ISSUE – NO. 556

27 August 2021

* * * *

* * * *


After hosting last night’s instalment of Q+A (about which see Can You Bear It?), Virginia Trioli returned to the airwaves once more this morning for her regular gig hosting Mornings on ABC Radio Melbourne. During the program La Trioli offered up the following remarkable assessment of New South Wales hospitals:

Virginia Trioli: As I’ve said at the beginning, this is quite shocking to see the [NSW] numbers that they’re [sigh] they’re clearly prepared to be quite sanguine about and we’ve seen their hospitals completely overrun. Um, almost, sort of, you know, pop up emergency rooms sites have had to be established because they have no room. And it’s something no one wants to see anywhere in Australia, it’s, it’s really quite shocking to behold.

Virginia Trioli’s hyperbolic claim that NSW hospitals are being “completely overrun” is nonsense. There is pressure being put on the health system, particularly in Western Sydney where the majority of cases are occurring. Nevertheless, on Wednesday New South Wales’ Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant had this say to anyone experiencing COVID symptoms:

Kerry Chant: Please do not defer care, do not think “I won’t respond if I’ve got some chest pain. I’m feeling short of breath, I don’t want to burden the health system.” The health system is there, call the ambulance.

Evidently New South Wales’ health authorities are worried that COVID positive patients will avoid medical care because they believe the health system to be overburdened. This issue is not helped by ABC presenters spreading misinformation about hospitals being overrun.

  • The Today Show flubs the qualifications of their own expert

In the past MWD has mentioned Dr Norman Swan’s claim (on the cover of his recent book) to being “Australia’s most trusted doctor”. Perhaps trying to compete with the ABC’s doctor in the house, at 9:54 this morning Nine’s The Today Show sent out a tweet promoting an appearance by “One of Australia’s leading doctors”.

Those who followed the link attached to the tweet were taken to an article that repeated the claim:

One of Australia’s leading doctors has thrown NSW’s potential reopening into doubt, saying contact tracers are struggling to keep up with high COVID-19 case numbers as it is.

The only issue? The “doctor” in question was University of New South Wales Adjunct Professor Bill Bowtell, who is not a medical doctor, nor even a non-medical doctor. Bill Bowtell has a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) from the University of Tasmania, majoring in Political Science and Government. He held various advisory roles in the Hawke and Keating governments, most prominently as the architect of Australia’s response to HIV/AIDS.

The Tweet and article have since been amended to refer to Bill Bowtell as “One of Australia’s leading strategic health policy advisers”, a less exciting if more accurate description of your man Bowtell’s qualifications.

Can You Bear It?

  • “Granny, what’s a pogrom?” – La Trioli talks trauma to a five-year-old on Q+A

After being delayed last week for a panel focused on Afghanistan, the much anticipated “youth special” of Q+A finally arrived last night. The panel featured two students along with Professor Fiona Russell (a paediatrician and epidemiologist), Dr Anthea Rhodes (a paediatrician) and Dr Norman Swan (TV doctor). The presenter for the evening was Virginia Trioli – and what a performance it was.

The questions for the night were asked by kids and teenagers. The final question was asked by five-year-old Matilda, who wondered whether Coronavirus will be here forever. Most panellists gave the kind of answers you’d give to a kid – hopeful comments about how she’ll be able to see her nan and pop soon, lockdown will end, Christmas will be okay, scientists-superheroes will save us and so on. And then finally there was La Trioli. See below for her bizarre answer.

Matilda (5 years old): Will the coronavirus be here forever?

Virginia Trioli: And my little bit of hope that I would offer to Matilda is to, I guess say, that your grandparents and your parents have gone through hard times too. They’ve gone through wars and depressions, they’ve survived pogroms, they’ve left countries that have been torn apart by civil war. And they’ve made their way here to Australia. And that’s defined them – that’s been the trauma of their life, that they would like to be without. But instead, they had to go through it, just like going on a bear hunt. But they got through it, and it made them what they are. And you can perhaps draw down on some of their strength, ask them how they got through their hard times. And it will be the hard time that defines you and your generation as well. And if this [looking at young panellist] is any indication, it is quite an extraordinary generation. A resilient generation, and a remarkable one that I cannot wait to see grow up.

