2 December 2016

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. Between November 1997 and October 2015 “Gerard Henderson’s Media Watch” was published as part of The Sydney Institute Quarterly. In March 2009 Gerard Henderson’s Media Watch Dog blog commenced publication.

  • Stop Press: John Hewson’s Iraq Howler; Sami Shah’s Surprising Gig
  • Can You Bear It?: The US[Less] Studies Centre – United in Error; James Brown’s Erratic Tweets on Donald Trump; The Grattan Institute’s Pretentious Prime Ministerial Christmas Reading List; Stephen Mayne talks about Stephen Mayne of 10 Years ago & Peter FitzSimons Fails to produce “Gorilla” Evidence
  • New Feature: Aunty on Aunty: In which Aunty’s Mark Colvin Defends Aunty Against Hendo
  • Media Fool of the Week: And the Winner is Alex (“Proudly the Most Humble Person on Earth”) Malley
  • Nancy’s Five Paws Award – Benjamin Law, Tess Livingstone & Helen Elliott Share this Most Prestigious Gong
  • Nancy on the Twitter Prowl: Mike Carlton’s Historical Howlers re Eric Abetz & Peter Dutton Revealed
  • Nancy’s Legacy Issues: The ABC and (Historical) Pederasty – Featuring an Update of the Richard Downing/Jim Spigelman Scoreboard
  • Documentation: ABC Finally Acknowledges Error in 7.30’s One-sided Story on Tony Whitlam QC



It seems that Fairfax Media has appointed former Liberal Party leader John Hewson as a weekly columnist. His appointment appears to have coincided with the exit from the Sydney Morning Herald of former Liberal Party minister Peter Reith from the Opinion Page.

Dr Hewson (for a doctor he is) is one of the leading critics of the Coalition in general and the Liberal Party in particular in contemporary Australia. So he will fit well into the Fairfax Media ethos. In his latest column this morning, your man Hewson, concludes that Australia enters “2017 with the Turnbull government having absolutely no policy agenda”. Stand by for more of the same.

However, Dr Hewson is not so predictable when it comes to foreign policy. Here is how he commenced his Sydney Morning Herald column this morning:

Strategist to Bill Clinton, James Carville, hung a sign in Clinton’s Little Rock campaign office that read:

1.Change vs. more of the same

2.The economy stupid

3.Don’t forget health care

George Bush snr was on the nose in ’92, with the economy in recession, and some early fallout from the Iraq invasion. Carville wanted to keep Clinton focused, basically on “bread and butter” issues.

What a scoop. Until now it had been thought that in 1990 Saddam Hussein’s Iraq invaded Kuwait. The first Gulf War, titled Desert Storm, involved an United Nations endorsed force, led by the United States, driving Iraq out of Kuwait in 1991 and liberating that country. The US and its allies succeeded in their task. However, there was no invasion of Iraq in 1991 or 1992. Iraq was invaded during the presidency of George W. Bush in 2003 by the Coalition of the Willing (US, Britain, Australia and Poland).

Your man Hewson needs a campaign sign that reads:

1.Change vs. more of the same

2.The facts, stupid.

3.Don’t forget history.

[I wonder if this particular howler will be corrected by SMH Editor Darren Goodsir anytime soon – MWD Editor.]


Nancy’s (male) co-owner switched on ABC Radio 774 in Melbourne late yesterday afternoon and found that the Drive program was being presented by comedian Sami Shah. This confirms the recent trend at the taxpayer funded public broadcaster – under the leadership of Mark Scott and now Michelle Guthrie – to engage comedians as presenters. This supports Paul Keating’s recent complaint that “the ABC is letting Australia down in terms of its news presentation, the quality of the news and the breaking news”.

On the eve of the US presidential election (4 November 2016) the comedian Sami Shah had this to say about Donald Trump on the ABC TV News Breakfast program:

Sami Shah: I’m still not convinced he [Donald Trump] wants to be president … He’s frightened out of his mind – he doesn’t want this… It’s going to be a thing where he – whoever the vice-president becomes will be the president. And he’ll [i.e. Trump will] be there just doing what he does.

What a load of absolute tosh. Does anyone seriously believe that Donald Trump did not want to defeat Hillary Clinton? Or that president-elect Trump is “frightened out of his mind” on winning the election and intends to hand over the job to vice-president elect Mike Pence? Except for your man Shah.

So how does the ABC handle so foolish a comment on one of its major news programs? Why it rewards Sami Shah by giving him a gig on the important Drive program in Melbourne. That’s how.



In his column in The Weekend Australian last Saturday, Gerard Henderson referred to the exchange on Paul Murray Live on 9 November 2016 between Mark Latham and Simon Jackson (chief executive of the taxpayer subsidised United States Studies Centre at the taxpayer-subsidised University of Sydney) see here. The program aired not long after the results of the United States presidential election became evident.

