24 February 2017

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: While Aunty Slept (Continued): Lateline Misses Tony Abbott Story; John Hewson on How to Be a Competent Political Leader (No Kidding)
  • Nancy’s Five Paws Award: Step Forward Duncan Fine on Q&A’s Anti-Conservative Stance
  • Can You Bear It? Julian Burnside Predicts the End of the World; Remembering the Injustice Master Burnside faced at Melbourne Grammar School
  • A Wendy Harmer Moment in which Ms Harmer Gets All Steamed Up About the Warming Effects of Badgerys Creek Airport
  • The ABC and Pederasty: Aunty’s Critique of Milo Today Compared with its Silence on its Very Own Chairman in 1975
  • ABC Overlooks New South Wales Ombudsman Report on Contemporary Child Sexual Abuse in All Schools – Instead Focusing on Decades Old Crimes Within Christian Institutions
  • Correspondence: Phillip Adams Helps Out (Again); Brian Halstead on the Milo & one-time ABC Chairman Professor Richard Downing Cases Compared; Keith McLennan Signs Off on Adolf Hitler (We Hope)


Hendo to appear with your man David Marr plus your woman Fleur Anderson on Insiders this Sunday. Order your Gin & Tonics now – it helps to get those abusive anti-Hendo tweets out in a jiffy.



The big local news of last night/this morning was former prime minister Tony Abbott’s interview on The Bolt Report. It probably went to air a bit too late for coverage on the ABC 7.30 program. However, the Abbott/Bolt interview was already big news when the ABC Lateline program went to air on ABC News 24 at around 9.30 pm. [Perhaps you should point out that Nice Mr Scott’s initiative should be called “News 14” since it broadcasts about that much news in a 24 hour period. –MWD Editor]

In the event, Lateline completely missed the opportunity to cover in some depth the Abbott story. Instead, the program’s news stories last night were – as described on the Lateline website:

▪ Margot O’Neill reports on the scientists and billionaires funding research to see if humans can overcome ageing and disease – in a bid to unlock immortality.

▪ As scientists work to prevent ageing and ensure immortality, they’re also trying to expand the capabilities of the human brain. Margot O’Neill reports.

▪ Jeremy Fernandez speaks to Dr Lindsay Wu from the University of New South Wales about hacking human biology to reverse the ageing process.

Yawn. Yawn. Yawn.


Did anyone read John Hewson’s column in today’s Fairfax Media? In case the answer is in the negative, Dr Hewson (for a doctor he is) re-worked his stock column bewailing the quality of Australia’s current political leadership. According to your man Hewson, who resigned from politics in February 1995:

Unfortunately, the skill sets and experience required of a career politician essentially make them incompetent to govern effectively. Their career path is often from university, community or union politics, through local government/party engagement, perhaps serving as a ministerial staffer, to pre-selection, then election, and so on. Politics has become the end in itself. Those that make it are mostly qualified just to play the “game”, but not to govern.

Increasingly, fewer have ever had a “real job”, or a significant career, before entering politics, and even then that may not qualify them to be a competent minister. It is also not easy to come from outside, as both Trump and Turnbull are finding. Yet, many end up as ministers responsible for significant government portfolios, and large budgets, with little or no relevant experience or skills or commitment to that area, let alone in management.

Clearly, if we were to advertise the ministerial posts to attract those with the necessary competence – with the abilities, commitments, knowledge, experience and skills to do the job well – very few indeed, if any, of the current lot would be appointed.

How about that? And now for some facts. Three of Australia’s most competent political leaders went into the House of Representatives at a relatively young age. Namely Malcolm Fraser in 1955 at age 25 years, Paul Keating in 1969 at age 25 years and John Howard in 1974 at age 35 years.

One of the least successful political leaders was John Hewson himself. He led the Coalition to an unnecessary defeat in 1993. For the record, your man Hewson worked, er, as a ministerial staffer on his way to political success. He went into politics in 1987 at age 40 years – after a career mainly as a university professor.

Fairfax Media invariably describes John Hewson as a “former Liberal opposition leader” – implying that he is a rare breed at the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age. However, Fairfax Media does not remind readers that last year your man Hewson demonstrated outside the Prime Minister’s Malcolm Turnbull’s home along with a soviet of Green-Leftists.



