GERARD HENDERSON’S MEDIA WATCH DOG
ISSUE – NO. 580
18 March 2022
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ISSUE 580: ADDENDUM 21 March 2022
SAMANTHA MAIDEN v MARK KENNY ON INSIDERS
Last week Media Watch Dog got into trouble with an avid reader for attributing the term “worse is better” to former communist dictator Josef Stalin. However, a few issues ago, MWD got into trouble for attributing the term to former communist dictator Vladimir Lenin. Perhaps the better view is that neither said this. In any event, there is some sense in this particular word usage. In that the worse the ABC gets in terms of the lack of political balance, the better the taxpayer funded public broadcaster is for Hendo and the MWD team.
Viewed in this light, ABC TV’s Insiders on Sunday was somewhat of a disappointment. The Guardian/ABC Axis was only represented by just one Guardian comrade (Michael Bowers). The panel was chaired by David Speers (ABC) and consisted of Mark (“Call me Professor”) Kenny of the Australian National University, Samantha Maiden (news.com.au) and Greg Sheridan (The Australian). In short, the Guardian/ABC Axis was at 17 per cent compared with 83 per cent of a couple of weeks ago. That’s not good for Jackie’s (male) co-owner.
The star performer was Samantha Maiden who, along with The Australian’s Sharri Markson broke the story about how the late Labor senator Kimberley Kitching had said that she was bullied by the Labor Senate leadership team – Penny Wong, Kristina Keneally and Katy Gallagher. Ms Markson revealed that the late senator described Labor’s senators as “Mean Girls”.
Samantha Maiden managed to get her story across in spite of some interruptions from Speersy and one occasion when everyone spoke over everyone else. Or so it seemed. Early on, Ms Maiden stated her position. She said that she was a long-time friend and admirer of Senator Wong and that she had known Senator Kitching for quite some time – adding that Kitching had spoken to her for her forthcoming book on Parliament House. The Maiden explanation is well worth following up for those who missed it.
Enter Mark Kenny. He was quite unsympathetic to Kimberley Kitching’s political position prior to her sudden death – claiming that Labor’s Senate leaders “did not trust her” since she was friendly with Coalition politicians and Senator Pauline Hanson. The learned professor added that Kitching “was very much a China hawk”. How bad is that?
Now, Samantha Maiden declared her associations with Senator Wong and the late Senator Kitching. But Comrade Kenny did not declare that he once worked with a South Australian State Labor politician who, like Senator Wong, was a member of the South Australian Labor Party’s left-wing faction. Yet Insiders producer Samuel Clark is invariably banging on about the need for full disclosure – except, as the saying goes, when he isn’t.
[Perhaps this could have been run in your hugely popular Can You Bear It? segment. Just a thought. – MWD Editor.]
LABOR’S MARK RANN v NO ONE ON AM
Without question, Peter Malinauskas led Labor to a stunning victory in the South Australian election on Saturday – even if SA has been very much a Labor state over the past half century. So there is reason for a program like ABC Radio’s AM to analyse the election – with respect to both why the Labor Party succeeded and the Liberal Party failed.
However, it was not to be. AM presenter Sabra Lane spoke to former South Australian Labor premier Mike Rann. Fair enough. But that was it. No current or former Liberal Party South Australian politician appeared on the program. It was unbalanced as that.
After spending some time analysing the election result, Mr Rann went on to bag South Australian Liberal Party leader Steven Marshall plus former Liberal Party prime minister John Howard plus current Liberal Party Prime Minister Scott Morrison. Not much political balance there.
SABRA LANE AND LAURA TINGLE IGNORE MEAN GIRLS WHILE VIRGINIA TRIOLI SUGGESTS THAT CONTROVERSY HAS BEEN WEAPONISED BY LABOR’S RIGHT-WING (BUT NOT LEFT-WING) FACTION
Without question, the biggest domestic news story in recent days turns on the aftermath of the death of Victorian Labor Senator Kimberley Kitching and her allegations about the Labor senators she called Mean Girls – as told by those closest to her.
However, the ABC’s most influential current affairs programs – ABC TV’s 7.30 and ABC Radio’s AM – completely ignored the Mean Girls story on Thursday and today with respect to AM – and Wednesday and Thursday with respect to 7.30. Sabra Lane presents AM from Hobart, the city in Australia that is the most hostile to the Coalition and Laura Tingle is the 7.30’s chief political correspondent based in Canberra. Talk about burying the lead – as the (media) saying goes.
And then there was ABC TV Q&A last night. Wasn’t it great to see the show back to normal? You know – a live audience containing a baying mob which booed Victorian Liberal Party Senator Sarah Henderson – but no one else. A 3:2 panel consisting of three left-of-centre types (Roxane Gay, Anne Aly and Thomas Mayor) and two-right-of-centre types (Henderson and Pru Goward). Plus presenter Virginia Trioli, who exhibited a certain animus towards Senator Henderson but not towards Western Australian Labor MP Anne Aly.
