ISSUE – NO. 426

5 October 2018

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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: It’s Comedy Time on 7.30 & Ben Oquist’s Right Foot as Portrayed by the AFR

  • MWD Exclusive (Sort of): Malcolm Turnbull’s Media Besties

  • Can You Bear It? Bevan Shields; Peta Credlin & Phil Coorey

  • An ABC Update: Jonathan Green on the ABC’s Left Liberal “House Style”; Q&A’s Leading Leading Question of the Week

  • Hamish Macdonald’s Fake News: Starring Hamish Macdonald

  • Nancy’s Modest Proposal: How Dee Madigan Can Assuage her Conscience

  • A Louise Milligan Anonymous Sources Moment: Featuring Jacqueline Maley & Paul Barry

  • Media Fool of the Week: Jon Faine’s Football Stumble when Interviewing PM Morrison

  • On the Fallibility of Memory: Matt Bevan, James Brown and Mark Scott on the Kavanaugh/Ford Controversy

  • Five Paws Award: Step Forward Barbara Heineback for Non-Partisan Assessment on US Supreme Court Nomination

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On 25 September, The Australian’s Andrew White reported that news tragic John Howard believes the nightly ABC TV news bulletin is “nowhere near as good” as it used to be. He maintains that the public broadcaster should restore the emphasis it once put on national political and international stories.  MWD concurs.

The former Liberal Party prime minister said that quite prominent international stories are put “way down the back of the ABC TV news bulletin or they are missed altogether”.  Mr Howard added that hard national and international news had been replaced with “social affairs specials”.  He maintained that he would watch the 7.30 current affairs program if there was anything decent on.  Quite so.

So what has 7.30 done to improve its coverage of national and international current affairs? Well, it’s hired a comedian.  Last night Mark Humphries, playing the role of the Minister for Small Talk, kicked off the segment with a sketch titled “What do politicians do now that the football season is over?”  How funny is that?

Your man Humphries made jokes about Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten – and football. Yawn.  Still 7.30 presenter Laura Tingle liked the sketch – but she’s paid to like the work of your man Humphries who’s paid to be funny.  Meanwhile, how about some substantial news and current affairs on ABC TV news and current affairs programs? Just a thought.


The sound of the newspapers landing over the fence this morning was louder than usual – waking the sleeping dog Jackie in the process.  Probably because The Australian contained the October issue of Wish and the Australian Financial Review carried The AFR Magazine.

Jackie’s (male) co-owner will examine both publications at Gin & Tonic time this evening. In the meantime, Hendo is wondering why one of his fave lefties – the Australia Institute’s Ben Oquist – agreed to be photographed with a phone to his right ear while holding his right foot with his left hand.  Perhaps the pic will make sense after a G&T – or several.



On Wednesday, The Australian’s Olivia Caisley revealed that former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull had substantially culled the number of people he follows on Twitter – from Lotsa to just 26.  Here’s a list of Mr Turnbull’s faves whom he still follows on Twitter – Katharine (“Malcolm calls me Murpharoo”) Murphy, Peter van Onselen, David Crowe, Chris Uhlmann and Annabel Crabb. Mr Turnbull also follows Nine News Australia, 7 News Sydney, The Guardian Australia, Reuters, CNN, Washington Post, Sydney Morning Herald and New York Times.

The ex-PM’s list excludes all News Corp print and online publications along with Sky News (Before and After Dark).  Yet it was Sharri Markson in News Corps’ The Daily Telegraph who had a scoop that Turnbull’s leadership was soon to be challenged by Peter Dutton – see The Daily Telegraph on 17 August and 18 August 2018.  If Mr Turnbull had paid more attention to News Corp’s publications the outcome of the recent Liberal Party leadership crisis might have been averted – for a while at least. Enough said.

How interesting that Malcolm Turnbull’s fave Aussie journalists on Twitter closely resemble the group of scribblers he picked out to ask questions at his final appearance before the Canberra Press Gallery on 24 August 2018.  They were Laura Tingle, Phil Coorey, Chris Uhlmann, Katharine Murphy, Kieran Gilbert and David Crowe.