Professor Jackman had had a stressful day as the results of the US presidential election reached Australia. He attended a function at the InterContinental Hotel in Sydney where USSC staff provided “expert” advice about how Hillary Clinton would prevail over Donald Trump. What started off as a celebration ended up as a wake. Then, that evening, it was time to give more “expert” advice to Paul Murray and his panel, which included Mark Latham and Janine Perrett, on Sky News’ Paul Murray Live.

How did the chief executive officer of the US[less] Studies Centre go? You be the judge. Let’s go to the Latham/Jackman exchange in all its (embarrassing) fullness – commencing just after Professor Jackman spoke about the failure of the polls in the United States to predict the result:

Mark Latham: Well Simon, you’ve said there the polling industry blew it, the evidence suggests the media blew it. I’d put to you that the “US Confusion Centre” has blown it as well. You’ve got 30 academics down there, the vast majority anti-Trump, pretty well campaigning as partisans. Shouldn’t we get from our publicly funded academics some objectivity and proper analysis of what’s going in the United States? Are you embarrassed and feeling humiliated that your organisation has completely missed the Trump phenomenon – and is really looking as bad as any of the media or polling outfits?

Simon Jackman: No, I’m not. We’re, we’re, we’re in pretty good company. We’ve got a very balanced line-up at the Studies Centre. You know, we’ve got Tom Switzer on our panel of academics.

Mark Latham: He’s not pro-Trump. He wasn’t pro-Trump. Can you name anyone who was pro-Trump?

Simon Jackman: At my place?

Mark Latham: Yes.

Simon Jackman: No. No. I can’t actually, no.

Mark Latham: You can’t? Well what does that say about you? You’re totally slanted in a political campaign against the bloke who’s become the president of the United States which you purport to study and be expert on. It’s an embarrassment to you. To have you in the Sydney University doing this is a disgrace. The people who have funded you have completely wasted their money and you’ve got people like David Smith on this program earlier on saying the Trump victory is for white nationalists taking over a superpower. It’s just embarrassing this level of ridiculous analysis.

Simon Jackman: [Laughs] I didn’t hear David say that.

Mark Latham: Well, he’s a disgrace, he’s deplorable.

Simon Jackman: Well, well, well. [Laughs] We’ve got a good mix at the centre, I think.

Mark Latham: Yeah, no one for Trump.

At this stage panellist Janine Perrett interrupted in what she termed – “in defence” of the learned professor. Her case for the defence was that, as a pollster, Simon Jackman’s prediction of a Trump defeat was no worse than that of any pollster in the United States. However, Professor Jackman did not do any polling work in 2016. Rather, as Mark Latham said, Professor Jackman and his colleagues at the US Studies Centre all presented as experts on the US – and they were all hopelessly wrong.

So there you have it. Professor Jackman claims that the US Studies Centre has got a “very balanced line up” and a “good mix” of academic talent. Yet every academic member of the US Studies Centre was opposed to Donald Trump. Of the 30 academics, only two (Tom Switzer and Brendon O’Connor) at any time conceded even the possibility that Trump could win – although, in the end, they both predicted a Clinton victory. In other words, all the taxpayer subsidised academics at the USSC got it wrong. Totally wrong.

More seriously, virtually all of USSC staff barracked for the Democratic Party candidate Hillary Clinton. Just as the US Studies Centre – almost to a man and a woman – had barracked for Barack Obama and against John McCain and Mitt Romney in 2008 and 2012 respectively. And Simon Jackson reckons that there is a very balanced line-up at the US Studies Centre. Can you bear it?


It’s a busy life at the US[less] Studies Centre. What with all that flying down to Canberra with an empty bucket and heading back to the University of Sydney with the said bucket full of lotsa taxpayer funds. So it’s not surprising the USSC staff live stressful lives – and that this may influence the type of tweets they send. Like this one from the USSC’s research director James Brown – sent out on 8 November and warning of a disaster if Trump happened to win.


So there you have it. Mr Brown (for, alas, a doctor he is not) declared on 8 November 2016 that the election of Donald Trump as US president may – perhaps would – lead to a nuclear war sooner or later. The next day, after Trump’s victory was confirmed, your man Brown tweeted this gem:


So there you have it. According to your Associate Professor Brown, under President Donald Trump the United States will start building artificial islands to serve as military bases in the South China Sea. Just like China’s foreign policy. Can you bear it?


While on the topic of taxpayer subsidised institutes, consider the case of the Melbourne based Grattan Institute and its chief executive officer John Daley. When the Howard government (foolishly) gave a $25 million hand-out to the US Studies Centre in Sydney, the lads and lasses in Hendo’s home-town of Melbourne got upset. “Why can’t we get $25 million as well?” – was the cry which originated circa the Yarra River and carried over the Murray River to Canberra.