There was no specific question about the Mean Girls affair – but La Trioli introduced the topic after a discussion that followed a question claiming that the Liberal Party and its leader had a women problem. Let’s go to the transcript as the presenter directs the discussion back to the topic and asks Sarah Henderson for a response:
Libby Black asked: This week the Prime Minister issued branding for a women’s forum that managed to unflatteringly depict women’s bodies and include a phallus. He then reverse fat-shamed the leader of the Opposition, somehow implying that Mr Albanese by losing weight was now “inauthentic’. I’m wondering, does the Liberal Party still have a “woman problem” and is this the kind of leadership that Australians can expect?
Virginia Trioli: …So, let’s return to the question. Is that the kind of leadership we can expect to see from your government?
Sarah Henderson: Oh, look, I think that’s a bit of an unfair question, Virginia –
Virginia Trioli: [interjecting] I don’t think –
Sarah Henderson: – I think –
Virginia Trioli: [interjecting] – the [inaudible] question –
Sarah Henderson: – the Prime Minister –
Virginia Trioli: [interjecting] – was unfair.
Sarah Henderson: – was really trying to say that a leopard doesn’t change his or her spots. And we do know that Anthony Albanese has a track record of supporting high taxes on housing, on –
Anne Aly: [interjecting] What’s that got to do with how he looks?
[Booing from audience directed at Henderson]
Virginia Trioli: [interjecting] No, we’re – we’re segueing into –
[Booing from audience directed at Henderson]
Sarah Henderson: – And – no –
Virginia Trioli: [interjecting] No, no, no –
Anne Aly: [interjecting] What’s that got to do with how he looks?
Virginia Trioli: – No, we’re segueing into a political rant that doesn’t relate to the question.
Sarah Henderson: No, I’m not ranting –
Virginia Trioli: [interjecting] No –
Sarah Henderson: – but let me just make this point –
Virginia Trioli: – that’s not what the question was, Sarah Henderson.
Sarah Henderson: – is that the Prime Minister was talking about authenticity and that he’s not going to change –
Virginia Trioli: [interjecting] And that being –
Sarah Henderson: – who he is.
Virginia Trioli: – overweight is authentic, is what he was saying.
How about that? Sarah Henderson had three panellists opposed to her views and also had to handle the presenter who not only interjected on her but also accused her of engaging in a “rant”. How unprofessional can an ABC presenter get?
When it came to a discussion about the late Kimberley Kitching, La Trioli presented the Mean Girls controversy as merely “a very bitter factional fight for survival that the late Kimberley Kitching and Bill Shorten’s [right-wing Labor] faction is in right now”. Comrade Trioli described this as being “really at the heart of the issue…as well as the bullying and mistreatment of Kimberley Kitching.” Labor’s Anne Aly agreed. Later on, Virginia Trioli posed this leading question:
Virginia Trioli: So, you don’t think that her – that her death is actually being weaponised by, by some in her faction who are fighting for political survival? Is that what’s going on here?
Senator Henderson did not agree. But Ms Aly agreed with the ABC presenter. So it was another uneven match – two against one. Perhaps next time the ABC has La Trioli chairing the discussion it should also have her as a panellist, in the left-of-centre team.
[How fascinating that Q+A’s executive producer approved of a question which accused the PM of “reverse fat-shaming” rather than, say, “thin shaming”. – MWD Editor]
KATHARINE MURPHY WANTS EVERYONE TO SHUT-UP ABOUT THE “MEAN GIRLS” CONTROVERSY – FOR A WHILE AT LEAST
To experience the reality of The Guardian/ABC Axis, avid Media Watch Dog readers need to do no more than tune in every Thursday morning to ABC Radio National Breakfast’s segment titled “Politics with Katharine Murphy”.
It is a weekly event where Katharine (“Malcolm calls me Murpharoo”) Murphy – political editor of The Guardian Australia – is interviewed by Patricia (“Please call me PK”) Karvelas – the presenter of RN Breakfast. A splendid occasion in which the green/left activist journalist Comrade Murphy is interviewed by the green/left activist journalist Comrade Karvelas.
Once a week PK leads with a question or comment with which Murpharoo invariably happens to agree – and then PK agrees with Murpharoo and so on. It’s a bit like a discussion that might take place over coffee at the Guardian Australia or an ABC café.
As pointed out in Stop Press today, many journalists and producers have been reluctant to discuss the allegation that the late Senator Kimberley Kitching called the “Mean Girls”- namely, the Labor Senate leadership team of Senator Penny Wong, Senator Kristina Keneally and Senator Katy Gallagher – had bullied her in the Senate work environment. Senator Kitching borrowed the term Mean Girls from the 2004 film of the same name – the script of which was written by Tina Fey.