This suggests that Malcolm Turnbull’s media faves are Katharine Murphy (The Guardian), David Crowe (Fairfax Media) and Chris Uhlmann (Channel 9) plus the Sydney based Annabel Crabb (ABC) and Peter van Onselen (The Australian).  Not a single conservative among the lot – although PVO would qualify as a small “l” Liberal.

[Perhaps Mr Turnbull should be offered the position of ABC chairman – since he seems to feel comfortable among Conservative Free Zones.  Here’s hoping this suggestion is useful. –  MWD Editor]


 Can You Bear It


Haven’t the Fairfax Media’s Luvvies been oh-so-obsessed with the plight of their comrades-in-arms at the ABC?  For over the week, Fairfax Media tabloids in Sydney and Melbourne led with the BIG STORY that ABC managing director Michelle Guthrie was dismissed (on Monday 24 September) and ABC Chairman Justin Milne resigned (on Thursday 28 September) and the implications of both events.

This was after Mr Milne allegedly suggested that two ABC stars – Emma Alberici and Andrew Probyn – be sacked.  They weren’t. And after Mr Milne allegedly demanded that the occasion of Triple J Hottest 100 hits not be moved from Australia Day. It was.

In spite of the fact that the ABC today is much the same as it was at Hangover Time on 24 September, Fairfax Media has regarded the shambles at the taxpayer funded public broadcaster as the predominant story – ahead of all other national and international news. Fair dinkum.

Believe it or not, last Sunday Fairfax Media’s newspaper in Sydney (The Sun-Herald) and Melbourne (The Sunday Age) led with the story that the staff collective soviets at the ABC were discussing whether to get rid of the ABC staff representative on the ABC Board – a certain Jane Connors.   This is how Fairfax Media’s BIG STORY commenced last Sunday – it was written by Bevan Shields and carried the “Exclusive” tag:

Furious ABC reporters are discussing whether to effectively sack their own staff representative from the board in a new move that escalates the turmoil inside the public broadcaster and puts fresh pressure on its embattled directors to stand down.

Fairfax Media understands a vote of no-confidence against Jane Connors, a veteran employee who was elevated to the coveted staff-elected director position in May, is one option being considered by journalists and editors who want answers over the board’s role in last week’s unprecedented crisis.

How about that?  Comrade Shields and his editors believed that a story which reported that ABC comrades “are discussing” whether to “effectively sack” their staff representative from the ABC board warranted the Page One lead last Sunday.  Oh yes, your man Shields also reported that a vote of no confidence in Dr Connors (for a doctor she is) was “one option” being considered by ABC journalists and editors.  Just one, apparently.

According to MWD’s sources inside the ABC, nothing has happened with respect to Jane Connors.  Nothing.  And Fairfax Media reckons this was the biggest story last Sunday. Yawn. Can You Bear It?

[I hear that the leftist journalist Quentin Dempster – the one-time ABC star who still carries the ABC flag (even though he now works for the trade union funded New Daily online rag – ran Jane Connors’ campaign in the election for the staff position of the ABC board. How amusing – MWD Editor.]


It was only when he arrived home at around Gin & Tonic time last Friday that Jackie’s (male) co-owner read Phillip (“I was a John Pilger fan at uni”) Coorey’s column in The Australian Financial Review. Titled “ABC board should follow Milne out the door”, it was primarily about former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull and former ABC chairman Justin Milne.  In particular, Mr Turnbull’s resentment that the Labor Party had used a story in The West Australian about the Coalition’s Medicare policy to run the “Mediscare” campaign in the 2016 election against the Turnbull government.  The journalist involved was Andrew Probyn – who moved from The West Australian to the ABC.

Phil Coorey related how Andrew Probyn’s reporting for the ABC had angered Mr Milne and (allegedly) led to him to call for Probyn’s sacking.  In the course of his piece, your man Coorey had this to say:

Journalists should not be above criticism. If a journo has messed up then there should be a correction, retraction, right of reply or whatever. If people were sacked for making mistakes or losing objectivity, there would be nobody left. Most politicians, however, ring the journalist to complain and sort it out. It’s the pissants who go straight to the editor or management.

