GERARD HENDERSON’S MEDIA WATCH DOG
ISSUE – NO. 560
24 September 2021
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Can You Bear It? – Dennis Atkins & Malcolm Farr grump about the PM; Emma Shortis fails to mention the CFMEU while discussing the Melbourne protests; Jessica Irvine goes from oppressed first home buyer to oppressive property investor; Romain Fathi accuses the Morrison Government of “National Treason” on the kinder-gentler Drum
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HAMISH MACDONALD PRAISES ANGELA MERKEL FOR ACTION ON CLIMATE CHANGE THAT NEVER OCCURRED
Did anyone hear Hamish Macdonald of Network 10’s leftist program The Project standing in for Fran (“I’m an activist”) Kelly as the presenter of ABC Radio National Breakfast this morning?
Midway through the program, Comrade Macdonald interviewed Thorsten Benner about next Sunday’s German elections in general and Chancellor Angela Merkel in particular. The latter is soon to step down as Germany’s head of government.
Thorsten Benner is the director of the Global Public Policy Institute in Berlin. Mr Benner provided a response which would have been unfamiliar to some ABC listeners. He did not barrack for or against the Chancellor – but gave an analysis which was both positive and critical. Let’s go to the transcript:
Thorsten Benner: The 16 years [Merkel led Germany], we had a good run. Most likely historians will describe these 16 years as a golden age of the German model. But Mrs Merkel left behind a lot of unfinished business in terms of modernising, digitising the country, and if the next government doesn’t really tackle this, it may well be the last Golden Age.
Hamish Macdonald: Is that a little unfair though? She did tackle climate change, made some pretty clear commitments, did put Germany on a path to transition….
The ABC interviewer turned interviewee proceeded to tell the German commentator where he was wrong. But Mr Benner defended his position stating, in part:
Thorsten Benner: I think if you talk to young people in Germany, who are kind of very moved by the climate crisis, they say that during these 16 years, maybe Mrs Merkel talked a good game. But that we didn’t do enough in terms of speeding up the low carbon transition of our industry and our lifestyle.
Like many an ABC presenter, Hamish Macdonald is in denial about Germany’s emissions – presumably because he wants Germany to be in advance of Australia when it comes to climate change and all that.
Here are some facts. Due to the lack of renewable wind power, Germany’s emissions from electricity increased in the first half of 2021 – despite the economic slowing due to the impact of the pandemic. Sunlight was also down. What’s more, Germany relied heavily on coal-fired energy – of low quality and high pollution. There is good reason for Germany to reconsider its decision to phase out its own nuclear power generation facilities – but this is unlikely.
In short, Hamish Macdonald is hopelessly wrong. Chancellor Merkel did not tackle climate change and did not put Germany on a clean path to transition towards a renewable future. More fake news. It was a case of Hamish Macdonald believing what he wants to believe.
RN BREAKFAST PRESENTER THROWS THE SWITCH TO EDITORIAL INDEPENDENCE TO DEFEND ABC’S LACK OF COVERAGE ON BRITAIN’S CURRENT ENERGY CRISIS
Later on in the program, Hamish Macdonald interviewed Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce. Comrade Macdonald did not appear to believe the DPM’s statement that a lack of wind power has also adversely affected Britain’s energy supply – leading to a huge surge in gas prices.
Barnaby Joyce suggested that this is a topic that RN Breakfast might like to discuss – especially in view of the fact that energy supply and cost of energy is a big issue right now – in Britain, Germany and elsewhere. This despite the fact that the nations of Western Europe have access to nuclear energy.
When Mr Joyce suggested that this is a matter which RN Breakfast might well discuss – in view of the current inability of renewables to provide dispatchable power to the grid in large parts of Western Europe – Comrade Macdonald referred to the ABC editorial independence. Really.
Your man Macdonald did not state why an adherence to editorial independence should prevent the taxpayer funded public broadcaster accepting a tip to cover an important story from Europe concerning which it is currently ignorant. But there you go.
