ISSUE – NO. 508

7 August 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 – The Project memory holes its interview blaming Israel for the Beirut explosion; Jonathan Swan and President Trump by the numbers

  • Can You Bear It? Global-Warming preacher Cate Blanchett and her new(ish) mansion; Sally McManus thinks life in Australia is operating roughly as normal; It’s “don’t talk about Dan Andrews & COVID-19” on Insiders; Mike Bowers & Fleur Anderson on Margaret Thatcher closing the mines; Stephen Mayne praises Julian Burnside who praises Dan Andrews; Media Watch on lynching by hyperbole

  • The US[eless] Studies Centre – Trump-obsessed USSC staff forget about Joe Biden

  • Jackie Channels Morry Schwartz at a Time of Pandemic

  • The John Laws “Deliberate Mistake” Segment – Insiders’ Sam Clark helps out

  • M’Learned Friend Opines – An extraordinary claim in Melissa Davey’s The Case of George Pell

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The news from Network 10’s leftist The Project last night is that presenter Waleed Aly did not correct the anti-Israel bias in its program on Wednesday.  It was the occasion in which, in response to leading questions, the Beirut-based photographer João Sousa effectively blamed Israel for the tragic explosion at the port of Beirut which has killed over a hundred people and injured thousands.  It was the familiar “Blame Israel/Blame the Jews” conspiracy theory.

Network 10 has refused to apologise for the fact that Sousa’s anti-Israel rant went to air without any member of the panel challenging his conspiracy theory.  For the record, on Wednesday The Project’s panel comprised Waleed Aly, Carrie Bickmore, Peter Helliar and Rachel Corbett.  However, the segment has been withdrawn from the channel’s Twitter feed.  Work that one out if you can.  So Comrade Aly and The Project team have attempted to send the episode down, what George Orwell once called, the memory hole.  There’s no apology and no correction – and, now, no official record of the segment ever having gone to air.

In view of this, MWD is happy to provide a transcript of this Blame Israel/Blame the Jews occasion – and evidence of the leading questions asked by Dr Aly (for a  doctor he is).

Waleed Aly: João, the official explanation for this is that this was the result of poorly stored ammonium nitrate. Is that explanation being widely accepted by people there?

João Sousa: No. I would say 99 per cent of the people I’ve spoken with – and I’m talking about Lebanese people exclusively – they all feel that that’s not necessarily the correct explanation. So, people are more likely to believe that this was an attack, a military attack – possibly by Israel – than an accident.

Waleed Aly: Is that just because of a general culture of suspicion of government for example, or the geopolitics of the region?  Or do they have, kind of, more specific reasons for doubting that explanation in this case?

João Sousa: Well I mean obviously there is a historical aspect here that cannot be ignored. Lebanon and Israel are not really on good terms. And so, there’s always this tension going on. People are always expecting something like this to happen. It was just a matter of time. But I mean like you said, the official version is that it was an accident. So until proven otherwise, I can’t say anything else.

Carrie Bickmore: Well João we’ll leave it there, but we really appreciate your time tonight and stay safe.

What a load of absolute tosh.  Dr Aly suggested to Mr Sousa that the Lebanese people might not have accepted what he termed the “official explanation”.  And the photographer agreed.  Then the presenter suggested that the explosion could have been due to, um, “the geopolitics of the region” – meaning Israel.  Mr Sousa responded – without a skerrick of evidence – that an attack on Lebanon by Israel had been “just a matter of time”.

Neither Waleed Aly nor any other panel member asked João Sousa to provide any evidence to support his view.  And no one challenged his Blame the Jewish State conspiracy theory. These days The Project seems to be competing with the ABC to be more Green/Left-than-thou.


In recent days, much has been made of an interview between President Donald Trump and Axios national political correspondent Jonathan Swan. There has been special attention paid to a testy exchange in which interviewer and interviewee disagreed about the best way to measure the USA’s COVID-19 death toll relative to other countries. Here is the exchange:

Donald Trump: Take a look at some of these charts.

Jonathan Swan: I’d love to.

