GERARD HENDERSON’S MEDIA WATCH DOG
ISSUE – NO. 546
18 June 2021
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NINE’S BEVAN SHIELDS’ BEHAVIOUR IN THE 10 DOWNING STREET GARDEN
Did anyone read David Crowe’s article in today’s Age and Sydney Morning Herald titled “Why Morrison cannot rush to net zero emissions”? It contained the following comment:
One moment during his [Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s] trip to Europe left Nationals fearing a plan to blindside them in the party room. It came in the Downing Street garden when the British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, seemed utterly sure about where Morrison was headed.
“I think that Scott has declared for net zero by 2050,” Johnson told journalists as he stood alongside Morrison. But the reporter who asked Johnson about climate change, Bevan Shields, the London correspondent for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, did not let that pass. “Preferably,” Shields interjected, for good reason: Morrison’s actual policy is to get to net zero at some point in the second half of this century, preferably but not necessarily by 2050.
So there you have it. Nine journalist Bevan Shields was unprofessional enough to interrupt British prime minister Boris Johnson during a media conference at 10 Downing Street. And your man Crowe, the chief political correspondent for The Age and the SMH, supports Comrade Shields in behaving badly mode.
It seems that Mr Shields remains very confident in his own political views – in spite of getting the result of the May 2019 election hopelessly wrong. Remember this tweet concerning (then) Sydney Radio 2GB presenter Alan Jones – which Shields sent out on 14 May 2019 – four days before the election in which the Morrison government prevailed over Labor?
— Bevan Shields (@BevanShields) May 14, 2019
With such form, it’s a wonder that Bevan Shields has not appeared on the ABC TV Insiders program. He’s well qualified. Your man Shields gets election results wrong – and he interrupts political leaders. He’s Insiders material, to be sure.
ABC’S CASEY BRIGGS TALKS FAKE NEWS ABOUT AUSTRALIA TALKS
Despite the fact that the ABC is about to commence The Short March to Parramatta – it remains a Conservative Free Zone without one conservative presenter, producer or editor for any of its prominent television, radio or online outlets. In yesterday’s Australian, James Madden reported that Ita Buttrose wants to make the ABC more diverse. But, by this, the ABC chair does not mean politically diverse.
Yet a few conservatives in a few prominent programs could challenge some of the ABC group-think, and query some of its fake news and improve the quality of its product. Take ABC TV’s News Breakfast this morning concerning the ABC Talks survey, for example. Here we go:
Michael Rowland: It has been a divisive political debate in Australia for years – should Australia Day be celebrated on January the 26th? The ABC’s Australia Talks National Survey has picked up a rather significant shift in public opinion on this issue. Here’s Casey Briggs.
Casey Briggs: Our national day and it’s a day that has divided us. When we asked this question of tens of thousands of Australians in 2019, it was a near even split in the response. Back then, 43 per cent of Australians agreed Australia Day should not be celebrated on January 26 given the historical significance of that date for Indigenous people. In 2021, it’s an issue that’s seen a big change in public opinion. Support for changing the date is up 12 percentage points. Now 55 per cent of us agree. And it’s a significant shift among nearly all age groups, and more agree than disagree in all states and territories plus in regional and rural areas, which didn’t agree two years ago. Men are far more divided on this issue than women, two thirds of whom think Australia Day should not be the 26th of January.
Michael Rowland: Casey Briggs there, now it’s time to see where you fit on the big issues that matter, find out at abc.net.au/australiatalks
What a load of absolute tosh. As documented in MWD Issue 544, the Australia Talks survey is essentially a survey of individuals who are in contact with the ABC. In other words, it’s a poll about what ABC viewers/listeners/readers think about issues. There’s nothing wrong with Australia Talks – if the ABC wishes to spend taxpayers’ money on such a project. But Australia Talks is not a survey of all Australians – as some ABC journalists suggest.
The ABC is forever going on about how it is Australia’s most trusted news service. Which implies that most Australians are stupid enough to watch a news bulletin that they trust less than the ABC. Look at it this way. Most viewers watch the news bulletins each night on Network 7 or Network 9. ABC numbers are well down the ladder – it contests for third spot with Network Ten.