In Fairfax Media on Wednesday, a certain Duncan Fine argued that the Q&A format no longer works and “has big problems” – including the program’s need for “a right-wing pantomime villain”. This supports MWD’s view that Q&A has become a scripted-reality current affairs program for the Sandalista Set. Wrote Fine:

The format is too predictable to the point of being banal. Instead of including guests discussing matters they are interested in and have unique perspectives on, the composition of the panel begins with at least two political representatives. They are clearly charged with a solemn duty – to uphold, at all costs and in the face of any evidence to the contrary, their party line. Other panellists are chosen to provide the maximum amount of heat and the minimum amount of light. On Monday night, Julian Burnside and Piers Akerman could hardly be expected to have an illuminating discussion. Nor Jacqui Lambie and Yassmin Abdel-Magied [the week before]

And week after week Q&A falls into the trap of setting up a person (invariably a right-wing politician, conservative columnist or shock jock) to be ridiculed for their opinions. It’s little more than a Punch and Judy show (for Millennials, I mean it’s like Itchy and Scratchy). So on Monday night [Attorney-General George] Brandis faced a question from audience member Fred Thorpe, a victim of Centrelink’s debt recovery regime that has quite rightly been exposed as being in many cases both heartless and hopelessly wrong.

Cue derisive laughter from the audience as Brandis starts to squirm uncomfortably in his chair and suggest she call her local Centrelink office to sort out the problem. But it’s a completely confected but ultimately meaningless and highly unsatisfying moment of television. After all, it’s not an issue that falls under Brandis’ portfolio. And even if he were the Minister for Social Security how could he be expected to be responsible for the day-to-day minutiae of how government policies are implemented?

On face value there could be nothing more democratic than a voter confronting our elected representatives face-to-face and putting a human face on the decisions made in the cabinet room or ministerial office. But Q&A doesn’t give us that. What it gives us week after week is “gotcha” moments designed to merely extract a conservative politician’s embarrassment and little more. And so what appears like a free-wheeling town hall-style confrontation is, in fact, highly scripted.

It’s easy for Q&A to poke fun at conservative panel members week after week, but they are doing it merely for the smug satisfaction and mild amusement of the ABC audience. What would be much harder is finding long-term solutions to the difficult problems that face Australia today.

Duncan Fine: Five Paws.



What a stunning performance by Julian (“I just love flashing my post-nominals”) Burnside AO QC on Q&A last Monday. As it turned out, as reported by Stephen Brook in The Australian’s “Media” section on Monday, Burnside AO QC was a late replacement for London-based leftist conspiracist John Pilger, who pulled out of the ABC’s reality current affairs show at the last minute. Originally your man Pilger was going to flog his new conspiracy film The Coming War on China on presenter Tony Jones’ program.

When discussion finally ended up on the compulsory Q&A question about climate change and all that stuff, JB AO QC soon threw the switch to catastrophe. Let’s go to the transcript:

Julian Burnside: I think George [Brandis] has shown exactly how dangerous it is when it [climate change] becomes a political football. We need to step back and think about the science. Let’s assume that your premise is correct, let’s assume that electricity is going to become more expensive. People will struggle to pay their bills, let’s assume that. Our children and grandchildren will struggle to breathe if we don’t act sensibly and look at what the scientists are telling us.


Piers Akerman: Julian, both of the assumptions that have been put by people like Tim Flannery, who was head of the Labor government’s Climate Council, have been proved to be absolutely wrong.


Not unexpectedly, the audience at the ABC Ultimo studio – in Sydney’s Sandalista Land – was stacked with leftist eco-catastrophists. So, it was not surprising that the sandal-wearers burst into enthusiastic applause when the barrister Julian Burnside predicted that, if action is not taken against climate change, “our children and grandchildren will struggle to breathe”.

This is a Q&A SCOOP. The standard eco-catastrophist line is that global warming will lead to rising land and sea temperatures and that this will have a deleterious effect on the earth. No one has suggested that global warming will make it impossible for JB AO QC’s children and grandchildren to breathe. Clearly your man Burnside is confusing the (alleged) effects of climate change – with the effects of pollution (which is out of control in parts of China but relatively well-managed in Australia). After all, we all breathe carbon dioxide. Can you bear it?