Nonetheless, the pissants are entitled to complain and the ABC has higher accountability standards than any other organisation because it is taxpayer-funded.

Interesting that the AFR’s political editor is wont to call people with whom he disagrees “pissants”.  Which suggests that he either needs to enrol in Nancy’s Courtesy Classes or has a limited vocabulary. Or both.

In any event, how does Mr Coorey respond to criticism? – MWD hears avid readers cry. Well, here’s how.

Writing in the AFR on Monday 17 September 2018, Phil Coorey made the following comment concerning Tony Abbott’s confirmation the previous Friday night to contest the next election as the Liberal Party candidate for Warringah:

Tony Abbott was unable to command a majority of votes among his own branch members on Friday night [14 September] when he sought to have his preselection endorsed. Out of 93 preselectors, Mr Abbott received just 46 votes while 38 rejected his renomination and nine abstained. Nominations will not be reopened for his seat of Warringah, despite his failure to achieve majority endorsement, but sources said it was a clear sign people wanted him gone and the next term, if he held his seat, would be his last.

This statement was wrong.  Your man Coorey should have been aware of this since the second edition of Fairfax Media’s Sunday newspaper reported that Mr Abbott had contested the report, claiming that he had “won roughly 70 per cent of the vote”. Yet Phil Coorey ran the 46/38/9 figure in the Monday print edition – implying that Mr Abbott’s support was 49 per cent. That is, less than a majority.

The Coorey report was criticised by Peta Credlin on Sky News Credlin on Monday night [14 September]. Ms Credlin said that Mr Coorey had not checked his story with Tony Abbott, or the former prime minister’s office, before publishing his account.

On Monday 17 September the Liberal Party took the unusual action of releasing the vote for the pre-selection confirmation.  It revealed that Tony Abbott was endorsed – by 68 votes for, to 30 votes against. There were 2 informal votes.  That is, the former prime minister obtained close to 70 per cent of the vote – and a long way north of Phil Coorey’s less than a majority 49 per cent figure.

Peta Credlin has stated – most recently on the Sky News’ Jones & Co last Tuesday, that Phillip Coorey responded to her comments with a number of abusive texts which contained the “f” word.  According to Alan Jones, Phil Coorey has stated that the texts between Peta Credlin and himself are private.

So there you have it.  Phil Coorey claims that journalists should accept criticism. But, on occasions, your man Coorey reacts to criticism with abuse, including the use of the “f” word.  Just imagine what would be the reaction if a conservative journalist reacted to a criticism by the likes of Laura Tingle, Emma Alberici or Julia Baird with “f” word laden abuse.  Just imagine. Can You Bear It?

[Er, no. Not at all.  By the way, MWD would be happy to publish the full Coorey/Credlin text exchange and readers could draw their own conclusions.  Over to you Mr Coorey and Ms Credlin – MWD Editor.]




As avid readers will recall, last week ABC TV’s The Drum co-presenter Ellen Fanning got very, very angry with Jackie’s (male) co-owner. So much so that she threatened to report Hendo to his employer. [That’s truly shocking. – MWD Editor.]

Ms Fanning’s anger followed Mark Day’s comment in The Australian on 27 September 2018 that analysis on the ABC’s (so-called) 24/7 television news service “frequently demonstrates the ABC’s unquestionable bias to the left” Soon after, Mr Day was interviewed on ABC Radio National Breakfast by Fran (“I’m an activist”) Kelly and essentially repeated his view. Soon after that, Ms Fanning did a rant on Twitter.  She described Mark Day’s comment that there are no – or almost no – conservative presenters on the ABC as “garbage”.  Then Ms Fanning refused to enter into correspondence with Hendo who pointed out that she had verballed Mr Day along with his good self.  Jackie’s (male) co-owner has yet to get over this rejection.

Thanks to the avid reader who drew attention to this tweet – by ABC Radio National presenter Jonathan (“Proudly the ABC’s sneerer-in-chief”) Green – which supported Ellen Fanning’s rant. Here’s what your man Green had to say:


Jonathan Green‏ @GreenJ September 25

consistently irritating. what it comes down to is a demand by conservatives for presenters in their own image. they are arguing for bias when the house style of the ABC mirrors the culture: a moderately liberal, socially progressive, curious presence. That’s what the country is.