A “KINDER GENTLER” PANELLIST ON THE DRUM ACCUSES THE PM OF “NATIONAL TREASON”
Julia Baird and Ellen Fanning – the Ladies of The Drum – like to present their program as being of the kinder/gentler genre with an emphasis on considered discussion (which is now termed “conservative”, alas).
On Monday, this is what passed for a kinder/gentler discussion concerning Australia’s involvement in the AUKUS agreement, the proposed nuclear power submarines and all that. Dr Baird (for a doctor she is) was in the chair.
The panel comprised Romain Fathi (a senior lecturer at Flinders University), Tim James, Jane Caro, Samantha Maiden and Tarang Chawla. Tim James strongly defended AUKUS and all that and two of the other panellists made contributions to the discussion.
But Comrade Fathi went over the top declaring that (i) Australia wants to become the 52nd state of the United States, (ii) Australia “has sacrificed sovereignty for, allegedly, security” and (iii) what the Morrison “government has done here is national treason”. How’s that for a kinder/gentler contribution?
Then Jane Caro contributed to the kinder/gentler discussion by declaring that “Australia’s absolutely getting up China’s nose yet again”. She described AUKUS as “terrifying, sabre-rattling nonsense”.
If all this is what Comrade Baird and Comrade Fanning have in mind by a kinder/gentler discussion – all MWD can day is: Can You Bear It?
[No, not really, now you mention it. I wonder what is taught at Flinders University about the 51st state in the United States. – MWD Editor.]
SELF-DECLARED “GRUMPY HACKS” DENNIS ATKINS & MALCOLM FARR GRUMP ABOUT THE PM
Lotsa thanks to the avid Sydney reader who drew Media Watch Dog’s attention to the Two Grumpy Hacks podcast put out by two grumpy hacks – namely Malcolm Farr (ex news.com.au) and Dennis Atkins (ex-Courier Mail). Comrade Farr and Comrade Atkins last appeared on the ABC TV’s Insiders “virtual” couch on 11 July 2021 and 1 November 2020 respectively. Let’s hope each gets more Insiders gigs – MWD needs the material.
Now, it might be expected that your man Atkins would be oh so busy right now. After all, he told readers (if readers there are) of the leftist online rag The New Daily “to put a ring around” Saturday 9 October 2021 as the date for the next Federal election. See MWD Issue 543.
If the Atkins prophecy had come to pass – Australia would be in the third week of the 2021 Federal election campaign. That’s why it’s unwise to make predictions – especially about the future (as the saying goes).
In any event, Comrade Atkins is grumping on with Comrade Farr on their Two Grumpy Hacks podcast, which is described as follows:
In America, they’re calling it the year of the howling moron – the time when politics has been hijacked by the barking mad and the criminally insane. What was once rational debate is now just a bunch of people seemingly shouting at clouds. The thing is they have the vote, so we have to listen to them and the people they’re talking to. Dennis Atkins and Malcolm Farr have been listening to this stuff for years and survived. Tune in and find out what’s happening.
So there you have it. Two Grumpy Hacks are opposed to “shouting at clouds” – overlooking the fact that this is what they themselves have been doing for eons.
In the episode of 14 September 2021, Grumpy Malcolm told Grumpy Atkins, that “this guy [the Prime Minister] talks malarkey by the metre” and asks the (leading) question: “Surely voters are picking up on that, aren’t they?”. To which Grumpy Atkins replied:
Dennis Atkins: Oh yeah, they are. Someone told me that in some focus groups that were done in Sydney and Melbourne recently, they’re asked, you know, sort of: “What do you associate most with Scott Morrison?”. And the answer was “bullshit”….
Someone told Grumpy Atkins about some focus groups somewhere in Sydney and Melbourne. How’s that for sophisticated non-moronic research? Soon after, he referred to “the friggin’ Prime Minister”. Earlier, on 24 August 2021 Grumpy Farr turned the focus on political anniversaries.
