GERARD HENDERSON’S MEDIA WATCH DOG
ISSUE – NO. 555
20 August 2021
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JULIAN BURNSIDE ON SCOMO’s SUPPORT FOR THE TALIBAN
JB AO QC offered up the following tweet at 2:34pm today – no more needs to be said.
If @ScottMorrisonMP doesn’t do more to help people in Afghanistan to escape to Australia, it’s because he supports the terrorist Taliban government
— Julian Burnside (@JulianBurnside) August 20, 2021
IS LISA W. CHANNELLING ALAN J.?
On Network Ten’s The Project last night, Sydney-based presenter Lisa Wilkinson – who, as a journalist, can go to work – attacked NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian for not locking down Sydney hard enough. Here’s how her rant concluded:
The whole state needs a complete rest. And if Gladys Berejiklian isn’t up to the job, then she needs to step aside and make room for somebody who is up to the job, because she’s, she’s stuffed this.
It would seem that Comrade Wilkinson is channelling Sky News’ presenter Alan Jones. On Tuesday, before he took leave for a knee operation, your man Jones also called for NSW Premier Berejiklian to resign. The Jones complaint was that Gladys Berejiklian had locked down Sydney too much.
So there you have it. Premier Berejiklian has been too soft (Wilkinson) or too tough (Jones) – but she should resign in any event.
By the way, Ms Wilkinson’s rant came on Network Ten – After Dark.
THE BELOVED DR SWAN DOES LUNCH (ONLINE)
According to the blurb put out by the 2021 Melbourne Writers Festival, Norman (“Trust me, I’m Australia’s most trusted doctor”) Swan is “beloved”. Yes. Beloved. According to MWF your man Swan is a “beloved broadcaster and physician” – except for the fact that he works as a journalist, not a physician.
So it came as no surprise that in her article in Nine Newspapers last Sunday titled “’Medicine was the easy choice…I wanted to become an actor’”: Dr Norman Swan”, Louise Rugendyke waxed lyrical about the Beloved One.
It was one of those pandemic media lunches when the lunchers eat separately. He had take-away from the Chinese restaurant Holy Duck! in Chippendale. She had take-away from the Chinese restaurant Holy Duck! in Chippendale.
It’s just that Dr Swan, who the Nine reporter told readers was “lovely company”, partook of his meal outside the ABC headquarters in Sydney’s inner-city Ultimo. And Ms Rugendyke partook of her lunch at home – presumably also in inner-city Sydney since her husband delivered both meals, which were served hot.
For the record, Australia’s most trusted doctor – who has not hung out a medical shingle for around four decades – was plugging his book So You Think You Know What’s Good For You (Hachette) which, he declared, is “not a medical book” but “the classic health book”. So, now you know. Also the familiar story was told about young Norman who grew up in Glasgow where he learnt to swear at a young age and aspired to be an actor and zzzzz….[Excuse me, I thought the Beloved One is an actor. – MWD Editor.]
Comrade Rugendyke told her Nine readers that the Beloved One is not only “lovely company” but also “an excellent swearer” whose favourite word is “bullshit”. [I don’t buy that – that’s just “bullshit”, to borrow a Swanism. – MWD Editor.] Oh yes, your man told the oh-so-gullible Nine journalist that he never gives his “own opinion”. And that it’s “a group of people who form the balance of opinion”.
Well, that’s clear then. And it’s useful too. When your man Swan makes yet another false prophecy about COVID-19 and all that – all he has to do is say he was proclaiming the views of others – not his own. Convenient, eh?
It turns out that Nine’s BIG story was that Norman Swan is 68 years old. This is hardly news (see MWD Issue 554). Oh yes – he mimicked (via his computer) an Ibsen character in the process of “his mind being blown”. Yawn.
As to the highlight of the interview, it surely was this response – after it was put to the Beloved One by Comrade Rugendyke that he must be sick of his own voice by now:
Norman Swan: I am totally sick of the sound of my own voice. Totally. You’ve got to have a healthy ego to be in the media. But this has gone above and beyond. One of the best pieces of advice I got about broadcast journalism was from [former director of ABC radio] Malcolm Long, who said the one thing to remember about broadcast journalism is that it’s part showbiz. And you’ve got to be able to combine showbiz with journalism – and that’s actually one of the challenges.
