GERARD HENDERSON’S MEDIA WATCH DOG – ISSUE NO. 276
3 July 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: Emma Alberici’s Howlers; SMH Opinion Page’s Legal Advice & Piers Akerman Says “No” to Q&A’s question
- Can You Bear It? Darren Goodsir, Fran Kelly/Paul Bongiorno, Elizabeth Farrelly & Q&A “Get a Gun” Tweet
- Nancy’s Five Paws Award – Featuring Three Letter Writers: Peter Waterhouse, Ken Lambert & Thomas Russell
- Correspondence: Hendo & ABC Management Re Lateline; David Wiley & Hendo re John Curtin and David Day
LATELINE ADMITS EMMA ALBERICI’S HOWLERS (SORT OF)
On Lateline on Thursday 25 June 2015, presenter Emma Alberici was all papers and smirk as she confidently quoted (i) what Tony Abbott had said earlier that day about Zaky Mallah and (ii) what Mallah himself had said on Q&A the previous Monday. The only problem was that both quotes were false.
The Lateline co-presenter’s verballing of the Prime Minister was cited in last week’s MWD – but no correction was forthcoming from the ABC. On Tuesday, after reading in The Australian’s “Q&A” section that the ABC has a “Corrections and Clarifications” page on its website, Gerard Henderson asked ABC management when would the ABC correct La Alberici’s howlers. This was done yesterday morning – see MWD’s (hugely popular) “Correspondence” section today.
The good news is that the ABC management has corrected two misquotes by one of its leading presenters. The bad news is that this has only been done at the end of the Lateline transcript for 25 June and on-line at the “Corrections and Clarifications” page – which many people do not know exists. Tony Jones, who presented Lateline last night, made no mention on air of the important fact that his co-presenter had verballed the Prime Minister the previous week. Also Lateline has yet to put the corrections on its twitter feed.
It remains to be seen whether Emma Alberici will fess up to her invented quotes when she presents Lateline this evening. [Don’t hold your breath – Ed].
- ACCENTUATING THE HYPOTHETICAL – SMH OPINION PAGE THEORIES ABOUT JOE HOCKEY’S LEGAL COSTS
Today’s Sydney Morning Herald and Age carry an article by media lawyer Graham Hryce (of Beazley Singleton) concerning Justice White’s decision in Hockey v Fairfax Media Publications Pty Ltd.
Despite Joe Hockey being awarded a total of $200,000 in damages by Justice White in the Federal Court, Mr Hryce declared: “The truth is that this case has been a disaster for Hockey and it may yet prove to be a significant victory for Fairfax.” Really.
How come? Well, according to the media lawyer, “the real difficulty confronting the Treasurer is the possibility of an adverse costs order being made against him”.
There follows Graham Hryce’s analysis which features such words as “may”, “would seem”, “would have”, “if” and another “if” – in addition to the earlier “possibility”. The learned media lawyer even opines that if Joe Hockey receives a favourable ruling on costs this might be overturned “on appeal”. Well it might. But, then, it might not. And there may not be an appeal. And so on.
This is how Mr Hryce’s article titled “Hockey’s victory might yet turn to dust” – concludes:
It may be that this has been a pyrrhic victory for the Treasurer, and it is possible that at some point he may find himself echoing King Pyrrhus’ comment: “Another victory like this and I shall be utterly ruined.”
How’s that for a (tentative) conclusion? According to the media lawyer, Joe Hockey “may” have had a pyrrhic victory and “it is possible” that “at some point” he “may find himself” admitting that he could be utterly ruined.
For its part, MWD declines to speculate about Justice White’s rulings as to costs. Speculation, like that engaged in by Graham Hryce today, is all but useless with respect to such matters.
- PIERS AKERMAN SAYS THANKS BUT NO THANKS TO Q&A
Readers of today’s Daily Telegraph learnt that Piers Akerman has withdrawn from Monday’s Q&A program – due to the fact that he “has lost confidence in the public broadcaster”.