Now MWD has a degree of sympathy for your man Julian Burnside. Mr Burnside documented in the edited collection School Days (Fremantle Arts Centre Press, 2006), how he was deeply traumatised while a student at Melbourne Grammar School in the 1960s [“Up School” – as MGS types used to chant half a century ago – MWD Editor]

You see, Master Burnside was only awarded “second colours” for swimming, diving and rugby union. Unlike the chaps who did cricket, rowing, Australian Rules Football and athletics who qualified for “first colours”. Half a century later, JB AO QC still reflects on the “stinging injustice” of all this. Quite so. Oh, the pain, the pain.

In any event, while at Melbourne Grammar School it appears that Master Burnside did not win any school colours – “first” or “second” – in Manners. How else to explain JB AO QC’s aggressive finger pointing at Attorney-General George Brandis on Q&A last Monday?

If Mr Burnside had attended Nancy’s Courtesy Classes in recent times he would have learnt that it is rude to point at people with whom you disagree. It seems that the young gentlemen at Melbourne Grammar School half a century ago were not taught manners. Or perhaps Master Burnside was so busy swimming/diving/playing rugger that he missed courtesy classes. As it turned out, JB AO QC seemed more aggressive on the Q&A set than John Pilger would have been. Can you bear it?

Julian Burnside AO QC, standing in for Leftist John Pilger, Makes A (Rude) Point on Last Monday’s Q&A]



Julian Burnside’s prophecy that his children and grandchildren will not be able to breathe unless something is done to abate climate change points to the increasing irrationality among the eco-catastrophists in our midst.

As listeners of ABC Sydney are all too well aware, Wendy Harmer – who presents the Mornings program – is a fully paid up member of Aunty’s Eco-Catastrophist Club.

Thanks to the avid reader who drew MWD’s attention to what took place when a certain David rang Ms Harmer on 14 February with a warning that the summer heat in Western Sydney will increase substantially following the planned construction of Western Sydney Airport at Badgerys Creek. Let’s go to the transcript:

David: Apart from all the other issues that people are speaking about – and you know this yourself. You even reported last week about your son at Richmond with the heat that’s in Western Sydney. Now, at least 10 degrees above what it is in the Eastern Suburbs. We’re now going to put another thousands of tons of concrete there with this airport.

So nobody’s mentioned the heat-island effect at all and that is, like I say, apart from the issues that have been raised, 5000 jobs would be valued in the Western Suburbs. But when you include that it will be another 2 million people to compensate for that 5000 jobs, it’s a drop in the ocean.

So, really it’s an absolute folly by Tony Abbott announcing this. And really they should look at it again and probably diversify and take the airport up to Newcastle where there is already an airport. There is already a railway, there’s already a motorway and keep the land out there as farms. We need local farms here.

Wendy Harmer: Okay. Yeah David, you have to wonder what the temperatures could get up to out there. I just sort of feel like. Kept thinking it would be unliveable. You’d think the – I don’t know whether, I don’t think they do – but tarmacs don’t melt?

David: Exactly and you think about the jet engines and the heat they put out, it’s got to be absolutely horrendous out there.

Wendy Harmer: It would be a tough place to have a job, I would imagine.

David: Oh, my word.

Wendy Harmer: Good on you, thank you very much for that.

Yeah, thanks a lot. So Wendy Harmer, who lives by the sea on Sydney’s northern beaches, reckons that the construction of Western Sydney Airport will make Western Sydney “unliveable”. Moreover – in her inarticulate way – Ms Harmer wonders whether tarmacs melt in summer.

The fact is that people live – and tarmacs do not melt – in Alice Springs and Dubai. And there is no evidence that the construction of an airport in Western Sydney will have a dramatic effect on air temperatures.

Verily, a Wendy Harmer Moment.


Earlier this week, the ABC News Online joined in the (reporting) chorus concerning the fall of proclaimed conservative Milo Yiannopoulos (nee Hanrahan). The mega self-promoter and hyper-exaggerator Milo – as he likes to be called – was riding high as the online editor of Breitbart News. So much so that he was scheduled to address the American Conservative Union’s CPAC conference in Washington DC this weekend. Also on the speakers’ list are President Donald J Trump and Vice- President Mike Pence.

The story was told by Michael Collett in his report for the ABC titled “Milo Yiannopoulos loses book deal and speaking slot following child abuse comments”:

A book by alt-right leader Milo Yiannopoulos has been cancelled just hours after he was uninvited as a speaker at one of America’s most significant conservative conferences.

