GERARD HENDERSON’S MEDIA WATCH DOG

ISSUE – NO. 514

18 September 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 Heading

  • ON RUPERT MURDOCH CONSPIRACY THEORIES, COUGHS AND SKELETONS

There is lots of news around right now – international, national and local.  But ABC TV News Breakfast this morning found time to plug the fact that the ABC will show the three-part BBC documentary The Rise of the Murdoch Dynasty which commences on Sunday night. This will be followed, apparently, by the ABC’s very own two part documentary on Rupert Murdoch.  Maybe the ABC is running short of topics.

Media Watch Dog  was not sent an advance copy of The Rise of the Murdoch Dynasty so has only this morning’s News Breakfast account to go on.  It highlighted this comment from British actor Hugh Grant who was interviewed for the documentary:

Hugh Grant:  I don’t believe that David Cameron or Tony Blair really dared to cough without getting permission from Rupert Murdoch.

What a load of absolute tosh. Tony Blair was one of Britain’s most successful politicians and David Cameron won a majority of votes in his own right.  But Hugh Grant reckons that they were slaves to Murdoch.

Then, during the soft interview with presenter Michael Rowland, Jamie Roberts (the director of The Rise of the Murdoch Dynasty) had this to say:

Jamie Roberts:  …We start the story in 1995. And that’s when Tony Blair is actually courting Rupert Murdoch’s support. And a lot of people saw that as a kind of Faustian pact as it were, because with Rupert Murdoch’s support he also starts to have influence over you. I think there’s several different layers to it. One that we talk about in the documentary is [that] a lot of the politicians felt that kind of power of the tabloids, in terms of knowing where the skeletons in the closet are kept….

Turn it up.  If the skeletons are in the closet – we know where they are kept.

It seems that the British film director is unaware that the people of Britain and Australia decide which party will win government – not Rupert Murdoch. Perhaps Comrade Roberts is one of those anti-Brexit lot who regards ordinary people as dumb. Stand by for more of such tosh on Australia’s taxpayer funded public broadcaster on Sunday.

  • FORGET ABOUT THE ISRAEL/UAE/BAHRAIN DIPLOMATIC BREAK-THROUGH – THE PROJECT TEAM THINK TRUMP IS “AN IDIOT”

Media Watch Dog readers are familiar with the item called the “laugh track”. It’s used to give the impression that a comedian has an audience that is not only live – but also finds the comedian funny. No need for this on Network 10’s The Project . The panel, usually jammed full of leftists  of one kind or another, is willing to laugh loudly whenever a “laugh!” sign lights  up in the studio.

And so it was last night when Waleed Aly, Gorgi Coghlan, Peter Helliar and Em Rusciano laughed oh-so-loudly at Comrade Helliar’s joke. [I admire a man who laughs at his own jokes – someone’s got to do it. – MWD Editor].  Here’s the (alleged) punch line:

Peter Helliar:  I want to say “Trump is an idiot” – but I don’t know how to finish that sentence.

How funny is that?  Also your man Helliar, while laughing at his own joke, seems to have ignored the point that “Trump is an idiot” happens to be a complete sentence – with a subject, verb and object in that order – and does not need to be finished.

Also, what kind of argument is it to describe Donald Trump as an “idiot”?  This week President Trump presided over the signing of accords between the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain and Israel. A significant achievement on any analysis.  And yet Comrades Aly, Coghlan and Rusciano joined in the (artificial) chorus of laughter at Comrade Helliar’s “joke” that President Trump is an idiot.


Can You Bear It?

  • HAVE JOHANNES LEAK’S CARTOONS BEEN “CANCELLED” BY INSIDERS?

As avid Media Watch Dog readers are aware, at times the ABC TV Insiders program tends to channel the self-proclaimed leftist online newspaper The Guardian Australia. So much so that, at times, Insiders is a bit like “The Guardian Weekly”.

Look at it this way. The Guardian’s editor Lenore Taylor and The Guardian’s political editor Katharine (“Malcolm always calls me Murpharoo”) Murphy are regular panellists – and Sarah Martin along with Malcolm Farr appeared on the program this year in their capacity as Guardian scribblers.  And The Guardian’s  Amy Remeikis also gets many a gig on Michael Bowers’ “Talking Pictures” segment of Insiders.