Let’s go to the transcript of the exchange yesterday when PK raised the Kitching affair at the end of the interview with Murpharoo:
Patricia Karvelas: Just briefly. Anthony Albanese is standing by his senior female colleagues, saying he finds the, and I quote, “Mean Girls tag” to be extraordinarily disrespectful. Now, this whole discussion is rather unseemly given Kimberley Kitching hasn’t even had a funeral yet. But clearly there is some leaking going on about the treatment of Kimberley Kitching. Some people are being lined up in relation to that. Anthony Albanese won’t be looking into it. There won’t be a sort of an inquiry into it. What’s going on here?
Katharine Murphy: Well, look, this is a, as you’ve said, Patricia, really deeply uncomfortable conversation. I mean, I can’t really believe it’s happening, actually, given that Kimberley Kitching’s funeral, as you’ve pointed out, isn’t until Monday. I think it’d be useful if people could bear that in the mind, for the sake of the late senator’s friends and family, who are listening to this whole cavalcade. Uh, in terms of what’s at the heart of it – well, uh, there were obviously conflicts between Kitching and Labor’s Senate team. I don’t think that information is particularly new or revelatory. All I would say is there’s generally two sides to every story. And I think, for the sake of the dignity I referred to a moment ago, it really is best to leave it there.
Patricia Karvelas: Katharine, thank you.
Yes, Katharine, thank you for the lecture on dignity and so on. But what a load of absolute tosh. In The Australian on Wednesday, Sharri Markson broke the story on how allegedly Kimberley Kitching – a member of Victorian Labor’s right-wing faction – had been bullied by the Wong/Keneally/Gallagher trio in the lead-up to her sudden death of heart failure. An obituary about Senator Kitching appeared in the previous edition of MWD – Issue 579. She was a good friend of The Sydney Institute.
MWD has not contacted Sharri Markson about her sources. However, it is widely known that the late senator’s friends and family have spoken out about the issue. Including former Labor MP Michael Danby and such journalists as News Corp’s Andrew Bolt and Nine’s Rob Harris. No member of the Kitching family has objected to the reportage of these stories. Moreover Samantha Maiden, who reported aspects of the story soon after Kitching’s death, has said that her friends and family want her story told.
Yet Comrade Murphy has declared that everyone should shut up, at least until the funeral is held. The Labor senators put out a statement today stating, briefly, that the allegations are not true.
According to Murpharoo, there was “nothing particularly new or revelatory” in Markson’s report. This is utter nonsense. Before Wednesday it was not known for example that Kitching had used the term “Mean Girls” with respect to three of her Labor colleagues.
As to Comrade Murphy’s claim that “there’s generally two sides to every story”. Well, Murpharoo never evoked this belief when allegations were run by The Guardian/ABC Axis about Cardinal George Pell, former Coalition minister Christian Porter and former Coalition minister Alan Tudge concerning the Pell, Porter and Tudge cases.
Indeed on Insiders on 6 March 2022, Murpharoo declared that she had “no words” about Mr Tudge’s defence with respect to allegations made against him by a one-time female staffer. Yet, within less than a minute, Murpharoo was bagging Alan Tudge with plenty of words – and described his behaviour as “not appropriate”.
So it’s okay for Murpharoo and her fellow comrades to run campaigns when they choose to. However, when friends of the late Kimberley Kitching speak out about what she said had happened to her – we should all remain silent out of respect for the recently departed. And, according to the Teaching of Saint Murpharoo, we should all remember that there’s generally two sides to every story. Except, apparently, when Murpharoo and her comrades in The Guardian/ABC Axis believe that there’s only one side. Can You Bear It?
WHERE’S THE LEFTIST MEDIA SISTERHOOD WHEN IT’S NEEDED AT THE FRONT?
While on the sad topic of the late Kimberley Kitching, it’s proper to ask where are the voices of those who have complained about the (alleged) women problem of the Coalition in general and Prime Minister Scott Morrison in particular? And, more importantly, where is the leftist Sisterhood when they are needed at the front line to defend women?
When MWD last checked, there had been a Wall of Silence from the likes of Lisa Wilkinson (Network 10), Jane Caro (Nine), Amy Remeikis (The Guardian Australia), Sally Neighbour (ABC), Laura Tingle (ABC), Julia Baird (Nine) and one-time Liberal Party MP turned author Julia Banks – among other Morrison antagonists in the Sisterhood. Likewise with respect to male supporters of the Sisterhood like Peter FitzSimons and Mike Carlton.
So, when allegations are made by the likes of Ms Banks that she was bullied by unnamed Coalition politicians, the leftist media joins in the chorus of condemnation of the Prime Minister. But when evidence appears that the late Kimberley Kitching said she was bullied by senior Labor senators who are named – and the Labor leader declines to investigate the matter – there is a Great Silence. This is the kind of occasion that gives hypocrisy a bad name. Can You Bear It?