How about that?  Comrade Green concedes that the ABC has a “house style” which is a “culture” that is a “moderately liberal, socially progressive, curious presence”.  He used the term “liberal” in the American sense – meaning left- liberal.

According to your man Green’s logic (for want of a better term), the ABC should remain a Conservative Free Zone without a conservative presenter, producer or editor for any of its prominent television, radio or online outlets – since the presence of conservatives in prominent positions within the ABC would be contrary to the staff imposed left-liberal “house style”. This suggests that Mark Day’s analysis is correct. And Ellen Fanning’s rant that Mr Day is speaking “garbage” is just, well, a rant.


As avid readers are aware, questions from the Q&A audience which are called by presenter Tony Jones are cleared by the Q&A executive producer before they are read out.  Let’s go to the transcript for Monday’s program at the commencement of the program’s segment on sexism in Australian universities:

Tony Jones….we’ve got another question. …It’s from Melis Layik.

Melis Layik: Thank you. This past week, as we’ve just mentioned, the world stopped to listen to Dr Blasey Ford as she heroically detailed the sexual assault she endured at the hands of Brett Kavanaugh. This was a heartbreaking and relatable tale for countless women across the world, and has ignited great condemnation. Yet, here in Australia, universities and elite colleges routinely practise misogynistic hazing rituals and silence victims of sexual assault and rape in order to protect the futures of young men like Brett Kavanaugh. How can this behaviour be stamped out for good when the problem does not merely lie in the hands of one predator but lies in a system which actively protects these elite men?

So Tony Jones knowingly called a pre-cleared question from an audience member which said that Dr Christine Blasey Ford had “endured” sexual assault “at the hands of Brett Kavanaugh”.  The questioner also asserted that Judge Kavanaugh was a “predator” who once engaged in “sexual assault and rape”.

Q&A willingly ran this assertion despite the fact that a seventh, and final, FBI check on Brett Kavanaugh’s suitability had yet to be completed.  Also, the question ignored Judge Kavanaugh’s essential defence – that he did not assault Dr Ford and the accusation was a case of mistaken identity.  As it turned out, the FBI has concluded that there is no collaborative evidence to support Dr Ford’s allegations with respect to Judge Kavanaugh.  Will Q&A correct the matter on Monday?  Don’t hold your breath.




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.

This week Hamish Macdonald has been co-presenting ABC TV’s News Breakfast program – standing in for MWD fave Michael Rowland who, apparently, is on what journalists like to call a well-earned break. Or W.E.B.

This is how your man Macdonald handled an interview with Phil Williams – one of the several ABC reporters in the US.  It followed coverage of White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ statement concerning President Donald J. Trump’s recent comments on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to sit on the US Supreme Court.

Hamish Macdonald:   Sarah Sanders speaking there at the White House, defending essentially President Trump’s comments at that rally.  Phil Williams, I suppose there’s nothing unusual at this point in the presidency for this president to be playing fast and loose with the facts.  But I suppose the difference this time is that there are real implications for both his presidency and, in particular, for the future of the Supreme Court.

So on Thursday, presenter Hamish Macdonald expressed the opinion on ABC TV News Breakfast that “there is nothing unusual” in President Trump “playing fast and loose with the facts”. Yet your man Macdonald as recently as 20 June 2018 proclaimed that ABC presenters are “not allowed to express opinions”.  Really.




Due to overwhelming demand, and with a little help from American psychic John Edward, this hugely popular segment will continue – even though Nancy (2004-2017) has “passed”. You see, according to the teachings of your man Edward, Nancy is not really dead – but has merely “passed” to the Other Side – from where she is able to send messages.   Including her very own modest proposals for the Media Watch Dog blog, which she co-founded with her male and female co-owners in 2009.

