GERARD HENDERSON’S MEDIA WATCH DOG
ISSUE – NO. 406
18 May 2018
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.
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STOP PRESS: DOWN TO ITS LAST $1 BILLION DOLLARS A YEAR BUT ABC MANAGES TO SEND ANNABEL CRABB AND JEREMY FERNANDEZ TO LONDON TO SEE THE QUEEN’S GRANDSON’S MARRIAGE; CLAIRE MARCH DECLARES PRESIDENT TRUMP A MANIAC ON PAUL MURRAY LIVE
CAN YOU BEAR IT? SAMAN SHAD; PAUL DALEY; NICK MILLER; DANNY TRAN & LOUISE MILLIGAN
AN ABC UPDATE: FAIRFAX MEDIA’S JENNIFER DUKE ACKNOWLEDGES ABC’S GROUP-THINK; KELLI UNDERWOOD PRESIDES OVER THE VERY SAME GROUP-THINK ON OFFSIDERS
FIVE PAWS AWARD: STEP FORWARD GREG SHERIDAN FOR STARING DOWN JON (“I INTERRUPT THEREFORE I AM”) FAINE
NANCY’S COURTESY CLASSES: BEN OQUIST GAINS ENTRY FOR ABRUPT Q&A PERFORMANCE
MEDIA BEAT-UP OF THE WEEK: FAIRFAX MEDIA ON THE SCOTT PRUITT & CARDINAL GEORGE PELL 2017 (UNIMPORTANT) DINNER IN ROME
JOHN LAWS STYLE DELIBERATE MISTAKE: THE RED BANDANNED ONE’S PRIVILEGED UNIVERSITY RESIDENCE CORRECTED
AN INSIGHT INTO AUNTY’S “IN-DEPTH AND INSIGHTFUL” COVERAGE OF THE ROYAL WEDDING IN WHICH ANNABEL CRABB TALKS TO A CABBIE & JEREMY FERNANDEZ BUYS A PLATE
It’s just gone a week since Gaven Morris – the ABC’s director of News, Analysis and Investigations – told the Melbourne Press Club that the $88.7 million funding freeze to the ABC, which was announced in the 2018 budget, would have a devastating effect. After declaring: “Make no mistake, there is no more fat to cut at ABC News”, Mr Morris said that the ABC will have to “cut into muscle”. ABC News and Current Affairs runs on an annual budget of around $200 million a year out of the public broadcaster’s annual hand-out of over $1 billion.
The budget decision, which was announced by Communications Minister Mitch Fifield (see MWD, Issue 405), had led to weeping and gnashing of teeth at the taxpayer-funded public broadcaster, Fairfax Media and throughout Sandalista Land. For example, last Monday The Age ran a series of letters bemoaning the budget decision under the heading “Broadcaster suffering death by a thousand cuts.” The Guardian published an article yesterday by Per Capita executive director Emma Dawson arguing that the ABC needs to be saved – apparently a $1 billion hand-out each year is not sufficient to run the public broadcaster in Australia.
Those who run businesses in the private sector would not regard a reduction in revenue of about two per cent out of any annual budget of about $1 billion as difficult to handle. It’s different, it seems, when revenue is obtained by making a trip to Canberra with some empty buckets and returning to the ABC headquarters in Ultimo, Sydney with the buckets full of cash.
In any event, the good news is that the ABC’s cuts-to-the-bone do not seem to have taken effect yet. And so, it came to pass that Gaven Morris and his team managed to find the funds to send ABC TV stars Annabel Crabb and Jeremy Fernandez to London to see the Queen’s grandson Harry marry Meghan Markle tomorrow. There they join the already large contingent of ABC reporters in London – namely Steve Cannane, James Glenday and Lisa Millar who are also covering the Harry-Meghan hitch.
When this was criticised in News Corp newspapers yesterday, Sally Jackson (the ABC News, Analysis & Investigations media contact) issued a statement which contained the following information:
The royal wedding is of national and international significance, and as the national broadcaster the ABC is uniquely positioned to provide quality, distinctive coverage that localises the event for all Australians. ABC audiences expect more than simply a live feed and news reports of such a major event. Co-hosts Annabel Crabb and Jeremy Fernandez will enrich our coverage by providing in-depth and insightful commentary that informs, engages and entertains our audiences. All travel and accommodation falls within ABC guidelines.
So, what have Royal Wedding co-hosts Annabel Crabb and Jeremy Fernandez been up to in “providing an in-depth and insightful commentary that informs, engages and entertains” ABC audiences? Not much – actually.
