GERARD HENDERSON’S MEDIA WATCH DOG – ISSUE NO. 292
23 October 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: Nice Mr Scott – An Unreal Tweet; The Age’s Joe Hockey Memory Lapse
- Conspiracy Update – Comrade Guy Rundle on the CIA and The Dismissal (Yawn)
- Can You Bear It? Crikey’s Josh Taylor and Ms Tips; Greg Jennett’s Table-Trivia; Debi Enker’s Deadline Problem; Four Corners Forgets the ABC’s “Mental As” Campaign with respect to Kathy Jackson & Michael Lawler
- Your Taxes at Work: John Faine Locates Academic who Provides List of 350 million Movie Viewing Opportunities (Really)
FROM ERIK JENSEN – EDITOR THE [BORING] SATURDAY PAPER
How boring can you get? Here is Morry Schwartz’s editor re-cycling a “joke” about Japanese soldiers refusing to recognise the end of the Pacific War – which is at least half a century old. Your man Jensen’s tweet is as up-to-date as his Saturday Paper – which goes to press on Thursday. But, to Nancy’s (male) co-owner, every endorsement (however tired and unoriginal) is welcome. Let’s hear again from Young Mr Jensen.
- DOES NICE MR SCOTT HAVE NOTHING ELSE TO DO?
Despite his promise almost a decade ago, ABC managing director Mark Scott has failed to make the taxpayer funded public broadcaster more diverse. The ABC remains a Conservative Free Zone with not one conservative presenter, producer or editor in any of its prominent television, radio or online outlets.
In his final months as managing director and (so-called) editor-in-chief, Nice Mr Scott seems to spend a significant part of his day tweeting about this or that – and usually not very much at all. He even comments on the taxpayer funded broadcaster’s commercial rivals. Recently Mark Scott opined on Rupert Murdoch. And this morning he spotted a typo on page one of the Australian Financial Review. Wow.
Apparently the taxpayer pays Nice Mr Scott twice the Prime Minister’s salary to pick up typos in the commercial newspapers. Meanwhile, the ABC does not insist that its own journalists correct their errors on air. For example, Emma Alberici’s verballing of Tony Abbott and erroneous statements directed at Hendo on Lateline in recent times. See MWD passim ad nauseam.[Perhaps this should have been placed in your hugely popular “Can You Bear It?” or “Your Taxes at Work” segments. Just a thought. – Ed]
- THE AGE AND MR HOCKEY
How predictable that today’s editorial in The Guardian-on-the-Yarra (aka The Age) is titled “Hockey failed the grade as treasurer”. And how predictable that Andrew Holden, The Age’s editor-in-chief, failed to remind his readers that Joe Hockey recently won a defamation case against both The Age and the Sydney Morning Herald. This is the very same Mr Holden who is wont to give advice to others about journalistic standards and the need for transparency in the media.
BEWARE THE FULL-MOON RISING: THE LEFT REVAMPS ITS “WHITLAM WAS DISMISSED BY THE CIA” CONSPIRACY THEORY
Has anyone noticed a full moon of late? Here’s hoping. Because Hendo needs to understand the most recent rant of his favourite Marxist comedian – a certain Guy Rundle. The leftist newsletter Crikey’s writer-at-large, no less.
In Crikey last Friday, Comrade Rundle reported on the launch in the Canberra ASIO headquarters of the second volume of the ASIO official history. Written by John Blaxland, it’s titled The Protest Years (Allen & Unwin).
On 7.30 last Friday, John Blaxland was asked about the left-wing conspiracy that Governor-General Sir John Kerr’s decision to dismiss the Whitlam Labor government on 11 November 1975 had something to do with the CIA. Let’s go the transcript:
Michael Brissenden: The security relationship itself was now under threat. On November 9, 1975, the CIA sent a message through ASIO questioning how the intelligence relationship could continue. It was seen as an official demarche on service to service links. Two days later, Whitlam was sacked and the conspiracy theories have lived on ever since. Having looked at all of this, having studied the files, having looked at everything, what do you make, then, of the conspiracy theories that were around then and that some still carry today?