And then Comrade Bowers himself is The Guardian’s  photographic editor. Enough said.  [Not really.  I wonder if The Guardian Australia’s  night-cleaner will also get a seat on Insiders’ virtual couch – certainly this would be a relief from the Taylor/Murphy/Martin/Farr/Remeikis/Bowers fashionable leftist orthodoxy. – MWD Editor.]

While on the topic “Talking Pictures” – here’s a question.  Has Comrade Bowers and Insiders’ executive producer Sam Clark de-platformed The Australian’s cartoonist Johannes Leak?

Without question, Johannes Leak is one of Australia’s finest and best known cartoonists.  Moreover – along with the Australian Financial Review’s David Rowe – he works for one of Australia’s two national newspapers.

Johannes Leak has not appeared on the “Talking Pictures” slot to discuss cartoons/photographs with Michael Bowers.  More significantly, as far as MWD can work it out, Leak’s cartoons have not been discussed on any one of the 33 episodes of “Talking Pictures” aired on Insiders this year.  Not one.

How can this be? – MWD hears avid readers cry.  It would seem that the political conservative has been de-platformed/cancelled by Comrade Bowers and Comrade Clark – lest his views upset the Green/Left intolerant types who complain on the rare occasion where a conservative commentator appears on the  Conservative Free Zone’s Insiders program.

So there you have it. Viewers are invited to watch the “Talking Pictures” segment to catch up with discussion of the cartoons and photos of the week.  Except for cartoons by one of Australia’s best cartoonists Johannes Leak who appears to have been cancelled.  Can You Bear It?

  • STEPHEN LOOSLEY SIGNS UP TO COMMENT ON AN ELECTION CONTEST WHICH HE BELIEVES MAY NOT HAPPEN

As Media Watch Dog readers will know, Jackie’s (male) co-owner just loves flattery.  So if Hendo ever received an invitation to participate in a podcast where someone or other only talks to “elite, world class performing men and women who have achieved outstanding success in their chosen field of endeavour” – well, he might be tempted.

Clearly the pitch worked with respect to Stephen Loosley – who was a Labor Party senator for NSW way back in the early 1990s. That’s why Hendo received an invitation from Blenheim Partners – correction, it’s really blenheim partners, who needs upper-case these days? – to tune in to the latest in its “No Limitations” series.

In this “special episode”, your man Loosley will be interviewed by a certain Gregory Robinson on the topic “The Battle for the Soul of America”. Sounds exciting, don’t you think? – especially for those who were not aware that the United States had a soul. In any event, according to Blenheim Partners’ – sorry blenheim partners’ – publicity blurb, the battle which your man Loosley will discuss is between Joe Biden and Donald J. Trump.

On this occasion, MWD will not be tuning in.  Why not?  Well it is clear that there may not be a Biden-Trump battle on November 3, 2020 after all.  How do we know?  Well, ex-Senator Loosley has told us so.  On 12 August 2020, your man Loosley wrote an article for The Australian  titled “Will Donald Trump take his hat and quit the presidential race?”  This is what he wrote, after consulting with “a Texan friend”:

Recently, no less a seasoned campaigner than Democrat James Carville, who helped drive Bill Clinton’s campaign successfully into the White House in 1992, has suggested that Trump may not run again.  It would be easy to dismiss this notion if there weren’t signs the President was doing the groundwork to enable him to exercise this option.  It would be an extraordinary determination for Trump to quit the presidential race, but by any criteria devised and employed these are indeed extraordinary times.

So there you have it.  Do we mere mortals agree with Loosley 1 (circa August) and accept that President Trump may well pull the plug – because your man Carville told us so?  Or do we tune into “No Limitations” and listen to Loosley 2 (circa September) on how President Trump will run in November in a battle for America’s soul?  Or do we just have a Gin & Tonic or two and forget about the Blenheim Partners/Loosley unity ticket?  Can You Bear It?

[Er, no. Not really – now that you ask.  I note that Stephen Loosley signed off his piece by stating that he is “a senior visiting fellow of the United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney”.  Enough said – re which see this week’s segment on the US[eless] Studies Centre. – MWD Editor.]