Mr Fernandez’s opening performance took place on the ABC TV News Breakfast program yesterday. There were shots of your man Fernandez in the tourist gigs around Piccadilly Circus buying souvenir stuff. Let’s go to the transcript after the ABC’s intrepid (Royal) reporter discussed fashion, THE DRESS, and all that:
Jeremy Fernandez: Speaking of high-end fashion, let me just show you, because I’ve been shopping. Look at this, a commemorative plate. I cannot tell you how many commemorative plates I’ve seen – and this is one of them. We’ve got a little mug here to match. And then who can resist a flag? A flag with the faces of the Royal couple for this weekend.
You can see the sense here in the ABC’s decision to despatch “more than simply news reporters to London”. Who else, but your man Fernandez, could give such an insightful account of purchasing a plate, a mug and a flag from a souvenir hawker? And what about the shot of the “insightful” Mr Fernandez outside a souvenir shop – see below.
And then last night Annabel Crabb thrilled the 7.30 audience with her account of the Royal excitement. Her first interview was with – wait for it – a London cab driver with a pony-tail named “John” who called her “Darling”. Thereafter, she interviewed three sheilas and a bloke in the back of John’s cab about the union of Harry and Meghan. How more “in-depth” can the coverage of a Royal wedding be than this?
MWD is not certain about what other ABC TV viewers thought of the inaugural Royal “scoops” of co-hosts Annabel Crabb and Jeremy Fernandez. But MWD is happy to report that Jackie’s (male) co-owner Hendo certainly felt enriched, informed, engaged and entertained – in Sally-Jackson terminology.
There was more in-depth Royal reportage this morning. Annabel Crabb appeared shortly after 6 am on ABC TV’s News Breakfast. Her report – informing all Australians – involved an interview with two middle-aged Royal watchers who have camped out near Windsor Castle. It seems that cabbie John was off the road at that time.
Private Eye used to run a satirical interview with a know-all London cabbie about London, the world and so on. It looks like Ms Crabb didn’t get the joke.[I understand that Hendo is travelling to Melbourne on Saturday evening for a gig on the Insiders couch on Sunday. Here’s hoping that he does not miss too much of the Crabb/Fernandez “enrichment”. –MWD Editor]
● MEANWHILE TRUMP-PHOBIA GETS A LATE NIGHT RUN ON PAUL MURRAY OVERTIME
Feeling enriched after Annabel Crabb’s stunning performance on 7.30, Jackie’s (male) co-owner switched over to Sky News and stayed viewing long enough to watch Paul Murray Overtime after 10 pm.
Your man Murray said nothing when panellist Claire March, who described herself as the show’s resident leftie, made the following comment about President Donald J. Trump:
Claire March: Look, he’s a maniac. It doesn’t matter how entertaining he is – he’s still a maniac.
Calling someone a “maniac” is mere abuse. But on Paul Murray’s Overtime it passes as analysis. Claire March has never met the President and has no knowledge about whether he is a maniac or not.
For the record, Alan Dershowitz (who voted for Hillary Clinton in November 2016) has known Donald Trump for decades. He confirms that the President is much the same as he was in the 1970s – and that there is no evidence that he is deranged. In his recent book Trumped Up: How Criminalization of Political Differences Endangers Democracy, Mr Dershowitz has warned about the folly of weaponising psychiatry. He believes that President Trump should be opposed for his politics.
CAN YOU BEAR IT?
SAMAN SHAD’S DRUM HOWLER RE GREG SHERIDAN’S CHILDREN
What a stunning performance by writer Saman Shad (storyteller, playwright, radio maker and Fairfax Media/Guardian/SBS contributor) on The Drum last Tuesday. When discussion turned to the Turnbull government’s decision to increase surveillance at airports – including giving police authority to check the identity of individuals – panellist Greg Sheridan defended the policy. He argued that it was reasonable for police to query people whom they regarded as more likely to commit a terrorist attack than others.
Fellow panellists Saman Shad and Jacqueline Maley were having none of this – sensing racial profiling. Let’s go to the transcript:
Jacqueline Maley: How could you possibly say that Greg – that they’re not going to do racial profiling but they’ll do it on gender and age grounds. I mean, why would they do it on gender and age grounds and not on –
Greg Sheridan: Because I’ve witnessed this and been subject to it myself, taking my sons through the Middle East. And the people who’ve detained us very often have said to me, “Look sir, you are so old and feeble, that plainly you are not a terrorist; but these three fit young blokes you have, they are in the prime terrorist age”. Young blokes aged 18-40, that is the prime terrorist age.