According to Nancy’s (male) co-owner’s count – this brings to around half a dozen conservatives or right-of-centre types who refuse to go on to the program. [Good grief. At this rate Q&A will get so desperate that you and/or Nancy’s (female) co-owner might get another invitation after all these years. Or perhaps the feisty Rebecca Weisser – who does not appear to have been invited back on to Q&A since she criticised Tony Jones’ grammar on live TV – Ed].
Avid readers are invited to submit names of conservatives/right-of-centre types who have declined invitations to appear on Nice Mr Scott’s Q&A. MWD’s tentative list includes Janet Albrechtsen, Miranda Devine, Piers Akerman, Nick Cater, Michael Kroger and Rita Panahi plus Liberal MPs Kevin Andrews and Alan Tudge.
And the inaugural winner is Julian Burnside (‘I love flashing my post-nominals’) Burnside AO QC for this gem – as quoted by Gabriella Coslovich in the July 2015 issue of the Financial Review Magazine:
Chamber music occupies most of my listening time, but I still have a weakness for orchestral music. I listen to music while I’m working. The choice of music depends on what I’m doing. Whether I choose a Mozart piano concerto or a Shostakovich string quartet depends on whether I’m writing an essay about philosophy or preparing a cross-examination.
That’s a one-eyed JB AO QC photographed below by the Financial Review Magazine hiding behind an old 78 recording – music by Ludwig Van Beethoven, words in German (of course).
- DARREN GOODSIR “SHOULD BE CONSIDERING HIS FUTURE”
How’s this for a “should do” editorial.
The position of Darren Goodsir as the Sydney Morning Herald’s editor-in-chief is becoming untenable. The latest revelations of his editorial performance, documented in the Federal Court on Tuesday, raise further doubts about his suitability as an editor-in-chief.
The above is a re-write of the Sydney Morning Herald’s editorial published on Thursday 18 June titled “Bill Shorten should be considering his future” to take effect of the SMH’s defeat in the Federal Court of Australia on Tuesday. MWD has altered some names, dates and titles to take account of Justice White’s decision in Hockey v Fairfax Media Publications. The judgement was delivered in the Federal Court of Australia on 30 June 2015.
Justice White’s decision was summarised in Paragraph 10 of his judgement:
I uphold Mr Hockey’s claim that the SMH poster and two matters published on Twitter by The Age with the words “Treasurer for Sale” and “Treasurer Hockey for Sale” were defamatory of him. I find that the respondents have not made out their claims of qualified privilege and find that, even if otherwise available, these [sic] defence would have been defeated in the case of the SMH articles and the SMH poster by the malice actuating their publication. I assess Mr Hockey’s damages in respect of the publication of the SMH poster at $120,000 and in the case of the two tweets by The Age at $80,000.
So the senior Federal Court judge found that both the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age had defamed Joe Hockey on 4 May 2014 in a poster and two tweets respectively – and that Sydney Morning Herald’s poster was motivated by malice. That is, SMH editor-in-chief Darren Goodsir acted with malice with respect to the Federal Treasurer.
Justice White regarded as significant Goodsir’s comment in an internal email that he wanted Mr Hockey “nailed to the cross” since it indicated an intention on Goodsir’s part to inflict pain on Hockey. Justice White found that, by the time the SMH poster was published, “Mr Goodsir had lost objectivity”. Justice White concluded this particular part of his judgement as follows:
Exercising the caution, which is appropriate before making a finding of this nature, I am satisfied that Mr Goodsir’s animus towards Mr Hockey had not abated by 4 May and that the publication of the printed articles in the SMH was predominantly actuated by that improper purpose.
So a senior judge of the Federal Court has found that the editor-in-chief of the Sydney Morning Herald not only acted with malice towards the Federal Treasurer but also lost objectivity when dealing with Mr Hockey.
On 18 June 2015, Darren Goodsir editorialised that Bill Shorten “should” resign as Labor leader – despite the fact that there is no judicial finding against him. But Mr Goodsir has not announced his intention to resign as SMH’s editor-in-chief – despite Justice White’s devastating finding with respect to his animus and lack of objectivity. Can you bear it?
