20 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.



ABC managing director and (alleged) editor-in-chief Mark Scott, who obviously does not have much to do at lunch-time on Thursdays. Alternatively, Nice Mr Scott fills in for Aunty’s Marketing and Audience Division during lunch-time. [I wonder who Nice Mr Scott thinks is Felix in this duo? David Marr, I presume. – Ed]


As avid MWD readers will be delighted to know, Malcolm Farr has written to Nancy’s (male) co-owner in the wake of his twitter outburst. All this is covered in today’s “Correspondence” segment along with letters from Media Watch (not the original one) executive producer Tim Latham responding to a missive directed to Paul Barry about the (alleged) scientific qualifications of a certain Professor Simon Chapman. Now read on.



    Just when it looked like being a (relatively) quiet end of the working week, some of MWD’s fans stepped forward to help out – in the aftermath of a truly stunning media “presser” by David Hicks (al Qaeda Ret’d, Taliban Ret’d) in Sydney.

    First up, at 8.17 pm, Julian (“I just love to flash my post-nominals”) Burnside AO QC sent out this tweet:

    Shortly after, at 8.22 pm, Mike (“I’ll pour the gin”) Carlton sent out this tweet:

    How about that? According to J.B. A.O. QC, the likes of Andrew Bolt and Tony Abbott “are the real threat to our way of life”. Not the Aussie Sunni lads who have headed from Down Under to places in Syria and Iraq to behead Shia Muslims. Not the Shia then Sunni Man Haron Monis who engaged in kidnap and murder on Phillip Street in Sydney. Not the likes of Melbourne based one-time welfare recipient Abdul Nacer Benbrika who conspired to launch terrorist attacks on public targets. And not Numan Haider who attempted to murder two police officers in suburban Melbourne.

    Not any one of them. According to Julian Burnside AO QC, “the real threat” to Australia’s way of life comes from the Prime Minister and a News Corp columnist. Fancy that.

    And then Mike Carlton tweeted that being “foolish, even stupid” isn’t a crime and linked David Hicks’ alleged naivety “with half the Abbott Cabinet”. Your man Carlton declined to nominate even one member of the Cabinet who (i) joined the Taliban, (ii) attempted to kill members of the Indian Army while firing hundreds of machine gun rounds from Pakistan, (iii) publicly supported Islamic beheadings and (iv) railed against “the Jews”. But, then, Mr Carlton was tweeting in post pre-dinner drinks mode.

    Shortly before the Sage of Hawthorn and the Sage of Avalon (or is it the Peninsula?) entered the twittersphere in defence of David Hicks, the man himself told a media conference on Sydney Harbour that he was in Afghanistan because he was “having a holiday”.

    No doubt, the likes of Burnside QC and Carlton found this explanation compelling – explaining the otherwise inexplicable acts of a foolish, passionate man – in a way that a self-righteous Melbourne barrister and a one-time Barker College prefect and woeful school-boy poet could understand.

    And what did Mr Hicks do on his vacation in Afghanistan in 2001? Well, armed with an AK-47 assault rifle, he guarded a Taliban tank close to Kandahar Airport [How many al Qaeda-approved frequent flyer points do you think such activity would earn? – Ed].

    As George Orwell wrote over half a century ago, “There are some ideas so absurd that only an ‘intellectual’ could believe them.” Intellectuals like your man Burnside and your man Carlton.

    Meanwhile on Paul Murray Live last night, former Labor staffer and current Melbourne University academic Nicholas Reece confidently declared that David Hicks “never did cause harm to another human being”. How does Dr Reece (for a doctor he is) know this?

    The Hicks family released a letter around a decade ago in which David Hicks boasted on 10 August 2000:

    We were guests of the Pakistan army, we stayed for two weeks. At the line of control there is a controlled war between India and Pakistan. Every night there is an exchange of fire. I got to fire hundreds of rounds…there are not many countries where a tourist, according to his visa, can go to stay with the army and shoot across the border at its enemy, legally.

    So Nicholas Reece’s undocumented assertion that David Hicks “did not cause harm to another human being” can only be true if Hicks missed all his targets when firing at an Indian Army bunker from the Pakistan side of the Kashmir Line-of-Control. [You should email the learned Doctor Reece and ask him for his sources – Ed].

    Then on ABC1’s The Drum last night the Sydney Morning Herald’s Anne Davies said that David Hicks was in Afghanistan “prior to 9/11” – that is, before, al Qaeda’s terrorist attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001. But Ms Davies overlooked the fact that David Hicks voluntarily returned to Afghanistan after 9/11.