John Blaxland: Look I don’t think they’re ever going to die fully but certainly from the ASIO records, there is a compelling story of people trying to operate honourably in response to extraordinary pressures, both from their own Prime Minister and from their intelligence partners in the United States and seeking to come up with a path that was going to resolve the challenge.
As Comrade Rundle told Crikey readers last Friday, he has yet to read John Blaxland’s book. But your man Rundle knows for sure that the CIA was involved in The Dismissal. Oh yes, Rundle has read John Pilger’s A Secret Country. [Isn’t Crikey’s writer-at-large aware that A Secret Country is littered with howlers? – Ed]
In any event, Guy Rundle reckons that John Kerr instituted an “executive coup” on 11 November 1975 at the direction of the CIA. Crikey’s editor-at-large also reckons that “the 1975 coup was a soft version of the 1973 coup” in Chile. Really. The 1973 military coup in Chile was followed by the murder of Chilean president Salvador Allende and the establishment of a military dictatorship. Whereas the so-called “coup” of November 1975 was followed by a general election for both houses of the Australian Parliament.
Former prime minister Gough Whitlam had reason to speak ill of Kerr. But even Whitlam never accepted the conspiracy theory that the CIA was involved in his dismissal some four decades ago. By the way, what evidence does Comrade Rundle have for his conspiracy theory? Answer: None. Absolutely none.
- BY CRIKEY – ISN’T CRIKEY’S JOSH TAYLOR A LIGHTWEIGHT
This is how Crikey led its “Tips and Rumours” segment last Tuesday:
Backbencher in the front seat. In Monday’s Media section of The Australian, Senator Eric Abetz — who was dumped from the ministry and leader of the government in the Senate after Malcolm Turnbull became prime minister — whinged that the media “demonised” conservative policies like demonising asylum seekers, or demonising gay people. He said he was often referred to as the “religious right” but he said the “godless left” — by which he seemed to mean anyone to the left of him — didn’t come in for media criticism.
Crikey’s own Josh Taylor was on his way to the press gallery yesterday to report for this very “godless left” publication [and] spotted Abetz on his flight from Melbourne to Canberra. The former minister did not pick up a free copy of The Australian containing his spray on his way in. While the leadership change has forced Abetz to now sit on the backbench, it appears he is still flying high, in the front row of business class for the flight. He was seated on the right side, of course, near the seat usually reserved for Bronwyn Bishop.
Ms Tips is hopeful that Abetz’s removal from the ministry means he is now free to return to his first love: grilling the public broadcasters over alleged bias in estimates hearings. SBS is up today.
What a load of absolute tosh. The Crikey report – by the anonymous “Ms Tips” – did not focus on the serious critique made by Eric Abetz about the Canberra Press Gallery – as reported by Sharri Markson in The Australian on Monday. Rather, Crikey went for the sneer. No surprise there – since journalists are invariably super-sensitive to criticism. Moreover Ms Tips just made up the claim that Eric Abetz said – or implied – that conservative policies demonise asylum seekers and gays.
And how light a light-weight is Crikey’s Josh Taylor? Eric Abetz is based in Hobart. It’s possible, just possible, that Senator Abetz did not bother to pick up a copy of The Australian at Melbourne Airport last Monday because he had already read the paper before he reached the departure gate. Apparently Mr Taylor in his rush to sneer did not even consider such a possibility.
Moreover, Bronwyn Bishop is Sydney based. So the comment that Senator Abetz was seated “near the seat usually reserved for Bronwyn Bishop” is junk – since BB does not usually travel from Melbourne to Canberra. In any event, how “near” was Senator Abetz to Seat 1C which is/was allegedly reserved for BB?
Crikey chairman Eric Beecher is invariably giving lectures about journalistic standards. Yet Crikey publishes unsourced tips and rumours, makes up quotes and specialises in sneering. Can you bear it?
- GREG JENNETT’S TRIVA-SMASHING REPORT
While on the topic of trivia, how about the ABC News’ coverage of the apparent booze-up held in the Prime Minister’s Office on the evening Tony Abbott was defeated in the Liberal Party leadership ballot by Malcolm Turnbull?