Ellen Fanning: Doesn’t this underscore though, that we are guessing. There doesn’t seem to have been any evidence as to why this allocation of funds is being made, and how it will make a difference. And that’s a question for me.
Greg Sheridan: And where is the evidence that the Australian Police would engage in racial profiling?
Ellen Fanning: And where is the evidence they wouldn’t?
Saman Shad: Exactly. And Greg, sorry but Greg –
Greg Sheridan: Where is the evidence they don’t commit murder or blackmail, what is the actual evidence that they do that?
Saman Shad: Yeah, but Greg you’re talking about your own personal experience you know. And you can’t just say: “Hey it didn’t happen to me, and you know, from what I spoke to people about it actually, just because you know, my sons happen to be white but also young” –
Greg Sheridan: [Interjecting] Hey, look as a matter of fact –
Saman Shad: [Interjecting] Hang on a second, you cannot –
Greg Sheridan: [Interjecting] My sons don’t happen to be white. So you’re not allowed to talk about my sons whom you know nothing about. And they don’t happen to be white, as a matter of fact.
Saman Shad: Okay, great.
Greg Sheridan: So, don’t make your identity assumptions about me, thanks very much.
Talk about racial profiling. Ms Shad simply assumed that because Greg Sheridan is white – then his sons must also be white. And when the error is pointed out, there was no apology – only “Yeah, great.” Can You Bear It?
THE GUARDIAN’S PAUL DALEY THROWS THE SWITCH TO ALIENATION AND TRUMP-PHOBIA WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM HIS PRE-TEEN DAUGHTER
While on the topic of journalists’ children – what a stunning piece in The Guardian yesterday by leading Sandalista Paul Daley.
Your man Daley told readers – if readers there were – about this (secular) sermon his pre-teen daughter preached to her parents in the car only a few months ago:
“Mum and Dad – I don’t want you to be upset at this or anything,” she began.
She had our attention. “Yes?” came our chorus.
She continued, “OK and when I talk about you in what I’m about to say I don’t actually mean you personally – I mean your generation. OK?”
“Well, you’re wrecking the world for my generation. The world is more unsafe than when you were kids, more and more species are going extinct, there are more refugees and the world is meaner to them, there are more wars, there’s more terrorism and more racism and you haven’t stopped climate change. No offence – but it’s true. You’re ruining the world.”
There is nothing that alienated intellectuals such as Paul Daley like more than lectures from their pre-teen children which read like the rant of a Green Left teacher in a social science class.
Needless to say, your man Daley found his off-spring’s analysis “devastating…because it’s mostly true”. He then threw the switch to Trump-phobia with a dash of old-fashioned anti-Americanism. Here we go:
In the 1980s our chief global concern was nuclear Armageddon at the tail end of the cold war. Today the daily threat might be China, Iran or North Korea, with the constant, of course, given the bellicosity and unpredictability of Trump, always America. Many Australian conservatives let slip much about their fears of a Trump White House as the beast roared on its way up – his hatred of women and minorities, his temperamental unsuitability, in short all of the things our children so easily identified and empathetically condemned as they would the schoolyard bully. My daughter and her friends talk of Trump constantly as a present and future threat to their world.
Meanwhile, toxic nationalism, in Australia and elsewhere, is more potent than it has been since the world wars, manifesting here in even greater oppression and marginalisation of Indigenous people, and the political vilification of asylum seekers and their banishment to earthy hell. The militarisation of Australian history and culture continues apace at the expense of gentler, more thoughtful forms of patriotism.
Yeah, right. President Trump is a threat to the world and a hater of women and minorities. Yet the fact is that in November 2016 Trump received the support of more white women than Hillary Clinton – and more blacks and Latinos than Mitt Romney did in 2012. So – according to Mr Daley’s thinking – those who support Trump must not understand their true interest, unlike his highly articulate daughter.
As to the assertion that Australia is replete with toxic nationalism – how is it that so many immigrants and asylum seekers want to settle here? Mere fools, perhaps. Can You Bear It?
