mr Schwartz’s drive to get more of inner-city, leftist, sandal-wearing bicycle riders to buy a copy of his (boring) weekly and his (predictable) monthly.

    Here are some of the Melbourne property developer’s enticements:

    Subscribe to The Saturday Paper and go in the draw to win a Breville Dual Boiler with Smart Grinder Pro.

    Breville grinder

    Subscribe to The Monthly for the chance to WIN a Papillionaire Classic bicycle.


    In its early advertising, The Saturday Paper’s editor Erik Jensen declared that he wanted “light-tower” subscribers. Really. Now Young Mr Jensen seems to be focusing on coffee drinking cyclists.

    Nancy’s (male) co-owner is always willing to help out struggling left-wing property developers who are attempting to get inner-city, bicycle riding, flat white drinkers to buy their boring tomes, – whether or not they reside in light-towers. So, the following is a (modest) proposal.

    Subscribe to The [Boring] Saturday [Paper] and The [Predictable] Monthly for the chance to WIN a pair of Nancy approved Che Guevara sandals.

    che sandals

    The lucky winner can put on his/her Che Guevara sandals, hop on his/her Pappillionaire bicycle and take his/her Breville Dual Boiler with Smart Grinder to Fitzroy North or Ultimo or wherever and read The Saturday Paper and/or The Monthly. With a bit of luck the likes of Robert Manne, Helen Garner and Rai Gaita might turn up. Which would provide a you-beaut opportunity to discuss how to stop the development of a chicken factory and preserve the Moolort Plains for remembering Dr Gaita’s cadences. Re which see MWD passim ad nauseam.

    From the Nancy Archive


    Last Wednesday evening, Hendo was walking Nancy around the block and just happened to tune into the Condolence Motion in the House of Representatives for former Labor left-wing hero Tom Uren (1921-2015). Hendo had a cordial relationship with the late Tom Uren (who was a senior minister in the Whitlam and Hawke governments and was, for a time, the deputy leader of the Parliamentary Labor Party) during his retirement.

    Hendo happened to hear Pat Conroy (the ALP member for Charlton) declare that Tom Uren “fought oppressive governments whenever he saw them”. Immediately Hendo had a flashback to a time when Mr Uren had a positive attitude not only to the communist dictatorship in Hanoi but also to Pol Pot and his murderous communist henchmen in Cambodia. How about that?

    So Hendo headed home and soon found this statement by Tom Uren, dated 26 January 1978, where your man Uren declared that he and his left-wing co-signatories supported the communist led “liberation struggles” in both Vietnam and Cambodia. Meaning that Tom and his mates wanted Ho Chi Minh’s successors to win in Vietnam and for Pol Pot and his supporters to prevail in Cambodia in 1975.

    Believe it or not [I believe it, Ed], Tom Uren sent a telegram to the dictators of each country whom he addressed as “Prime Minister Polpot of Kampuchea (Cambodia) and Prime Minister Phan Van Dong of Vietnam”. Here is how the statement commenced:

    Tom Uren Pol Pot edited

    Fellow signatories included such left-wing operatives as Senator Georges, Senator Arthur Gietzelt (later revealed as an agent for the Soviet Union), Jim Cairns (whose preferred title was Dr Cairns), Jean McLean, George Crawford, Pat Clancy and Professor Ted Wheelwright. [Excuse me please – would Julian (“I’d like to flash my post-nominals”) Burnside AO QC regard Dr Cairns’ preferred title as a pre-nominal? – Ed]

    As Tom Uren’s press statement made clear, he and his left-wing comrades supported the communist rulers in Cambodia up until at least January 1978. It is a matter of fact that Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge’s killing fields commenced in April 1975 and continued apace until early 1978. This was revealed at the time by such journalists/scholars as John Swain, John Barrow and Anthony Paul in addition to Fr Francois Ponchaud. There was also the testimony of Cambodian refugees who had fled Pol Pot’s killing fields.

    Gerard Henderson had correspondence with Tom Uren on this matter in 1991 and again in 2005. This was published in the August 2005 issue of The Sydney Institute Quarterly under the title “Documentation: Tom Uren, Denial and Pol Pot”. Due to an anticipated (huge) reader interest, MWD also publishes Hendo’s letters to Tom Uren on this issue dated 9 October 1991 and 29 October 2003 – see here.

