GERARD HENDERSON’S MEDIA WATCH DOG
ISSUE – NO. 458
5 July 2019
* * * *
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 – Waleed Aly’s Confusion & Derryn Hinch’s Fake News
Can You Bear It? CBD on Simon Holmes a Court; Kerry O’Brien’s (double) Walkley Standing Ovation & David Crowe’s Abbottphobia and New Book Cover
New Feature: Media Pile-On of the Week- Annabel Crabb & Niki Savva & Laura Tingle & Annika Smethurst on Mathias Cormann
Five Paws Award – Step Forward Bruce Wolpe for seeing what 7:30 could not see re Michael Wolff
An ABC Update – Offsiders and Mr & Mrs Folau; Nick O’Malley on why Australia should follow the Brits on Climate Change (per courtesy of Radio National)
The John Laws “Deliberate Mistake” Segment – Jonathan Green scores
Media Fool of the Week – Step Forward Green-Left Fave Father Rod Bower of Gosford-town
Correspondence – Jonathan Green helps out re Blueprint (or is it blue cheese?) for Living
* * * *
WALEED ALY’S NARRATIVE – A CONFUSION
Could Sydney Morning Herald/Age columnist Waleed Aly be channelling the incomprehensible program The Minefield (which he co-presents on ABC Radio National) in his Nine Newspapers’ articles? It would seem so judging by today’s column which the SMH titled “Albo, don’t change the narrative.”
In his third paragraph, Dr Aly (for a doctor he is) writes that he “cannot understand why Labor was even flirting this week with the idea of supporting the [Coalition’s] tax policy stage three” – before stating that Labor had waved it through. That’s not a flirt.
Then, later, your man Waleed wrote that “Labor went into this year’s election with a suite of big polices, but no clear narrative to make them coherent”. Whereas “the Coalition had a narrative (primarily of the risk Labor posed) but no policies”.
But tax reform is a policy. And if Waleed Aly believed that Labor went into the election without a narrative – why did he state so confidently on Network 10 just as the polls closed that Labor would attain a comfortable victory?
Reading Waleed Aly this morning is a bit like listening to The Minefield – of which more next week.
DERRYN HINCH CONDEMNS – WHILE STATING – FAKE NEWS
Did anyone catch the return of Hinch on Sky News at 8 pm last night? As might be expected, Derryn Hinch introduced and concluded the program talking about the subject he knows best – himself. Here’s Hinch with the commencement of Hinch:
Derryn Hinch: Good Evening Australia and to recycle an old gag: as I was saying before I was so rudely interrupted. Now I will be honest and say it is weird but wonderful to be back here at Sky, I really did think I would be here in Canberra right now starting a new six year term as the re-elected Justice Party Senator for Victoria. After preferences, I got 310,000 votes but that wasn’t quite enough. The tribe has spoken and that’s democracy at work and I congratulate the Liberal candidate David Van who now fills my spot….
So I return to a profession and it is a proud profession, despite Donald Trump’s self-serving bull-bleep about fake news. It’s a profession I started out in nearly 60 years ago. Along the way I’ve interviewed every Australian prime minister since Robert Menzies, either in print or radio or television, all except one – the current PM Scott Morrison and I plan to rectify that soon.
Just hold it there for a minute. First, Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party received 2.8 per cent of the primary vote in the Senate election for Victoria – a long way short of the quota of around 14 per cent. This was around the same number of primary votes scored by Labour DLP (2.5 per cent), Pauline Hanson’s One Nation (2.9 per cent) and the United Australia Party (2.5 per cent).
Second, there is no evidence that Derryn Hinch “interviewed” Robert Menzies when he was prime minister. Menzies did very few one-on-one interviews and Gerard Henderson has not been able to locate an occasion in which such an event occurred. Could he have just made this up? And your man Hinch criticises President Trump for talking about fake news. Really.[Perhaps you should have run this in your hugely popular Can You Bear It? segment. Just a thought. – MWD Editor.]
Derryn Hinch went on and on before, predictably, having (another) go at George Pell:
I’m proud that in my short Canberra career we did bring in a passport ban to stop convicted sex offenders from going on child-rape holidays in Cambodia and Vietnam and Bali. And the last thing disgraced Cardinal George Pell did before stepping out on the dock as a convicted guilty pedophile was sign the child sex offenders register. Which means he can’t go back to Rome or to London for a steak and a glass of red.