FAIRFAX MEDIA’S NICK MILLER RELIES ON ANDREW MORTON FOR HIS VERY OWN VERBAL SLUDGE ON THE MARKLE FAMILY
It’s a brave journalist who writes about the dysfunction of others. But they do exist. Step forward Fairfax Media’s brave Nick Miller – whose article “The right royal dysfunction in Meghan Markle’s family” was published online on Wednesday. This is how the piece commenced:
London: Even before Meghan met Harry, hers was a fractured and distant family, says biographer Andrew Morton.
Believe it or not [If your man Miller is involved, I’ll believe it – MWD Editor] the sole source for this piece was Andrew Morton – who writes about the living whom he has never met or spoken to. Like Ms Markle who, apparently, is soon to become the Duchess of Sussex.
Of all the verbal sludge in Nick Miller’s article, this is the part of the article that Jackie’s (male) co-owner found most touching:
Of all of them [Meghan Markle’s family], only her mother is still (fairly) certain to attend. She’s been in the UK for almost a week already, helping with wedding prep, and will stay with Meghan at Cliveden House the night before the wedding. (Apparently they are staying in the hotel’s Spring Cottage, which is infamous as the temporary home of 19-year-old Christine Keeler when she met Conservative MP John Profumo and sparked one of the country’s biggest political scandals).
Well, fancy that. The seventh paragraph of Miller’s article informs readers – if readers there be – that Meghan and her Mum will stay at the same place as Christine Keeler did (for a night or so) over half a century ago. What Fairfax Media’s Europe correspondent failed to tell readers is that the pair are not taking digs for the night at Holloway Prison, where Ms Keeler spent time at Her Majesty’s pleasure – also about half a century ago. By the way, Ms Markle’s mother, Doria Ragland, has not been in Britain for “almost a week already” – she is reported to have left the US for London on Thursday (Los Angeles time).
Nick Miller’s piece went on and on and on [Does he get paid by the word? – MWD Editor] about Meghan Markle’s family members and her ex. All based on what Andrew Morton has written or said.
In the review of Morton’s book Meghan: A Hollywood Princess, May 2018, Private Eye (4 May 2018) had this to say:
With 277 pages to fill, a dearth of insights and a deadline snapping at his tasselled loafers, Morton ladles on the pointless trivia. Markle, we are informed, likes courgettes. Her mother’s obstetrician’s first name was Malverse. She once borrowed a cardigan from Anna Wintour at Wimbledon “so her simple but expensive black suede Ralph Lauren dress would not be stained by rain while they waited for the roof to roll across”.
Here, every minor personal setback becomes a vision quest and every success a glittering harbinger of glories to come. Thus, a blouse worn to a graduation bash is “a prescient foreshadowing of the office-wear she would don to play Rachel Zane in Suits over a decade later”. Princess Di is, unsurprisingly, a frequent visitor, picking her way over this glutinous factberg whenever Morton needs help plumping up the narrative cushions: “In some ways,” he writes, shamelessly, “the groomed and camera-ready Markle was the woman Diana always wanted to be.”
That’s a glimpse of the literary standard of Andrew Morton’s biography of a living person whom he has never spoken to. Yet Fairfax Media’s Nick Miller relied on Morton for his piss-poor piece on dysfunction and all that. Can You Bear It?
ABC SPIKES PETER HOYSTED’S ROLE IN REVEALING VICTORIA POLICE HISTORIC PEDOPHILE COVER-UP
On 7 May 2018, ABC News Online ran an article by Danny Tran titled “Ex-detective Denis Ryan wins compensation decades after being pushed by Victoria Police”. It commenced as follows:
A former detective, who was financially and professionally ruined by his own superiors for trying to bring a paedophile priest to justice, will receive compensation almost 50 years after he was pushed out of Victoria Police.
Denis Ryan gave up his police pension when he chose to resign from the force after being ordered to drop his investigation into Monsignor John Day, a Catholic paedophile priest who preyed on children in the Mallee.
The decision had a profound impact on his life, costing him a marriage and the prospect of a comfortable retirement. Until now, he has lived in a rented unit on the proceeds of an aged pension. But a month after his plight was revealed by the ABC, the Victorian Government has reached a confidential settlement with the 86-year-old.
What a load of absolute tosh. Denis Ryan’s plight is well known – and has been since at least 2013 when he co-authored with Peter Hoysted the book Holy Trinity: The hunt for paedophile priest Monsignor John Day. It was dedicated “to the victims of Monsignor John Day”. Also Mr Ryan gave evidence to the Royal Commission Into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. There were reports in the Melbourne Observer as early as August 1972 concerning Victoria Police’s failure to charge a prominent rural based senior Catholic priest with child sexual abuse.