MWD has some medical advice for Australia’s most showbiz doctor. The best way to stop listening to the sound of your own voice is to stop talking. But the Beloved One is not likely to practise what he preaches anytime soon. Could it be that Comrade Swan is channelling the Duke and Duchess of Sussex who proclaim their search for privacy as they give countless interviews and briefings? Can You Bear It?
[Er, no – now that you ask. I would advise avid readers to check out this week’s (hugely popular) Documentation segment which covers Comrade Swan’s most recent entry into medical showbiz. MWD Editor.]
MARGARET SIMONS OBJECTS TO DIVERSITY ON SKY NEWS
Thanks to the Brisbane-based avid reader who drew Media Watch Dog’s attention to this tweet by Margaret Simons – of the pretentiously titled Centre for Advancing Journalism at the University of Melbourne.
Notable how at the NSW pressers it is the @SkyNewsAust journalist who presses hardest for a stricter Stage 4 lockdown. Whereas in Victoria, the SkyNews journalist is the one suggesting that state's hard lockdown is wrongheaded. I wonder if they talk?
— MargaretSimons (@MargaretSimons) August 18, 2021
Dr Simons (for a doctor she is) appears to be disturbed by the fact that Andrew Clennell, Sky News’ man in Sydney, wants the Berejiklian Coalition government in NSW to go harder on lockdowns. Whereas Julia Bradley, Sky News’ woman in Melbourne, wants the Andrews Labor government in Victoria to ease back on lockdowns.
It would seem that Margaret Simons believes that everyone at Sky News should essentially agree with each other – just like the comrades at the Centre for Advancing journalism at Melbourne University. And that Mr Clennell and Ms Bradley should get together and agree to a common position on lockdowns.
Which suggests that students at the Centre for Advancing Journalism are encouraged to oppose diversity of opinions in newsrooms. What kind of advanced journalism is this? More importantly, Can You Bear It?
TRIGGER WARNING – ABC TV’s (CONTINUING) PURSUIT OF DONALD TRUMP AND RUPERT MURDOCH
In case anyone is wondering what ABC TV Four Corners’ reporter Sarah Ferguson has been up to during her current taxpayer funded assignment in the United States, ABC executive producer Sally Neighbour released this stunning news by tweet yesterday:
‘Fox and the Big Lie.’ How Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News promoted Donald Trump’s propaganda and helped destabilise democracy in America. A blockbuster from @FergusonNews next on #4Corners pic.twitter.com/kdqFuCbmPv
— Sally Neighbour (@neighbour_s) August 19, 2021
Well, fancy that. Comrade Ferguson has travelled to Washington DC and discovered that Rupert Murdoch – with a little help from Fox News – has destabilised democracy in America. As far as Media Watch Dog can work it out, this is the third occasion in which Comrade Ferguson has produced a multipart Four Corners BLOCKBUSTER bagging President Donald J. Trump and the Trump administration.
First there was the three-part series in 2018 titled “Trump/Russia” (re which see today’s “Quelle Surprise!” segment). Then there was the Four Corners special in February this year titled “Capitol Riot: How January 6 and Donald Trump changed America forever”. And now this. According to MWD’s count – a Four Corners’ blockbuster trilogy, in six parts.
Come to think of it, the taxpayer funded public broadcaster could have taken a feed from such anti-Trump outlets as CNN or MSNBC. Or done a program special on the evils of Murdochism in Australia and the US with former prime minister Kevin Rudd. At least either would have been cheaper than covering Comrade Ferguson’s expenses as she travels around the United States interviewing yet more Never Trumpers about the evils of Trump. The way the Neighbour/Ferguson pursuit of Donald Trump is going they run the risk of giving obsession a bad name. Can You Bear It?