Donald Trump: We’re going to look.

Jonathan Swan: Let’s look.

Donald Trump: And if you look at death per

Jonathan Swan: [interjecting] It’s starting to go up again.

Donald Trump: [examining graphs] Here’s one. Well right here, United States is lowest in numerous categories, we’re lower than the world.

Jonathan Swan: [visibly confused] Lower than the world?

Donald Trump: We’re lower than Europe.

Jonathan Swan: In what, in what?

Donald Trump: [hands graph to Swan] Take a look. Right here, here’s case death.

Jonathan Swan: Oh you are doing deaths as proportion of cases. I’m talking about death as a proportion of population, that’s where the US is really bad. Much worse than South Korea, Germany etc.

Donald Trump: You can’t do that.

Jonathan Swan: Why can’t I do that?

Donald Trump: You have to go by, you have to go by, look here is the United States [shows another graph], you have to go by the cases, the cases per death.

Jonathan Swan: Why not as a proportion of population?

Donald Trump: When you have somebody, what it says is when you have somebody where there is a case, the people that live from those cases.

Jonathan Swan: It’s surely a relevant statistic to say if the US has x population and x percentage of death of that population versus South Korea.

Donald Trump: No you have to go by the cases.

Jonathan Swan: Well look at South Korea for example – 51 million population, 300 deaths.

After the interview made headlines around the world, Swan recorded an interview with Fran Kelly for RN Breakfast on Thursday 6 August. Here he elaborated on his critique of President Trump’s numbers:

Jonathan Swan: And I was curious whether there was any level or remorse, regret, self-reflection, even admission that he’d made some mistakes to create a situation where America has just such a horrible outcome compared to other advanced countries on the measure of death… [America] is doing so much worse than South Korea, Germany and all these other advanced countries on that metric of death as a proportion of population from this virus…

Jonathan Swan: It’s important to describe what he [President Trump] was doing there. He was referring to – he had picked out – he had his staff pick out and draw a graph for the one data point which paints him in a positive light on the subject of death. Which is death as a proportion of cases of the virus…

Jonathan Swan: And when you compare it [the US] to other advanced countries, again I keep coming back to South Korea and Germany that actually handled this virus very effectively, it’s just crazy the gap between the death outcomes in those countries and America.

Jonathan Swan may well be right that President Trump prefers to talk about deaths as a proportion of cases because it makes the United States, and himself, look good. He is after all a politician. Below you can see the charts the President was referencing, sourced from the website, using data from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.

But President Trump doesn’t seem to be the only one picking out data points to suit a narrative during the exchange. As he admits during his RN Breakfast interview, Swan kept “coming back to” South Korea and Germany as comparisons for the US situation. But why these countries in particular? Below is another graph from the same source as Trump’s graphs, it shows deaths per million people and it includes the 10 countries with the highest numbers by that metric (including the US) as well as Germany, South Korea, Australia and the World.

As can be seen, the US has recorded significantly higher numbers than Germany, which has in turn recorded much higher numbers than South Korea. But when Swan claims that the US is “doing so much worse than South Korea, Germany and all these other advanced countries” he is apparently excluding much of Western Europe from his list of advanced countries – including Belgium, Britain, Spain and Italy.

There is no reason why the US should be compared to Germany and South Korea and not, say, the UK and Spain. South Korea (which is effectively an island with a hard northern border) has had a remarkably low death toll from COVID-19 for a country of its size and therefore can be used to make an unflattering comparison with almost any other nation. Even Germany, Swan’s other “go to” example of a country with a low death toll, has had over 18 times as many deaths per million people as South Korea.

Jonathan Swan has become an international media star for his interview with President Trump which included various Swan facial expressions. The fact, however, is that both men were using statistics that supported their respective cases.

Can You Bear It?


