GERARD HENDERSON’S MEDIA WATCH DOG
ISSUE – NO. 416
27 July 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.
* * * *
STOP PRESS: Ellen Fanning on 7:30
Editorial: Fairfax Media’s Demise: An Alternative Explanation
Can You Bear It: Louise Adler; Jane Caro; Danny McGinlay and La Trioli; Mark Kenny
An ABC Update: A flashback to “Red Kerry” O’Brien Circa 1976; Aunty’s Corporate Video (Sheilas Free) on ABC Principles starring Costa Georgiadis, Chas Licciardello and Richard Fidler
Phillip Adams Special MWD “Viewpoint” – As Told To Jackie
Hamish Macdonald’s Fake News Segment Continued: Starring Fran Kelly
Report from the US Studies Centre – David Smith Compares Donald Trump to Louis XIV
Pedantry Pit Stop: Keith McLennan & Lindsay E. Help Out
* * * *
ELLEN FANNING’S PRESUMPTUOUS QUESTIONS
Did anyone see Ellen Fanning’s interview on 7.30 last night with Nine’s chief executive officer Hugh Marks? Ms Fanning’s line seemed to be that Fairfax Media and ABC journalists could be relied on to report news and ask the proper questions – but not those employed by Nine Entertainment.
Alas the 7.30 presenter seems to forget that ABC reporters have failed to cover the public broadcaster’s very own case of historic child sexual abuse or its role in facilitating pederasty in 1975. All this has been documented in past issues of Media Watch Dog.
Last night 7.30 covered the conviction of Archbishop Philip Wilson for not reporting a case of child sexual assault which he was aware of in 1975. The archbishop is appealing. But Ms Fanning did not report that virtually no one has read the magistrate’s judgement since it has not been – and will not be – released, even in redacted form. This is documented by Fr. Frank Brennan in Eureka Street.
The fact is that ABC journalism is not of as high a standard as some ABC journalists like to believe. Who knows? Nine Entertainment may do a better job with The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age than was achieved by Fairfax Media.
FAIRFAX MEDIA’S DEATH FOLLOWED CONTEMPT FOR ITS TRADITIONAL BASE
It’s just five years since MUP published Colleen Ryan’s Fairfax: The Rise and Fall. This seemed a somewhat presumptuous proposition at the time. But yesterday the death of Fairfax Media became a reality.
There are many and varied reasons for the demise of a media company early in the 21st century – primarily, of course, the decline of advertising in its traditional forms.
But perhaps the unfashionable point is that, years ago, the likes of the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age lost contact with their base. Traditionally both newspapers sold well in Coalition voting areas in the suburbs of Sydney and Melbourne as well as in rural and regional areas of NSW and Victoria respectively.
The problem was that in recent decades Fairfax Media’s proprietors allowed left-wing journalists to attack the company’s base of support. Namely Coalition voters, social conservatives who were Christian and sent their children to non-government schools – along with businesses that were big, medium and small. In short, the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age ran stories that demeaned the actions and beliefs of their readership and advertising base. At times, The Age in particular read a bit like the Green Left Weekly.
On the ABC TV’s The Drum last night, one-time Age editor Andrew Jaspan conceded that, unlike News Corp, Fairfax Media did not really know what it was about. Rupert Murdoch is sometimes accused of being tribal – but at least he has a tribe. Mr Jaspan identified Fairfax Media’s lack of direction – but failed to recognise that when Age editor between 2004 and 2008 he was part of the problem.
There is diversity in News Corp’s media outlets – including Fox News in the United States. But News Corp journalists do not spend their days and nights beating-up on the activities and views of readers and viewers who buy its product by purchasing newspapers in print or online or who pay for subscription viewing.
The death of a media company is invariably sad. But the fact is that Fairfax Media mastheads lost contact with their traditional supporters many years ago. And, in time, the inevitable happened.
CAN YOU BEAR IT?
LOUISE ADLER FAVOURS CONTROVERSY FOR MUP AUTHORS – WITH THE EXCEPTION OF LOUISE MILLIGAN
Hendo was walking Jackie around the block last Wednesday when, perchance, he heard Melbourne University Press chief executive and MWD fave Louise Adler talking to ABC Radio National Drive presenter Patricia Karvelas. Ms Adler was objecting to the fact that two MUP authors – Germaine Greer and Bob Carr – had been invited to speak at the 2018 Brisbane Writers Festival in September – only to be dis-invited.
