GERARD HENDERSON’S MEDIA WATCH DOG

ISSUE – NO. 584

22 April 2022

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  • ANOTHER ANTI-MORRISON STACK ON Q+A AS NOT EVEN SPEERSY COULD INTERRUPT BOB KATTER

Media Watch Dog did not watch the Insiders program, presented by Stan Grant, which aired on 14 April, but the barrister Gray Connolly tweeted that the one panellist who was closest to holding conservative positions was none other than Labor’s social democrat frontbencher Chris Bowen. According to this view, there was no political conservative on the Q+A panel on 14 April – although there was one Liberal senator of the self-professed moderate genre.

It was much the same on 21 April 2022. The Q+A  audience was once again a baying mob which cheered panellists or audience members who bagged the Coalition government. As to the panel: well, Keith Pitt (the Minister for Resources and Water) performed very well in a difficult environment, even though he struggled to get a word in edgeways and was interrupted constantly by Labor Senator Murray Watt.

Then there was Bob Katter (the member for Kennedy, of the Katter’s Australian Party) who was in full Katter garrulous mode. So much so that even presenter David (“Oh Yes, I’m the Great Interrupter”) Speers could not manage to interrupt him.  Your man Katter criticised both the Coalition government and the Labor opposition.

And then there was Bronwyn Fredericks (a University of Queensland pro vice-chancellor) and Amanda Cahill (CEO The Next Economy) – both of whom were hostile to the Morrison government.

In other words, it was Keith Pitt against four panellists with no help from David Speers.

And Q+A  wonders why so many senior Coalition politicians do not appear on the program.

[Quite so.  There is little upside, and much downside, if a Liberal Party or Nationals member goes on Q+A.  By the way, I would have fact-checked Bob Katter’s assertions on Q+A  last night – but it will probably take weeks.  I note that Speersy (as he likes to be called) did not challenge any of Mr Katter’s somewhat wild claims. – MWD Editor.]

  • DAN ZIFFER’S VOTE COMPASS SPIN

On ABC TV’s News Breakfast this morning, presenter Madeleine Morris declared that the ABC’s Vote Compass survey is a “terrific tool” for following the 2022 election.  She was interviewing ABC reporter Dan Ziffer who concurred – describing Vote Compass as “an amazing piece of data of what people are really into”.   Comrade Ziffer continued:

Dan Ziffer: …the [Vote Compass] data shows that climate change, the cost of living and the economy are the big election issues. Are they the ones that are actually being talked about the most in the media? Are they the ones that are on the front pages of the newspaper every day? I would say no.

Madeleine Morris: Climate change certainly not.

Dan Ziffer: Certainly not. Hasn’t factored as a huge issue.

Turn it up. Media Watch Dog will cover this issue next time. But Vote Compass is essentially a survey of voters who have an association with the ABC.  That’s all. And that’s why Vote Compass has a bias towards the Greens ideology with the focus on climate change and so on.


Can You Bear It?

  • SCOTT “CALL ME DOCTOR” BURCHILL REVEALS UNTREATABLE MURDOCHPHOBIA CONDITION

Wasn’t it great to see Scott Burchill – who not only identifies as an international relations expert but has now climbed (or descended) the academic ladder by becoming an Honorary Fellow at Deakin University – back doing the Newspapers segment on ABC TV News Breakfast on 19 April?

There was a lot of news around that very morning. But Dr Burchill (for a doctor he is) was focused on the left’s obsession. Namely, Rupert Murdoch, the “Murdoch press” and “the Murdochs” and so on. He seems to believe that Rupert Murdoch determines from New York what will appear in News Corp outlets in Australia every morning, every night and frequently during the day.

First up, Comrade Burchill called the election result on the basis of the 53 to 47 per cent two party preferred vote in favour of Labor over the Coalition on 19 April.  Now this may turn out to be the case. But an honorary fellow at Deakin University should understand that it’s a bit early to call the election – which will take place on 21 May.

