GERARD HENDERSON’S MEDIA WATCH DOG
ISSUE – NO. 515
25 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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Can You Bear It? – Leigh Sales goes soft on Bob Woodward; The Age runs the socialist left line in a news report; Another false prophecy from Fitz; Bell Shakespeare Company holds conservative-free debates; Another stack on Radio National’s Saturday Extra; Michael Koziol looks back fondly on the vomiting at Schoolies
ANOTHER GREEN/LEFT STACK ON MONDAY’S Q&A
Media Watch Dog can barely wait until Monday night when Hamish (“I don’t watch TV much unless I’m on it”) Macdonald hosts ABC TV’s Q&A program.
As avid readers are aware, Q&A was extremely slow in waking up to COVID-19 and all that. The program commenced this year on 3 February 2020 but it was not until the fourth program on 24 February that the pandemic was even mentioned. Why would this be the case? Well, it’s possible that since Comrade Macdonald does not watch the telly maybe he was not aware of the new virus in our midst until he walked past a TV set in the ABC’s Ultimo headquarters in Sydney.
In any event, in recent months Q&A has discussed COVID-19 ad nauseam. And will do so on Monday according to this tweet which Q&A has recently released:
— QandA (@QandA) September 25, 2020
How about that? Your man Macdonald and the vast Q&A production team have invited five Australians to discuss what Australia’s economic recovery plan should look like (in the words of the cliché) moving forward. One is Darren Chester, the Minister for Veterans Affairs and Defence Personnel. Sure he’s a member of the Morrison government but does not hold one of the economic or energy ministries.
Arranged against Mr Chester are three vehement critics of the Coalition’s policy on economics and energy. Namely, Labor’s shadow minister for Climate Change, Mark Butler, Atlassian co-founder Michael Cannon-Brookes and journalist Marian Wilkinson who has just published The Carbon Club: How a Network of Influential Climate Sceptics, Politicians and Business Leaders Fought to Control Australia’s Climate Policy [Could this be the longest book title in Australia this year? MWD Editor.]
So there you have it. The line-up on economic policy is a 3 to 1 stack against the Coalition. The Butler, Cannon-Brookes (he of what Paul Keating once called the Hyphenated-Name-Set of Sydney’s eastern suburbs) and Wilkinson (ex-ABC and Sydney Morning Herald) tag team against the Lone Chester. It looks like a gathering of a Green/Left flying squad targeted at the mild-mannered Mr Chester. And then there is Yun Jiang who edits the China Story blog whose work at the Australian National University specialises in geo-economics. It’s notable that Q&A did not invite on to its panel any trade union leaders who are critical of Labor’s economic and energy policies – such as Tony Maher of the Construction Forestry Maritime Mining and Energy Union (CFMMEU) or Daniel Walton of the Australian Workers’ Union (AWU).
Here’s MWD’s question to Q&A. Why does the taxpayer funded public broadcaster’s Q&A invariably have a minority of political conservatives or social democrats on virtually all its panels when compared with leftists. See also this week’s Can You Bear It? segment.
7:30’s MARK HUMPHRIES THROWS THE SWITCH TO FART JOKES
Mark (“Call me a Satirist”) Humphries returned to ABC’s 7:30 program last night with another sketch poking fun at, you guessed it, the Morrison Government. As always 7:30 presenter Leigh Sales advised the audience up front that the sketch was the work of Humphries (who, she warned, is a satirist) and his co-writer Evan Williams. Those who continued to watch did so at their own peril.
This week’s offering satirised (if satire there was) the government’s “Technology Roadmap”, launched on Tuesday at the National Press Club by Angus Taylor. In the sketch the Technology Roadmap is instead launched by Humphries, who is inexplicably doing an impression of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs.
As expected, the sketch is mostly a series of half-written jokes painting the government’s Roadmap as inadequate. Yawn. Three times during the sketch, presumably when comrades Humphries & Williams could not think of anything to say, a loud fart sound is played. This is meant to be some sort of comment on the Technology Roadmap including gas as an energy source (get it?).
It seems Humphries & Williams are struggling even more than normal to churn out the occasional short sketch. Perhaps this is because they have chosen to ignore certain topics, much like the non-satirical portions of 7:30.