    What an awkward session this morning with Fran Kelly in the presenter’s chair. Her guests were Hizb ut-Tahrir representative in Australia Uthman Badar and Greg Barton from Monash University.

    Discussion focused on the Prime Minister’s statement on national security scheduled for next Monday – and, in particular, on what approach Tony Abbott might take to the radical Sunni Islamic group Hizb ut-Tahrir.

    Uthman Badar dominated the discussion by weight of political force. Professor Barton appeared to go under-the-bed and had little of substance to say. Fran Kelly made a few tentative points critical of Hizb ut-Tahrir – with the emphasis on tentative.

    Neither Kelly nor Barton objected when Hizb ut-Tahrir’s man in Australia equated Muslim Australians fighting with the so-called Islamic State (with which Australia is at war) with a Jewish Australian serving time in the Israeli Defence Force in defence of a democratic state (which has good relations with Australia).

    Neither Kelly nor Barton mentioned Uthman Badar’s past rationalisation of so-called honour killings where Muslim women are killed by other Muslims. Moreover, when Badar complained about Muslims being killed in the Middle East and North Africa, neither Kelly nor Barton mentioned that the overwhelming majority of Muslim dead are victims of the Shi’a-Sunni religious war within Islam.

    Fran Kelly did mention ISIS’s campaign against the Assad regime in Syria. But she did not mention that Assad was aligned with the Shi’a. During all this, the learned professor was “out-to-lunch”. Despite the fact that it was only breakfast time.

    If RN Breakfast is going to invite Uthman Badar into its studio, it should insist that he should do battle with someone who has the ability and courage to contest his radical views. Michael Danby, the Labor MP for Melbourne Ports, could have engaged Badar in a debate this morning. Barton was too timid and Kelly seems to reserve her on-air aggression for Coalition cabinet ministers like Scott Morrison (last Tuesday’s Kelly/Morrison interview refers).



    The contest for the more-alienated-than-thou commentator continues apace between alienated ABC types and alienated Fairfax Media types.

    This week the Sydney Morning Herald’s Brisbane-based columnist John Birmingham truly starred. He wrote a self-righteous piece for Fairfax Media’s online publication the Brisbane Times. Your man Birmo’s whinge was that Australians just don’t care that the Bali Two “are about to be put to death by the Indonesian state”. Why not? Because, according to your man Birmingham, we’re all racists – you see. The death row two are named Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran – “not O’Reilly or Smith”. According to Birmo, Aussies don’t care about the likes of Chan and Sukumaran – only Anglo-Celtic types like O’Reilly and Smith.

    While conceding that the “political class” cares about this issue [Does he mean our elected politicians? – Ed], Birmingham reckons that most of his fellow Australians “just don’t care”. The contempt that Birmingham has for his fellow Australians is evident in this extract from his Brisbane Times column titled “Blunt Instrument: The racism of not caring” where Birmo named the (alleged) racists who (allegedly) decline to support the opposition to capital punishment in this instance.

    Not we of the Saturday lawn mowing and Bunnings sausage sizzle. Not we of the footy tipping comp and the office morning tea. We of the afternoon school run and long weekend up the coast, we just don’t care. We of the sav blanc and the well packed cone, the quick ping and the festival eccies, we really don’t care.

    Which raises the question. What’s wrong with lawn mowing or going to Bunnings, or entering the football tipping competition or partaking in the office morning tea ritual or picking up children after school or going to the coast or drinking sav blanc? As to the devotees of “the packed cone” – well, Birmo should be aware that this lot don’t really care about anything much at all.

    Come to think of it, why does John Birmingham bother to write for Fairfax Media since he holds Australians in such contempt? So much so that he believes that we say “kill ‘em” because we are white racists and Mr Chan and Mr Sukumaran are not part of “our tribe”.

    What a load of tosh. Even for a Fairfax Media columnist.


    While on the issue of capital punishment and all that, did anyone hear Sydney Morning Herald columnist Anne Summers railing against the Prime Minister on “Drive with Richard Glover” on ABC Radio 702 last evening?

    Dr Summers (for a doctor she is) condemned Tony Abbott’s comments on the proposed execution of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran by Indonesian authorities. She berated the Prime Minister for his (alleged) “disgraceful” and “quite sickening” intervention. Anne Summers suggested that Tony Abbott’s strong opposition to the planned executions is aimed at winning political support in “marginal seats”.