As your man Burchill talked to News Breakfast from his home (with a book on Che Guevara on his left), he indicated that he will be supporting the so-called Independents – or perhaps the Greens – at the election. He also declared – without any evidence: “I think there is a very small undecided vote.”

In fact, Comrade Burchill used the word “Murdoch” on eight occasions in an eight-minute interview. MWD just loved this (leading) question from News Breakfast co-presenter Michael Rowland. Let’s go to the transcript:

Michael Rowland: Okay, just before we move on to the final story, you clearly are arguing News Corp has picked a side here, it’s backing Scott Morrison. How does it compare in your view – and you have a very long memory to the 2013 campaign –  when all the News Corp papers unashamedly barracked for Tony Abbott? And we all recall that memorable headline in the Daily Telegraph: “Kick this mob out”. How does it compare to 2013, in your view at this stage?

Needless to say, neither Comrade Burchill nor Comrade Rowland talked about the fact that most News Corp outlets supported Labor in the 2007 election which Kevin Rudd won. In any event, in 2022 News Corp has a number of Anthony Albanese supporters on its books – Joe Hilderbrand, Graham Richardson, Phillip Adams and Nicholas Reece.  Unlike the ABC, which remains a Conservative Free Zone.  Neither comrade mentioned this. Can You Bear It?

  • CITI’S AWARD FOR ECONOMICS GOES TO SHANE WRIGHT WHO HAS COMPARED COAL TO CANDLESTICKS

At Gin & Tonic Time on Easter Thursday [It’s really Maundy Thursday – MWD Editor], Jackie’s (male) co-owner got around to reading the business news in the Sydney Morning Herald. Hendo knocked over his glass half empty when he saw this heading “Herald, Age, journalists take out finance awards”. The follow-up story by John McDuling:

Journalists from the Herald and The Age have been honoured at the 2022 Citi Journalism Awards for Excellence, which recognise outstanding business and finance reporting across Australia and New Zealand. Economics correspondent Shane Wright won the overall prize, the Citi Journalism Award for Excellence, for his series on the RBA and monetary policy. Wright also won the economics category for the series.

Well done Shane (“Candlesticks”) Wright.  As avid readers know only too well, appearing on ABC TV’s Insiders on 11 June 2017, your man Wright ridiculed anyone who believed that coal had a future in the immediate to medium term.  This is what he had to say:

…we’ve got a bunch of – we’ve got a lot of people saying: “Coal has to survive”. They remind me of the Candlestick Makers Union about 150 years ago saying: “These lightbulbs they’ll never catch on.” Sorry, you can see the light turning out on coal fairly quickly.

What a load of absolute tosh. Five years after Comrade Wright’s (false) prophecy that the light would turn out on coal fairly soon, the price of coal has risen substantially on world markets and demand for Australian coal is at very high levels. This week Labor leader Anthony Albanese supported the opening of new coal mines in Australia.

So there you have it.  The economics correspondent of The Age and SMH has been hopelessly wrong on the world demand for energy.  And yet your man Wright has just won the Citi Journalism Award in the economics category.  It is as if Comrade Wright never compared coal in the early 21st Century with candlesticks in the mid-19th Century.  Can You Bear It?

  • COMMENTATORS WHO ALL GOT THE 2019 ELECTION RESULT HOPELESSLY WRONG WILL PROVIDE “EXPERT” ELECTION ANALYSIS AT THE 2022 SWF

As avid Media Watch Dog readers are only too well aware, Michael Williams – the artistic director of the 2022 Sydney Writers’ Festival – has more front than the combined shop front windows of Myer and Mark Foy’s half a century ago in Melbourne and Sydney respectively.

Comrade Williams has put on another taxpayer funded leftist stack in 2022 – as he did in 2021 and 2020.  There’s barely a conservative in any of the discussions on politics, economics and social issues.  Re which see MWD’s  April Fools’ Day issue. As MWD  reported on 8 April 2022, a spokesperson for your man Williams told The Australian’s Caroline Overington that there are only three conservatives in the world capable of taking on the leftist stack that is the 2022 SWF.  Alas, members of this trio are either dead (Christopher Hitchens and P.J. O’Rourke) or unwell (Jordan Peterson).  Convenient, eh?