Malcolm Farr: Now, the day we’re recording this – that’s Tuesday, the 24 [August 2021]. It is also the third anniversary of Scott Morrison becoming Prime Minister. And I’m sure that, were it not for the bad weather and the Canberra lock down, there’d be street parties already going on celebrating this momentous occasion.
How about that for irony? Somewhat south of Jonathan Swift, to be sure. But at least your man Farr is trying. The grumpy discussion continued with Grumpy Farr saying that the Prime Minister “had no idea about what was going on in Afghanistan” – and adding that “he was obviously confused and discombobulated”. Yes, “discombobulated” – whatever that might mean in this context. Whereupon Grumpy Atkins declared that the Prime Minister had “absolutely no idea” about something or other.
In short, Comrades Farr and Atkins seem to believe that abuse is more appropriate than analysis. And yet they complain about the absence of “rational debate”. A lack of self-awareness, surely. Which raises the question: Can You Bear It?
EMMA SHORTIS GIVES CFMEU MEMBERS A FREE-KICK OVER THE MELBOURNE ANTI-LOCKDOWN DEMONSTRATIONS
Now Media Watch Dog is very much into a Really Honest Conversation, to use the language of MWD’s fave luvvie Emma Shortis, the research fellow in Social and Global Studies at Melbourne’s RMIT University.
On Wednesday, Dr Shortis (for a doctor she is) appeared on the ABC TV News Breakfast program’s “Newspapers” segment to discuss the news of the day. It was after the wild demonstrations which had taken place on Melbourne streets on Monday and Tuesday – ostensibly in opposition to the COVID-19 “passport” proof of vaccination.
Perhaps the wildest demonstration had been held outside the Elizabeth Street office of the CFMEU – a militant construction union. Most of the protestors at the Monday and Tuesday (but not much Sunday and Wednesday) demonstrations were CFMEU and other construction workers/tradies who were opposed to having to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in order to work on construction and building sites. They protested as to what they believe was the decision of the CFMEU to support the Andrews Labor government to implement compulsory vaccinations to work on construction sites. Above all, the demonstrators were protesting at the Andrews government’s decision to shut down the construction industry for two weeks.
But you would never know this from listening to Comrade Shortis – who managed to discuss the issue without even mentioning the CFMEU – or, indeed, any workers at all. Let’s go to the transcript:
Lisa Millar: It was hard to imagine how people must have felt if they were caught up in those protests yesterday. But there’s a full scale of the chaos in the papers today.
Emma Shortis: Yeah, that’s right. Unsurprisingly, you know, all the Melbourne papers and indeed, papers across the country are running with this story on the front page, because it is so confronting. And the Herald-Sun, of course, is running with this big headline of “anarchy” and talking about the lawless mob and what police are going to do. There’s also a really striking photo of a person in a car who’s clearly quite afraid, and the story outlines was spat on and had their car jumped on by protesters. So yeah, it’s really, it’s quite extraordinary scenes. And I was particularly struck by the front page of the Herald-Sun in this regard because, actually under this story, there’s a big banner ad for the United Australia Party proclaiming “freedom, freedom”, which I think just you know, really highlights the fraught role of media and politics in all of this.
The small so-called United Australia Party has little influence in Victoria – and is not known to have members or supporters who wear hi-vis clothes along with trade union labelling. Let’s go back to learn what Comrade Shortis had to say:
Emma Shortis: Yeah, I think so. And I think you know, as somebody who watches American politics really closely, like that’s my area of specialty. I think the echoes in what’s happening in Melbourne are really very concerning. And I think that echoes in media, and you know, what I was just talking about, about this front page story, but then about an ad for a party that is anti-vax and is sending people text messages about being anti-vax. I think, you know, those situations here in Australia and in the United States are very similar. And I think we need to be really careful.
Shortis went on to blame “the media” for demonstrations along with the “alt-right and fascism”. But never once mentioned construction workers or tradies. And Dr Shortis provided no evidence whatsoever to support her assertions that the presence of alt-right types and fascists trying to force entry into the CFMEU headquarters as being primarily responsible for the sometimes violent demonstrations.