It seems that, unlike the other panellists, La Trioli thinks that she is above talking to a child on their level. MWD can’t speak for five-year-olds, of course, but one would think that most of them aren’t familiar with pogroms and civil war. The response appeared to be pre-written and the reference to “going on a bear hunt” would suggest that this Q+A presenter was conscious she was speaking to a young kid – one who may now be asking her parents or grandparents to explain pogroms. Can You Bear It?

[It may not have been the comforting answer 5 year old Matilda was looking for, but here at MWD we thought Trioli’s spiel was one of the funniest things that’s ever been on ABC Television – ABC Comedy included. – MWD Editor]


Just when you thought that The [Boring] Saturday Paper  couldn’t get any more boring, last Saturday the following heading appeared at the top of Page One “John Hewson joins the paper as a weekly columnist” – along with a dinkus of the learned doctor.

Turn to Pages 16-17 and there is the claim by John (“Call me doctor, but not if you have a fractured arm”) Hewson – with a breakout about “the Prime Minister’s personal prejudice”. And then the penny dropped – as was wont to be said in the days before decimal currency.  The Hewson “Comment” column has replaced Sami Shah’s “Gadfly” column of recent memory. Re which see MWD 555.

Here was MWD suggesting last week that The Saturday Paper (proprietor Morry Schwarz, editor-in-chief Erik Jensen) had lost a boring columnist in Sami Shah.  And then, lo and behold, your man Shah was replaced with an even more boring columnist. To wit, a former failed Liberal Party leader who these days seems to just have one topic – namely that Scott Morrison’s dreadful.  Here’s what your man Hewson had to say in the second paragraph of his inaugural column in The [Boring] Saturday Paper:

In the past there has also been a concern of government about how to effectively respond to the impacts of bushfires, floods, drought, cyclones and other natural disasters. Looking to the future, climate change will increase the frequency of these events – and the continuing hypocrisy, irresponsibility and recklessness of the Morrison government’s response will mean the need for more support to those people affected.

Your man Hewson did not tell readers (if readers there were) of his column that no Australian government can have a direct impact on climate change – since Australia produces just over 1 per cent of global carbon dioxide emissions.  As to the alleged “hypocrisy, irresponsibility and recklessness” of the Morrison government – well, we’ve read this column before.  In the Nine Newspapers, no less. On many, many occasions.

You see, when the Sydney Morning Herald  and The Age  dropped the weekly column of the Morrison antagonist John Hewson, it filled the spot by engaging the Morrison antagonist Niki Savva.

As MWD suggested, your man Hewson was likely to be embraced by the Melbourne inner-city leftists at The Saturday Paper. And so it came to pass.  But MWD never predicted that The Saturday Paper would replace one bore with another bore to fill the pages immediately after the boring column of the boring Morrison-antagonist Paul Bongiorno.  Can You Bear It?


While on the topic of Niki Savva, she scored a trifecta yesterday in her third column for Nine Newspapers.  Quelle Surprise! – it was yet another attack on Scott Morrison and the Coalition government. Yawn.

You see Comrade Savva believes that Prime Minister Morrison is going badly and has evidence to prove it.  In this case, the comments of “one minister” and – wait for it – “one experienced government backbencher”.  Pretty authoritative sources, don’t you think?

In the Sydney Morning Herald, the breakout of the Savva column was “He [Scott Morrison] has spin like a whirlwind on lockdowns”.   But MWD’s fave remark in Comrade Savva’s comment piece was the confident statement that “if everything had gone according to Plan A, Scott Morrison would have called an election within days…”.

What was Niki Savva’s evidence for her assertion that Prime Minister Morrison ever intended to call an early election for October 2021?  Zip. Can You Bear It?