It is a fiction for the ABC to claim that Denis Ryan’s plight was revealed by the ABC. It’s also unfair to freelance journalist Peter Hoysted who did ground-breaking research on Day’s offending and Denis Ryan’s inability to have Day charged with child sexual assault due to interference by his superiors in Victoria Police.
The unprofessionalism continued on the ABC TV Breakfast program on 8 May when Paul Kennedy discussed the matter with his fellow co-presenter Virginia Trioli. The impression was given that Denis Ryan’s plight was revealed in the documentary Undeniable which was presented by Paul Kennedy and ran on ABC TV on 12 December 2017. This is also nonsense.
This is an important point. The evidence suggests that if John Day had been charged with child sexual assault around half a century ago this would have had an impact on other pedophile priests operating in the Catholic diocese of Ballarat (where Day’s Mildura parish was located) – including the notorious offender Gerald Ridsdale. Like the Royal Commission, the ABC has been relatively soft on the failure of police in the various States and Territories to properly investigate pedophilia. Like the Royal Commission, the focus of the ABC on historical child sexual assault cases has been on the Catholic Church and to a lesser extent the Anglican Church.
Now the ABC Online is praising Victoria Police and Victorian premier Daniel Andrews for giving financial compensation to Denis Ryan in May 2018 for a grave injustice which was revealed in full by freelance journalist Peter Hoysted five years ago and concerning which Victoria Police had apologised to Mr Ryan in 2016. And the ABC is claiming an EXCLUSIVE in the process. Can You Bear It?
LOUISE MILLIGAN’S TWEET CONTRADICTS HER OWN BOOK
While on the topic of Pell-obsessives in the media, here’s the Tweet which ABC journalist Louise (“I don’t answer questions from reviewers about my book Cardinal”) Milligan put out at 10.44 am last Sunday:
|Louise Milligan (@Milliganreports)|
|13/05/2018, 10:44 AM
One year ago tonight, in one of those spooky coincidences, a friend dashed through Heathrow to capture this image of a man who was too perilously ill to fly.pic.twitter.com/uksTo6c0xB
This is old – and fake – news. The photograph of Cardinal George Pell arriving at Heathrow Airport after a flight from Rome was published about a year ago. Hardly worthy of a mid-morning tweet last Sunday.
Also, it is simply fake news for Ms Milligan to claim that anyone ever said last year that the cardinal “was too perilously ill to fly”. It seems that the ABC’s “star” journalist cannot even remember what she wrote in her book Cardinal, which was published in 2017. There Ms Milligan wrote that George Pell had a heart condition which his medical advisors said could lead to a heart failure if he undertook long flights. Rome to Sydney or Melbourne direct is a long flight; Rome to London is a short flight.
So what about Louise Milligan’s claim of last Sunday that someone or other said a year ago that Cardinal Pell was “too perilously ill to fly” from Rome to London? Well, she just made this up. Can You Bear It?
AN ABC UPDATE
FAIRFAX MEDIA’S JENNIFER DUKE ACKNOWLEDGES LACK OF INTELLECTUAL DIVERSITY AT THE ABC
For eons, MWD has been describing the ABC as a Conservative Free Zone – without one conservative presenter, producer or editor for any of its prominent television, radio or online outlets.
It seems, at last, that some ABC insiders are beginning to recognise that depending on taxpayers to fund a Conservative Free Zone is not smart. This is what the perceptive Fairfax Media journalist Jennifer Duke had to say about the matter in an article in last Saturday’s Sydney Morning Herald titled “The challenge facing the ABC”.
There is no doubt conservatives have an emotional reaction to ABC coverage. But even some insiders think the Aunty has created a rod for its own back. “Guthrie has done a lot on diversity,” says one former staffer who accused the newsroom of suffering from “group-think”. “There are lots of people from different backgrounds. But that’s ethnic diversity – there is not intellectual diversity”.
And that’s the point. In a Conservative Free Zone, it stands to reason that there will be “group-think”. After all, there is no one to challenge the view of the fashionable leftist or green left consensus.
ABC managing director Michelle Guthrie’s commitment to diversity is fine – but shallow. Since it does not include intellectual diversity. That’s why so-called debates on the taxpayer funded public broadcaster often involve discussions where everyone agrees with everyone else and a fine ideological time is had by all. It’s just that this is not diversity.