This is an unprofessional statement. Cardinal Pell was convicted of five charges of historic child sexual abuse at his second trial – the jury failed to reach a verdict in the first trial. Some 22 additional charges were withdrawn due to lack of evidence.
George Pell is appealing his conviction. The Victorian Court of Appeal has withheld its decision in George Pell v The Queen, following a two day hearing. Yet Hinch has already decided what the decision of the three judges will be. The fact is that if Pell is acquitted – then he will be able to travel to Rome, if he so wishes.
MWD is happy that Sky News is running Hinch – if only because it is likely to provide MWD with lotsa copy. But the presenter should be able to do better than last night’s ego-driven occasion. Conroy & Kroger, which was replaced by Hinch, provided much more information to viewers – and the program did not embrace the cult of personality.
CBD’s SIMON (SON OF ROBERT) HOLMES A COURT NON-STORY STORY
Life must have been quiet in the Melbourne CBD last Monday. How else to explain the lead story in last Tuesday’s CBD column in The Age titled “Keeping up the energy level at IPA”? Nine Newspapers’ CBD scribblers Samantha Hutchinson & Kylar Loussikian’s piece was shifted to the bottom of their column in the Sydney Morning Herald that very day and abbreviated. No wonder.
In fact, you wonder how the IPA piece got published at all – even on a slow (business) day. You be the judge. This is how The Age story commenced:
Nine months ago prominent renewable energy investor and activist Simon Holmes a Court made the surprising admission that he had joined conservative think tank the Institute of Public Affairs. At the time, he said he joined the IPA – chaired by Murdoch columnist Janet Albrechtsen and led by John Roskam – to try to change conservative perceptions of climate and energy from the inside out.
“I don’t see eye to eye with a lot of opinions that come out of it [the IPA],” he told the ABC, redundantly [sic]. I’m hoping [membership] is a way I can have some conversations with some people who don’t agree with me or who are putting out messages I don’t agree with, and we can fact-check some of those areas and find a point of agreement.”[By the way, how do you tell the ABC – or anyone else – “redundantly”? – MWD Editor.]
So the CBD story commenced with the fact that the Green entrepreneur Simon Holmes a Court told someone nine months ago that he had joined the IPA. That is, circa October 2018. And it only took Ms Hutchinson and Mr Loussikian nine months to find out. But there was more:
Indeed, he [i.e. the person described as “the son of the late West Australian mining squillionaire Robert Holmes a Court”] was among partygoers at the IPA’s lavish 75th-anniversary bonanza at Crown’s Palladium in December, trying to bend the ear of conservative types in the room, who included Albrechtsen, Spectator Australia‘s Brendan O’Neill and Cities Minister Alan Tudge.
More breaking news – in CBD’s view. Simon Holmes a Court attended the IPA’s knees-up in Melbourne in – wait for it – December 2018. Who would have known – except those in attendance? [Who would have cared? – MWD Editor.]
And finally this:
His calls for higher subsidies for renewable energy projects were not received with much enthusiasm, according to some attendees.
How about that? Your man Holmes a Court – who reckons that renewables are the cheapest and most efficient form of energy – went down to Melbourne to call for yet more taxpayer subsidies for renewable energy projects. Quelle surprise! And CBD reckons that all this is news. Can You Bear It?
KERRY O’BRIEN’S (BEFORE AND AFTER) WALKLEY’S STANDING OVATION
Jackie’s (male) co-owner likes nothing more than when journalists dress up and gather together in one name to praise one another. Like the Walkleys, for example.
MWD just loved the fact that, at the 2019 Walkleys last Sunday, Kerry O’Brien received a standing ovation both before and after he was inducted into the Logies Hall of Fame.
His speech, which was a bit on the Rob Oakeshott side when it came to length, was essentially a boast about how wonderful the ABC is. Which, since Red Kerry worked for the taxpayer funded public broadcaster for much of his life in journalism, came as no surprise.
What was surprising was that your man O’Brien decided to make fun of Karl Stefanovic’s alimony problem of recent memory. Viewers of Channel 9 could well have come to the conclusion that there has only been one Mrs O’Brien. Can You Bear It?[Not really. Perhaps Gough Whitlam’s former staffer should enrol in one of Nancy’s Courtesy Classes – MWD Editor.]