The MUP supremo acknowledged that she is a supporter of political correctness. Her point was that Dr Greer and Mr Carr had been dumped from the BWF because they were regarded as “too controversial” – and not because of any failure to hold politically correct views.
This suggests that Louise Adler wants MUP authors to be controversial and to engage in controversy. Or does she? As avid readers will be aware, in 2017 MUP published the controversial book Cardinal: The Rise and Fall of George Pell by controversial author and ABC journalist Louise Milligan.
After reading Cardinal, Gerard Henderson emailed Ms Milligan with a list of eleven questions concerning her book. They were the kind of queries that any competent and confident author could have readily answered. For example, he wanted to know what was the MUP author’s attitude to the use of single sources, the use of direct quotation-marks to report someone’s account of what he or she heard decades previously, the validity of memory and so on.
So did the controversial Louise Milligan enter into controversy with Gerard Henderson and answer his questions? Not on your nelly. Instead the ABC journalist went under the bed and sought the protection of her MUP publisher – the very same Louise Adler. And so Ms Adler wrote to Hendo on 30 May 2017 that “MUP stands by the forensic and meticulous research that the author conducted to produce this important contribution to the community’s understanding…” In other words, piss off.
Clearly, on this occasion, Louise Adler regarded it as too controversial for an MUP author to defend her own book. And now the MUP supremo is complaining that her other authors are being denied a forum because they are too controversial. Can You Bear It?
[Er,no. Not really. I note that Chip Le Grand and John Ferguson reported in The Weekend Australian on 7 July 2018 that Melbourne University’s University Council (which provides funds to MUP) supported the view of Melbourne University Chancellor Alan Myers that Cardinal (along with some other MUP titles) does not meet the level of scholarship expected of a university publishing house. No wonder Louise Milligan could not answer the questions about Cardinal – except from fellow ABC employees during soft in-house interviews or from her mates at the Sydney Writers’ Festival – MWD Editor.]
SANDALISTA JANE CARO IN DENIAL ABOUT CRIME IN THE MELBOURNE CBD – AFTER A ONE NIGHT WALKABOUT
While on the topic of controversy, thanks to the avid reader who forwarded MWD the tweet sent out by leftie luvvie and ABC fave Jane Caro last Saturday night:
|Jane Caro (@JaneCaro)|
|21/7/18, 9:32 pm
Amazing news! I went to Melbourne, walked about a bit, ate out and nothing happened. Saw no gangs, a couple of people smiled. Went back to hotel. Never felt threatened. Not once!
Well, fancy that. Ms Caro went to Melbourne last Saturday night and never felt threatened – not once. However, the Sydney-based sandal wearer did not state how she would have felt if she had been in Melbourne (i) on 20 January 2017 when a man deliberately mowed down pedestrians on Bourke Street, (ii) on 13 March 2017 when gangs did a run-though of the Melbourne CBD and (iii) on 21 December 2017 when a motorist deliberately mowed down pedestrians on Flinders Street.
Yet Jane Caro seems to believe that there are no gangs in Melbourne or that the Melbourne CBD is always safe. Can You Bear It?
DANNY McGINLAY’S “MASSIVE MIND” TREATS GANG CRIME AS A JOKE
While on the topic of gangs, Jackie’s (male) co-owner just loves it when MWD faves Virginia Trioli and Michael Rowland introduce new talent to the “Newspapers” segment on the ABC News Breakfast program. Provided, of course, that fresh commentators do not replace Dr Scott Burchill (for a doctor he is) who drops into the ABC’s Southbank studio in Melbourne to do his gig on his way to the tip (and dresses accordingly).
In any event, the new talent last Tuesday was Melbourne comedian and broadcaster Danny McGinlay. La Trioli enthused about your man McGinlay when she introduced him to viewers. Virginia Trioli reported a previous conversation when she made the following comment to Danny McGinlay: “Mate, I said, you’re simply one of the most intelligent, thoughtful people I’ve ever met; I mean, you really need to turn that massive, massive mind of yours to the issue of the media”
How’s that for an endorsement? According to La Trioli, Danny McGinlay has the “massive mind” of a Socrates or a Plato. So expectations were that high when the Melbourne comedian turned his attention to the front page of the morning’s Sun-Herald headed: “Teen Gang Buster: Tough new laws to tackle youth crime crisis.”