And so it came to pass that (then) Labor prime minister Kevin Rudd handed out $15 million of taxpayer funds to the Grattan Institute – and the (then) Victorian Labor premier John Brumby threw in another $15 million of taxpayer funds. Totalling $30 million in all.

These days it’s almost impossible to wake on Monday morning without hearing/seeing/reading that the Grattan Institute has put out another statement on this or that advising governments what to do. This despite the fact that few if any members of the Grattan Institute staff have first-hand experience of how difficult politics is.

Sometimes, believe it or not, Dr Daley (for a doctor he is) tells government to reduce expenditure – overlooking the fact that one way to cut the deficit would be for your man John Daley and his colleagues to hand back the $30 million grant the Grattan Institute received in 2008 and vow and declare not to go on any future begging trips to government.

But MWD digresses. [Not for the first time – MWD Editor.] Yesterday your man Daley appeared on the ABC News Breakfast program flogging the Grattan Institute’s latest Summer Reading List for the Prime Minister. This year’s collection includes such on-the-beach reading material as Time for a new consensus: Fostering Australia’s comparative advantages by Jonathan West and Tom Bentley. Yawn.

You can just hear the Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, after waking up on Christmas Day, declaring: “Happy Christmas Lucy. I just can’t wait to catch up with the kids and grandkids over Christmas Lunch. It can’t come soon enough. Because as soon as it’s over, I can get stuck into that Time for a new consensus tome written by a couple of blokes I’ve never heard of and published by the taxpayer subsidised Griffith Review. It was in a Christmas stocking supplied by the taxpayer subsided Grattan Institute. Lucy – have you gone back to sleep?”

The Grattan Institute even puts out a “Summer Reading for Wonks” list for the Prime Minister’s advisers. In 2016 it includes such Christmas reading as Secular drivers of the global real interest rate. [What about the “sacred drivers” of the global real interest rate? – MWD Editor.]

So it has come to this. The Commonwealth government hands out an initial $15 million to the Grattan Institute and John Daley and his mates throw the switch to condescension each year and tell the Prime Minister of the day what he/she should be reading over Christmas.

It’s just a media event. As Dr Daley acknowledged to Virginia Trioli and Michael Rowland on News Breakfast yesterday, there is no evidence that any prime minister has read even one of the books on the Grattan Institute’s Summer Reading List for the Prime Minister in any year. Can you bear it?


While on the topic of self-promoters, has anyone read the very latest The Mayne Report which came out last Wednesday? Stephen Mayne – who was recently voted off the Melbourne City Council by the good burghers of Melbourne – led the current issue with a reminder that it is the tenth anniversary of the occasion when a tired and emotional Glenn Milne (who just happened to be on migraine medication) pushed Stephen Mayne off the stage at the self-indulgent Walkley Awards. Really. Yes, really. Just ten years.

The Milne/Mayne interaction happened at Crown Casino in Melbourne and was covered live on SBS. Really. Yes, really. Why, it even got reported in Time Magazine for a day or two – as your man Mayne reminds us. In the current issue of The Mayne Report, Mayne reveals – probably not for the first time – that News Corp (Mr Milne’s then employer) paid $50 “for the physio bill’ for his “slightly sprained ankle”. Gosh. Has nothing else happened in Stephen Mayne’s life in the last decade? Can you bear it?


As readers of last week’s issue will recall, The Red Bandannaed One referred to the South African cricket team’s security – a man with the Indian Muslim name Zunaid Wadee – as a “gorilla”. The comment was made when Peter FitzSimons fronted up on the Sky News’ Sports Tonight and spoke about his most recent books. Yawn. But not without criticising Wadee for pushing an Australian journalist into a glass wall at Adelaide Airport.

Writing in “The Fitz Files” in the Sydney Morning Herald last Saturday, The Red Bandannaed One had this to say concerning what he called a beat-up over his “gorilla” comments:

The yarn turns on TFF [The Fitz Files] doing the SKY Sports Tonight show. In the face of the aggressive security guard with the South African cricket team shoving the Australian TV reporter into the glass wall at the airport, I referred to the aggressor, as a “gorilla”, using the well-known Australian parlance for, “an aggressive security guard…”.

Here’s the question. Does Fitz have any evidence to support his assertion that the word gorilla is “well-known Australian parlance for an aggressive security guard”? Hendo thought the best way to find out was to write to The Red Bandannaed One – in a courteous way. He did so on Tuesday.


Can you help me out?

I note that in “The Fitz Files” last Saturday, you wrote that the word “gorilla” is a “well known Australian parlance” for an “aggressive security guard”.

Where did you get this idea from? I can find no reference to any link between the words “gorilla” and “security guard”. Also my young contacts – who should know about this matter – tell me that they have never heard bouncers or security guards referred to as “gorillas”.

Over to you.

Best wishes

Gerard Henderson

Alas, The Red Bandannaed One did not reply. Which suggests that he just made up the assertion that, in Australia, security guards are referred to as gorillas – in order to deflect criticism of the fact that he called a person of colour a “gorilla”. Can you bear it?