Australia Talks tells us plenty about what the ABC TV viewers believe. But not about what Australians as a whole believe.
Yet the likes of Michael Rowland and Casey Briggs pretend that Australia Talks is something other than what it is. In short, there is no fresh polling concerning what Australians think about Australia Day. We only know that ABC types are more likely to oppose Australia Day being celebrated on 26 January than was the case a couple of years ago. That’s all.
IN WHICH MICHAEL ROWLAND RECKONS IT’S A LONG WAY FROM ULTIMO TO PARRAMATTA – A WHOLE 23 KMS
The ABC’s (re-announced) decision to relocate some 300 staff from inner-city Ultimo in Sydney to Parramatta is discussed in this week’s Media Watch Dog’s hugely popular Can You Bear It? segment. But first, some focus on how the news was handled yesterday by the ABC TV Melbourne-based News Breakfast team – which is located in inner-city Southbank.
Let’s go to the “Newspapers” segment where ABC TV presenters Lisa Millar and Michael Rowland spoke to ABC investigative reporter Matilda Marozzi. MWD just loves it when ABC journalists talk to ABC journalists about ABC journalism:
Lisa Millar: Let’s move on, Matilda, to the last subject – and this is this move. It’s been talked about previously. Now the official announcement that the ABC is going to move several hundred staff out of Ultimo.
Matilda Marozzi: Yeah, this is a big decision. We’ve already seen some ABC high profile ABC staff moving with the presenters of AM and PM, moving from Ultimo, to other areas, including Tasmania and regional New South Wales.
Hang on a minute. Sabra Lane, presenter of ABC Radio AM program, has relocated from inner-city Sydney to inner-city Hobart where, from memory, the ABC office is located somewhere between Battery Point and North Hobart. Now inner-city Hobart – or the Sandalista Central of the South – is Australia’s most Green Left city, outdoing even Melbourne, and is the birthplace of The Greens. Sure, the ABC won’t find Scott Morrison’s “Quiet Australians” in Ultimo. But this phenomenon will not be located in Hobart either – where the Liberal Party polls poorly. And PM presenter Linda Mottram has re-located to the fashionable NSW South Coast town of Bega. It is hardly Bourke, Port Lincoln or Geraldton.
Then Michael Rowland made this contribution:
Michael Rowland: That’s the other thing, especially in a city like Sydney, the commute is long and hard…. I’m glad you made the point about the radio current affairs presenters who’ve moved interstate…. And I think to make this work, and this is based on absolutely no inside information at all, but to make this really work, you’d expect to see programs come from Parramatta. Parramatta studios.
Matilda Marozzi: Yeah. And I think still at the moment, I think about 50 per cent of the ABC’s staff are in Ultimo. And obviously that doesn’t really reflect the Australian community.
Quite so. But moving from doing programs in Sydney to Parramatta overlooks the fact that it’s only 23 kilometres (via the M4) from Ultimo to Parramatta. As for Comrade Rowland – he regards the move of Linda Mottram, from presenting PM in Sydney to presenting PM on the NSW South Coast, as an “interstate” move. Really. As to the current ABC commute in cities like Sydney – most of the senior Sydney ABC journalists commute from inner-city Sydney to inner-city Sydney. How long and hard is this? Can You Bear It?
THE GUARDIAN/ABC AXIS IN ACTION AS MURPHAROO LOVES THE WORK OF COMRADES MILLIGAN AND NEIGHBOUR
Gerard Henderson will write about last Monday’s Four Corners program titled “The Great Awakening: A family divided by QAnon” – concerning the alleged link between the Prime Minister and nutter leaders of QAnon – in his Weekend Australian column tomorrow. In the meantime, MWD just enjoyed further evidence of the consummation of The Guardian/ABC Axis when Katharine (“Malcolm calls me Murpharoo”) Murphy tweeted to Four Corners reporter Louise Milligan within minutes of the end of Four Corners last Monday.
Shortly before the above exchange, leftist lawyer Josh Bornstein praised the Four Corners team for “The Great Betrayal” with a “Kudos to @neighbour_s @Milliganreports & team at Four Corners”. He received a “Hear hear” reply from Comrade Neighbour – who praised her own kudos – and this was re-tweeted by Louise Milligan – running the risk of giving mutual backslapping a bad name. Can You Bear It?