- AUNTY’S FRAN KELLY INVITES PAUL BONGIORNO TO ATTACK CRITICS OF THE ABC
What a stunning interview between Fran (“I’m an activist”) Kelly and Paul Bongiorno on ABC Radio National Breakfast on Tuesday.
Your man Bonge, formerly of Network 10, was always regarded by Coalition types in Canberra as the most pro-Green/Left journalist working for commercial media in the Parliamentary Press Gallery. So when Bonge stood down from full-time work at Network 10, it came as no surprise that he was soon embraced by the taxpayer funded broadcaster.
And so it has come to pass that Mr Bongiorno appears twice a week on Radio National Breakfast and once a week on ABC Radio 702 “Mornings with Linda Mottram”. It’s just part of the on-going leftist love-in at the ABC where everyone tends to agree with everyone else and a fine ideological time is had by all at the taxpayer funded public broadcaster’s Conservative Free Zone.
Earlier on Tuesday morning, Fran Kelly interviewed Nick Cater – who is a critic of the ABC and who withdrew from the panel of last Monday’s Q&A in protest of the program’s handling of the Zaky Mallah affair.
Frank (“I’m an activist”) Kelly interviewed Paul Bongiorno sometime after her discussion with Nick Cater. Ms Kelly soon swung into activist mode by depicting ABC critics as engaging in “us” versus “them” arguments and effectively inviting Bonge to have a swing at critics of the taxpayer funded public broadcaster. He readily took up Ms Kelly’s kind invitation – as the transcript demonstrates.
Fran Kelly: It’s a problem for all of us, I think, this kind of us and them argument that’s being played out around the ABC – isn’t it?
Paul Bongiorno: Look, I think it’s just getting ridiculous now Fran. I mean there was just no real coherence in that argument put up by Nick Cater. You see, leading Coalition figures who have gone on Q&A – people like George Brandis who have performed extremely well on Q&A. Other leading Liberal MPs and ministers have gone on, held their own, put their point of view. It is a marketplace of ideas. I think that what we’re seeing writ large is “culture wars” for some reason or other. Those on the right and the extreme right, like Nick Cater, believe that unless their view is put up in lights and in headlines all the time then you’re biased against them. It simply doesn’t wash.
So the leftist Paul Bongiorno was invited to take a swing at Nick Cater who was not allowed a right-of-reply. How unprofessional can you get? Can you bear it?
- DR FARRELLY LOOKS AT ABBOTT BUT SEES STALIN
It’s official. According to Sydney Morning Herald columnist Elizabeth Farrelly, Australia during the prime ministership of Tony Abbott is a bit like – wait for it – East Germany under the Stasi secret police where half the population seemed to spy on the other half of the population. Here’s how Dr Farrelly (for a doctor she is) commenced her Fairfax column yesterday:
“Why?” The great actress Christa-Maria Sieland uses the deadpan tone of someone delivering a vile, intractable truth. “Because they decide what we play, who is to act and who can direct.” CMS (to the listening Stasi) is explaining to her lover why, each Thursday afternoon, she submits to rape by the toad-like Minister for Culture.
Ten years ago this brilliant German thriller, The Lives of Others, sounded a sombre song of gratitude for the free West. Now it resonates differently, underlining just how close we are to losing these very freedoms in the name of their protection.
Elizabeth Farrelly went on to bag Tony Abbott, George Brandis and Malcolm Turnbull before commenting:
Suddenly, there are political things you can’t say in public; views you mustn’t express. Suddenly, unless Australian discourse complies with the Minister’s acceptability spectrum, heads will roll. Suddenly, our subversions are things whispered in back rooms.
Needless to say, the inner-city Sandalista did not say what she cannot say in public. Obviously, what Dr Farrelly refers to as Australia’s “censorship regime” does not stop her linking the Abbott government with the Stasi without being imprisoned and/or raped.