Is there any institution in Australia which talks about itself as much as the taxpayer funded public broadcaster? The ABC spends lotsa time talking about the ABC – as was evident most recently following Noel Pearson’s criticism of the ABC. There was much discussion about the ABC on the ABC – encouraging Nancy’s (male) co-owner to establish this segment.

Thanks to the avid reader who drew MWD’s attention to this tweet by ABC PM presenter Mark Colvin:


The reference was to Gerard Henderson’s column in The Weekend Australian last weekend. He pointed out that the appointment of Tom Switzer as presenter of the ABC Radio National Sunday Extra program did not change anything at the public broadcaster.

The ABC remains a Conservative Free Zone because it does not have a conservative presenter, producer or editor for any of its prominent television, radio or online outlets. For starters, Sunday Extra is not a prominent program. Moreover, Tom Switzer is not a conservative in the traditional sense of the term in that he is something of an isolationist who opposes the interventionist foreign policies of John Howard, Tony Abbott and Malcolm Turnbull.

If Mark Colvin reckons that the ABC has a conservative on any of its prominent programs – all he has to do is name names. In 140 characters, if necessary.



The media tart Alex Malley did the “Newspapers” gig on ABC TV News Breakfast yesterday. One of the “big” stories he chose to comment on was a report in The Age that a company controlled by Rupert Murdoch had lost US$100 million. Your man Malley overlooked the fact that Rupert Murdoch is not down to his last US$100 million. In any event, let’s go to the transcript:

Michael Rowland: Let’s go to The Age – a story that has Rupert Murdoch in deep financial trouble.

Alex Malley: Yeah. Well, this is really an interesting one. So this is “beware of the celebrity CEO.”

Virginia Trioli: Okay.

Alex Malley: That’s the story here. Elizabeth Holmes made a billion dollars plus, before she was 30 – bio-tech company. Allegedly in the Wall Street Journal today and also in The Age – Rupert Murdoch invested $100 million US into this bio-tech company which, apparently, on a pinprick was going to tell you multiple diseases that you may or may not have had.

Virginia Trioli: Right.

Alex Malley: It’s turned out not to be able to do that. It’s been using other technology. Regulators have come in, a group of investors are looking to sue. So, the celebrity CEO – be careful with them.

Michael Rowland: Hang on, you’re one of those.

Alex Malley: No I’m not. I’m a non-for-profit, humble, CEO. But I watch out for those celebrity ones.

Virginia Trioli: Well, delete the word “humble” from the sentence and we’ll live with the rest. So he’s done $100 million on that?

Alex Malley: Well it appears so. But it does also tell you that we’re never in a position to know everything or to make the right calls. And it just reminds us, we’re all capable –

Virginia Trioli: Yeah. And if he can make a dud investment, the rest of us –

Michael Rowland: [interjecting] Surely he’s made a few dud investments over the years. Myspace, anybody, that was a disaster…

Now, hang on a minute. You cannot go to an airport in Australia these days without being confronted by huge mug-shots of Alex Malley flogging his piss-poor book The Naked CEO. All, according to Joe Aston in the Australian Financial Review “Rear Window” column, financed by the members of the not-for-profit accounting body CPA Australia. The Naked CEO is yet another leadership tome. It contains the (truly boring) story about how Alex went from a schoolboy who was shock/horror suspended from Trinity Grammar School in Sydney and became a self-declared “disruptive CEO”. Really, just how disruptive can the head of an organisation whose membership consists of essentially suburban accountants be? It’s not like your man Malley ran, say, the Institute of Chartered Accountants. Also it’s a bit much for Alex Malley to be giving gratuitous advice to Rupert Murdoch, one of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs.

Come to think of it, the existence of Alex Malley’s face on billboards flogging his book is somewhat disruptive in that it drives Nancy’s (male) co-owner to head to an airport bar every time he sees a mug shot of your man Malley and the accompanying information that he went all the way from being suspended at the not-for-profit Trinity Grammar to the chief executive officer of the not-for-profit CPA Australia. Yawn.

Also, Alex Malley certainly disrupts Nancy’s (male) co-owner’s breakfast whenever he appears on News Breakfast and talks about the subject he knows best – namely HIMSELF.

five paws graphic


The last Q&A for the year aired on Monday 21 November. It was the typical Q&A gig. There were three left-of-centre types (Labor MP Terri Butler, writer Benjamin Law and playwright Nakkiah Lui) “balanced” by two right-of-centre types (Liberal Senator Eric Abetz and The Australian’s foreign editor Greg Sheridan). Oh yes, the left-of-centre Tony Jones was the presenter.

