GERARD HENDERSON’S MEDIA WATCH DOG – ISSUE NO. 262
20 MARCH 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.
- Stop Press – Malcolm Fraser RIP; Laura Tingle on Idiots and Fools; Lawrie Zion & Waleed Aly Give Thought Bubbles a Go; Susan McDonald’s Holocaust Confusion
- Can You Bear It? Tory Shepherd & Onions; Tony Walker & Netanyahu; Mike Carlton’s Oblivion; Nicholas Reece’s Fudge and Derryn Hinch’s (predictable) George Pell Attack
MALCOLM FRASER (1930 – 2015) – R.I.P
Like all of us, Malcolm Fraser was afflicted by The Fall. In short, he had his strengths and weaknesses. The latter were evident in his error-filled Malcolm Fraser: The Political Memoirs which was co-authored by Malcolm Fraser and Margaret Simons. Gerard Henderson corrected Malcolm Fraser’s howlers in three articles in The Sydney Institute Quarterly, the Sydney Morning Herald and Media Watch Dog – see here, here and here. ***
Mr Fraser’s strengths were evident in his strong anti-communist leadership in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s – along with his support for Indo-Chinese asylum seekers in the second half of the 1970s. Moreover, the Fraser Government provided stability after the mayhem of Gough Whitlam’s prime ministership. Mr Fraser had consistent positions on such matters as apartheid in South Africa and Aboriginal rights in Australia. In the final decades of his life, however, he moved increasingly to the left. Malcolm Fraser: The Political Memoirs recalls that from around 2000 “at literary festivals, Fraser was applauded by the same kind of people who had once reviled him for his role in the dismissal of [Gough] Whitlam”. He ended up much admired by the Green-left whilst being critical of both the Liberal Party and Labor.
Malcolm Fraser was a fine prime minister at a difficult period in Australian history. He could have undertaken more economic reform. But, in fairness to Fraser, few spoke about the need for industrial relations reform during his period in office.
The essential problem with judging Malcolm Fraser’s legacy is that he was often fast-and-loose with the truth. Perhaps this was due to what Malcolm Fraser described as his “notoriously fallible” memory. Or perhaps not.
LAURA TINGLE’S ADVICE TO IDIOTS & FOOLS
Correct Nancy’s (male) co-owner if he’s wrong. But, according to his research, the Australian Financial Review’s political editor Laura Tingle is one of those “experts” on politics and government who has never worked in politics or government – as a politician or political adviser or in the public service. Nevertheless, La Tingle knows just what governments – whether Coalition or Labor – SHOULD do.
Laura Tingle’s piece in this morning’s Australian Financial Review is headed “We are being governed by fools and it is not funny”. It commenced with a cliché and soon moved to abuse. Here we go:
A bit like the old story of the frog that gets boiled alive because the temperature of the water in which it sits rises only gradually, we don’t seem to quite be able to take in the growing realisation that we actually are being governed by idiots and fools, or that this actually has real-world consequences.
Unsurprisingly, La Tingle did not say what a Tingle government would do to move the budget to surplus in view of the dramatic fall in iron ore prices and the Senate’s refusal to accept cuts to expenditure in medicine, health or welfare.
- LAWRIE ZION & WALEED ALY: THOUGHT BUBBLES APLENTY
When it came to the “Newspapers” section on ABC News Breakfast this morning, La Trobe University academic Lawrie Zion agreed with La Tingle. Dr Zion (for a doctor he is) also quoted Monash University academic Waleed Aly in today’s Fairfax Media. This is what Mr (but destined to be Dr) Aly had to say at the end of his rant about the Abbott government:
It [the 2015 budget] needs to make a statement. It needs, say, two big policy items that raise money off the wealthy rather than the poor. It’s a risk, to be sure. It clearly violates Abbott’s own instincts, and risks offending his government’s last remaining friends in the electorate. But it’s equally clear that neither those instincts, nor those friends have saved him this far. Perhaps it’s time for something bold, unexpected, suggesting bright renewal. And these, I fear, are all antonyms of dull.