Soon after, Michael Rowland interviewed CFMEU boss John Setka. When Comrade Setka ran the Comrade Shortis line that the demonstrations were inspired by right-wing extremist groups, your man Rowland interjected:
Michael Rowland: All of Victoria would have looked at those scenes yesterday with horror. And there were 2000 people there yesterday, John Setka. They weren’t all neo-nazis – right? There are no shortage of guys in CFMEU hoodies. It’s not just the neo-nazis and the anti-vaxxers driving this, you’ve got to concede that?
John Setka: Oh, look, there is obviously, there is construction workers there, I do concede that. Yes. And unfortunately, there is some CFMEU members there…..
So there you go. At Michael Rowland’s prompting, CFMEU boss Setka conceded that CFMEU members were involved in the Monday and Tuesday protests. However, in response to Lisa Millar’s soft questions, Emma Shortis blamed the UAP and unnamed extreme right-wing groups – without even mentioning the CFMEU. And she calls this engaging in “really honest conversation”. Can You Bear It?
NINE’S JESSICA IRVINE TELLS READERS THAT SHE HAS GRADUATED FROM AN OPPRESSED FIRST HOME BUYER TO AN OPPRESSIVE PROPERTY INVESTOR
Did anyone catch the latest offering from Nine Newspaper’s senior economics writer Jessica Irvine on 21 September? As avid readers are aware, one of Jessica Irvine’s favourite topics is Jessica Irvine – and this was no exception.
In her column in the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age on Tuesday titled “’I’d hate me, too’: Why I’ve decided to become a property investor”, Ms Irvine tells us about how, when bidding for her first home, she was disappointed to lose out to a property investor. But now it seems the tables have turned because Irvine writes that “it’s my turn to shatter the dreams of an aspiring homeowner”. How about that? – quite a metamorphosis to be sure.
Jessica Irvine went on to reassure readers of the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age that she supports abolishing negative gearing on property. What’s more, she is “scathing of the Labor Party” for abandoning property tax reform and that she does indeed “abhor the idea of taking a home from a young family who could otherwise buy it to live in”. In spite of this, Irvine tells us she has decided “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” – and joined the ranks of the property investors benefiting from the various tax incentives she is against.
Why the senior economics writer needs to justify purchasing an investment property to readers is unclear. At times it reads like she is defending herself after being accosted by a socialist at a drunken party for being a property investor.
Perhaps it’s because, only a few years ago, when still a lowly renter, Dr Irvine was sharing with her readers her dream economy. She said that “we need to reconceptualise housing as a vital service, not a vehicle for wealth accumulation” and complained about “grannies rattling around in five-bedroom homes” along with “a system of tax incentives that encourages people to become mini land barons, greedily buying up as much property as they can”. (See Sydney Morning Herald, 14 July 2016).
For the record, MWD is not criticising Ms Irvine for buying a second property – rather her need to tell us all about it. Perhaps if you are prone to changing your mind on these matters it’s best not to share your every single thought with the world. After all, you never know whether you might end up as a “grannie rattling around” in a large property.
The article also includes a plug for an investment loan with a certain bank, as well as an image of Irvine’s colour coded monthly personal budget. Perhaps this is intended to inspire readers to budget the same way. MWD is unsure of how useful this is to the majority of Australians, as Irvine includes her monthly income of $9,213.21 (presumably after tax) – which puts her in the top 3.8% of income earners.
And yes, for those with a good memory, this is the same Jessica Irvine who once complained that journalists in budget lockup would have to personally pay $4 for a coffee and $3.80 for a muffin. See Comrade Irvine’s tweet (link: http://twitter.com/jess_irvine/status/993337091936301056) dated 17 May 2018 as cited in MWD Issue 405. And now the very same senior economics editor has not only joined the property investors’ club but wants to tell us all about her home economics activities. Can You Bear It?
