GERARD HENDERSON’S MEDIA WATCH DOG
ISSUE – NO. 537
16 April 2021
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ANOTHER Q&A LEFTIST STACK AS NORMAN SWAN EMERGES AS THE HERO OF THE MELBOURNE LEFT’S SOCIALIST REDOUBT
Last night’s Q&A was held in the socialist redoubt that is contemporary Melbourne – Hendo’s home town. And what a leftist stack it was. If ABC managers are still wondering why many senior Coalition ministers will not go on Q&A – they should check out last night’s program.
It would appear that the Sandalista soviets of Fitzroy North and Carlton emptied out last evening and marched to the ABC’s Southbank, just over the Yarra River, where they comprised much of the audience And didn’t they cheer and hoot when their hero Norman Swan, the ABC’s doctor in the House, criticised the Morrison government? Why, the comrades even cheered his oh-so-discourteous interruptions of the only Morrison government supporter on the panel – James Paterson, the Liberal Party Senator for Victoria.
Other panel members consisted of Labor Party Senator Katy Gallagher (the shadow minister for finance), David Olsson (president of the Australia China Business Council) and journalist and researcher Vicky Xu. Hamish (“I don’t watch TV unless I’m on it”) Macdonald was in the chair.
Last night’s Q&A was presented as being about China and the Australia-China relationship. But the initial focus on the program was on Prime Minister Scott Morrison and his criticism late last year of (then) Australia Post CEO Christine Holgate and what has followed since then.
Early on, Comrade Macdonald asked the panel what they thought of how the Prime Minister has handled the matter. Every panel member, except Senator Paterson, bagged the PM to a greater or lesser extent. When the ABC’s Norman Swan did so he received a rousing cheer, accompanied by loud clapping, from the ABC audience in the ABC Melbourne studio. By his comments, the presenter indicated that he was on the side of the 4 to 1 opposition to Scott Morrison on this issue. Comrade Macdonald even interrupted James Paterson after the senator had made only a brief comment.
The discussion turned to how the Coalition was handling the vaccine roll-out with respect to COVID-19. Once again, everyone who joined in, including the presenter, criticised the Morrison government to a greater or lesser extent – except for Senator Paterson who did remarkably well in a hostile environment. Macdonald did nothing to protect Paterson from Swan’s interruptions. The discussion on the vaccine took place in spite of the fact that there was not one epidemiologist or disease control expert on the panel. Re which see this week’s hugely popular Documentation segment.
Then discussion turned on the promised main topic – China. Here there was a useful exchange of views. And this time there was balance, of sorts. However, of the three audience comments called by Macdonald – two were broadly supportive of the Chinese Communist Party regime. Towards the end, your man Swan threw the switch to moral equivalence by claiming that what China does with respect to “intellectual property theft…is what America does”. Turn it up.
And ABC managers wonder why Q&A has lost so many viewers over the years.
QUELLE SURPRISE! MALCOLM TURNBULL TO RETURN TO Q&A NEXT WEEK (IN VEGAN LEATHER JACKET?)
The only news event on Q&A last night occurred at the end of the program when an excited Macdonald advised everyone about one – but only one – of next week’s panel members. Former Liberal Party leader and current vehement Morrison government critic Malcolm Turnbull, no less.
Yes, that Q&A fave Mr Turnbull. The question is whether he will revert to an earlier appearance on Q&A, in Tony Jones’ day, and put on a hipster-style leather jacket for the occasion. Probably not, MWD thinks. After all, the Sage of Point Piper is a dedicated follower of fashion (The Kinks’ song refers). In these days of advancing veganism, it’s more likely that the Sage of Point Piper will deck out in a vegan leather number. But we shall see.
It’s a real scoop, in an ABC conservative-free-zone kind of way, don’t you think that Q&A has obtained a high profile Morrison government critic to appear on the program? How was the deal negotiated? – MWD hears readers cry.
Well, here’s a theory. As Olivia Caisley revealed in The Australian’s “Strewth!” column on Monday, Malcolm and Lucy Turnbull threw open the doors to their Point Piper pile last Sunday – where guests included the ABC’s Laura Tingle and the Guardian Australia’s Lenore Taylor. Part of the ABC/Guardian Axis. Perhaps La Tingle put the proposal to your man Turnbull at around Cucumber Coolers Time. Or, perhaps not.
AN INSCRUTABLE MIKE CARLTON TWEET AT HANGOVER TIME THIS FRIDAY MORNING
At 7:26am today The Sage of Avalon Beach stirred and sent out the following to the Twitter masses:
The quote itself is almost right, dropping only the word “that” from a line John Howard delivered to the Australian Defence Association some time ago:
John Howard: There is no doubt that the coalition forces will win, but it would be irresponsible to predict when we will win.