Needless to say, Waleed Aly did not say (i) how money is to be raised “off the wealthy”, (ii) how much money would be raised from such an initiative, (iii) how “the wealthy” is to be defined and (iv) what would raising money off the wealthy do to reduce the budget deficit.
Waleed Aly’s fact-free opinion piece in Fairfax Media today is no more than that – oh yes, a THOUGHT BUBBLE.
- SUSAN MCDONALD’S HOLOCAUST CONFUSION
Meanwhile, on News Breakfast this morning, Susan McDonald described Tony Abbott’s previous reference to “a holocaust of job losses” in the defence industry under the previous Labor government as a “Nazi reference”.
What a load of tosh. Sure the word Holocaust (with a capital “h”) was used from around the 1970s to describe Nazi Germany’s mass murder of European Jewry. However, as Ms McDonald should know, the word “holocaust” (with a small “h”) meaning destruction – predates the 20th Century and has its roots in ancient Greek. A citation to, say, “a holocaust of jobs” is not a “Nazi reference”.
- TORY SHEPHERD JUST LOVES AN ONION STORY
How truly refreshing that the lads and lassies on the Insiders couch last Sunday commenced the program with a discussion (is not the correct word “conversation”? – Ed] on the topic of Onions. Yes, Onions.
The [Adelaide] Advertiser’s Tory Shepherd [I’ve known many Tories in my time – but I can tell you she’s no Tory – Ed] led off. Let’s go to the transcript – and follow Ms Shepherd’s inarticulate ramble:
Tory Shepherd: I love this story so hard. So The Washington Post has run with this headline “Australian Leader Eats Raw Onion Whole”. I mean, it belongs in The Onion, doesn’t it? So apparently it was completely spontaneous – skin and all, as you said, which the texture I think would sort of twig something in your brain that you’re doing the wrong thing. But the interesting thing – Lenore [Taylor] pointed out in The Guardian has the story about a scientist who said that, our taste ability is actually so poor, that you can taste – it can taste – like an apple. So if you blindfold someone and gave them an onion to eat they can believe they’re eating an apple. So, you know–
Phil Coorey: He wasn’t blindfolded.
Tory Shepherd: He wasn’t blindfolded that’s true…
It turned out that The Washington Post’s story, inaccurately headed – “An Onion Headline: Australian leader eats raw onion whole” – was written by a certain Adam Taylor. Mr Taylor also wrote that “just before his onion-eating moment, he [Abbott] had been criticised for a ‘patronising’ video released for St Patrick’s Day”. Shucks. Yawn. All the Prime Minister did was to make a statement about the Irish and alcohol which had also been made by his predecessors Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard.
Crikey’s Bernard Keane was one of the first to comment via Twitter on The Washington Post’s story of truly international significance:
OK he ate a raw onion. OK. I think I actually respect Abbott more now. A raw onion. That he ate. Raw.
— Bernard Keane (@BernardKeane) March 13, 2015
In fact, it is not uncommon to eat onions raw. Moreover, they don’t taste like apples. Here is Nancy’s (female) co-owner’s recipe for raw onions – with silver service:
Vine tomato and onion salad
4 large vine tomatoes
4 large onions (raw) – brown, white or Spanish will do
Slice onions and tomatoes into thin circles. Separate onion rings. Layer onion and tomatoes in a medium sized bowl – starting with a layer of onion rings. End with a layer of onion rings on top and spray generously with balsamic vinegar. Serve.
But the likes of Tory (‘I love this story so hard’) Shepherd reckon that anyone who eats a raw onion either has a mental disability or believes they are eating an apple. Which means that there would be no taste difference between an apple pie and an onion pie. Ms Shepherd hails from Adelaide. Can you bear it?