And, as usual, the ABC fudged the audience – declaring that it was Coalition 39 per cent, ALP 32 per cent, Unspecified 14 per cent, Greens 10 per cent and Others 4 per cent [whatever happened to the remaining 1 per cent? MWD Editor]. Since Q&A simply accepts that people vote the way they say – this is a misleading figure. As avid readers know, the best way for a leftist to get into a Q&A audience is to take off their Che Guevara tee-shirt and sandals put on a shirt and sensible shoes and pretend to be an Eric Abetz-style conservative. Then, once in the audience, you can sneer and mock-laugh at the likes of Senator Abetz – along with those who honestly declared their Green/Left views in the first place.

However, there was one moment of reality when – perhaps for the first time in Q&A – a leftist writer/journalist/actor/playwright/academic admitted that politics and government is a difficult job:

Let’s go to the transcript as Benjamin Law concedes that politics is not as simple as many Q&A leftist panellists and much of the Q&A essentially leftist audience believe:

Tony Jones: Would you join a party, attempt to become a politician and enter Parliament, Ben?

Benjamin Law: No, I’d be terrible at it. And I actually, you know, for all of my grievances about politicians, I do really respect the job that they do. It’s not an easy one. And when you have to go through the finer details of policy, you know, as we’ve been doing in preparation for tonight, for instance, it’s not always the most rewarding or pleasant task, as well. So, I do have a lot of respect for what they do, I just wouldn’t be able to do it myself and I’d make a pretty awful politician.

So Benjamin Law recognises that government is difficult. Sure is. Here’s hoping Professor Robert Manne – who has never worked in government or politics but likes telling politicians what to do – was listening.

Benjamin Law – Five Paws


On Wednesday The Australian’s Dan Box reported that the Royal Commission Into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse will inquire into the Catholic Church next year. Among the topics scheduled for discussion is the confessional – where Catholics (including priests and others) confess their sins to a priest and, following appropriate repentance, receive absolution. Catholic priests who hear confessions swear to a vow of secrecy.

There is a view – possibly shared by the Royal Commission – that pedophile priests and brothers confess their crimes in the confessional and are protected by the vow of secrecy. This assumes that pedophiles are likely to confess their crimes – and, consequently, can benefit from the secrecy of the confessional.

In a comment piece in The Australian on Wednesday, Tess Livingstone had this to say:

No priest worth his salt would ever violate the seal [of the secrecy of the confessional], whatever the punishments or provocations. It is also highly unlikely that priests and others with so little morality and faith that they would abuse children would approach the sacrament [of confession]. In the unlikely event they did so, absolution would depend on genuine repentance, which would surely include giving themselves up to authorities.

The notorious pedophile Gerald Ridsdale, a former Catholic priest, was asked about the confessional when he appeared before the Royal Commission on 27 May 2015 by video link from Ararat Prison. The following exchange took place:

Counsel-Assisting Gail Furness QC: After Bishop O’Collins told you about the complaint in your first year as a priest [i.e. 1961], and while you were an assistant priest at the various parishes we’ve spoken about, did you go to confession and tell your confessor that you had been offending against children?

Gerald Ridsdale: No, I think I’ve already said that I’ve never talked – as far as I know I’ve never talked to anyone, and certainly not in confession either about offending against children.

Elsewhere, Ridsdale told the Royal Commission that he had not been to confession for most of his time as a priest – covering the years from around 1966 until his conviction in 1993. This gives weight to Tess Livingstone’s view that it is most unlikely that a pedophile priest would confess his crimes to a priest – whether or not the confessor was bound by an oath of secrecy.

Tess Livingstone: Five Paws

[MWD readers might be interested in the article by James Franklin titled “Gerald Ridsdale, Pedophile Priest, In His Own Words” in the Journal of the Australian Catholic Historical Society Volume 36, 2015. – MWD Editor.]


Last Saturday, Helen Elliott reviewed Judith Armstrong’s Dymphna (Australian Scholarly Publishing). This is the biography of Dymphna Clark (nee Lodewyckx) who married the left-wing historian Manning Clark (1915-1991). As Helen Elliott wrote:

Dymphna was hot-housed because of her parents’ interests and because of her obvious intelligence, but what did she do? She was disappointingly conventional; she fell in love, married, and devoted herself to him. In those days, not long after the suffragette movement and before the second-wave feminism of the 1960s, women saw themselves as handmaidens, enablers and helpmates to the great man. It’s hard to believe now, but these often exceptional women did not question that self-sacrifice was right and proper.

Dymphna did this with a mixture of high-minded belief and practicality. She was trained to believe that sharing your life with a man meant serving, and she applied herself to this with her usual diligence. She had six children, she moved wherever Manning needed them to move, she cleaned, she cooked, she was the hostess in the background who made wonderful dinners and kept an eye on the wineglasses. And then she checked her husband’s manuscripts, did his footnotes and secretarial work, suggested edits and put up with his many infatuations with dignity and stoicism.

