14 July 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: The US Studies Centre Ignores John Howard and Anticipates a Trump Impeachment (Yawn) 

  • A Sandalista Moment: Leunig’s Alienation Channelled by (Deplorable) Nancy 

  • Can You Bear It? Chris Uhlmann’s Anti-Trump Rant; Jonathan Green’s Ministerial Grovel & Q&A’s Unexplained Well-Earned Break (WEB) 

  • New Segment: The (Canine) Voice of Gunnedah Examines Shane Wright’s Position on Coal & Candlesticks 

  • MWD’s Very Own Fact Check Nails Paul Murray & Fiona Scott 

  • An ABC Update: ABC Denial Continues… 

  • Media Fool of the Week: Marius Benson, Ross Cameron & Shaun Micallef 

  • History Corner: Mark Aarons Labels B.A. Santamaria a Stalinist but lets Real Stalinists off the Hook 

  • Documentation: An Update on Failed Historic Sex Abuse Cases against Lord Brittan, Ted Heath & Lord Janner in the UK 

  • Correspondence: With a Little Help from Wendy Harmer (on the Cuban Missile Crisis) & Jenny Handke (on the ABC – including The Drum)


“Gerard Henderson  – you snivelling Jackal”

  • Shaun Micallef’s Mad As Hell presenter Shaun Micallef – formerly captain of Sacred Heart Senior College (Adelaide) – Wednesday 12 July 2017.

See below for more on Shaun Micallef’s Mad –As Hell.



 Yesterday the taxpayer funded United States Studies Centre (USSC) hosted a seminar at the taxpayer funded University of Sydney – where former prime minister John Howard was interviewed by The Australian’s Paul Kelly. Thanks to Chris Kenny’s heads up on his Sky News’ Heads Up program last night for drawing MWD’s attention to this.

Believe it or not, every self-proclaimed American “expert” at the USSC predicted that Hillary Clinton would defeat Donald J. Trump in the presidential election last November.  Every one. Moreover, after the election Professor Simon Jackman – the USSC’s chief executive officer – told Sky News that not one member of his staff supported President Trump. Not one.  Clearly the US[eless] Studies Centre is chock full of Trump-haters.

It seems that the team headed by Dr Jackman (for a doctor he is) was shocked to hear John Howard state yesterday  that President Trump’s policies, so far, have worked well enough – especially in the area of foreign policy – and that the president should be given a go. Mr Howard also said that it was President Barack Obama, not President Trump, who had reduced the influence of the US in the world.

Maybe Mark Baillie, the USSC chairman, was not listening to John Howard’s wise comments. At the end of the former prime minister’s address, your man Baillie got up and – once again – depicted the USSC as belonging to the hate-Trump camp.  Let’s go to the transcript:

Mark Baillie: …And, in fact, eh, topically next week the Centre will launch a paper authored by CEO Simon Jackman – Impeachment 101: The History, Process and Prospect of a Trump Impeachment.

Fancy that.  Even after John Howard’s suggestion that the US Studies Centre might water down its Trump hatred, chairman Mark Baillie declared that next week Dr Jackman will launch a paper on the prospects of a Trump impeachment. Yawn.

This from a taxpayer funded organisation which, despite receiving $25 million seed funding from the Howard Government in 2006, has published remarkably few scholarly works. As Gerard Henderson predicted a decade ago, the USSC has been taken over by the left and is home for mediocre, fashionable academics who have little understanding of contemporary America outside of the areas to which Hillary Clinton appealed.


The Age’s house leftist Michael (“Just call me Leunig”) Leunig is a well-paid cartoonist. However, he still purports to be the voice of the downtrodden lumpen proletariat railing against the capitalist state. These days your man Leunig has become the embodiment of the Sandalista Set of inner-city Green/left sandal-wearing alienated types who would like to overthrow the fascist state. If only this would not upset their taxpayer funded jobs and superannuation benefits.

Below is Leunig’s offering in last Saturday’s Fairfax Media newspapers. Along with a different view commissioned from the late Nancy on the Other Side.



While on the issue of Donald Trump – what a rant by ABC journalist Chris Uhlmann on Insiders last Sunday. Your man Uhlmann frequently speaks sense – but, reporting from Hamburg last weekend, this is what he had to say as he joined the fashionable bash-Trump orthodoxy:

What we already knew, Barrie, is that the President of the United States has a particular skill set, that he’s identified as an illness in Western democracies, but he has no cure for it and seems intent on exploiting it. And we’ve also learned that he has no desire and no capacity to lead the world.

The G20 became the G19 as it ended. On the Paris climate accords, the US was left isolated and friendless. But, given that was always going to happen, a deft president would have found an issue around which he could rally most of the leaders. And he had the perfect one – North Korea’s missile tests. So where was the G20 statement condemning North Korea which would have put pressure on China and Russia? Other leaders expected it. They were prepared to back it, but it never came.

There’s a tendency among some hopeful souls to confuse the speeches written for Trump with the thoughts of the man himself – he did make some interesting, scripted observations in Poland about defending the values of the West. And he’s in a unique position. He’s the one man who has the power to do something about it. But it’s the unscripted Trump that’s real: a man who barks out bile in 140 characters, who wastes his precious days as president at war with the West institutions like the judiciary, independent government agencies and the free press. He was an uneasy, lonely, awkward figure at this gathering and you got the strong sense some of the leaders are trying to find the best way to work around him.