As avid readers are aware, this increasingly popular segment of MWD is inspired by the Anglo Irish satirist Dr Jonathan Swift’s proposal to relieve the plight of the Irish under British control by certain suggestions which he proffered in his writings. His 1729 tome A Modest Proposal – For preventing the children of poor people in Ireland, from being a burden on their parents or country, and for making them beneficial to the publick.  As a consequence of such irreverence, your clergyman Swift (1667-1745) never attained his due rank within the Church of Ireland (i.e. the Anglican Church in Ireland). But that’s another story.

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As avid readers will be aware, last week MWD drew attention to the fact that ABC TV’s The Drum had tweeted this comment made by Campaign Edge supremo and Labor Party operative Dee Madigan:


ABC The Drum (@ABCthedrum)
24/9/18, 6:03 pm

“I wish we didn’t have private schools. I wish we just had state schools and one lot of funding. I think this decision is appalling. It’s supposed to be sector-blind and yet there’s a pool of money for just one pit of the sector.” ⁦‪@deemadigan⁩ on #auspol


This followed MWD fave Ms Madigan’s appearance on The Drum on 24 September 2018.  The ABC did not report that, in response to a question from presenter Ellen Fanning, Dee Madigan had declared that her three children go to Catholic schools.  She added that she wanted to keep her two sons in the private school system since they played Rugby Union.  By the way, Ms Fanning did not query Ms Madigan on her inconsistency.

It seems that Dee Madigan remains an avid (but not uncritical) MWD reader. For on the morning after the night before MWD’s release last Friday, she put out the following tweet:

Dee Madigan (@deemadigan)
29/9/18, 10:45 am

Conservative commentators really struggle to understand how we can campaign against the status quo even though we benefit from it. It’s about understanding our privilege and seeing the unfairness of it and trying to do something about it.

Well fancy that.  Last Saturday morning, Comrade Madigan complained that conservative commentators (presumably like Hendo) fail to understand how well-heeled leftists can campaign against the status quo while benefiting from it.  Yep – Hendo does fail to understand this (Madigan) truth.

Right now Dee Madigan wishes that Australia did not have private schools.  However, she’s happy to have her children educated in private schools.  This, the Labor Party operative attests, is not about hypocrisy.  Rather, it’s all about understanding privilege and trying to do something about it. Turn it up.

In Jackie’s (male) co-owner’s opinion, no one does anything to alleviate privilege by appearing on The Drum – where, all too often, everyone agrees with everyone else in an inner-city left-of-centre kind of way.  So what to do – if Ms Madigan really wants to do something about alleviating unfairness?  Well, here is Nancy’s Modest Proposal.

Nancy’s Modest Proposal (as communicated by the seer John Edward) to Assuage Dee Madigan’s Guilt

Here’s my Modest Proposal.  Since Dee Madigan wants private schools eliminated but sends her children to private schools – here’s how she can do something about reducing her privilege. At the end of each year, Ms Madigan should calculate the Commonwealth and State government subsidies paid to her children in the private school sector.  Then in January, she should travel to Western Sydney and donate the cash to a government school in a low socio-economic area.  Easy, really. Go to it Ms Madigan – and report back to The Drum’s luvvie watchers.



MWD has long focused on journalists’ use of anonymous sources to bolster their case while in the process of delivering a hatchet job.  This segment is named after ABC star journalist Louise Milligan whose anonymous sources of recent memory have included “the father-in-law of an ABC journalist”. Really.


What a stunning piece by Fairfax Media’s Jacqueline (“I don’t answer Hendo’s questions”) Maley in the Sun-Herald last weekend. It was titled “ABC scandal lifts the veil on stupid politics”.

Ms Maley’s strong piece started off in fiction mode – with a quote from The Marmalade Files. But her fiction continued as Ms Maley pressed the point that – despite his denials – former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull created the environment which led former ABC chairman Justine Milne to demand that former ABC managing director dismiss ABC journalists Emma Alberici and Andrew Probyn.  Here’s what Ms Maley had to say:

Speaking from New York, Turnbull has said that he never called for anyone’s sacking. Interestingly, it is the same thing members of the News Corp media say when they defend against charges that Rupert Murdoch orders the ousting of prime ministers. They deny any such interference. They say Rupert never issues directives of that kind. Sure, say the Murdoch critics, maybe he doesn’t say it so baldly. But his editors must pick up a vibe, a feeling. They must anticipate what Rupert wants, and fashion their political coverage to meet his desires as they perceive them.