  • SABRA LANE’S FORTHCOMING “JOURNEY” – FROM CANBERRA TO TASMANIA’S SANDALISTA HEADQUARTERS AT NORTH HOBART

While on the issue of locational souls – how about the news that ABC Radio AM presenter Sabra Lane is about to re-locate to Hobart?  Assuming she will be allowed in the locked-down state in the foreseeable future.

According to a report by Broede Carmody in Nine Newspapers last Saturday, “the ABC’s flagship news and current affairs programs are set to be personally presented from areas outside of Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra for the first time”. Frightfully interesting, don’t you think?

It seems that Sabra Lane (who is based in Canberra) and PM presenter Linda Mottram (who works alternatively from Sydney or the NSW Central Coast) are on the move.  Comrade Mottram is off to Bega on the NSW South Coast and Comrade Lane is off to Hobart.

All this, apparently, as part of the ABC’s move to downplay the criticism that the taxpayer funded public broadcaster is Sydney/Melbourne/Canberra centric.  The first gem of this idea occurred when ABC management in the inner-city Sydney suburb of Ultimo decided in 2019 – after virtually all ABC presenters, journalists and producers failed to pick that the  Coalition would defeat Labor in the 2019 election – that it would be a you-beaut idea for the ABC’s inner-city luvvies to see how the hoi polloi live.

And so a bus was chartered from Ultimo to somewhere in Sydney’s west for one of those interminable conferences so cleverly satirised in the BBC’s own W1A comedy series – a kind of latter-day Yes Minister starring Hugh Bonneville as BBC’s Head of Values. [Perhaps there’s a future for Jackie with her Dip. Wellness from The Gunnedah Institute. – MWD Editor]

At the moment it is not clear whether the rest of AM or PM will move to Hobart/Bega – or whether this is mere symbolism – with just the presenters heading south leaving the producers elsewhere. Probably the latter, MWD believes.

It all seems like a meaningless gesture.  The South Coast town of Bega is hardly the Back of Bourke.  As to Hobart – it’s very much a public sector city.  The seat of Clark – based in Hobart – is currently held by leftist independent Andrew Wilkie who defeated Labor Party candidate Ben McGregor at the 2019 elections, after preferences, by 72 per cent to 28 per cent – with the help of Greens preferences.  The Liberal Party’s primary vote was a mere 17 per cent – and the Liberals  have not held Clark (previously called Denison) for 33 years. So Comrade Lane will not meet many of Scott Morrison’s “Quiet Australians” in Hobart Town.

If Comrade Lane really wants to mix with the Tasmanian masses perhaps she should re-locate to Burnie, Devonport or Launceston where the Coalition gets a good vote and the Greens are unpopular. Moving from Canberra to Hobart and hanging out with sandal-wearers in, say, North Hobart, is like moving from one inner-city digs to another inner-city digs. And this is presented by ABC management as a gesture to the regions.  Can You Bear It?


Media Fool Of The Week

  • THE GUARDIAN’S DAVID MARR FANTASISES ABOUT A. BOLT, F. BRENNAN, M. DEVINE AND, YES, HENDO

Lotsa thanks to the avid reader who drew Media Watch Dog’s attention to the forthcoming launch of Melissa Davey’s The Case of George Pell by means of Gleebooks’ Zoom get-together at 6.30 pm next Thursday.  As readers will be aware, Comrade Davey – who heads up The Guardian’s bureau in Melbourne – had to change the title of her book. Initially it was titled “A Fair Trial”- on the assumption that the High Court of Australia would uphold Cardinal George Pell’s conviction on five charges of historical child sexual assault. When the High Court quashed Pell’s conviction in a seven to zip unanimous judgment, Ms Davey changed the title of her book. Easy, eh? But, as those who have had the time to wade through its oh-so-boring 408 pages will know, the bulk of the book is written on the assumption that Pell was guilty.

And so it has come to pass that on 24 September Melissa Davey’s The Case of George Pell  will be launched “In Conversation with David Marr”. Talk about keeping it within the (leftist) family.  It seems that members of the Pell pile-on – David Marr, Melissa Davey, Louise Milligan, Lucie Morris-Marr and the like – like to talk about their books with like-minded leftist folk.  [I like the alliteration, MWD Editor.]