    So there you have it. According to Fairfax Media columnist Anne Summers, opposition to capital punishment is strong in suburban Australia – among what John Birmingham likes to call the lawn mowers and Bunnings customers. But according to Fairfax columnist John Birmingham, the lawn mowers and Bunnings customers want the Indonesians to “kill ‘em”, meaning Messrs Chan and Sukumaran .

    So that’s all clear then?

    Can you bear it graphic


    Nancy’s (male) co-owner seems to recall that, at times, Australians have become ill or died after eating some home-grown foods. The word salmonella comes to mind.

    However, the reaction in sections of the media to the tragic news that some Australians have been infected with Hepatitis A after eating some berry products produced in China has led to a degree of hyperbole among the fourth estate. This is what Network 10’s contributing editor and columnist for The [Boring] Saturday Paper had to say on Morning with Linda Mottram (ABC Radio 702) yesterday:

    Paul Bongiorno: The other issue, of course, is that even if we do have stricter labelling laws – so that if a product is actually grown in China and that what’s on the label – but the next step that we do need to go to is [to state] that it’s not only from China but it’s also safe to eat. And surely it’s the duty of our governments, State and Federal, to protect us from imports that, well, could poison us. As I said this morning – [when]j we were having a similar discussion – that, you know, let’s hope that free trade doesn’t mean to say that China’s free to poison us.

    So your man Bonge is worried that free trade with China might give China the freedom to “poison us”. Can you bear it?


    As MWD readers are well aware, Crikey chairman Eric Beecher is forever banging on decrying the (alleged) decline in journalistic standards Down Under.

    Well, how has Crikey editor Marni Cordell been upholding Mr Beecher’s high journalistic standards this week? Here’s how. Last Tuesday, Crikey ran a comment by a certain Bernie Woiwod alleging – without the slightest of evidence (of course) that Prime Minister Tony Abbott “is brain damaged!” And this is an online newsletter which bemoans media standards in Australia. Can you bear it?


    While on the topic of Tony Abbott, Derryn Hinch – of Sky News’ Hinch Live – has yet to come up with any evidence to support his embrace of the conspiracy theory that Tony Abbott is a dual Australian/British citizen. (See MWD 256) If this were the case, Mr Abbott would not be entitled to sit in the House of Representatives. The evidence indicates that your man Hinch made this up.

    Last week, Derryn Hinch came up with some brand new abuse directed at the Prime Minister. Hinch reckoned, in a burst of anti-Catholic sectarianism, that Tony Abbott channels the Pope in declaring his infallibility.

    In his wilful ignorance, Hinch is unaware that no Pope has issued a statement declaring infallibility since some years before Tony Abbott was born. Meanwhile Derryn Hinch still confuses analysis with abuse by calling Kevin Andrews a “brylcreemed Bible basher”. Can you bear it?


    The Age – aka “The-Guardian-on­-the-Yarra” – was once a paper written for Victorians with a national and international life. In recent times, however, it has become a newspaper written for the inner-city left with a focus on ideological belief in Fitzroy North.

    And so it has come to this. In her column in The Age on 12 February 2015, titled “Turnbull: why the left is so in love with him”, Julie Szego commented:

    In trendy cafes across the nation people are talking about Malcolm Turnbull. They talk mostly in whispers, eyes darting round the room, palms sweating. “I’d do it for Malcolm,” the hipsters confess.

    Should Turnbull become prime minister – a scenario that even after Monday’s spill is poised somewhere between dead certain and entirely likely these once diehard lefties seem prepared to do what was previously unthinkable: defect, turn, bat for the other team. Vote 1 for the Liberal Party.

    I’ve heard the sentiment expressed frequently during the past week, and the polls are saying it too; progressives adore Turnbull, conservatives do not. For years left-leaning voters have harboured a fantasy of flipping Turnbull to lead the ALP, figuring it wasn’t so far-fetched given he had briefly contemplated joining the party when he was young. That fantasy shelved, these voters now contemplate flipping themselves: embracing the man, even as they throw a metaphorical paper bag over his party. In this cynical age, how can one man inspire such messianic faith?

    How indeed. Ms Szego went on and on and on about Malcolm Turnbull – even to the extent of describing his Q&A appearances:

    Turnbull might be the consummate politician for the digital age. More than any other politician he seems to understand how a well-placed gesture or subtle turn of phrase on Q&A get multiplied and amplified on social media, spilling into the 24/7 cycle in a perfect feedback loop.