Michael Williams maintains that he likes to have his ideas challenged – but provides for no such opportunity at the SWF. Thanks to the avid Nowra reader who drew MWD’s  attention to the interview which the 2022 SWF’s artistic director gave to the Sydney Morning Herald’s  Melanie Kembrey, which was published on 25 March 2022.  This is how it concluded:

“I love nothing more than being surprised and challenged. I have absolute dogmas I stick to. I am pig-headed and belligerent about defending my fundamental beliefs, but I like nothing more than to have them challenged, to hear other perspectives,” he [Williams] said of his mind’s changeability. And if the election does fall on the main festival weekend? Barrie Cassidy, Fran Kelly and Niki Savva will be on hand to provide a panel “more essential for election 2022 than a sausage in a bread roll”. “Who wants to put on a festival with certainty?” Williams quips.

So there you have it.  Comrade Williams likes to have his ideas challenged – but stacks out the taxpayer funded SWF with his ideological mates.  And if the election happens to fall on 21 May – which, as we now know it will – then there is an “expert” panel on hand to discuss the election.

It consists of Barrie Cassidy (ABC Retd), Fran Kelly (ABC) and Niki Savva (The Age, Sydney Morning Herald). What does this trio have in common?  Well, it certainly provides certainty. Since all are opponents of the Morrison government in general and Prime Minister Scott Morrison in particular.  Moreover, all three got the outcome of the 2019 election hopelessly wrong.

And Comrade Williams reckons that this panel will challenge his leftist views. How absurd. What’s more, Can You Bear It?

  • THE ABC’S MAN-IN-BLACK INVITES ABC INTELLECTUAL GROUPIES TO EXPRESS THEIR LOVE FOR THE ABC

Lotsa thanks to the avid Sydney reader who drew MWD’s attention to the discussion on Phillip Adams’ little wireless program on ABC Radio National – to wit Late Night Live – on 31 March 2022.  On this occasion, your man Adams – who described himself as a “Bolshevik presenter” – interviewed Matthew Ricketson (of the taxpayer funded Deakin University) and Patrick Mullins (of the taxpayer funded University of Canberra) about their piss-poor book Who Needs the ABC? : Why taking it for granted is no longer an option (Scribe Publications, 2022) concerning the taxpayer funded ABC.

Scribe Publications, headed by the life-long leftist Henry Rosenbloom, is based in Brunswick – Sandalista Central.  (MWD discussed the Ricketson/Mullins boring tome, replete with oh-so-long paragraphs, on 1 April). This led to correspondence between Comrade Ricketson and Gerard Henderson – see here if you have not already read this.

But MWD digresses. On LNL, the ABC Soviet’s Man in Black asked soft questions of the Ricketson/Mullins duo who gave soft answers in praise of Phillip (“I was a teenage – or was it young adult? – communist”) Adams’ employer. Namely, the taxpayer funded public broadcaster.

Early on, Comrade Adams put it to your man Ricketson that one of his “first points” in Who Needs The ABC? was that there are very few platforms available for praising the ABC. [How shocking is that?  MWD Editor.] The pro-ABC trio soon made up for this over a whole 27 minutes – as Matthew agreed with Phillip who agreed with Patrick who agreed with Phillip who agreed with Matthew who agreed with Phillip who agreed with Patrick who agreed with Phillip who agreed with himself that the ABC was – in modern parlance – Really Cool.

And so, praise for the ABC Soviet went on and on.  Your man Ricketson asked, “Isn’t she [Ita Buttrose] a wonderful woman?” to which Comrade Adams responded “Okay”.  Then Comrade Mullins praised ABC managing director David Anderson for making himself available for “interrogation”.  By this, Mullins meant that, as someone who is paid by the taxpayer, Mr Anderson appears from time to time at Senate Estimates, as he is required to do. How “wonderful” is that?

And so, it went on and on and on as the ABC’s Man in Black spoke to two ABC intellectual groupies about the ABC.  In the process, former Labor prime minister Bob Hawke was criticised (he once bagged the ABC) and so was Gerard Henderson and his Media Watch Dog blog and so was the Murdoch family.  Quelle Surprise!