But MWD digresses – not for the first time, alas. Gerard Henderson, Jackie’s (male) co-owner, finally completed Davey’s (boring) tome at the weekend. Groan.  It contains neither photographs nor diagrams – just tedious literary sludge.  As mentioned in MWD last week – even fellow Pell critic Barney Zwartz found the going tough when reading The Case of George Pell.

Reviewing Comrade Davey’s tome in The Age on 5 September 2020, Comrade Zwartz wrote that he did not know what Melissa Davey “was trying to achieve” with her book until he got to Page 391.  The entire text runs for a total of 408 pages.  You get the idea.  The Age’s  reviewer really did not know what the author was on about until he was 96 per cent through The Case of George Pell. Could this be a record?

MWD wonders if, when “In Conversation with David Marr” is held at Gleebooks next Thursday, discussion will turn to perhaps the most bizarre section of The Case of George Pell. It relates to a (previous) discussion between Comrade Davey and Comrade Marr which took place on The Guardian’s podcast titled “The Reckoning” in 2018.  It occurred in a section of “The Reckoning” when The Guardian’s  Melbourne bureau chief criticised the likes of Frank Brennan, Andrew Bolt, Miranda Devine and Gerard Henderson.  Here we go – as told in Ms Davey’s dreary book:

Marr and I recorded a podcast called The Reckoning  about the royal commission’s work and about the Pell case….  Marr told me that the staunch defence of Pell that occurred before, during, and after the trial was driven by what Pell represented – the fundamental culture-war notion that contemporary values are superficial, and that the good of society depends on returning to traditional values.  “Which, when you boil traditional values down, are usually authoritarian notions of how society should be run,” he said. “But it’s dressed up as ‘fundamental wisdom’”.  There’s  the general culture-war notion that Pell represents a healthy contrast to progressive values, which might undermine conservative governments…. [Marr added that] “another thing that can’t be underestimated with figures like Andrew Bolt is they get off on being wingmen for powerful people.”

Turn it up.  Pell v The Queen  turned on whether Cardinal Pell was guilty beyond reasonable doubt of committing a vile sexual assault.  The case was not supposed to have anything to do with culture wars and the like.  As Melissa Davey documents in her book, Pell’s trial defence counsel, Robert Richter QC, was always convinced of his client’s innocence.  Richter is an atheist who does not support conservative causes and holds the view that most jury decisions in criminal trials are warranted.  Likewise Frank Brennan is no conservative – and is on the record as having disagreed on many issues with Pell.  Your man Marr just made this up.  But there was more.

The Davey/Marr reckoning on The Reckoning continued:

For conservatives, having a relationship with Pell opened doors, Marr said, giving them intimate access to an inner circle that included people such as prime ministers.  Support for Pell was not about Catholicism and maintaining the integrity of the Church. It was about power.

What a load of absolute tosh.  If Pell were all that powerful he would not have been charged on the basis of no evidence beyond the assertions of the complainant. Also the likes of Andrew Bolt, Frank Brennan, Miranda Devine and Gerard Henderson did not need Cardinal Pell to put them in contact with the prime ministers of the day. It’s delusional for David Marr to suggest otherwise.  In any event, the likes of Malcolm Turnbull and Scott Morrison are not close to Cardinal Pell.

Comrade Marr has entered Fantasy Land by way of a Conspiracy Corner.

David Marr: Media Fool of the Week.


MWD EXCLUSIVE

  • HOW THE ABC HAS “DISAPPEARED” CARL BEECH (AKA “NICK”)

There was enormous interest in Media Watch Dog’s  coverage last week of the TV documentary The Unbelievable Story of Carl Beech, which was shown on BBC2 in late August.  As pointed out, the film by Vanessa Engle has been well reviewed in both The Spectator (James Walton) and The Guardian (Lucy Mangan). MWD suggested that it would be a good idea if The Unbelievable Story of Carl Beech was shown on ABC TV. So far, there are no signs that this will be the case.

As avid readers are aware, Carl Beech – aka “Nick” – convinced the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) in England that he had been a victim of a high-profile pedophile ring – which included former British prime minister Sir Edward Heath along with Lord Bramwell, Lord Brittan, former MP Harvey Proctor and more besides.