Well at least it’s a change from the pandemic.  On Sunday, Newscorp papers gave lotsa space to a report by Stephen Drill in Britain about Aussie actor and MWD fave Cate Blanchett’s English abode.  In the Sun-Herald the heading was “Cate’s haunting new house” while the Sunday Herald-Sun went with “Cate’s new house”. MWD is not sure just how new Cate’s new house is – since it was covered in MWD Issue 308 (18 March 2016).  However, your man Drill’s report was a morale-lifter at a time of widespread despair in this Vale of Tears. This is how the Melbourne version of his story commenced:

It could easily be the script of a Hollywood blockbuster – a woman and her young family move into a mansion that was once a haunted house and drug den used by pagans. But for Aussie actor Cate Blanchett this is real life after the Oscar winner bought Highwell House in Crowborough, 90 minutes south of London, where she relocated with her husband Andrew Upton and their four young children. The property was previously known as Potters Manor or Steep Park.

No crims at Highwell House anymore. Phew. But it’s possible that the odd pagan still makes an appearance.  Along with lotsa celebrities.  Why – the likes of Keith Richards, Jeff Beck, Kate Winslet and Lottie Moss (sister of even more famous Kate) live nearby.  Really.  Oh yes – the Blanchett/Upton pile has got so many rooms that Newscorp’s intrepid reporter lost count and doesn’t tell readers.

It seems that Ms Blanchett is channelling Guardian editor Lenore Taylor.  As MWD readers will recall, when The Guardian Australia’s editor re-located from Canberra to Sydney recently she sold her Red Hill pile which, according to Australian Capital Territory records, was one of the top emission producing abodes in Australia’s capital city.

Comrade Taylor is a global warming catastrophist – so at least she’s finally doing her bit to save the planet.  But Comrade Blanchett, who is another end-of-the-world-is-nigh global warming preacher, appears to be living in an abode in Crowborough which emits vastly more carbon than the Taylor pile in Canberra ever did and has a carbon footprint as big as the White House. Can You Bear It?


Talk about a soft interview. ACTU secretary Sally McManus appeared on ABC TV’s News Breakfast yesterday.  The Melbourne based comrade was interviewed by presenters Michael Rowland and Lisa Millar.  Ms McManus said that, despite the grade four lockdown in Melbourne and some areas close by, there should be no problems in warehouses supplying food and other basic necessities to all of Australia. Let’s go to the transcript:

Sally McManus:  It’s only a few days ago when the announcements were made about restrictions. There’s  a whole lot to be worked out around how the rosters would work. It’s the same in meatworks as well. I do think it will get sorted, I do.  And remember, we’re in a situation where at least the rest of the country is mainly able to operate roughly as normal.  Even though, of course, they should be observing proper hygiene and distancing standards.

Turn it up.  The ACTU secretary said that the rest of Australia outside of Victoria is mainly able to operate roughly as normal.  Despite the fact that interstate borders are closed, the tourism and entertainment industries are in desperate straits, many Australians are working from home, the tertiary education sector is in a crisis, unemployment has increased substantially and so on. Yet Sally McManus reckons that, outside of Victoria, life is roughly the same as before the arrival of COVID-19. And the News Breakfast presenters did not challenge this. Can You Bear It?


It was an almost Guardian-free ABC Insiders  program last Sunday.  Except for the fact that Mike Bowers (The Guardian’s photographer) runs the “Talking Pictures” segment every week. As MWD  readers know, The Guardian is an out-and-proud left-wing newspaper so it’s appropriate that at least one of the Guardian comrades gets a run on the Conservative Free Zone’s leading current affairs program every week.

In any event, it was one of those (frequent) Insiders programs where everyone agreed with almost everyone else on almost everything.  Which makes it hard to stay awake –  especially since the program airs at Hangover-Time.

Last week’s panel comprised David (“call me Speersy”) Speers (in the presenter’s chair), Bridget Brennan, Mark (“Call me professor”) Kenny and Niki Savva.

First up, discussion turned on the COVID-19 surge in Victoria.  Your man Speers asked why the restrictions then in place had not worked. Ms Savva said that the Victorian government did not have the personnel or processes from the beginning.  She said that “this raises the question about why the Feds didn’t move in at this stage”.  There was no mention of the fact that , early in the crisis, Victorian premier Daniel Andrews did not take up offers from the Commonwealth government to provide Australian Defence Force personnel to assist in the handling of the virus.