DR NORMAN SWAN’s PFIZER THEORY DEBUNKED (AGAIN) AS HE REVISES HIS POSITION ON ASTRAZENECA
Last week MWD previewed Dr Norman Swan’s upcoming appearance on Q+A. So avid MWD readers who tuned in to last night’s Q+A were no doubt bitterly disappointed to find that the good doctor was nowhere to be seen. In fact, Q+A decided to delay the episode focusing on the health of young people so that it could air a discussion of the unfolding situation in Afghanistan. Assuming no further delays, Dr Swan is slated to appear next Thursday alongside paediatrician Dr Anthea Rhodes and two young Australians with Virginia Trioli in the presenter’s chair.
During Dr Swan’s last appearance on Q+A, on 15 April 2021, he raised a 10 July 2020 meeting between representatives from Pfizer and Australia. Swan remarked cryptically that he did not know what happened at the meeting. However, in a 1 June 2021 appearance on ABC Melbourne’s Drive program with Raf Epstein, he was ready to tell listeners what he thought had happened at the meeting:
Norman Swan: I’ve now had three sources telling me the same story, one including [sic] from the United States, of what happened with Pfizer last June . And if these three separate sources are right, what happened last June is that they [Pfizer] wanted to make Australia an example to the world on how to roll out, a bit like Israel or other places. And they said how much do you want and when do you want it? And on the 10 July  there was a meeting and what I’m told happened at that meeting was that there was an inexperienced person [from the Commonwealth Health Department] there with procurement. And they said oh – they were pretty rude at the meeting, and they said: “Well you’re going to have to give us all your IP [Intellectual Property]”, which is an amazing thing to have said. And [the Australian official] started nickel and diming on the cost and essentially the conversation stopped. And then they came back in November , the Commonwealth, and we got 10 million doses.
As has been previously covered in MWD the (somewhat inarticulate) claims made by Swan have been strongly denied by both Pfizer and the Federal health officials present at the meeting. This did not stop Swan’s theory from being spread widely on social media and even being briefly embraced by some Labor politicians.
Last Friday, an interview with Pfizer CEO and Chairman Albert Bourla appeared in the British broadsheet Financial Times. During the interview, which was conducted by David Crow (not to be confused with Australia’s very own David Crowe), Bourla commented on how Israel was selected as the host of Pfizer’s test rollout – as reported by the Financial Times:
What made him [Bourla] decide on Israel? The country had to have a small population with good data collection systems, he says. Greece was an option, but its electronic medical record-keeping was not up to scratch. He considered Sweden, but worried about upsetting other EU countries.
This is more confirmation that Dr Swan’s sources’ story was just a story. Pfizer apparently considered three countries with a small population being a requirement, namely: Israel (population 9 million), Greece (10 million) and Sweden (10 million). Australia (25 million) was not mentioned by Albert Bourla and there is no evidence, aside from Swan’s anonymous sources, that Pfizer ever considered Australia as a site for its test rollout.
Early this morning Swan took to Twitter to share some good news concerning the AstraZeneca vaccine:
Summary and link to study showing AZ immunity may last longer than Pfizer. Also suggestions elsewhere that Moderna may outperform because it has more mRNA. Might be paying the price of compressing phase 2 studies on dosage. https://t.co/n2ljU0nEj3
— Norman Swan (@normanswan) August 19, 2021
Apparently, Norman Swan is now all for the AZ vaccine (which has recently been renamed Vaxzevria) after having devoted significant airtime to undermining confidence in it and boosting the Pfizer vaccine. Recall that, in a 30 December 2020 tweet, Dr Swan referred to AZ as a “second rate vaccine”. And as recently as June he claimed that, under normal circumstances, it would have been taken off the market. The topic of which vaccine young people should receive will surely be raised on Q+A and, when it is, presenter Virginia Trioli might want to ask Dr Swan if he regrets his role in increasing hesitancy around the AstraZeneca vaccine.
Another topic La Trioli might want to broach with Swan is the latter’s bizarre 3 August 2021 appearance on News Breakfast in which he claimed the residents of greater Sydney are “guinea pigs” in an experiment to see whether vaccinations can “bend the curve” of an ongoing outbreak. This claim was swiftly debunked by Dr Nick Coatsworth – who correctly pointed out that rapid vaccination is an established part of epidemic control and has been successful in other countries against COVID-19.