GROUP THINK MEETS ABC TV’S OFFSIDERS
An example of such group-think occurred on ABC TV’s Offsiders program last Sunday. Kelli Underwood was the presenter and the invited panellists were journalists Peter Lalor, Mel McLaughlin and Alister Nicholson.
Around the middle of the program, the Offsiders producer played a clip of Rugby Australia chief executive Raelene Castle discussing the difficulty of handling star footballer Israel Folau who has made critical statements about homosexuality.
Ms Castle said that this was the most difficult issue she has had to deal with in her career – in view of the clash between the human rights of individuals not to be offended and the rights of others to express their views for religious or other reasons.
After the clip was played, Kelli Underwood ceased being a presenter and assumed a commentator’s stance – declaring:
Kelli Underwood: Couldn’t disagree more. It is a black and white issue. It’s not freedom of speech, it’s hate speech. And you have to ask yourself the question: “What if he [Israel Folau] was making these sorts of comments about race – Is that freedom of speech as well? Regardless of whether he thinks it’s religion or not, the fact is he’s offending a large section of the community in Australia and it’s got to stop. How have we seen her handling of it?
Immediately Ms Underwood and her three panellists engaged in a pile-on against the Rugby player. Alister Nicholson agreed with Underwood who agreed with Peter Lalor who agreed with Mel McLaughlin who agreed with Kelli Underwood who agreed with herself that Raelene Castle had handled the Israel Folau issue badly. No other view was heard.
But there are other views. Including that of Catherine McGregor who wrote in a column in Fairfax Media newspapers today that she totally supports Folau’s “right to damn” her and other transgender people since he should never be silenced for saying what he believes. That’s the free speech position which was referred to by Raelene Castle on Offsiders but condemned unanimously by presenter Kelli Underwood and her hand-picked panel. And that’s an example of the lack of intellectual diversity within so many ABC programs.
FIVE PAWS AWARD
STEP FORWARD GREG SHERIDAN
Media Watch Dog’s Five Paws Award was inaugurated in Issue Number 26 (4 September 2009) during the time of Nancy (2004-2017). The first winner was ABC TV presenter Emma Alberici. Ms Alberici scored for remembering the Nazi-Soviet Pact of 23 August 1939 whereby Hitler and Stalin divided Eastern Europe between Germany and the Soviet Union. And for stating that the Nazi-Soviet Pact had effectively started the Second World War, since it was immediately followed by Germany’s invasion of Poland (at a time when the Soviet Union had become an ally of Germany).
Over the years, the late Nancy’s Five Paws Award has become one of the world’s most prestigious gongs – rating just below the Nobel Prize and the Academy Awards. Joe Aston, of the Australian Financial Review’s “Rear Window” column, has declared that he would much prefer to win a Five Paws Award than a Walkley. Mr Aston is a past Five Paws Award recipient. He is joined today by Greg Sheridan.
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While on the topic of ABC presenters who double up as commentators on their own programs – is there anyone quite so self-opinionated as ABC Radio 774 presenter Jon Faine?
Thanks to the Melbourne avid reader who drew attention to the exchange on Mornings with Jon Faine last Tuesday over the killings engaged in by the Israeli Defence Force as they prevented Hamas-led operatives and demonstrators entering Israel from Gaza.
It so happened that on this occasion you man Faine met his match. His guest was The Australian’s Greg Sheridan who objected to the fact that the ABC presenter wanted to both ask and answer questions – and also interrupted comments with which he did not agree.
For some extracts of the Faine/Sheridan exchange – see here. The disagreements commence about 90 seconds into the recording.
Greg Sheridan – Five Paws.
MANNERS MAKETH THE CANINE
NANCY’S COURTESY CLASSES OPEN NOW FOR BEN OQUIST
As avid readers are aware, the late Nancy (2004-2017) did not die. She merely “passed” on to the Other Side. Hence MWD has been able to keep in touch with her – with the help of the American psychic John Edward. And so Nancy’s “Courtesy Classes” continue – albeit from the “Other Side”.
Writing in the Sun-Herald on Monday, news.com national TV writer Colin Vickery delivered a powerful critique about the decline in the quality of ABC TV news and current affairs in recent years. This has even led to the demise of the once highly influential Lateline program on the watch of ABC “star” Emma Alberici. Under Ms Alberici, the ratings were so poor and the program’s influence so diminished that Lateline was junked. Vickery concluded his piece as follows:
When I look through the ABC television programming schedule, there is very little to get truly excited about. It is mostly a mix of old titles past their best days and clones of shows I can see on the commercial TV networks. In 2018, that isn’t good enough.