ABC1 thought that this was news. BIG NEWS. So much so that it “re-enacted” – meaning “constructed” – the event for the benefit of the taxpayer funded public broadcaster’s viewers. The ABC artistic department purported to depict a large man drinking beer from a bottle before crashing through a marble table. The ABC News and Current Affairs Department was so pleased with the visual that it was repeated – to accompany the breathless analysis of one intrepid Canberra Press Gallery reporter Greg Jennett:
Greg Jennett: The revellers had gathered in cabinet’s anteroom and stayed well into the night, consoling the defeated Tony Abbott. Accounts of what happened vary, but a consistent theme is that a large gentleman climbed onto the marble table and shimmied until [smashing sound] it was reduced to rubble beneath him…
Intrigue surrounds the Tuesday morning after. Cleaners had discovered the broken table, worth at least $590 when purchased nearly thirty years ago. But Parliament officials in charge of furniture were denied access to the room for a full week. And in the time reports surfaced of souvenir rubble showing up around the building…. The value of the replacement is unknown. The value of the estimates process to Labor [smashing noise again] priceless.
Oh yes. Another “priceless” victory for Labor. Except that Tony Abbott insisted on paying for the damage – which both ABC News and 7.30 (pace Sabra Lane) – had predicted would be a burden on the taxpayer. [What? The ABC costs over $1 billion a year to run and ABC types are concerned about the costs to taxpayers of a fashion-challenged table with a replacement value of $1000 tops. – Ed].
According to Jennett, the value to the Labor Party of what cliché-affected journalists came to call “Tablegate” is priceless. It seems that Greg Jennett believes that a table broken in September 2015 will benefit Bill Shorten and harm Malcolm Turnbull in the lead-up to the 2016 election. And Mr Jennett is one of Aunty’s top reporters in Canberra. Can you bear it?
- DEBI ENKER’S DEADLINE CHALLENGED HINDSIGHT
Is there a more appropriately titled column than Debi Enker’s “Hindsight” media article which is published in the Sydney Morning Herald’s “The Guide” on Monday – along with other Fairfax Media newspapers.
Take the piece published on Monday 19 October 2015, for example. Ms Enker’s television review covered Channel 9’s new Thursday evening program The Verdict – which commenced, featuring Mark Latham on 8 October. There was a second issue – also starring the Lair of Liverpool – on 15 October and a third last night.
However, Debi Enker’s critical critique published on 19 October only reviewed the program that aired on 8 October. This suggests that The Guide which was published on 19 October went to air sometime before 8.40 pm on 15 October and could not cover The Verdict’s second edition. Yet, in her review, Ms Enker accused The Verdict’s presenter Karl Stefanovic of “not keeping up with traditional or social media”. This from a columnist whose review was a week out of date. Can you bear it?[Er, no. I note that Peter Craven in The Weekend Australian on 17 October was able to cover both issues of The Verdict. Mr Craven praised the show for a number of reasons – including providing “the loudest megaphone for populist opinion”. Whereas Ms Enker exhibited traditional Fairfax Media contempt for everyday Australians in the audience – whom she described as “fairly desultory”. – Ed]
- MARK SCOTT: MENTAL AS, ER, FOUR CORNERS
In a tweet on 7 May 2015, ABC managing director and (so-called) editor-in-chief Mark Scott declared:
On the same day the ABC’s media manager Nick Leys issued a media statement titled “ABC goes Mental As again” where Mark Scott was quoted as follows:
Last year’s Mental As was well received by our audience and the mental health sector and we are very confident of making it a success again, with a strong focus on generating more conversations,” he said. “It was a great role for the ABC to lead that much needed national conversation and we are looking forward to hosting it this year.
The ABC’s statement concluded:
Mental illness touches nearly every Australian in some way. Almost half of us will experience it while families, friends and colleagues all share the burden. For young Australians it is responsible for the majority of health problems and for many Australians mental illness is linked to premature death, suffering and disability.
So the taxpayer funded public broadcaster takes mental health very, very seriously. Or does it?
This is what Mark Scott had to say (by tweet) before, during and after last Monday’s Four Corners program “Jackson & Lawler: Inside the Eye of the Storm” which was reported by Caro Meldrum-Hannah and researched by Elise Worthington. Klaus Toft was the producer, Morag Ramsay the supervising producer and Sally Neighbour the executive producer.