The reference was to the Andrews Labor government in Victoria – and to its (somewhat belated) attempt to clamp down on gangs which have been involved in violent home invasions, carjackings, smash-and-grab raids and bashings.
It all sounds very serious – especially for victims of the gangs. But to Danny (“La Trioli reckons I’m as smart as Plato”) McGinlay – it was all a bit of a joke. Let’s go to the transcript:
Virginia Trioli: What are you starting with today?
Danny McGinlay: Alright, I looked at the front page of the Herald Sun and, what was it, “Teen Gang Busters” coming on.
Virginia Trioli: What’s this?
Danny McGinlay: Well, it’s. That photo of the guy, it looks like they’re actually going to go into a high school and smash some people. But no, it’s actually a new law that says that juvenile offenders of serious crimes cannot contact career criminals. Which I thought, I didn’t know there was, like, an apprenticeship scheme for that.
Virginia Trioli: I didn’t know there was an online app that would connect them.
Danny McGinlay: “Dear Mr [Ned] Kelly, I would love to be a bushranger. Please give me advice”.
Michael Rowland: How, how, how do they propose stopping?
Danny McGinlay: I dunno, it’s just —
Michael Rowland: Very hard to police.
Danny McGinlay: I only have to read the headline, it’s all I need.
Virginia Trioli: A little further. A little further into the story.
Danny McGinlay: Well it then went into the gangs of course. The Apex gang and the Menace to Society gang. Now I’d never heard of that gang, probably because I live in Victoria.
Virginia Trioli: I see – so you don’t buy the hype that we are in the grip of a gang epidemic?
Danny McGinlay: No I don’t and I think Menace to Society gang sounds Dickensian.
Michael Rowland: Is that really a name?
Danny McGinlay: According to the Herald Sun yeah. And Menace II Society I think was a Samuel L. Jackson film in the early 90s. Of all the Samuel L. Jackson films. Call your gang The Hateful 8. Call yourselves The Avengers. Call yourselves the Snakes on a Plane.
Michael Rowland: Snakes on a plane, yes, terrifying film.
Virginia Trioli: Can you imagine the meeting where they came up with that title. Let’s call ourselves “Menace to Society”
Danny McGinlay: “Yeah, ’cause that’s what we are; you know society – we’re taking them down”.
It was at this time that Virginia Trioli realised, perhaps after a producer spoke through her ear-piece, that gang crime in Melbourne was not so funny. Again, let’s go to the transcript:
Virginia Trioli: There will be those watching this morning saying that you and we are not taking the issue of violence and gang violence – and the issues that have caused police some concerns – seriously enough this morning. What say you in response?
Danny McGinlay: Yeah, they shouldn’t have hired a comedian.
You can say that again. However, in its attempt to slow down the falling audiences of its news and current affairs programs – which are also ageing – ABC management has decided to engage more comedians.
When Danny McGinlay threw the switch to serious he also went into denial. Danny McGinlay (i) declared that he lived in Melbourne but he did not “see these gangs” and (ii) complained that he hated the phrase “African gangs” because “Africa is a continent of 54 nations”. The presenters agreed with the latter point.
During the discussion Mr McGinlay did not say where he lived in Melbourne. MWD understands that he resides in inner-city Fitzroy – Sandalista Central – where there are few cars of the local sandal-wearers to hijack, only bikes. And he seems unaware that NSW Police had a Middle Eastern Organised Crime Squad despite the fact that the Middle East is not a nation and comprises 22 countries. The session ended with a joke about ABBA. And this was the man whom La Trioli calls Australia’s MASSIVE MIND. Can You Bear It?
MARK KENNY, TREASON, TRUMP & THE US CONSTITUTION
While on the topic of Fairfax Media (soon to be R.I.P. territory) consider the contribution of its national affairs editor Mark Kenny. This is what your man Kenny said on Insiders last Sunday when the discussion turned on the controversy following the Helsinki summit between President Donald J. Trump of the United States and President Vladimir Putin of the Russian Federation.
Mark Kenny: He [President Trump] put many people in the conservative base into an impossible position – where he was siding with Russia against the United States. There was all kind of talk of treason – and if you look at the definition of treason in the Constitution, he’s not far from it. It talks about giving succour to America’s enemies.
What a load of absolute tosh. The crime of “treason” is one of the few terms defined in the United States constitution. Section 3 reads as follows:
Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.
That’s pretty clear. In the US, treason can take place when aid and comfort is given to a nation which is at war with the US.