However, the date given by your man Carlton for the quote is obviously incorrect. Mr Howard delivered the remark on 25 October 2001, weeks after the start of the invasion of Afghanistan – not on 11 March 1996. Although, 11 March 1996 is a meaningful date in the political career of John Howard. It was the day he was sworn in as Prime Minister following the 1996 Federal Election.
So what exactly was Mike trying to say with the tweet? Is it a play on the word “coalition” – which can refer both to the coalition of countries involved in the invasion of Afghanistan and also to the Liberal-National coalition in Australia? But John Howard had no need to predict victory for the Liberal-National coalition on 11 March 1996, they had already won. And if the Howard-led coalition is equivalent to the invaders of Afghanistan – then that would cast Labor as the Taliban, surely not the intent of an old lefty like Carlton.
Or perhaps there was no secret meaning to the tweet – it may have just been a mistake made by a bleary-eyed Mike. Maybe 11 March 1996 was the date of a historic night by Comrade Carlton, as he drowned his sorrows following the defeat of Labor at the 1996 election. If so, the date may forever be etched in his memory and come unbidden on occasions in the early hours of the morning.
Well, a few hours later Mike stirred once more, offering the following garbled thanks to one of the many Twitter users who had pointed out the error:
You’re right. Thanks..#
— Mike Carlton (@MikeCarlton01) April 16, 2021
And with that the original tweet was deleted. Can You Bear It?
ANDREW PROBYN’S HOWLER ON INSIDERS RE THE PM AND THE GENDER PAY GAP
Wasn’t it great to see the ABC TV Insiders team (executive producer Sam Clark) take the Insiders “couch” to Launceston last Sunday – where Jackie’s co-owners lived for four years in the late 1970s? It seems that this is part of the taxpayer funded broadcaster’s cunning plan to take some of its programs out of inner-city Southbank, (Melbourne, where Insiders is filmed) and inner-city Ultimo (Sydney) to the toiling masses in suburban, regional and rural Australia.
This year, ABC Radio AM presenter Sabra Lane moved to Hobart as part of a scheme to shift some ABC programs out of the Green/Left centres of Sydney and Melbourne. The only problem with this particular cunning plan is that Hobart is replete with Green/Left types. Indeed, it’s the Sandalista Centre of the south. It’s also the base of Tasmanian Greens and has not returned a Liberal Party member for the Hobart-based seat of Clark (formerly called Denison) since 1984 – i.e. close to four decades ago. In other words, the Coalition performs nearly as badly in Clark as it does in the seats of Sydney (in Sydney’s inner-west including Ultimo) and Macnamara (formerly called Melbourne Ports which includes Southbank).
In short, Comrade Lane should feel at home in Hobart – where Hobart North is to Tasmania what Newtown or Surry Hills is to NSW – as she did in Sydney. But MWD digresses.
It was a familiar occasion on Insiders on Sunday, except for the view over the Tamar River. Panellists David Crowe (Sydney Morning Herald/Age), Sarah Martin (The Guardian Australia) and Andrew Probyn (ABC TV) essentially agreed with each other. And presenter David Speers (ABC) essentially agreed with the panellists on essentially everything. No surprise really since when ABC and Nine Newspapers and Guardian types get together there’s little if anything to disagree about.
So it came as no surprise that mates-rules seemed to kick-in when ABC TV political reporter Andrew Probyn made a howler about Scott Morrison’s (alleged) women’s problems with respect to what is called the gender pay gap. David (“Call me Speersy”) Speers had spoken about the Prime Minister’s “women’s cabinet” and then discussion turned on the Coalition’s approach to violence against women. It was only at this moment that Comrade Probyn had this to say:
Andrew Probyn: I think what we’re all witnessing, though, is the slow transformation of Scott Morrison from someone who didn’t understand it [women’s issues] at all, to someone who’s getting some understanding. I heard that inside some of these meetings, inside government, Scott Morrison was gobsmacked that there was even a gender pay gap. Because he can’t understand why you would have women and men paid differently for doing the same job. And you know, you’ve had some of his colleagues say: “Well Prime Minister that actually does happen”. So you would have noticed two weeks ago the prime minister actually started talking about the gender pay gap. But maybe a day or so before that he had no understanding that that actually happened.
What a load of absolute tosh. The Prime Minister is on record as discussing the gender pay gap in 2018 – as is evident in this tweet dated 23 September 2018:
Under Labor, the gender pay gap increased from 15.5% to 17.2%. Under our Government it has fallen to 14.5% and heading in right direction #Moretodo.