Towards the end of the (boring) discussion, your man Adams told listeners (if listeners there were) that he gets criticised by some leftists for writing for Rupert Murdoch’s The Australian.  No one talked about the fact that the ABC does not have one prominent conservative on its books. And so, the interview faded into nothingness.  Talk about giving self-indulgence a bad name. Can You Bear It?


EDITORIAL

  • PETER HARTCHER’S REFLECTIONS ON THE CHINA/SOLOMON ISLANDS AGREEMENT AND THE MORRISON GOVERNMENT, REPLETE WITH HYPERBOLE

Peter Hartcher, the Sydney Morning Herald’s political and international editor, threw the switch to hyperbole on 21 April in a front page comment piece titled “Leaders should hang their heads in shame”.

The reference was to the news that China has signed an agreement with Solomon Islands and its prime minister Manasseh Sogavare.  Details of the agreement are yet to be released but it is possible that, some time in the future if the agreement remains extant, China may base military assets there.

In somewhat hyperbolic mode, your man Hartcher condemned Australia’s political leaders – presumably Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Foreign Minister Marise Payne and Defence Minister Peter Dutton – for this situation.  And he quoted former Liberal Party prime minister Malcolm Turnbull as saying: “It is widely seen, including by our allies, as a failure of Australian foreign policy.”

Here Peter Hartcher overlooked the fact that if the China/Solomon Islands agreement is an Australian foreign policy failure, then the same can be said of President Joe Biden’s administration in the United States and Jacinda Ardern’s Labour government in New Zealand.  But Hartcher’s criticism was directed at the Morrison government alone. As to Malcolm Turnbull – is there any activity of the Morrison government that he has not criticised?

In his piece, Peter Hartcher quoted with approval Labor shadow foreign minister Senator Penny Wong as saying on 20 April that the China/Solomon Islands agreement is “the greatest failure of Australian foreign policy in the Pacific in 70 years”.

Clearly Hartcher had not read Labor Party deputy leader Richard Marles’ 2021 monograph titled Tides that Bind: Australia in the Pacific (Monash University Publishing, 2021).  In it, Labor’s Pacific expert wrote: “The idea the Pacific nations would adhere to a call from Australia to not engage with China is silly.”  This quote was revealed by Sharri Markson in her lead story in The Australian on 22 April.

Quite so.  As Prime Minister Morrison has said, Australia cannot tell Pacific nations what they should and should not do.  Nor should Australia attempt to do so.

Certainly, China’s move into the Pacific is a cause for concern to Australia and many of the Pacific nations.  But it is a reality which will have to be handled.

As to Peter Hartcher’s evocation of the Battle of Guadalcanal (in Solomon Islands) and the sinking of HMAS Canberra  by the Japanese Navy in 1942 – that’s hyperbole.  There is no causal connection. Just an excuse to end an over-hyped opinion piece with the “Lest we forget” evocation on the eve of Anzac Day.  Nine’s political and international editor should be able to do better than this.


In 1967 the music hall entertainer Ken Dodd (1927-2018) sang the song “It’s a Funny Old World” in his album For Someone Special. The term was popularised by British prime minister Margaret Thatcher in November 1990 when she was forced by her Conservative Party colleagues to step down. At her final cabinet meeting the Iron Lady reflected: “It’s a funny old world”.  And so it is – as this MWD segment will demonstrate.

  • THE SMH’S  RICHARD GLOVER WANTS TO DE-DOCTOR THE SMH’S  DR JULIA BAIRD

It would seem there is some kind of intellectual punch-up at Nine’s Sydney Morning Herald between two of the newspaper’s fave columnists.  How else to explain the contradictory columns which appeared in the SMH on 16 April?

First up, SMH columnist (and ABC presenter) Richard Glover wrote a piece titled “Goodbye Dear Titles, It’s Been An Honour”.  Your man Glover reported that the SMH has decided “to drop honorifics from its pages” except for “an initial use of the person’s title – President Joe Biden for example”. Otherwise “the surname will be used in subsequent references”.  As in Glover or say Baird.