As the American lawyer Alan Dershowitz recently commented on the Hugh Hewitt show:
You might not like what Trump did. I didn’t like what he did. But to call it treason is just wrong as a matter of constitutional law. What President Trump is alleged to have done, you know, making the image of Putin stronger and helping him gain international credibility around the world doesn’t even come close to treason under the Constitution.
It’s another example of shrill Democrats making Trump even stronger with his base, Dershowitz said. It shows that the Democrats and the opponents of Trump are not making nuanced, carefully thought through, calibrated criticisms. They’re going completely, completely over the top.
Treason is one of the two crimes specified for impeachment, and that’s why I think so many of the Trump opponents are focusing on treason, because if he did commit treason … then he would be subject to impeachment. But the criteria for treason is laid out clearly in the Constitution, and people shouldn’t just be making up crimes.
So I think we’re seeing Trump’s opponents lose credibility by making these kind of arguments that just have no basis in law or the Constitution. I didn’t vote for Donald Trump. I voted for Hillary Clinton. I’m a liberal Democrat. But I don’t want to see the law stretched to target somebody whose politics we disapprove of.
The allegation of treason is a line being run by Trump-haters in order to discredit the president. Fairfax Media’s national affairs editor either hasn’t read the US Constitution for a while or he is suffering from Trump-phobia. Can You Bear It?
FLASHBACK TO THE DAYS WHEN “RED KERRY” O’BRIEN ASSOCIATED WITH THE EXTREME LEFT’S CLAIM THAT MALCOLM FRASER HAD NAZI TENDENCIES
Meet Amanda Meade. She writes on media for The Guardian Australia and is a huge barracker for the ABC. Last Wednesday, Ms Meade wrote again about the taxpayer funded broadcaster – and again quoted from former ABC identity Kerry O’Brien’s address to the Friends of the ABC get-together which was held in Sydney on Saturday 7 July under the heading “ABC: Defend It or Lose It”. Fellow speakers were writer Tom Keneally and actor/comedian Magda Szubanski.
This is how the Meade piece commenced:
Kerry O’Brien was a young reporter on Four Corners in the 1970s when Malcolm Fraser cut the ABC’s budget and accused the broadcaster of a leftwing bias on its flagship current affairs programs. “I remember standing at the front of the ABC’s Gore Hill studios with friends like [investigative journalist] Allan Hogan holding placards of protest against the cuts, all flared trousers and cheesecloth shirts and long hair,” O’Brien told Guardian Australia. “And we thought that was pretty crook.”
Now retired from daily journalism and writing his second book, a memoir, O’Brien has joined a chorus of widespread concern about the survival and independence of the ABC. He’s more worried than ever before, says the pressure on the ABC is the “most overt” he has seen. For a man who endured constant accusations of his own bias, that’s saying something.
O’Brien has long term perspective, too. “I can remember the Fraser years, which were pretty intense,” he says. “From the outside watching the whole process, I think it’s worse now.”
Yawn. There followed the familiar refrain that the ABC is being discriminated against by the Turnbull government because it gets a mere $1 billion handout a year. As Communications Minister Mitch Fifield has pointed out, no other media organisation in Australia is guaranteed $1 billion at the commencement of each year.
Jackie’s (male) co-owner was particularly interested in the photo used by The Guardian to illustrate the flare-trousered and cheesecloth-shirted Red Kerry which contained the following caption: “ABC supporters including Kerry O’Brien, left, and Allan Hogan, make their feelings known in 1976. Photograph: Binna Burra Media”. Here it is:
As avid readers will have observed, your man O’Brien took part in a small demonstration outside the ABC’s (then) headquarters in the Sydney suburb of Gore Hill. Some of the demonstrators wore sandals – and there were almost as many children as there were adults. Red Kerry’s sign declared “Hands Off National Broadcasting”. Other signs included the words “Frazer Fears The Truth” and “Remember The Reichstag”. The “z” in prime minister Malcolm Fraser’s surname implied that he was some kind of Nazi. And the reference to Reichstag turned on the burning of the German parliament in 1933 by Adolf Hitler’s Nazis in an attempt to discredit their opponents.
Needless to say, Amanda Meade made no reference to the fact that four decades ago, as an ABC journalist, Red Kerry associated himself with a protest alleging that Malcolm Fraser was some kind of Nazi. Nor did she mention that Kerry O’Brien worked on Labor hero Gough Whitlam’s staff in his last years as Opposition leader – including the night when Gough Whitlam lost the December 1977 election to the incumbent Fraser Coalition government. That’s ABC reporting – Guardian style.