MWD has taken the liberty of preparing a short list of potential sketch ideas which Humphries & Williams are welcome to take:
- Mark Humphries plays a Victorian Green-Left operative whose job it is to find scientific evidence for outlawing criticism of Dan Andrews in the name of public health.
- Mark Humphries plays a minister for Health who is responsible for all parts of hotel quarantine except for hiring private security contractors which was definitely somebody else’s job.
- Mark Humphries plays an ABC satirist desperate to talk about anything but the Victorian government’s failures.
Don’t hold your breath.
CBD “SPIES” GEORGE PELL AT DINNER – REALLY
It would seem that not much is going on in the Canberra Business District of either Sydney or Melbourne. How else to explain the CBD column (written by Samantha Hutchinson and Stephen Brook) in Nine Newspapers today? In the Sydney Morning Herald, it’s the lead under the heading “Pell breaks (garlic) bread at Circular Quay Italian Dinner”. The heading in The Age is smaller and runs behind a piece on Shane Warne. You know, your man Warnie – a legend but not of the CBD kind.
Apparently, CBD regards it as news that Cardinal George Pell had dinner on Wednesday with a group of friends at Sydney’s Alfredo restaurant. That’s sure to be noticed by those who examine the Australian Stock Exchange every morning, every night and frequently during the day and watch for changes in the value of the AU$.
This is what the powerful Hutchinson/Brook combination came up with:
Pell, according to CBD spies, was seated at the middle of a long table, with about a dozen people, and knew some of the guests at smaller tables flanking the high table…. At one point, Pell – who was dressed in what one observer described as “priestly regalia” – stood to address his friends and gave a short speech and toast.
Apparently Pell was flanked by a number of priests. One guest wore a blazer bearing an Order of Australia gong on their lapel…. The other guests in the restaurant said they had to pinch themselves. “It was like the last supper,” one onlooker said. “He was sitting in the middle of a long dinner table, and there was no one sitting opposite.”
This is not really Hold-The-Front-Page material – or even Page 178. The story so far, via CBD, is that Pell went to dinner – but CBD’s “spies” were not able to identify anyone else there. There was an unusual table structure – which CBD overlooked may have been a consequence of social distancing restaurant rules at a time of COVID-19. None of CBD “spies” heard what Pell said.
But one spy said it “was like the last supper”. MWD is not aware that there were any CBD spies, or Nine Newspaper journos, at the Last Supper. What’s more, Leonardo da Vinci’s famous mural The Last Supper (circa 1495) was painted with Christ and his apostles only on one side of the table so that all their profiles could be seen. It was a painting of people, not table placements. Consequently, it does not necessarily reflect the real thing. Apparently neither CBD nor its spies know much about dining out – or in – circa AD33.
DAVID MARR’S MAGNIFICENT BRACES & MELISSA DAVEY’S EXTRAORDINARY CLAIM
Meanwhile, on the topic of Pell, did any avid readers catch The Guardian’s David Marr in conversation with The Guardian’s Melissa (“David calls me Mel”) Davey at Gleebooks’ (virtual) launch of her book The Case of George Pell last night? MWD was particularly impressed by David Marr’s striking burgundy braces.
MWD will return to the issue in due course. In the meantime, attention is drawn to this comment made by Melissa Davey last night during the conversation with her Guardian colleague:
David Marr: What did you come to think in the end of Pell’s accuser?
Melissa Davey: He was such –
David Marr: I mean you never saw him. You never saw him give evidence. None of – no one but a couple of lawyers and the jury ever saw that.
Melissa Davey: And yet, I still feel like I got a good sense of the man. First of all because his evidence was quoted comprehensively throughout the trial. So even though there was the media – no one except for the legal parties could view his actual evidence, there’s nothing stopping the parties from quoting from that evidence throughout the trial, which we can report on.
David Marr: Yes, and that’s how we were able to put together a picture of the allegations – yes?
Melissa Davey: And then, it didn’t matter who I spoke to, who was there. Because obviously I had conversations with the legal teams in the hallways of the court between different hearings and things like that. They all described him [“A” – the complainant] as eloquent, articulate, honest and he was interrogated over about four days. Cross examined over four days and he stood up to that.