It follows the resurfacing of a video which showed him speaking positively about sexual relationships between boys and men.

The senior editor at conservative news website Breitbart is no stranger to controversy — his now-cancelled book was called Dangerous, and he’s made a career out of attacking feminism, political correctness and Islam.

But comments he made during a conversation with the Drunken Peasants podcast early last year were the final straw for the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) which is being held in Maryland this week.

Sounds familiar? Milo has been widely – and properly – condemned for rationalising sexual relations between under-age boys and older men. As avid MWD readers will be aware, this is essentially the case made by MWD against the late Professor Richard Downing when he was ABC chairman in July 1975. Speaking in his capacity as ABC chairman, Professor Downing called on Australians to understand the urges of pederasts and declared that “in general, men will sleep with young boys”. (See Sydney Morning Herald, 19 July 1975).

As Michael Collett put it in ABC Online:

As you can imagine, there was a big reaction when videos of the comments were published on Twitter by @Reagan Battalion, given Yiannopoulos is the spearhead of the alt-right movement which came to prominence during the recent US election.

Well, yes – you can imagine this. But, then, what explains the refusal by, inter alia, current ABC chairman Jim Spigelman AC QC and current ABC managing director Michelle Guthrie to disassociate the contemporary ABC from the comments made by the ABC chairman – speaking in his capacity as ABC chairman – four decades ago on essentially the same topic?

The answer is – denial. Mr Spigelman and the current ABC board do not want to admit that, four decades ago, the ABC chairman “did a Milo” and rationalised the crime of pederasty. (See today’s “Correspondence” section for more details of the ABC’s Downing-Yiannopoulos double standard).


While on the topic of child sexual abuse, the ABC has devoted considerable resources of what is termed the “Catholic Wrap” – which, after three weeks, is scheduled to conclude at the Royal Commission Into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse this afternoon. As Philippa McDonald reported on ABC TV this week, close to 40 per cent of the Royal Commission’s time has been devoted to inquiring into child sexual abuse by Catholic priests, brothers and laymen.

What the ABC has not reported is that this criminality within the Catholic Church is largely an historical phenomenon. Gail Furness SC, Counsel Assisting the Royal Commission, has been highly critical of the contemporary Catholic Church. However, addressing the Royal Commission on 16 February 2017, Ms Furness had this to say:

The claims data sought information about claims received in the period 1980 to 2015. For a claim to be included in the survey, the claimant must have approached the relevant Catholic Church authority in this time period. However, there was no time limitation in relation to the date of the alleged incidents of abuse. The earliest incidence of alleged abuse reported in a claim to a Catholic Church authority was in the 1920s and the latest was after 2010.

Between January 1980 and February 2015, 4,445 people alleged incidents of child sexual abuse in 4,765 claims. The vast majority of claims alleged abuse that started in the period 1950 to 1989 inclusive. The largest proportion of first alleged incidents of child sexual abuse, 29 per cent, occurred in the 1970s. (Emphasis added).

In other words, the sexual abuse of children by priests/brothers/laymen in Catholic institutions mainly took place between 1950 and 1989. The criminality peaked in the 1970s – the decade in which ABC chairman Professor Richard Downing defended a sympathetic portrayal of pederasty on the ABC by self-confessed pedophile Richard Neville and called on all Australians to understand the urges of pederasts.

In its focus on reporting and re-reporting allegations of child sexual abuse in Catholic institutions, which overwhelmingly took place over a quarter of a century ago, the ABC has overlooked allegations of contemporary child sex abuse. Including within government institutions.

As followers of the Royal Commission, presided over by Justice Peter McClellan, well know, the government sector is not being given the same attention as the Catholic and other Christian sectors. And it appears that the media will not be examined at all. In one sense, this is understandable given the high numbers of allegations made with respect to Catholic priests/brothers/ laymen in the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. However, ABC reporters like Philippa McDonald would do well to report the latest annual report published by the NSW Ombudsman. It is understood that the office of the NSW Ombudsman has given considerable data on contemporary child sexual abuse to the Royal Commission.