— Scott Morrison (@ScottMorrisonMP) September 22, 2018
Also a search of Hansard reveals that Scott Morrison has made numerous references to the gender pay gap over recent years.
Yet Comrade Probyn claimed on Insiders that Scott Morrison only “started talking about the gender pay gap” two weeks ago – that is, in late March 2021. Needless to say, presenter Comrade Speers did not correct Comrade Probyn’s howler nor did he ask for evidence to support his assertions. The comrades on the panel from Nine Newspapers and The Guardian also remained silent. As of today, Insiders’ executive producer Comrade Clark has not made a correction on ABC’s “Corrections and Clarifications” website. It would appear that the ABC TV political editor can go on Insiders and make things up about the Prime Minister. Can You Bear It?
INSIDERS VISITS TASMANIA BUT DOES NOT EVEN MENTION THE FORTHCOMING TASMANIAN STATE ELECTION
While on the topic of last week’s Insiders, how about the fact that the ABC flew the team to Tasmania for a program on Sunday 11 April – but no one on the panel even mentioned the forthcoming Tasmanian State election on Saturday 1 May 2021? Which demonstrates just how focused on national politics the Canberra Press Gallery (members include Comrades Crowe, Martin and Probyn) and the Southbank-based Insiders team (Comrades Clark and Speers) really are.
INSIDERS REPORT ON BASS FAILS TO MENTION THAT BASS’ LOCAL FEDERAL MP IS A LIBERAL WOMAN
However, without question, Insiders’ visit to Tasmania added value – to use a cliché. MWD just loved the “survey”, of a kind, which Comrades Speers and Crowe did on the road – so to speak.
The former spoke to five females plus one bloke in the seat of Bass – where, apparently, he spent time in Launceston, George Town and Scottsdale. The latter spoke to three female Bass locals and one male in Beauty Point. All were critical of Prime Minister Morrison – except the bloke in Beauty Point.
After citing his feedback, David Speers told viewers: “Now look this, you know, is by no means scientific.” You can say that again. Nevertheless he concluded: “There just doesn’t seem to be a deep well of support for Scott Morrison.”
Speersy then asked David Crowe about what he had found about the political situation in Bass, a marginal seat which the Coalition lost in 2016 (under Turnbull’s leadership) but won in 2019 (under Morrison’s leadership). As mentioned previously, your man Crowe had managed to travel to Beauty Point north of Launceston on the Tamar River. There he initially came across two locals at a newsagency – Anya and Janine. Guess what? They were “very sceptical of Scott Morrison”. The exchange continued:
David Crowe: … He [Scott Morrison] really is losing ground among women and given the margin, the tight margin in the seat of Bass, that would be enough for the government to lose the seat of Bass.
David Speers: It’s only 560 odd votes they [the Liberals] won it by.
David Crowe: It’s a huge concern. So another person at the shops there – Maria. Morrison was talking about the reservoir of respect – she thinks the plug has gone out on her reservoir of respect for Scott Morrison. Now she may be, you know, that may be unrecoverable for the government with some voters. But I think it’s also worth pointing out that there are some voters who, some people in local business, JobKeeper has saved them. They would have been bankrupt without JobKeeper. Workers who would have had no money without JobKeeper. Some other folks, Richard up at Beauty Point, still strongly supportive of Scott Morrison, sceptical about a lot of the media criticism of Scott Morrison, so there’s still that base for the Liberals here. But I think the contrast between women and men is quite noticeable.
David Speers: Yeah, that’s a big fact that struck me.
So there you have it. Speersy spoke to five local women and one local man – all of whom are disillusioned with the Prime Minister. And Crowe spoke to three local women and one bloke. Only the bloke – Richard – was supportive of the Prime Minister. If this taxpayer funded unscientific survey is in any way accurate – the current polling for the seat of Bass would be along these lines:
Labor/Greens: 90 per cent
Liberal Party: 10 per cent
No one on the Insiders panel even mentioned the name of the Liberal Party member for Bass – Bridget Archer, who is based in Launceston and is widely regarded as a good local member. Mrs Archer is somewhat of a campaigner on women’s issues. But you would not know she existed if you got your political news from Insiders.
Has there ever been a more useless survey – scientific or non-scientific? And has there ever been a group of five journos who managed to have a political discussion about a Federal marginal seat, focusing on the female vote, without even mentioning the name of the local member who happens to be a woman. Can You Bear It?
