GERARD HENDERSON’S MEDIA WATCH DOG
ISSUE – NO. 483
7 February 2020
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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 a Trump-hate-fest as Richard Glover, David Marr, Kate McClymont & Ellen Fanning get together to discuss how much they agree with each other; Chris Kenny Reigns on Bob Katter’s parade
A Note from the Editor’s Assistant – On Droughts and Flooding Rains and The Bureau of Meteorology
Can You Bear It? Peter FitzSimons’ fake news re Alex Turnbull’s Largesse; Richard Denniss embarks on a preaching tour of Australia
New Feature: Top Media Interrupter of the Week – Fran Kelly beats out David Speers for the coveted prize
New Feature: A (media) view of the Hoi Polloi from the inner city – Josh Szeps wonders why anybody would want to go to Western Sydney
Anti-Catholic Sectarianism in the Media: An Update – Gael Jennings’ confusion about the Labor split of 1955
New Feature: Among the Media Snobs – In which The Saturday Paper’s Richard Ackland mocks furniture salesmen
Jackie on the Twitter Prowl – Checking in on the ABC Chair & Deputy Chair
Quelle Surprise! – Former Liberal John Hewson criticises a current Liberal Leader
IT’S A TRUMP-HATE SPECIAL AS RICHARD AGREES WITH DAVID WHO AGREES WITH KATE WHO AGREES WITH ELLEN ABOUT THE US PRESIDENT
Did anyone hear the “Journos’ Forum” on ABC Sydney Drive with Richard Glover last evening discussing Donald J. Trump and all that? Well, it was what is to be expected when an ABC/Guardian/Nine Trio get together and talk about the United States’ 45th president.
Richard Glover introduced the topic – following reports of the State of the Union Address. Highlights included:
▪ David Marr (The Guardian) commenced by describing Donald Trump as “a pussy-grabber”. He said that “if Trump had no chance of being re-elected we’d be looking forward to business as usual at the end of this year” but acknowledged that “America may well re-elect this man”. He expressed shame that this “shameful” man has “every chance of being re-elected”.
▪ Ellen Fanning (ABC) took seriously a survey which asked a representative group of people whether the United States would be better off if people on the other side just died. Apparently 20 per cent of Democrats and 16 per cent of Republicans replied in the affirmative. It would seem that Ms Fanning is ignorant about the uselessness of a leading question. [I note that the actual question was even more leading – it asked “Do you ever think: we’d be better off as a country if large numbers of [Opposing party] in the public today just died?“ – MWD Editor]
▪ Kate McClymont (Nine Newspapers) praised Mitt Romney – the only Republican in the Senate to vote to convict President Trump. No surprise there. Then Ms McClymont decided it was time to bag Donald Trump Jr. This is what she had to say:
Kate McClymont: ….he’s [Mitt Romney’s] greeted by this tweet from lovely Don Trump Jr., “Mitt Romney is forever bitter that he will never be POTUS. He was too weak to beat the Democrats then so he’s joining them now. He’s now officially a member of the resistance and should be expelled from the Republican Party”. It’s exactly what –
Ellen Fanning: [interjecting] And his Old Man [Donald Trump] put out the attack ad, did you see the attack ad?
Kate McClymont: Yes.
Ellen Fanning: Yeah “the Democrat’s secret asset”.
David Marr: [interjecting] They’re wonderful people, we just have to acknowledge they are wonderful people and the dignity they bring to office [laughter]….
In fact Donald Trump Jr’s response was a perfectly reasonable one for a Republican to make. Mitt Romney is hostile to Donald Trump and is the only senator to vote to dismiss a President of the same party. Little wonder that Donald Trump Jr. believes that Mitt Romney should be kicked out of the Republican Party.
Comrade Marr went on to describe President Trump’s speech as “hideous” and “just like being at Luna Park” but added that it was “very clever” and “beautifully delivered” and then went on to bag the United States.
Then Comrade Fanning depicted the Trump administration as engaging in “immoral and amoral behaviour” – but did not say how. She then reminded listeners (if listeners there were) of Donald Trump’s pre-election statement that he could walk down Fifth Avenue and shoot someone and still get elected. As if it should be interpreted literally – a bit like how a fundamentalist Christian interprets The Bible. Whereupon Richard Glover and Kate McClymont praised Ellen Fanning.