The clear implication of Melissa Davey’s comment is that she “had conversations with the legal teams in the hallways of the court” while Pell’s trial and retrial were under way. The legal teams were led by Senior Crown Prosecutor – Mark Gibson QC and Robert Richter QC for the defence. It would be grossly improper for either legal team to brief journalists like Melissa Davey about the demeanour of a complainant while a trial was under way. The Case of George Pell makes clear that Robert Richter was convinced that Pell was innocent of all the charges against him. So it is impossible that Richter or his team would have spoken positively about the complainant’s demeanour to Davey. Likewise MWD does not believe that Mr Gibson would have been so indiscreet as to talk about a continuing case with a journalist.
Perhaps Melissa Davey misspoke during her conversation with David Marr last night. Or perhaps it was someone other than the two legal teams who spoke to her. Stay tuned.
LEIGH SALES – SOFT ON THE LEFT-LIBERAL BOB WOODWARD BUT TOUGH ON THE CONSERVATIVE SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS
There was a huge interest in this segment last week which covered 7.30 presenter Leigh Sales’ interview with Sarah Huckabee Sanders, President Trump’s former press secretary, which took place on 16 September. Ms Huckabee Sanders appeared on 7.30 with the intention of discussing her recently released book Speaking for Myself: Faith, Freedom, and the Fight of Our Lives Inside the Trump White House but found herself having to defend her recent boss. The 7.30 presenter has not worked in politics and may not understand that staff are not responsible for the views or sayings of the politicians for whom they work.
Perhaps Comrade Sales has not read the Huckabee Sanders’ tome. In any event, she showed scant interest in it and focused on leading (hostile) questions on Donald J. Trump. As in:
Leigh Sales: …Sarah Huckabee Sanders, can Donald Trump tell the difference between the truth and a lie?
Leigh Sales: You’re not addressing my point which is that he said that he thinks science doesn’t know that the planet is warming. The Washington Post fact check unit has found during his presidency so far Donald Trump has made false or misleading claims to the American people more than 20,000 times?
Leigh Sales: Your book makes it clear that you’re heavily guided by your Christian faith and family values. How do you reconcile that with having been the spokesperson for a President who has misled the American people…?
Leigh Sales: I notice you’re not addressing the central premise of my question which is how somebody like Donald Trump squares with the values you espouse?
At best Leigh Sales was unprofessional – at worst she was just plain rude. But Sarah Huckabee Sanders is a tough woman and she handled her hostile interviewer well.
Step forward a week to 23 September. On Wednesday Comrade Sales interviewed Washington DC journalist Bob Woodward who was flogging his latest book Rage – which, as might be expected, is hostile to President Trump. Not surprisingly the 7.30 presenter rolled out a number of soft Dorothy Dix style questions to the journalists’ (secular) God – like these.
Leigh Sales: Bob Woodward, having spent a lot of time now with Donald Trump, what are your observations about his fitness for the presidency?
Leigh Sales : You’ve been an observer of American politics for a very long time. How do you think another four years of Trump would affect America?
Leigh Sales : In the journalism of old, if you exposed somebody in power [Richard Nixon] in a lie then that was a huge problem for them and on a big story like, say, Watergate, it would be their undoing. Why don’t facts have that kind of currency anymore?
And so on. It was as soft as all that. Which raises the question – why didn’t Sarah Huckabee Sanders get soft Bob-Woodward-style questions when she was interviewed by the feminist Leigh Sales? Answer: Ms Huckabee Sanders is a Donald Trump supporting white conservative Christian woman. That’s why. Can You Bear It?
THE AGE’s BEN SCHNEIDERS GIVES THE NOD TO THE SOCIALIST LEFT
Interesting tweet by Michael Danby (the former Labor MP for Melbourne Ports, recently renamed Macnamara) yesterday about The Age. He accused The Age of being “too close to the socialist left”.
As avid readers will be aware, MWD used to call The Age “The Guardian on the Yarra” until the real Guardian arrived Down Under – with a little help from Malcolm Turnbull.
Michael Danby took umbrage at a news report – it read like a column – in The Age yesterday titled “Factional games at play in health union’s call to sack Jenny Mikakos”. The article, by The Age’s intrepid reporter Ben Schneiders, bagged Diana Asmar, the Secretary of the Health Workers Union, for criticising Victorian Health Minister Jenny Mikakos. You see Ms Asmar is a member of the Victorian ALP’s right faction while Ms Mikakos belongs to the socialist left faction.