A REAL TWERK – THE ABC’S HMAS SUPPLY ERROR WAS ALL THE FAULT OF A MORRISON GOVERNMENT MP, ACCORDING TO THE ABC
It was only last Wednesday (14 April) that, not long after 6 pm, when presenting ABC TV’s The Drum, Patricia Karvelas reflected (in a somewhat incomprehensible manner) on the previous Sunday’s launch of HMAS Supply – and the performance of the 101 Doll Squadron:
Patricia Karvelas: Greg [Sheridan], we also heard a claim that it [the Australian Defence Force] had lurched to the left of the military, uh, at the same time criticism of this, uh, well, very interesting dance routine which, uh, was used to unveil [the HMAS Supply]. We’ve got some images, hopefully we’ll get on the screen of, yep, here we go – a dance – yep – and that’s some awkward pictures of some top military officials and ministers watching on. They look really comfortable there, they’re very, very comfortable being there, ah. But, you know, I don’t know how that dance routine – whether you think it’s appropriate or not, let’s park that. I mean, they look like they’re having a good time to me – but, Greg Sheridan, is that an example, really, of them being woke, as the military? Are they just not living in the contemporary world?
It was soon revealed that the “awkward” video of some top military officers, who happened to include the Governor-General, were not of anyone watching the 101 Doll Squadron. Some arrived at the function after the dance routine concluded. Yesterday the ABC issued a correction which commenced as follows:
ABC News’ original social media video about the Royal Australian Navy’s launch event for HMAS Supply on the weekend featured a performance by dance group 101 Doll Squadron that included cut-away shots showing Governor-General David Hurley, the Chief of Navy and the Chief of Defence observing the performance.
This was incorrect. While the Chief of Defence was present, the Governor-General and the Chief of Navy in fact arrived after the performance.
Our reporting team initially believed they were present both because they were shown in footage of the event and because a Government MP had said that they were present. The video should not have been edited in that way and the ABC apologises to the Governor-General and the Chief of Navy, and to viewers, for this error.
So there you have it. The ABC’s howler was all the fault of an anonymous “Government MP”. It was not the taxpayer funded public broadcaster’s fault after all. How convenient.
[I wonder what this “Government MP” would say about all this – and why he or she was allegedly asked questions by the ABC’s reporting team. Also, what’s the ABC Fact Check Unit doing checking the facts of others while failing to check the ABC’s own “facts”? – MWD Editor.]
SAMANTHA MAIDEN’S VACCINE RANKING CONFUSION
On Monday 12 April, Samantha Maiden published an article on news.com.au titled “World COVID-19 vaccine rankings show Australia languishing at back of the queue”. She promoted the article on twitter under the alternate headline “Australia near bottom of world vaccine ranking”.
Out of Africa: Australia’s woeful ranking in the race to vaccinate the world – not exactly at the front of the queue. On one measure we’re with Botswana while according to @FT we are 76th out of 151 via @newscomauHQ https://t.co/KP1vDFZ6JP
— Samantha Maiden (@samanthamaiden) April 12, 2021
The impetus for the article appears to be a chart that went viral on Twitter two days before the publication of the article. The chart shows Australia ranked second last among a group of 24 countries in terms of per cent of population who have received at least one dose of the vaccine, only slightly ahead of Botswana:
The tweet which introduced the chart to Twitter was sent out by Kosmos Samaras. Kosmos is currently the Director of Strategy and Campaigns for The Redbridge Group (a Labor-aligned political consultancy firm) and formerly the Deputy Campaign Director for Victorian Labor. This tweet was quickly shared by ACTU Secretary Sally McManus.
Who exactly created the chart is unclear. Maiden does not mention in the article where she learned of the information or that it was being spread by Labor-aligned figures. The chart was made using the COVID-19 section of the website Our World in Data, a research initiative associated with Oxford University. The site allows users to create their own charts comparing any group of countries across various COVID-19 metrics.
Before the publication of Maiden’s article, it had been pointed out on Twitter that the viral chart was misleading because Our World in Data’s information on how many Australians have received at least one dose of a vaccine was a month out of date. Apparently having seen this, Maiden included a slightly different chart with her article, this time measuring total doses administered. It is not stated by Maiden where she obtained this revised chart:
Samantha Maiden also referenced this revised chart when questioned on Twitter about why she was basing an article on month-old data, claiming that “the numbers have changed but we are still with Botswana”:
Here’s updated graphic. the numbers have changed we are still with Botswana – the article – not sure if you’ve read it – includes a substantial discussion of @FT data which is also APRIL pic.twitter.com/J36qKZEBhG
— Samantha Maiden (@samanthamaiden) April 12, 2021
Observant readers may notice that in the first chart Australia and Botswana were virtually tied with 0.6% of the population having had at least one dose, while in the second chart Australia has administered 1.14 million doses to 12,945 for Botswana. Even accounting for Botswana’s small population, Australia comes out at about 8 times as many doses per capita. But Maiden claimed we are “still with Botswana” –presumably because Australia is second to last in both charts, only ahead of Botswana.