    [Interesting. Perhaps there is more in your files and/or library about the late Tom Uren. If so, perhaps you might give this a run next week. Just a thought. Ed]

    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. There are, alas, some occasions where Hendo sends a polite missive but does not receive the courtesy of a reply. Nevertheless, publication of this one-sided correspondence still takes place. For the record and in the public interest, of course.

    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.


    MWD Issue 255 reported on George Negus’ appearance on the Richard Glover Drive program on Radio 702 where the one-time staffer in the Whitlam government asserted that Tony Abbott was never “terribly interested” in running the country. Really. He also asserted that the Prime Minister (who was born in 1957) had been on an anti-Labor crusade since 1955. Really.

    In any event, MWD reader Julie Crosbie [Who’s she? – Ed] stepped up to defend your man Negus by suggesting that he had been misquoted by Nancy’s (male) co-owner. Here’s how the exchange went:

    Julie Crosbie to Gerard Henderson – 4 February 2015

    “you don’t understand Tony Abbott unless you understand that in 1955 this country changed. The Labor Party split and Tony went with B.A. Santamaria who has been his guru ever since.”

    Tony Abbott was born in 1957, it’s hard to imagine him on a crusade two years before he was born.

    Gerard Henderson to Julie Crosbie – 12 February 2015

    Ms Crosbie

    Thanks for your missive of 4 February 2015. It took me over a week to decipher your message in which you cited two quotes from Media Watch Dog Issue 255.

    George Negus: … you don’t understand Tony Abbott unless you understand that in 1955 this country changed. The Labor Party split and Tony went with B.A. Santamaria who has been his guru ever since.

    Gerard Henderson: Tony Abbott was born in 1957, it’s hard to imagine him on a crusade two years before he was born.

    The problem is that you appear to have edited George Negus’ comment on Drive with Richard Glover (30 January 2015) in a vain attempt to put some sense into his incoherent anti-Abbott rant. This is the transcript of the original exchange:

    George Negus: I don’t think he [Tony Abbott] was ever terribly interested in running the country.

    Richard Glover: You’re kidding; every politician wants to run the country.

    George Negus: I don’t think he does. His motivation, his crusade since 1955 – you don’t understand Tony Abbott unless you understand that in 1955 this country changed. The Labor Party split and Tony went with B.A. Santamaria who has been his guru ever since. And I think his [Abbott’s] main reason was to destroy anybody to his left, particularly anybody in the labour movement. And he [Abbott] thought he’d succeeded. He went and woke up the morning after [the 2013 election] and thought – when they [sic] saw they’d [Labor] got 55 seats: “Hang on I haven’t finished my job yet”.

    Clearly, George Negus told Richard Glover that Tony Abbott has been on a crusade “since 1955.” For someone born in 1957 – this would be a real achievement, don’t you think?

    Over to you. And George, of course.

    Keep morale high

    Gerard Henderson

    Julie Crosbie to Gerard Henderson – 12 February 2015

    Thank you for your reply.



    Gerard Henderson to Julie Crosbie – 13 February 2015

    Thank you for your courtesy.

    Gerard Henderson A.C. (AKA Always Courteous)


    Until next time – keep morale high.


    Oh Gerard. You total clown.”

    – Jonathan (“Proudly the ABC’s Sneerer-in-Chief”) Green on Twitter, Friday 3 October 2014, 4.31 pm [Mr Green must be an obsessive avid reader to respond so soon. – Ed]

    “Good morning. All the gooder for being attacked (for thousandth time) by silly Gerard in the Oz”

    – Phillip Adams via Twitter, 27 September 2014

    “What troubles me most is that he [Gerard Henderson] shows such low journalistic standards, yet he is politically quite influential. He is often on Insiders. It’s hard to see why: he comes across as a crank.”

    – Kate Durham as told to Crikey, 16 September 2014

    “The unhinged but well spoken Gerard Henderson….”

    – Bob Ellis, Table Talk blog, 10 August 2014

    “Gerard Henderson and Nancy are awful human beings.”

    – Alexander White, Twitter, 25 July 2014

    “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