Then Bridget Brennan declared that perhaps we don’t communicate with culturally and linguistically diverse communities and low income areas.  In other words, it’s all our fault.   Speersy said that this was a “good point”. But no one mentioned that Sydney is also a diverse city containing low income areas. Then Professor Kenny said – well, not much at all.

Later on, the discussion moved to the tragedy of COVID-19 related deaths in Melbourne nursing homes.  Professor Kenny declared: “This is a Commonwealth government responsibility, let’s be clear about it”.  Then Ms Savva declared that as of 4 July 2020 “the Federal government should have moved in”. She added that “It is their responsibility and they should have stepped in earlier.”

That’s debate, Insiders style – in that no other view was heard. It was a case of “Don’t talk about Daniel Andrews” – in particular the Socialist Left premier’s lax handling of virus carriers in quarantine who took the virus into the broader community including nursing homes.  Can You Bear It?


While on the topic of The Guardian’s links to Insiders – or is it the other way around? – here’s the dialogue between presenter Mike Bowers and his guest ex-Insiders panellist Fleur Anderson on “Talking Pictures” last Sunday:

Mike Bowers: With praise for both Thatcher and Reagan this week, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg seems to like his economics on the supply side. See what I did there, Fleur? David Rowe has done this cartoon – Josh’s bedroom, 80s Josh. It’s a bit creepy, he’s got a four-poster John Howard bed.

Fleur Anderson: This is extremely diverting: “What could possibly go wrong?”

Mike Bowers: I do love the poster on the wall with Margaret Thatcher with “Simple Mines”. Little hat-tip to her closing down all the coal mines. Should be the natural enemy of Morrison and Barnaby.

Fleur Anderson: Yeah actually you’re right.

Er, no, he’s not.  In the early 1980s – conservative prime minister Margaret Thatcher presided over the closure of the tax guzzling, nationalised, inefficient and massive emissions projecting British coal mines. Prime Minister Thatcher stood her ground in spite of the opposition of, wait for it, The Guardian, the British Labour Party and so on. In those days the British National Union of Miners dug coal in more ways than one.


By the way, it is totally wrong to say the likes of Scott Morrison and Barnaby Joyce would have opposed Thatcher’s closing of Britain’s coal mines.  This decision opened up the possibility of increasing Australia’s coal exports to Britain.  Comrades Bowers and Anderson seem unaware that only Guardian types opposed the closures of the UK coal mines four decades ago – not conservatives. Can You Bear It?

[Maybe you’re being a bit tough on the Australian Financial Review’s  cartoonist.  At least he is no longer drawing the Treasurer with a Shylock-style hook nose. – MWD Editor]

Josh Frydenberg with Hook Nose by David Rowe


Josh Frydenberg sans Hook Nose by David Rowe


Thanks to MWD’s avid Melbourne reader who, despite being locked away for close to 24 hours a day enforced by a curfew, managed to get this message through about MWD fave Julian (“I just love flashing my post nominals”) Burnside AO QC.

First up this is what Stephen (“I think I probably lost more elections than I ever contested”) Mayne said about JB AO QC:

Turn it up.  Stephen Mayne, the (False) Prophet of Templestowe, reckons that failed Greens Senate pre-selection candidate Burnside AO QC can defeat Josh Frydenberg in Kooyong at the next Federal election –  because the Treasurer once said he found inspiration in Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan along with John Howard and Peter Costello.  It is not even clear that JB AO QC (born 1949) will run in the next election scheduled for around May 2022.

As to JB AO QC, would a majority of Kooyong voters support a Greens candidate who is a fan of the Daniel Andrews government?

So there you have it.  Daniel Andrews, the premier of Victoria who set up an inquiry to find out how and why his own government makes decisions, is doing a good job.  But Tim Smith, the Liberal Party member for Kew who is locked away at home is a “moron”. Can You Bear It?