Without question, “Jackson & Lawler” was great television. But was it ethical television? And was showing the Four Corners interviews with Kathy Jackson and Michael Lawler consistent with the ABC’s much proclaimed commitment to proper treatment of those Australians suffering from mental illnesses? You be the judge.
Early in the program, the following comments were aired:
Caro Meldrum-Hanna (voiceover): Kathy Jackson is home on day release from a private mental health facility. She’s there voluntarily. She’s been in treatment for eight weeks.
Kathy Jackson: Some days I get so low that I just don’t want to keep going anymore. Um, I see the effect it has on my children. I see the effect that it’s had on my parents, on Michael [Lawler] and I just don’t feel I can go on some days.
Caro Meldrum-Hanna: Diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, acute anxiety and depression – she’s also come close to suicide.
So, there you have it. Four Corners regarded it as ethical to interview live-to-tape a woman who was on day release from a mental health facility (where she had been a patient for two months) and who has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, acute anxiety and depression and has suicidal thoughts.
Later on in the program, the following exchange took place – after footage was shown of Michael Lawler reading a newspaper report about himself:
Michael Lawler: It says I’m embroiled in a sick leave controversy but that’s a confected controversy. It makes me mad.
Caro Meldrum-Hanna: Today his conduct is front page news again: accused of falsifying nine months’ sick leave in order to work on Kathy Jackson’s case, all the while enjoying a taxpayer-funded salary of almost $500,000 – more than a Federal Court judge.
Caro Meldrum-Hanna: How sick were you if you were able to help Kathy in her very complicated legal proceedings?
Michael Lawler: I’d like very much if you could, ah, ask my psychiatrist to explain that to you rather than have me do it.
Caro Meldrum-Hanna: Michael Lawler gave us his confidential psychiatric report, dated July 2015. It says he has been diagnosed with a “Major Depressive Disorder”; that “he definitely needed this time off work.”
So, there you have it – again. Four Corners chose to interview a man who according to a psychiatric report – issued as recently as 15 July 2015 – has been diagnosed with a major depressive disorder.
So, the ABC, from Mark Scott down to the public broadcaster’s publicist, sought to highlight the bizarre comments on Four Corners of Kathy Jackson and Michael Lawler both of whom the ABC concedes are currently suffering from serious mental health conditions – apparently without concern about what might be the mental health consequences of the airing of such interviews to the individuals involved.
MICHAEL MAGAZANIK STEPS FORWARD
While on the topic of Kathy Jackson, Michael Lawler and Four Corners – here’s what
Michael Magazanik (former Age journalist and now lawyer) said during the “Newspapers” segment on ABC1 News Breakfast yesterday:
Michael Magazanik: I thought we’d start with the ongoing coverage of the Fair Work Commission deputy president Michael Lawler and his partner Kathy Jackson. I think it raises a, I’m a former journalist, I think this story raises an interesting issue. Today, it’s on page 3 of The Australian. It’s been world-wide coverage of them, of this story. And, you know, she’s the former secretary of the Health Services Union, he’s the partner….This story really reached its kind of zenith on Monday night, the Four Corners program.
Michael Rowland: Yeah, it was a cracker
Michael Magazanik: It was a cracker, it was a cracker and it was compelling sort of “car crash” television with the “f-bomb” and the “c-bomb” and declarations of love and sharing of home videos. Admissions of secret phone recordings, demonstrations of secret phone recordings. I mean it was completely bizarre compelling “car crash” television. The issue, though, that I – what concerned me when I was watching it on Monday night and eventually I turned away from it – was that those people were clearly not rational. Kathy Jackson, the program said, was on day leave from psychiatric care when she participated. Michel Lawler showed them his report, would show that he’s suffering a serious psych illness.