DAVID CROWE’S BOOK COVER UPDATE
Wasn’t it good to see Nine Newspapers’ David Crowe (he of the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age) back at work in the Canberra Press Gallery yesterday? – the first day of regular parliamentary sittings since the election. Here’s what your man Crowe had to say at 2.14 pm on Thursday:
It’s 2:13 p.m. and, unusually, the Member for Warringah is not walking into #qt late.
2:14 PM – 4 Jul 2019
The point here – if point there is – is that Tony Abbott, the former Member for Warringah, was usually late for Question Time. Whereas Zali Steggall, the current Member for Warringah, turned up on time yesterday.
You would have to be suffering from a severe case of Abbott-phobia to believe that this is an important issue. Your man Crowe apparently suffers from this condition. Can You Bear It?[By the way, David Crowe drafted much of his forthcoming book Venom before the May 2019 election. Like Niki Savva, he assumed that the replacement of Malcolm Turnbull as Liberal Party leader by Scott Morrison would lead to the Coalition’s defeat and Labor’s victory.
Like Ms Savva, David Crowe has had his book’s title changed. It was Venom: The Vendettas and Betrayals that Broke a Party. Clearly, this will not do – since the Liberal Party, under Scott Morrison’s leadership, is anything but broken. Hence the new cover – Venom: Vendettas, Betrayals and the Price of Power. So Mr Crowe has gone from saying that betrayal broke the Liberal Party to saying that betrayal kept the Liberal Party in power. – MWD Editor.]
Here are the covers:
NEW FEATURE: MEDIA PILE-ON OF THE WEEK
AN INSIDERS COUCH MOMENT – NIKI SAVVA AND FRIENDS PILE-ON MATHIAS CORMANN
It was very much the consensus view of the Canberra Press Gallery that the Liberal Party erred badly in August last year when it successfully moved a spill against its leader Malcolm Turnbull. In the event, Scott Morrison became prime minister. The leadership change contributed to the prevailing view within the Canberra Press Gallery that the Coalition could not win the 2019 election and that Bill Shorten was a shoo-in to become prime minister soon after Saturday 18 May.
Very few journalists recognised that the Morrison government had a pathway to victory – which it took – and that Prime Minister Scott Morrison had got the social conservatives back on board and attracted increased financial support. Sure, the Morrison government has a two-seat majority – but in the election it won seats and votes. In short, in 2019 the Coalition won back some of the seats and votes that it had lost under Malcolm Turnbull’s leadership during the 2016 election. Moreover, the Coalition now holds only two of the ten most marginal seats.
Being a journalist means never having to say you’re sorry for errors of judgment. So, it came as no surprise that Niki Savva, a long-time Turnbull supporter, has refused to concede that Scott Morrison’s success demonstrates that the Liberal Party made the correct decision in August 2018.
Two months ago, Ms Savva had only the final chapter to write for her book which was titled Highway to Hell: The Coup that Destroyed Malcolm Turnbull and Left the Liberals in Ruins. What to do when it became evident that Mr Turnbull’s replacement as prime minister by Mr Morrison had not led to ruin – but rather to success? Simple, just change the book’s title to Plots and Prayers: Malcolm Turnbull’s Demise and Scott Morrison’s Ascension – and structure the concluding chapter accordingly.
And so it came to pass that last Sunday, on the eve of the publication of the freshly named Plots and Prayers, Niki Savva appeared on the ABC TV Insiders program. Annabel Crabb was in the presenter’s chair and the other panellists were Laura Tingle (the ABC’s chief political correspondent) and Annika Smethurst (News Corp’s Sunday newspapers).
The segment on Plots and Prayers commenced with Annabel Crabb asking Ms Savva a leading question about Senator Mathias Cormann’s role in the overthrow of Malcolm Turnbull. As avid readers will be aware, on Thursday 21 August 2018 Turnbull declared the leadership spilled – without advising his leadership group (which included Cormann) in advance. Peter Dutton challenged – winning 42 per cent of the vote. From that moment, Turnbull’s leadership was doomed and it was only a matter of time before he was replaced. He lost another spill motion on Friday 24 August and stepped down. Scott Morrison defeated Peter Dutton in the subsequent leadership ballot.
In response to Annabel Crabb’s question, Niki Savva immediately weighed into Senator Cormann. Let’s go to the transcript:
Annabel Crabb: Niki, well might the Finance Minister be scanning his phone [at the G20 meeting in Osaka] because he’s featured pretty heavily in the book that you’ve written – Plots and Prayers. It’s out tomorrow. Mathias Cormann has always denied plotting against Malcolm Turnbull but what did you discover in your research for the book?