In what was supposed to be a report – not an opinion piece – Comrade Schneiders depicted the HWU as a “rogues’ gallery of Labor factional hacks”. Also, he asserted Diana Asmar is not taken very seriously by the Victorian Labor Party led by socialist left aligned Premier Daniel Andrews.
If Comrade Schneiders’ views were contained in an opinion piece there would have been no problem. But they were expressed in what was dressed up as a news report. It seems that The Age no longer recognises the difference between news and opinion. Especially when it comes to giving the nod to the socialist left. Can You Bear It?
PETER FITZSIMONS’ FALSE BABY BOOM PROPHECY
As avid Media Watch Dog readers are only too well aware, the Sydney Morning Herald and Sun-Herald columnist Peter (“look at me”) FitzSimons is inclined to self-promotion. Consequently The Red-Bandannaed One specialises in beat-ups designed to attract attention to his light-weight “Fitz on Sunday” column in Nine Newspapers’ Sun-Herald. In Issue 507 (31 July 2020), attention was drawn to Fitz’s “knowledge” about Australia’s forthcoming birth rate and based on – yes, you’ve guessed it – anecdotes. This is what your man FitzSimons had to say under the heading “Baby Boom Time” in the Sun-Herald on 26 July 2020:
…is Sydney in for a baby boom, nine-months post-Pause? [sic]. I am, anecdotally at least, informed that is precisely the case with maternity beds in the New Year rapidly being booked out. And it stands to reason, surely? With partners thrown together more than ever in their time together; with other possibilities of entertainment that involved going out at an all-time low, it makes sense that the all-time favourite form of entertainment through the ages was also at an all-time high – and came complete with an inevitable consequence, even in the age of birth control? Such a thing if it does indeed occur, has a long history.
Groan. Do readers of Fitz (if readers there are) really care what The Red Bandannaed One thinks about entertainment at a time of pandemic. Moreover– as pointed out in Issue 507 – his “evidence” was attained while gossiping to mates in a Mosman – or was it Balmoral Beach? – coffee shop.
Move forward a couple of months and this was the Sydney Morning Herald’s lead story on Tuesday headed “Baby slump: Australia’s newborn deficit to hit budget bottom line” – written by Shane Wright. He reported that Australia’s fertility rate is expected to fall and added:
The 2019-20 budget assumed a rise in the nation’s fertility rate to 1.9 babies from the 1.78 recorded in 2018. Instead, the fertility rate was falling even before the advent of the pandemic.
Analysis compiled by respected Australian National University demographer Peter McDonald, in work for the government’s Centre for Population, forecasts the fertility rate to drop to 1.59 next year and rise to 1.69 by 2024 before resuming a downward trend to 1.62 by the end of the decade. Professor McDonald estimates the difference between the 2019-20 budget and his forecast equates to 56,000 fewer babies every year from 2019 to 2024.
So there you have it. The best estimates indicate that the Australian birth rate will drop significantly in 2019-2020 and 2020-21. But Fitz reckoned that there would be a COVID-19 baby boom – based on some anecdotes he came across in a coffee-shop on Sydney’s north-shore. And The Red Bandannaed One is the Sun-Herald’s leading columnist. Can You Bear It?
BELL SHAKESPEARE’S VERY OWN CONSERVATIVE FREE ZONE STARRING COMRADES BENJAMIN LAW & JANE CARO ETCETERA
While on the topic of “Fitz on Sunday”, here’s his final piece last Sunday – just to the right of his (unfunny) “Joke of the Week”:
Ring the Bell
In honour of the mighty Bell Shakespeare Company’s 30th anniversary, it is holding a series of debates, starting this Thursday at 7.30pm, featuring the likes of Jane Caro, Ben [Benjamin] Law, Jan Fran, Jess Scully, Miriam Corowa, Jonathan Biggins and Rebecca Huntley. The first topic: “That we have seen better days.” (My money is on the affirmative team!) And you can watch it online via bellshakespeare.com.au.