Donald Trump’s a man that craves power because it burnishes his celebrity. To be constantly talking and talked about is all that really matters and there is no value placed on the meaning of words, so what’s said one day can be discarded the next.

So what did we learn? We learnt that Donald Trump has pressed fast forward on the decline of the United States as a global leader. He managed to isolate his nation, to confuse and alienate his allies and to diminish America – he will cede that power to China and Russia. Two authoritarian states that will forge a very different set of rules for the 21st century.

Some will cheer the decline of America. But I think we’ll miss it when it’s gone. And that’s the biggest threat to the values of the West which he claims to hold so dear.

There are heaps of Trump-haters around the world. So it is no surprise that your man Uhlmann’s anti-Trump rant attained lotsa hits on the Web.  Until about a decade ago, ABC journalists did not make political statements – a tradition that still prevails in the BBC.  But in Australia within the ABC it’s anything goes.

In his rant-to-camera, Chris Uhlmann overlooked that, in Hamburg, President Trump had negotiated a partial cease-fire in the Syrian Civil War with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin. Moreover, Uhlmann did not mention President Barack Obama’s role in the decline in US power. Or that President Trump’s meeting with the Sunni Muslim leaders in Saudi Arabia in May 2017 had gone very well.

On the other hand, it seems that the ABC star journalist has been seduced by the charms of new French president Emmanuel Macron. Here’s what he had to say on the ABC AM program last Monday:

Chris Uhlmann: ….the Prime Minister [Malcolm Turnbull] and the President [Emmanuel Macron] clearly hit it off, you know.  And Malcolm Turnbull was saying that he felt extremely comfortable in his presence.  I think he’s very impressed by the young president, he sees something of a young Napoleon Bonaparte in him.  So I think between those two there is certainly something of a bromance that sparked very quickly – and they clearly worked very well together when it came to the G20.

Gosh, President Macron as a young Napoleon Bonaparte. Let’s hope he doesn’t grow up and invade Russia. Can You Bear It?


While on the topic of Chris Uhlmann, did anyone hear the interview between ABC Drive presenter Jonathan Green and Communications Minister Mitch Fifield on Radio National Drive last Monday?

It seems that usual presenter Patricia Karvelas was on what journalists call a well-earned-break. In her place, Jonathan (“I’m a fox hunting man”) Green decided that the big issues of the day were (i) the National Broadband Network, (ii) same sex marriage and (iii) media reform. But not electricity prices.  Let’s go to the transcript as the ABC fox-hunting man concluded his discussion with Senator Fifield:

Jonathan Green: You have heard…Chris Uhlmann’s take on Donald Trump?

 Mitch Fifield: Well I did catch a bit of that, yes indeed.

 Jonathan Green:  He is one of your men. You must be proud.

 Mitch Fifield:  Well, you know, Chris is an important member of the Canberra [Press] Gallery.

 Jonathan Green:  Thank you Mitch Fifield.  Thanks for your time.

 Mitch Fifield:  Thanks indeed, Jonathan.

Well, fancy that.  First up, ABC presenter Jonathan Green described ABC journalist Chris Uhlmann as one of Minister Fifield’s “men”.  Usually your man Green is banging on about the need for ABC journalists to be independent of governments.  Then the ABC’s very own fox-hunting man told the Minister for Communications that he should be “proud” because Mr Uhlmann slagged President Trump. Can You Bear It?


While on the topic of journalists’ well-earned-breaks, why was Q&A on a WEB last Monday?  When presenting Q&A on 3 July 2015, Virginia Trioli told viewers that “next week Q&A will be taking a break” – but provided no explanation.

MWD was expecting that Q&A would be replaced last Monday with a special of something or other.   But it was not to be.  Instead ABC TV ran a repeat – yes, a repeat – of the film Recognition: Yes or No? starring Linda Burney and Andrew Bolt which first aired last year.

Q&A’s producer Peter McEvoy has not provided any explanation as to why the program took a WEB – which happened to coincide with school holidays.  And Comrade McEvoy demands that others provide answers to his questions. Can You Bear It?



 As avid readers are aware, Nancy “passed” on 3 June 2017 and went to the Other Side.  There – with some help from American psychic John Edward – Nancy makes the occasional contribution to Media Watch Dog which (with the assistance of her male and female co-owners) she helped create in 2009.  Nancy, a rescue dog from the RSPCA Yagoona Pound, held a Bachelor of Arts in Media Studies from Yagoona University’s Canine Department.

Meet Ruby – who has filled the vacancy left by Nancy. Ruby is a rescue dog from the RSPCA Gunnedah Pound.  She holds a Diploma in Wellness from Gunnedah University’s Canine Department. It is anticipated that Ruby will make contributions on city-based journalists about the world outside their (limited) city-based imagination – sometimes using the nom-de-plume Ms Gunnedah.



This is what the West Australian’s Shane Wright said on Insiders on 11 June 2017:

Shane Wright: ….we keep talking about the national electricity market. Western Australia and NT are not part of this.  I was talking to, say, the premier of WA and he’s going: “What’s the hell’s going on?” Because the East Coast are going through the problems that the West Coast went through a decade ago and managed to resolve without interference of Canberra.  But I think the advent of politics into this space has absolutely cruelled it and we’ve got a bunch of – we’ve got a lot of people saying: “Coal has to survive”.  They remind me of the Candlestick Makers Union about 150 years ago saying: “These lightbulbs, they’ll never catch on.”  Sorry, you can see the lights turning out on coal fairly quickly.