LOTSA FLATULENCE BUT NO SHEILAS IN MICHELLE GUTHRIE’S CORPORATE VIDEO ON “ABC PRINCIPLES”
Thanks to last Friday’s Crikey newsletter for drawing attention to the ABC’s recent corporate video to staff in support of the management’s campaign for its employees to be nice to each other – or something like that – by implementing the “road tested” ABC Principles. It’s one of those corporate videos which is just so bad that it’s really good. In any event, ABC managing director and (so called) editor-in-chief Michelle Guthrie reckons that it’s you-beaut material. She told her taxpayer-funded staff:
The ABC Principles set clear expectations about how we want everyone to work together; across teams, as leaders, and as individuals. We plan to build them into everything we do. From the way we recruit to how we manage, recognise and reward each other.
Hendo was not too sure of how to assess Aunty’s campaign. So he passed the corporate video to MWD’s very own Human Resources department. Because MWD works with micro staffing arrangements – at Media Watch Dog HR doubles up as the Gin & Tonic Wellness Centre. Here’s how the highly talented sheila in MWD HR summarised Ms Guthrie’s short video:
The video introduces Larry, a new ABC intern. Larry holds up the ABC Principles document – “A guide to making the ABC a great place to work”.
Principle 1: We Are ABC
Larry high fives ABC staff in the office and hangs out with ABC Gardening Australia presenter Costa Georgiadis in a garden
Principle 2: We Are Straight Talking
Larry suggests a new puppet character to Jimmy Giggle, then interrupts ABC presenter Richard Fidler on radio and gets tackled. [It’s disturbing that an ABC training video would carry such violence – don’t you think? – MWD Editor.]
Principle 3: We are People Focused
“We care about the wellbeing of our colleagues and we celebrate our achievements big and small. We all need some of the good feels every now and then”. Larry starts a party in a Triple J office – he gets a cake in the face. [What – even more violence? – Ed]
Principle 4: We are Accountable
“We set goals for ourselves and the team to keep us on the up and up. But when things go wrong, we take responsibility.”
Chas Licciardello (one of The Chaser Boys – average age 431/2) owns up to farting in the lift. He admits to what he terms “my bad”.
Principle 5: We are Open and Transparent
“We share information with others in our team, we build trust and make decisions together.” Larry interrupts a meeting, puts his feet up and eats pastries.
The video ends up with the exhortation: “Be as happy as Larry with the ABC Principles.”
Er, that’s it. Ms Guthrie has told managerial staff that all will have to go through one day’s workshop to take in the newly formatted ABC Principles. Which suggests that your man Licciardello is going to have to consume lotsa cabbage to retain the required level of flatulence to ensure that ABC blokes and sheilas learn about accountability and, in particular, the need to take responsibility for their actions in the office lift.
[I note that there are no prominent ABC women in this corporate video – only blokes like Costa and Richard and Chas and “Jimmy”. What’s ABC HR’s take on gender diversity and all that stuff? – MWD Editor.]
VIEWPOINT – BY PHILLIP ADAMS AO, AM, Hon DUniv (Griffith), Hon DLitt (ECU), Hon DUniv (SA), DLitt [sic] (Syd), Hon. DUniv (Macquarie), FRSA, Hon FAHA
AS TOLD TO JACKIE
LEFT, LEFT AND ALWAYS SMUG
I am just so grateful to my friend and colleague Gerard Henderson. I had nothing of substance to write about in my column in The Australian Weekend Magazine last Saturday (titled “Right, left and never wrong”). So I wrote about Hendo. This week the subject is my other favourite topic – namely, myself. Come to think of it, I also wrote about myself a little bit last Saturday and the Saturday before that and the Saturday before that. But at least one of these columns was about my health, in which my reader [sic] has considerable ongoing interest.
Just in case you’ve never read my column or listened to my little wireless program Late Night Live on ABC Radio National, I was once a teenage member of the Communist Party of Australia. I quit around 1955 when I burnt my hand while lighting a candle to Josef Stalin. Or was it Vladimir Lenin? Whatever – it really hurt.