PETA CREDLIN BAGGED BY 100 PER CENT OF THE SYDNEY MORNING HERALD’S LETTERS PAGE CONTRIBUTORS
Meanwhile, over at Nine’s Sydney Morning Herald there was no praise for the fact that Sky News presenter and News Corp columnist Peta Credlin had received an AO gong in the Order of Australia in last Tuesday’s Queen’s Birthday Honours List.
In spite of considerable world and national news last Tuesday, the Sydney Morning Herald’s Letters Editor decided to lead the page with the heading: “Ex-staffer’s gong suggests it’s time to scrap honours”. There followed eight letters on the topic – all of which bagged Credlin along with a cartoon by John Shakespeare which mocked her. The SMH did not run even one letter which supported the award – which was given to acknowledge Ms Credlin’s work as chief-of-staff to Tony Abbott when he was prime minister.
The 100 per cent Credlin pile-on, tells us a lot about the SMH’s readers featuring contributions from readers in inner-city Pyrmont, Newtown and Balmain. Nine Newspapers’ boast that they are “Independent Always”. But not, apparently, from inner-city leftist sneerers. Can You Bear It?
WILL THE ABC’S CHOSEN FEW BE TRANSPORTED UP THE PARRAMATTA RIVER IN SEARCH OF QUIET AUSTRALIANS? – OR JUST AUNTY’S HOI POLLOI
Was it the Bertie Wooster character in P.G. Wodehouse’s novels who linked every five-year plan to communist dictator Josef Stalin’s Five Year Plan of 1928 to 1932? Or perhaps some other chap? Media Watch Dog cannot recall – possibly since this is being written at Hangover Time. In any event, Jackie’s (male) co-owner reckons that a five-year plan here and a five-year plan there is the way to go in this Vale of Tears which we all inhabit.
So MWD welcomes the statement by the ABC Media Centre released on Wednesday titled “ABC announces proposal to increase Western Sydney presence”. It turns out that this is one giant leap forward for the taxpayer funded broadcaster and builds on the ABC’s Five Year Plan which was released last year. As avid readers will recall, MWD commented on this at the time.
Recent releases by the ABC’s Media Centre concerning such matters as the ABC’s legal settlement with Christian Porter – and its response to criticism of its Four Corners program last week on QAnon and the Prime Minister – have been of the anonymous kind. So it was good to see that Nick Leys, the Melbourne-based ABC Head of Communications, was the contact for the media release. Not that it matters much, since Jackie’s (male) co-owner invariably notes that the defining feature of ABC Communications is that it does not communicate. See MWD et al ad nauseam.
But MWD digresses. Here is the core of the ABC announcement – which was proclaimed by ABC chair Ita Buttrose and managing director David Anderson on the front page of yesterday’s Australian:
The ABC has announced its intention to relocate around 300 employees from its Ultimo headquarters in Sydney to new facilities in Parramatta. Planning for this move has begun…. The ABC estimates that 200 staff from content divisions will relocate, with teams from the News, Regional and Local, and Entertainment & Specialist under consideration. This will include elements of the newsroom, local radio, national radio and television production. The remainder of staff relocating will be from support teams.
Now as avid readers well know, MWD has been advocating for some time that the ABC itself – not just some scores of staff – relocate to outside the cities of Sydney, Melbourne and the like. MWD has proposed such sites as Parramatta, Dandenong, Toowoomba, Ballarat and so on. But, so far at least, the ABC management is only proposing to re-locate some 200 souls from “content divisions”.
Who will they be? – MWD hears you cry. Well, MWD is of the view that the deportation of ABC content staff from inner-city Ultimo in Sydney will fall to what some might call the hewers of wood and drawers of water.
In other words, since the ABC is essentially a staff collective, MWD does not believe that the likes of such senior Sydney-based staff as Leigh Sales, (7.30), Fran Kelly (Radio National Breakfast), Hamish Macdonald (Q&A), Sally Sara (The World Today), Jacinta Phillips (ABC TV News) and Sally Neighbour (Four Corners) will be put on a boat and transported up the Parramatta River.