While on the topic of the Sydney Morning Herald, on Monday on Page One it highlighted a report in its Monday Media pages with the heading “Kerry O’Brien: Worrying drift to the right”.   Turn to the Monday Media section and there is a report by Zoe Samios of comments made by one-time ABC presenter (and one-time Gough Whitlam staffer) Kerry O’Brien.

Comrade Samios had dug up comments made by The Sage of Byron Bay in an interview which was done for the (self-indulgent) Four Corners program on its 60th anniversary. See Issue 555. Even the current Four Corners  Soviet did not see fit to air the thoughts of one-time Four Corners  host Kerry O’Brien in the program that went to air on 16 August – presumably since he said nothing fresh.

The core of the O’Brien sermon was focused on the increasing militarism of the police forces in Australia during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Sure, this is a matter for concern.  But neither Comrade O’Brien nor Comrade Samios mentioned that Australia’s most authoritarian police force – Victoria Police – exists in a state led by its Labor socialist left premier.  To wit, Daniel Andrews – the hero of the “I Stand With Dan” set which includes many an ABC journalist.

A reading of the Samios report of The Thought of The Sage of Byron Bay – if anyone could wade through it – revealed that the article made no reference of any kind to a “drift to the right”, worrying or not. It would appear that a SMH sub-editor just made this up.  Can You Bear It?


As mentioned above, there is reason to be concerned about a growing authoritarianism involved in policing the COVID-19 lockdowns. But there is no reason to flick the switch to hyperbole.  As occurred on Sky News’ The Bolt Report on 18 August, when Rowan Dean declared that “Australia has become a nation of quasi-little East German, Chinese communist, Pol Pot-style petty dictators”.

So, according to your man Dean, the current surge in authoritarianism in Australia can be equated with the East German Stasi, the Chinese Communist Party and the Khmer Rouge – which, taken together, were responsible for many, many millions of dead. Moreover, the Stasi managed to set up an internal security system where about half of the East German population appear to have spied on the other half.

And yet Rowan Dean, the presenter of Sky News’ popular Outsiders program, seems to look at Daniel Andrews in Victoria and Gladys Berejiklian in NSW and sees – variously – Erich Honecker, Mao Zedong and Pol Pot. Overlooking the fact that, if this was the case, Outsiders  would not go to air and the Outsiders’  team would be in the gulag at best. Can You Bear It?


Did anyone read Benjamin Law’s “Dicey Topics” interview with ABC TV’s News Breakfast sports presenter Tony Armstrong in the Good Weekend Magazine  on 14 August?  Your man Armstrong is something of a Media Watch Dog fave having played in the Australian Football League at the top level – but, alas, not for Essendon.

But MWD digresses. Comrade Armstrong, having rolled a die, ended up having to face Comrade Law’s questions on death, money and politics – but not on sex, religion and bodies.  MWD was most interested in the final two questions:

Benjamin Law: What three issues will you vote on at the next election?

Tony Armstrong: Climate change. Making sweeping changes to protect, empower and elevate Australia’s Indigenous community. Tax the really rich so we can put money into community housing, which is a national crisis.

Benjamin Law: You’re articulate. You’ve got the name recognition. You’ve got the looks. Would you run for office?

Tony Armstrong: [Laughs] See that closet over there? Far too many skeletons in it! They’ve got to stay there, mate.

Well, that’s clear then.  Mr Armstrong will not go to Canberra.  Come to think of it, this could be good news for current and future ABC managing directors.  This gig comes with an annual salary package of $1 million or so per courtesy of the Australian taxpayer. In short, ABC managing directors are among Australia’s top wage and salary earners – which makes them, well, rich and, consequently, subject to the implementation of a possible Armstrong Tax.

As Adam Creighton pointed out in The Australian  on 29 June 2019, Australia has one of the most progressive taxation systems in the world – in that the top 5 per cent of taxpayers pay around 35 per cent of the total income tax take.