Turn it up. There’s not a conservative among this cohort of luvvies. Moreover, all but Jess Scully (a Sydney City Councillor) are journalists/commentators/actors/comedians. Sure these kind of school-day debates are artificial to start with. But, on all the big issues of the day, Jane would essentially agree with Benjamin who would essentially agree with Jan who would essentially agree with Jess who would essentially agree with Miriam who would essentially agree with Jonathan who would essentially agree with Rebecca who would essentially agree with Jane who would essentially agree with herself.
And all this in honour of the Bell Shakespeare Company’s anniversary. As Jackie’s (male) co-owner recalls from his school days, your man Shakespeare liked a bit of political biff. But the company which bears the bard’s name only wants to hear from the Sandalista Set and is a Conservative Free Zone. Can You Bear It?
[Er, no. Not now that you have raised the issue. I note that the Bell Shakespeare Company’s arts advisory board includes Comrade Caro, Comrade Huntley, Comrade Law and Comrade Fran (“I’m an activist”) Kelly. The only way you would find a conservative in this lot is if he/she got lost in the premises trying to find The Ramsay Centre. – MWD Editor.]
MARIAN WILKINSON’s VERY OWN ANTI-CARBON CLUB
As readers of this week’s Stop Press will be aware, the eco-catastrophist Marian Wilkinson is getting lotsa publicity on the occasion of the publication of her latest book – which, for the sake of brevity, is best referred to as The Carbon Club Etc. Comrade Wilkinson will appear on ABC TV’s Q&A on Monday. And on Saturday 5 September, she appeared on ABC Radio National’s Saturday Extra which is presented by MWD fave Geraldine Doogue.
It came to pass that Saturday Extra’s executive producer engaged a panel, chaired by Ms Doogue, which it described as follows:
Investigative journalist Marian Wilkinson’s new book, The Carbon Club tracks the endless political and scientific wars behind Australia’s inaction on climate change. But it also acknowledges that a transition economy in Australia faces enormous challenges. To discuss those challenges Marian is joined by Dr Martin Parkinson former head of the Dept of Climate Change, and Jillian Broadbent, former Chair, Clean Energy Finance Corporation.
As readers of The Carbon Club Etc will be aware (if readers there are), Martin Parkinson and Jillian Broadbent are among the stars of the Wilkinson tome. So it came as no surprise that the trio got on oh-so-well as Martin agreed with Marian while Marian agreed with Jillian who agreed with Martin who agreed with Marian who agreed with the presenter Geraldine who did not disagree with any of her hand-picked panellists.
That’s what passes for debate in the taxpayer funded Conservative Free Zone that is the ABC. Can You Bear It?
YOUNG KOZIOL LOOKS BACK IN HAPPINESS ON THOSE WHO CHUNDERED ON QUEENSLAND BEACHES IN PRE-PANDEMIC TIMES
As avid readers will recall, in times past Media Watch Dog has featured insights into the private life of Nine Newspapers’ Michael Koziol – as revealed by the man himself. Comrade Koziol is the Sun-Herald’s deputy editor.
There were the traumas in the young Koziol life that followed the closure of the Manning Bar at Sydney University (see Issue 485) and the shut-down of the Wellco Café in the inner-city suburb of Glebe (see Issue 414) and the fact that the share house that he once spent time in inner-city Leichhardt was scheduled for a make-over (see Issue 487). How much more trauma can a young man endure? [Not much, I guess. Perhaps he should relieve stress by occasionally venturing out of inner-city Sydney. Just a thought. MWD Editor.]
And now, even more trauma in the Life of Koziol – as revealed in his 6 September piece in the Sun-Herald titled “Schoolies just won’t be the same this year, and that’s a shame”. Here’s how it commenced:
There’s nothing like hearing your editor thinks you’re “too old” to write persuasively about the end of high school to motivate you to put pen to paper. That’s a recurring motif of your 20s: doors slowly closing, options gradually cutting off. Suddenly you’re too old to be a pop star, a professional tennis player, or just a compelling voice on Schoolies.