Please, please don’t regard last week’s column as an attack on Gerard. We are really besties. Why, in the last quarter century, I have had Hendo on my little wireless program once. We discussed his book Santamaria: A Most Unusual Man. I like to claim that my friend Hendo is an acolyte of the late Bob Santamaria (who was born of Italian-born Catholic parents) – even though Hendo did not speak to Santa for the last 24 years of his life. And I like to say that Santamaria admired the real fascist Benito Mussolini, even though there is no evidence for my claim. It’s fun calling people fascists. Also, my listeners and readers just love it when I have a go at Catholics.
It’s really easy to bag Santa as a fascist due to his Italian name. Not that I am opposed to Italians. I still recall in horror growing up in Kew where the Aussie fruit grocer put a sign in his window which read “Buy here before the Day Goes”. That was the time when Italian immigrants, who were called Dagoes, were unfairly regarded as the worst kind of Catholics – they spoke the same language as the Pope and they ate spaghetti by the (unwashed) bucketful. I never call Australians of Italian background Dagoes – I simply link the ones I don’t like to Mussolini.
I interviewed Hendo on Late Night Live in 1990 and again in 2015. See the pattern? I’ve booked a studio at the ABC studio in Ultimo for his next regular slot in 25 years’ time – on May Day 2040. I will probably mention at the top of the interview that I was once a teenage communist – I reckon that will shock him since I expect that, in his mid-nineties, he may not remember some of my contributions to Australian history. Including the time when I campaigned for my left-wing mate Jim Cairns to knock off Gough Whitlam as Labor Party leader way back in 1968.
I’ve heard it said that there is not one fashionable leftist & luvvie cause that I have not embraced. This is an unfair comment. For example, I’ve never criticised my good friend Rupert Murdoch. Some left-wing critics have been unkind enough to suggest that this is because Mr Murdoch is the proprietor of The Australian and I’m sucking up to him in a silent non-critical kind of way. Well, they would say that – wouldn’t they? Wrong. My affection for my proprietor goes back all the way to when he had a statue of Lenin in his room at Oxford University in the early 1950s. I sometimes wonder if Rupert ever burnt a finger when lighting a candle to the Bolshevik leader of recent memory – and if this could explain my sense of bonding with the founder of what my Green/Left mate Bob Brown calls the Hate Media.
Unlike Hendo who is always right – get it? – I admit to error. Although I can’t remember when. It’s true that I never took back my claim of three decades ago that the victims of HIV/AIDS were all male homosexuals and that females could not contract the disease. Some say this was irresponsible advice. But I say that medical science is a movable feast. It’s much the same with the Traitor Trump. Some of my critics remind me that I wrote recently that the colossal fool was impotent – and that this condition seems incompatible with the fact that so many floozies are lining up to say that they shared a horizontal union with the sleaze. Okay, maybe Trump’s not exactly impotent now. But he will be when he’s dead – mark my words.
Hendo thought it unwise when John Howard (how many times have I told you that we were both born in the same year?) said two decades ago that the ABC should employ “a right-wing Phillip Adams”. Perhaps my friend Gerard realised that the ABC (I mockingly refer to it as Anarchist Bolshevik Communist) would engage a token right-winger to refute Little Johnnie’s claim. And so it happened that Tim Blair, Imre Salusinszky, Michael Duffy, Tom Switzer and Amanda Vanstone – some for a longer time than others – got gigs on the public broadcaster. But the ABC gave them little production help along with unfavourable time slots. Even so, the Blair/Salusinszky show lasted an entire 12 episodes – and that’s wrong. I get by with a production team of a mere five – a paltry number due to the cuts to the ABC imposed by the clerical/fascist Abbott government and the plutocrat/capitalist Turnbull government.
I know that Hendo bangs on about how the ABC is a Conservative Free Zone. My line – following former ABC chairs Donald McDonald and James Spigelman – is to say that all is jealousy and that my friend Gerard wants his own program. It’s true that I wrote in my Australian column three decades ago that the ABC should give the likes of Paddy McGuinness and Gerard their own programs. But that was then – and this is now (to start a cliché). I understand that this year Hendo has appeared on the ABC a total of four times across all platforms. That’s surely enough. Correction – it’s too much.
My bestie Hendo said that many years ago that he was Australia’s poorest capitalist while I was Australia’s richest socialist. It’s true that I made my capitalist pile in the advertising industry helping to sell stuff that nobody needed to buy. It’s also true that I’m now one of the landed gentry living away from the hoi polloi up Scone way – and that I keep a pad in the expensive Macleay Regis in Potts Point having sold the landmark “White House” in Paddington. After all, a socialist needs room to store his art work and antiquities. At my Potts Point pile, I occasionally brush wallets with fellow resident Gretel Packer in the gold-plated lift. When I do, I invariably think of those doing it hard – some of whom have to make do with stairs.