What a load of absolute tosh. On her recent trip from Gunnedah to Sydney, Ruby passed through Singleton and bought a copy of The Singleton Argus. The lead story, by Louise Nichols, headed “Yancoal looks likely” was as follows:

With Rio Tinto shareholders, last week, voting almost unanimously to accept the Yancoal’s bid for their Hunter Valley Coal & Allied assets it would appear the Chinese miner will become the new owner of two prized open cut mines. The deal to buy Mount Thorley Warkworth (MTW) and Hunter Valley Operations (HVO) is worth $US2.69 billion ($3.55 billion).

So there you have it.  In mid-June Shane Wright declared that coal today was like the candlesticks of old.  Within a few weeks, China’s Yancoal company offered to buy two Hunter Valley open cut coal mines for $3.55 billion – which is more than the cost of lotsa candlesticks.

Mr Wright is a journalist based in Canberra.  Ruby, on the other hand, is a Gunnedah-born mongrel who likes to sniff trees, as well as the breeze, throughout this wide and (mostly) brown land.


What fun on Paul Murray Live last Tuesday – when presenter Paul Murray and his panel Fiona Scott, Bronwyn Bishop, Cory Bernardi and Adam Creighton covered Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s speech to the Policy Exchange think tank in London.  Under discussion was Robert Menzies, plus the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s in Australia.

Paul Murray’s (Non-Existent) Queensland Line

 First up, in discussing the history of the Second World War, your man Murray said that, at the time, Australians “were aware of the existence of the Queensland Line”.  But were they?  In fact, no such entity ever existed – it was left-wing conspiracy theory directed at Robert Menzies. Mr Murray should know this.

The so-called Brisbane Line – or what Paul Murray calls the Queensland Line – stems from an allegation by Eddie Ward.  The left-wing Minister for Labour and National Service in John Curtin’s Labor government, referred to a Brisbane Line in October 1942.  Ward asserted that when the Menzies and Fadden governments were in office in 1941, a Brisbane Line was created to facilitate the abandonment of an important section of Northern Australia if an attack, presumably from Japan, occurred.

As Paul Hasluck wrote in the official history The Government and the People: 1942-1945:

An examination of these and other records of the War Cabinet and Advisory War Council supports the opinion that, if there had been any discussions of this kind earlier than February 1942 – and the documents did not disclose any evidence of such discussions – they would have been discussions at the level of military planning and would have been tentative and speculative, being directed towards an imagined contingency and not to an existing situation or to a situation that was in clear prospect.  No evidence was discoverable that any such hypothetical case of military abandonment of part of the continent ever reached the War Cabinet or Advisory War Council during the terms of the Robert Menzies and Arthur Fadden Governments or that any political direction on the subject was ever given to the military planners.

In other words, there was no Brisbane Line – or Queensland Line. It was a left-wing myth designed to attack Menzies and Fadden – which even Eddie Ward later acknowledged was fallacious.

Fiona Scott’s White Australia Policy Confusion

Then, later in the program, the following discussion took place – sparked by former Liberal Party MP Fiona Scott.  Let’s go to the transcript:

Fiona Scott:  But if you look at the White Australia Policy, for instance. That was brought in under Curtin – a Labor prime minister.

Bronwyn Bishop: It’s older than that –

Fiona Scott: [interjecting] And, well, officially.

Paul Murray: [interjecting] Well Menzies didn’t stop it.

Fiona Scott: [interjecting] No, but –

Bronwyn Bishop: [interjecting] Yes, he did. Actually it starts to fade out in 61 –

Fiona Scott: [injecting] Menzies and Holt were the first two that started to really dismantle it and it came apart under Menzies….

What a load of absolute tosh.  The White Australia Policy became Commonwealth legislation with the passing of the Immigration Restriction Act in 1901.  John Curtin became prime minister in 1941.

While it is true that the White Australia Policy was reformed in the early 1960s no announcement of the abandonment of the White Australia Policy was made until early 1966 – after Harold Holt became prime minister.  Ms Scott’s belief that the White Australia Policy “came apart under Menzies” is also nonsense.



There was enormous interest in the coverage of the last two issues of MWD that the ABC had failed to report a case of historical child sexual abuse within the ABC.

As MWD readers are aware, in late June one-time ABC TV producer Jon Stephens pleaded guilty in Gosford Local Court to sexually assaulting a 14 year-old ABC male casual employee in 1981 while on an ABC assignment near Gosford.  He was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment.

Stephens’ conviction was reported in News Corp’s Central Coast Gosford Express Advocate and Sydney Daily Telegraph.  But it has not been reported by the ABC or Fairfax Media.  ABC editorial director Alan Sunderland wrote to Gerard Henderson last Friday advising that ABC editor-in-chief Michelle Guthrie accepted no responsibility for the ABC’s editorial decision not to report the Stephens’ matter.

MWD has been advised that this week a listener named Phil tried to raise the ABC’s double standard in this instance on Jon Faine’s “Mornings” program on ABC Melbourne (774). Phil was told by a producer that Jon Faine would not discuss the Jon Stephens case.

Last Monday, the ABC’s Media Watch ran a general program on the plight of contemporary journalism.  It is not clear whether Paul Barry and his colleagues will cover this matter next Monday. MWD will keep readers informed.

Meanwhile, here’s a scoreboard.