WHAT A JOKE: PETER FITZSIMONS’ READERS NOMINATE COMEDIAN SHAUN MICALLEF AS AUSTRALIA’s PRESIDENT ZELENSKYY
While on the topic of Nine’s Peter FitzSimons – aka the Red Bandannaed One – did anyone read his “5 Minutes with Fitz” column in last Sunday’s Sun-Herald? As avid MWD readers are only too well aware, 5 minutes with Fitz – the “Look-at-Me bloke”, who wore a red rag on his head for over a decade – can seem an awfully long time.
In the last issue, The Red Bandannaed One was awarded MWD’s (prestigious) gong for Media Fool of the Week. This was well earned and paid tribute to Fitz’s (ridiculous) comment about Ukraine’s resistance to Russia’s invasion. He pointed out that, at a time of crisis, the one-time comedian Volodymyr Zelenskyy stepped up as an heroic leader of Ukraine in the face of the Russian invasion. Fitz asked which comedian might perform the role for Australia in a similar situation. He suggested – believe it or not – the supercilious Mark Humphries. Really.
Clearly Comrade Fitz has no shame. Last Sunday he returned to the theme in his Sun-Herald column and declared that Shaun Micallef (who, in Barry Humphries’ term, identifies as a comedian) had been voted by Fitz’s readers as the man for the job – finishing ahead of Andrew Denton and Magda Szubanski. The only “news” from the interview is that Comrade Micallef declared that he is “not only a snivelling coward” but also “extraordinarily self-centred”. Does anyone really care about what the ABC’s lead comedian thinks about the world and/or himself? In short – Can You Bear It?
MIKE CARLTON BLAMES PUTIN FOR THE COST OF FILLING-UP HIS DIESEL-GUZZLING CAR
The reference to Mike (“I’ll pour the Gin”) Carlton earlier in this segment is sure to pose this question from avid readers – what’s the Sage of Avalon Beach up to? Well, apart from recently attending the annual Peter FitzSimons/Lisa Wilkinson leftist luvvie knees-up in their pile on Sydney’s Lower North Shore, Comrade Carlton has been opining about the cost of fuel. Like this:
Just filled my car with diesel, >70 litres. 🔥$ 172. 🔥
I blame the fascist Putin.
— Mike Carlton (@MikeCarlton01) March 12, 2022
So the well-heeled Comrade Carlton filled up his car with diesel last Saturday – and paid $172 for about 70 litres. Fancy that. It appears that the 70-something eco-catastrophist of Avalon Beach drives a somewhat large vehicle. Whatever for? Moreover, diesel is more carbon intensive than petrol – something that someone who tweets about climate change should know.
As to Vladimir Putin, he’s not a fascist – he’s a communist. The ex-KGB operative Putin admires the communist dictator Josef Stalin – not Adolf Hitler or Benito Mussolini. Has Comrade Carlton nothing better to do on a Saturday arvo then tweet about his (financial) pain at the (diesel) pump as well as reveal his historical ignorance? Can You Bear It?
HOLD THE FRONT PAGE: NIKI SAVVA BAGS SCOTT MORRISON (AGAIN)
Avid Media Watch Dog readers have become intensely interested in the work of Niki Savva, who writes a weekly column each Thursday for The Age and Sydney Morning Herald. Or does she really? Ms Savva – who calls herself a “conservative leftie”, whatever that might mean – appears to have only one topic. Namely, Australian national politics with an obsession about Prime Minister Scott Morrison – whom she depicts as truly hopeless. Week after week.
As mentioned in Issue 578, since this “conservative leftie” joined Nine Newspapers in August last year – all of her columns, except one, have bagged the PM to a greater or lesser extent. Which raises the question – was there any change yesterday when the topic of the day about Labor’s Mean Girls and all that opened up the possibility of writing about Australia’s national politics concerning how the Labor Opposition leader Anthony Albanese was handling what some regard as Labor’s women problem?
In the online edition of the SMH yesterday, Ms Savva’s column was titled “Blame-shifting and stunts won’t win Morrison an election”. She depicted Scott Morrison as, variously, (i) engaging in “frantic efforts”, (ii) becoming “increasingly desperate”, (iii) “clearly confusing himself with Shakespeare’s Caesar” and (iv) pretending to be everything “from a hairdresser to a welder” confident that “goofy pictures” will “grab voters’ attention”.
What’s more, Ms Savva found lotsa Liberals who were willing to bag the PM. Here’s a list of her sources: (i) “Liberals”, (ii) “they”, (iii) “they”, (iv) “they”, (v) “they”, (vi) “they”, (vii) “another plugged-in Liberal”, (viii) “one Liberal MP”, (ix) Liberal “MPs” (x) “the truly depressed” and (xi) “the optimists”. Er, that’s it.