The 3 August 2020 episode of ABC TV’s Media Watch led with a segment devoted to the media’s handling of the two young Queensland women who achieved notoriety after lying to authorities about their recent trip to Melbourne and Sydney during which they contracted COVID-19. Although Media Watch presenter Paul Barry admitted that the women had demonstrated reckless stupidity, the segment was devoted to making the case that the media should not have resorted to naming and shaming them:

Paul Barry: In March, The Age tracked down a wealthy couple who’d returned from Aspen and flouted mandatory self-isolation rules despite testing positive to COVID. But the paper’s splash didn’t name them, citing “legal reasons”. And that prompted the brother of one of the Queensland women to accuse the media of racism…

It is true that one difference between the Aspen couple and the Queensland young women is race, but a far more significant one is timing. The Aspen couple’s negligence was revealed on 25 March, when global deaths from COVID-19 were less than 25,000 and Australia was just beginning to introduce lockdown measures. By the time the story of the Queensland women broke on 30 July, global deaths had reached 675,000 and Australia was facing a second outbreak of cases in Victoria. Given this, it is hardly surprising the latter provoked more outrage.

In particular the Courier Mail comes under scrutiny from Comrade Barry for its decision to publish the front-page headline “ENEMIES OF THE STATE” in reference to the women. A statement criticising this coverage was released by the Queensland Human Rights Commissioner Scott McDougall and then quoted by Media Watch:

Already we have seen comments to “deport them”, “send them back to where they come from”, and worse, alongside appallingly hyperbolic coverage from some media outlets branding them with terms usually reserved for people accused of treason and other high-level crimes.

Bizarrely this statement decrying “hyperbolic coverage” was immediately followed by this:

Paul Barry: Sure these women were stupid. Sure they are culpable. But does the media need to lynch them and thereby encourage others to do so?

So it is appallingly hyperbolic to refer to the women as enemies of the state – but okay to invoke the idea of lynching to describe media coverage of the case? Can You Bear It?

As avid readers are only too well aware, Professor Simon Jackman (the head of the United States Studies Centre) said in November 2016 that no one at the USSC expected that Donald J. Trump would defeat Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election.  He also ‘fessed up that no one at the USSC supported Donald Trump. David Smith, who suffers from Trump-phobia, is a USSC staff member who appears regularly on ABC Radio in Sydney as the USSC’s “expert” on the US.  In short, the taxpayer funded USSC is close to being a Republican Free Zone replete with Trump-haters and Clinton/Obama admirers and left-of-centre types. Now read on.


It’s just under 90 days to the United States presidential election on Tuesday 3 November. Even so, the “experts” at the taxpayer funded United States Studies Centre at the taxpayer funded University of Sydney seem to be unaware that the Democratic Party’s presumptive candidate Joe Biden is about to announce his running mate on the ticket for the vice-president position.  This will be a black woman – whose identity is yet to be announced.

Professor Simon Jackman, the USSC’s chief executive, was interviewed by Kieran Gilbert, on Sky News Agenda on Tuesday.  He commenced by praising Axios journalist Jonathan Swan and said that he appeared on a USSC webinar recently.  How frightfully interesting.

Your man Jackman then reverted to his familiar Trump-hater role and declared that the USSC team and its friends in the US reckon that Biden will win. [This should be good news for Trump’s supporters if they find out about this – since Professor Jackman and his colleagues were so hopelessly wrong with their predictions in 2016. MWD Editor.]

Despite this, the USSC chief executive said virtually nothing about the currently basement-bound Biden.  And he made no comment whatsoever about who would be Biden’s vice-president running mate – even though such a person could well succeed Biden as president if he makes it to the White House.

Meanwhile, later in the afternoon, the USSC’s David Smith was doing his usual “Trump Tuesday” gig on ABC Radio Sydney 702’s Drive with Richard Glover program. Once again, it consisted of wall-to-wall criticism of the US president. Moreover, there was no reference as to who the Democratic vice-presidential candidate might be.