And so it came to pass that Richard agreed with The Guardian’s David who agreed with the ABC’s Ellen who agreed with Nine Newspapers’ Kate who agreed with Richard who agreed with Ellen who agreed with Kate who agreed with David who agreed with himself. No other view was heard.
REIGNING KATTER HANDS OVER REIGNS
It was around Gin & Tonic time last evening when Gerard Henderson turned on Sky News’ The Kenny Report – as you do. It turned out that Chris Kenny was in discussion with Bob Katter and Robby Katter about the future of the Katter’s Australia Party.
Indeed, Bob the elder is handing over the leadership of the KAP, which he founded, to his son Rob the younger. The latter told Mr Kenny that he was present at the party’s conception. Interesting.
The William/Kate/Harry/Meghan saga – along with the coverage of the reigning Monarch – seems to have confused Sky News’ small staff. Hence the reference to the “reigns” being handed over from father to son.
A NOTE FROM THE EDITOR’S ASSISTANT
On Droughts and Flooding Rains and The Bureau of Meteorology
Hi. Jackie (Dip Wellness, The Gunnedah Institute) here.
As an obedient canine who was well brought up, I follow the advice of my superiors, including believing what between 97 per cent and 100 per cent of scientists tell me. Indeed as Mr Simon and Mr Garfunkel once sang: “I get the news I need from the weather report”.
So, learning that the Bureau of Meteorology had warned some time ago that fire conditions in eastern Australia will continue until at least April 2020 – I arranged for the roof of my kennel to be replaced and slept under the dry summer skies.
It all worked well until heavy rains began to fall yesterday. Indeed, I had to exit my abode on the back of a duck this morning. Sadly, a piece I was preparing for MWD about Malcolm (“Gerard Henderson is a complete f-ck-wit”) Farr was destroyed by water. It will have to wait until next week, by which time it should have dried out according to the BOM’s report of recent memory. For the record, I still trust the Bureau of Meteorology and anticipate the fire season and the drought to return by HangOver Time tomorrow. Since I am a True Believer in Theoretical Models and all that stuff.
PETER FITZSIMONS AND ALEX TURNBULL – FAKE NEWS OR NOT?
Isn’t it good to see Nine Newspapers’ Red Bandannaed One back from his WEB (aka Well Earned Break). As MWD reported exclusively last week, Peter FitzSimons travelled to Singapore (and perhaps beyond) on a Qantas business class flight in late December wearing – you’ve guessed it – a red rag on his head.
As was befitting, the stand-in talents for the Sun-Herald’s “Fitz on Sunday” column were part-time comedians Mark Humphries and Dom Knight (one of the original Chaser Boys – average age 471/2). Both were depicted by Nine Newspapers wearing a red rag on their respective heads – see below.
It’s difficult to think of any issue where Fitz got it right last year. He was wrong about the outcome of the NSW State election and wrong about the outcome of the Federal election. In the latter case, as reported in MWD, The Red Bandannaed One was a booster for the Singapore-based Alex Turnbull’s attempt to bring about a Labor-led minority government.
Readers will recall Fitz’s column on 5 May 2019 headed “Alex Turnbull puts his money where his non-Liberal mouth is”. It contained the following comment:
Malcolm Turnbull’s son Alex, who “went rogue” on twitter shortly after the political coup that took down his father, and has continued since – mostly criticising hard-right Liberal politics – was particularly engaged last week.
The issue has been whether, as reported, he has or has not donated money to independents Zali Steggall and Kerryn Phelps. Alex Turnbull denied that he had donated a cent to either, but makes no bones about where his political sympathies lie – and they are not with the right wing of the Libs.
When I asked him what his hope was for this election, he said: “My hope is for a Labor minority government with moderate independents holding the balance. And I’d like [Gosford rector] Father Rod Bower and [ACT independent candidate] Anthony Pesec to get seats in the Senate.”
How much have you donated in this election? “Six figures.”
Gee, that went well. In the Senate vote in NSW, Rod Bower received a total of 0.6 per cent of the primary votes. And neither Anthony Pesec nor Gary Kent – managed to defeat the Liberal Party’s Zed Seselja in the ACT’s Senate election.
As to the $100,000 (at least) political donation which your man Turnbull claimed to have given to Independents, the Australian Financial Review’s “Rear Window” commented on Wednesday that, according to the Australian Electoral Commission’s report, Young Alex provided a total of $20,000 to two ACT independent candidates – Anthony Pesec and Gary Kent. Which is some $80,000 short of six figures, according to MWD’s count. Moreover, Turnbull Junior apparently gave the Reverend Bower nothing – the clergyman’s total campaign donations amounted to a miserly $1611. All from Independents for Climate Action Now. [Thanks for the tip, Joe. – MWD Ed.]