She did try to leave but, like the needy child he was, Manning always blackmailed her into returning. The cost is incalculable and she certainly had moments of madness…

Manning, as is now famously known, was so egomaniacal that he transported himself to Kristallnacht in Germany in November 1938 via her letters to him, in Britain, about it. Why didn’t she ever correct him? He repeatedly used her voice, her observations, to place himself at the centre of sensation. Yet Dymphna was always loyal. Should we groan or admire? Probably both.

Dymphna’s father was livid that she was throwing herself away on this confused, self-involved young man. Reading this experimental, shrewd and subtle portrait of a marriage and the shadow of the woman in it, you cannot help but be livid along with him…

Well said. Manning Clark had a habit of making things up – including being present at events when he was somewhere else. This is documented in Gerard Henderson’s Santamaria: A Most Unusual Man (MUP, 2015).

A most egregious incident occurred when Manning Clark falsely claimed to be in Bonn in November 1938 on the morning after Kristallnacht when Nazi hoons attacked Jewish synagogues and properties. In fact, Manning was in England. Dymphna was in Bonn. But Manning appropriated Dymphna’s experiences and presented them as his own in interviews and his memoirs.

So what did members of the Manning Clark Fan Club say when this was revealed by Mark McKenna in The Monthly in March 2007? Well, nothing much at all. Indeed Mark McKenna himself told Phillip Adams on Late Night Live (5 March 2007) that there was nothing much wrong with Manning stealing Dymphna’s memoirs and presenting them as his own. Helen Elliott has a different view. Good show.

Helen Elliott – Five Paws.

nancy twitter prowl


Could Mike (“I used to pour the Gin”) Carlton be back on the turps? Apparently not – but an affirmative answer would have helped to explain the following tweets.

During Senator Eric Abetz’s appearance on Q&A on 21 November 2016, Mike Carlton sent out this tweet – mocking the fact that Abetz was of German heritage.


This is gross hyperbole, even from the Sage of Avalon Beach. Mike Carlton is suggesting that Eric Abetz is a Nazi war criminal. Presumably because his great uncle Otto Abetz was a senior figure in Hitler’s Nazi regime who was imprisoned in France after the war.

Carlton’s sneer overlooked a couple of inconvenient truths. First, Eric Abetz was born in 1958 and came to Australia in 1961. Second, Otto Abetz was convicted by a French Court in 1949 and was imprisoned until 1954 – he died in a motor accident the following year. Third, Eric Abetz never met Otto Abetz – who died three years before he was born.

Then on 22 November Mike Carlton sent out this tweet:


Believe it or not, this tweet was in response to Immigration Minister Peter Dutton’s claim that the Fraser Coalition government had made a mistake in 1976 when – under the Lebanon Concession – it let thousands of Lebanese Muslims into Australia.

Professor The Hon. Dame Marie Bashir was born in Australia, of Lebanese-born parents, in 1930. Her parents were Maronites (i.e. Christian). Peter Dutton did not say that admitting Lebanese Christians to Australia had been a mistake. Nor did the Minister say that it was a mistake to admit Lebanese Muslims to settle in Australia – apart from that cohort which came under the Lebanon Concession of 1976. Your man Carlton just made this up.



As Media Watch Dog has pointed out previously, the taxpayer funded public broadcaster still refuses to report that, a former ABC chairman, in 1975 urged Australians to understand that “in general, men will sleep with young boys” and called on Australians to “understand” the urges of pederasts. The chairman was Professor Richard Downing (1915-1975) who was appointed ABC chairman by Gough Whitlam’s Labor government in 1973 at a time when (current) ABC chairman Jim Spigelman AO QC was a communications adviser in the Prime Minister’s Office.

Professor Downing’s comments in 1975 came immediately after self-confessed pedophile Richard Neville (1941-2016) had presented a segment of the ABC Radio Lateline program in which he sympathetically interviewed three pederasts and some of their (boy) victims. The tape of the Lateline program was destroyed soon after it aired. The ABC, to this day, has never adopted a duty of care to the victims of the pederasts who were interviewed on the program – who would be aged at about 55 years old today. Rather, the ABC has gone into denial – as it is wont to do.

It is not clear whether the Royal Commission Into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse will enquire into how the ABC, as an institution, dealt with child sexual abuse circa 1975. But it would be worth a look since no prominent person did more to rationalise pederasty in 1975 than Richard Neville. And no one did more to defend him than Richard Downing.

The ABC’s continuing denial on this matter was revealed earlier in the year when the public broadcaster provided the following response to a question on notice by Senator Eric Abetz – a member of the Senate Standing Committee on Environment and Communications:

Question No: 54

Australian Broadcasting Corporation

Hansard Ref: Written, 12/02/2016

Senator Abetz, Eric asked:

In recent times we have had the heads of various institutions rightfully apologise for their inaction and views expressed by predecessors in relation to child abuse.

a) Is the ABC considering a similar apology for the views expressed by its former Chairman (Richard Downing) who expressed views as Chairman and whilst Chairman of the ABC, to wit “in general men will sleep with young boys and that’s the sort of thing the community ought to know about”? and;

b) For its 14th July, 1975 program called Lateline in which Richard Neville presented a program on pederasty where three adult men spoke in favour of pederasty and no one against it.