Meanwhile in Melbourne, ABC types such as Michael Rowland and Lisa Millar (ABC TV News Breakfast), David Speers (Insiders) and such ABC Radio identities as Virginia Trioli and Raf Epstein will remain based in ABC inner-city bunker at Southbank. MWD will keep you posted.
NORMAN SWAN ON NORMAN SWAN PLUS ASTRAZENECA
The failed predictions of Dr Norman (“I used to dump lard on The Biggest Loser”) Swan have been regularly featured in MWD since he became the ABC’s go-to COVID-19 expert in March 2020. Most recently Dr Swan was featured in Issue 543, after sitting down for an interview with Michael Koziol for The Sun-Herald. In the interview Dr Swan admitted that he “probably did cause some vaccine hesitancy” through his coverage of vaccine side-effects and discussed his decision to receive the AstraZeneca vaccine on News Breakfast alongside presenter Michael Rowland.
Yesterday, federal health authorities announced they were changing their advice concerning the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. Previously the vaccine had been recommended only for those over 50, that cut-off has now been moved to over 60. This change followed the death of a 52-year-old woman in NSW from a clot believed to be linked to the AstraZeneca vaccine she received.
Following yesterday’s announcement, Dr Swan joined Raf Epstein on ABC Radio Melbourne’s Drive program to discuss the decision. When the topic turned to the death of the 52-year-old NSW woman, Dr Swan had this to say:
Norman Swan: To see somebody arriving late, with a catastrophic stroke, in that 50–59-year-old age group. Beyond the cut-off, when every clinician has been hearing the same thing, you’ve heard it on talkback as well which is “I’m 52, what’s the difference between 49 and 52?”. It’s a perfectly rational question to ask.
Clinicians started to ask this question and people started to have a crisis of conscience. Um, I have to confess, I did too. You know, I went off with Michael Rowland to the convention centre [The Melbourne Exhibition Centre] to have my Astra. Did that 52-year-old woman see me have my Astra and say: “Well if Norman and Michael are having it, it’s okay for me to have it”.
So apparently Dr Swan is now expressing doubt about his decision to receive the AstraZeneca vaccine on breakfast TV. And he is concerned that his public vaccination may have motivated the deceased woman to receive a vaccination.
Norman Swan was correct to publicly receive the vaccine after his admitted role in spreading vaccine hesitancy to the ABC audience. But does he really believe it is likely individuals are motivated to receive the vaccine by seeing Dr Swan receive it? The millions of global COVID deaths surely provide reason enough to seek out a vaccine. In the 23 May Sun-Herald article, Michael Koziol notes that some at the ABC “express some scepticism of his [Swan’s] professed ambivalence toward fame”. Quite so.
At the end of the interview with Raf Epstein, Dr Swan offered up some unsolicited speculation concerning the AstraZeneca jab:
Norman Swan: In a normal world, non-pandemic world, this vaccine [AstraZeneca] would probably be taken off the market. Not because it’s a serious common problem but because it is a problem. And I think that, we just have to acknowledge that we are in unusual times and that’s the sort of question I’d be asking. It’s an uncomfortable question but I think that it’s not that we are going to take it off the market, it’s just that we’ve got to accept a certain degree that we wouldn’t normally because we live in abnormal times.
It seems despite his previous blunders in COVID punditry Dr Swan still feels the need to speculate publicly on whether the AstraZeneca vaccine would have been, under normal circumstances, taken off the market. Will Dr Swan ever admit that this latest interview with Raf Epstein may also cause some vaccine hesitancy? MWD will keep you posted.
Due to overwhelming popular demand, the Flann O’Brien Gong returns again this week. As avid MWD readers will be aware, this occasional segment is inspired by the Irish humourist Brian O’Nolan (1911-1966) – nom de plume Flann O’Brien – and, in particular, his critique of the sometimes incoherent poet Ezra Pound (1885-1972). By the way, your man O’Brien also had the good sense not to take seriously Eamon de Valera (1882-1975), the Fianna Fail politician and dreadful bore who was prime minister and later president of Ireland for far too long.