As Comrade Glover put it: “No longer will the Drs and Professors be drawn to one side, to be constantly complimented on the excellence of their studies….”

MWD supports the move.  Except that Jackie’s male co-owner firmly and truly believes that Jackie (Dip. Wellness, The Gunnedah Institute) should be allowed to retain her well-earned honorific in any coverage in Nine Newspapers in view of her deprived background and so on.

But what about Comrade Glover’s fellow SMH columnist (and ABC presenter) Dr Julia Baird? – for a doctor she is.  Why, Dr Baird even flashes her doctorate on her tweets – as the following example demonstrates.

So the SMH’s Glover wants to get rid of the Dr honorific – while the SMH’s  Baird wants to continue flashing her Ph.D.  A Funny Old World, to be sure.


  • THE AFR’S  JOHN BLACK HAS BOTH LABOR AND THE COALITION KICKING WITH THE WIND BEHIND THEM – AT THE SAME TIME TO THE SAME GOALPOST

John Black, the one-time Labor senator for Queensland who is executive chairman of profiling company Australian Development Strategies, normally writes sense in his occasional articles in the Australian Financial Review on the 2022 election and all that.  It is just that he is sometimes inconsistent.

For example, in the AFR on 21 April 2022, your man Black declared that Labor looks like winning the 2022 election but qualified this assessment somewhat:

The ALP has some strong, potentially vote-winning policies on childcare, aged care, an integrity commission, global warming and free TAFE courses. But last weekend’s Resolve Political Monitor had the Liberals and Morrison a country mile ahead of Labor and Albanese on economic management and national security.  However, on education and health issues, where Labor is normally well in front, Labor and Albanese have gone backwards to almost level pegging. So, we all know who’s kicking with the wind here, with four weeks to go – and it certainly isn’t Albo….

However, the very same John Black had this to say when interviewed on Radio National Breakfast on Monday 18 April 2022:

John Black: It’s [The Liberal Party] in trouble. It’s an existential problem. If he [Scott Morrison]…doesn’t regain those seats that he’s lost on the polls at the moment to the Labor Party – and he loses any more than two seats at the top end of the income range – the Liberal Party has an existential crisis here. And I’m not confident that it would be able to continue to exist in the form that it now exists….

So there you have it. According to John Black on a Monday, the Liberal Party is facing an existential crisis that could lead to its extinction.  But according to John Black on a Thursday, it’s the Labor Party that has gone backwards and Scott Morrison’s Liberal Party is “kicking with the wind behind” it.

Well, that’s clear then.  Or perhaps not.


As avid readers are aware, the late Nancy (2004-2017) did not die. She merely “passed” on to the Other Side. Hence MWD has been able to keep in touch and seek her advice about behaviour, courtesy and all that – with the help of the American psychic John Edward of Crossing Over fame. Your man Edward has demonstrated a first class ability to communicate with the dead,  albeit not so much with the living. And so, Nancy’s “Courtesy Classes” continue – albeit from the “Other Side” in a Zoom kind of way and are channelled to Jackie (2016- __) who passes the “learnings” of Nancy on to Media Watch Dog’s avid readers.  Or something like that.

  • READ ALL ABOUT IT – ANDREW PROBYN TELLS MELBOURNE GENTLEMAN TO, WAIT FOR IT, “SOD OFF”

Avid readers will be well aware of the ABC’s very own pedophile Jon Stephens (1947- 2019). Stephens, an ABC producer, pleaded guilty in the Gosford District Court to historical child sexual assault when he was on official ABC duties in the Gosford region in 1981. Stephens’ victim was a 12-year-old boy who was on contract for the ABC.