Now, I mean I was uncomfortable with it. I looked up the journalist code of ethics. Point 8 is “never take advantage of another’s vulnerability”. And I do think that there’s a real argument that these two – I know that they’re high profile people, they’re engaged in massive controversy – but they are clearly vulnerable. If there were doubts about their rationality, you’d only have to watch the program on Monday night. They were clearly behaving in a widely irrational fashion if they thought that this program was good for their reputation or would help them in any way. I mean, you know, clearly that’s not the case. I’m not saying that it ought not to be done but they are, I mean, if she is on day leave from a psych facility should you be sticking her on national television?
Not surprisingly, ABC News Breakfast co-presenters Michael Rowland and Virginia Trioli defended their ABC colleagues who had worked on “Jackson & Lawler”. However, Michael Magazanik held to his position – maintaining that both Kathy Jackson and Michael Lawler are “unwell” and, consequently, “vulnerable”.
Michael Magazanik: Five Paws.[Interesting. In view of the fact that ABC journalists are invariably calling for apologies with respect to this or that, perhaps Nice Mr Scott should apologise to Ms Jackson and Mr Lawler for Four Corners’ decision to ignore their mental illnesses. But don’t hold your breath.- Ed]
DEAKIN UNIVERSITY ACADEMIC’S 350 MILLION REASONS TO LIVE SOMEWHERE OR OTHER
In Melbourne last Monday morning, Hendo tuned in to Jon Faine’s The Conversation Hour on ABC Radio 774. Your man Faine’s co-host on this occasion was a certain Professor Deb Verhoeven – chair of Media and Communications at Deakin University.
And what did the ABC presenter and the learned professor say to each other at the commencement of the program? In truth, Nancy’s (male) co-owner does not know. Here are the highlights.
Professor Verhoeven declared that she has been asked to speak at Melbourne Knowledge Week but did not know what it is. Really. She described Melbourne as the best university city in the world – a proposition with which Mr Faine disagreed.
The learned professor then went on and on about an entity called digital humanities. There followed a revelation she has 350 million records of every movie that has screened in every cinema around the world. How useful can you get? Deakin University’s best and brightest also advised that her taxpayer subsidised website allows people to choose the best city in the world to live in based on their cinema preferences. [That’s enough – Ed].
LAURIE OAKES ON MR TURNBULL’S WEALTH: 2015 AND 2009 COMPARED
“You Must Remember This” is based on the chorus line in the song “As Time Goes By” which was popularised by the film Casablanca. It is devoted to reminding the usual suspects of what they — and/or those they supported — once wrote or said.
What a stunning piece in the Daily Telegraph and Herald Sun last Saturday by Nine Network political editor Laurie Oakes. Here’s how it started:
When Ted Baillieu, from a wealthy Melbourne establishment family, became leader of the Victorian Liberal Party before the 2006 state election, Labor set out immediately to portray him as out of touch with the mass of voters. One of the party’s headkickers dubbed him “Ted the toff from Toorak”. It stuck and proved highly damaging in the ensuing campaign.
Now federal Labor is trying to do the same to our new moneybags prime minister. Hence this week’s attacks on Malcolm Turnbull over the investment of some of his dosh with hedge funds based in the Cayman Islands. Bill Shorten and his lieutenants acknowledge that nothing illegal is involved. Turnbull has demonstrated that tax minimisation is not the motivation. He and wife Lucy pay full freight, and pay it in Australia.
But, for Labor, simply shining a light on Turnbull’s great wealth helps the argument that a politician with such a privileged lifestyle could not possibly understand or identify with ordinary mortals. Turnbull is not as easy a target as Baillieu. His is not inherited wealth. He made his own money. And he has been inoculating himself against the silvertail charge virtually since entering Parliament.
Quite so. Good show. And so on. The man sometimes designated as “The Doyen of the Canberra Parliamentary Press Gallery” recognised that Labor is attacking the Prime Minister concerning his wealth because it is attempting to depict him as out of touch. And Mr Oakes made it clear that he does not really approve of such a tactic.
It so happened that Samantha Maiden wrote on similar topic in the following day’s News Corp newspapers – the Sunday Telegraph and the Sunday Herald Sun.