It’s possible that the Lion of Singapore gave money to the other Independent candidates below the level ($13,800) that has to be declared. But it’s also possible that Alex Turnbull broke a promise. In which case, will the Red Bandannaed One make a clarification on Sunday? Surely Fitz is not the purveyor of fake news. Can You Bear It?
LAST YEAR RICHARD DENNISS’ POLITICAL ANALYSIS WAS WRONG – NOW HE’S TELLING AUSTRALIANS HOW TO DO ECONOMICS
Australians of a certain age may recall the Australian tour of American (religious) preacher Billy Graham in 1959. It seems that Dr Richard Denniss of the Green-Left inclined Australia Institute is planning a (secular) preaching tour of Australia in the coming months.
How does MWD know this? Well, Dr Denniss (for a doctor he is) took out a full-page advertisement in The [Boring] Saturday Paper last weekend. [I note that The Australia Institute’s chief economist flashed his (economic) doctorate on two occasions in the advt. Impressive to be sure. But not with practical use at a time of the coronavirus. – MWD Editor.]
According to Comrade Denniss, “Australia’s economic debate is broken; it has become more about rules than ideas.” Really. So the learned doctor will address crowds in Canberra, Brisbane, Melbourne, Adelaide and Sydney speaking on the topic “Why Economics is Broken: And what we can do to fix it”. [I can hardly wait to attend the Sydney event which will take place just five days after April Fool’s Day – MWD Ed.] Tickets are selling at a mere $20 – $65 – cheap at twice the price (as the saying goes). The Canberra function is booked out – suggesting either that it will be held in a small room or that there’s not much to do in the ACT on the designated date.
But, wait. Isn’t this the very same Dr Denniss who ’fessed up in The Monthly last year that he had been hopelessly wrong about the result of the May 2019 election and that he was ignorant about what Australians in the suburbs and regional and rural areas are thinking about economic matters? Sure is. And yet The Australia Institute is expecting the good people of Australia to fork out good money to hear its chief economist telling us mere mortals that the economic debate is broken and your man Denniss knows how to fix it. Can You Bear It?
FRAN KELLY BEATS OUT DAVID SPEERS FOR THE COVETED PRIZE
Wasn’t it great to have Fran (I’m an activist”) Kelly back fronting ABC Radio National Breakfast on Monday? She had spent some time presenting ABC TV Insiders during the interregnum between the outgoing Barrie Cassidy and the incoming David Speers. Hamish (“I don’t watch television”) Macdonald had filled in for Comrade Kelly on RN Breakfast – but he then started the week as the new host of ABC TV’s Q&A. Your man Macdonald who does not own a TV (see last week’s issue) is also fronting RN Breakfast on Fridays.
It seems that Comrade Kelly must have had some intel about MWD’s intention to introduce a brand new “Top Media Interrupter of the Week” gong. How else to explain her interview with Finance Minister Mathias Cormann last Monday?
Sure the competition was tight. After all, on Sunday, David Speers had interviewed Treasurer Josh Frydenberg. Reviewing the first Insiders of the year in Crikey last Monday, Stephen Brook had this to say:
Speers replaced Cassidy perhaps a little too well and delivered the toughest political interview seen on the ABC in recent times. Few among the ABC’s armoury of political talent would have dared to conduct an interview in the manner of which Speers tackled Treasurer Josh Frydenberg; they would have been terrified of the blowback, of being called out for being slavishly devoted to green-left groupthink. And the government would have been furious.
But Speers was a dog with a bone. He pushed back against the treasurer and interrupted abruptly. But Frydenberg can spin better than a Fisher & Paykel front loader, and politicians as practised as him need roughing up occasionally to tip them into making an admission. Or, as happened here: making their determination to stick to the talking points become the interview talking point.
Your man Speers’ performance surprised MWD somewhat. After all, last Saturday he told The Guardian’s Amanda Meade that his Insiders interview each week will be more about eliciting information than trying to catch a politician out. He added: “I’m not trying to do a gotcha interview but I am a journalist and I’m trying to find out information and a news angle”.
In the event, it turned out that what Speers occasionally calls a “Punch & Judy show” took place with lotsa interruptions as described by Stephen Brook.