Nor is there any threat of the taxpayer subsidised University of New South Wales academic getting sacked for opposing the Abbott Clerical Fascist dictatorship. How convenient that Abbott’s so-called Stasi has yet to cut off the flow of taxpayer funds to inner-city leftists like the learned architect.
Elizabeth Farrelly also believes that Australia is replete with racism:
Racism is endemic in Australia. Our cities are ringed with successive racisms like the annular rings of the tree. Irish, Afghan, German, Chinese, Lebanese, Greek, Italian, Vietnamese, Sri Lankan, Middle Eastern: the physical pattern may vary but the social pattern persists – last-in, most-hated.
In view of Australia’s “endemic” racism, how strange that so many people from so many lands want to live here. And how strange that Australia has a very low level of racially motivated crime and a very high level of inter-marriage among different racial groups. Dr Farrelly is an academic. Can you bear it?
[Why does the Sydney Morning Herald pay good money to run this sludge every Thursday? – Ed]
- Q&A PRO-GUN BUT ANTI-TOBACCO
This is the tweet which Q&A executive producer Peter McEvoy and his team thought appropriate to air on Monday 22 June 2015.
The text (apparently by a Griffith University academic) advised Q&A viewers to “get a gun” in view of the (alleged) fact that the Abbott government “has stopped believing in the rule of law”.
So, the Q&A team was happy to publicise Mr Rock’s view that we all should “get a gun”. But would Q&A have run a tweet advising viewers to “get a smoke” or “get tobacco”? Not on your nelly. Can you bear it?
– FEATURING THREE LETTER WRITERS
- PETER WATERHOUSE’S CHALLENGING QUESTION
A certain Peter Waterhouse of Craigieburn, Victoria had this to say in a letter to The Age’s “Green Guide” which was published on 25 June 2015. The reference to the Q&A episode which discussed the LGBTI community with only one heterosexual (the 80 year old Rev. Fred Nile) on a panel of six and with gay presenter Tom Ballard.
I was impressed and pleasantly surprised by Tom Ballard’s mature and even-handed hosting of the Q&A episode Between A Frock And A Hard Place, especially with the potential for open hostility. However, why did the ABC (yet again) choose an 80-year old Christian man to be the whipping boy for the various jeers, chuckles and boos of the rainbow brigade on the program?
Homosexuality is still a capital offence in at least 10 Islamic countries, so why didn’t the national broadcaster demonstrate just a touch of backbone and also invite a Muslim or imam onto the panel, so as to potentially receive some heckling? The answer? The followers of Jesus are perpetual easy and soft social targets.
Peter Waterhouse, Craigieburn
Good point, eh? But don’t imagine that Q&A executive producer Peter McEvoy will ever ask a radical Muslim like, say, Zaky Mallah on to the program to discuss homosexuality. It could give the wrong impression.
Peter Waterhouse: Five Paws.
- KEN LAMBERT’S INCONVENIENT TRUTH RE LEFTISTS LIKE GUY RUNDLE UNDER A CALIPHATE
Guy Rundle, Hendo’s favourite Marxist comedian and the former editor of the very unfunny Marxist journal Arena Magazine, continues to write turgid and all but unreadable pieces in the Crikey newsletter. In recent times, as you would expect, he has been writing turgid tripe about national security and all that stuff.
Last Friday, a certain Ken Lambert took exception to Guy Rundle’s defence of dual citizenship – even for terrorists – and sent the following note to Crikey. Here’s how it appeared:
Ken Lambert writes: Re. “Rundle: Liberals hate Q&A because it is, well, liberal” (yesterday). “They trash the principle that citizenship is a universal right, not extinguished even by odious criminality,” Dual citizenship Guy? Such a thing should not exist, but given the imperfection in this world, then which of the two nations to which one shows loyalty and devotion qualifies as upholder of a universal inextinguishable right?
And for all the LNP’s [Liberal National Party’s] illiberality, the stark fact is that the Zackys and Hicks of this world can jeer at and heckle Govt Ministers in public and go home to watch it on TV, assured in their tiny minds that they won’t disappear without trace. Guy you want to worry more about all those citizenship loving nations where people like Zacky run the show and people like you get dropped out of helicopters far out to sea.