 What a stunning appearance by the normally sensible Marius Benson on The Drum on Tuesday.  Perhaps it was his pending retirement from the taxpayer funded public broadcaster that encouraged your man Benson to compare Donald Trump and Melania Trump with – wait for it – “the Ceausescus”.

That is, the Romanian communist dictators Nicolae and Elena Ceausescu who were executed, after a hasty trial, by a firing squad when the communist dictatorship was overthrown in 1989.

The Ceausescus presided over a dictatorship where the masses went hungry.  Yet, according to Marius Benson’s unchallenged assertion on The Drum “the Trumps look too much like the Ceausescus”.  This kind of exaggeration gives hyperbole a bad name.

Marius Benson – Media Fool of the Week.


Thanks to the avid reader who sent MWD Sky News presenter Ross Cameron’s Twitter stream last night. Here it is:


So there you have it. Or not. By the way, last night the Moon was almost full.  MWD is unaware of your man Cameron’s condition at the time.

Ross Cameron: Media Fool of the Week


The late Nancy’s (male) co-owner much enjoyed Shaun Micallef’s Mad As Hell program on ABC TV last Wednesday. Pity that it was drowned-out by the masses watching the News South Wales v Queensland rugby league gig on another station.  Hendo very much appreciated the fact that your man Micallef acknowledged the two areas in his previous program which contained errors that were analysed in last week’s MWD.

On Wednesday, the comedian reached his zenith when laughing at Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s meeting in Paris with President Emmanuel Macron.  This is how the former captain of Sacred Heart Senior College in Adelaide described the occasion:

Shaun Micallef: Then it was off to Paris for some quality time with Emmanuel Macron. The young and vital French President took Malcolm for a ride in his presidential plane, no doubt flying it himself he’s so wonderful and then hosted a dinner at the Elysees Paris [sic] for them both with their wives. No doubt Malcolm and Lucy ended up spending the night at the Paris [sic] of Versailles with the President and his wife –  if you get my meaning.

MWD believes that the intended reference was to the Elysees “Palace” and the “Palace” of Versailles. But, then, MWD did not study French History at Adelaide University. This week your man Micallef ran yet another leftist fashionable line on a serious matter – this time a critique of government assistance to non-government schools. MWD will cover this next week – God willing.

Shaun Micallef: Media Fool of the Week



MWD has just received advice of the forthcoming publication of The Show: Another Side of Santamaria’s Movement (Scribe, 2017). The author is former ABC employee Mark Aarons with John Grenville, a one-time supporter of B.A. Santamaria who fell out with the founder of the Catholic Social Studies Movement – The Movement or The Show – over four decades ago. Mark Aarons’ father (Laurie) and uncle (Eric) held senior positions in the Communist Party of Australia. The CPA finally split with Moscow in 1968 following the invasion of the Czechoslovakia by the Soviet Union.

According to Scribe’s blurb:

B.A. Santamaria based his Movement on the Communist Party, copying its spectacularly successful union-organising machinery.  Within a decade, it had defeated communist power in many major unions.  He also adopted the communists’ strategy of infiltrating the Labor Party, and embarked on an aggressive program to transform it into a Catholic political machine, helping spark the great Labor Split of the mid-1950s. Ironically, in modelling The Movement on his enemy, Santamaria imported its most odious characteristic: Stalinism.  He rapidly embraced the characteristics of a Stalinist leader, actively cultivating his own “cult of personality”….

Turn it up.  According to legend – the Soviet Union’s communist dictator Josef Stalin once asked dismissively: “How many divisions has the Pope?”  With respect to Mark Aarons,           MWD’s requisite question is:  “How many gulags did Santamaria set up?”

It is known that Stalin was responsible for the death of millions of Soviet citizens – by execution, mistreatment in gulag labour camps, forced famine and the like.  It is not clear whether Bob Santamaria even scored a speeding ticket in Australia.  He certainly did not kill or imprison anyone. Yet, apparently, Mark Aarons will argue in The Show that Santamaria was a Stalinist.

Mark Aarons, the son of senior Communist Party of Australia functionary Laurie Aarons, is the author of the important book The Family File (Black Inc, 2010) – a study of the Aarons family’s involvement with the CPA. Eric Aarons, Mark’s uncle, was another CPA operative. In the period between 1920 and 1968, the CPA was controlled by, and partly financed by, the Soviet leadership in Moscow.

According to MWD’s spies, Eric Aarons does not score a mention in The Show. What a pity. You see, in his book What’s Left: Memoirs of an Australian Communist (Penguin, 1993), Eric Aarons described how he and his (then) fellow Aussie Stalinists –  like brother Laurie – reacted to Nikita Khrushchev’s closed speech to the 20th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in 1956.

It soon became publicly known that in 1956 Khrushchev had attacked Stalin’s cult of personality – along with his dictatorial practices.  But Eric Aarons and his CPA comrades in 1956 decided not to follow Khrushchev’s critique and to stick with Josef Stalin – since they believed that a case could be made for Stalin’s purges. Let’s hear from Comrade Eric on this one:

…I made the point at the Central Committee [of the Australian Communist Party] meeting which decided the matter that our outlook was such that, had we been in power, we too could have executed people we considered to be objectively, even if not subjectively (that is, by intention), helping our enemies.

In other words, in 1956 Comrade Eric believed that if the CPA came to power in Australia it might have to execute its political enemies.