The ABC has failed to cover the Stephens’ conviction and imprisonment along with the victim’s recent civil case against the public broadcaster – see MWD Issue 583 where it was pointed out that the ABC reached a settlement after paying for outside legal advice. Likewise, Nine’s Newspapers (formerly Fairfax Media) has joined the ABC’s great silence on this issue. However, the matter has been covered in News Corp outlets and in the Senate Estimates Committee following questions by Senator Eric Abetz. And in MWD – most recently on 8 April 2022. And by Bill Thompson – who identifies as the ABC’s Southbank Correspondent in Melbourne.

Your man Thompson is known to approach the ABC’S “best and brightest” journalists/commentators and ask what they know about Jon Stephens – frequently outside the ABC’s Southbank studios in Melbourne on a Sunday, before or after the ABC TV Insiders program is filmed.  He puts the resultant “interviews”, or non-interviews as the case may be, on YouTube.  In recent years, the likes of Louise Milligan, David Marr, Kerry O’Brien, Fran Kelly, Shaun Micallef, Laura Tingle and Andrew Probyn have told Bill Thompson that they “know nothing” about the ABC’s very own historical case of pedophilia.

On Sunday 10 April 2022, Thompson again popped the question to Andrew Probyn, ABC TV’s political editor, as he was departing the Insiders program. Guess what?  The taxpayer-funded Andrew Probyn repeatedly told the taxpayer Thompson to “sod off” – as he did a runner like an unsuccessful litigant departing a law court and trying to avoid the cameras.

How unprofessional can a senior ABC journalist get when asked a question by a citizen?  And what does the ABC’s human resources unit think about such ABC rudeness in a public place – on Palm Sunday, no less?

Andrew Probyn:  Off to Nancy’s Courtesy Classes for you.


The ABC TV Media Watch  program commenced in 1989 with Stuart Littlemore in the presenter’s chair.  Comrade Littlemore was a man of the left.  Indeed, Media Watch is the personification of the ABC as a Conservative Free Zone.  All of its presenters have been leftists or left-of-centre blokes or sheilas.  In order – Stuart Littlemore, Richard Ackland, David Marr, Paul Barry, the late Liz Jackson, Monica Attard, Jonathan Holmes and Paul Barry (again).  Not a conservative among this lot.

Indeed there is more political diversity on Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News MediaBuzz program (presenter Howard Kurtz) than has ever taken place in any Media Watch  episode.  Unlike Barry, Kurtz does not give lectures concerning which no one has a right-of-reply on air.

  • PAUL BARRY SPENDS MUCH OF MEDIA WATCH  BAGGING THE PRIME MINISTER

On Easter Monday, Sky News was back at work after the Easter holidays with its normal round of evening presenters – Chris Kenny, Peta Credlin, Andrew Bolt and Paul Murray.  But Paul Barry had Easter Monday night off – what journalists like to call a Well-Earned Break, or W.E.B.

So let’s look back to the Media Watch program which aired on Monday 11 April 2022 – the key segment of which was titled “PM’s past”.

Once again, Paul Barry abandoned media commentary for one-sided political commentary, from a left-of-centre perspective.

The focus of your man Barry’s criticism was on Prime Minister Scott Morrison and how he won pre-selection for the safe Liberal Party seat of Cook in 2007 some 15 years ago.  Comrade Barry reminded viewers that the PM has been bagged by the likes of Gladys Berejiklian (in a private text), Barnaby Joyce (in a private text), Emmanuel Macron, Concetta Fierravanti-Wells and Jacqui Lambie.  In this context, the Media Watch presenter did not refer to anyone who has had a kind word to say about Scott Morrison.

Then Paul Barry turned his attack to those he claimed were conservative commentators. He named Gerard Henderson, Chris Kenny, Daisy Cousens, James Morrow, Peta Credlin, Dennis Shanahan and Andrew Bolt.  In this particular rant-to-camera, Barry spoke approvingly of such Scott Morrison critics as Michael Towke, Scott Chapman and Sam Dastyari.  It was as unbalanced as that.

Gerard Henderson emailed Timothy Latham (Media Watch’s executive producer) and sent a copy to Paul Barry and David Anderson in his capacity as the ABC’s (so-called) editor-in-chief concerning Barry’s false claims in his comments.  No one had the intellectual courage to reply. Hendo’s (unanswered) letter is published in this week’s (hugely popular) Correspondence segment.  Isn’t it interesting that Media Watch expects individuals to respond to its questions but the likes of Latham and Barry go into “no comment” mode when questions are asked of them.