    All this was written before the Member for Wentworth’s appearance on Q&A last Monday.

    So there you have it. Politics as seen by an Age columnist – who is informed by what passes for debate at “trendy cafes across the nation” frequented by “hipsters” who “mostly talk in whispers”. Can you bear it?

    From the Nancy Archive


    There was an enormous interest in the revelation in last week’s MWD about the late Tom Uren’s one-time love affair with Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge. See MWD Issue 257.

    An avid MWD reader has asked whether the Nancy Archive has any other interesting information on the Thought-of-Uren about other left-wing personalities of recent memory. And the answer is a resounding YES.

    Tom Uren (1921-2015) was the first to blow the whistle on his left-wing mate Dr Jim Cairns’ love affair with Junie Morosi. Tom Uren’s Straight Left was published in 1994. Dr Cairns (for a doctor he was) died in 2003. The Cairns/Morosi relationship was a big story of Gough Whitlam’s Labor government (December 1972 – November 1975) – especially when Dr Cairns was the incompetent treasurer of an incompetent government and Ms Morosi was his chief-of-staff.

    It’s possible that journalists did not read Tom Uren’s autobiography when it was published. Possible, too, that journalists protected Jim Cairns from Tom Uren’s revelation. In the interests of MWD’s tens of thousands of readers, here it is:

    I knew what working with Junie meant to Jim, but I feared the deeper political implications. Once he had made the decision that he would appoint her, I asked him to make sure that he behaved in such a way that their relationship could not be easily observed. When you are a representative of the working class, your class enemies will use anything they can against you and will do anything to harm your position. I’m no angel and I don’t want to be hypocritical, but I was always discreet and never paraded my friendships in front of the press gallery.

    Unfortunately Cairns loved to parade, and not just with Junie. He liked to be seen with beautiful female staff accompanying him in considerable numbers on his overseas trips. Junie therefore didn’t last long in the backroom. She was soon out in the front office, trying to protect Jim from his parliamentary colleagues and from his Left comrades. She would isolate him, which was something foreign to Cairns. I was one of the very few who wouldn’t allow her to exclude me.

    Cairns really fell in love with Morosi and I don’t think he had ever really been in love so intensely before. In the years I had known him he had not been a permissive person. Initially Jim and Junie had nowhere to be together, so during the early months of their relationship I let them use my flat in Canberra. Later they made other arrangements, but still used my flat on occasions. I will always remember the incense that Junie used: the smell would permeate the flat and it used to drive me up the wall, as my sinuses are very sensitive. I was told in later years that the Commonwealth car drivers thought Junie was having an affair with me, as she would come home to my flat every night in a Commonwealth car instead of taking a taxi.

    Some years ago, Gerard Henderson asked Tom Uren why he had dobbed in Jim Cairns concerning the left-wing hero’s love affair with Junie Morosi. Your man Uren went on about the need to be honest and all that. Yet there is no reference in Straight Left to Tom Uren’s one-time ideological love affair with Pol Pot and the murderous Khmer Rouge. So, in Tom Uren’s life, there were limits to full disclosure. Fancy that.

    Front Cover of Tom Uren Book

    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.


    Gerard Henderson to Paul Barry & Tim Latham – 17 February 2015


    I watched, as is my wont, Media Watch on ABC 1 last night. I was particularly interested in the segment on wind farms.

    I note that Media Watch quoted Professor Simon Chapman in support of the view that “scientifically” there is no proven causal link between wind farms and illness. In fact, Professor Chapman’s comments to Media Watch were quoted on three occasions condemning the research of Steven Cooper which has been reported in The Australian and elsewhere. The first citation read as follows:

    And Sydney University’s professor of public health Simon Chapman was even more damning telling Media Watch:

    Scientifically, it’s an absolutely atrocious piece of research and is entirely unpublishable other than on the front page of The Australian. — Professor Simon Chapman, School of Public Health, University of Sydney, 23rd January, 2015

    Media Watch’s decision to associate Professor Chapman with the words “expert” and “scientific” gave a clear impression that he is qualified to assess scientific research.

    However, Paul Barry neglected to advise Media Watch viewers that Simon Chapman had no scientific or engineering or medical qualifications. He has a BA (Hons) from the University of New South Wales and a Ph.D. from Sydney University. Dr Chapman’s Ph.D. is in Sociology.

    In other words, Simon Chapman has no qualifications to assess the research of the acoustic engineer Steven Cooper.