In the same chapter, Eric Aarons rationalised the decision made by himself and his fellow comrades in 1956 not to oppose the killings by the Soviet Union of those communists who had taken part in the 1956 Hungary Uprising against Moscow. Here’s his excuse – written in 1993:

After the early successes of the rebellion, Imre Nagy became leader of an independent Hungarian government. We were again faced with agonising choices when the revolt was crushed by Soviet tanks and Nagy was murdered after being promised protection…. The Party on the whole went along with these explanations [for Moscow’s executions of Nagy and his colleagues], and so did I, despite my great discomfort.  I was particularly uneasy when I heard prominent [Communist Party] members speak approvingly of the need for a little blood-letting in Hungary.  Others would pose the question, “Well, are you in favour of the dictatorship of the proletariat or not?”  I did not, however, feel certain enough in my views at the time to take them on.

B.A. Santamaria, who never canvassed the possibility of executing “people” if his Movement ever came to power, is labelled a Stalinist in The Show. However, Eric Aarons – who in 1956 failed to condemn the need for “a little blood-letting in Hungary” – is not even mentioned in The Show.  Eric who?




On 31 October 2016, Sir Richard Henriques – a retired judge of the High Court of England and Wales who is authorised to sit in the criminal division of the Court of Appeal – issued a report. It was titled An Independent Review of the Metropolitan Police Service’s handling of non-recent sexual offence investigations alleged against persons of public prominence.  Sir Richard was asked by the Metropolitan Commissioner of Police to conduct a review into Metropolitan Police Service’s investigation of allegations of non-recent sexual offences alleged to have been committed by prominent individuals.

In the aftermath of ITV’s exposure of the late Jimmy Saville’s sexual offending, numerous complaints were made to New Scotland Yard about Savile and others. The police were criticised for not having taken action against Savile when he was alive but reacted promptly after his death. This led to Operation Yewtree and Operation Midland.  The latter involved investigations of allegations by a man named “Nick”.  Subsequently, Operation Conifer was established to deal with allegations against the late Sir Edward Heath, which also involved the allegations of Nick.

In his report – see here – Sir Richard made a number of important findings.  He held that the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) should have advised Lord Leon Brittan, during his lifetime, that no further action would be taken against him in relation to an allegation of rape claimed to have taken place many years earlier. Sir Richard also criticised a senior MPS officer for saying that the allegations made by Nick were credible and true before they were tested in court.  He also castigated the Metropolitan Police Service for describing people who made allegations of sexual assault as “victims” – rather than as complainants – in the following terms:

I have a clear and concluded view. All “complainants” are not “victims”. Some complaints are false and thus those “complainants” are not “victims”.  Throughout the judicial process the word “complainant” is deployed up to the moment of conviction where after a “complainant” is properly referred to as a “victim”. Since the entire judicial process, up to that point, is engaged in determining whether or not a “complainant” is indeed a “victim”, such an approach cannot be questioned.  No Crown Court judge will permit a “complainant” to be referred to as a “victim” prior to conviction.  Since the investigative process is similarly engaged in ascertaining facts which will, if proven, establish guilt, the use of the word “victim” at the commencement of an investigation is simply inaccurate and should cease.

This finding is of relevance to Australia – since, speaking on Radio 3AW on 28 July 2016, the Victorian Police Commissioner Graham Ashton described two men who made complaints against Cardinal George Pell as “victims”.  They are, in fact, complainants.  Contrary to David Marr’s claim on Insiders on 2 July 2017 – the Victorian Police Commissioner has not apologised for or withdrawn this comment.  Mr Marr just made this up. See MWD Issue 368.

Lord Janner Case

Lord Janner died from Alzheimer’s disease in December 2015 – before the allegations against him were determined.  Subsequently, some of the complainants lodged a civil case seeking damages from his £2 million estate.  The six men were represented by the legal firm Slater & Gordon.

On 28 May 2017 The Sunday Times carried a story that read “Janner abuse accusers drop damages claim”.  The report contained the following material:

A legal case accusing the late Lord Janner of child sexual abuse has collapsed after six men seeking damages from his £2m estate abandoned their claims. The Janner family said the decision cleared their father’s name and was a vindication of their decision to fight the claims. “Our father’s reputation as a man who devoted his life to good has been restored and . . . justice has finally been done,” they said.

The six men, who alleged they had been abused by the former Labour MP when they were children, were represented by the solicitor Slater and Gordon, which submitted documents to the High Court last week, announcing the six were discontinuing their cases.

The surprise development comes after questions were raised by The Sunday Times about the validity of the allegations and the character of the claimants, some of whom had serious criminal convictions.  The withdrawal means the civil action against Janner’s estate has in effect ended.  Nine claimants in the High Court have now pulled out – the three others dropped their compensation claims in March – and legal sources believe it is unlikely that anyone else will take action…

Janner’s family had made clear they would fight the accusations and that all the claimants would face detailed cross-examination during a civil case.  The family believes the prospect of cross-examination led the claimants to withdraw.

Doubts have grown over many of the allegations against the late peer, although not all the alleged victims had launched legal action and few of them were specific about dates when assaults were claimed to have happened.

One said he was assaulted by Janner over a specified three-day period in 1987 but the MP’s passport showed he was in Australia at the time.

Another claimed to have been assaulted by Janner while they were swimming in a pool owned by a friend of the MP. However, the friend’s family denied the pair were alone in the pool and said no such offence could have taken place.