And it’s partly what makes that heady summer after Year 12 such a special moment. For those few months, time stands still. You’re between two worlds, and almost everything that’s big, exciting or important looms in the future. The only thing consigned to the past is school. We tend to cram quite a few important rituals into that period. There’s the Year 12 formal, a final chance to get it right after the disastrous trial runs of years 10 and 11. There’s Schoolies week, the debauched pilgrimage north to vomit UDLs over Queensland sand. [By the way, a UDL is a type of flavoured vodka pre-mixed drink not consumed in Russia.]
Go on. Alas he did.
The first day of my own Schoolies was November 24, 2007. We spent that night huddled in front of the television at a campsite in Byron Bay watching Kevin Rudd defeat John Howard. It felt like the nation was amid the same revolution as our lives. I recall having a laser-like focus on meeting new, “cool” people; to commence some kind of amateur exercise in social climbing. So I check with my friend Hannah Ryan, who I met on the bus from the airport to Byron and she says. “I was too nervous to try anything. I was also underage. I remember trying to find any place in Byron that would look past the fact that I had someone else’s ID. I think it was overwhelming for a sheltered 17-year-old.” She is equivocal on the meaning of it all.
No wonder. There is a lot to be equivocal about. After all, due to the impact of COVID-19 and all that, Queensland beaches this year will not be fertilised by the chundering of flavoured vodka.
But hang on a minute. Halfway through his article, your man Koziol had this to say: “Truth be told. I don’t remember much of schoolies.”
Truth be told, the Sun-Herald editor was correct. Your man Koziol is too old to write about the end of high school – since he can’t really remember it. Young Koziol went on to quote someone or other who, from the Byron Bay Rites Of Passage Institute, has been thinking about Schoolies Week for a quarter of a century. Can this be true? More importantly – Can You Bear It?
FIGURES CAN’T LIE: THE DE-PLATFORMING OF THE AUSTRALIAN’S JOHANNES LEAK BY INSIDERS
There was enormous interest in last week’s Media Watch Dog’s coverage of The Guardian’s Michael Bowers’ “Talking Pictures” segment on the ABC TV Insiders program (aka “The Guardian Weekly” – in view of how many Guardian comrades appear on Insiders.)
MWD made the point that Michael Bowers and Insiders’ executive producer Sam Clark seem to have cancelled or de-platformed The Australian’s cartoonists Johannes Leak and John Spooner. You see, their work is never discussed by Comrade Bowers or his guest commentators. This despite the fact that The Australian is a national newspaper. However, “Talking Pictures’” fave cartoonist is David Rowe – who works for the Australian Financial Review, Australia’s other national newspaper.
It turns out that avid reader Riley Brown had also noticed the fact that The Guardian’s Michael Bowers appears to have disappeared the works of Messrs Leak and Spooner. Indeed Mr Brown has been keeping a score, so to speak, since Insiders re-commenced on 2 February this year. On Sunday afternoon, not long after Insiders had concluded on Sunday, your man Brown produced statistics for the cartoonists most frequently featured on Insiders by The Guardian’s Michael Bowers. Here are the top four:
David Rowe (AFR) – 26
John Kudelka (The Saturday Paper) – 19
Matt Golding (SMH/The Age) – 19
Cathy Wilcox (SMH/The Age) – 16
No cartoonist from The Australian has featured on Insiders’ “Talking Pictures” during the entirety of 2020. Talk about the de-platforming of conservative views by the taxpayer funded public broadcaster.
OK, BEGA’S NOT ON THE COAST – BUT ACCORDING TO TIM FLANNERY IT SURE WILL BE ONE DAY
Lotsa thanks to the avid (locked down) Melbourne reader who picked the John-Laws-Style-Deliberate-Mistake in last week’s Media Watch Dog.
As readers may recall, the forthcoming “journey” (to use a cliché) of ABC AM presenter Sabra Lane and ABC The World Today presenter Linda Mottram to Hobart and Bega respectively came under discussion.
It would seem that this shift in location for presenting such programs as AM and The World Today is part of the ABC’s intention to move some staff away from its inner-city offices in Sydney and Melbourne. It is destined to be a pointless gesture. Apparently the aim is for the ABC personnel to get closer to what Prime Minister Scott Morrison calls the “Quiet Australians” or what Karl Marx dismissively referred to as the hoi polloi. However, there are not many quiet Tasmanians in Hobart – where in the May 2019 election the Liberal Party won just 17 per cent of the primary vote in the Hobart-based seat of Clark. In short, Hobart is Green/Left city.