- TONY WALKER OVERLOOKS NETANYAHU’S OTHER ENGINE
While on the topic of onions, did anyone see the Australian Financial Review’s international editor Tony Walker’s piece on the Israeli election titled “Netanyahu miscalculations threaten Likud re-election” which was published on Tuesday 17 March 2015? Perhaps not. In which case you haven’t missed much – except for some flawed analysis. Here’s what Mr Walker had to say some hours before the Israelis started voting:
As Israeli voters prepare to go to the polls on Tuesday the question is whether Israel’s Prime Minister has overplayed his hand and is in danger of losing office to a centre-left coalition, or at best will limp back into power – like an aircraft running on one engine. Netanyahu’s Likud bloc at the head of a gaggle of religious and rightist parties, is in deep trouble. The Prime Minister himself is in danger of joining other Israeli leaders who have miscalculated politically and suffered as a consequence.
So what happened? Likud increased its number of seats in the Knesset and Benjamin Netanyahu powered back into office – like an aircraft running on full power. Mr Walker is the AFR’s Middle East expert. Can you bear it?
- MIKE CARLTON’S EARLY MORNING OBLIVION
It seems that Mike (“I’ll Pour The Gin”) Carlton may have been influenced by Tony Walker’s prediction. Or possibly by an article in the anti-Netanyahu Haaretz newspaper in Israel.
Thanks to the AFR Rear Window’s Joe Aston for drawing MWD’s attention to the following tweet which your man Carlton sent out at 4.03am on 17 March – well into gin and tonic overtime. Here it is:
That thug Bibi Netanyahu teeters on the edge of oblivion. Hooray. http://t.co/YHAerIO8vc
— Mike Carlton (@MikeCarlton01) March 17, 2015
In fact, the only thing teetering on the edge of oblivion that St Patrick’s day morning was your man Carlton’s judgement. Can you bear it?
- NICHOLAS REECE – SANS EVIDENCE – FUDGES FACT CHECK
What a stunning performance by former Julia Gillard staffer Nicholas Reece – who now holds the position of Public Policy Fellow at the Melbourne University’s Centre for Public Policy. [He’s obviously a very public man] and is a regular commentator on Sky News – especially on its Paul Murray Live program. Your man Reece is an academic at Melbourne University. However, when in public debate, he performs like your average political hack. Last night, for example, he verballed Miranda Devine to the extent of (falsely) asserting that she had criticised Prime Minister Tony Abbott over the reference to Josef Goebbels in Parliament yesterday.
On 11 March Nicholas Reece appeared on Sky News and stated that he did not “support this sort of flat-earth view that if a government withdraws from all aspects of society the economy will be better off”. Reece added: “There are people, who are ideologically driven, who have a view that all governments are bad.”
Now, Nancy’s (male) co-owner cannot find an Australian who holds the “sort of flat earth view” that government should withdraw “from all aspects of society” and/or that “all governments are bad”. So Hendo wrote to Nicholas Reece to ask him to advise who he had in mind – just a few names.
Alas, your man Reece did not reply. Clearly there are no such people. It would seem that Reece just made this up. Can you bear it?
- FACTLESS HINCH DEFAMES GEORGE PELL
While on the topic of Paul Murray Live, let’s go to the transcript of last Tuesday when Paul Murray raised the issue of Archbishop Philip Wilson who has been charged with failing to report an instance of child sexual abuse in 1976.
Paul Murray: Now Derryn, what do you think of this scenario here? Obviously we’re now in the world of charging someone, I don’t want to get too locked up in all of this. But I just hope it’s the start of a lot more people being accountable for what they did not do.
Derryn Hinch: I think you’re going to find a lot of senior religious leaders will be looking at this very carefully. And I would suggest, this is half in jest, that George Pell is sitting in the Vatican wondering if they have an extradition treaty with Australia.
Paul Murray: Yeah well, this is the statement that Philip Wilson put out there “I would again like to express my deep sorrow for the deep impact of clerical abuse on victims” – blah blah blah. But, he [Wilson], will continue to do what he can to protect the children in the archdiocese of Adelaide.