Earlier Colin Vickery had this to say:
Stalwarts Australian Story, Four Corners and Gruen have their must-see episodes, but are no longer appointment viewing. Q&A has turned into a self-congratulatory snooze-fest.
Maybe your man Vickery is into prophecy. For Q&A last Monday had a shocker of a start. First up, the panel had the usual pro-Labor and anti-Coalition 3/2 “balance”. Labor’s Chris Bowen and the Australia Institute’s Ben Oquist were highly critical of the Turnbull government’s 2018 budget as was (to a lesser extent) Elizabeth Proust of Australian Institute of Company Directors. Then there was Minister Angus Taylor and economist and columnist for The Australian Judith Sloan.
Q&A’s first segment – on Tax Fairness – saw substantial initial comments by Minister Taylor, Mr Bowen, Mr Oquist and Ms Proust (in that order). But when it came time for Dr Sloan to make her initial comment, she was constantly interrupted by Oquist and could not make a significant uninterrupted contribution. Q&A presenter Tony Jones failed to protect Sloan – as the transcript demonstrates:
Tony Jones: OK. Now, Judith, what do you think?
Judith Sloan: Well, I actually disagree with that. I mean, we can fiddle around with figures a lot, Ben, and, in fact, you dismissed the impact of fiscal drag, as we call bracket creep. It’s a great name, isn’t it?
Ben Oquist: I don’t dismiss it. I just – It’s a small problem, not a big problem.
Judith Sloan: OK, up until now, the only budget repair that’s occurred is actually because of fiscal drag, or bracket creep. Who are the groups worst affected by fiscal drag? They’re actually in quintile two and three. Your women, actually. So, I don’t know where you’re getting your figures from.
Ben Oquist: But this is –
Judith Sloan: They are – No, they are the worst. Sorry.
Ben Oquist: The long-term tax plan eliminates bracket creep at the top, not at the bottom.
Judith Sloan: No, that’s absolutely untrue.
Ben Oquist: So it doesn’t address bracket creep really at the bottom.
Judith Sloan: That’s absolutely untrue.
Ben Oquist: No, it’s not.
Judith Sloan: And, you see, when you say that 62 per cent of the gains go to the top, they’re paying 75 per cent, so in fact –
Tony Jones: Judith, a lot of people are going to get a little confused by the detail that you’re going into here. Just talk to the idea of moving – I could call it economic jargon.
Judith Sloan: OK.
And so it went on – with Ben Oquist constantly interrupting Judith Sloan. Eventually Tony Jones intervened – to silence Dr Sloan.
Ben Oquist: It’s being made less progressive. I’ll give you another –
Judith Sloan: No, no, no. Stop, Ben. Ben, just listen to this simple figure.
Ben Oquist: Just one second. When John Howard was –
Judith Sloan: Just listen to this simple figure.
Tony Jones: You’re talking over each other. We’ll have to stop that. We’ll come back to you.
Judith Sloan: Well, I haven’t had much of a go.
Ben Oquist: When John Howard was prime minister –
Judith Sloan: I guess it’s because I’m a woman.
Audience : Ooh!
Ben Oquist: I’m sorry. I missed that.
Judith Sloan: Well, you would.
Ben Oquist: When John –
Tony Jones: Judith was making the point that she’s been cut off because she’s a woman. We’ll go back to her in a moment. Finish your point.
Ben Oquist: One quick point.
How about that? Mr Jones asked the Australia Institute supremo to finish his interruption. Consequently, Oquist went on again. Eventually Tony Jones asked: “What would you like to say, sister?” Dr Sloan went on to say (briefly) that Oquist was just talking through his hat. Tony Jones then changed topics.
In this exchange, the director of the left-wing Australia Institute uttered 461 words, mainly uninterrupted. And The Australian’s Judith Sloan said a mere 317 words, mainly interrupted. And Q&A presents itself as being fair to all parties.
Whatever Ben Oquist learnt from his student days at the University of Technology, Sydney and from his time working with The Greens in Canberra – it is not manners. It’s not a good move for a bloke to interrupt a woman on national television – even if Tony Jones allows a man to do so.
Ben Oquist – off to Nancy’s Courtesy Classes for you.