Niki Savva: Well, I think what is pretty clear is that as a result of what happened last year is that Cormann is a vastly diminished figure within the government….Cormann said at that press conference [on Wednesday 22 August] that he would stand loyally beside the prime minister. And, unfortunately, that loyalty only extended until the setting of the sun. And then after that he told Turnbull that he was deserting. Now I just happen to think, optics and realities right? You cannot stand beside someone at an event and pledge undying loyalty and then a couple of hours later defect and expect that people will take your word on what you’re proposing. I think his credibility has been smashed as a result of that and I think it would be very difficult [sic] for people to say, well, does this guy really mean what he’s saying or is it just a game that he’s playing.
So according to the Crabb/Savva view, Senator Cormann is a diminished figure within the Liberal Party. Then Annika Smethurst declared that the same is true with respect to his position with the six crossbencher senators:
Annika Smethurst: And his credibility with the crossbench too. Whenever I speak to crossbenchers – they’ve always said that right from the start, wherever they sit to the left or to the right, that they took Mathias Cormann at his word. That he was someone they felt they could do a deal with for the government, he was very much in that role. And now there’s just been this sort of walk away from him, and he’s lost so much credibility – not just within his own party but across the parliament.
Niki Savva: I think that’s right.
Then Laura Tingle weighed in with a criticism of Senator Cormann’s role in the leadership change:
Laura Tingle: I think the other thing that really leaps out of Niki’s book, which might have been really obvious to everyone else, is the absolutely shambolic nature of Peter Dutton’s challenge against Malcolm Turnbull. Now without a doubt they were planning to do this later and Malcolm Turnbull surprised them. But the only thing you could say in Mathias Cormann’s defence, if he was in fact not involved, is that you probably wouldn’t have wanted to be involved because it turned out that they couldn’t count. It was – and you compare that with the sort of deadly capacity of the Morrison forces to seize the opportunity. And here is a group of people which Mathias Cormann may or may not have been involved with, who’d been plotting to move against the prime minister in that period of time. But they didn’t have the numbers, they didn’t know what was going on and they were not able to seize the opportunity very successfully of what sort of unfolded over those few days. And it became Mathias Cormann’s intervention ultimately that really was the death knell for the prime minister.
And now for a bit of reality.
٠ Malcolm Turnbull was principally responsible for losing the prime ministership. He led the Coalition to a loss of 14 seats in the 2016 election and the government survived with a majority of one. Moreover, having set Newspoll as the arbiter of political success, Turnbull presided over two score of opinion poll losses. Then there was his disastrous decision to call a leadership spill without consulting most of his supporters at the time. None of this was mentioned on Insiders last Sunday.
٠ As at the afternoon of Tuesday 21 August 2018, the Turnbull prime ministership was effectively destroyed. It fell to Senator Cormann – the most senior figure in the Liberal Party who was not a possible leadership contender – to resolve the situation. This he did, commencing Wednesday 22 August with his resignation from the Turnbull cabinet.
٠ Despite effectively dropping the secret ballot provisions which cover Liberal Party leadership ballots, Malcolm Turnbull lost a second spill motion on Friday 24 August 2018. He then stepped down. This demonstrated that Senator Cormann (who supported Peter Dutton) could count – in that he achieved his essential aim in difficult circumstances.
٠ It so happened that Scott Morrison defeated Peter Dutton in the leadership ballot after Julie Bishop was eliminated in the first round of voting.
٠ By acting as he did, Mathias Cormann saved the Liberal Party in the short term. As Ms Savva points out in her book, Mr Turnbull threatened to call an early election at this time – which almost certainly would have led to a Labor victory at the subsequent election. The fact that the matter was resolved by the morning of Friday 24 August 2018 prevented such a scenario from happening.
٠ Last night, Mathias Cormann – in his capacity as leader of the government in the Senate – obtained the support of four crossbench senators to pass the Morrison government’s tax reform legislation. This would not have been possible if he was not trusted by the likes of Senators Bernardi, Griff, Lambie and Patrick.
٠ Finally, Mathias Cormann was the key player in the decision of the Turnbull government to change the Senate voting system to make it difficult for candidates with very low primary votes to get elected. This led to a situation where only two crossbench senators won election at the 2019 election. This made it easier for the Coalition to negotiate its tax legislation through the Senate than otherwise would have been the case.