Janine Perrett: Well that last line was terribly disturbing to me, tell me this man’s been stood down pending this?
Paul Murray: Well, wait and see.
Derryn Hinch: Yes he has.
Janine Perrett: Oh good because I would not want to think that anyone is in his care. I’m with you; the first thing I thought, Derryn, about was Cardinal Pell.
Derryn Hinch’s statement was made without any evidence of any kind. Cardinal George Pell has appeared as a witness before a Victorian Legislative Council inquiry into child sexual abuse as well as at the Royal Commission Into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
No one, but no one, has ever provided evidence that George Pell failed to report a case of child sexual abuse at a time when he was a priest, bishop, archbishop or cardinal archbishop. No one.
There has been enormous interest among MWD’s hundreds of thousands of avid readers about the possibility that Nancy’s (male) co-owner might accept an invitation to attend the 2015 Melbourne Writers Festival – along with the leftist sandal-wearing inner-city bicycle-riding set.
Hendo has advised that his decision might well turn on whether he has suitable gear for the occasion. The good news is that avid readers are helping out.
Alas, the promised Che Guevara beret – due to be sent from Melbourne – is yet to arrive. However, an avid Canberra reader has donated a (tight-fitting) Che Guevara t-shirt. Here it is below. What do avid readers think? [I don’t know yet – however I do know that Malcolm Farr likes to wear tight-fitting shirts while on the Insiders couch. Perhaps if you don’t make it to the MWF, you can hand the tight-fitting t-shirt to Malcolm Farr who would certainly show off Che’s visage with aplomb. – Ed].
- CHRIS UHLMANN’S FALSE PROPHECY
It’s not long since Chris Uhlmann rose to the exalted rank of the ABC’s chief political reporter. It could be that your man Uhlmann misread his mission statement and came to believe that he had been appointed Aunty’s chief political foreteller.
In any event, in recent months, he has been giving Bob Ellis – the False Prophet of Palm Beach – a run for his crystal ball. As avid MWD readers will be aware, Mr Uhlmann confidently predicted a leadership spill in the Liberal Party room on 3 March 2015. See Issue 260. It never happened.
Nancy’s (male) co-owner just loved the following Uhlmann prediction – made from the Insiders couch on Sunday 1 March 2015 – about a (then) forthcoming Four Corners program on the Liberal Party leadership. Let’s go to the transcript:
Chris Uhlmann: There’s a lot of wild rumours going around. But Four Corners have been wandering the building, that’s Parliament House, for the last couple of weeks. Now there’s a lot of speculation about what they have. And one of the things that people do believe they have is some documents which show that there was a deal with [sic] the Japanese submarines.
Now I don’t know whether they do or don’t. All I’m saying, that’s one of the rumours that are going around. People believe that [the Four Corners] program will go to air on Monday the 23rd, which is the Monday before the NSW election, [in] which case you’d have three or four days of that kind of chaos again. Remember Prince Philip in the lead-up to the Queensland election. So they’re the calculations that people are making, rightly or wrongly.
Dennis Atkins: Are you sure, that’s not just insider ABC gossip?
Nostradamus, eat your heart out. This was a real beaut, really big, prophecy. But, also, a false one. Which raises the question – what’s a measured guy like Mr Uhlmann doing running unsourced gossip and rumour on the taxpayer funded public broadcaster?
- FOUR CORNERS’ HOUSE OF FUDGE
The Four Corners program on the Liberal Party leadership, titled “House of Cards” by Marian Wilkinson (presenter) and Karen Michelmore – aired last Monday, i.e. Monday 17 March 2015. It was the week before the week before the NSW State election.
Ms Wilkinson’s program said virtually nothing that was new and contained no breaking stories. That’s why it got virtually no media coverage after it aired. So how did Chris Uhlmann’s rumour work out? Not well, in fact. Here’s an analysis:
▪ Marian Wilkinson did not produce even one document to show that the Abbott government entered into a “deal with the Japanese” government with respect to submarines. Not one.