You might assume that Australia and Botswana are being compared to the same group of countries in both charts. After all, Maiden claims this is the “updated graphic”. However, on closer inspection the first chart includes 24 countries, while the second lists only 22. Specifically, 16 countries are included in both charts. Eight countries (Bahrain, Bolivia, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Estonia, Finland, Hungary & Serbia) are only included in the first chart. Six countries (Canada, China, Mexico, Poland, Spain and United Arab Emirates) are only included in the second.
Why these changes? Well, if you use Our World in Data to create the revised chart included in the article – but with the list of countries from the original chart – you end up with this:
Well how about that? Australia surges up the charts, overtaking the Dominican Republic, Bahrain, Ecuador, Bolivia and Estonia – five of the eight countries omitted from the updated chart. Even if you adjust the chart by population, Australia comes in ahead of where it sat in the original chart – being overtaken by Dominican Republic, Bahrain and Estonia but overtaking Bangladesh.
In the article, Maiden describes the Our World in Data chart as “new world rankings” and as “shock rankings”. Our World in Data has been providing constant updates on vaccine metrics for months so there is nothing new or particularly shocking about this information.
Maiden also writes that “according to Our World in Data figures Australia ranks second last in all countries analysed”. This makes it seem as if she is referencing a ranking published by Our World in Data based on some analysis, instead of a user generated chart comparing an arbitrary group of countries.
MWD understands that journos are always on the lookout for a story. So, as a service to Ms Maiden and any others looking for a fresh angle on Australia’s vaccine rollout, here is an exclusive ranking by Our World in Data:
As you can see, based on an analysis of 22 countries chosen by MWD at random (we swear!), Australia comes in first in doses administered per 100 people. Any journos wishing to report on these shock rankings need only credit Jackie (Dip. Wellness, The Gunnedah Institute). Anyone doing so may want to note that Australia has administered about twice as many vaccines per capita as New Zealand – a country that offers a natural comparison to Australia.
[On an unrelated note, Ms Maiden also seems a little confused as to exactly how many Israelis have received at least one dose of vaccine. In the second paragraph she writes that “Israel has emerged as the clear winner in the race to vaccinate its citizens with more than half of its population already receiving at least one dose of vaccine”. But deeper in the article she claims that “Israel…has given 100 per cent of the population at least the first jab”. The true number is a little over 60 per cent. – MWD Editor]
“REAL BLUEY” JACKIE COMMENTS ON “FAKE BLUEY” BLUEY
Due to popular demand, Jackie’s co-owners have requested that Jackie (Dip Wellness, The Gunnedah Institute) write an occasional comment for Media Watch Dog. Here’s her first effort.
As befits a modern private sector canine, I feel somewhat offended at the attention being given to the taxpayer funded Bluey. I concede that Bluey is Australia’s most well-known Queensland Heeler – just ahead of me.
But Bluey is a Fake Dog. And I am the Real Thing. This essential point seems to have been missed by the ABC journalist Beverley Wang who wrote an article for ABC Everyday on Wednesday titled: “I’ve learnt a lot from Bluey, but can the show be more representative?”
Comrade Wang struggles with the (alleged) lack of representation in Bluey. All I can say is that, if this is true, then Bluey has had an easy life. Whereas my mother, who used to walk the streets of Gunnedah, left me when I was a mere youth. While my father pissed off before I was born. However, I’m pleased to say that he was present at the conception – which is not as common as it used to be.
I was particularly offended by this comment as told by Comrade Wang to ABC Everyday readers (if readers there were):
Where are the disabled, queer, poor, gender diverse, dogs of colour and single-parent dog families in Bluey’s Brisbane? If they’re in the background, let them come forward.
The fact is that Queensland Heelers – especially those like me who carry the label “rescue dog” – are at the bottom of society’s pile. Especially when compared to the new fad non-dog dogs like the Cavoodle breed.
Indeed Queensland Heelers are so oppressed that we don’t converse with each other as to whether we are gender-diverse – whatever that might mean. As to colour, well the last time I looked in the mirror, the Queensland Heeler breed is “of colour”. Of bluey colour.
In my view, Beverley Wang is into cultural canine appropriation. What’s a human taxpayer funded ABC journo doing telling private sector canines how we should live our lives.