On watching the interview, Jackie’s (male) co-owner reckoned that Speersy (as he is called by journalist mates) had nailed MWD’s inaugural award. But then along came Comrade Kelly with this stunning contribution the following day. Let’s go to the transcript as Fran Kelly interviews Finance Minister Mathias Cormann:
Fran Kelly: Minister, Bridget McKenzie resigned effectively on a more minor matter. Why wasn’t she forced out on the much bigger issue, the scandal, around the marginal seat bias that the Auditor-General found in the sports grants program?
Mathias Cormann: We do not accept that premise – [Interjection]
Fran Kelly: You don’t accept the findings of the National Audit Office?
Mathias Cormann: We have taken on board the findings of the Auditor-General and – [Interjection]
Fran Kelly: And rejected them.
Mathias Cormann: – we have taken on board the recommendations and we have started to act on those recommendations. The Minister is the final decision maker and has a level of discretion when it comes to decisions of this kind – [Interjection]
Fran Kelly: Yes Minister, but a level of discretion is one thing. 70 per cent of the approved projects not recommended by Sport Australia is another. That’s why the National Audit Office found a distribution bias in this $100 million program. Are you saying that the Auditor-General just got it wrong? Is that the Government’s finding?
Mathias Cormann: In the end, a Minister is the final decision maker. Governments are elected to make these sorts of decisions and governments are accountable to the Australian people at an election having made these decisions in government … [Interjection]
Pretty impressive don’t you think? And so it came to pass that Comrade Kelly defeated your man Speers in the inaugural contest for what is likely to become one of the most prestigious awards on the Australian media scene.
During the total interview, Fran Kelly spoke about 40 per cent of the time and the Finance Minister was allowed 60 per cent of the time. Here’s a modest proposal. Perhaps next time the Minister should interview the RN Breakfast presenter.
[By the way, wasn’t it good to hear Speersy on the ABC this morning. I caught him on ABC TV News Breakfast, then RN Breakfast, then ABC Radio Sydney and so on – all saying essentially the same thing. I’ve heard that he met himself walking in to the Melbourne tardis interview to do a cross to Sydney just after he had done a cross to Brisbane. Or something like that – MWD Ed.]
NEW FEATURE: A (MEDIA) VIEW OF THE HOI POLLOI FROM THE INNER CITY
JOSH SZEPS AND PARRAMATTA AS ANOTHER COUNTRY
Josh Szeps is one of a number of the leftist comedians who has graduated to the role of the presenter at the taxpayer funded public broadcaster. Currently Comrade Szeps seems to fill-in on demand on such programs as the Sydney Radio 702 Breakfast show and ABC TV’s Weekend Breakfast. He has a regular slot presenting The People Vs on Radio National.
Thanks to the avid reader who drew MWD’s attention to Comrade Szeps’ interview with David Borger of the Western Sydney Business Chamber – which aired on ABC Radio 702 Breakfast on 10 January 2020. Your man Szeps told listeners (if listeners there were) that he was looking for new rental digs in inner-city Sydney. Later he wondered out loud why anyone would even want to visit Parramatta in Sydney’s west. In particular, the retired comedian kept banging on in the interview about why there is no need to build more hotels in Parramatta. Let’s go to the transcript:
Josh Szeps: Yeah. I mean, I take, I take your point that the increase in tourism to Sydney’s west is growing very fast, but it’s coming off a fairly low base. I just – I don’t really buy it. The bit that tourists from Asia want to come to Australia and they want to stay in Western Sydney. They want to see beaches. They want to see the Harbour Bridge.
David Borger: There’s no doubt the big drawcard is a beach and the Sydney CBD and surrounds – and the historical parts of Sydney are amazing places and they will always be at the top of the list. I agree with that. But people also want to see Katoomba. And there is room for all different types of tourists and some of them are package tourists that come on a budget in large groups. They stay in affordable accommodation, not in the Sydney CBD.
Thanks for that. It seems that, in his Sydney inner-city bubble, Comrade Szeps is not aware that:
▪ More than 4 million people visit the Blue Mountains – at the centre of which is Katoomba – annually with tourism generating over $400m per year.
▪ In the financial year 2018-2019, there were a total of 11.8 million international and domestic visitors overnight and day-trip visitors to Western Sydney. They comprised more than a quarter of those who visited the Sydney region and, overall, they spent $5.2 Billion.