▪ The so-called Four Corners “evidence” on submarines consisted of “sources intimately involved with the project” and “sources close to the discussions”. Er, that’s it.
▪ Marian Wilkinson admitted that, when the National Security Committee met in October 2014, “no final decisions were made in favour of Japan”. So there was no document – nor even a decision.
▪ There has been no Liberal Party leadership chaos in the lead-up to the NSW election next Saturday week following the Four Corners program. As the Courier Mail’s Dennis Atkins predicted on Insiders, Chris Uhlmann’s BIG STORY was just insider ABC gossip. [Perhaps you should have placed this in your highly popular “Can you bear it?” segment. Just a thought – Ed].
- NOBODY HOME AT MARIAN WILKINSON’S “HOUSE OF CARDS”
While on the topic of Four Corners’ “House of Cards” program, here are the highlights:
▪ Kerry O’Brien commenced the program by declaring that “Blind Freddy can see Tony Abbott’s leadership is in trouble”. What does Nice Mr Scott think of such condescending language with respect to the sight impaired?
▪ All but a couple of the Australian vice-chancellors support university deregulation. The University of Canberra’s vice-chancellor, Stephen Parker, opposes deregulation. Professor Parker was the only vice-chancellor to appear on “House of Cards”. How about that?
▪ Ms Wilkinson expressed surprise, mixed with indignation, that “neither the Treasurer nor the Prime Minister would agree to appear on this program…despite our repeated requests”. Which suggests that Joe Hockey and Tony Abbott are doing something right. As Paul Keating told Nancy’s (male) co-owner in early 1996, what’s the point of volunteering to get kicked to death on Four Corners.
▪ The somewhat aggressive Marian Wilkinson criticised the Prime Minister’s chief-of-staff Peta Credlin for “her aggressive management style”. Really.
▪ Four Corners’ sources on the Liberal Party included “Liberal Party sources” and “senior Liberal sources”. Wow.
▪ Marian Wilkinson told viewers that on 9 February Malcolm Turnbull and Julie Bishop never came forward to stand against Tony Abbott. Wilkinson apparently does not understand that, once the leadership spill motion failed, there was no opportunity for anyone to stand for the Liberal Party leadership – since the position was not vacant.
Kerry O’Brien wrapped up “House of Cards” by declaring: “Next week, a very different story of survival when walking away from a plane crash is not the good news story you might expect it to be.” Hendo can barely wait. But Hendo’s own experience of observing plane crashes in recent weeks involved Chris Uhlmann’s (false) prophecy about “House of Cards” and Marian Wilkinson’s much hyped but piss-poor program.
Due to the demand of the hundreds of thousands of avid MWD readers, it has been decided to run a scorecard of what, in current jargon, are called legacy issues. The scorecard will be updated from time to time.
- NICE MR SCOTT & KNOX GRAMMAR SCHOOL
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- ABC CHAIRMAN JIM SPIGELMAN & FORMER ABC CHAIRMAN RICHARD (“LET’S UNDERSTAND PEDERASTS”) DOWNING
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- DAVID DAY & ANNE HENDERSON ON ROBERT MENZIES
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Due to unprecedented demand, the Maurice Newman Segment gets another run this week. As MWD readers will know, this (hugely popular) segment is devoted to former ABC chairman Maurice Newman’s suggestion that a certain “group think” might be prevalent at the ABC – and to ABC 1 former Media Watch presenter Jonathan Holmes’ certainty that no such phenomenon is extant within the taxpayer funded public broadcaster. See MWD passim.
EVERYONE AGREEING WITH EVERYONE ELSE ON SUNDAY EXTRA
What a wonderful discussion on ABC Radio National’s Sunday Extra last weekend. Jonathan (“Proudly the ABC’s Sneerer-in-Chief”) Green was in the chair. His guests were Sarah Maddison (Associate Professor of Politics, University of Melbourne), Dr Anthony Dillon (Lecturer, Institute of Psychology and Education at the Australian Catholic University who identifies as a part Aboriginal man) and Roy Ah See (Deputy Chairman, NSW Aboriginal Land Council).