The Flann O’Brien Gong for Literary or Verbal Sludge is devoted to outing bad writing or incomprehensible prose or incoherent verbal expression or the use of pretentious words.
IN WHICH TIM MINCHIN ADMITS THAT HE IS TALKING CRAP
It just happened that Hendo chanced upon the One Plus One show – which, in the past Media Watch Dog has referred to as “Tosh Plus Tosh” – around Pre-Dinner-Drinks time last Saturday on ABC News 24. It had originally aired on ABC 1 on 11 January 2021 – with Stan Grant as presenter and Perth-based musician comedian Tim Minchin as guest.
For readers who have examined the above pic of Minch, it will not be evident that he is wearing a medallion of some sort under his shirt. Viewers (if viewers there were) would not have learnt about this until the end of the interview.
However, since this is important to the Stan-Plus-Minch event, MWD is happy to let avid readers know what your man Minchin said about this – since it affected the way he spoke on the program. Minch revealed all when talking about – you’ve guessed it – identity. Let’s go to the transcript:
Tim Minchin: ….You know, I’ve got a Maori thing around my neck because it was given to me when I was in New Zealand and they told me a story of what it meant and I wear it when I’m, like, doing something or I’m not quite, you know, if I don’t feel, like, very centred.
And, you know, I’m, I mean, I’m, you know, what a load of crap. And yet, because I believe that life is the story and we are built of narratives, I think it’s a good way to be. I think it’s a meaningful way to be and it’s a well-meaning way to be. But there’s two problems….
You bet there are – or more, perhaps. Like, say, verbal incoherence for starters. Now, let’s go back towards the start of the interview where Tim talks about privilege growing up in Perth as the son and grandson of a doctor and attending Christ Church Grammar School in wealthy Claremont:
Tim Minchin: Yeah, I ‘spose that’s right. And, of course, I don’t see myself as a rich Perth kid because that’s the nature of privilege, you know, that’s the sort of thing that a person from the outside would say. I come from a very mode –. Like, my Dad’s a surgeon, his Dad’s a surgeon, so we’re very, um, I have no memory of any fear or discomfort, which is a profound privilege.
But, of course, coming from Perth, the most isolated capital city in the world, and in a suburb and at a school where everything was just what it was. And given that my parents were, in hindsight, conscientiously, not demonstrative of their comfort – we went on camping holidays and, you know, I had friends who went skiing and had remote control cars and my parents never had a new car, I don’t think and you know, they were not – I think and you know, they were not… [makes hand gesture]
Stan Grant: But they didn’t have to worry about it either?
Tim Minchin: They didn’t have to worry.
Stan Grant: So, if they wanted to go on the skiing holiday or buy the new car –
Tim Minchin: [interjecting] They could.
Stan Grant: Yeah, they could have done that.
Tim Minchin: But, I guess, my identity is informed by what they presented because I didn’t know whether we could afford to go on ski holidays, I just knew we didn’t.
How, you know, tragic – you know – was Tim’s young life with his parents, you know. Minch went on camping holidays. But Dr and Mrs Minchin never took him skiing or even bought him a remote control car. And they never bought themselves a new car – not even a remote control one.
But wait. Soon after, Minch tells Stan that he came from a loving family – albeit not of the skiing or new-car-buying or demonstrative kind – and they never told him they had money. [Could it be that the Minchins felt that if their boy knew they were wealthy he might have asked for more pocket money? – MWD Editor.]
After reflecting on the fact he wrote The Prejudice Song [let’s not go into that here, MWD Editor], Tim concedes that he’s “a dick and a show off” – as well as being a “white, straight, cisgendered heterosexual” who happens to be blessed with mental health. Oh, he’s also “an idiot”. Well, at least Minch’s got a degree of self-awareness.