▪ Hotel accommodation is cheaper in Parramatta than in inner-city Sydney or in Bondi or Coogee.
So there you have it. Comrade Szeps broadcasts to the Sydney region – but he hasn’t got a clue that many international and domestic tourists stay at Parramatta on their way to and from the Blue Mountains. Parramatta is a mere 22 kilometres from the ABC headquarters in inner-city Ultimo. But, from an ABC inner-city perspective, it could be another country.
ANTI-CATHOLIC SECTARIANISM IN THE MEDIA: AN UPDATE
GAEL JENNINGS’ CONFUSION ABOUT THE LABOR SPLIT OF 1955 FAILS TO ADVANCE HISTORY
There was enormous interest in the first segment of this new series which commenced last week – starring Dom Knight’s allegation about Vatican sponsored Catholic plants in Australian politics. Really.
But there’s more of the same this week. This is what Gael Jennings – from the oddly termed Centre for Advancing Journalism at Melbourne University – said on ABC TV News Breakfast program on 24 January 2020 when discussion turned on the death of former Labor Victorian premier John Cain (1931-2019), the son of former Labor Victorian premier John Cain (1882-1957):
Presenter: Now can we just go to your last one [topic] and John Cain. I mentioned earlier –
Gael Jennings: Yeah
Presenter: – there’s been some impressive obituaries written –
Gael Jennings: Really impressive obituaries. And I think this because this John Cain, as everyone knows, was Victorian Labor Premier and he, as they would say, brought Labor in from the cold after 27 years in opposition. But he was also part of people in the 1960s including Barry Jones (whom we know) and Race Matthews who moved the Labor Party less from, it used to be a very strong sort of Catholic based party – which led to a split in the 1950s. And then he [John Cain Jnr] led them to a more sort of moderate, middle of the road, electable party if you like.
Presenter: And they called themselves The Participants.
What a load of absolute (sectarian) tosh. It is a leftist myth to state that the Victorian Labor Party in the 1950s was “a Catholic based party” and that this led to a Labor Split of 1955 which damaged the ALP for close to two decades.
The Split was initiated by the unstable Labor leader at the time, Dr Bert Evatt, who moved against the Victorian ALP State executive after he failed to defeat Robert Menzies in the October 1954 election. It is true that many of the anti-communist ALP members who Evatt took on were Catholics – but not all. In time, those Victorian ALP members were expelled from the party.
In December 1952, a united Labor Party under the leadership of John Cain Snr won a landslide victory over the Liberal and Country Party. At the time Labor members included Catholics, Protestants, Jews, atheists, agnostics and more besides. In October 1955, after the Labor Split which saw many anti-communists driven from the Labor Party along with some other anti-communists, the Cain-led Labor Party suffered a massive defeat at the polls – and did not return to office until 1982 under the leadership of John Cain Jnr.
It is a myth that Catholics were solely responsible for the Labor Split in 1955. In any event, some prominent Catholic politicians remained in the Cain Labor Party (e.g. Jack Galbally). It is also true that quite a few Catholics were part of The Participants group which argued for reform in the Victorian Labor Party in the 1950s and 1960s (e.g. Michael Duffy).
It’s not clear if Dr Jennings has any knowledge of Victorian political history. Which probably explains why she threw the switch to anti-Catholic sectarianism when remembering John Cain Jnr.
NEW FEATURE: AMONG THE MEDIA SNOBS
IN WHICH THE SATURDAY PAPER’S RICHARD ACKLAND MOCKS FURNITURE SALESMEN (AND, PRESUMABLY, FURNITURE SALESWOMEN)
Once upon a time, snobbery was a product of the class system. Many of the titled and wealthy looked down on the untitled and the poor. Snobbery is by no means dead but the emergence of the celebrity culture has changed its nature. These days snobbery is mostly evident when the well-educated look down on those with less or little education.
As avid readers are aware, The [Boring] Saturday Paper goes to press on Thursday evening and hits the inner-city coffee shops of Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide and Hobart early Saturday morning. The Saturday Paper is the only self-proclaimed newspaper in Australia which carries no news. That’s why Hendo reads it on Monday – what’s the hurry?