Ms Maiden’s column reminded MWD that, once upon a time, your man Oakes beat the “Malcolm Turnbull’s got lotsa money” drum just as loudly as Labor Senator Sam Dastyari does today. This is how Samantha Maiden’s piece commenced:
When Malcolm Turnbull appeared in the 2009 BRW rich list he was ambushed by Channel 9’s Laurie Oakes, who offered congratulations before subjecting him to an eviscerating interview.
Few sights in Australia are strong enough to invoke genuine shock, panic and actual nausea among political leaders. Oakes pouncing at you from behind a pot plant like a cat playing with a mouse is one such. The Turnbull confrontation was great television, featuring a cameo from Liberal Senator Bill Heffernan, who yelled it was “a bull—- line of questioning’’.
“I mean, when a bloke with that success wants to make a public contribution, you wanna pull him apart?’’ Senator Heffernan said.
“I didn’t pull him apart. I’ve just asked a question,’’ Oakes said. Then Lucy Turnbull sidled up to her husband’s interrogator, asking: “What about you Laurie? How much are you worth?’’
So in 2015 Laurie Oakes gives the impression that it is Labor politicians who see advantage in focusing on Malcolm Turnbull’s wealth. However, in 2009 it was Laurie Oakes who led the charge in focusing on the Member for Wentworth’s “moneybags”.
BOB ELLIS CORRECT ABOUT TURNBULL PM – BUT, ALAS, NOT ABOUT HIS PARTY
Avid MWD readers the world over are delighted that Bob Ellis, the False Prophet of Palm Beach, appears no longer to be in extremis and is out of hospital and back doing what he does best. Namely, acting and all that.
The advent of Malcolm Turnbull as Liberal Party leader – and prime minister of Australia – serves as a reminder of what the False Prophet of Palm Beach had to say about this matter some years ago. You see, on 5 June 2011, The Spectator Australia ran a piece by your man Ellis predicting that Mr Turnbull could become prime minister of Australia. Insightful? Well, not so much. The problem was that Bob Ellis suggested that to become prime minister Malcolm Turnbull would need to join the Labor Party.
The Spectator Australia’s lead was “Come over to our side, Malcolm: Your best chance of becoming PM is to join Labor”. In his piece, your man Ellis, initially declared that Tony Abbott could not survive as Opposition leader. Nevertheless, the False Prophet of Palm Beach expressed the view that Malcolm Turnbull could best fulfil his political ambitions in the Labor Party:
My guess is he will accept a job on the Gillard front bench and thereafter intrigue to become, as he dreamed in his youth, a Labor Prime Minister. It is worth noting that such things have occurred before….
Some Labor backroomers I know, and at least five backbenchers and three ex- ministers, would applaud a Turnbull move to the ministry, and not snort loudly at the dream of him, not Gillard, as PM. “No woman is excited by her anymore,” says one such murmuring dissident. “No voter trusts her. There is widespread doubt that she is intelligent. Turnbull, if he tiptoed across, would certainly be a contender. And, facing down Abbott in a climate change election, it is hard to see him losing.”
So there you have it. Or perhaps not. Just before filing his piece for The Spectator Australia, the False Prophet of Palm Beach gave his crystal ball another turn and predicted that Malcolm Turnbull might replace Tony Abbott as Liberal Party leader before the 2013 election:
If the polls go south by August, and they may, he [Turnbull] will make his move, and his fond friend Julie Bishop initiate the spill. Or he may by then be serving on Gillard’s front bench, and pondering his future.
As it turned out, neither prophecy turned out to be true. But the good news is that your man Ellis is back in business and there is still time for the False Prophet of Palm Beach to have one prophecy fulfilled before he crosses the Jordan River.
AND THE WINNER IS PHILLIP ADAMS
As avid MWD readers will be aware, this segment is inspired by the Irish humourist Brian O’Nolan (nom de plume Flann O’Brien, (1911-1966) — and, in particular, his critique of the poet Ezra Pound. The Brian O’Nolan Gong for Literary Sludge is devoted to outing bad writing and incomprehensible prose.