So what does Comrade Armstrong suggest that a “tax the really rich” policy amounts to?  Currently an ABC managing director pays a marginal rate of tax of around 47 per cent (including the Medicare levy). What would Tony Armstrong “tax the really rich” rate amount be?  Perhaps 60 per cent, or maybe 70 per cent, or maybe 90 per cent? What about 95 per cent? Comrade Law did not ask – and Comrade Armstrong did not say.  Can You Bear It?


Last Monday’s Four Corners’  “two-part special” on Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News titled “Fox and the Big Lie” could more accurately be described as “Fergie and the Big Dud”.  For, as with many an ABC TV special presented by Sarah Ferguson, it contained nothing new of note.

Not surprisingly, present and past members of the ABC Soviet, cheered the program – as the following tweets demonstrate:

They were not alone.  Nine’s Peter FitzSimons (aka the Red Bandannaed One) and Jane Caro joined in the chorus:

The only problem was that the “Great” and “Fabulous” journalism by the “Brilliant” Comrade Ferguson broke no news.  This was evident when the brilliant Ferguson co-authored an article on ABC News titled “Insiders reveal how Fox News became a propaganda outlet for Donald Trump” on 23 August 2021.  The lead was about Gretchen Carlson – the former Fox News presenter who left Fox News in July 2016 and had nothing to do with Fox News during the time of President Donald J. Trump’s administration.

In fact Comrade Ferguson’s BIG STORY was all but ignored by virtually all media outlets – except for News Corp which ran comments criticising the program’s errors of commission and omission.

So, yesterday the ABC’s Comrade Ferguson went on ABC Melbourne Radio 774 and spoke to the ABC’s Virginia Trioli.  It turned out that Ferguson, while declaring that she did not want to “sound pompous”, pompously defended her “important” program.  Let’s go to the transcript:

Sarah Ferguson: ….I say this, Virginia. Episode 1 was good. Episode 2, it really heats up. Episode 2 is where the big lawsuits go now underway in America against Fox for their role in spreading the big lie.  Those, those lawsuits are underway. Fun times ahead.

Sarah Ferguson went on to criticise “ad hominem scrutiny” of her. But not her “ad hominem scrutiny” of others.  She criticised those who would dare “to attack Four Corners” and “its brave editorial stance” – describing such behaviour as “way off the mark”.

So there you have it. Four Corners should criticise others –  but no one should criticise Four Corners.  Comrade Ferguson concluded the interview with (the cliché) “Enjoy!”.  Now it’s time for an “excruciating” wait (a la Barrie Cassidy) until there is “More next week!” (a la Paul Barry). For its part, MWD can hardly wait.


In The Australian’s Media section on Monday, Nick Tabakoff reported that the transcript of the ABC TV Insiders interview between presenter David Speers and Prime Minister Scott Morrison – released by the Prime Minister’s Office on Sunday – documented 26 interruptions by David (“Call me Speersy”) Speers.  Your man Tabakoff commented:

Insiders host David Speers had a point to prove in his interview with Scott Morrison on Sunday, after copping a pile-on during the week for allegedly being a soft touch for the prime minister.

In a combative half-hour ABC interview about Afghanistan and Covid-19 — which frequently threatened to degenerate into outright hostility — Speers and the Prime Minister continually spoke over each other, with an exasperated Morrison telling his inquisitor on at least four occasions to “let me finish”. A transcript prepared by the PM’s office for the media counted Speers as “interrupting” Morrison 26 times.

Now here’s a Media Watch Dog scoop. MWD’s part-time word counter discovered that – in its hurry to get the transcript out on Sunday – the PMO missed four interruptions by David (“Oh yes, I’m the Great Interrupter”) Speers. In fact, there were 30 interruptions which led to such an exchange as:

David Speers: [Interrupting] I understand that, Prime Minister — I’m sorry to keep asking this question.

Scott Morrison: And, David, if you’d let me finish. Please, David, no, I’m sorry, David, if you’d let me finish.