A hard, but good point, don’t you think? Mr Lambert might complain about the Abbott government’s alleged illiberality – but at least he acknowledges that your man Rundle would not last long under a dictatorship or a caliphate.
Ken Lambert: Five Paws
- THOMAS RUSSELL ON AUSTRALIA – IF ONLY ABC STAFF VOTED
There has always been a united-at-birth link between ABC and Fairfax Media types. Hence the flow of personnel between the two left-wing journalistic hang-outs.
So it has not been surprising that, over the last couple of weeks, the Letters Pages of the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age have been replete with readers supporting Nice Mr Scott’s taxpayer funded public broadcaster and opposing attempts by the Abbott Clerical Fascist dictatorship to make Peter McEvoy disappear. Or something like that.
So it came as a considerable surprise when the Sydney Morning Herald published this letter from a certain Thomas Russell in, believe it or not, Sandalista territory down Balmain way:
Malcolm Harrison (Letters, June 30) claims the ABC has “certainly never been left-wing”. As an anarchist he’s probably so far to the left that he can’t discern the centre anymore.
Imagine, if you will, that the Australian electorate consisted only of the staff of the ABC. What would the elected government look like? You’d probably still have a two-party system, except the two parties would comprise the Greens and Labor, with the Coalition relegated to minor party status.
As loudly as they might insist, it would be the height of naivete to suppose this bias has no effect on the content or editorial direction of the ABC, its headquarters ensconced among some of the most left-wing suburbs of Australia. Q&A is merely exemplary of this effect; the show has a well-earned reputation among conservatives as the most painful hour of viewing this side of Cuban state television.
– Thomas Russell, Balmain
Thomas Russell: Five Paws
- JONATHAN GREEN’S DREADFUL JOKES
On Lateline on 25 June, co-presenter Emma Alberici declared: “As an ABC employee, I didn’t think it was fun to see an ABC flag waved to look at like an Islamic State flag”. The reference was to some News Corp tabloids which had some photo-shopping fun following the appearance of Zaky Mallah on Q&A the previous Monday.
It so happened that, earlier that very day, Jonathan (“Proudly the ABC’s Sneerer-in-Chief”) appeared on the ABC 1 News Breakfast program. The leftist presenter of the ABC Radio National Sunday Extra program attempted to have lotsa fun about the very newspaper headlines which so traumatised Ms Alberici on Lateline that evening leading her to declare: “As an ABC employee, I don’t think it was fun to see an ABC flag waved to look like an Islamic flag”:
Jonathan Green: Well let’s kick off with kicking ourselves. The Daily Telegraph front page has another go at the Q&A omni-shambles. They’ve suggested a new title for the corporation. ABC stands for “Arrogant, Brazen, Contempt.” I have some other alternatives
Michael Rowland: Yes?
Jonathan Green: I’m thinking, “Awkward, Bored, Chanteuses”.
Michael Rowland: Applying to whom?
Jonathan Green: Well anyone you care to mention. Let me think. “Amateur Blowhard Club”.
Michael Rowland : [ironically] Oh right.
Jonathan Green: That’s kind of good.
Kumi Taguchi: [Also ironical] Oh, gosh. Feeling better as the minutes go on.
Jonathan Green: “Attractive Banana Chums.”
Michael Rowland: You’ve spent some time on this, Jonathan.
Jonathan Green: Well, a couple of minutes out there in the sumptuous ABC News Breakfast green room.
Michael Rowland: It is sumptuous.
Jonathan Green: Surrounded by tropical fruits, just jotting down some thoughts.
Michael Rowland: What’s the Daily Telegraph’s story on about?
Jonathan Green: Well apparently scandalously we repeated Monday’s episode of Q&A. This is, as I understand it, scheduled. You can also catch Q&A on Iview if you want to watch Monday’s episode again – in which this young man whose main crime is against fashion I think – looking at that hat. This guy was detained for two years in the Goulburn Supermax in solitary confinement on a terror charge that was subsequently dropped. He was then convicted of another lesser charge and released because of time served.