1. No. The ABC considers child abuse is a legitimate news and current affairs subject and it will continue to cover it where relevant in accordance with its Editorial and Charter responsibilities.

So there you have it. Four decades after the event, the ABC will not speak out against Professor Downing’s call for Australians to “understand” the urges of pederasts (in a letter to the Sydney Morning Herald published on 19 July 1975) or for his ambivalent statement that “in general, men will sleep with young boys (quoted in the Sydney Morning Herald on 19 July 1975). Moreover, the contemporary ABC management maintains that in the 14 July 1975 Lateline program, Richard Neville was only reporting “child abuse”. This is a false statement. In fact, Richard Neville reported the views of the three pederasts in the ABC studio in Sydney with sympathy and without any suggestion that the pederasts were involved in “child abuse”. The ABC just made this up.

* * * * *

While on the topic of the ABC and pederasty, let’s update the Jim Spigelman scoreboard:




As avid readers will be aware, MWD Issue 335 reported that Tony Whitlam QC had launched a defamation action against ABC. The original story was broken by Ben Butler in The Australian on 22 September 2016. As MWD pointed out, Mr Whitlam objected to an item in the 7.30 program on 2 May 2016. This is the original MWD report:

The program was presented by Leigh Sales and the segment which led to the defamation action was reported by Andy Park. Mr Park’s report followed the conviction of former Catholic priest Joseph John Farrell for child sexual assault. Farrell was charged with sexual assault over three decades ago but was cleared by a court. In time, he was expelled from the priesthood. Farrell is now in prison.

In 2012, the Catholic Church in Armidale and Parramatta appointed Tony Whitlam QC, a former Federal Court judge and someone who is not and never has been a Catholic, to investigate the way the Church handled Farrell’s case when he worked in both dioceses. The Whitlam report was considered and extensive. One issue dealt with whether, at a meeting in September 1992, Farrell had admitted to three priests that he was a sexual offender. Two priests at the meeting recalled that no such admissions had been made — the other priest (now deceased) recalled that Farrell did make admissions. Mr Whitlam interviewed all three priests. In the event, Tony Whitlam QC decided that he could not decide as to whose memory of an event, which occurred around a quarter of a century ago, was accurate and whose memory was inaccurate.

When 7.30 covered this matter following Farrell’s conviction, it interviewed only two people. Both were critics of the Church’s handling of the Farrell case. Namely, former NSW Director of Public Prosecutions Nicholas Cowdery QC and Broken Rites activist Bernard Barrett. No other view was heard. Both Mr Cowdery and Mr Barrett made criticisms of the Catholic Church and/or Tony Whitlam’s report.

In his claim, Mr Whitlam reportedly referred to the ABC’s “arrogant and highhanded refusal to apologise” for its report on 2 May 2016. The 7.30 program in question aired when Mark Scott was managing director and editor-in-chief of the ABC. As MWD has documented in this and other issues, in his final years at the ABC Mark Scott was in a state of denial about the public broadcaster — and tended to defend the veracity and integrity of ABC programs in the face of evidence. [Note. This was an error. In fact Michelle Guthrie was ABC managing director and editor-in-chief on 2 May 2016 – MWD Editor]

It’s easy for the ABC to act with arrogance and high-handedness in refusing to apologise for errors. After all, it uses taxpayers’ funds to defend itself against legal claims. Moreover, if the taxpayer funded public broadcaster loses a defamation case, any damages and costs are also paid from taxpayers’ funds.

As mentioned, The Australian reported Tony Whitlam QC’s defamation action against the ABC on 22 September 2016. On 15 November 2016, less than a month after The Australian’s report, 7.30 presenter Leigh Sales made the following statement at the end of the program:

Leigh Sales: Before we go. In May, we broadcast a story about the conviction of former Catholic priest John Farrell on multiple sex abuse charges. The program referred to a report prepared for the Catholic Church by Tony Whitlam QC, who spoke with priests who questioned Farrell. Those priests gave Mr Whitlam differing accounts of what they knew about Farrell. An interviewee in the program went on to say: “Mr Whitlam’s report doesn’t look good now.” The ABC wishes to clarify that Mr Whitlam did not express any doubt about any allegations of criminal conduct against Farrell. Mr Whitlam found in his report that, in respect of one of the victims named in our program, Farrell was guilty of the most vile sexual abuse.