And then there’s the matter of Tim Minchin’s 2016 song Come Home (Cardinal Pell) – in which Comrade Minchin called Cardinal George Pell “scum” – much to the delight of Network Ten’s The Project and many an ABC program. The boy from Perth reflects that his profession made him wealthy – so much so that:
Tim Minchin: …Um, but, um, but it also allowed me to write the Cardinal Pell song, which some people watching this will say that’s something I need to apologise for. So, I’ve got it wrong at times. But the fact that I’m not scared, and that’s a privilege, too – I mean, I am scared, it makes me feel sick, when people come back and I’ve had death threats and all that. But the fact that I feel – like it’s important to say things…
So that’s clear then. Minch is scared but he’s not scared. Um, but, um – as the saying goes. And then there’s shame:
Tim Minchin: And, so, I’ve gone on my journey. I have huge feelings of shame, not about my work so much, just about being a human, because, I’m so shit and there’s ego and there’s neediness and there’s desperate want to be loved and there’s ignorance and then there’s this desperate attempt to learn more. And I guess what we have to keep doing – and this is such a thing to say from my position – is that we have to keep remembering that there are two perspectives. There’s a historical perspective that talks about us in groups, and we talk about colour and gender and sexuality and, you know. And then there’s another perspective, which is just, “boosh”, individuals, and if we prioritise this too much over this, we’ll stop seeing each other,
MWD concurs with the above – whatever it means. Then towards the end, Minch tells Stan: “I’ve made too many homes and it’s screwed up my head”. Could this explain Comrade Minchin’s final message to The One from The Other One? :
Tim Minchin: Although I, of all people, can’t preach against polemic and rage, ‘cause I’ve made a living out of it. But it has to also acknowledge that people come from where they’ve come from and they might look privileged. But who knows what they’ve been taught or what they’ve failed to be taught or what they’re battling with at home, or, you know, I dunno.
Stan Grant: Sounds good to me. I’ve loved this. This has been a real, a real pleasure mate. Thank you.
Tim Minchin: It can’t be half an hour.
Stan Grant: Thank you. Probably well over.
Tim Minchin: I thought we were just about to start.
Stan Grant: Thank you so much.
Tim Minchin: It’s a pleasure.
Well, you know, like “I dunno”. After all, people come from where they come from. And he goes where he’s going. On the Road to Privilege – stopping at all (First Class) stations. Is that clear? [Er, not, not really, now that you ask. – MWD Editor.]
Just as well Comrade Minchin had that “Maori thing” around his neck. Otherwise, you know, this One Plus One episode might have sounded like “Tosh Plus Tosh” – I know, I’m, I mean, I’m, you know, I dunno, what a load of crap, you know. Yes – MWD does.
By Flann O’Brien
of Ezra Pound
My grasp of what he wrote and meant
Was only five or six %
The rest was only words and sound —
My reference is to Ezra £
Inspired by your man O’Brien, this is Jackie’s literary effort for today:
of Tim Minchin
My grasp of what he said or meant
Was only four or five per cent
Talking crap to Stan is a cinch
The reference is to your man Minch
Media Watch Dog is oh-so-grateful for the concept of the Deliberate Mistake – which was an initiative of John Laws, the Sydney radio identity. You see, others make mistakes. But Lawsie’s mistakes were of the deliberate genre and put out there as a challenge for listeners to detect. Or so we were asked to believe.
It’s much the same with MWD. Jackie’s (male) co-owner makes deliberate mistakes. Everyone else’s mistakes are real howlers. Here’s an update on a recent MWD mistake – of the intentional kind.
MATT BEVAN: FOCUSES ON TRIVIA BUT MISSES THE (SHINING PATH) LEAD
Last Friday’s “History Corner” segment commenced as follows:
Isn’t it good to have Matt Bevan back on the ABC Radio National Breakfast program? …In recent times, Comrade Bevan has hosted the podcasts “Russia Are You Listening?” and “America Are You Listening?”. It’s not clear whether any Russians or Americans tuned into the taxpayer funded public broadcaster’s Newcastle Man and may have missed his account of the alleged Trump/Russia conspiracy and the alleged Hunter Biden/Russia non-conspiracy.
It’s great to know that your man Bevan is an avid (if not uncritical) MWD reader. Issue 545 had barely gone out last Friday, when the ABC’s Newcastle Man put out a tweet picking the Deliberate Mistake. His message was: “It’s …If You’re Listening. Not Are you Listening?”