If Comrade Lane wants to meet with some Quiet Australians in what used to be called the Apple Isle – then she should get digs in Burnie, Devonport or Launceston – far away from the Sandalista Set in North Hobart. The same can be said of Comrade Mottram – who would find more Quiet Australians in Bourke than Bega.
So what was the Deliberate Mistake? – MWD hears readers cry out. Well it’s this. Initially MWD referred to Bega as being close to the sea. Okay, that’s wrong. But perhaps not for long. If the eco-catastrophist Tim Flannery is correct – about rising sea levels and all that – Bega will be by the seaside before Comrade Lane hangs up her ABC AM microphone and bids farewell to the luvvies of North Hobart Town.
NEW SEGMENT: DOWN THE ABC’s MEMORY HOLE – OR WHAT THE TAXPAYER FUNDED PUBLIC BROADCASTER WON’T REPORT
Following overwhelming request from avid readers, Media Watch Dog has established this segment to cover the news that the ABC will not report. This will reveal fresh examples and advise on any developments with respect to past cover-ups. Today – something original.
THE ABC FAILS TO REPORT JAMES MacSMITH’S ARTICLE ON ONE-TIME ABC CRICKET COMMENTATOR PETER ROEBUCK
Last Saturday, the Daily Telegraph published an article by James MacSmith titled “Peter Roebuck groomed me when I was 17”. James MacSmith was a cricket-playing student at Cranbrook School in Sydney’s eastern suburbs when the assault occurred around three decades ago.
As long-time MWD readers will be aware, Peter Roebuck died in November 2011 after jumping from a sixth floor window of the Southern Sun Hotel in Cape Town. He was about to be arrested by police for allegedly assaulting a 26 year old black man. Roebuck was in South Africa to cover the Test series between South Africa and Australia.
Peter Roebuck had form in assaulting young men – particularly relatively poor black men. In 2001, Roebuck pleaded guilty in England to a charge of common assault in belting the bare buttocks of three young black cricketers with a cricket bat or a cane in 1999. The South African cricketers were staying with Roebuck at the time.
This was Roebuck’s method of attack. First he groomed young men by promising to improve their batting, bowling and fielding. As trust developed, he got young men to agree to accept discipline for cricket mistakes. He encouraged the young men to bend over and then he belted them with a cricket bat. After this, he usually sought to examine their naked bodies.
This is the kind of attack which James MacSmith wrote about in the Daily Telegraph. Except that, shocked at the ferocity of the beating, he ran off before Roebuck could “inspect” his injuries and managed to avoid Roebuck after that. Also MacSmith was still dressed in his cricket gear when attacked.
For the record, Roebuck was not on the Cranbrook School staff – he just appeared at the grounds after school, as James MacSmith put it ironically, “to help to coach”. MacSmith was a familiar target for pedophiles – coming from “a broken home as one of three kids from a single mother”.
Peter Roebuck was not only a good English County cricketer who, in his latter years, came to live between Australia and South Africa. His fame turned on the fact that he was an ABC Radio cricket broadcaster and columnist for the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age (then published by Fairfax Media). Both the ABC and Fairfax Media employed Roebuck to cover the Australian cricket summer after he had been convicted in Britain. Roebuck’s 2001 conviction was reported in the media at the time and was no secret – it was known to the ABC and Fairfax Media before he was signed on by both companies as a cricket commentator.
When Roebuck died after jumping out of his hotel window, ABC TV and Radio along with The Age ran numerous tributes to the deceased man – which usually ignored the fact that he had died while attempting to avoid arrest on a charge of sexual assault. It was, in short, a cover-up.
And what about James MacSmith’s article? – which he wrote because he wanted his assault by Roebuck “to be a warning to every parent, politician and child”.
Well, the ABC did not report James MacSmith’s warnings in the Daily Telegraph about the lessons to be learnt from the one-time high profile ABC sports commentator – who happened to be a serial pedophile. It went down the ABC memory hole – to borrow George Orwell’s phrase from Nineteen Eighty Four. It would seem that the late Peter Roebuck still has mates at the ABC who would like to overlook his assaults on young men whom he groomed. An unpleasant double standard.
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Until next time.
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