THE GUARDIAN’S WAGE-SLAVE AMANDA MEADE PRAISES MALCOLM AND BAGS HENDO
This week beginning Sunday 11 April had barely begun when The Guardian Australia’s media correspondent Amanda Meade put in a strong bid to win Media Watch Dog’s prestigious “Media Fool of the Week” gong. She was successful for this effort – with a tweet sent out at 9.51 am on Monday 12 April 2021 following the early moments of Malcolm Turnbull’s appearance before the Senate’s public hearing that very morning.
Malcolm Turnbull says @guardian is one of the world's great newspapers. @GuardianAus is a "left-ish newspaper" and is unlikely to urge a vote for a conservative party but they "don’t make stuff up, they check facts and they’re a professional outfit".
— amanda meade (@meadea) April 11, 2021
Quelle Surprise! The Guardian’s media correspondent tweets at Hangover Time on a Monday morning a self-congratulatory comment that The Guardian is one of the world’s greatest newspapers which does not make stuff up. According to Mr Turnbull, that is. What’s more, according to Turnbull, while The Guardian is a “left-ish newspaper” which is unlikely to urge a vote for a conservative party, “they check facts”.
This is the same Malcolm Turnbull who revealed in his memoir A Bigger Picture (Hardie Grant, 2020) that he was responsible for not only bringing The Guardian to Australia but also for nominating its editor Lenore Taylor and political editor Katharine Murphy for their current positions. See Malcolm Turnbull’s A Bigger Picture, Page 198.
This is one “fact” that never needed to be fact-checked by the likes of Comrade Taylor and Comrade Murphy – since it was never reported in The Guardian Australia. Nor did Lenore Taylor or Katharine Murphy ever ‘fess up on the ABC TV Insiders program, on which they appear as panellists, to their connection to Malcolm Turnbull. Even during the 2018 Liberal Party leadership contest when The Guardian backed Malcolm Turnbull. This despite the fact that Insiders’ executive producer Samuel (“Call me Sam”) Clark claims to enforce a policy of full disclosure with respect to Insiders’ panellists. [Perhaps he makes an exception for fellow comrades who happen to work for The Guardian and are part of the ABC/Guardian axis. Just a thought. – MWD Editor.]
And so it came to pass that the one-time Liberal Party leader facilitated the entry of The Guardian into Australia where, as Malcolm Turnbull later recorded, it “rarely endorsed my [Turnbull’s] or my government’s policies”. In fact, The Guardian opposed the election of the Turnbull government in the 2016 election where the Coalition lost 14 seats. In other words, Mr Turnbull brought a newspaper to Australia which, in turn, urged electors not to vote for his government. Clever, eh?
But MWD digresses. These days, Comrade Meade accuses Media Watch Dog of being obsessed with the ABC. Strange coming from a journalist who, when she wrote the “Media” segment in The Australian not so long ago, frequently covered the ABC and barracked for one-time managing editor Jonathan Shier to get dumped.
For his part, Gerard Henderson acknowledges that he pays lotsa attention to the taxpayer funded public broadcaster which is a conservative free zone without a conservative presenter, producer or editor for any of its prominent television, radio or online outlets. What’s more, MWD readers like this focus on the ABC.
Indeed the last time Gerard Henderson spoke to ABC managing director David Anderson and his side-kick Gaven Morris, Hendo asked this duo not to move quickly in reforming the ABC’s lack of political diversity since the ABC, as a conservative free zone, provided lotsa copy for MWD. That’s why MWD is opposed to any proposal that the ABC be privatised, sold or whatever.
Last Friday, in her (lightweight) “The Weekly Beast” column in The Guardian – in a segment titled “Hendo’s axe-grinding mishap” – Comrade Meade had this to say:
Hendo’s axe-grinding mishap
Conservative commentator Gerard Henderson has been even grumpier about the ABC’s output since he was dropped by Insiders a year ago. His favourite line is “the ABC remains a conservative-free zone” and he bangs on about it for hundreds of words every week.
This is a Meade “fact” which was not checked. Gerard Henderson was not “dropped by Insiders” in early 2020. Insiders executive producer Sam Clark did not have the courage to do this. Instead, in response to Hendo’s queries about when he would be required in the early part of 2020, Comrade Clark replied that he did not have any dates in mind for the early months of 2020. In a second phone conversation, Comrade Clark said that he could not guarantee any places in 2020 but he might change his mind and, if he did, he would get in touch.
Being a courteous kind of guy who does not want to be where he is not wanted, Hendo wrote an “au revoir” email to Comrade Clark on 11 February 2020. Sam Clark did not reply – and did not even do what Malcolm Fraser used to call “the hypocrisies” by thanking Hendo for his 17 years involvement with the program. [Perhaps your man Clark should be compelled to attend Nancy’s Courtesy Classes. – MWD Editor.] Needless to say, Comrade Meade did not contact Gerard Henderson before writing her “Hendo’s axe-grinding mishap” piece.