The Metropolitan Police, after talking to “Nick” (as he then was), was convinced that he was a truthful and compelling witness to a number of most serious crimes.  However, after an investigation titled Operation Midland, which cost the British taxpayer £ 2.5 million, the Metropolitan Police found that Nick was a fantasist who had profited financially (in view of the criminal compensation he received) from his false testimony.  Carl Beech was convicted of perverting the course of justice and obtaining money under false pretences. He was sentenced to 18 years imprisonment.

In his devastating dissent in Pell v The Queen in the Victorian Court of Appeal last year, Justice Mark Weinberg – who, along with High Court Justice Virginia Bell is one of Australia’s most experienced criminal jurists – referred to the travesty of the Carl Beech case. Justice Weinberg’s dissent was effectively endorsed by the High Court of Australia.

Such ABC TV reporters as Louise Milligan and Sarah Ferguson hold the view that you can discover if a complainant is telling the truth by their demeanour. That’s how Ms Milligan and Ms Ferguson came to the conclusion that those who complained against Cardinal Pell were “compelling”.  The Beech case demonstrates the fallacy of such a view – as does the High Court’s unanimous decision in Pell v The Queen.  Retired English judge Sir Richard Henriques in his report on the matter titled The Independent Review of the Metropolitan Police Service’s handling of non-recent sexual offence investigations alleged against persons of public prominence was highly critical of the Metropolitan Police.

While the ABC published two articles some years ago about Beech’s initial allegations and the following investigation, it appears that they never covered the outcome – that the accusations were false. MWD can find no stories on the ABC News website about Carl Beech being charged and imprisoned for fraud, perverting the course of justice and charges relating to child pornography. Quelle Surprise! It is as if there never was such a “compelling” complainant as Carl Beech – which sort of lets Louise Milligan and Sarah Ferguson off the hook.  In view of this, MWD would not suggest that readers put their money on the taxpayer funded public broadcaster showing The Unbelievable Story of Carl Beech anytime soon. But you never know.


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/Biden admirers or supporters and left-of-centre types. Now read on.

  • IN WHICH LISTENERS TO DAVID SMITH ON “TRUMP TUESDAY” WOULD BE UNAWARE THAT JOE BIDEN IS RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT

MWD has been hit with lotsa requests to see how the senior lecturer (or some such) David Smith is going at the taxpayer funded University of Sydney’s taxpayer funded United States Studies Centre.  As avid readers know, Dr Smith (for a doctor he is) has a “Trump Tuesday” gig every Tuesday on ABC Radio Sydney 774’s “Drive with Richard Glover” program.

Comrade Smith, like virtually all his comrades at the USSC, is a Trump-hater.  So much so that, while it is possible that Joe Biden will win the US presidential election on November 3, your man Smith is still obsessed with Donald J. Trump and talks about virtually nothing else on “Trump Tuesday”.  Here’s an idea about how the US[eless] Studies Centre’s American “expert” – who was so hopelessly wrong in 2016 – is going in 2020.

Tuesday 1 September 2020. Comrade Smith accuses President Trump of backing right-wing militias – some of which had very “violent intentions”.  But he refers to Black Lives Matter and Antifa types as engaging in mere “protests” – and accuses Trump of pouring “fuel on the fire”.  So the violence initiated by the mainly white radicals of Antifa and BLM activists in Portland Oregon is really all Trump’s fault.

Tuesday 8 September 2020 – with Sarah Macdonald in Richard Glover’s presenter’s chair. Discussion turns on the article in The Atlantic Monthly by Trump-hater Jeffrey Goldberg. Comrade Smith runs the line that President Trump has demeaned the US fallen and is undisturbed by the fact that  all Mr Goldberg’s sources are anonymous.  Now let’s go to the transcript to get a glimpse of David Smith’s ignorance about Fox News:

David Smith: The Atlantic is standing by its reporting though, and other news organisations have confirmed The Atlantic’s account. So the Associated Press, the Washington Post, CNN. And most galling for Trump, Jennifer Griffin, who’s Fox News’ national security correspondent also said that she had heard the same stories from her sources.

 Sarah Macdonald: And she should be a friend.

 David Smith: Yeah.

Clearly Comrade Smith and Macdonald don’t know much about Fox News.  During the day, Fox News runs an objective and highly regarded news service. It’s only at breakfast and in the evening that Fox News switches to opinion-based programs.  Fox News’ Jennifer Griffin is a fine Washington DC-based journalist.  And she merely quoted from some anonymous sources.  As those who have watched Ms Griffin in action – she is neither a friend nor enemy or Trump.  Just a professional journalist – who unlike your man Smith does not barrack.