David Speers: — Whether you agreed or disagreed with —

Scott Morrison: I’m sorry, David. I’m going to insist on finishing my answer….

At the end of the interview Speersy went to talk to the Insiders panel on the virtual couch and spoke to The Australian’s Cameron Stewart.  Let’s go to the transcript to see how this commenced:

David Speers: Welcome to you all.  Uh, a bit to unpack there.  We might start with Afghanistan.  Um, the Prime Minister [sigh] – defending the decision to withdraw. But Cam, I gotta ask you – just listening to what he said there – do you think Australia was all on board with the American withdrawal?

Cameron Stewart: I think Australia didn’t have a choice –

David Speers:  [interjecting] That’s clear.

How about that? Having interrupted the PM on 30 occasions, Speersy asked his panel member the first question – which ran for 47 words – and interrupted him after he had spoken a mere 7 words.

It didn’t matter all that much since David Speers essentially agreed with panellist Cameron Stewart who essentially agreed with panellist Karen Middleton who essentially agreed with panellist Shalailah Medhora who essentially agreed with Speersy. In other words a typical Insiders program during the reign of the Clark/Speers Duo.  Now here’s a modest proposal. If ABC Insiders executive director Samuel Clark wants to cut down the program’s high level of interruptions – why not let Speersy interview Speersy?

David Speers – Media Interrupter Of The Week.

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. 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.


Thanks to the avid Launceston reader who drew Media Watch Dog’s attention to ABC Radio National Breakfast’s Poets’ Day on Friday the 13th 2021.  As MWD understands it, “Poets’ Day” was a joke in the public service to depict the day as occurring each and every Friday as in – Piss Off Early Tomorrow’s Saturday = POETS’ Day. Get it?

In any event, inspired by RN Breakfast sports reporter Warwick Hadfield, the program runs a “real thing” Poets’ Day on Fridays – a session which ends with a poem, albeit of uneven quality, being read by someone or other.

The guest for Poets’ Day on 13 August 2021 was none other than ABC fave Karl (“please call me doctor”) Kruszelnicki  – an ABC Radio Triple J presenter.  Your man Karl who has an MB.BS. and an Honorary Doctorate from the University of the Sunshine Coast – was presenting the Poets’ Day gig in his capacity as the ABC’s 2021 Poetry Month ambassador. In time, Doctor Karl (no relative to Doctor Who or Doctor No or to any of the doctors-in-the-house of recent memory) was to read “Sunlight and Wind are Free” by the poet Ella O’Keefe.

But, first up, RN Breakfast presenter Kylie Morris provided this introduction:

Dr Karl Kruszelnicki has built up a cult following for his no-nonsense science communication, including on the social media platform Tik Tok.  But you might not know that he’s also a keen poet.

Friday 13 August 2021 was a busy news day – with Afghanistan, COVID-19 and more besides.  But RN Breakfast devoted around 10 minutes to hear Doctor Karl discuss poetry and all that.

First up, Comrade Morris – after a deep sigh – asked Comrade Karl about communications at a time of pandemic:

Kylie Morris: [sigh] Before we get to poetry, uh, you are –  of course – considered to be a bit of a science communication guru. Um, that is something that we are all depending upon, um, happening at the moment, happening successfully. Because, of course, communication, or a lack of it, has been a focus in NSW during the outbreak. How important is it for authorities to get that messaging right?

This is how Karl Kruszelnicki BSc, MBiomedEng, MB.BS. responded:

Karl Kruszelnicki: Uh, it makes a huge difference. So, the knowledge needs to go at a personal level. So, on one hand, if you happen to be, Kylie, uh, a member of the North Wagga Sewing Group and your community believes that the 7 times tables are just not real, the other ones are okay, you’ll tend to go along with that. So, there’s the personal one, there’s the local group feeling, so you tend to believe what your group believes.