Mathias Cormann may be regarded as discredited by those who presided on the Insiders couch last Sunday – but this does not reflect his position in the Liberal Party or in the Senate.
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 Academy Awards.
BRUCE WOLPE SCORES FOR SEEING IN TRUMP-HATER MICHAEL WOLFF WHAT 7.30 COULD NOT SEE
As avid readers are aware, Issue 456 criticised the decision by ABC TV’s 7.30 to interview Trump-hater Michael Wolff on Thursday 20 June 2019. The occasion was the release of his piss-poor book Siege: Trump Under Fire.
Wolff’s previous book – Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House – was littered with errors, unsourced allegations and plenty of hearsay upon hearsay. Even so, 7.30 arranged for Leigh Sales to interview him concerning Siege.
If only, before its rush to judgment, 7.30 had waited for Bruce Wolpe’s review of Siege – which appeared in Nine Newspapers’ on Saturday 22 June 2019. Now your man Wolpe is no Trump supporter and has worked on the Democratic Party’s staff in the US Congress. In 2016 he supported Hillary Clinton – not Donald J. Trump.
Here’s part of what Bruce Wolpe had to say about Michael Wolff – who scored an interview with Ms Sales on 7.30:
But Siege flunks the smell test. There are no moments of nobility here, only rage, insult, vulgarity, derision, paranoia and every obscene rumour of sexual (and other: Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince, if you must know, allegedly has a cocaine problem) deviance that Wolff can get his hands on…. There are not enough showers to take in between reading the stinking trash in this book.
Bruce Wolpe: Five Paws.
IT’S 8 TO ZERO IN THE OFFSIDERS’ CONDEMNATION OF ISRAEL FOLAU (AND MARIA FOLAU)
ABC managing director and editor-in-chief David Anderson’s recent call for a greater diversity of views on ABC’s panels is yet to have universal application within the taxpayer funded public broadcaster.
Take the case of footballer Israel Folau, for example. He was dismissed by Rugby Australia following a tweet he sent out – quoting from St Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians – to the effect that adulterers, alcoholics, liars and homosexuals (among others) would be doomed to Hell – unless they repented.
MWD recalls two occasions when the Israel Folau matter – which is currently before the Fair Work Commission after Folau claimed unfair dismissal – was discussed on the ABC TV Offsiders program.
On Sunday 19 May 2019, Paul Kennedy was in the Offsiders’ presenter’s chair – and the panel comprised John Stanley (2GB), Alister Nicholson (ABC Grandstand) and former footballer Melissa Barbieri. All four joined in the anti-Folau pile on.
Mr Nicholson specifically congratulated Rugby Australia for its stance against Folau. Ms Barbieri concurred. Then Mr Stanley asked: “How can Rugby Australia better educate and get on board those people that still doubt they did the right thing?” Then Mr Kennedy declared that critics of Rugby Australia in this instance “should know better”.
And so on. Only one view was expressed. Rugby Australia is right. Israel Folau and his supporters are wrong. Moreover, it’s time to “educate” – or “learn” – Folau’s supporters about the error of their ways.
It was much the same last Sunday when the Offsiders panel comprised Kelli Underwood (presenter) along with Australian Diamonds netball coach Lisa Alexander, Richard Hinds (ABC Sports) and Caroline Wilson (The Age). Needless to say, in the ABC way, when it came to the issue of Israel Folau v Rugby Australia, nobody on the panel came to Israel Folau’s defence.
Caroline Wilson then threw the switch to the need to “advocate” or “learn” those who do not agree with her. She targeted the talented netballer Maria Folau, who happens to be married to Israel Folau. Ms Wilson had this to say: “Shouldn’t more work have been put into her before she repeated her husband’s comments?”
How about that? It seems that the feminist Caroline Wilson believes that it is appropriate to criticise wives for the (alleged) misdeeds of their husbands. More importantly, Wilson’s comment was simply wrong. Maria Folau did not repeat Israel Folau’s comments about unrepenting adulterers, alcoholics, liars and homosexuals going to Hell. All she did was to share the post about Israel Folau’s fundraising campaign on her Instagram account. That’s all.