And so it came to pass that, last Monday, Jackie’s (male) co-owner opened Morry Schwartz’s vanity publishing product. There, in the middle, was Richard (“Call me Gadfly”) Ackland AM’s “Diary” column. It was bookshelved by advertisements for The Saturday Paper, the Australia Institute, Art Gallery of NSW, Sydney Theatre Company, the film Parasite, Museum of Contemporary Art, Renaissance Tours, Seymour Centre, Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, Black Inc, City Recital Hall, Griffin Theatre Company, Anna Schwartz Gallery, The Monthly and Rolex Watches. That’s the total of TSP’s advertising for last Saturday.
In other words, Morry Schwartz and his editor-in-chief Erik Jensen are producing a paper which appeals to Australia’s wealthy and Australia’s well-educated – frequently both – who go to concerts and plays and tour the world and wear a Rolex watch on each wrist. To be frank, it is not targeted at, er, furniture salesmen.
But MWD digresses. Last Saturday’s “Diary” contained a segment titled “Mod cons”. It was placed between such familiar Richard Ackland undergraduate references to Lord Moloch (Rupert Murdoch), Dr Andreas Blot (Andrew Bolt), Little Kris Kenny (Chris Kenny), Schmo (Scott Morrison) and The Christian Porter (Christian Porter). How funny is that?
The “Mod con” piece contained a criticism of the Liberal MP for Wentworth Dave Sharma – in which Richard Ackland referred to Craig Kelly as “the Liberal Party’s spiritual godfather” – whatever that might mean – and as “a former furniture salesman”. Which raises the point. To anyone who is not a snob – what’s wrong with furniture salesmen?
[Interesting. I note that this week your man Ackland criticised the fact that Amanda Vanstone was recently “gonged” with an AO but still had “a swipe” at someone or other after she received her award. This is the very same Richard Ackland AM who is always having a swipe at someone or other and flashes his own particular gong. Gadfly even refers to himself as “Richard Ackland AM” in his self-written entry in Who’s Who in Australia 2019. – MWD Editor.]
Following enormous popular demand, this segment – which Jackie inherited from the late and much lamented Nancy (2004-2015) – returns after what journalists like to call a Well Earned Break – or W.E.B.
MONITORING THE TWITTER STREAMS OF ABC CHAIR AND DEPUTY CHAIR ON CLIMATE CHANGE AND ALL THAT
Perhaps it is the impact of the dangerous global warming. Or perhaps the consequence of (another) long hot summer. In any event, something seems to have affected the recent contributions to the public debate by ABC chair Ita Buttrose and ABC deputy chair Kirstin Ferguson.
On 4 January 2020, Ita Buttose put out a tweet passing on a claim in The New York Times that Australia is committing climate suicide:
Here it is:
Australia Is Committing Climate Suicide https://t.co/8vkhgzU9DA
— Ita Buttrose (@ItaButtrose) January 3, 2020
The reference was to a column by Tasmanian novelist and eco-catastrophist Richard Flanagan. Writing in The New York Times on 3 January 2020, your man Flanagan described the images of the Australian bushfires as “a cross between Mad Max and On The Beach” whose Coalition and Labor politicians “are willing the country to its doom”. What’s more, Australian leaders “are willing to open the gates of hell and lead a nation to commit climate suicide”. Comrade Flanagan compared contemporary Australia to a communist totalitarian regime – “the Soviet Union in the 1980s – whose political leadership has grown sclerotic and demented on its own fantasies”.
Ah yes – Comrade Flanagan also declared that the Australian media is “dominated by Rupert Murdoch” who has “58 per cent of the newspaper circulation”. In fact, this figure applies to capital city newspapers. It would seem that, from his abode on Bruny Island, your man Flanagan believes that newspapers are as influential as they were, say, half a century ago. The fact is that no one can dominate the media in Australia by newspapers alone plus one subscription television platform (Foxtel) – which is News Corp’s media reach.
In sending out Flanagan’s NYT’s piece, Ita Buttrose overlooked the fact that the ABC is the most dominant media outlet in Australia – with over a hundred radio stations (capital city, regional and local) plus an online (free of charge) newspaper and more besides. But there you go.
In any event, even if Australia’s leaders are intent on sending the nation to its doom by global heating – they could not do so since Australia is responsible for only 1.3 per cent of total global carbon dioxide emissions. So the suggestion that Australia is intent on committing global climate suicide is just, well, hyperbole.
How strange, then, that it was circulated by the ABC Chair.