Tuesday 15 September 2020.  It’s yet more Trump-phobia stuff. This time, David Smith lines up with the criticism of President Trump by Bob Woodward in his book Rage.  And he bags Trump’s concern about Antifa.  Once again the US[eless] Studies Centre’s front man says virtually nothing about the Democratic Party’s candidate.  It is as if the Trump-hating Smith has forgotten that Joe Biden is hanging out in his Delaware basement watching the hands of the clock as it moves towards 3 November.

Yet the Australian taxpayer is paying lotsa money for this piss-poor, one-sided analysis from the USSC’s “expert” who was so wrong in 2016.

Left: David Smith: In the USSC’s Front Line for the Battle Against Trump; Right: Antifa Woman: In the Antifa’s “Peaceful Protests” Front-line for the Battle Against Trump


  • JACK WATERFORD’S HYPERBOLIC ATTEMPT TO BLAME ASIO FOR DIFFICULTIES IN THE AUSTRALIA-CHINA RELATIONSHIP

The Canberra Times’ Jack Waterford is – or at least was – an avid (albeit not uncritical) Media Watch Dog reader.  So thanks to a MWD Canberra reader who drew attention to Comrade Waterford’s article in last Saturday’s Canberra Times titled “ASIO is a Mickey Mouse outfit compromising 50 years of diplomacy with China”.   You see, any deterioration in the Australia-China relation is all Australia’s fault.

Now it’s no secret that your man Waterford is a critic of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO). After all, he has been banging on about the topic for decades.  In recent times, Comrade Waterford has called ASIO’s purpose-built headquarters in Canberra “the Lubyanka by the Lake”.  [Get it?  Vladimir Lenin and Joe Stalin had their original Lubyanka in downtown Moscow to house the KGB and its basement torture chamber].  And Scott Morrison and Peter Dutton have their very own version of the Lubyanka on the Australian Capital Territory’s Constitution Avenue to house Australia’s intelligence organisation and its scores of public servants.

In his piece last Saturday, Comrade Waterford essentially said that Australia spied more on China than China spied on Australia – or was it the other way around?  And he seemed to look back in (relative) happiness at the ASIO of the Cold War half a century ago – forgetting, apparently, that he has criticised the ASIO of the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s and 1980s.

And, finally, your man Waterford threw the switch to hyperbole:

The truth is that ASIO – like Prime Minister and Cabinet or the Health Department, to choose two topical examples – usually couldn’t organise a piss-up in a brewery.  That is not a result of sabotage, or enemy action, but of human nature, the Peter principle and confused objectives. But if we need some Mickey Mouse outfits to compromise 50 years of work in developing economic, political and cultural links with China and its government – in pursuit of some theory that we are acting to project and promote Australia’s interests – it would be hard to go past this shower [sic].

So there you have it.  ASIO could not organise a piss-up in a brewery.  [Somehow I think I’ve heard this one before. – MWD Editor.] And it’s a “Mickey Mouse outfit”. Groan. Too much hyperbole.


The ABC TV program Media Watch commenced in May 1989 – a month after the publication of Gerard Henderson’s Media Watch (which became, in time, Gerard Henderson’s Media Watch Dog Blog). All Media Watch presenters have been left-of-centre types.  No conservative has had this gig in three decades – confirming the taxpayer funded public broadcaster’s reality as a Conservative Free Zone. Since Stuart Littlemore fronted the inaugural program in May 1989, Media Watch has had the format where the presenter lays down the law.  There is no debate and discussion and no one has a right-of-reply on air.

This contrasts with MediaBuzz on Fox News (proprietor Rupert Murdoch). Currently presented by one-time Washington Post columnist and CNN presenter Howard Kurtz, Media Buzz encourages debate and discussion on the program – where different political and social views are heard. Due to popular demand, MWD continues to record your man Barry’s Occasional (political and social) Sermon on the Mount.