PATRICIA KARVELAS ON ACCOUNTABILITY
On 19 August 2021 Radio National Drive presenter Patricia Karvelas sent out the following tweet:
When Victoria had that spike in numbers over 700 in a day it rightly lead to an inquiry and the Health Minister even resigned. What’s going on in NSW? Where’s the accountability? #COVID19nsw
— Patricia Karvelas (@PatsKarvelas) August 19, 2021
At the time New South Wales had just recorded 681 new cases, whereas Victoria had only 57 new cases. Today Victoria had 733 new cases, with the 7-day average of cases still increasing. New South Wales had 1043 new cases and the 7-day average of cases has been declining for around 10 days.
We are now around 50 days since the beginning of the current outbreak in Victoria and the state has recorded over 10,000 cases in that time. In the first 50 days of the current NSW outbreak, NSW saw less than 5,000 cases.
Victoria is currently recording around 60,000 tests per day, at the equivalent point in the NSW outbreak around 100,000 tests per day were being recorded. By population NSW is around 25% larger than Victoria, yet had 65% higher testing numbers.
So, the Victorian outbreak is currently seeing a faster increase in cases than the NSW outbreak at the same point – despite more vaccinations, less testing and harsher restrictions. And yet Patricia Karvelas is not calling for an inquiry or for the Victorian Health Minister to resign. Where’s the accountability?
Media Watch Dog’s Five Paws Award was inaugurated in Issue Number 26 (4 September 2009) during the time of Nancy (2004-2017). The first winner was ABC TV presenter Emma Alberici. Ms Alberici scored for remembering the Nazi-Soviet Pact of 23 August 1939 whereby Hitler and Stalin divided Eastern Europe between Germany and the Soviet Union. And for stating that the Nazi-Soviet Pact had effectively started the Second World War, since it was immediately followed by Germany’s invasion of Poland (at a time when the Soviet Union had become an ally of Germany) and the Soviet Union’s conquest of the Baltic States.
Over the years, the late Nancy’s Five Paws Award has become one of the world’s most prestigious gongs – rating just below the Nobel Prize and Academy Awards.
CHRIS MERRITT CORRECTS SENATOR HANSON-YOUNG HOWLER
Senator Sarah Hanson-Young, on Twitter 15 September, criticised Christian Porter for accepting funds from a blind trust to pay for his legal expenses incurred after his defamation action against the ABC. Hanson-Young declared that she was able to take legal action “after suffering harassment in the parliament” with the support of a crowdfund but, unlike Porter’s blind trust, the identities of her donors had been listed on the parliament register.
In his “Prejudice” column in The Australian today, Chris Merritt reported that he had checked Senator Hanson-Young’s declaration of interest. Guess what? It reveals that many of the crowd-funders supporting the Greens senator had, well, unusual names. As Chris Merritt wrote today:
Hanson-Young’s entry shows the senator has allowed a handful of financial backers to hide their identities behind obviously fake names such as “Phoenix The whippet girl” and “Poopy Head”…. They include: A Non, John51884010, Mary W, Anna B, Buzz Rainbow wolf, Geoff CB, Anne5597418226387985, Xander B, M G, stef stef, Dave C, Bin H, Nikki, E T and Leanne W. For the senator to view this as somehow superior to Porter’s blind trust is ludicrous.
Chris Merritt called Senator Hanson-Young’s office on Wednesday to check her “side of things”. He added, “It would be nice to know, why for example, she accepted money from Poopy Head.” The senator had not returned Merritt’s call at the time of writing.
Fancy that? Senator Hanson-Young suddenly appears to have gone into “no comment” mode.
Chris Merritt: Five Paws
There is nothing that Nine or the ABC or The Saturday Paper likes so much as a one-time Liberal Party politician or staffer who turns into a constant critic of the Coalition. That’s why the disaffected former Liberal Party leader John Hewson gets such a run – formerly in the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age and now with The [Boring] Saturday Paper and regularly on the ABC. Niki Savva is a critic of the contemporary Liberal Party – unless it is run by the likes of Malcolm Turnbull. So she fits in well with Nine Newspapers since appearing on its opinion pages in August 2021.