Well done, Comrade Bevan. You’ve made Newcastle proud by picking MWD’s John-Laws-style Deliberate Mistake last week.
A big point, to be sure. So the reference should have been to “Russia, If You’re Listening” and “America, If You’re Listening” to be followed, presumably, by “Newcastle, If You’re Listening” and so on – something to look forward to, don’t you think?
What was interesting about Comrade Bevan’s response to MWD Issue 545 was that he focused on two small errors but missed the important point. The fact is that, in his comment on Radio National Breakfast on 9 June 2021 about Peru – the ABC’s Newcastle Man understated the terrorist violence of Peru’s neo-communist Shining Path’s guerrillas.
Led by the one-time academic Abimael Guzman – who admired such communist mass murderers as Josef Stalin, Mao Zedong and Pol Pot – The Shining Path presided over the killing of some 38,000 Peruvians in the 1980s and into the early 1990s. Guzman’s victims included the Australian Josephite nun Irene McCormack – murdered while working for Caritas in the Andes in May 1991. Sister McCormack was assassinated by a shot to the back of the head while in the captivity of the Shining Path.
What a set of priorities. Matt Bevan gets upset when MWD used the words “Are you” instead of “If You’re”. However, it seems he is not at all fussed by the criticism that he understated the terrorism of the Shining Path. [Perhaps this piece should have gone into your (hugely popular) Can You Bear It? segment. Just a thought. – MWD Editor.]
WHAT A GOOD WEEKEND: BRUCE PASCOE UNDER (HISTORICAL) FIRE
Well done to Nine Newspapers’ Rob Harris for his Page One “Exclusive” last Saturday which commenced as follows:
Two leading Australian academics have savaged the best-selling Indigenous history book Dark Emu for being riddled with mistakes, accusing its author Bruce Pascoe of lacking “true scholarship” and ignoring Aboriginal voices. In a new book, Farmers or Hunter-Gatherers? The Dark Emu Debate, anthropologist Peter Sutton and archaeologist Keryn Walshe claim Professor Bruce Pascoe’s work is “littered with unsourced material”, uses selective quotations and exaggerates “weak evidence”, including the suggestion Aboriginal people have occupied Australia for 120,000 years.
Turn to the Good Weekend magazine and there was Stuart Rintoul’s article titled “Debunking Emu: did the publishing phenomenon get it wrong?” As MWD readers will be aware, Rintoul spoke to Peter Sutton and Keryn Walshe about their forthcoming book Farmers or Hunter-gatherers? The Dark Emu Debate which will soon be published by MUP.
The Dark Emu Debate is not the first criticism of the work of Bruce Pascoe who identifies as Indigenous. News Corp columnist and presenter Andrew Bolt led the charge along with Peter O’Brien whose book Bitter Harvest was published by Quadrant. Andrew Bolt’s fiery critique was bagged by a bevy of ABC types who went in to bat for (the now) Professor Pascoe.
Bruce Pascoe is a fashionable leftist historian whose work re-writing Aboriginal history was welcomed by many like-minded souls who came to the view that he was taking a stance against Colonialism and all that.
Professor Geoffrey Blainey warned about the flaws in Pascoe’s work. But the Pascoe Fan Club did not to want to hear either Blainey or the Indigenous commentator Josephine Cashman or anyone else.
What’s important about Farmers or Hunter Gatherers? The Dark Emu Debate is that its authors are not only experts in the field but also left-of-centre types. What’s also significant is that the debunking of Pascoe’s book Dark Emu was extensively covered in Nine’s left-of-centre newspapers The Age and the Sydney Morning Herald.
It’s unlikely that the Sutton/Walsh book will get much coverage on the ABC. But we will see – and keep readers up to date.
JOHN RUDDICK CHANNELS VLADIMIR PUTIN – CONCERNING THE NAZI-SOVIET PACT & THE D-DAY LANDINGS
As avid Media Watch Dog readers will recall, an item last Friday in the hugely popular “Stop Press” segment read as follows:
Last night on Sky News’ Paul Murray Live, panellist John Ruddick said that in the Second World War, “Hitler was defeated by the Russians”. Your man Ruddick overlooked the Nazi-Soviet Pact of 1939 which made it possible for Germany to commence the war. And also the D-Day invasion of 1944 by which the Allies (led by Britain, Canada and the United States) effectively opened a second front in Western Europe which took pressure off the Soviet Union (it was not named Russia at the time). More criticism of the Ruddick secular heresy in next week’s Media Watch Dog.