  • PAUL BARRY’S DOUBLE STANDARD ON ONLINE POLLS

The target of this week’s sermon was Sky News presenter Chris Kenny. On the 8 September episode of The Kenny Report, a brief mention was given to a Twitter poll conducted by The Age concerning the Andrews government’s road map out of lockdown. The informal poll resulted in a surprisingly poor showing for the Andrews Government with 84 per cent of votes against the road map.

In introducing the poll, Chris Kenny correctly noted that Twitter polls are generally not worth paying attention to – but went on to note that it was surprising that the poll showed such a poor result for the Andrews Government given the presumed left-wing bent of The Age’s Twitter followersThe coverage of the poll on The Kenny Report lasted around 40 seconds as part of a larger segment on the Victorian COVID-19 response.

But this brief mention was enough to earn Paul Barry’s ire. On Monday 14 September, Media Watch dedicated a segment to an in-depth takedown of the Twitter poll. It seems some pro-Labor Twitter obsessives spent far too much time proving that The Age’s poll had been manipulated by forces unknown to produce an anti-Andrews result. Paul Barry – who, based on his rate of tweeting, could also be described as a Twitter obsessive – caught wind of this and decided it warranted lengthy coverage on the ABC.

Comrade Barry also reported that another online poll, this one conducted on 9news.com.au, was “hijacked” to show an anti-Andrews result after previously showing support for the roadmap:

Paul Barry: Channel Nine has no idea who was behind the hijack, but one thing is clear: you can’t trust open online polls, even if the result does suit your agenda.

Complaining that an online poll has been hijacked is a bit like complaining that someone has been interfering with your Ouija Board. You should not need elaborate evidence of “voting irregularities” to know that these results tell you next to nothing about public opinion. MWD can’t help but notice that earlier in the same segment Paul Barry refers to the same 9news.com.au poll as evidence that “most Victorians last Monday were still behind their premier”. It seems Paul Barry’s advice re open online polls is a matter of “do as I say, not as I do”.

Your man Barry ended the segment in his usual lecturing style:

Paul Barry: Has Sky’s Chris Kenny set the record straight and apologised to viewers for misleading them? No, he has not. Or not as far as we can see.

Set the record straight! Apologise! Repent! Prostrate yourself before Saint Barry and beg for forgiveness! [Good point. And pray tell me when was the last time the ABC did an on-air correction, for even significant errors. – MWD editor]


As avid readers are aware, the late Nancy (2004-2017) did not die. She merely “passed” on to the Other Side. Hence MWD has been able to keep in touch with her and seek her advice – with the help of the American psychic John Edward of Crossing Over fame. And so, Nancy’s “Courtesy Classes” continue – albeit from the “Other Side”.

  • LEIGH SALES – SOFT ON LEFTIST JANE FONDA BUT TOUGH ON CONSERVATIVE SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS

There was huge interest in Media Watch Dog’s  coverage last week of 7.30 presenter Leigh Sales’ fawning interview with the Hollywood activist actor Jane Fonda – of “Hanoi Jane” fame. It was Ms Sales’ way to treat a (radical) lady.

Then on Wednesday Comrade Sales interviewed Sarah Huckabee Sanders – who was President Trump’s deputy press secretary and then press secretary for a significant part of the Trump administration. There were neither soft questions nor fawning ones in this instance. Leigh Sales was confrontational and constantly asking leading questions.  Here’s how the interview commenced:

Leigh Sales: …Sarah Huckabee Sanders, can Donald Trump tell the difference between the truth and a lie?

Sarah Huckabee Sanders: Absolutely. My question would be, can the media?

As is evident, Ms Huckabee Sanders is an intelligent and strong woman.  Having put up with the Trump-hating Washington Press Corps, Leigh Sales was not going to be a major problem. But the 7.30 presenter ploughed on with her Trump-phobia motivated line of questioning/assertions.  MWD’s favourite leading question was this:

Leigh Sales:  Was that [a Trump answer] a display of lying, ignorance or insanity?

According to Comrade Sales, the question could only be answered by ticking one of Sales’ three chosen boxes. And so it went on and on with Ms Sales complaining that her questions had not been answered. Groan.

So the question remains, how does an American woman get a professional interview from Leigh Sales.  It helps if the female in question is not a conservative and has a record of supporting the US’s enemies in the field of battle.

Leigh Sales – off to Nancy’s Courtesy Classes for you.

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Until next time.

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