Needless to say, neither the presenter nor the other two panel members picked up Caroline Wilson’s howler. Nor did anyone state that it was unprofessional to criticise Ms Folau for the actions or words of her husband. They shared Caroline Wilson’s view that Maria Folau should be silenced by New Zealand and/or South Australian netball authorities pressuring her.
An avid MWD reader drew this matter to the attention of Paul Barry’s nine-person team at the ABC TV Media Watch program – citing Ms Wilson’s fake news in this instance. Not surprisingly, Mr Barry and his team of helpers declined to come to the defence of Maria Folau – preferring, instead, to focus on criticising the beat-up that the British child murderer Jon Venables could be moving to Australia. As the Americans might say – this is a nothing-burger. Whereas the Folau story is international news.
HAMISH MACDONALD’S SOFT INTERVIEW WITH NICK O’MALLEY ON WHY AUSTRALIA SHOULD FOLLOW THE BRITS ON CLIMATE CHANGE
Thanks to the avid reader who drew MWD’s attention to ABC Radio National’s Saturday Extra presenter Hamish Macdonald’s interview with Nick O’Malley – the Sydney Morning Herald’s senior writer. The producer was Amruta Slee. The date was 22 June 2019.
Hamish Macdonald told listeners – if listeners there were – that your man O’Malley had visited the United Kingdom to study energy policy – with the support of Down Under’s Climate Institute. Sounds impressive, eh? Except that no one mentioned that the Climate Institute is an advocacy group – which campaigns for renewables and against coal.
This is how Saturday Extra presented the program:
Australia’s politicians are still squabbling over climate change – meanwhile the UK has marched boldly towards solutions. And they’re following the lead of an unlikely greenie.
Nick O’ Malley, senior writer, Sydney Morning Herald
Image: Meet the UK’s greenie pioneer – Margaret Thatcher (Fiona Hanson, WPA Pool, Getty)
This is the gist of what Nick O’Malley told Saturday Extra – in response to Hamish Macdonald’s soft questions:
▪ Reaction to Theresa May’s announcement that Britain would have zero net emissions by 2050 was overwhelmingly positive. The debate in the UK is utterly unlike the debate in Australia because no time is spent debating the reality of climate change or whether radical change in the economy is needed. The UK has a very powerful Committee on Climate Change.
▪ Massive cost estimates of the plan (potentially 1 trillion pounds) is justified by decreases in the cost of decarbonisation and the large cost of not tackling climate change. Wind energy production has decreased in cost by 50 per cent in two years. The UK is building huge new offshore wind turbines thanks to falling costs and government subsidies. Increase in household energy prices can be justified because of potential massive costs of climate change e.g. having to change insulation on houses.
▪ Margaret Thatcher was the first Western leader to argue that action on climate change was necessary. The Thatcher government had ended the coal industry because it became economically unviable. Without a domestic extraction industry there was not a natural base of opposition to climate change action. The establishment of the CCC (Committee on Climate Change) was crucial to the UKs improved debate around climate change. Expert advice is not questioned in the UK and other European countries.
▪ Some Europeans are baffled by Australia’s level of debate on these topics.
This is the gist of what was not said during the soft Macdonald/O’Malley discussion.
Nick O’Malley did not mention that about 20 per cent of British energy supply comes from nuclear energy. Gas makes up around 40 per cent and coal around 10 per cent. Also, around 50 per cent of Britain’s electricity comes from France – and 70 per cent of France’s energy is generated by nuclear power.
In other words, comparing energy supply in Britain with Australia is an apples/oranges scenario. For starters, Australia has no access to nuclear energy. Moreover, the British coal industry all but closed down in 1989 – primarily because it was expensive and inefficient.
Hamish Macdonald claimed that the Britain’s Committee on Climate Change (CCC) was established by Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative government. In fact, the CCC was created by Gordon Brown’s Labour government in 2008. Mr O’Malley did not correct Mr Macdonald’s howler.
Also neither mentioned that, in her later years, Margaret Thatcher changed her views on climate change. In her 2002 book Statecraft: Strategies for a Changing World she referred to climate change as “the doomsters’ favourite subject”.
THE JOHN LAWS “DELIBERATE MISTAKE” SEGMENT
JONATHAN GREEN PICKS (DELIBERATE) MISTAKE RE THE NAME OF HIS VERY OWN BLUEPRINT FOR LIVING PROGRAM
One of the most challenging tasks for avid readers each Friday – after lunch, of course – is to find a John-Laws-Style-Deliberate-Mistake in MWD. If there is one.