It would seem that your man Ruddick – like many a commentator – is somewhat sensitive to criticism. Not long after MWD went out around Gin & Tonic Time last Friday, he tweeted:
The award for nitpicker of the week goes to Gerard Henderson.
Gee … thanks Gezza. I think I’ve heard of the Nazi-Soviet pact and I might also have heard of D-Day. I’ll dig out my World Book encyclopaedia and see what I can learn. pic.twitter.com/ybTZewCfPQ
— John Ruddick (@JohnRuddick2) June 11, 2021
For his part, Jackie’s (male) co-owner did not suggest that John Ruddick had never heard of the Nazi-Soviet Pact or of D-Day. The point was that – during his enthusiastic endorsement of Vladimir Putin’s Russia on Sky News’ Paul Murray Live on 10 June – Mr Ruddick did not mention either. Rather, channelling Comrade Putin himself, he told PML viewers that “Hitler was defeated by the Russians”.
It so happens that this is also the view of the president of Russia. Writing in The National Interest on 18 June 2020, in an article titled “The Real Lessons of the 75th Anniversary of World War II”, President Putin had this to say:
…It is essential to pass on to future generations the memory of the fact that the Nazis were defeated first and foremost by the Soviet people and that representatives of all republics of the Soviet Union fought side by side together in that heroic battle, both on the frontlines and in the rear.
Unlike John Ruddick, at least Putin acknowledged the contribution made to the war against Germany on the Eastern Front by the non-Russia republics of the old Soviet Union. However, like Ruddick, Putin did not mention the Nazi-Soviet Pact of August 1939 – or the allied D-Day invasion of June 1944 on the Western Front. Convenient, eh? – since neither reference helps to maintain a case that Hitler was defeated by just Russia (the Ruddick view) or the Soviet Union (Putin’s view).
The so-called Nazi-Soviet non-aggression pact of 23 August 1939 was, in fact, an aggression pact by which Adolph Hitler in Berlin and Josef Stalin in Moscow conspired to acquire designated parts of Poland by force. Following Germany’s attack on Poland on 1 September 1939, British prime minister Neville Chamberlain declared war on Germany – as did France. The Nazi-Soviet Pact made it possible for Germany to wage war on one front only – with its occupation of France, Belgium and the Netherlands in the West following its acquisition of parts of Poland in the East.
France surrendered on 22 June 1940. At the time, the United States – under the leadership of President F.D. Roosevelt – was neutral. Consequently, Britain and its dominions (including Australia) stood alone against Nazi Germany for the first two years of the Second World War.
World War II changed when, to Stalin’s surprise, Hitler commenced an invasion of the Soviet Union on 22 June 1941 – having failed to conquer Britain on the Western Front following the failure of the German Luftwaffe to prevail in the Battle of Britain. Later, in December 1941, Germany declared war on the United States and the US reciprocated.
The US – along with Britain and Canada – led the D-Day invasion which, in time, brought about the liberation of Paris on 19 August 1944. US and other Allied forces had defeated Benito Mussolini’s fascist regime following the allied invasion of Italy in late 1943. The US supplied aid to the communist regime in Moscow while the Royal Navy provided security to keep open the sea lanes to the Soviet Union.
Sure, the Soviet Union – military and citizens alike – suffered terribly during what the Soviet leaders called the Great Patriotic War in which Germany was defeated on The Eastern Front. But many of its military and civilian casualties were caused indirectly by incompetent leadership due to the fact that Stalin, whom Putin much admires, had purged so many military commanders in the late 1930s and by the communist regime’s failure to prepare for a conflict with Germany.
MWD’s point is that it was unwise, and ill-informed, for John Ruddick to state without qualification that “Hitler was defeated by the Russians”. What’s “nit-picking” to some – is history to MWD.
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Until next time.
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