As far as Hendo is aware, Late Night Live’s Phillip Adams AO (1992), AM (1987), Hon. D. Univ (Griffith), Hon. DLitt (ECU), Hon. D Univ (SA), DLitt (Syd), Hon. D Univ (Macquarie), FRSA, Hon. FAHA does not drink alcohol. So there is no “gin-and-tonic-time” excuse for any literary sludge in which he engages. Like this tweet sent out on Wednesday:
Does anyone know what the ABC’s Man-in-Black is on about? After all, Dracula is not an illness and only the spirits of the dead can be exorcised:
By Flann O’Brien
of Ezra Pound
My grasp of what he wrote and meant
Was only five or six %
The rest was only words and sound –
My reference is to Ezra £
* * * *
of Phillip Adams AO etc
My grasp of what Phil wrote or meant
Was only five or six per cent
It truly is a you-beaut feat
To write such bull-shit in a tweet
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.
GERARD HENDERSON & DERRYN HINCH – CONCERNING DERRYN HINCH (OF COURSE)
As avid readers know, MWD is happy to publish correspondence including from its (many) critics. Nancy (male) co-owner was in Melbourne on Sunday night where he noticed that – once again – Derryn Hinch closed his edition of Hinch Live on Sky News with reference to Hendo. Your man Hinch had a complaint about a reference to him in last week’s issue of Media Watch Dog.
Then, lo and behold, the following day Hinch sent a letter to The Australian’s editor concerning Media Watch Dog (which is published by The Australian Online on Friday afternoon). Here is the Human Headline’s letter and the response.
Derryn Hinch to The Australian – with a copy to Media Watch Dog – 19 October 2015
Just to set the record straight.
Old faithful Gerard Henderson is at it again. That stickler for truth and accuracy (in other people) claimed in his column (Oct.16) that I opened “the incredibly boring Hinch Live last Sunday by confirming that, yes, he will run for the Senate at the next election for the soon-to-be-created Justice Party”.
Dear jaundiced Gerard must have been watching some other “incredibly boring” program. I opened with economics in the Far North. Didn’t mention the Justice Party at all.
In fact, when panelists Patricia Karvelas and News Ltd’s own Wendy Tuohy later tried to mention it I turned into back into a question on them. The JP was successfully launched on social media hours later.
Gerard Henderson to Derryn Hinch – 22 October 2015
Dear Human Headline
Thanks for forwarding to me the letter you sent to the editor of The Australian on 19 October 2015. As you may or may not be aware, my column appears in The Weekend Australian each Saturday. Your letter relates to my (somewhat irreverent) Media Watch Dog which The Australian puts up online on Friday afternoon.
Unlike you, I am prepared to admit errors and make corrections. It’s true that you did not commence Hinch Live on 18 October with reference to your intention to run for the Senate at the next election. Rather you commenced with your reference to your visit to the Northern Territory. Yawn.
It’s possible that I fell asleep at this stage and awoke during the panel session when Wendy Tuohy asked you a “Dorothy Dixer” about your intentions with respect to a run for the Senate. After some discussion, you affirmed that Derryn Hinch will run for the Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party and that Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party hoped to get the preferences of Fiona Patten’s Sex Party. Yawn.
As an avid Media Watch Dog reader, I note you have not objected to my criticism of your decision to lead Hinch Live some weeks ago with “news” of your knee replacement. This was illustrated by a still photo of your leg to which was attached what looked like a bunion-challenged big toe. Wow.
It’s great that you are such an avid MWD reader. I was in Melbourne last Sunday – I only stay in hotels which have Foxtel access – and was heartened when you used the final minute of the boring Hinch Live to criticise what I had written about you in last week’s MWD. I’m not sure that many Sky News viewers would have had the faintest idea of what you were on about. But I did – and I was grateful for the plug.
Finally, there is a matter of double standards. I will give you a right-of-reply by publishing your letter of 19 October in tomorrow’s Media Watch Dog.
You, however, have consistently refused a right-of-reply on Hinch Live to correct the howlers you made about me with respect to my comments about Cardinal George Pell.
As you will be aware, Sky News management privately acknowledged that both you and Paul Murray had made false statements. But both you and Mr Murray declined to correct your inaccuracies. And you entered the Gutless Wonder territory by refusing me a right of reply on Hinch Live. Paul Murray did the same with respect to Paul Murray Live. See Media Watch Dog Issue 273. This speaks volumes about your double standards.
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