It’s worth noting that Turnbull’s staff were well known for making constant complaints to the ABC newsroom about the journalists they thought were biased or wrong. “How does this person still have a job?” was a common refrain, according to one press gallery stalwart.

So there you have it. So what is Ms Maley’s “evidence” for her serious charges that (i) Malcolm Turnbull called for the sacking of ABC journalists and (ii) Rupert Murdoch orders the ousting of prime ministers?

It’s this. According to Ms Maley, Rupert Murdoch’s editors MUST “pick up a vibe” and MUST “anticipate what Rupert wants”. Er, that’s it.  But the MUST comment is just an allegation – not a fact. And Ms Maley’s evidence for her claim that Malcolm Turnbull’s staff constantly asked why one or more journalists still have a job? Well, it’s – wait for it – “one press gallery stalwart”. Just one anonymous source.

Despite the fact that this stalwart is, well, a stalwart – he or she is not prepared to be named even though Mr Turnbull has resigned from politics.


On Monday 24 September 2018, ABC TV Media Watch presenter Paul Barry joined in the ABC staff pile-on against former ABC managing director Michelle Guthrie.  His particular complaint was that Ms Guthrie did not engage with ABC staff in the lift. Not even for journeys beyond one floor.  Shocking, eh?

Last Monday, your man Barry changed targets and joined the ABC staff pile-on against former ABC chairman Justin Milne.  Yawn.  Media Watch sought special comments from former ABC chairman and managing director David Hill and what the Media Watch presenter termed “one anonymous former ABC director”. The “one anonymous former ABC director” declared – “scathingly”, it seems – that “no one in their right mind would choose the current ABC board to run a billion dollar media group”.

This is just abuse – coming, as it did, from an anonymous source.  If the former ABC board member did not have the courage to put his or her name to this assessment – it’s all but worthless.  Since no one can assess whether an anonymous source is “in their right mind” – to borrow a term. And Paul Barry lectures at large about the need to preserve journalistic standards.

[How frightfully interesting.  I wonder if the anonymous source cited by Ms Maley or Mr Barry would be the father-in-law of any ABC journalist.  Just a thought. ­– MWD Editor.]




ABC 774 presenter Jon Faine regards himself as the smartest person in the room – even when it is obvious that this is not the case.

Take, for example, Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s interview last Friday with the Mornings with Jon Faine presenter. The Melbourne-based Jon Faine claims to know something about the Victorian Football League – which became the Australian Football League (AFL) effective from the 1990 season.  The Sydney-based Scott Morrison claims to know something about the NSW Rugby League which became the National Rugby League (NRL) effective from the 1998 season.  As avid readers who are football tragics, will know – Australian Rules is the major football code in Victoria, Western Australia, South Australia and Tasmania while Rugby League is the major football code in New South Wales and Queensland.

Let’s go to the transcript as your man Faine tries to score a point – or perhaps a goal – off the prime minister:

Jon Faine:  Now just finally, given that you’re on your way to Melbourne for the AFL Grand Final…

Prime Minister:  Yeah and I don’t know much about this Jon, so –


Jon Faine: No, I’m not asking you who played on the wing for whatever team five years ago, don’t worry. But before you declared that you were barracking for the West Coast, and everyone should support anyone but Victoria, did you check that with Matthew Guy the State Opposition Leader and your Liberal colleague?


Prime Minister:  No I didn’t, I just –

Jon Faine:  It may have implications for the [Victorian] state election in November.

Prime Minister:  Oh I think that’s rubbish Jon. [Laughter]. Everyone who goes to the footy sort of, you know, wants to watch the game and you know, have a bit of skin in the game. And look, I’ve been going for Western Australia for a long, long time and I have a great affection for them and I’ve met some of the guys over there. So look, I wish them well but I haven’t got a team in the AFL, I’m not about to get one. I mean, Robert Menzies didn’t have an NRL team –

Jon Faine: Well the NRL didn’t exist when Menzies was prime minister.