Soon after, the Wollongong-based, US-born, Barbara Heineback – who was media secretary to Rosalynn Carter in the Jimmy Carter White House – appeared on Sky News’ The Kenny Report.  She spent most of her time talking to Chris Kenny about Joe Biden and who his vice-president pick might be.

In other words, Ms Heineback knows what the issues in the American debate are at the time when Joe Biden has a chance of defeating Donald J Trump. But the Jackman/Smith Trump-hating duo at the US[eless] Studies Centre are off the pace.  Perhaps one or both should step down and give the American Barbara Heineback a job.


In this time of Pandemic, is there anything more pretentious than The Saturday Paper’s “Lockdown Recommendations From Our Contributors” which goes out every now and then?  After lunch, of course. Here’s a glimpse of Wednesday’s header which arrived in Jackie’s inbox:

As Melbourne heads deeper into lockdown, we asked contributors to The Saturday Paper what books, films, distractions and comforts have helped them make it through these strange recent months. While we may not all be living in lockdown, in a spirit of solidarity with those who are, we present their recommendations and observations.

Inspired by Morry Schwartz of Schwartz Media, Jackie has offered the following suggestions to readers of The [Boring] Saturday Paper (if readers there are).  She hopes that TSP types will be impressed by her wisdom and woke (for the occasion) fashionable leftism.

Jackie’s Recommendations and Observations

I’m reading…Well, I’m not reading. Having read almost everything, I tend to re-read these days. Today, for example, I am re-reading War and Peace  from cover-to-cover – before lunch.  Then Karl Marx’s Das Kapital (in the original German, of course).  Plus the complete works of Proust and Rosa Luxemburg.  All before Gin & Tonic Time.  Tomorrow I’ll move to fiction and re-read Malcolm Turnbull’s A Bigger Picture and Kevin Rudd’s Not for the Faint-hearted.

But tonight I’ll read (rather than re-read) the Chilean novelist Roberto Bolano’s 900- page-turning jaw-dropping inventive novel 2666 in the original Spanish. This sure beats The Saturday Paper  sheila who had to get the English translation. It takes you into many a world which takes my mind off the Pandemic and sourdough (whatever that is – some kind of currency, I presume). I still have no idea of what the title means in Spanish or English. (PS: I might find some time to glance at the Holy Bible – Douay edition, of course, in English if I can get it – but don’t tell Morry.)

I’m watching…some recent foreign films – provided they don’t have SBS style sub-titles (who needs them?).  Also, before I nod off tonight, I’ll look at Kurt Walker’s s01e03. This has been described as “a virtual love story set in Vancouver, New York, and the dying world of a massively multiplayer online role playing game.  A summer get together among friends and artists in Vancouver extends via virtual connections to New York City and beyond, using diaries and music on video, silent film intertitles, and epistolary writing in an experimental collage”.

I’m an epistolary kind of Blue Heeler who likes a bit of collage on the side – so I’m sure to enjoy this. (And please don’t tell anyone.  I just might glance at my fave film The 3.10 to Yuma, (1957 edition, starring Glenn Ford and the gorgeous, pouting Felicia Farr; it’s our little secret.)

I’m listening to…anything which I can boast about. You know, Rimsky-Korsakov, Ravel, Rachmaninoff and all that classical music deep dive stuff. I’m also into the Minneapolis-based singer and poet Dua Selah along with an impossibly cool Taiwanese-band called I Mean Us  – I bet you’ve never heard of this lot. (Another little secret – I’m also catching up with “Faith of Our Fathers – and Mothers” via my head-phones.)

Otherwise…I’m waiting for my co-owners to take me for a walk.  Alas, one is reading about Essendon’s premiership win in 1962; the other is consuming a cookbook.  But as readers of The [Boring] Saturday Paper know – rescue mongrels don’t choose their owners and have to put up with Philistines if such a fate befalls them.


One of the most challenging tasks for avid readers each Friday, around Gin & Tonic Time, 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 literary 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.


It sure is great to know that  ABC TV Insiders executive producer Samuel (“Call me Sam”) Clark is an avid – albeit not uncritical – Media Watch Dog reader.