And then there’s the high level. And we saw an interesting thing coming up on [ABC TV] Media Watch with regard to the, uh, attitude of the Murdoch press to the vaccines. And when they were saying, “Oh, AstraZeneca” and making fun about it and picking on it, uh, vaccine hesitancy was high and then, when they changed over, and universally around Australia, the Murdoch press, which gives 70 per cent of Australian newsprint eyes, started saying “Get the vaccine!” and it had the same message. Blow me down, the hesitancy went down. So, it needs to happen on all levels.

What a load of absolute tosh.  For starters, what makes the learned doctor so sure that members of the North Wagga Sewing Group believe that the 7 times tables are not real? And why. And why pick on Wagga Wagga – north or south?

As to the comment about Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, it is simply false to state that the Murdoch press in Australia “made fun” of the AstraZeneca vaccine and contributed to “vaccine hesitancy”. Comrade Kruszelnicki provided no evidence for this assertion – which Comrade Morris did not challenge.  In fact, the most prominent member of the Australian media who cast doubt on the AstraZeneca vaccine was none other than, er, Doctor Karl’s fellow ABC presenter Norman (“Trust me, I’m Australia’s most trusted doctor”) Swan. See, for example, MWD Issue 555.

As for what Paul Barry said about this on ABC TV’s Media Watch – well, it was simply wrong. Moreover, vaccine hesitancy declined as concern about the Delta version of COVID-19 increased and more Australians decided to take the Astra Zeneca vaccine.

Then Comrade Morris spoke to Comrade Karl about TikTok – on which he attempts to communicate.  Then the topic turned to mere mortals who do not believe in The Teachings of Dr Karl:

Kylie Morris: And what do we do with people in our own circles? I mean, what do we do with – this is a bit of a strange phrase – but how do you speak to people in your own circles? –  and perhaps you have them in your own family Karl, or friends, who are disbelievers, who may be antivaxxers? You know, is it something that you storm away from the, from the dinner table over, or do you subtly try to engage?

Karl Kruszelnicki: Uh, it’s good to try and find common ground. And that’s the beauty of science, is that, um, an atom is an atom, and in mathematics 1 plus 1 equals 2, whether you believe it or not. And so, then you can end up at some point where they simply refuse to accept the science. And then you just simply go around that, and I have a few friends who dis – do not accept the science of climate change, even though they are qualified scientists. And then you think that there’s something else going on which could be something from their past, or it could be the group they belong to. That North Wagga Sewing Group circle man, they’re diabolical.

How about that?  Doctor Karl declared that he knows qualified scientists who, unlike him, are not eco-catastrophists on global warming.  And it’s all the fault of the North Wagga Sewing Group – which is now a hang-out for Satan and other fallen types.

After declaring, “Oh, poor Wagga”, Kylie Morris asked K.K. what poetry means to him.  Unfortunately K.K. answered.  According to the learned doctor, poets provide society’s “moral compass”.  [Can this be true of poet Ezra Pound who, as I recall, sucked up to Benito Mussolini?  ­MWD Editor.] Before coming to this conclusion, K.K. spoke about chaise longues, drones and – you’ve guessed it – Libya plus Four Corners. Really.

Your man Karl told Comrade Morris that he has become a fan of the Found Poem genre –  which is something like a “news report or Australian…stock market report” where the poet picks out words and/or phrases from somewhere, places them at random and constructs a poem from this material.

Then, like many an ABC presenter, K.K. used an interview with an ABC journalist on the ABC to plug his very own book.  The excuse being that the poet Ella O’Keefe’s “Sunlight and Wind are Free” is based on a figure in Dr Karl’s Little Book of Climate Change Science “celebrating or announcing that carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere reached 415 ppm at the start of the year 2021”. Really.  Now, Let’s hear the Poet O’Keefe’s Found Poem – as read by Comrade Karl.


Sunlight and Wind are free

A kind of glue

Your loudspeaker simultaneously broadcasts

Molten iron in precise quantities.