Sir Edward Heath Case

On 1 July 2017, the Daily Telegraph in London carried an article by Henry Yorke and Martin Evans titled “Exclusive: Edward Heath abuse inquiry in doubt over links between witnesses”. It contained the following material:

The long running police inquiry into claims that Sir Edward Heath was a paedophile has been dealt a severe blow, after it emerged that several of the key complainants are connected, raising concerns that they could have colluded before making allegations.

Wiltshire Police have spent almost two years and more than £1 million on Operation Conifer, investigating allegations that the former Tory Prime Minister abused children as part of a VIP paedophile ring.

But The Telegraph can reveal that key testimonies on which the investigation is based are potentially tainted because the alleged victims have a close family connection.

Three of those who claim to have been abused by Sir Edward are sisters whose father was a soldier based at Wilton Barracks in Wiltshire for almost 20-years. The other key complainant in the case, is a discredited fantasist, known as Nick, whose step-father – an Army officer – was also based at Wilton Barracks at the same time.

It has now emerged that both men, who have since died, worked alongside one another for eight years in the stores, and their families are likely to have known one another and may have even socialised together. One expert, who has examined the testimonies, said the close familial connection between Nick and the other complainants means any evidence may have been “cross-contaminated” and could be worthless.

The disclosures come less than a week after it was revealed that a Northumbria Police investigation into whether Nick perverted the course of justice has been widened to include a fraud probe.

Specific details have not been released, but it has been reported previously that he may have received a payout of up to £50,000 from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority for his alleged abuse.

The three sisters, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, first spoke to Wiltshire detectives in 1989, to allege they had been abused when they were children. The decision to go the police came after one of the sisters underwent controversial blocked memory therapy while under hypnosis. But at that stage they made no mention of Sir Edward and no action was taken by the police.

In 2012 Nick also went to Wiltshire Police after undergoing similar therapy and told detectives he had been abused when he was a child, but again made no mention of Sir Edward at that stage. Two years later he went to the Metropolitan Police to claim that he had been abused by a string of VIPs including Sir Edward.

Scotland Yard, still smarting over its failure to bring Jimmy Savile to justice, launched Operation Midland to investigate the claims.

In the summer of 2015 Wiltshire Police launched its own historic sex abuse investigation, and reinterviewed Nick and the sisters – who at that point also accused Sir Edward as being one of their abusers.

Convinced that apparent similarities between the accounts proved the allegations must be true, Superintendent Sean Memory broadcast a televised appeal outside Sir Edward’s former home in Salisbury asking for other “victims” to come forward.

A similar tactic to that engaged by Wiltshire Police occurred in Australia – when Victoria Police issued a statement asking anyone who was aware of any information with respect to sexual assault at St Patrick’s Cathedral in Melbourne between 1996 and 2001 – when George Pell was Archbishop of Melbourne – to come forward.


So, despite the hugely prejudicial coverage in the media against Brittan, Heath and Janner, the allegations fell apart – reflecting the fact that some complainants had “recollections” of events that never happened while others just made up their claims (as one of Lord Brittan’s accusers subsequently admitted).  It is a matter of record that the BBC overlooked Savile’s crimes and that the Metropolitan Police Service did not properly do its job in investigating Saville. This helps to explain the apparent over-reaction by police after Saville’s death.

MWD will keep readers informed of any new development in the British “persons of public prominence” matters.

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 avid 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).


 Last week’s (hugely popular) “A Wendy Harmer Moment” had this to say about Ms Harmer’s recollection that her father said, during the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, that “Barry Goldwater is going to get us all blown up”.

The Cuban Missile Crisis occurred in October 1962 when the United States confronted the Soviet Union and forced it to withdraw nuclear missiles which it had located in communist Cuba, then ruled by Fidel Castro. John F. Kennedy was the US president who stood up to Soviet dictator Nikita Khrushchev. Barry Goldwater became prominent in public life after he attained the Republican nomination to run against incumbent Democratic US president Lyndon B. Johnson in the November 1964 presidential election.

MWD maintained that Senator Goldwater had nothing to do with the Cuban Missile Crisis. Ms Harmer did not concur – and wrote to the late Nancy’s (male) co-owner in the following terms. Here we go:

Wendy Harmer to Gerard Henderson – 8 July 2017

Dear Gerard,

Firstly, thanks for listening and for often providing a written transcript of my radio programme on the ABC. There are none available and so this is must be a task that takes up a good amount of your time on occasion.

However, I take issue with your reference to me in your latest missive in which you infer I am ignorant of political history. You quote me as saying:

Wendy Harmer: I was thinking about the first time I really registered anything about politics – when I was a kid – was the Cuban Missile Crisis. And I remember Dad saying something like: “Oh Barry Goldwater is going to get us all blown up.”

You assert that I am incorrect in my recollection because the Cuban Missile Crisis happened in 1962, whilst Senator Goldwater, running for the 1964 Republican nomination for President, and as a hitherto unknown, “had nothing to do with the Cuban Missile Crisis”. 

I believe your assertion here is incorrect. In fact, there are many sources that record that in ’62, Goldwater, then Senator from Arizona (having been elected in 1953), had quite a lot to say at the time about the approach of President Kennedy during those momentous Thirteen Days In October. Apart from anything else, it’s recorded that during the crisis Sen.Goldwater met with President Kennedy and urged him to attack the Soviet Union. “If that means war, let it mean war” Sen. Goldwater is reported to have said. He came away from that meeting, his advice rejected. So Sen.Goldwater did have something of a role in the Cuban Missile Crisis, according to historians.