Due to enormous readership-driven demand, MWD will monitor Niki Savva’s columns which now appear on Thursdays in the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age. Here we go:
It’s just as well Scott Morrison exists. Otherwise Niki Savva would have to invent some other Liberal Party politician to bag each week.
As avid readers are aware, Ms Savva commenced writing as a columnist for Nine Newspapers in early August. The powers-that-be at the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age decided that the paper needed more sheilas and fewer blokes on the opinion pages. So it was out with Morrison-critic John Hewson and in with Morrison-critic Niki Savva. Here’s a summary of The Thought of Niki Savva, week-by-week so far:
▪ 5 August 2021. Scott Morrison is hopeless because – Australians “question whether he has the physical, intellectual or mental ability to lead, to earn trust, build coalitions, forge consensus, or be something more than a moneybags, a punching bag or a spokesman for the premiers”. That was the bad news. Dr Savva (for a doctor she should be) concluded her analysis by stating that the PM’s condition “is not yet terminal”.
▪ 12 August 2021. Scott Morrison is hopeless because – he recently “let loose, hurling the F-bomb at [NSW treasurer Dominic] Perrottet”. Readers are not advised whether he caught it. This week’s medical advice is that the PM “needs to keep his temper in check and give his ticker a workout”.
▪ 19 August 2021. Scott Morrison is hopeless because – he has “a habit of allowing problems to become crises before mishandling them”.
▪ 26 August 2021. Scott Morrison is hopeless because – he has made “terrible misjudgments”. So much so that the PM has had to junk a cunning plan to call an election “within days”. The evidence for the existence of any such plan? Zip.
▪ 2 September 2021. Scott Morrison is hopeless because – if the PM loses the next election the Liberal Party will experience an “inevitable existential crisis”. And if he wins the next election, “the Liberals’ identity crisis will deepen”. Get it? A real lose-lose situation.
▪ 9 September 2021. Scott Morrison is hopeless because – he presides over a government which is “tone deaf” and has an “aversion to transparency” that “remains deplorably consistent”.
▪ 16 September 2021. Scott Morrison is hopeless because – under his leadership some traditional Liberals believe that the Liberal Party “has gone too far to the right and is being taken over by Christian fundamentalists”. No names are given concerning the identity as to any of the “some traditional Liberals”.
▪ 23 September 2021. Scott Morrison is hopeless because – “despite his momentous national security announcement [on submarines] last week…he delayed making a tough call, leaving him open to accusations of backstabbing and deception from a great friend and ally” and in doing so “robbed himself of a much-needed reset”. All this in the lead paragraph. The reference was to French president Emmanuel Macron and France – but neither is mentioned until the third paragraph.
It all sounds pretty grim, don’t you think? But a solution is at hand. Niki Savva referred to the United States’ president as “Sleepy Joe Biden” and to the British prime minister Boris Johnson as someone “who has had trouble counting the number of children he has”. She wrote that President Biden looked like “he should have stayed in bed” while Prime Minister Johnson “looked like he had just got out of bed”. [Really? Perhaps Ms Savva should attend Nancy’s Courtesy Classes re which see MWD Issue 558, where she would be taught that cheap shots do not an analysis make. – MWD Editor.]
So, what’s the solution? – MWD hears avid readers cry. Well, Ms Savva has spoken to retired Australian diplomat John McCarthy. The Sage McCarthy declared that none of Joe Biden, Boris Johnson and Scott Morrison “is up to the challenges ahead”. And so, Niki Savva’s most recent epistle to SMH/Age readers endeth as follows:
McCarthy names two leaders he believes would be capable. One, Angela Merkel, has just retired and the other – cue the French horn – is Emmanuel Macron.