It soon became evident that there was unanimity in condemning the Prime Minister’s comment about Aborigines making “lifestyle choices” to live in remote areas – where there are inadequate health and education resources to narrow the gap between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians.
Jonathan Green kicked off the discussion with an implied criticism of Tony Abbott. Soon Sarah agreed with Anthony who agreed with Roy who agreed with Sarah who agreed with Roy who agreed with Anthony who agreed with Jonathan who agreed with himself when he was not agreeing with Sarah. Or something like that. A veritable ABC “debate”, to be sure.
During the discussion, both Mr Green and Professor Maddison expressed a certain (white) guilt about colonialism and occupation and all that stuff. But neither Jonathan Green nor Sarah Maddison indicated any intention of divesting their acquired property and handing it over to Australia’s First People. Clearly, they are not that guilty. Phew.
Maurice Newman: 5
Jonathan Holmes: Zip
MILTON OSBORNE – ONE OF THE FIRST TO OUT THE MURDEROUS KHMER ROUGE
MWD Issue 257 drew attention to the fact that the late left-wing hero Tom Uren (1921-2015) had been a supporter of Pol Pot and the murderous Khmer Rouge up until the time that the communist dictators in Hanoi decided to go to war with the communist dictators in Cambodia in late 1977/early 1978. Then your man Uren sided with Hanoi against Phnom Penh – as was indicated by the letter which he sent to “Prime Minister Pol Pot of Kampuchea (Cambodia)” and Prime Minister Phan Van Dong of Vietnam” on 26 February 1976.
A section of the piece published in “From The (Nancy) Archive” on 13 February 2015 in MWD contained the following paragraph:
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 Jon 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.
This statement unintentionally omitted the contribution by Australian scholar Dr Milton Osborne in revealing Pol Pot as mass murderer.
A further examination of “The (Nancy) Archive” has unearthed an article titled “Reflections on the Cambodian Tragedy” by Milton Osborne which was published in the October 1976 issue of the Tokyo-based journal Pacific Community see here. At the time he wrote the piece – which was commissioned in March 1976 and completed in May 1976 – Milton Osborne was based in Singapore as director of the British Institute in South-East Asia. He had access to The Times (London), The Telegraph (London) and The New York Times and was able to travel of Bangkok for discussions about Cambodia.
In fact, Milton Osborne’s article was published before the important work of Jon Swain, Francois Ponchaud, John Barrow and Anthony Paul. It seems that the first person to present a convincing picture of what was happening in Cambodia was The New York Times journalist Henry Kamm. Milton Osborne followed soon after.
MWD thought that our avid readers would like to know all of the above.
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.
- ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR JAKE LYNCH & THE SILENCING OF DISSENT AT SYDNEY UNIVERSITY
As readers of Gerard Henderson’s column in The Weekend Australian last Saturday will be aware, Hendo and Associate Professor Jake Lynch corresponded concerning your man Lynch’s presence during the attempt by radical leftist opponents of Israel to disrupt a lunch-time speech on campus by Colonel Richard Kemp at the University of Sydney.
Colonel Kemp was invited on to the Sydney University campus by two academics to talk on the topic “Ethical Dilemmas of Military Tactics”. He had only discussed Ireland and Afghanistan – and had not covered Israel – when the talk was disrupted by members of the radical left shouting “Richard Kemp/You can’t hide/You support genocide.” The demonstrators were removed by campus security – but not before Jake Lynch became involved. For the record, Professor Lynch uses the facilities at the taxpayer subsidised University of Sydney to advance the cause of the anti-Israel Boycott Divestment Sanction (BDS) campaign. The students who attempted to disrupt Colonel Kemp’s talk were opponents of Israel.