Michael Rowland: It wasn’t quite a lesser charge, he was convicted of threatening to kill ASIO officers.
Jonathan Green: It was a lesser charge than the one that he was originally detained for. His point on Q&A – and his point consistently – is that ISIS are dills and that people would be an idiot to get involved with terror….
What a stunning performance. First up, the ABC’s Sneerer-in-Chief tried some dramatically unfunny lines. Then your man Green moved into lecturing mode. He falsely stated that Mallah’s terrorism charges were “dropped”. Not so, he was acquitted by a jury – the Crown believed it had a strong case. And Mr Green stated that Mallah on Q&A had described the ISIS (the so-called Islamic State) as dills. Not so, Mallah made no such statement on Q&A. Mr Green made this up. [As I recall your man Green has a habit of making up quotes – for example his false claim that Julia Gillard promised to introduce a price on carbon before the 2010 election – see MWD passim ad nauseam. – Ed]
Later on Jonathan Green announced that this would be his last appearance on News Breakfast’s “Newspapers” segment – he has taken up yet another taxpayer subsidised job editing Meanjin and will not have time for early morning appearances on the ABC.
Nancy’s (male) co-owner deeply regrets this Greenexit from News Breakfast. MWD just loves the ABC’s Sneerer-in-Chief’s occasional contributions to News Breakfast. After all, MWD needs copy.
- JONATHAN HOLMES DEFENDS Q&A BUT VERBALS THE NSW SUPREME COURT
The British-born leftist – and former ABC Media Watch presenter – Jonathan Holmes could have done with help from the ABC Fact Checking Unit when he appeared on Lateline on Thursday 25 June 2015.
Mr Holmes told Lateline viewers that Gerard Henderson’s claim that Q&A executive producer Peter McEvoy had told him that the program had a total staff of 60 was – wait for it – “ridiculous”. The discussion turned on whether Q&A had sufficient staff to check Zaky Mallah’s misogynist twitter feed. Let’s go to the transcript:
Gerard Henderson: The last time I spoke to Mr McEvoy, he told me that on Q&A they had 60 staff. There’s plenty of staff to find –
Jonathan Holmes: There’s 60 staff?
Gerard Henderson: That’s what he told me, yeah. I’m not saying they’re all full-time.
Jonathan Holmes: That’s ridiculous. They haven’t got 60 staff.
Gerard Henderson: Well, that’s what he told me. They’re not short of staff…
Peter McEvoy told Gerard Henderson in November 2011 (the second and last time he was on the program) that Q&A had 60 persons working on the program. Nancy’s (male) co-owner has a reasonably good memory.
In any event, this has been confirmed by an avid reader who located a copy of the staff list of the Q&A, program which aired on 8 February 2010 – see here. It had a staff of over 50 in early 2010. Clearly the former presenter of ABC’S Media Watch does not know what he is talking about.
It’s much the same with your man Holmes’ attitude to Q&A audience “star” of recent memory – a certain Zaky Mallah. Holmes told Lateline viewers that Mallah’s conviction for threatening to murder an ASIO officer “was basically an entrapment” – by a witness called “Greg” who gave evidence against Mallah.
What a load of tosh. Mallah pleaded guilty to recklessly making to another person a threat to cause harm to a third person – being a Commonwealth (i.e. ASIO) official – by reason of that person’s status as an ASIO employee. This was a serious offence.
In sentencing Mallah on 21 April 2005, Justice Wood found that the person to whom Mallah made the threat (Greg) acted appropriately and was not the catalyst for the threat. Justice Wood also found that Mallah “had, to a considerable extent, already disclosed his plan in the videotape and other documents, which he had prepared well before meeting Greg”.
Yet, in the face of a finding on the evidence by the Supreme Court of New South Wales, Jonathan Holmes told Lateline viewers that Zaky Mallah’s conviction was due to an “entrapment”.
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 tens of millions 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 MWD 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.