So there you have it. If only Australia was led by Monsieur Macron all would be well. Apart, that is, from Australia’s conventional version of the French nuclear-powered barracuda-class submarines.
MWD cannot wait until next week since, if precedent is a good indicator, Niki Savva will tell Nine Newspapers that Scott Morrison is hopeless because….
Media Watch Dog fave William (Bill) Thompson established the website “Outside Insiders” – in which he would attempt (sometimes unsuccessfully) to interview politicians and commentators entering and exiting the ABC Melbourne studio where Insiders is filmed. Mr Thompson has been a bit short of talent in 2020 and 2021 – due to the pandemic, since many of the interviews/panel discussions are done online. So, for a time at least, MWD has borrowed Bill Thompson’s (clever) title – and presents a print version of “Outside Insiders”.
INSIDERS 19 SEPTEMBER 2021
SPEERSY’S (NEAR RECORD) 23 INTERRUPTIONS OF SENATOR BIRMINGHAM
What a stunning performance by ABC TV Insiders presenter David (“Interruptus”) Speers last Sunday. When interviewing Simon Birmingham, Comrade Speers managed to interrupt the Finance Minister 23 times in a mere 17-minute interview. This nearly matches Speersy’s previous record with Scott Morrison (30 times in a 22-minute interview) and exceeds his effort with Stuart Robert (15 times in a 13-minute interview).
Which raises the question. How does someone get a soft interview with David Speers on Insiders? Answer – join the Greens and become a Greens’ leader like Adam Bandt – who received an oh-so-soft and interruption-free interview from Speersy on 13 June 2021. Re which see MWD Issue 549.
ABC/GUARDIAN AXIS AT WORK
But MWD digresses. Last Sunday’s Insiders was yet another manifestation of the ABC/Guardian Axis – in that 50 per cent of the on-air talent was from the left-wing Guardian or the ABC. Namely, David Speers (presenter) and The Guardian reporter Amy Remeikis as a panellist. The “Talking Pictures” segment was presented as usual by The Guardian’s photographic editor Michael Bowers
Here are the highlights of what could be seen on the ABC TV program at Hangover Time on Sunday.
Peter Hartcher Bags Labor’s Joel Fitzgibbon
A somewhat smug Peter Hartcher of Nine Newspapers [Is there any other Peter Hartcher than the smug one? – MWD Editor.] decided to bag the Labor Party member for Hunter, Joel Fitzgibbon – who has announced that he will not contest the next election. Let’s go to the transcript as your man Hartcher dismisses Joel Fitzgibbon without ever mentioning his success in moderating the anti-mining policy which Labor took to the 2019 election:
David Speers: Peter, uh, where do these moves leave Labor though at the end of the day? Kristina Keneally shifting into the Lower House, Joel Fitzgibbon heading to the exits. Where do you think it leaves them?
Peter Hartcher: Well, Joel Fitzgibbon heading to the exits would be welcomed by, uh, almost the entire, uh, Federal Parliamentary Party. Because he’s become, uh, a source of frustration and irritation to them finding a, you know, a point of differentiation for himself as a sort of a, a sort of a right-wing advocate, uh, within the Party. They haven’t enjoyed and welcomed that, and Joel has effectively acknowledged that. I mean, he was replaced as the convenor of the right faction of the Labor Party and now he leaves the parliament because he knows that his career’s not going anywhere, even if Labor wins government again. So, that’s, that’s Joel.
So that’s, that’s Peter. For a while MWD thought that your man Hartcher’s somewhat verbose first sentence was, er, not going anywhere – to use a Hartcherism. No other view was heard.
The Guardian’s Amy Remeikis Bags the Liberal Party’s Christian Porter and Defends the ABC
Then Comrade Speersy asked Comrade Amy about Christian Porter, who was soon to resign from the Morrison government ministry since he declined to reveal the names of those who contributed to a blind trust which stumped up some money to pay toward his legal bills to cover his legal action against the ABC for defamation. This was the response when the ABC’s David Speers asked his fellow ABC/Guardian Axis member for an assessment:
Amy Remeikis: …It was Christian Porter’s decision to launch defamation action, it was Christian Porter’s decision to choose the counsel that he chose, it was Christian Porter’s decision to go into mediation and ultimately that defamation action was discontinued with a little adjustment made to the story in terms of an explanation. No changes – material changes – to the story, and also no damages paid. Christian Porter has made the decisions all the way around….