Gerard Henderson wrote to Jake Lynch to check his involvement in the demonstration. Later Hendo queried the claim by Dr Lynch (for a doctor he is) that he had been physically assaulted by a woman during the Sydney University demonstration. Now read on:
Gerard Henderson to Jake Lynch – 12 March 2015
Dear Professor Lynch
I understand that you were involved in a demonstration at the University of Sydney yesterday which disrupted a speech by Colonel Richard Kemp. In view of your prominent role in the public debate and your position at the taxpayer subsidised University of Sydney, I would like to ask a couple of questions.
▪ Do you believe that it is appropriate for a university academic to attempt to disrupt an event at a university involving a visiting guest speaker?
▪ If it is appropriate for you to be involved in the attempted disruption of speakers at the University of Sydney, would you accept protestors attempting to disrupt speeches at your Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies – involving, say, John Pilger or Hanan Ashrawi?
▪ If the answer to the second question is no, how do you explain the evident double standard?
▪ As you are probably aware, there is a photograph on the web – purported to be of you – which shows you thrusting an amount of money (in the form of notes) in the face of a young student who appears to be Jewish. Is this a photograph of you? If so, do you regard such unprofessional behaviour as appropriate for a person who holds a distinguished position at the University of Sydney?
I would be grateful for a response by 3 pm this afternoon since I may write about this matter for my weekly newspaper column.
Jake Lynch to Gerard Henderson – 12 March 2015
Dear Gerard Henderson,
Thanks for your queries. I am happy to make it clear, I was not involved in the demonstration that disrupted yesterday’s speech by Colonel Kemp. I took a seat at the meeting, and left it only to remonstrate with University security guards when they used force to eject the demonstrators, who were (I believe – I don’t know them) university students. My point was, they were not harming anyone, and I believe the security guards’ sole remit in such circumstances should be to prevent harm being done. In fact, their heavy-handed intervention made the situation worse – and risked serious injury to the protesters or the guards themselves. The protesters did eventually leave the meeting room, after the head of security, an older chap, turned up and simply asked them politely to do so. Perhaps that shows the wisdom of experience.
I would dispute the parallel with John Pilger or Hanan Ashrawi. I have never heard either of them deliver a speech that was disingenuous or deceitful in the way of the remarks by Colonel Kemp. Even the chair of the meeting, Dr Gil Merom of the Department of Government and International Relations, used his closing remarks to make good a glaring omission from what had gone before – referring to the well-attested view that Israel has, since the Lebanon war in 2006, adopted a policy of deliberately using disproportionate military force against civilian populations.
However, we clearly cannot have a situation at the university where speakers cannot be heard because of disruption by protesters. After the event, Professor Suzanne Rutland of the Department of Jewish Studies told me I should have intervened to try to broker a deal – inviting the protesters to sit down and have their say at the end. She was right, I should have done – and I regret not doing so (not that I have any specific reason to believe I would have succeeded – but I should have tried). Perhaps the conclusion is that we need to talk to each other about plans for such meetings, to arrange in advance for space for a contravening view to be put. As I have done on occasion before, in fact, by arrangement with Professor Rutland herself, in meetings I have organised on campus.
Jake Lynch to Gerard Henderson – 12 March 2015
By the way, sorry, I realise I did not answer your last question.
I have not seen the photograph you refer to. I am somewhat mystified – it could be that from some angles it looks as if I was holding money up in the face of a ‘young student’ as you say, but in fact I was showing it, rather in desperation, to an older lady who persisted in attacking me physically – including two sharp and well-aimed kicks between the legs! She also poured water over me, hit out at various people and was generally full of fight. In the absence of any intervention by the security guards to stop her, I was attempting to tell her that I would have no option but to sue her for assault if she carried on – which would cost her a lot of money.
The police have been informed of the incident. However I should record that I emerged without injury – I don’t want to be a premiership footballer over it!
Gerard Henderson to Jake Lynch – 12 March 2015
Dear Jake Lynch
Thanks for your responses.