The following, similarly expressed, Editor’s Note now appears at the top of the ABC transcript of the Andy Park report:

Editor’s Note: The ABC wishes to clarify that Mr Whitlam did not express any doubt about any allegations of criminal conduct against Farrell. Mr Whitlam found in his report that, in respect of one of the victims named in our program, that Farrell was “guilty of the most vile sexual abuse”.

When Mr Whitlam objected to the references to him on 7.30, the report should have been corrected/clarified immediately. But, the taxpayer funded public broadcaster, as usual, went into denial. Tony Whitlam QC had to threaten a defamation writ in order to get a correction/clarification. The ABC has taxpayer funded in-house lawyers. Those who are defamed by the ABC have to fund their own way, in the initial stages at least.

This clarification/correction demonstrates the accuracy of Mr Whitlam’s criticism of the ABC’s “arrogant and high-handed refusal to apologise” in the first instance.

* * * * *

Until next time.

* * * * *

Endorsements of MWD

One of my bête noires is Gerard Henderson. And I try not to let him provoke me. I turn the other cheek – both facial and posterial. But this week he said something which just made me furious.

Phillip Adams on Late Night Live, 20 September 2016

If Gerard Henderson is on #insiders tomorrow I’m going to start drinking at 9.01 am

– @annalise108 via Twitter, 30 Jul 2016, 6:30 PM

“[Gerard Henderson is a] whining rodent”

– Bruce Haigh, former diplomat and regular ABC panelist

“[Gerard Henderson is a] cretinous turd”

– Rohan Connolly via Twitter – 12 July 2016

“It’s always nice to be mentioned in your pedantic, predictable and self-absorbed Friday web rant”

– Stephen Mayne, via email, Bastille Day, 2016

My oh my. Poor, blithering Gerard “Gollum” Henderson will be incandescent with rage after that Media Watch. The silly prick.

Mike Carlton via Twitter, 15 Feb 2016, 9:44 PM

Gerard: You are hopeless…

– David Marr, 12 February 2016

ABC is a weakened and flawed institution for sure but it is a vital balance to ranting prejudices of Gerard Henderson’s boss@rupertmurdoch

Quentin Dempster via Twitter, 10 Jan 2016,

Poor mad Gerard is obsessed. I expect he had an unhappy childhood, always the last to be chosen…

Mike Carlton via Twitter, 25 Oct 2015, 3:27 AM

Sometimes I think of Gerard Henderson like a Japanese holdout, lost in the jungles of Borneo, still fighting the war 20 years after it ended

– Erik Jensen,via Twitter, 16 Oct 2015, 4:50 PM

Gérard Henderson brain missing. Small reward

– Phillip Adams, via Twitter, 10 Oct 2015, 11:16 AM

I’ve been shot at by the Viet Cong. I once met Gerard Henderson. I can take any shit thrown at me…

Mike Carlton via Twitter, 9:22 PM – 9 Sep 2015

Gerard. You are an idiot #insiders

Bevan Shields via Twitter, 9:46 AM, 23 August 2015

“[Gerard Henderson is a] professional filing cabinet”

– Leftist scribbler Jeff Sparrow, Crikey, 13 August 2015

Leaving the house to avoid listening to GHenderson on @774melbourne

– Jonathan Green via Twitter, 31 July 2015

“gerard henderson trending on twitter, omg [looks out window, where the sun is eclipsed and the sky blood-red] oh yeah that makes sense”

– Adam Brereton via Twitter, 31 July 2015

Gerard Henderson on @891adelaide right now & I find myself shouting at my radio. What a morning”

– Louise Pascale via Twitter, 31 July 2015

“oh hell why is Gerard Henderson trending? Has boredom become the new black.”

– MNihilon via Twitter, 31 July 2015

Told I made the late Gerard Henderson’s little blog today. Read it. What a rancorous, nauseating, humourless little turd he is.

– Mike Carlton via Twitter during Gin & Tonic Time on 12 June 2015.

“On Sunday before Insiders…I was giving you a rich and full account of what a weird shit I think you are…”

– David Marr to Gerard Henderson, 1 June 2015

To #swf2015 this morning. Sunlit harbour, fabulous crowds radiating civility. And no Gerard Henderson ! It doesn’t get any better.

– Mike Carlton, via Twitter, 1:48 PM – 21 May 2015

Gerard Henderson’s friday self-harm update is here

– Adam Brereton, via Twitter, May 15, 2015

[Gerard Henderson’s Media Watch Dog is] batshit mad.

– Guy Rundle in Crikey, 14 May 2015

I’m in the sort of mood that if I saw Gerard Henderson in the street I’d hit him with his own umbrella

– Ben Pobjie, via Twitter, 8 May 2015

It’s a glorious day when Gerard Henderson has a go at you

– Adam Gartrell, via Twitter, 8 May 2015

Meeting of Gerard Henderson Appreciation Society tonight Sydney Opera House phone booth

– Phillip Adams, via Twitter, 28 April 2015, 1.36 pm (after lunch).

“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