It’s true that Hendo became more critical of Insiders (on which he appeared between 2002 and 2019) once he was no longer on “the couch”. That’s because Hendo was well brought up and would regard it as discourteous to regularly bag a program on which he was paid to appear. Now Hendo’s no longer on Insiders, such matters of courtesy have no relevance. Which is good for MWD. See, for example, this week’s hugely popular “Can You Bear It?” segment.
In her lightweight “The Weekly Beast” on Friday, Meade was impressed by the fact that 7.30 had outrated A Current Affair on one night – when, as it happened, the latter program did not appear on Nine’s main network in Queensland due to the Rugby League clash. How important is that? She used it to score a point against Hendo. It was her best shot apparently. See MWD Issue 536.
And Comrade Meade criticised The Sydney Institute. Well, there’s more political balance at The Sydney Institute than can be found in The Guardian’s left-wing paper – that’s for sure. Recent speakers at The Sydney Institute include the likes of Tanya Plibersek with the leftist Meredith Burgmann to come. Why, even The Guardian Australia’s “founder” Malcolm Turnbull has addressed The Sydney Institute. And so has Guardian Australia’s Lenore Taylor and her side-kick Katharine (“Malcolm calls me Murpharoo”) Murphy.
There is no political balance in the Turnbull-blessed Taylor/Murphy/Meade soviet that presents as The Guardian Australia – where Comrade Meade is a wage slave, in Karl Marx language.
Amanda Meade: Media Fool of the Week.
DR NORMAN SWAN – A YEAR OF FALSE COVID-19 PREDICTIONS
As avid readers will recall, MWD’s past coverage of Norman Swan’s false prophecies and predictions on Covid-19 and all that. As far as MWD knows, Norman Swan has no particular background in infection control – rather he has a medical degree including a qualification in paediatrics. Your man Swan was also once the resident doctor on Network 10’s controversial reality TV program The Biggest Loser (re which see Issue 489). So how did he become the ABC’s go-to on all things pandemic? Who knows.
Despite a string of failed predictions throughout the pandemic (detailed below), Norman Swan continues to tell the Coalition government what it should have done and should be doing. On ABC TV News Breakfast last Friday, Swan made the following comments:
Norman Swan: So what they should have done, and hopefully they did, but I don’t think they did, was they should have put a total halt to Pfizer in aged care and saved every single Pfizer dose just in case this [the problem with the AstraZeneca vaccine for those under 50 years of age] was coming. [I note that the Swan opinion is that the government should have hoarded the doses intended for the members of the population most vulnerable to death from COVID-19 – i.e. individuals in aged care. If you say so, doc. – MWD Editor]
Norman Swan: What we need is 20 million or more of Moderna that are geared to the new variants. Moderna is leading in developing of vaccines for new variants. We should be booking Moderna and we haven’t. [In other words, if only Australia had ordered 20 million doses of the vaccine already experiencing manufacturing delays. – MWD Editor]
Norman Swan: There was a lot of politicking going on, and this is about politics. It’s about the election later this year, or whenever, it’s about the Commonwealth seeing itself as the Saviour here.
So what has Norman Swan, who appears to see himself as the COVID Saviour, had to say throughout the pandemic? Let’s have a look back.
Dr Swan’s Early (False) Prophecies
On 21 March 2020, in the early days of the pandemic, Dr Swan tweeted the following:
1700 on Monday, 3400 on Wednesday or Thursday, 7-8000 by next weekend. True number by then 70-80,000 possibly. Primary school maths. Someone should go figure. No magic fairy will bring that down. 14-20 days behind Italy. Believe in maths not magic. https://t.co/wDysEg13CW
— Norman Swan (@normanswan) March 21, 2020
“Primary school maths” proved a bit too much for Dr Swan, and the exponential growth he imagined never materialised. Australia did not reach 7,000 cases until mid-May 2020 and hit 8,000 in early July 2020 as the outbreak in Victoria grew.
Then your man Swan appeared on Q&A on 23 March 2020 and had this to say:
Norman Swan: Well, the reality depends on whether or not our hospitals get overwhelmed. So, the predictions at the moment, if this hockey stick doesn’t change that much, is that we’ll be out of ICU beds in New South Wales – Victoria will be behind that – by April 10th. And in that case, ICU physicians will be faced with some very difficult decisions. And in you know, overseas, 30 per cent to 40 per cent of ICU beds are filled with young people. There’s one ICU, I’m told, in Melbourne at the moment, where there’s an 18-year-old and a 40-year-old in ICU. And so, these are difficult decisions. And if you’re already sick and frail, you don’t necessarily put up very well with a ventilator, or the heart-lung bypass, which is the ultimate treatment.