As avid MWD readers will know, Hendo is not into pedantry and does not focus on the written typos and verbal misstatements of journalists – since everyone makes them. Not so some other scribblers. But deliberate mistakes are still mistakes – and need to be corrected.
Congratulations to ABC Radio National Blueprint for Living presenter Jonathan (“Proudly the ABC’s Sneerer-in-Chief) Green who picked the John-Laws-Style-Deliberate-Mistake in last week’s issue.
MWD referred to your man Green’s program Blueprint for Living – which rates its sandals off in inner-city Newtown and Fitzroy North – as “Design for Living”.
MWD was wrong. The error has been corrected. Well done Comrade Green – re which see this week’s “Correspondence” section.
STEP FORWARD ROD (“I DON’T REALLY BELIEVE IN A GOD”) BOWER FOR FAKE HITLER COMPARISONS
In recent times, ABC managing director and editor-in-chief David Anderson has supported the view that there should be greater political diversity on the public broadcaster’s panel shows.
It’s early days yet. But there is evidence to suggest that the last couple of Q&A programs have been better balanced than usual – and this is likely to be the case again next week.
This move – if move there is – will not go down well with the Green/Left baying mob which invariably complains whenever conservatives get a run on such ABC TV panel programs as Q&A, The Drum and Insiders. And already there has been criticism.
Enter ABC and Nine Newspapers’ fave – Fr Rod Bower – who has become famous for posting secular Green/Left messages on a billboard outside the Gosford Anglican Church.
Last Monday’s Q&A had a balanced panel comprising the Coalition’s James Paterson, Labor’s Clare O’Neil, columnist Grace Kelly, blogger Jamila Rizvi and people’s panellist Greg Day.
However, your man Bower was not pleased by the line-up. This is what he tweeted at 9.41 pm on Monday – shortly after Q&A went to air:
Fr Rod Bower @FrBower
“Who says the #ABC is too far to the left #Qanda has that nice young man from the Hitler Youth on tonight.”
9:41 PM . Jul 1, 2019
The reference was to 32 year old James Paterson, a Liberal Party Senator for Victoria. By the way, membership of the Hitler Youth covered boys aged between 13 and 18. No 32 year olds were Hitler Youth members.
It appears that the Christian pastor reckons it’s quite okay to allege that Young Senator Paterson is a young Nazi. This is just abuse – nothing but abuse. Apparently Fr Bower regards calling someone a follower of Adolf Hitler is either clever or funny. It’s neither. Just rude and ignorant. And does a grievous disservice to those who suffered under the Nazi regime.
The Thought of Fr Bower is often heard on the ABC – particularly on The Drum where he invariably rocks up in his clerical gear. But what sort of Christian is your man Bower? One who does not believe in God, it appears.
On 9 May 2019, Crikey ran a piece by MWD’s favourite Marxist comedian – Guy Rundle – titled “Father Bower feels the call for politics”. This is how the article commenced:
“And when the radical priest
Come to get me released
We was all on the cover of Newsweek”
– Paul Simon, Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard
“Is politics a call to you? Like religion, Was religion? I mean is God an existent, or simply a ‘real’. Is…”
“Well, I haven’t talked about God this much for years….” Father Rod Bower and I are on our third beer each. He wants to talk about climate change and refugees. I want to talk about God. We’re a friendly impasse, because I’m an atheist who thinks God might be real, and Rod’s a post-theist Christian.
Clad in the radical preacherman’s outfit – no dog collar, but an open-neck white shirt and black jacket – he bounced into the main bar of the Royal Hotel in Redfern, close to the Writers’ Fest, an hour ago, with the energy of a man on the campaign trail. There’s a crowd of colleagues from the ICAN movement [Independents for Climate Action Now] in tow, campaigning journo Margo Kingston among them.
So there you have it. The Anglican priest is a post-theist type. Post-theists maintain that belief in God is but a stage in human development as society comes to a situation where it no longer needs religious belief. This means that Fr. Bower believes in Jesus, the good sandal-clad bloke who hung out in Jerusalem. But not in Jesus – The Son of God.
Since your man Bower is an out-and-proud post-theist, then he does not believe in the Virgin birth or the Resurrection or Heaven or Hell. But he does believe in the need for action on climate change – albeit without God’s help. [Don’t you mean without god’s help? – MWD Editor.]