An excerpt from Dr Karl’s TikTok account.

And on and on Karl went – with each stanza of Comrade O’Keefe’s poem seeming even more incomprehensible than that which preceded it.

Following your man Karl, who channels Poet O’Keefe’s Poetic Licence, MWD has found this Found Poem. Enjoy! (as the cliché goes):

Harvey Norman Sells Bins

Order Online

The ABC Simultaneously Broadcasts

Leftist Garbage Suitable for Binning

As to what the ABC’s Poetry Ambassador told ABC Radio National Breakfast listeners (if listeners there were) – here is MWD’s offering:

Literary Criticism
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:

Literary Criticism
By Jackie
of Doctor Karl

My grasp of what Doc said or meant

Was only four or five %

No idea what he told that Darl

My reference is to your man Karl


Not deterred by the reality that no cause is truly lost until Jackie’s (male) co-owner embraces it, Media Watch Dog will henceforth advocate causes.  Starting with a campaign to encourage ABC managing director David Anderson to, once again, allow journalists at the taxpayer funded public broadcaster to tweet as proud ABC journalists.


Isn’t it fascinating that it’s only the comrades at the ABC who tend to get the organisation in trouble when they go on Twitter.  Including Laura Tingle, Sally Neighbour and Louise Milligan of recent memory. And, yes, Wendy Harmer. Now here’s a thought.  Could this be a result of the fact that the ABC is a Conservative Free Zone – without one conservative presenter, producer or editor for any of its prominent television, radio or online outlets?

Probably so.   The ABC does not have any problems with late night tweets (of the La Tingle kind) by conservatives in prominent positions – because it does not have any conservatives heading up prominent programs.

Once upon a time, members of the staff collective that is the ABC Soviet were allowed to attach their ABC position to their Twitter handle. Not anymore.  But what difference does this make?  Consider two recent (but, alas, now deleted) tweets by Wendy Harmer, who co-presents the Mornings program on ABC Radio Sydney 702.

After the Communist Party of China’s China Daily put out a tweet attacking Sky News presenter Sharri Markson for promulgating what it alleged was a conspiracy theory that the COVID-19 virus might have been leaked from the Institute of Virology in Wuhan, Comrade Harmer took up the CCP’s cause and sent this out:

How about that?  On 30 July 2021, The New Daily’s Quentin Dempster tweeted that “Rupert Murdoch will lead us to war with China”. See MWD Issue 553.  Now Comrade Harmer is of the view that the task had been handed down the line to the presenter of Sharri on Sky News.  For the record, except in winter, Sharri  does not qualify as “Sky News After Dark”.  So there you have it, according to Comrades Harmer and Dempster. Rupert Murdoch (plus Jerry Hall) along with Sharri Markson are about to go over the trenches and lead News Corp’s forces on a long march to Beijing.

Then, at After Lunch time on Saturday 31 July, fired up over a profile of Attorney-General Michaelia Cash in the Good Weekend  magazine, Comrade Harmer sent out this tweet:

Does anyone really care what Wendy Harmer thinks after lunch on a Saturday afternoon? Moreover, Comrade Harmer appears not to understand the difference between an opinion and a lie.  Michaelia Cash’s position on hard work may be correct or incorrect. But if it’s the latter – this does not mean that the Attorney-General is lying. It would seem that Comrade Harmer cannot tolerate those who disagree with her and believes that those who agree with her are truth-tellers while those who do not are liars.  How intolerant can an ABC presenter get?

MWD is of the view that members of the ABC Soviet, like Wendy Harmer, should not be only allowed – but also encouraged – to identify themselves on Twitter as ABC journalists.  For starters, ABC management should not be embarrassed by the opinions of its employees. Moreover, by ABC journalists’ tweets you shall know them.

So Occupy Ultimo (Virtually)! – and let Comrade Harmer of the ABC be Comrade Harmer of the ABC on Twitter.  A just cause, if ever there was one.


* * * * *

Until next time.

* * * * *