- THE ABC & GERARD HENDERSON – CONCERNING LATELINE’S EMMA ALBERICI INVENTED QUOTES ABOUT THE PRIME MINISTER TONY ABBOTT AND Q&A “STAR” ZAKY MALLAH
As documented in today’s “Stop Press” the ABC has acknowledged that Lateline presenter Emma Alberici made two howlers when presiding over a debate on Thursday 25 June 2015. This was done via correspondence. Here we go:
Gerard Henderson to Alan Sunderland – 30 June 2015
My attention was drawn today to the ABC’s Corrections and Clarifications page where the following comment is made:
The ABC is committed to delivering content that engages, informs and entertains. We are also committed to upholding our editorial standards, including accuracy, impartiality and independence. That means if mistakes are made, we aim to correct or clarify them quickly and transparently.
In view of this unequivocal statement, I am wondering when the ABC will correct the inaccurate comments made by Lateline co-presenter Emma Alberici on Thursday 25 June 2015. They are listed below.
Early in the discussion involving Jonathan Holmes and myself, Emma Alberici made the following point:
Emma Alberici: No, Gerard Henderson, it is worth making the point that while the Prime Minister today did say he [Zaky Mallah] was a convicted terrorist, he’s not a convicted terrorist.
Gerard Henderson: Well I’m not responsible for what the Prime Minister said. But –
Emma Alberici: But it’s important to clear those sorts of factual misconceptions.
Contrary to Ms Alberici’s claim, the Prime Minister did not say that Zaky Mallah was a “convicted terrorist”. Rather, Tony Abbott said that Mallah was a “terrorist sympathiser”. Here is the transcript of the Prime Minister’s door-stop interview on 25 June 2015:
Tony Abbott: Utterly incomprehensible – utterly incomprehensible. Here we had the ABC admitting a gross error of judgment and then compounding that terrible mistake – that betrayal, if you like – of our country by giving a platform to this convicted criminal and terrorist sympathiser, they compounded the mistake by rebroadcasting the program. Now, frankly, heads should roll over this – heads should roll over this. [Emphasis added]
My first question is – when will Lateline correct this mistake? This is important since, intentionally or otherwise, Ms Alberici verballed the Prime Minister.
Later on in the program, a discussion arose about what Zaky Mallah said on the Q&A program on Monday 22 June 2015 about young Australians going to Syria to fight for the so-called Islamic State. Ms Alberici looked at her papers and made the following unequivocal comment:
Emma Alberici: Let me tell you exactly what he said. He said in his view, many Australian Muslims would’ve been so upset by the Minister Steve Ciobo’s words that that would encourage them to join Islamic State, which is a leap to say that he told them to go and do it. [Emphasis added]
Gerard Henderson: That was said with a sense of approval.
Jonathan Holmes: No. He –
Gerard Henderson: Well joining Islamic State means going –
Jonathan Holmes: – deeply disapproves of Islamic State.
Gerard Henderson: Joining to Islamic State – joining to Islamic State, which he said, he said, well, you know, they should go and do this, essentially.
Emma Alberici: He did not say they should go and do this and it’s very important!
Contrary to Ms Alberici’s claim, Zaky Mallah did not use the word “encourage” – as the Q&A transcript demonstrates:
Zaky Mallah: The Liberals [i.e. Steve Ciobo] now have just justified to many Australian Muslims in the community tonight to leave and go to Syria and join ISIL because of Ministers like him. [Emphasis added]
Tony Jones: Okay. I think that’s a comment we are just going to rule totally out of order.
Contrary to Ms Alberici’s claim, Zaky Mallah did not say that “Minister Ciobo’s words…would encourage them [Australian Muslims] to join Islamic State”. Rather, Mallah said that Minister Ciobo’s comments “justified” Australian Muslims joining IS.
My second question is – when will Lateline correct this mistake? This is important since Emma Alberici falsely claimed on live television to have quoted “exactly” what Mallah said.
In conclusion, I note that the ABC policy is that “if mistakes are made” the ABC “aims to correct or clarify them quickly and transparently”.