Prime Minister:  Well we actually were playing Rugby League back then.

Jon Faine: You were playing Rugby League. But the NRL, it wasn’t a national code then.

Prime Minister:  Well there wasn’t an AFL back in Menzies’ time –

Jon Faine:  No, he had a VFL team, he watched Carlton every weekend.

Prime Minister: And good for him. I go and watch the Sharks every week, so look, every time they’re playing at home as well I’ll be there.

In fact Menzies did not watch Carlton every week – he watched Carlton when it played at its home ground in Princes Park.  Just like Morrison watches his home team Cronulla Sharks when it plays at its Shark Park home ground.

In any event, what point was Jon Faine trying to make? Clearly the presenter of Mornings with Jon Faine was out of his depth in his failed attempt at point scoring.  And the Prime Minister was correct.

Victorian-born Robert Menzies did not barrack for a Rugby League team.  And the NSW-born Scott Morrison does not have an Australian Rules team.  So what? Moreover, there was not a national code in either Rugby League or Australian Rules when Robert Menzies was prime minster between December 1949 and January 1966.  So what?  He had an Australian Rules team – Carlton.

Jon Faine: Media Fool of the Week.

[Perhaps you should have given this a run in your hugely popular Can You Bear It? segment.  Just a thought.  By the way, I note that the leftist Faine uttered a howler when arguing that Prime Minister Morrison was wrong in stating that the Herald Sun had read the mood of Victoria more accurately than Fairfax Media’s The Age – when contrasting the coverage of the AFL’s Grand Final and the ABC controversy in their page one stories last Friday.  Here’s what was said:

Prime Minister: I was looking at the front pages of the Melbourne papers this morning – and I think the Herald Sun has got it right.  Most people in Melbourne today are more interested in the AFL Grand Final than the ABC.  I think The Age pulled the wrong rein there.

Jon Faine:  No we’re [the ABC] on Page 2 [of The Age], I might say.  But you might want to have a look at that when you get here.

This was just Faine Fake News.  On Friday 28 September both the early and late editions of The Age led with the controversy at the ABC under the lead heading – “Calls for more ABC bosses to resign” – and the story spilled to Page 4.  The second story on The Age’s Page 1 was about the AFL Grand Final headed “Pies’ mission for Maggie”. The Herald-Sun’s only Page 1 heading was “Magpie Mania”.  For my part, I can’t bear such inaccuracy. MWD Editor.]


As avid readers are aware, MWD has an interest in the phenomenon of memory. MWD’s position is that memory is fallible and that, on occasions, even individuals with what are said to be good memories can err about what happened in the past – even the recent past.  This issue is of current interest due to the conflicting testimony of Dr Christine Blasey Ford and Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the US Senate Judiciary Committee concerning an alleged sexual assault in the early 1980s.


ABC Radio National Breakfast journalist Matt Bevan is one of the many Trump critics at the taxpayer funded public broadcaster.

In a commentary piece on Wednesday – by use of reference to psychological and psychiatric studies – Matt Bevan attempted to establish that Dr Ford’s allegation is more likely to be accurate than Judge Kavanaugh’s denial – even though both are telling the truth.  That’s because someone who experiences trauma is more likely to recall an event than someone who hasn’t. As Mr Bevan put it:

Matt Bevan: The human memory is central to this case as it is with so many other sexual assault and rape cases. But according to neuroscientists a person going through trauma is more likely to remember events clearly even three decades on than their intoxicated attacker. I have no way of knowing for sure if Dr Ford is telling the truth. But according to Dr Debiec, a nueroscientist, she’s right on the science. As for Judge Kavanaugh, Dr Debiac says it’s very possible that, depending on how much alcohol he consumed, he may not remember what happened.

Dr Debiec: “You may really not remember anything”

Matt Bevan: This is why so much of the Democratic Party’s questioning was targeted at Judge Kavanaugh’s drinking habits.