The NSW Ombudsman Annual Report 2015-16 contains the following statement:

In September 2015, we made a submission in response to the [Royal] Commission’s issues paper on addressing the risk of child sexual abuse in primary and secondary schools. On average, we receive around 440 notifications from the schools sector each year – accounting for between one third and one half of all notifications made to our office over each of the past five years. As a result, we were able to provide comprehensive data to the [Royal] Commission about notifications from the schools sector. For example, our submission highlighted that:

٠notification rates and sustained finding rates for allegations of sexual misconduct and sexual offences are similar across the government, Catholic, and independent school “industry groups” – an indicator that the systems in place for identifying and responding to allegations are generally working consistently across the schools sector

٠ around one third (34%) of all schools made a sexual misconduct or sexual offence notification over the past five years, with government schools slightly more likely to have made a notification of this type when compared to non-government schools (35% compared to 31%)

٠ allegations of sexual misconduct or sexual offences in the schools sector account for a high proportion of the total matters resulting in criminal charges. At the time of our submission, 60% of current matters involving related criminal charges of a sexual nature were from the schools sector – despite the sector accounting for less than 40% of all open notifications.

In other words, according to the NSW Ombudsman, the risk of child sexual abuse in primary and secondary schools in NSW today is similar across government, Catholic and independent schools. But you would never know this if you followed coverage of the Royal Commission on the ABC and in Fairfax Media.


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 Gerard Henderson 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 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 – not even Ms Murphy herself (See MWD Issue 297).


As avid readers will be aware, last week Phillip Adams sent a “Fake News, Fake Catholics” missive to Gerard Henderson. Hendo, believing that this was a personal email, forwarded a reply to the ABC’s Man-in-Black – correcting some of his historical howlers concerning Pope Pius XII and Adolf Hitler in the process. It turned out that your man Adams had sent Hendo the first draft of his weekly column containing an unflattering reference to Nancy’s (male) co-owner.

On Tuesday, Phillip (“I was a teenage communist”) Adams wrote to Gerard Henderson advising that the (disparaging) reference to Hendo in the column was deleted by a sub-editor in the final draft. To prove the point, PA forwarded the final version of his column – which can be read in tomorrow’s Weekend Australian. Being a courteous guy, Hendo acknowledged the correspondence.

Phillip Adams to Gerard Henderson – 20 February 2017. 9.07 pm

Bugger – You were subbed out.

Gerard Henderson to Phillip Adams – 21 February 2017, 11.13 am

Re your email with the subject “Bugger – You were subbed out” with no attachment.

Please explain – as the saying goes.


Phillip Adams to Gerard Henderson – 23 February 2017, 12.03 pm


[Attached was a copy of the final version of Phillip Adams’ column titled “Spot the fake”.]

Gerard Henderson to Phillip Adams – 24 February 2017

Thanks for the explanation. How sad that your mocking reference to me in your column tomorrow has been subbed out. But how great is it that I published your ill-informed rant in full in last week’s Media Watch Dog. What a scoop for MWD.

Let’s keep in touch.



As pointed out in “The ABC and Pederasty: An Update”, the revelation that Milo Yiannopoulos (until recently the online editor of Breitbart News) had made statements sympathetic to pederasty prompted a certain Brian Halstead to write to Nancy’s (male) co-owner in mocking terms. It so happened that Mr Halstead remembered that Gerard Henderson had been banging on about the fact that in 1975 Professor Richard Downing (then chairman of the ABC) declared that “in general, men will sleep with young boys”. Your man Halstead wondered whether Hendo would criticise Yiannopoulos the way he criticised the late Richard Downing. The answer was in the affirmative. Now read on.

Brian Halstead to Gerard Henderson – 21 February 2017

Dear Dr Henderson

As you would be aware, on Monday footage of Conservative pundit Milo Yiannopoulos defending pederasty. Mr Yiannopoulos stated that “In the homosexual world, particularly, some of those relationships between younger boys and older men – the sort of ‘coming of age’ relationship – those relationships in which those older men help those young boys discover who they are and give them security and safety and provide them with love and a reliable, sort of rock, where they can’t speak to their parents.” Can you bear it?