It was one of those oh-so-familiar Insiders where almost everyone agreed with almost everyone else on almost everything. So The Guardian’s political reporter was not challenged about her interpretation of Christian Porter’s defamation case against the ABC. Here’s another view.
– When the settlement was reached, the ABC paid Porter’s mediation costs. Porter paid none of the ABC’s legal expenses. Comrade Remeikis did not tell Insiders viewers this.
– What Comrade Remeikis referred to as “a little adjustment to the story in terms of explanation” was something else. The ABC agreed to attach a note to the online version of Louise Milligan’s article on ABC Online saying that the allegations contained in the story about Christian Porter would not meet the standard of proof which prevails in the criminal (beyond reasonable doubt) or civil (the balance of probabilities) jurisdictions. In other words, the allegations against Porter were just allegations which could not be proven to any known standard. Remeikis did not tell Insiders viewers this.
The Guardian’s Michael Bowers Dresses Up in a Laura Tingle Tee Shirt
Then, it was time for the “Talking Pictures” segment. Can you believe this? Insiders’ man from The Guardian, Michael Bowers, decided to do the gig dressed, from the waist up, in a Laura Tingle tee shirt. It read: “Laura Tingle – is not having any of your shit.”
And so the ABC/Guardian Axis was consummated, so to speak, on the taxpayer funded public broadcaster during the ABC’s “Talking Pictures” presented by The Guardian’s Michael Bowers.
CRIKEY’S CAMERON WILSON ON THE PRIME MINISTER’S SOCIAL MEDIA PROBLEM – OR IS IT?
Avid readers may have been too busy reading MWD last week to notice Crikey’s “Big Scoop” published on 17 September 2021.
After a deep investigation, which author Cameron Wilson suggests began early in 2021, Crikey made a major discovery – the Prime Minister’s personal social media accounts. That’s right. Earlier this year, Crikey uncovered what it believed to be PM Scott Morrison’s Spotify account (a music and podcast streaming service). This enabled Crikey to find what they believe are the PM’s other social media accounts – Facebook and Instagram. A shocking discovery, to be sure.
One of the pieces of evidence Crikey puts forward is the image below: A photo that was posted to the Facebook account and a map showing where the photo was believed to be taken – Kirribilli House. Quite the smoking gun, don’t you think? Crikey also shared the profile photo used on the accounts – an image thought to be of the PM’s shoes.
Crikey attempted to confirm the Facebook account does indeed belong to Scott Morrison by initiating a call to the account, which was declined. Quelle Surprise!
While the accounts allow someone to find the profiles of Prime Minister Morrison’s friends and family, there is little information that is available to be viewed by the public. Crikey even takes the time to note that the PM does not get many likes and comments on his posts. Hardly breaking news.
Crikey’s reasoning for publishing the results of this underwhelming investigation is that the Prime Minister’s personal social media could be a security risk. The article references a BuzzFeed article from May 2021 about finding President Joe Biden’s account on a money transferring app, which noted it may pose security risks such as stalking and espionage. Somewhat more revealing than a pic of the PM’s (alleged) shoes.
Cameron Wilson also used this as an opportunity to take a dig at Scott Morrison’s comments on the pros and cons of social media at an Australian Christian Churches conference earlier this year. Convenient, eh?
Sure, there are issues associated with a public figure having personal information available to the public. But MWD thinks that Crikey, which proudly proclaims to “dig deeper” and do “fearless journalism”, might be overstating the results of this investigation. However, MWD will happily publish a correction if pics of the PM’s shoes do lead to any espionage.
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Until next time.
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