MEDIA BEAT-UP OF THE WEEK
IN WHICH FAIRFAX MEDIA BEATS-UP AN UNPLANNED DINNER BETWEEN CARDINAL PELL & US ENVIRONMENTAL CHIEF SCOTT PRUITT WHICH HAD NO OUTCOME
There was enormous interest in the inaugural segment of “Media Beat-up of the Week” in last week’s MWD. So much so that Jackie’s (male) co-owner has been urged to run this segment as frequently as possible. [That should not be too difficult a task, given the topic. – MWD Editor.]
On Sunday 13 May Fairfax Media newspapers gave prominence to a piece by Rachel Olding who essentially re-wrote a story which appeared in the New York Times on 11 May (by Eric Lipton and Lisa Friedman). It was about, you’ve guessed it, Cardinal Pell. The article was given greatest prominence in the Sun-Herald where it ran on Page 7 titled “Pell dined with under-fire US environmental chief”. The story ran on Page 13 of The Sunday Age and Page 13 of the Sunday Canberra Times.
It was the usual over-written journalese frequently found with beat-ups, as the first sentence indicates:
Cardinal George Pell has emerged as a mystery guest who dined at a lavish Rome restaurant with embattled US environmental chief Scott Pruitt to secretly plan a public debate challenging climate change.
So there you have it. Cardinal Pell was a MYSTERY GUEST at a LAVISH restaurant with an EMBATTLED member of the Trump administration where they entered into a SECRET plan.
The journalese continued in the Fairfax Media Online’s coverage of the story where it turned out that the news of the event, when it occurred, involved EXTRAORDINARY REVELATIONS. Which – cliché alert – were likely to RAISE EYEBROWS in the Vatican.
In fact, Scott Pruitt – head of the United States’ Environmental Agency – was in Italy in June 2017 to attend the G-7 summit. Mr Pruitt had a busy program when he visited the Holy See. Before he headed off to Bologna the next day, Scott Pruitt was a guest of Leonard Leo (vice-president of the Federalist Society) at the La Terrazza restaurant in the Hotel Eden. Two invited guests asked George Pell to go along as a “plus one”. During the meeting the cardinal met with the Environmental Agency head and discussed environmental issues. After around two hours, Cardinal Pell went home and Mr Pruitt went off to a briefing. No secret plan followed the unscheduled meeting. Er, that’s it.
Mr Olding’s beat-up concluded online as follows:
His [Cardinal Pell’s] presence at the dinner is likely to raise eyebrows in the Vatican following Pope Francis’ declaration in 2015 that the science is “clear” and climate change is a “moral issue that must be addressed in order to protect the Earth”. Francis said last year that “history will judge” climate change deniers.
It’s true that Mr Pruitt and Cardinal Pell are sceptical about some of the predictions of the eco-catastrophists in our midst. And it’s also true that Pope Francis regards climate change as a clear and present danger. However, the role of the Pope is to speak out and teach on matters of faith and morals. The Catholic Church does not have a teaching on climate change since it is not related to faith and morals – and individual Catholics, including the Pope, will hold different views on this issue. Fairfax Media please note.
A CORRECTION RE THE PRIVILEGED BACKGROUND OF THE MODERN DAY LEFTIST FITZSIMONS
As avid readers will be aware, last week’s “Fitz’s Fake News” segment focused on Peter FitzSimons’ claim of last November that Coalition members and senators – not Labor Party members and senators – had problems with dual citizenship matters due to their “born to rule the show” mentality. In other words, the Coalition has a born-to-rule mentality – a result of which Coalition politicians do not bother about Section 44 or the Australian Constitution. According to the latter day neo-Marxist, the Red Bandannaed One, that is.
Interesting hypothesis. Pity about the facts. As it turned out, Labor has a substantial problem with members and senators holding dual citizenship – hence the forthcoming by-elections in Fremantle and Burnie and the resignation from the Senate of Katy Gallagher. There was also the recent by-election in Batman following the revelation that David Feeney was a dual national.
In its analysis of The Red Bandannaed One’s piss-poor Marxist analysis, MWD had this to say:
…Fairfax Media columnist Peter FitzSimons got involved in the debate some time ago because of an analysis of class. Yep, the Red Bandannaed One – who was educated at Knox Grammar School and Sydney University (where he resided at St Andrew’s College) and played the gentleman’s game Rugby Union – these days pretends to be on the side of the toiling masses and opposes the conservatives.
Well done to the reader who picked the John-Laws-Style-Deliberate-Mistake and pointed out that Fitz spent his privileged residential university years at Wesley College – not St Andrews College. So now you know.
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Until next time.
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