I note that you have previously asked various figures affiliated with the ABC, notably ABC Chairman James Spigelmann to denounce former ABC Chairman Richard Downing for calling on Australians to “understand” the urges of pederasts. A succinct summary of how the events unfurled can be found on Media Watch Dog Issue 325 if you memory requires refreshing. When such figures invariably decline to take responsibility for the events of 1975, you proceed to engage in a protracted campaign of harassment and vilification.
Fortunately I know that you are a man of principle and abide no hypocrisy. As such, may I take it as settled that you will make no further appearances on The Bolt Report (or any other Sky News program) until Angelo Frangopoulos publicly apologises for giving pederasty advocate Milo Yiannopoulos a platform on Sky’s The Bolt Report? I look forward to you using your blog to continually harass Mr Frangopoulos until he makes such an apology and gives an undertaking that pederasty advocate Milo Yiannopoulos will not be permitted any future appearances on Sky.

Keep morale high

Gerard Henderson to Brian Halstead – 21 February 2017

Dear Mr Halstead

How wonderful to hear from you. And how terrific that you have adopted my style of signing off correspondence with a “Keep Morale High” evocation. I also note that you have adopted my “Can You Bear It?” saying.

In response to your email of 21 February 2017, I make the following observations.

  1. I read earlier today – on The Guardian Australiawebsite – that a recording appears to show Milo Yiannopoulos endorsing sex between “younger boys” and older men. If this clip is accurate – then I condemn the comment.
  1. It is true that I have asked ABC chairman Jim Spigelman whether he proposes to distance the contemporary ABC from the comment made in 1975 by Professor Richard Downing – one of his predecessors – that “in general, men will sleep with young boys”. Professor Downing also wrote to the Sydney Morning Heraldon 19 July 1975 – in his capacity as ABC chairman – rationalising an ABC program presented by self-confessed pedophile Richard Neville which gave coverage to three pederasts. At no time then – or since – did the ABC report this matter to NSW Police or express any interest in the welfare of victims.
  1. It is a total exaggeration to state that I have engaged “in a protracted campaign of harassment and vilification” with respect to Mr Spigelman. The current ABC chairman, a retired Supreme Court chief justice, is quite capable of defending his inaction in this instance – and has done so. My correspondence with Mr Spigelman has always been courteous and professional – we even had a pleasant, albeit brief, exchange at a dinner last November (as avid MWDreaders will be aware).
  1. For the record, despite the ABC’s high profile coverage of historical child sexual abuse, no one at the ABC has reported Professor Downing’s 1975 statements. Moreover, in reporting Richard Neville’s recent death, no one at the ABC referred to the fact that Richard Neville was a self-confessed pedophile before he was employed by the ABC.
  1. You demand that I make no further appearances on The Bolt Report(or any other Sky News program) until Angelos Frangopoulos publicly apologies for giving pederasty advocate Milo Yiannopoulos a platform on Sky News’ The Bolt Report.

This overlooks the fact that Mr Frangopoulos and Mr Bolt would not have been aware of this matter until the story broke in Australia today. On the other hand, in 1975 Professor Downing was chairman of the ABC which employed Richard Neville, a known pedophile. Also, Professor Downing defended the ABC decision to interview three known pederasts on ABC Radio.

  1. In spite of Mr Spigelman’s denial about Richard Downing, I appear occasionally on ABC TV – mainly on Insiders. I note that you have not asked that I boycott the ABC until someone at the taxpayer funded public broadcaster publicly distances the ABC from Professor Richard Downing’s remarks. I note that you support one code of conduct with respect to the ABC and another one with respect to Sky News. An unpleasant double standard, to be sure.

Best wishes

Gerard Henderson


Self-confessed avid reader Keith McLennan keeps writing to MWD – commencing with the First Gulf War and moving on to Adolf Hitler. As you do – or, rather, as he does. Here we go again – for the very last time.

Keith McLennan to Gerard Henderson – 17 February 2017

Dear Gerard,

The “authoritative Who’s Who in Nazi Germany”, eh? Well, that’s what you get when relying on general reference works. Perhaps the next edition of the authoritative work, should there be one, will correct the error.

It is a matter of record that Anton Drexler founded the German Workers Party, which changed its name to the National Socialist German Workers Party, commonly called the Nazi Party, in February 1920, more than a year before Hitler took the party over. Drexler is therefore the founder of the Nazi Party.