In any event, neither God nor god was of much help to the man of the cloth in the recent Senate election in NSW. Despite the backing of the out-and-proud atheist Peter FitzSimons, the vicar of the Gosford Anglican Church’s Independents for Climate Action Now scored 0.6 per cent of the primary vote.
After such a rejection, it might have been thought that Fr Rod (“I don’t believe in God”) Bower would shut up for a while. But now he’s thrown the switch to let’s-talk-about-the-Nazis mode and compared Senator Paterson with members of the Hitler Youth.
Rod Bower – Media Fool of the Week.
This overwhelmingly popular segment of Media Watch Dog usually works like this. Someone or other thinks it would be a you-beaut idea to write to Gerard Henderson about something or other. And Hendo, being a courteous and well-brought up kind of guy, replies. Then, hey presto, the correspondence was published in MWD – much to the delight of its avid readers.
There are occasions, however, when Jackie’s (male) co-owner decides to write a polite note to someone or other – who, in turn, believes that a reply is in order. Publication in MWD invariably follows. There are, alas, some occasions where Hendo sends a polite missive but does not receive the courtesy of a reply. Nevertheless, publication of this one-sided correspondence still takes place. For the record – and in the public interest, of course.
On 20 June 2019, ABC TV’s 7.30’s executive producer Justin Stevens wrote to Hendo and stated – with evident irony – “you have a habit of publishing private email correspondence like this”. Quite so – and so it came to pass that his emails were published in Issues 455 and 456. For his part, Jackie’s (male) co-owner reckons it’s a bit much for journalists who spend a large part of their professional life receiving leaked information – including private correspondence – to lecture others about good manners with respect to the handling of private correspondence.
As MWD readers are aware, The Guardian Australia’s deputy editor Katharine Murphy put out the following tweet on 6 June 2014 at 4.33 pm – when that issue of MWD was “hot off the press”. Here is Ms Murphy’s tweet: “Without in any way wanting to breach anyone’s human rights or free speech – why do people write emails to Gerard Henderson?” It’s a very good question. Thankfully, not everyone follows Katharine Murphy’s wise counsel – not even, on occasions, Ms Murphy herself (See MWD Issue 297).
JONATHAN GREEN AND GERARD HENDERSON re RADIO NATIONAL’S BLUEPRINT FOR LIVING – OR IS IT “BLUE CHEESE FOR DINING”?
As reported earlier in this issue, Jonathan Green was the first avid (but not uncritical) reader to identify last week’s John-Laws-Style-Deliberate-Mistake. Well done Comrade Green. It is notable, however, that he did not defend the segment on Blueprint for Living which suggested that only “intelligent people” could make up a dinner party. There followed a discussion on what to do if the conversation falters and so on.[What about going out on the highways and byways and asking a few representatives of the hoi polloi to join the occasion? Surely a few could be found in Carlton or Fitzroy North – perhaps collecting the garbage. It would certainly liven up the occasion – even if the new guests had not read Alexandre Dumas. Just a thought. MWD Editor.]
But MWD digresses. Issue 457 went out at 4.16 pm on Friday 28 June. And your man Green emailed MWD at 6.10 pm advising of the (deliberate) mistake. A prompt intervention, if ever there was one. Well done Comrade Green. There followed a (somewhat brief) correspondence. Here we go:
Jonathan Green to Gerard Henderson – 28 June 2019
The name of the programme is Blueprint For Living.
Gerard Henderson to Jonathan Green – 28 June 2019
Thanks for picking the deliberate mistake .I will correct .I’m off to dinner as soon as I find an intellectual to share it with.
Jonathan Green to Gerard Henderson – 28 June 2019
I’ve always imagined you dined alone.
Gerard Henderson to Jonathan Green – 1 July 2019
How very perceptive. In fact I spent the weekend in the South Coast and could not find a listener to “Blue Cheese for Dining” with whom to share a meal. So I am heading to Ultimo for lunch where I’m hoping to find one member of the Sandalista intelligentsia with whom I can break bread (or – rather – Fougasse).
Happy dining – with a Dumas approved intellectual, of course.
Jonathan Green to Gerard Henderson – 1 July 2019
Why on earth do you bother?
Gerard Henderson to Jonathan Green – 1 July 2019
Haven’t you worked it out?
I need all the copy I can get for MWD‘s (hugely popular) “Correspondence” segment.
* * * * *
Until next time.
* * * * *