I note that, according to your account, you were holding money to the face of an “older lady” rather than a “young student”.
I must say that this seems to be extraordinary behaviour on the part of a university professor. There are ways of telling someone that you will sue them for assault without brandishing cash in their face. In any event, I note your comment that you “emerged without injury” from the demonstration – in other words, there was no assault that caused you any harm.
I would be surprised if the University of Sydney regards such aggressive behaviour as appropriate for one of its associate professors – with respect to either an older woman or a younger man.
Jake Lynch to Gerard Henderson – 12 March 2015
OK… I could send you iPhone videos if you like, showing unsuccessful attempts to get security guards to intervene. Call it a desperation measure!
Gerard Henderson to Jake Lynch – 12 March 2015
Thanks. I would like to see the iphone videos.
Gerard Henderson to Jake Lynch – 19 March 2015
Good morning Jake
I read your letter in The Australian this morning where you said that one of those attending the Richard Kemp at Sydney University was involved in “physically attacking” you.
Some mistake, surely. As you will recall you wrote to me last Thursday and stated that you “emerged without injury” from the occasion and added “I don’t want to be a premiership footballer over it!”. In other words, you told me last Thursday that you suffered no injury of any kind.
My question is this. How can you have been physically attacked while emerging without injury? As the saying goes – Please Explain.
Jake Lynch to Gerard Henderson – 19 March 2015
Very few yellow-card or even red-card offences result in serious injury (neither does the referee wait to find out, before taking such action). Doesn’t mean they don’t fall within the definition of physical attacks. I was a bit sore, and certainly shaken up, just not shuffling around on a broken leg or anything like that.
Gerard Henderson to Jake Lynch – 19 March 2015
You’re getting somewhat hyperbolic concerning your interaction with a 75 year old-something “older lady” at Sydney University last week.
You now say that you “emerged a bit sore and certainly shaken up by the occasion”. However, you wrote to me last Thursday and stated that you not only “emerged without injury” from the occasion but also that the woman only kicked you “between the legs”.
In other words, according to your own account of last week, you “emerged without injury” from the event. But, according to your most recent account, you emerged from the occasion “a bit sore”.
Please explain whether I should believe your first account or your second account.
Jake Lynch to Gerard Henderson – 19 March 2015
There’s no inconsistency Gerard, and your suggestion that there is, feels to me like an attempt at mischief-making. Wouldn’t you be a bit sore if you’d been kicked twice in the groin? Even if that doesn’t count as serious injury…
I have no idea how you know she is 75 – I’d never met her before but I’d peg her as being mid-60s or so.
Gerard Henderson to Jake Lynch – 19 March 2015
There seems to be a degree of casualty-inflation concerning your story.
Last Thursday, on the day after the incident at Sydney University, you wrote to me that the “older lady” had kicked you “between the legs” and that you “emerged without injury” from the occasion.
Now, over a week after the event, you are saying that you were “kicked twice in the groin” and emerged from the occasion “a bit sore”.
So my question remains. Which of your accounts should I believe?
Over to you.
Jake Lynch to Gerard Henderson – 19 March 2015
No inconsistency – therefore, both.
Gerard Henderson to Jake Lynch – 20 March 2015
What a feat. You were both “kicked between the legs” and “emerged without injury” from the occasion – and “kicked twice in the groin” and emerged from the occasion “a bit sore”. Remarkable.
Which raises the point. How many Associate Professor Jake Lynches are there at the University of Sydney?
Over and out.
Until next time – keep morale high.
“Gerard’s condescension levels high on #insiders this morning”
– Lenore Taylor, via Twitter, 22 February 2015
“Gerard Henderson and David Marr are on #Insiders this week. Like a political Felix and Oscar.”
– Mark Scott via Twitter 19 February 2015 at 1.10 pm
“I once called Gerard Henderson `a complete f%^wit’. I deeply regret that. I was being much too harsh on f%^wits.”
– Malcolm Farr via Twitter 14 February 2015 at 10:14 am
“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