So it’s great to announce that Comrade Clark has won this week’s John-Laws-Style-Deliberate-Mistake award for picking the “deliberate mistake” in last week’s MWD.  As avid readers (critical and uncritical alike) may recall – last week’s “Can You Bear It?” segment contained a piece titled “The Guardian’s ‘Insiders’ Fail to Disclose the Malcolm Turnbull Connection”.

The reference was to the revelations in Malcolm Turnbull’s memoir A Bigger Picture that he facilitated the creation of The Guardian Australia and suggested that Lenore Taylor and Katharine Murphy should write for it.  And so it came to pass that Ms Taylor is The Guardian Australia’s editor and Ms Murphy is deputy editor.

MWD’s point last week was that Comrades Clark, Taylor and Murphy are always banging on about the need for full disclosure and all that.  Yet no one has told Insiders’ viewers of the Turnbull/Taylor/Murpharoo connection.  Despite the fact that The Guardian strongly supported Malcolm Turnbull in the August 2018 Liberal Party leadership contest. And Murpharoo (as Mr Turnbull calls her) was one of the chosen few to get the call to ask Malcolm Turnbull a question during his last media conference as prime minister.

MWD’s “deliberate mistake” last week was to state that The Guardian duo appeared together on Insiders on Sunday 26 July 2020. Mea culpa. Murpharoo appeared on Sunday 19 July 2020 and Comrade Taylor appeared on Sunday 26 July 2020.  In other words, they did not appear together. Instead one comrade passed the Insiders baton to the other from one Sunday to the next Sunday.

The problem is that, these days, there are so many Insiders panels where everyone essentially agrees with essentially everyone else on essentially everything that one Sunday merges into another Sunday – a bit like Sunday Mass in the olden days.  As happened last Sunday when COVID-19 was discussed (see the hugely popular Can You Bear It?  segment today.)

When Sam Clark emailed MWD last Friday evening identifying the “deliberate mistake”, Hendo responded (courteously, of course) that a correction would be made. He also asked Comrade Clark when Insiders would do a full disclosure of the Turnbull/Taylor/Murphy entanglement.  Alas, there was no reply. [Perhaps Sam Clark could benefit from enrolling in the late Nancy’s Courtesy Classes – conducted in these post-mortem times with a little help from the American psychic John Edward.  Just a thought. – MWD Editor.]


It was the case of “Great book launch – pity about the books”.

On Tuesday the much anticipated book – by the author Melissa Davey – The Case of George Pell was released by Scribe publications. Originally, it had been called “A Fair Trial” but this had to be changed when the High  Court, in a unanimous decision, found that the jury’s “guilty” verdict was unsafe.

Alas, due no doubt to COVID-19, there were no books available outside Victoria. So Gerard Henderson had to do with the Kindle edition – with a little help from the Guardian Australia, where the author Melissa Davey works and which ran an extract on Tuesday.

MWD will return to the issue in due course. However, for the moment this took MWD’s interest concerning the credibility of the complainant in DPP v Pell:

…in the conversations that occurred between journalists and lawyers in the corridors of the courthouse, I never heard anyone who’d been present during the complainant’s testimony say that he had performed badly.  Instead, the complainant was described as “compelling” and “honest”.

Fancy that. In fact, the only people allowed to hear the complainant’s evidence were (i) the magistrate at the committal hearing, (ii) the judge at the trial and re-trial, (iii) the jury at both trials, (iv) the Crown prosecutor, and (v) the defendant, his lawyers and a supporter.  That’s all.

There is no prospect that defence lawyers would have spoken to Ms Davey – because they were prohibited from talking to anyone about the complainant’s testimony and, in any event, Melissa Davey was a Pell-antagonist. MWD does not believe that the prosecution lawyers would have spoken about the complainant’s testimony “in the corridors of the court house”.  But Ms Davey’s book implies that some lawyers leaked to journalists their assessment of the complainant’s evidence while the trials were underway.  Or did Ms Davey just make this up?


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Until next time.


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