In his rush to judgment, Mr Bevan simply overlooked the fact that Dr Ford’s allegation against the judge may involve a case of mistaken identity. In which case both the parties are telling the truth with one making the allegation being mistaken as to the identity of the alleged attacker.  Moreover, despite the evident trauma experienced some three decades ago, Dr Ford does not have a clear memory of the event – as demonstrated in the memorandum prepared by Rachel Mitchell, the Nominations Investigations Counsel for the United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary dated 30 September 2018.


James Brown, a non-resident fellow at the anti-Trump United States Studies Centre at Sydney University, made a similar error on Sky News’ AM Agenda this morning. This is what he had to say:

James Brown: There is no satisfactory outcome here. I mean, there are two versions of events of what happened in a room 35 years ago – a highly charged brutally public process. It’s not a court of law, it’s the court of public opinion.

I think it is likely that Kavanaugh will be confirmed.  But the issue will be far from settled and it will cast a shadow over every judgment the court makes in the next few years. And it will just double-down on the partisan divide in Washington.  So nobody really wins from this outcome and we will never know what happened in that room between a couple of students nearly 36 years ago.

You wonder what students are taught at the US[Less] Studies Centre. Mr Brown is hopelessly confused.  The US Senate Judiciary Committee did not hear “two versions of events of what happened in a room 35 years ago”. Dr Ford said she was in the room.  But Judge Kavanaugh said he was not in any room with Dr Ford.

Consequently – Brown’s comment that “we will never know what happened in that room between a couple of students nearly 35 years ago” is meaningless since, as the FBI has confirmed, there is no corroborative evidence in support of Dr Ford’s allegation.  She may be telling the truth but has misidentified her attacker. James Brown simply overlooked this possibility.


And then there is this tweet from Mark Scott the former ABC managing director and (so-called) editor-in-chief, who now heads the NSW Department of Education. Last night, Nice Mr Scott sent out the following tweet:

Mark Scott‏ @mscott

Another wonderful cover from Time. In her words. I hope she has a lasting impact.

9:26 PM – 4 Oct 2018

Again, it’s reasonable to question what students in NSW are being taught with respect to evidence.  The taxpayer funded Mark Scott has expressed the view that he hopes that Dr Blasey Ford’s views have “a lasting impact” – without assessing whether her recall is  accurate with respect to the person who assaulted her some three decades ago.




Barbara Heineback, the former press officer to US First Lady Rosalynn Carter, had this to say on ABC TV News Breakfast last Sunday concerning the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the US Supreme Court:

Barbara Heineback: Unless something is revealed during the [FBI] investigation… I still think he’ll be, you know, appointed to the Supreme Court, Justice Kavanaugh. I’m not sure that everyone understands the back-story. This [Senate] hearing that we looked at a couple of days ago was not at all normal because the senators had more than two months to investigate his background, whether he was qualified enough, everything was stellar and each of the hundred senators had ample time to speak with him on one-on-ones. And all of them did that I believe and had a half hour or longer.

Dianne Feinstein had more than one meeting with him and she already had the information from this Dr Ford, the woman from Palo Alto University who inferred that she had been molested. She’s the alleged victim and so that’s something that we need to understand…

Personally, I believe they [the Democratic Party] have made a huge error in trying to hold this information to the last minute, then drop a bomb. There was not so much that did come out in the hearing the other day. For instance, by Diane Feinstein…selecting the attorney that she said Dr Ford should have. Was that political or was it to help Dr Ford? If it was meant to help Dr Ford, then why was the letter leaked? Only three people had it, apparently.

I kind of viewed that hearing on two different levels. When it came to credibility and honesty and believability, I felt both really believed it. I believe something happened to this lady and you can see that she almost broke down in tears twice before she ever spoke. And she said she was terrified. You could see the nervousness in her when she was speaking. And they [Dr Ford and Judge Kavanaugh] both sound very credible. When it came to facts…. First of all, Dr Ford had no facts. The details she offered were all shattered. Because she said she had four witnesses – of those four… they all denied that they were there or that it ever happened and if there was a party they were totally unaware of it. It wasn’t a party they had attended or participated in.

Barbara Heineback: Five Paws


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Until next time.

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