It may be noted that before Hitler joined the Party, Drexler had already recruited Ernst Röhm, the future leader of the storm troopers (SA), as well as Dietrich Eckart, described by William L. Shirer in The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich as the “spiritual founder of National Socialism”. Drexler also recruited both Hitler’s future deputy Rudolf Hess and Hitler’s future lawyer and governor-general of occupied Poland, Hans Frank, who was hanged after the Nuremberg Trials. In other words, Drexler not only founded the Party, but was also responsible for bringing into it many of its leading figures, including Hitler himself. Hitler wrote in Mein Kampf that his decision to join the Party was “the most decisive resolve of my life. From here there was and could be no turning back” (quoted in Shirer). Furthermore, Shirer’s judgement on Drexler is that he was “the actual founder of National Socialism”.

According to Ian Kershaw’s Hitler 1889-1936: Hubris, Hess compared Hitler, “the great popular leader”, with “the great founder of a religion.” That was as far as he could go. If he could have called Hitler the founder of the Party or of the Nazi movement, he would certainly have done so, since he worshipped Hitler. You may recall the scene in Riefenstahl’s Triumph of the Will in which Hess shouts, “Adolf Hitler, you are Germany! Sieg Heil!” But even Hess could not call Hitler the founder of the movement and would never have done so. He knew that Hitler was not the founder, as did all those leading Nazis whom Drexler recruited.

I often enjoy your corrections of rash statements about Australian political history. If anyone had dared to write that it was, say, Arthur Fadden who founded the Liberal Party, or Cardinal Mannix who founded the Movement, I doubt that you would consider it pedantic in yourself if you were to correct them!

Best wishes,

Keith McLennan

P.S. You were kind enough to distinguish me as a pedant on an earlier occasion when I asserted that BA Santamaria could not possibly have written what you attributed to him, “a man’s fate and a man’s desserts are different things.” I am not particularly suspicious, but should you call me a pedant a third time, I may begin to feel uncomfortably like Peter when the cock crowed thrice…

PPS: I meant, of course, Archbishop Mannix.

Gerard Henderson to Keith McLennan – 24 February 2017

Dear Keith

This correspondence commenced with your ridiculous suggestion that the United States invaded Iraq in 1991 – in what became known as the First Gulf War. It’s now focused on Adolf Hitler and the Nazi movement. I propose to end the exchange before you move further backwards to the Peloponnesian Wars.

In response to your most recent email, I make the following points:

  1. If you did any research on Nazi Germany you would know that Robert S. Wistrich, the author of Who’s Who in Nazi Germany, is an authoritative scholar of Nazi Germany. Your “eh?” sneer is just an ill-informed attempt at ridicule. Dr Wistrich’s books include Anti-Semitism: The Longest Hatred, Weekend in Munich: Art Propaganda and Terror in the Third Reich, Hitler and the Holocaust and A Lethal Obsession: Anti-Semitism from Antiquity to the Global Jihad.

Your dismissive attitude towards the late Dr Wistrich’s scholarship suggests that you are somewhat out of your depth on this issue.

  1. Your references to Arthur Fadden and Archbishop Daniel Mannix are meaningless. No one has claimed that Fadden founded the Liberal Party. For starters, he was never even a member of the Liberal Party – he belonged to the Country Party. Likewise, no one has ever claimed that Archbishop Daniel Mannix was the founder of The Movement (B.A. Santamaria’s Catholic Social Studies Movement). Dr Mannix was never even a member of The Movement.

It is true that some pedants have argued that Robert Menzies was not the founder of the Liberal Party. In a pedantic sense, this is true. However, when I asked Dr Judith Brett whether the Liberal Party would have come into existence in 1944/1945 without Menzies – she did not reply. Enough said. The person who founds an organisation is the one who drove it from insignificance to strength.

  1. Without Hitler, the Nazi movement would not be what it became. That’s why it’s accurate to call Hitler the founder of the Nazi Party. Neither William L. Shirer nor Ian Kershaw – whom you quote – support your somewhat confused argument. For the record, Anton Drexler left the Nazi Party in the early 1920s. The idea that Drexler founded the Nazi movement, which ruled Germany between 1933 and 1945, is essentially ahistorical.

The answer to the question “would the Nazi movement have come into existence without Hitler?” is a resounding “No”. That’s my non-pedantic point.

* * * *

As far as I am concerned this correspondence in concluded.

Keep morale high.

Gerard Henderson


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, 5:22 PM

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