THE GUARDIAN’s ANNE DAVIES ON TESTS & GUARDS
On Wednesday, The Guardian Australia ran a gloomy article by Anne Davies about the COVID situation in New South Wales – she had this to say about the number of COVID tests being conducted in New South Wales:
A third set of scary numbers suggests testing and outreach are slowing down under the weight of this outbreak, which started in mid-June.
There were 102,749 Covid tests in the latest 24-hour period compared with the previous day’s total of 151,767 tests. Generally, testing in NSW has been running at about 150,000 to 160,000 tests a day, turbo-charged in recent weeks by the requirement that authorised workers leaving hotspot local government areas be tested every three days.
It’s hard to believe that in the midst of such an outbreak, testing numbers have declined. So what’s going on?
The claim by Comrade Davies that “testing in NSW has been running at about 150,000 to 160,000 tests a day” doesn’t really hold up to scrutiny. NSW had recorded 156,495 tests on Monday and 151,767 on Tuesday – but before that had recorded three days in a row with tests between 126,000 and 130,000. The 102,749 result on Wednesday is somewhat low but Ms Davies would have only needed to go back eight days to Tuesday 10 August when NSW recorded only 95,036 tests to find a lesser number. For what it’s worth, NSW recorded 119,310 tests on Thursday and 127,590 today so there is no evidence yet of a long-term dip in testing numbers.
Later in the same piece, Davies quotes University of New South Wales epidemiologist Professor Mary-Louise McLaws. Dr McLaws was asked about the phenomenon, identified by NSW Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant, of people with connections to multiple households seeding COVID between those households. Professor McLaws offered up a remarkable suggestion on how to curb the problem as reported by Anne Davies:
If this is the problem, then McLaws suggests that the solution might lie in putting security guards or community members outside infected houses to stop other households visiting. The government has expanded its network of health accommodation in Meriton Suites in the inner west for people who cannot effectively isolate and that’s a good step, but we need to focus on the high-risk problems.
Anne Davies does not offer up any further comment on the suggestion and so the reader is left with the impression that stationing security guards or community members outside the houses of people with COVID is a reasonable idea.
IN WHICH FOUR CORNERS’ EXECUTIVE PRODUCER SALLY NEIGHBOUR APPEARS ON FOUR CORNERS TO DECLARE THAT FOUR CORNERS IS A YOU-BEAUT PROGRAM
Did anyone notice that the ABC TV’s Four Corners program did not run credits at the end of Monday’s program titled “Fearless and Forensic for 60 Years” on the occasion of the program’s 60th anniversary? Why would this be? – Media Watch Dog hears avid readers cry. Well, perhaps it had something to do with the fact that Four Corners’ executive producer Sally Neighbour appeared towards the end of Monday’s program – in her position as executive producer of Four Corners. Presumably she did not want to draw attention in the credits to the fact that as executive producer she had engaged herself to appear on Four Corners as a commentator.
Talk about giving self-indulgence a bad name. After presiding over the oh-so-long episode of Four Corners – it ran for 60 minutes – viewers (if viewers there still were) were confronted by the image of Comrade Neighbour and her ABC TV comrade Sarah Ferguson talking to the cameras about, er, essentially themselves. Let’s go to the official transcript:
Sarah Ferguson (former Four Corners presenter and reporter): Why is Four Corners important? I live in America where we’ve just seen the catastrophic consequences of what happens when a shared belief in truth and facts breaks down. So Four Corners’ commitment to those things may actually be one of the most important defenses [sic] for Australian society. [I note the American spelling of defence – most impressive for someone busy in the United States. MWD Editor.]
Sally Neighbour (executive producer, Four Corners): In this atmosphere, public interest journalism has never been more important. And we know that from the audience, that there is a thirst out there for trustworthy, reliable, honest, accurate information and investigation, and it can still have an incredible impact.
What a load of (absolute) self-indulgent tosh. As MWD has documented (see MWD 454 and 496), in mid-2018 Sarah Ferguson did an expensive three-part Four Corners titled “Trump/Russia” aimed at proving that President Donald J. Trump was some kind of Russian agent whose victory over Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton in November 2016 was engendered by Russia. Or something like that.