ABC DEPUTY CHAIR LAYS IT ON ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE IN FIJI
And then there are some recent tweets by ABC deputy chair Kirstin Ferguson:
In Fiji on holidays laying by the pool (very nice 🌴) SEETHING as I listen to 2 American couples announcing that the recent Australian "wildfires" media stories were "total bullshit" because someone they met at the last island just holidayed in Aust and didn't see any fires. 🤯🤬
— Dr Kirstin Ferguson (@kirstinferguson) January 28, 2020
And the "Mate" was said in the way only Australians know how to say which actually has the total opposite meaning. "Maaaaate ……"
Now back to the cocktails and amazing Fijian hospitality.
— Dr Kirstin Ferguson (@kirstinferguson) January 29, 2020
Yeah, back to the cocktails – assuming, of course, they had ever been deserted.
The thread continued:
They were silent and shocked I said anything (and no doubt wondering who the crazy Australian woman was bringing up a convo she overhead in the pool the day before 🤣). But they heard me out. The wife thanked me. The husband was silent throughout. But at least now they know 😀👍
— Dr Kirstin Ferguson (@kirstinferguson) January 29, 2020
Thank you 🙏🏼 And yes, the ABC is amazing 😀👍
— Dr Kirstin Ferguson (@kirstinferguson) January 29, 2020
Yes – the ABC is amazing, with a truly amazing deputy chair, to be sure.
Now let’s unpack this (to use the emerging cliché). First up, Dr Ferguson (for a doctor she is) happened to eavesdrop other people’s conversation at a swimming pool. She imagined for some 24 hours what she might say in response – then, seething, Dr Ferguson told them that what they had said in her hearing was “total bullshit”. Then she used the term “maaaate” in order to suggest that they were not mates at all. And then boasted about her impolite behaviour on Twitter.
How rude can you get? This kind of behaviour makes Sir Les Patterson look well brought up (like Hendo) and well-mannered.
All this commenced when Dr Ferguson overheard a conversation while “laying by the pool”. Pray tell MWD: Was an ABC board member really “laying” by a pool in Fiji? And to think that Ms Buttrose has written a book titled A Guide to Australian Etiquette. Perhaps Ms Buttrose should send Dr Ferguson a copy – along with a copy of “How to Speak-and-Tweet The Queen’s English in Fiji” – available free of charge from Jackie’s Kennel.
As avid readers will recall, this segment is devoted to entirely predictable responses to a journalist’s questions – with the journo pretending to ask questions as if he/she cannot predict the answer.
FORMER LIBERAL JOHN HEWSON CRITICISES A CURRENT LIBERAL LEADER – YAWN
It is a well-known fact that if the ABC or Nine Newspapers or The Guardian or The Saturday Paper are looking for a prominent figure to criticise the Liberal Party – the first step is to seek out an alienated Liberal Party leader. The role was once held by the late Malcolm Fraser and John Hewson. In recent times Malcolm Turnbull appears to have taken over the role once performed by Mr Fraser. Dr Hewson (for a doctor he is) is the link between the two former prime ministers.
And so it came to pass that John Hewson was introduced on The World Today on Monday as “a former leader of the Liberal Party” before he was asked a question about the current leader of the Liberal Party – Prime Minister Scott Morrison. Let’s go to the transcript:
Eleanor Hall: Well, a former leader of the Federal Liberal Party is equally scathing about the Prime Minister’s disregard for the Auditor-General’s report. Dr John Hewson led the attack on Ros Kelly during the then Labor government’s sports rorts scandal. He says the current political slush fund saga is even worse, and he’s been calling for Bridget McKenzie to be removed for weeks. When Dr Hewson joined me earlier. I asked him whether he’s satisfied with the way Scott Morrison has now dealt with this.
John Hewson: Well, he didn’t handle it well, and he’s left himself exposed, I think, to an enormous number of follow up questions. When Morrison tried to just hang it on one feature of Bridget McKenzie’s performance and he hung it pretty much on the Gaetjens report, ignored the Auditor-General’s explicit finding about bias that there was a clear bias against the recommendations of Sports Australia. There is a clear bias in favour of key seats, especially marginal seats. It ignored the advice of Anne Twomey from Sydney University saying she did not have the power to exercise that discretion. So, you know, all up, I’ll go back to what I’ve been saying. It’s worse than Ros Kelly.
As the saying goes, Quelle Surprise! Whoever would have thought that John Hewson would respond to a question as to whether he was satisfied with the way Mr Morrison has dealt with the McKenzie matter with a resounding “No”. Quelle Surprise!
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Until next time.
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