It is true to say that those details were most probably unavailable in Australia at that time. However, I did NOT say that Goldwater’s utterances in ‘62 were concurrent with my memory of my political awakening. (Perhaps I am guilty of leaving out the word “also”).

What my father alluded to was the ’64 run-off for the Republican nomination in which the Cuban Missile Crisis (still fresh in everyone’s memory, and my father was a keen student of international politics), played a significant role.

You will recall that in ‘64 Goldwater campaigned on the charge that the Kennedy administration had orchestrated the timing of the Cuban Missile Crisis for “maximum domestic political effect” and warned voters to expect similar for a similarly timed “crisis”. Thus the Cuban Missile Crisis was still a live issue for Goldwater and the US electorate in ‘64, as it was here in Australia. After all, it was a mere two years later.

Lyndon Johnson’s famous attack ad “The Daisy Girl” is credited with turning public sentiment against Goldwater’s hawkish approach and his willingness to explore the nuclear option –  both during the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Vietnam War – even though Goldwater was not directly mentioned. My father, like everyone else, drew the inference however. Hence his statement: “Barry Goldwater is going to get us all blown up”. My memory here remains fresh in my mind.

As a child of seven I was aware of the Cuban Missile Crisis. At the age of nine I was even more cognisant that the terrifying scenario of nuclear Armageddon was still being played out in that era – and I mentioned this on radio in the current context of a possible nuclear tit-for-tat between North Korea and the US and wondered aloud if we’d learned anything in the intervening 50 years.

My late father, born in 1932, had seen enough war (including the bomb dropped on Hiroshima in 1945 when he was a teenager), to reject nuclear armament. He remained a life-long opponent of nuclear weapons – a sentiment he was very keen to pass on to me even when I was a young child, and a stance to which I adhere to, even to this day.

You are welcome to publish my letter, but ask that if you do so, it will be in its entirety.

Yours respectfully,

Wendy Harmer

PS: I am curious that you always provide the quote: “I’m just an old-fashioned socialist” whenever you refer to me here.  I think you may be referencing an appearance of mine on ABC TV’s Q&A in a discussion on privatisation. But I cannot recall referring to myself quite as you have it. Perhaps you can furnish the transcript. Happy to be corrected.

Gerard Henderson to Wendy Harmer – 10 July 2017

 Dear Wendy

Re your email.  I am happy to publish it in unedited form in Media Watch Dog next Friday. I am very busy at the moment but I will reply as soon as possible.

Best wishes

 Gerard Henderson

Wendy Harmer to Gerard Henderson – 10 July 2017

Hi Gerard

Thank you for responding. I’m not requesting you publish my letter. A personal discussion is perfectly fine.

Look forward to your response.

Best regards,


Gerard Henderson

Wendy Harmer to Gerard Henderson – 10 July 2017

 PS: I know it seems unlikely to remember a political event at the age of 7… and I’m sure I didn’t know the name of the event at that time, but do recall the spectre of war being discussed at the kitchen table and the pall that descended.  I asked my husband his first political memory – it was at the same age of seven when Harold Holt disappeared. (He’s younger than me) I also remember very clearly where i was when Ronald Ryan was hung. That left an indelible mark. I was 12 then and remain a staunch opponent of capital punishment.

It’s remarkable that children so young can have recall of such events. I wonder if it was the same for you?

Wendy h.

Gerard Henderson to Wendy Harmer – 14 July 2017

Dear Wendy

Thanks for your email of 10 July 2017.  It’s great to know that you are an avid Media Watch Dog reader.

My response to your missive is set out below.  However, first up, I should respond to your query as to the source of MWD’s reference to you as Wendy (“I’m just an old fashioned socialist”) Harmer.

During your appearance on Q&A on 2 November 2015, after an anti-privatisation rant in which you declared “we can’t afford anything anymore”, you said:

We can’t afford a road without a toll, we can’t afford to build anything without private enterprise.  There is nothing left that we can use to raise capital. I sound like an old fashioned socialist, don’t I?

And the answer is – yes, you did. And – since I believe you – yes, you are. Hence the reference to Wendy (“I’m just an old fashioned socialist”) Harmer in Media Watch Dog.

I have always held the view that the intention of your “I sound like an old fashioned socialist” refrain on Q&A was to make a pitch to get a gig on the taxpayer funded public broadcaster.

So it came as no surprise when the ABC announced, not long after the Q&A program, that you would present “Mornings with Wendy Harmer” on ABC 702 Sydney beginning in early 2016.  Thus commenced MWD’s “A Wendy Harmer Moment” which replaced “A Linda Mottram Moment” which replaced “A Deborah Cameron Moment”.  Sadly, neither Ms Mottram nor your good self have provided the quality Sandalista leftist copy that Deborah Cameron did. As the saying goes – she was so bad that she was good.  But MWD has to live with the media talent it has to work with – alas. That’s why I want the ABC to remain a Conservative Free Zone since this provides lotsa leftist, and old fashioned socialist, material for MWD.

And now for my responses to your email:

  1. The late Mark Colvin once described my correspondence published in MWD as “passive aggressive”. In any event, this was his excuse for not answering my questions about his rejection of my claim that the ABC is a Conservative Free Zone without a conservative presenter, producer or editor for any of its prominent outlets.