Niki Savva bagging Scott Morrison again. Quelle Surprise!
[I note that today the Sydney Morning Herald ran seven letters in its print edition about Ms Savva’s rant of the previous day. All were in agreement with the Savva view that the PM is hopeless. Which tells us a lot about the SMH’s readership base these days. – MWD Editor.]
In this much requested segment we catch up with Dan Ilic – a self-described “investigative humourist”, host/producer of leftist podcast A Rational Fear and executive producer/show-runner of one of MWD’s fave ABC shows Tonightly with Tom Ballard.
COMRADE ILIC’s LAST (BILLBOARD) STAND
As avid readers may know, your man Ilic raised money around the time of the 2021 Glasgow Climate Change conference to create some signage critical of the Australian government – a project that was very successful in raising awareness of Dan Ilic. This was covered in issues 561 and 564.
The campaign raised so much money it became a larger project called “JokeKeeper: Shaming Australia’s climate inaction”.
A comment by Ilic on the Indiegogo page – the site used to raise the funds – breaks down the finances and the total spent on the billboards:
Donation to Wanagan & Janalingou [sic] Defenders / SeedMob: $11k
We have roughly set aside another:
$40k for billboards
$10k for the podcast
$50k for video content / real world pranks
The podcast presumably is in reference to Ilic’s A Rational Fear podcast – which existed long before the JokeKeeper campaign. A Rational Fear is free to all if you’d care to listen, although the description for each episode lets you know you can become a paid subscriber if you wish via Patreon (a different funding website from Indiegogo).
As Ilic’s sign campaign is sadly coming to a close, MWD has decided to check back in with the latest Jokekeeper efforts – which have been born-again in Southern Sydney.
Last time MWD covered Comrade Ilic he was promoting billboards in Times Square prior to Australia’s attendance at the Glasgow climate conference. There are apparently no billboards around the Sydney suburb of Engadine – so the Jokekeeper team is using a footpath poster to bag Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
— Dan Ilic (@danilic) March 14, 2022
[The poster has already gone to print so it is too late for corrections, but the wording is a little clunky. Perhaps “…The place where Scott Morrison last did anything” would be better phrased as “…The last place where Scott Morrison did anything”. I hope this is helpful. – MWD Editor]
It is unclear how this particular sign is “Shaming Australia’s climate inaction”, but there you go. As Engadine is located in the electoral division of Hughes, one would think there are more productive ways to take on the government in this region – after all, it is held by controversial Liberal turned UAP MP Craig Kelly, and is being contested by a climate-focused so-called Independent. But MWD has admittedly always been a little confused on whether Jokekeeper is trying to actually achieve anything.
Sadly, the following effort will be the last billboard of the JokeKeeper campaign. Along with a picture of a little girl in a university cap, it reads “In 2035, Cassie will be qualified to put former politicians in jail for historical climate crimes. Climate Prosecutor is one of the 1 million new Australian jobs in a fossil fuel free future”.
It will be able to be viewed in real life in the suburb of Kirrawee, in Scott Morrison’s electorate of Cook. (Last held by the Labor Party in 1974).
[Perhaps a new crowdfunding campaign is needed to hire a spellchecker – there appears to be an “i” missing in politican [sic] – MWD Editor.]
Once again, MWD is missing whatever the joke part of this JokeKeeper effort is. But 2035 is not too far away. By the looks of it, Cassie could be about 18 by then. Young for a Climate Prosecutor, you would think, but if she is some sort of child prodigy who is already graduating in 2022 – then it is a reasonable career step.
Perhaps A Rational Fear’s humour is just too advanced for Jackie – a simple blue heeler with a Dip. Wellness from the Gunnedah Institute. Whatever the joke may be, MWD wishes Cassie all the best with her studies.
[Thank you to the avid reader who sent in this clip some time ago youtube.com/watch?v=4sFZ0svjvDE – it seems the multi-talented Ilic is also a comedic actor. – MWD Editor.]
DR KERRYN PHELPS TURNS THE DIAL TO CONSPIRACY
Former member for Wentworth Dr Kerryn Phelps MB BS AM made news yesterday after a tense interview with 2GB’s Ben Fordham in which she pushed for the return of some COVID restrictions.
When she is not sparring with Ben Fordham or appearing on ABC TV’s The Drum (as she did last Friday), Dr Phelps appears to spend much of her media time on Twitter. There she devotes most of her tweets to criticism of Dave Sharma (who unseated her in the 2019 Federal Election) or to lecturing her 67,000 followers about the many, many, many dangers of COVID.
In recent times Dr Phelps has decided to respond to the daily COVID announcements by NSW Health, offering up her own commentary on the state of the COVID pandemic in the State. Here is the 10 March 2022 version:
Acknowledging the 4 NSW people listed today as deaths from #covid19, and those not counted because they are considered to have died “with COVID”.
16288 new cases in the past day and rising fast now.