You see, I have always thought about the poor, the oppressed and the dispossessed. Sometimes for a whole 30 seconds at night between taking off my sandals, putting The Guardian on my bed table and turning off the light. Then I dream of my days as a teenage communist and plan how – and to whom – I will next tell this frightfully interesting story.
(Continues for 69 pages – with apologies to Private Eye).
HAMISH MACDONALD’s FAKE NEWS
IN WHICH THE ABC’S FRAN KELLY DISPROVES HAMISH MACDONALD’S ABC THESIS
Due to enormous popular demand, MWD has created a segment to monitor the accuracy – or otherwise – of Hamish Macdonald’s claim that ABC presenters are “not allowed to express opinions”. The assertion was made during your man Macdonald’s hostile interview on RN Breakfast with Senator Eric Abetz – the date was 20 June 2018.
It was great to see MWD fave Fran Kelly back in the ABC radio Breakfast presenter’s chair following what she declared on Monday was her “break”. [Don’t you mean Well Earned Break (or W.E.B) – MWD Editor.] As avid readers are aware, journalists have breaks where mere mortals have holidays.
But MWD digresses. This is what Fran (“I’m an activist”) Kelly had to say on RN Breakfast last Tuesday following a discussion about the possibility that President Donald J Trump might withdraw the security clearance of former officials who criticised his performance with Vladimir Putin at the Helsinki Summit. Let’s go the transcript as Ms Kelly responds to a news report by Matt Bevan (one of the many ABC journos who suffers from Trump-phobia):
Matt Bevan: She [Sarah Huckabee Sanders] has been asked whether they are punishing them for their free speech. She said that’s not what it’s about. She was also asked whether she [sic] intends to revoke the security clearances of Barack Obama, Joe Biden and Hilary Clinton – but said “not yet”.
Fran Kelly: Well exactly. It’s the notion of that they have a security clearance therefore they’re able to get access to all this secure information. Presumably not – if they’re not in their jobs anymore. It’s a thing left over from the offices they held. Sounds like payback to me.
So ABC presenter Fran Kelly told her listeners that President Trump was engaged in “payback” with respect to the likes of former CIA director John O. Brennan who criticised him in public.
Sounds somewhat opinionated, don’t you think?
REPORT FROM THE US STUDIES CENTRE
As avid readers are aware, not one self-proclaimed “expert” on America at the taxpayer funded United States Studies Centre at Sydney University predicted that Donald J. Trump would defeat Hillary Clinton in the November 2016 presidential election. Not one. And, according to the USSC’s chief executive officer Professor Simon Jackman (as told to Sky News in November 2016), not one member of the USSC supports President Trump. Not one.
So, on the USSC’s own admission, none of its 30 strong staff – including the likes of Professor Simon Jackman, Dr David Smith, Associate Professor Brendon O’Connor and ABC presenter John Barron – knew enough about contemporary American society to understand that Donald J. Trump could win in November 2016. And none of the USSC academics agree with the decision of those Americans who support President Trump.
The USSC was set up following a grant of $25 million from the Howard government in 2006. This was supposed to be one-off seed-funding. However, as Aaron Patrick reported in the Australian Financial Review last Tuesday, the USSC has successfully put its hand up for another $12 million from the government.
What a waste of taxpayers’ money. And now for the very latest from the US[eless] Studies Centre.
DR DAVID (“GIVE HYPERBOLE A CHANCE”) SMITH COMPARES DONALD TRUMP TO LOUIS XIV
On ABC Radio 702s Drive with Richard Glover every Tuesday, the US Studies Centre’s David Smith rocks up to participate in a segment titled “Trump Tuesday”. It’s invariably an attack on President Donald J. Trump by an academic who has never stood for elected office or participated in the political process as a politician, a staffer or a public servant. In short, an “expert”.
Richard Glover was absent last Tuesday and Christine Bath hosted his program. When discussion turned on the prospect that President Trump might cancel the security clearances of some former members of the intelligence services who are using them to give weight to attacks on the president, Dr Smith (for a doctor he is) had this to say:
David Smith: What this is really about, is once again he’s using it to go after his political enemies. So he’s named James Comey as someone whose security clearance he wants to revoke. So once again this comes back to this sort of monarchical thing, he’s got this Louis XIV kind of attitude – “I am the state”. You know, loyalty to America is loyalty to me, and anyone who’s not, should not be part of the government apparatus, should be actively cast out of it and not protected by it.