As it turned out, Comrade Ferguson’s conspiracy theory was precisely that – a conspiracy theory. The three part episode was a complete (taxpayer funded) dud. And now the one-time Four Corners presenter is bemoaning the alleged absence of “belief in truth” on the part of others. Really.
As to Sally Neighbour – she was the executive producer of the Four Corners program titled “Guilty: The conviction of Cardinal Pell” which aired on 4 March 2019 – shortly after Cardinal Pell was convicted on historical child sexual assault cases. As is well known, Pell’s conviction was quashed by the High Court of Australia in a seven to zip judgment on 7 April 2020.
ABC Media Watch presenter Paul Barry – by no means a constant critic of Four Corners – said on 20 April 2020 that the Four Corners program – which was presented by Pell antagonist Louise Milligan – erred in failing to report the view of even one Pell supporter, despite the fact that the case was not closed since an appeal had been lodged. In other words, the Ferguson/Milligan (taxpayer funded) production was part of the Pell pile-on.
Yet, last Monday, Four Corners executive producer Sally Neighbour looked down the Four Corners camera and told Four Corners viewers that Four Corners is into always providing trustworthy, reliable, honest, accurate informative investigation. Comrade Neighbour praised Comrade Neighbour’s very own TV program. Quelle Surprise!
SO IT’S FAREWELL THEN, COMRADE SHAH (FOR THE MOMENT AT LEAST)
It is Media Watch Dog’s melancholy duty to report that Sami Shah – he of The [Boring] Saturday Paper – will no longer bore readers (if readers there were) each Saturday morning at around Hangover Time in Morry Schwartz’s vanity newspaper. Last Sunday, your man Shah – who was wont to criticise Jackie’s (male) co-owner (in a boring kind of way) had this to say:
This is the last Gadfly column. It’s been an absolute privilege to grab a baton flung at me by Richard Ackland, who gave it up to enjoy what little was left of his sanity after having to consider the ugliness of Australia’s political class. It’s a reprieve I should take as well, but I worry it may be too late for me. A country so great, ruled by politicians so utterly mediocre. For a satirist, that is a siren’s song. The column will continue, both in print and as a podcast, at patreon.com/samishah. It will probably have a new name, but will maintain the same contempt for politics, grammar and delicate sensibilities. Thank you everyone who appreciated my turn as Gadfly, your kind words healed the wounds created by reading about parliament.
It is some months now since MWD attempted to remind your man Shah of the saying that a satirist/comedian is paid to be funny. When Richard Ackland AM was “Gadfly” in The Saturday Paper, he exhibited a feline nastiness which, on occasions, was amusing in its bitterness. Whereas Saint Shah’s satire is not so much feline but more like a dead cat dropping from a high rise building.
Alas, Mr Shah thought that his “contempt” for Australian politics was amusing. It wasn’t. Just boring. And so The [Boring] Saturday Paper has lost one boring columnist – which is not good news for MWD.
THE MOVE FORWARD OF FITZ’S COLUMN
More bad news for Media Watch Dog. As avid readers are only too well aware, Peter FitzSimons’ “Fitz on Sunday” column, on the back page of the Sun-Herald, was a MWD fave. Especially when it was accompanied by a pic of your man Fitz with a red bandanna on his head.
Not only has Fitz sent the red rag to the laundry – “Fitz on Sunday” is no more. Alas. The back-page of the Sun-Herald is now devoted to sport. And your man Fitz now appears on Page 21 under the heading “Five Minutes with Fitz” – which, when you think about it, is very long time.
What’s more, instead of many parts, most of Fitz’s column is devoted to an interview with someone or other. On Sunday, it was the chef at the Sydney Hilton’s Glass restaurant. The rest of the column comprised of Fitz’s comments on his interview the previous week. Plus “Joke Of The Week” about Jesus and the Devil. Groan. Perhaps Fitz could take over from Sami Shah at The Saturday Paper with the old “Fitz on Sunday” format. It would be good for MWD.