Wear an N95 mask, reduce your risk, don’t wait to be told. https://t.co/jbd3otzKcq
— Prof Kerryn Phelps AM (@drkerrynphelps) March 10, 2022
Apparently Dr Phelps has concluded that there is some unknown number of people who have died while infected with COVID but have been excluded from the official tally. Interestingly this theory is eerily similar to arguments made by figures sceptical of COVID, who often argue that the official COVID death toll is inflated by the inclusion people who died with COVID but not necessarily of COVID.
The good doctor included similar comments in her updates for 14, 15 & 16 March:
Acknowledging the NSW person who died of #COVID19 in the past day, and the unknown number of people who may not have been counted because they were deemed to have died WITH COVID, or their death was hastened BY COVID. https://t.co/61aq7Pc025
— Prof Kerryn Phelps AM (@drkerrynphelps) March 14, 2022
Acknowledging the 6 NSW counted as having died of #covid19 in the past week, the healthcare workers who cared for them and the loved ones who grieve their loss.
Acknowledging also the many people living with #LongCovid and other complications of the virus. https://t.co/zqNHVWUk3U
— Prof Kerryn Phelps AM (@drkerrynphelps) March 15, 2022
30402 new cases in NSW reported in the past 24 hours
Acknowledging the 5 NSW people who are counted as having died of #covid19 in the past day,& those whose deaths were hastened by Covid19
This pandemic is far from https://t.co/XA2NTNGoga all you can to protect yourself & others https://t.co/n0KchmPJqQ
— Prof Kerryn Phelps AM (@drkerrynphelps) March 15, 2022
Dr Phelps does not appear to have offered up any explanation for why NSW Health would be failing to include some COVID deaths in the official figures. Here is how NSW Health describes the classification of COVID deaths:
Reported deaths were classified as COVID-19 deaths if they met the surveillance definition in the Communicable Diseases Network of Australia’s COVID-19 National Guidelines for Public Health Units. Under this definition, deaths are considered COVID-19 deaths for surveillance purposes if the person died with COVID-19, not necessarily because COVID-19 was the cause of death. Deaths may be excluded if there was a clear alternative cause of death that was unrelated to COVID-19 (e.g. major trauma).
So, either Dr Phelps is unaware of how COVID deaths are classified in NSW or she appears to have decided there is a conspiracy within NSW Health to undercount deaths so as to mislead the public. Either way it would appear that Kerryn Phelps, formerly the president of the NSW branch of the Australian Medical Association and Independent Member for Wentworth, is not being helpful.
IN WHICH MARK CARNEGIE LOOKS IN THE AFR MAGAZINE MIRROR AND SEES A CRYPTO CURRENCY NARCISSIST
What a revealing article by Aaron Patrick in the March 2022 issue of the AFR Magazine. Sure it was a bit hard to read at the start. After all, white typeset on an orange background is not that easy on the eye – especially when the whole colourful first page is surrounded by a white border and yellow dots. It’s the kind of vision some avid Media Watch Dog readers must surely experience when awakening on a Saturday morning at Hangover Time.
But MWD digresses. The reference is to your man Aaron’s profile of Mark Carnegie (born 1962). This is how it commenced:
“I don’t want to look like a f–king narcissist”, Mark Carnegie says. “Well, the truth is I am a f—king narcissist. I just don’t want to sound like one.”
Immediately after this, Aaron wrote that “close friends – there aren’t many – call him Cargs”.
It’s not so much that your man Cargs (aka Mark Carnegie) was born with a silver spoon in his mouth. Rather it seems that a whole silver-service cutlery set was extant within this particular man’s cavity at birth. After all, Mark Carnegie’s daddy is businessman Sir Roderick Carnegie AC. So much so that Cargs went to school at Geelong Grammar followed by Melbourne University followed by Oxford.
When Aaron first encountered Cargs for this profile, the latter was experiencing one of life’s crises. You see, he is at his new home – the Ritz Carlton Singapore – and he cannot get his jacket and shirt pressed for the AFR Magazine photo-shoot by photographer Franz Navarrete. As Cargs told Aaron: “I have been calling [reception] since 7 am in the morning. Nobody answered. I need it, existentially, by one.” The profile contains two pics of Cargs – one with (pressed) jacket, one with (pressed) shirt sans jacket. Oh yes, he’s also wearing fashionable slacks – which look like they’re pressed.
Early on, we learn this about your man Carnegie:
At the pandemic’s beginning, Carnegie moved from an avant-garde plastic-walled apartment within an old Sydney church to the Golden Bay region at the north end of New Zealand’s south island. He settled into semi-retirement on 89 hectares of ocean-view, river-crossed land with his girlfriend, Katie Percy, an English aristocrat. (Pippa Middleton, sister of the Duchess of Cambridge, attended Lady Percy’s 2011 wedding to British financier Patrick Valentine, a marriage that lasted three years.)