I’m not sure what passive aggressive means in this context.  So I accept your “thanks” for providing the occasional transcript of your program in MWD.  The truth is that brief transcripts take very little time to do – so this is not the burden that you seem to assume.  But thanks for caring.

  1. I stand by my view that Senator Barry Goldwater “had nothing to do with the Cuban Missile Crisis” in late 1962. He was a Republican senator at the time of John F. Kennedy Democratic administration. As you yourself acknowledge, Senator Goldwater’s view of how to handle the Cuban Missile Crises was “rejected” by President Kennedy.
  1. I agree with you that Barry Goldwater was not known in Australia at the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis. He became an identity in Australia once the 1964 presidential campaign commenced.
  1. The Cuban Missile Crisis may have still been an issue for Senator Goldwater during the 1964 presidential election campaign. But this does not mean that Goldwater in 1964 was “going to get us all blown up” due to the Cuban Missile Crisis which had occurred sometime earlier – which is what you reported your late father as saying in 1962.
  1. Unlike you, I never expected a “nuclear Armageddon” in the 1960s. I always believed that what was termed “nuclear assured destruction” would prevent the Soviet Union and United States from firing nuclear weapons at each other.
  1. You state that you “adhere to” your father’s opposition to nuclear weapons. This is all very well – but it is only the US’s nuclear capacity which prevents North Korea from waging a nuclear, or even conventional, attack on South Korea today.

I was always opposed to the once fashionable Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament since it involved unilateral disarmament by the West. If the CND (which had substantial support in Australia and elsewhere in the 1960s, 1970s and early 1980s) had succeeded – then the United States, Britain and France would have disarmed, leaving the Soviet Union and China as the world’s only nuclear weapon powers at the time.

  1. I do believe that some children can have a clear recollection of events that they claim happened when they were young. For example, I have a good memory of Essendon’s 1950 Grand Final victory in the (then) Victorian Football League – when I had just turned five. However, I also am aware that some children and adults alike have clear “recollections” of events that never happened. It’s called the fallibility of memory.

* * * * *

All the best.  Keep reading Media Watch Dog.  And do feel free to provide material for MWD’s hugely popular – but, alas, very occasional – “A Wendy Harmer Moment”.

Gerard Henderson



Yesterday afternoon, Gerard Henderson received the following “very disappointed” email from a certain Jenny Handke. Being a courteous kind of guy, Hendo responded courteously.  As follows:

Jenny Handke to Gerard Henderson – 13 July 2017

Hi Gerard,

I feel I need to put you straight on your criticism of the ABC. It is plain wrong that the ABC favours left-leaning commentators/journalists/ panellists. If that is so, why is your wife a regular panellist on The Drum as well as many other conservatives (like IPA people). Why are there regular weekly conservative panellists on Q&A including some with extreme views? Insiders has you on regularly as well.

You have to admit that the ABC is not biased but presents a fair balance of views unlike Sky News and The Australian who peddle the conservative line at all times.

Besides, what makes you so sure that all ABC journalists vote Labor? What about the conservative members of Parliament who once worked for the ABC such as Sarah Henderson and Pru Goward?

Very disappointed,
Jenny Handke


Gerard Henderson to Jenny Handke – 14 July 2017


Thank you for your email concerning the ABC. My responses are as follows:

▪ What I have said about the ABC is that it is a Conservative Free Zone without a conservative presenter, producer or editor for any of its prominent television, radio or online outlets.  This statement is true – and no one at the ABC has named one conservative on one of the ABC’s prominent outlets to refute my comment. If you have a name, please send it to me.

▪ Anne Henderson is not a regular panellist on The Drum.  In fact, she has not been invited on to the program since April 2016.  I can only assume that Anne said something that was contrary to the leftist orthodoxy that prevails within sections of the taxpayer funded public broadcaster and got sent to The Drum’s sin bin.

▪ It’s true that some IPA operatives appear on The Drum. So what?  So do many operatives from the left-wing Australia Institute, McKell Institute and the like.  My point is that The Drum has never had a conservative presenter.

▪ It’s true that Q&A invites some commentators on to its panel. Again, so what? But the left of centre/right of centre “balance” on Q&A is invariably 3 to 2.  Moreover, Q&A has never had a conservative presenter.

▪ It’s true that I appear on Insiders about six to seven times a year. Again, so what?  I note that Insiders is one of the ABC’s most successful programs – partly because there is balance among its panellists.  All up, Insiders included, I would make a mere dozen appearances on ABC TV and Radio a year.

▪ Sky News has some left-of-centre presenters on its prominent programs.  The ABC has no conservative presenters on its prominent programs. The Australian has prominent left-of-centre columnists like Phillip Adams and Graham Richardson.  The ABC has no conservative equivalents on its main programs.

▪ I have never said that “all ABC journalists vote Labor”.  My position is that many ABC journalists are of a Green/Left mindset – while some do not display their political views. ABC journalists tend to criticise both Coalition and Labor governments from the left.   My criticism of the taxpayer funded public broadcaster is not that it employs leftists on its prominent programs but that it does not have any conservatives on its prominent programs.

▪ Correct me if I am wrong.  However, as I recall, the likes of Pru Goward and Sarah Henderson were not political conservatives for most of the time they were employed by the ABC – and certainly not when they commenced their career at the public broadcaster.

Best wishes

Gerard Henderson

Until next time.