Despite these embarrassing and hopelessly wrong predictions, Swan continued to weigh in on COVID, more often than not arguing for harsher lockdowns and joining the push in the media for Australia to adopt an explicit target of elimination of COVID instead of suppression. See Issue 504.
During the Sydney Northern Beaches outbreak in December 2020 – January 2021, Swan continued to take to Twitter to catastrophise and criticise the NSW Coalition government’s response.
Act fast and decisively. Didn’t happen in Victoria. Did in SA. Not happening in NSW. Minimum should be mandating masks. Each day’s delay can equal a week on the other side. Feds can’t sit this one out either. They have to bring an effective vaccine forward now.
— Norman Swan (@normanswan) December 18, 2020
Every day NSW delays can be an added week to get out of it at the other end. Half hearted measures are not effective if contact tracing isn’t buttoning it down.
— Norman Swan (@normanswan) December 29, 2020
The Premier just said that NSW always acts on the precautionary principle. If so on the bases of the numbers and locations now is the time for a Greater Sydney lockdown.
— Norman Swan (@normanswan) December 30, 2020
It is very frustrating to see that the lessons from Victoria have not been learned by NSW. Half measures fail. Act fast.
— Norman Swan (@normanswan) December 30, 2020
I’m afraid we’ve known since the 1st wave that the NSW incremental approach doesn’t work & risks a very prolonged lockdown. A proportionate response is the maximal one and has been all along. Plus what’s their root cause analysis saying about the overseas’ leaks we know about?
— Norman Swan (@normanswan) January 2, 2021
Fortunately, the NSW government ignored Dr Swan’s advice and its “half-hearted measures” successfully got on top of community transmission – without a full lockdown of Greater Sydney, or a prolonged lockdown. One of Swan’s suggestions – a mask mandate – did happen to be adopted for public transport and some indoor venues in Greater Sydney, Wollongong and the Central Coast. Which brings us to our man’s flip-flop on masks.
And Now for a Word on Masks
This week the ABC reported on a study conducted by experts from Monash University and James Cook University. The modelling used in the study found that masks were the main factor in reducing transmission in Victoria.
Lead author James Trauer, the head of the Epidemiological Modelling Unit for the School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine at Monash University, told the ABC that Victoria’s mask policy “brought the effective reproduction number down below one” and that, without it, Victoria would have had higher rates of infections and deaths. Dr Deborah Cromer, Senior Research Fellow in the Infection Analytics Program at the Kirby Institute, noted that this study reflects the findings of studies conducted overseas during the pandemic.
However, these two are experts in the field of epidemiology and infectious disease, so perhaps we should take what they say with a grain of salt and instead wait for, say, a former reality TV doctor such as Norman Swan to weigh in.
For the record, here’s what the Doctor in the (ABC) House has had to say on the topic of masks so far.
- Norman Swan on why Masks Do Not Work
Norman Swan: Masks are pointless. Your chances of walking past a person with
the illness or being on the same train or bus as them are not much higher than
winning the lottery. So by wearing masks, you are unnecessarily using a resource
that is needed for health workers who will be directly exposed to infected patients,
and need it for people with the illness to cut the chances of them spreading it.
– Norman Swan on ABC’s 7.30, Wednesday 4 March 2020.
- Norman Swan on why Masks Do Work
Norman Swan: Masks work – they can reduce transmission by around 70 per cent,
and have been under-utilised in Australia largely because the group advising the
National Cabinet has in the past offered qualified support for their use.
– Norman Swan on ABC’s 7.30, Monday 20 July 2020
- Dr Swan on Why News Corp is to Blame for – Something
On 7 April 2021 Norman Swan tweeted the following:
The politics are now so toxic that the community is confused & losing trust. Trust got us through 2020. What’s needed is a cathartic re-set. No spin. The facts even if they’re unpalatable, should be on the table. NOT via News LTD. Then a new plan based on capacity to deliver.
— Norman Swan (@normanswan) April 6, 2021
So that’s pretty clear then? Or not, as the case may be. In any event for any confusion – BLAME RUPERT MURDOCH.
Norman Swan doesn’t seem to think that any of his constant, frequently false predictions and commentary on COVID-19 for the past year have contributed to confusion or lack of trust which he laments – and for which he blames not himself but News Corp. Fancy that.
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Until next time.
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