    Both Media Watch and Simon Chapman like to lecture-at-large about transparency and all that. Yet on Monday Media Watch falsely implied that Professor Chapman was a “scientifically” qualified “expert” on the health effects of windfarms. Not so.

    Professor Chapman has as much authority to discuss health affairs as I do. Namely, Zip

    Looking forward to a correction/clarification next week.

    Best wishes


    Tim Latham to Gerard Henderson – 18 February 2015

    Hi Gerard,

    Simon Chapman is well placed to comment on the Cape Bridgewater Wind Farm study.

    In 2013 he looked at complaints from residents living near all Australian wind farms for this research article:

    “The pattern of complaints about Australian wind farms does not match the establishment and distribution of turbines: support for the psychogenic, ‘communicated disease’ hypothesis.”

    This report is also cited by the recent NHMRC report on human health and wind farms.

    He is also published in the BMJ: “Wind Turbine Noise Editorial ignored 17 reviews on wind turbines and health. BMJ. 2012;344:1”,

    And in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health with this paper: “How the factoid of wind turbines causing ‘vibroacoustic disease’ came to be ‘irrefutably demonstrated’. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health. 2013;37(3):244-9. 5 [review]”

    Community concern about wind farms centre on public health. Do they make you sick? Do they cause any illness?

    I am comfortable quoting a professor of public health on the matter, who has previously written on wind farms and health concerns and has, according to his CV, a PhD in medicine.

    Also note, Pacific Hydro and Steven Cooper say their report is “not a scientific study” and “involves a number of hypotheses that are yet to be fully tested and contains information that may prove useful as a basis for further study.”



    Gerard Henderson to Tim Latham – 18 February 2015


    How lovely to hear from you. Thanks for your reply.

    This is my problem. Paul Barry and the Media Watch team frequently bang on about transparency and all that. And yet when someone points to a lack of transparency in Media Watch you – as executive producer – go into denial.

    In your response, you have avoided to address my comment that Media Watch misled its viewers last Monday by implying that Professor Simon Chapman is an “expert” who is “scientifically” qualified to assess the heath effect on humans of wind farms.

    The fact is that Simon Chapman has no formal qualifications in science or medicine or engineering. In your email you declared:

    I am comfortable quoting a professor of public health on the matter, who has previously written on wind farms and health concerns and has, according to his CV, a PhD in medicine.

    I note that you have not asked Professor Chapman whether he has any formal qualification in medicine, science or engineering. Rather you have accessed his CV.

    When Simon Chapman addressed The Sydney Institute in June 2011, he told me that his Ph.D. was in Sociology. Dr Chapman should know.

    If you go to Simon Chapman’s website, you will note that his Sydney University Ph.D. topic was: “Cigarette advertising as myth: a re-evaluation of the relationship of advertising to smoking”.

    This topic is consistent with a research project in sociology but not medicine, science or engineering. Advertising is not a medical condition. Consequently, an evaluation of advertising does not require a medical or scientific or engineering qualifications.

    By the way, Simon Chapman’s undergraduate degree was in sociology, psychology, philosophy and English. Not one of these subjects entails study in medicine, science or engineering. This material is also on his CV – if you care to examine it.

    Simon Chapman’s qualifications were discussed in my Media Watch Dog blog in late 2011. Dr Chapman wrote to MWD but did not claim that he had qualifications in medicine, science or engineering.

    Professor Martin Stockler MBBS, MSc, FRACP also wrote to MWD at the time in support of Simon Chapman. But Dr Stockler did not claim that Simon Chapman had medical or scientific qualifications.

    Steven Cooper’s report may not be a scientific study. But, as Media Watch acknowledged last week, Steven Cooper is an acoustic engineer. Simon Chapman, on the other hand, is a sociologist.

    So my question remains. Is Media Watch going to make a correction/clarification for giving the misleading impression that Simon Chapman is an “expert” who is “scientifically” qualified to study the health impact of wind farms?

    Over to you. Lotsa love.


    Tim Latham to Gerard Henderson – 18 February 2015

    Hi Gerard.

    The answer to your question is no.

    I outlined in my previous email as to why I believe Simon Chapman is qualified to talk about health and wind farms.

    Therefore no correction or clarification is required.