Like Carnegie, she was attracted to the bohemian local vibe and plentiful deer and goats, which they hunted down, killed and ate. Weary of guns, Carnegie eventually switched to hunting with bows and arrows, a shift driven by latent sympathies and a romantic sense of manhood. “I wanted a fairer contest,” he says. As members of the British-Australian establishment, the couple unburdened themselves from the expectations of conventional life. After growing up in a castle used in the Harry Potter films, Lady Percy became a mechanic, race car driver and gunsmith.
How about that then? Pippa Middleton went to Lady Percy’s 2011 marriage to Patrick Valentine which lasted for three years – just enough time for Pip to get home after the reception, or thereabouts. For the record, Kate Middleton was not the Duchess of Cambridge at the time of the Percy-Valentine nuptials – so Pip did not rock up at the function as the Duchess of Cambridge’s sister. MWD thought you might like to know this.
By the way, how about the fact that the give-peace-a-chance Cargs has decided to stop murdering deer and goats with guns – and now is a bow-and-arrow kind of guy? It’s not clear what the deer and goats have to say about this particular type of execution by the arrows of Lady Percy and Lord Cargs. Carnegie reckons it’s a fairer contest to take on unarmed animals with a bow and arrow rather than a .303 or some such. Turn it up. Surely there are better ways of dying than being hit in the eye with a large arrow.
It turns out that the Carnegie-Percy relationship did not survive the pandemic – and he headed for Singapore and his problems with the reception at the Ritz Carlton. Alas, Aaron does not discuss at any length the intellectual nights at Cargs’ avant-garde apartment within the old Church in fashionable inner-city Sydney – beyond saying this:
Ten years ago, when Carnegie turned 50, he began hosting dinner parties to discuss great works of literature to broaden himself intellectually.
Alas, MWD was never invited to one of Cargs’ intellectual-flashing soirées, but understands that they took this form: Someone who identifies as an intellectual was invited along to lead a discussion on a great work of literature. Then Cargs and his well-heeled guests took part in a pretentious discussion on a book or play, quite a few of which some had never read. Then everyone went home feeling the wiser and better equipped as a consequence of this intellectual flashing.
[Sounds truly dreadful. Did Cargs and the team read Plato in the original Ancient Greek language? – or rather, pretend to. – MWD Editor.]
Nowadays Mark Carnegie is lecturing anyone who will listen – and some who try not to – about the need to give cryptocurrencies (like bitcoin) and blockchain a chance. In answer to the rich man’s question: “What am I doing with my life?” – Cargs’ answer is campaigning for cryptocurrency to be legalised on the stock exchange. Oh yes, and ensuring that his jacket and shirt are pressed before his next interview with the AFR Magazine – when one of its journalists will again attempt to keep in touch with the out-of-touch.
THE ABC’S “CANCELLATION” OF BOOKS ON THE PELL CASE
As avid Media Watch Dog readers well know, the ABC Soviet is a staff collective where ABC presenters, producers and editors make decisions about content – rather than the ABC’s editor-in-chief (who also happens to be the ABC’s managing director).
David Anderson (the ABC’s managing director and editor-in-chief) has declined to answer questions about the apparent decision by ABC journalists to effectively censor any discussion about books published after the High Court’s unanimous decision in George Pell v The Queen – by Keith Windschuttle, Frank Brennan and Gerard Henderson. This despite the fact that the ABC’s website contains a substantial number of pages that refer to Cardinal Pell – much of it hostile to Pell.
Gerard Henderson discussed this in an address which he delivered to The Sydney Institute on Tuesday 5 March 2022. Frank Brennan and Monica Doumit also spoke at this function. See here.
Henderson made this comment about the “cancellation” of discussion on the Pell Case by the ABC and some other media organisations:
I am conscious that all three speakers tonight have come to a similar conclusion while discussing quite different aspects of the Pell Case. That’s not for want of trying. I have been willing for years to discuss the Pell Case with his many antagonists – but this has not been possible. During the entire period of the Royal Commission, Victoria Police’s decision to charge Pell, the committal proceedings, the two trials and the convictions, I was never invited on to the ABC to discuss the Pell Case or to appear at literary festivals where such Pell-antagonists as Louise Milligan, David Marr, Lucie Morris-Marr and Melissa Davey gave one-to-one interviews with journalists who agreed with them before adoring audiences. This despite the fact that I had written about the case in my Weekend Australian columns and discussed it on Sky News and elsewhere.
Since the publication of my book on the Pell Case, it has not been discussed on – or in – the ABC, Network Ten’s The Project, 60 Minutes, The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Saturday Paper, The Guardian Australia, The New Daily or any other media outlets which participated in the Pell pile-on. Not one of the over one hundred journalists/commentators/lawyers criticised in my book has taken issue with me on any aspect of the book. In the aftermath of the High Court judgment there is a great silence on what is one of the most important cases in the history of Australian criminal law.