THE MELBOURNE WRITERS FESTIVAL: ANOTHER LEFT-OF-CENTRE STACK
As avid Media Watch Dog readers are only too well aware, the idea of a writers’ festival is that a soviet of leftists and left-of-centre types get together, obtain a bucketload of taxpayers’ funds and then invite their comrades to speak at events where essentially everyone agrees with essentially everyone else on essentially everything in a leftist or left-of-centre kind of way.
The only conservatives who find themselves at such left-wing clubby events are those who apparently get lost on the way to somewhere else – perhaps a Liberal Party knees-up or maybe a Bachelor and Spinster’s Ball in rural Australia.
Now here’s a list of the leftist and left-of-centre types scheduled to perform at the Melbourne Writers Festival, which will run from 3 to 12 September 2021. Unfortunately the event has been afflicted by the Victorian government’s COVID-19 lockdown and some events may not go ahead. But here’s the list of the scheduled “star” performers in the non-fiction areas. The question is: Can you, avid readers, locate a conservative among this lot?
Louise Adler, Emma Alberici, Gay Alcorn, Waleed Aly, Michael Bachelard, Julia Baird, Julia Banks, Paul Barclay, Larissa Behrendt, Sophie Black, Michael Bradley, Judith Brett, Bryan Brown, Julian Burnside, James Button, Gabrielle Chan, Maddison Connaughton, Alison Croggon, Kate Ellis, Anton Enus, Raf Epstein, Delilah Falconer, Mehreen Faruqi, Osman Faruqi, Nick Feik, Jan Fran, Ray Gaita, Helen Garner, AC Grayling, Bridie Jabour, Barry Jones, Patricia Karvelas, Ben Knight, Marcia Langton, Benjamin Law, Scott Ludlum Jacqueline Maley, Fatima Measham, George Megalogenis, Lisa Millar, Louise Milligan, Rick Morton, Kerry O’Brien, Bruce Pascoe, Tanya Plibersek, Alice Pung, Bhakthi Puvanenthiran, Henry Reynolds , Jamila Rizvi, Zan Rowe, John Safran, Margaret Simons, Yumi Stynes, Norman Swan, Grace Tame, Virginia Trioli, Sally Warharft, Marion Wilkinson, Alexis Wright, Claire Wright, Arnold Zable
Well, MWD cannot find a conservative in this pile. If anyone listed above believes that they are a political conservative, then step forward and let MWD know – or forever hold thy peace – as the saying goes (or went).
The principal partners of the 2021 MWF is the ARA Group, an infrastructure company. After that, the lot falls to taxpayers and ratepayers. Namely, Creative Victoria, the Melbourne City of Literature, the City of Melbourne and the State Library of Victoria. The Age newspaper is also a major partner as is the bookshop Readings. Indeed, the 2021 MWF resembles the columns in The Age and the collection of non-fiction books at a Readings bookshop in that conservative views cannot be located in either entity.
Here’s a glimpse of what taxpayers are funding at this year’s Melbourne Leftists’ Literary roll-up:
- School Strikes 4 Climate organiser Jean Hinchliffe (Lead the Way) and former Greens senator Scott Ludlam (Full Circle) examine how small-scale activism coalesces into a greater climate change movement, with Linh Do.
- Author Bruce Pascoe(Dark Emu) and historian Tom Griffiths(The Art of Time Travel) transcend the culture wars to consider the productive conversation emerging around First Nations histories, in conversation with Sally Warhaft.
- Kerry O’Brien talks state secrets, press freedom and open justice with Julian Assange biographer Andrew Fowler, and lawyer Bernard Collaery, who faces a high-profile trial for advising a whistleblower client.
- Commentators from across the political divide debate the newest battleground of free speech: cancel culture. Featuring Louise Adler, Waleed Aly, James Button, Parnell Palme McGuinness and Nyadol Nyuon.
- Human rights lawyer Julian Burnside, former Greens senator Scott Ludlam, and Julian Assange’s lawyer Jen Robinson discuss WikiLeaks, free speech and covert power.
- Gabrielle Chan (Why You Should Give a F*ck About Farming) and Marian Wilkinson (The Carbon Club) speak with Astrid Edwards about class, environmentalism and policymaking as they relate to the fossil fuel and produce industries.