What a load of absolute tosh – even from an “expert” at the US Studies Centre. President Trump well understands that the US president is limited to no more than two four year terms. Moreover, in view of James Comey’s unprofessional actions with respect to President Trump, including leaking material to the media, any revocation of his security clearance would hardly be an act of a would-be monarch.
The good news is that ABC Radio 702 will not be carrying your man Smith’s piss-poor analysis for some six months – apparently he’s got another taxpayer funded gig in Britain in the meantime. The (likely) bad news is that the hyperbolic doctor is likely to be replaced by one of the many other Trump-haters at the taxpayer funded US Studies Centre. Groan for personkind – but good news indeed for Jackie’s (male) co-owner plus those interested in the legacy of Louis XIV.
PEDANTRY PIT STOP
IN WHICH SOME PEDANTIC AVID READERS DEMONSTRATE AN OBSESSION WITH THE WORD “FULSOME”
Jackie’s (male) co-owner was born in Melbourne in a previous century – he’s not saying which one. On arrival in Sydney three decades ago, Hendo was surprised to find there were lotsa pedants in his midst. Mr and Ms Pedantry were worried about such big-issues-of-the-day as split infinitives, ending sentences with prepositions and the like – plus obvious typos. This deeply annoyed Hendo – to such an extent that he found it difficult to put up with. There you go. [Well done. Your last two sentences should drive Mr and Ms Pedantry to drink. – MWD Editor.]
In order to calm avid readers who are concerned about grammar and typos, MWD set up the hugely popular Pedantry Pit-Stop. This allows readers to talk about their frustrations with the deviations from the Queen’s English which appear regularly in MWD along with the occasional (not deliberate) typo. Here we go – again.
* * * * *
The return of the Pedantry Pit Stop last week was hugely popular among MWD’s avid readers. Except that a certain Keith McLellan Esq of Roseville – where many a Sydney North Shore type talks about little else than the US Army’s adaptation of the Armalite AR-15 rifle (see Issue 415) – was upset at being linked with a Dr David Storrs M.B.B.S. F.R.A.C.G.P. D.R.A.N.Z.C.O.G. – who appeared in last week’s Correspondence segment.
You see, Mr McLellan is an out-and-proud pedant. He reckons that Dr Storrs is not a real pedant – but, rather, one prone to grammatical errors himself. Here’s how your man McLellan, in an impeccably written email, voiced his concern to MWD. His missive was received last Saturday at 2.22 pm.
I was honoured to receive such prominence in Friday’s Media Watch Dog. I noted that this week’s reference to MI6 was immaculate. I am also grateful that you forbore to point out that I spelt John Laws’ name “John Law”. Even Homer nods!
However, I do find it strange that I am sharing Pedantry Pit Stop with Dr David Storrs, a correspondent who appears to abhor internal punctuation. Not only that, he describes your email as “long and fulsome”, perpetuating the vulgar error that “fulsome” means “lengthy”. This usage would make Dr Storrs guilty of tautology, if indeed that were the meaning of “fulsome”. But it actually means “sweet and cloying” or “complimentary or flattering to an excessive degree”. I do not see how such an incompetent stylist deserves a place in Pedantry Pit Stop. A further disqualification is surely that, as you point out, several of his sentences do not make sense. And as for placing a quotation “in apostrophes”…!
Yours in pedantry,
For the record, the oh-so-courteous Hendo was delighted not to correct the John Law [sic] howler – suspecting that it fell into the John-Laws-Style-Deliberate-Mistake category.
It so happens that another proud pedant – a certain Lindsay E – also picked up Dr Storrs’ grammatical errors (when your man was alleging that Hendo’s grammar was less than the Queen’s English). This is what he had to say – by text on Friday evening.
Tell your correspondent Dr Storrs that “fulsome” doesn’t mean what he thinks it does and “obligated” is a stupid word and he should say “obliged” (like visitation and visit). If you think I’m a pedant please ignore this note.
Yes, Mr E, MWD thinks you’re a pedant. But, like Mr McLellan, on this occasion a welcome one. It’s important that real pedants (like you two) take on fake pedants (like Dr Storrs).
* * * * *
Until next time.
* * * * *