    I also understand from his CV that in the last 5 years he gave reviewed research papers for:

    Tobacco Control
    PLoS Medicine
    PLoS One
    Am J Public Health
    Med J Aust
    Drug & Alcohol Dependence
    Nature Oncology
    Nicotine & Tob Res
    Noise & Health
    Int J Acoustics & Vibration
    Energy Policy
    J Epid Comm Health
    Drug & Alc Review
    Health Affairs
    Int J Drug Policy

    Also please note, he’s critiquing the size and design of the study, the lack of control group and the fact that the participants could see that the turbines were operating.



    Gerard Henderson to Tim Latham – 18 February 2015


    I am not surprised by your response. ABC types rarely admit errors.

    These are the facts:

    On Monday, Paul Barry declared that Simon Chapman was an “expert” on the health effects of wind farms. This statement was not correct – since Professor Chapman has no qualifications in medicine, science or engineering.

    Today, you wrote to me that Simon Chapman has a post-graduate qualification in “medicine”. This is not correct – since Dr Chapman’s PhD is in sociology. Dr Chapman has no qualifications in medicine.

    Yet Media Watch will not correct Paul Barry’s error of last Monday – while the Media Watch team constantly calls for full transparency.

    How about a bit of transparency concerning Simon Chapman’s undergraduate and post-graduate qualifications?

    Best wishes

    Gerard Henderson


    Gerard Henderson to Malcolm Farr – 16 February 2015


    One of Media Watch Dog’s hundreds of thousands of avid readers drew my attention to your tweet of last Saturday morning which appears to have gone out around hangover time.

    Lotsa thanks for the brand new endorsement. I haven’t been called a f-ckwit since you last called me a f-ckwit. Wonderful. So I will lead next Friday’s MWD with your latest missive. I note that in a subsequent tweet you also called me a “pissant”. Well done.

    By the way, you are extraordinarily sensitive to criticism. Even for a member of the Canberra Parliamentary Press Gallery. You make a living writing critiques of politicians yet when someone criticises you, you get all-so-sensitive.

    The fact is that your comment on Insiders last Sunday week seemed to be scripted for inclusion in MWD’s highly popular “Can You Bear It?” segment. The idea that, with the leadership spill brewing, Liberal MPs would fly into Canberra on Monday morning and catch up with Newspoll in a Commonwealth car on the way to Parliament House is, well, loopy.

    What about early morning radio and TV news bulletins? What about copies of The Australian which are home delivered and/or available at airports? What about The Australian’s online edition? And so on. Imagine what you would say if a politician made a not dissimilar naive remark.

    In conclusion, I should also thank you for picking up the John-Laws-style-deliberate-mistake in last week’s MWD.

    I must be off now. Keep morale high.

    Malcolm Farr to Gerard Henderson – 16 February 2015

    Hi Gerard,

    It’s just sport. You misrepresent things; I respond.

    Malcolm Farr

    Gerard Henderson to Malcolm Farr – 16 February 2015


    I did not misrepresent anything. If I did, specify the error and I will correct it. MWD is always willing to run corrections/clarifications.

    By the way, I thought your shirt on Insiders was just terrific.

    Lotsa love


    Malcolm Farr to Gerard Henderson – 16 February 2015

    Dear me, you’re hurt. The point I made on Insiders was the impact of that Newspoll.

    You misrepresented it to be about how and when the MPs arrived. The mode of transport was the key issue apparently. It wouldn’t have mattered if they had rappelled from a dirigible at 8:50, the poll would have been on their minds.
    Malcolm Farr

    Gerard Henderson to Malcolm Farr – 20 February 2015


    Here’s a final note from an out-and-proud “f-ckwit/pissant. That is, Yours Truly.

    Yes, I was “hurt” by the intellectual force of your 58 word reply. So hurt, indeed, that I went under the bed for a few days to recover. I have only just emerged.

    This is what you said on Insiders on Sunday 8 February 2015 (which I quoted in last Friday’s MWD) :

    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.

    So – contrary to your most recent email – you did refer to “how” and “when” Liberal Party MPs would arrive in Canberra for the spill vote. And you did suggest that Liberal MPs would be “digesting” the Newspoll while travelling to Parliament House by Commonwealth car. In fact, any MPs travelling to Canberra on that Monday morning would have “digested” Newspoll shortly after waking up.

    In fact, as Niki Savva predicted on Insiders on 8 February, Liberal Party MPs arrived in Canberra on the Sunday before the spill ballot – or earlier.

    I don’t know why you are so upset with what I wrote about you in last week’s MWD. After all, I did praise your magnificent shirts. And I meant it.

    I look forward to your next appearance – in a fresh shirt – on Insiders.

    Over and out.


    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