Not much debate likely in any of these sessions. It appears that Parnell Palme McGuinness has been rounded up to provide a semblance of political balance in one MWF session. Sure, PPM is not leftist – but nor is she a conservative, having once worked briefly for The Greens in Germany. Otherwise essentially everyone seems likely to agree with everyone else at this year’s Melbourne Writers Festival. Your Taxes At Work.
CATHY WILCOX’S ADVICE AT A TIME OF PANDEMIC: LET THEM EAT BEANS & TOMATOES
There has been enormous interest in this segment since it commenced two weeks ago. So much so that Media Watch Dog has been urged to keep on analysing how out-of-touch some media types are with mere mortals. For example, how is a single mother with three young children in a small apartment or flat, with no outside garden or courtyard, supposed to respond to this advice from Sydney Morning Herald cartoonist Cathy Wilcox about how to live at a time of COVID-19 lockdowns:
Can't they just use the census info and deliver every household a care package to keep them at home for 2 weeks? (Including a handy cookbook with 100 ways with tinned beans and tomatoes.)
— The Cathy Wilcox (@cathywilcox1) August 18, 2021
Here’s a translation. Comrade Wilcox wants “They”(presumably the government) to deliver a care package big enough to provide for a family locked up for two weeks. And what might be in this care package? MWD hears avid readers cry. Well, it’s not clear – except for a “handy cookbook” advising how to make use of “tinned beans and tomatoes”. Er, that’s all.
As an Avid Newcastle reader pointed out, presumably there would need to be many warehouse staff and delivery drivers involved in preparing and delivering these care packages. Unlike many a journalist and cartoonist, these workers cannot stay at home. If the delivery drivers are at home, who will deliver their care packages?
Marie Antoinette is (falsely) said to have commented: “Let them [the hoi polloi] eat cake.” And Cathy Wilcox now says, “Let them eat beans and tomatoes for two whole weeks”. How out of touch can a Nine journalist get?
COVID-19 – IN MELBOURNE AND SYDNEY
Thanks to the avid Balwyn reader who drew Media Watch Dog’s attention to ABC Melbourne Radio’s Mornings with Virginia Trioli program on Tuesday. In particular, to that part of the talk-back when a caller named Kate blamed Sydney for the current COVID-19 cases in Victoria. La Trioli soon declared: “I think Kate has a powerful, unimpeachable argument there”.
Maybe Kate did. Or maybe Kate didn’t. All MWD knows is that later that very day, at a media conference attended by Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews, the following exchange took place between ABC Melbourne 702 “Drive” presenter Raf Epstein and Victoria’s Chief Health Officer Professor Brett Sutton.
Raf Epstein: Can I just ask a quick one to the Chief Health Officer, just about the genomic mapping? Jeroen [Weimar] said a few things over the weekend about where these [COVID-19 Delta] cases might come from. Do we know, for sure, the cases we’re getting now. Are they linked to the Sydney removalists? And, if not, is it likely they’ve come from Sydney?
Brett Sutton: The genomics is not diverse enough across Sydney outbreak and Victorian outbreak which has come from Sydney. We know that much. It’s not diverse enough for us to say it’s linked to this part of the outbreak. What we do know is that the genomics for our current cases, our current outbreak, are very close to those that have come out of South West Sydney. They are also close to some cases in our previous outbreak, so we can’t tell. We have no link epidemiologically with our previous outbreak. And so the possibility remains and maybe the probability remains that it was out of South West Sydney, potentially.
Raf Epstein: So probably, but not certainly, a fresh bit of virus coming in.
Brett Sutton: We can’t say with certainty that it was a fresh incursion.
Reporter: Why the change to construction sites now…
Can this be the case? Professor Sutton appeared to say that the current Delta virus in Victoria possibly and probably – but not certainly – can be traced to the COVID-19 outbreak in South West Sydney. In short, Professor Sutton does not seem to know for sure.
Unfortunately the matter does not appear to have been followed through by journalists present at the media conference. What a pity. Still this might, just might, be a MWD Exclusive.
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Until next time.
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