I am not alone. Frank Brennan’s Observations on the Pell Proceedings has not been discussed on the ABC or reviewed in the Nine Newspapers in Melbourne or Sydney. Likewise, Keith Windschuttle’s The Persecution of George Pell – except for one interview on Radio National’s The Religion and Ethics Report. In short, members of the Pell pile-on will not engage in any reconsideration of the Pell Case – despite the historic 7-Zip decision of the High Court quashing Pell’s convictions. In my view, this is an instance of intellectual cowardice – in certain circumstances censorship is the more appropriate term.
This overwhelmingly popular segment of Media Watch Dog usually works like this. Someone or other thinks it would be a you-beaut idea to write to Gerard Henderson about something or other. And Hendo, being a courteous and well-brought up kind of guy, replies. Then, hey presto, the correspondence is published in MWD – much to the delight of its avid readers.
There are occasions, however, when Jackie’s (male) co-owner decides to write a polite note to someone or other – who, in turn, believes that a reply is in order. Publication in MWD invariably follows. There are, alas, some occasions where Hendo sends a polite missive but does not receive the courtesy of a reply. Nevertheless, publication of this one-sided correspondence still takes place. For the record – and in the public interest, of course.
GERARD HENDERSON AND PHILLIP ADAMS re COLUMNS AND ALL THAT
Having been advised that MWD fave Phillip Adams had referred to Hendo in a mid-afternoon tweet last Sunday, Gerard Henderson sent a (courteous) email to the ABC’s Man-in-Black. Alas, there has been no response so far. We’ll keep you informed if the reply is “in-the-post” and, consequently, delayed. In the meantime – read on.
Gerard Henderson to Phillip Adams – 17 March 2022
Good Morning Phillip Adams AO, AM, Hon DUniv (Griffith), Hon DLitt (ECU), Hon DUniv (SA), DLitt [sic] (Syd), Hon. DUniv (Macquarie), FRSA, Hon FAHA
Last Sunday, around Gin & Tonic Time, I was reflecting on the account you gave to Troy Bramston about what you termed your “fist-fight” with the late Bob Hawke in the Qantas Chairman’s Lounge – when, lo and behold, an avid Media Watch Dog reader forwarded me this tweet which you sent out earlier that very day – viz:
Keep writing that same column Gérard. One day you’ll get it right. Though you could hand the Henderson project over AI or to those million monkeys on a million typewriters
— Phillip Adams (@PhillipAdams_1) March 13, 2022
As you know, your reference was to my column in The Weekend Australian last Saturday titled “ABC’s Concept of Diversity means Conservative Free”. Sure, I write a bit about the ABC. Why not? After all, the taxpayer funded public broadcaster employs you to present what you term your “little wireless program” four times a week. So it must be important. For the record, all the material in my column on the ABC last Saturday was fresh.
As far as I can work it out, your fave subject is not the ABC but, rather yourself – and you often repeat material about yourself – growing up in East Kew, joining the Communist Party of Australia at five years of age – or was it two and a half? And so on.
In any event, I really and truly enjoyed your “Life Viewpoint” piece in last Saturday’s The Weekend Australian Magazine titled “Sold on the old”. I did not know that half a century ago you were an “antiquities dealer in the so-called very posh Toorak Village”. Nor had I heard the story about Ruby Glitters – Geoffrey Hayes’ elderly assistant/ cleaner whom, he claimed, had danced naked on tabletops in the pubs of Bendigo and Ballarat during the 19th Century gold rush.
It would seem that the said Ms Glitters must have been a little bit more than “elderly”. In fact, she appears to have been more an antiquity than an antique in the 1960s. After all, you were writing about Melbourne antique shops in the 1960s and 1970s – and the Bendigo and Ballarat gold rush took place in the early 1850s. If the said Ruby Glitters danced naked on tabletops in the early 1850s, she must have been born no later than, say, 1835. This means that when you saw Ruby Glitters in Richmond in, say, the 1960s she must have been around 125 years old. What a sheila.
I notice that, at last count, your column last Saturday received 9 comments – whereas my column notched up 396 comments. Which suggests that readers are more interested in the ABC than antique shops of half a century ago. Fancy that. Rest assured that I will not proffer gratuitous advice about what you should write about in the future – I just love all your stuff.
Keep Morale High.
PS: As you know, I am wont to receive an invitation to appear on Late Night Live every quarter of a century. I was interviewed in 1990 (Vivian Schenker was in the chair) and then again by your good self in 2015. I understand that I’m not due for another appearance on LNL until 2040. However, if you would like to alter the existing precedent – I am willing to discuss my new book Cardinal Pell, the Media Pile-On & Collective Guilt at any time before 2040 (God Willing). Let me know.
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Until Next Time
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