Over to you.
cc: Mark Scott (Editor-in-chief)
Emma Alberici (co-presenter, Lateline)
Alan Sunderland to Gerard Henderson – 30 June 2015
Thanks for this.
I am Acting Director of People at the moment, but I have passed your concerns on to the appropriate people and they will follow up on it.
Mark Maley to Gerard Henderson – 2 July 2015
Dear Mr Henderson
Thank you for your email. Alan has passed it on to me.
ABC News is committed to recognising and correcting its errors. Particularly in relation to important issues like national security, precision and accuracy is important.
Thank you for bringing this to our attention.
Editor Policy Manager, ABC News
Gerard Henderson to Mark Maley – 2 July 2015
Dear Mr Maley
Thank you for your email advising of the Editor’s Note which has been attached at the end of the Lateline transcript of 26 June and for the clarification which has been posted on the ABC’s Corrections page.
- DAVID WYLIE & GERARD HENDERSON – CONCERNING HISTORIAN DAVID DAY’S INVENTED CLAIMS ABOUT WINSTON CHURCHILL AND ROBERT MENZIES
As avid MWD readers are aware, Nancy’s (male) co-owner has been attempting for 327 days to get historian David Day to provide evidence for his assertion his book in Menzies & Churchill at War that there was a move in Britain in early 1941 to replace Winston Churchill as prime minister with Robert Menzies. Hendo has asked Dr Day (for a doctor he is) to provide the name of one Churchill biographer, or one historian of Britain in the 20th Century, who supports David Day’s (undocumented) assertion. So far, no reply – except for David Day’s initial response that he was busy as a lizard drinking and did not have the time to document his own work.
Gerard Henderson wrote about historians who made undocumented assertions in his column in The Weekend Australian on 20 June 2015 – see here.
Following the publication of Hendo’s column, a certain David Wylie wrote to Gerard Henderson agreeing with him – for the first time, no less.
David Wylie to Gerard Henderson – 24 June 2015
Dear Mr Henderson
I should say at the outset that I am not a fan of yours. However, for the first time I have read an article of yours that I totally agree with.
I refer to your piece in the Weekend Australia about biography; in particular those comments regarding David Day’s suppositions and assumptions regarding Keating and Menzies.
I retired a few years ago from the John Curtin Prime Ministerial Library and while there did a very small amount of research for Day’s book on Curtin and was extremely disappointed at his use of unsupported second and third hand allegations that Curtin had had an affair. No evidence at all.
This was further exacerbated by the blurb contained in the jacket of his work on Chifley – “like Curtin before him, Chifley had affairs”. An affront to Curtin’s daughter Elsie and the rest of the family.
Gerard Henderson to David Wylie – 25 June 2015
Dear Mr Wylie
Thank you for your email of 24 June 2015 – which I found very interesting.
I agree with your position on John Curtin and Ben Chifley with respect to David Day’s biographies. I had forgotten about Day’s assertions re Curtin and the fact that they reappeared on the jacket of his book on Chifley.
I have attached an extract from my Media Watch Dog blog of 22 May 2015 (Issue 270). There I quoted David Day as saying that, when a young boy, Curtin was sexually assaulted by a Catholic priest. According to Day, this was the reason why John Curtin gave up his Catholic faith. So what was Day’s evidence for this assertion? As you will have guessed – none whatsoever.
I would like to publish your letter in my Media Watch Dog blog – but I will not do so unless I have your permission.
Let me know.
David Wylie to Gerard Henderson – 25 June 2015
Thank you for that – another of Day’s fantasies. I’m not sure the Curtin family are aware of his assertion that Curtin was abused – I am having lunch with his granddaughter next month and will ask her.
Having arranged and described all the family and related archival collections at the JCPML from its inception until I retired, I am 100 per cent sure that all this is complete fabrication, as are my former colleagues.
John Edwards is currently writing another book on Curtin and I’m sure it will give a much better read, and better researched, version. Feel free to add my initial letter to your blog.
[Perhaps it would be a good idea to finish off MWD this week with an update of the David Day score-board. – Ed]
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