So, Paul Barry used his privileged access to 15 minutes of taxpayer funded free-to-air television to question what he termed “the character and credibility of a man seeking re-election as prime minister”.  Barry’s line was identical to that of the Labor Party, the Greens, the Holmes à Court pretend Independents and the likes of Senator Jacqui Lambie. In short, Media Watch on 11 April was the case for the prosecution against Scott Morrison paid for by taxpayers.

It is notable that Paul Barry devoted almost an entire program to bagging the Prime Minister and his (alleged) political past. By contrast – Paul Barry, Timothy Latham and the Media Watch team did not even mention the allegations made by the late Senator Kimberley Kitching regarding bullying by the Labor Senate leadership team of Penny Wong, Katy Gallagher and Kristina Keneally (whom Kitching described as “Mean Girls”).  Nor did Paul Barry comment on the media reporting of the “Mean Girls” affair (or lack of same in the ABC’s case).

When it comes to being fair and balanced, Paul Barry and the ABC could learn a lot from Howard Kurtz and Rupert Murdoch.


BORING FOR AUSTRALIA

As avid readers will recall, Jackie’s (male co-owner) has always been a fan of British journalist Malcolm Muggeridge (1903-90) since he read Muggeridge’s 1940 book The Thirties. Writing in the New Statesman on 11 February 1956, Saint Mug (as he sometimes was called in later life) had this to say about the British Conservative parliamentarian Sir Anthony Eden: “He is a Disraeli hero who has moved into a service flat, or perhaps a deep shelter; a Bertie Wooster who has turned from the Drones Club to Toynbee Hall.  As has been truly said, he is not only a bore but he bores for England.”  This segment is devoted to those who – as citizens, residents or visitors – bore for Australia.

  • A SPECIAL ANALYSIS OF THE PM’s FLIGHT FROM SYDNEY TO CANBERRA

Has there been a duller episode of ABC TV’s Insiders than that which aired on 10 April 2022? – the morning Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced that the election would be held on Saturday 21 May.

This particular program was presented by RN Breakfast host Patricia Karvelas and the panel featured Jennifer Hewett (Australian Financial Review), Fran Kelly (ABC) and Gareth Parker (Perth Radio 6PR). Jennifer Hewett made some valuable comments but Fran (“I’m an activist”) Kelly’s were so forgettable that Hendo (Jackie’s male co-owner) has already forgotten what she said. And your man Parker seemed only to speak about Western Australia which, however important, is but one state.

But the real problem turned on the fact that Patricia (“Call me PK”) Karvelas and the program’s executive producer Samuel Clark seemed fixated on the matters of process not political substance.

Apart from the somewhat bland commentary, the program offered viewers live footage of Prime Minister Scott Morrison on his way from Sydney to Canberra to call the election. Not only did Insiders cut to footage of the arrival and departure of the PM – but also footage of the PM’s plane and Sydney and Canberra airports appeared in the corner of the screen at various times. A viewer who had never seen a plane before may have found this frightfully interesting – not so much anyone else.

Comrade Karvelas (channelling the great interrupter David Speers) interrupted the panel discussion to describe, step by step, the Prime Minister leaving his plane and getting into a car. She also speculated on whether the PM and the Governor-General would have tea or coffee. Yawn. It was a bit like sports commentary on the most boring game in the world.

If any avid readers missed the run-down of the PM boarding and departing an aircraft, see below for a glimpse. But first let’s go to the transcript:

Fran Kelly: There used to be an adage, you know, people vote one way in the federal election then take insurance out in the state election. I don’t know.

Jennifer Hewett: Well, of course, the interesting thing is in New South Wales as well –

Patricia Karvelas: [Interjecting] Just to interrupt this conversation, we’ve got the pictures. This is the prime minister walking down the stairs, of course, from his plane, he’s in Canberra. He’s about to enter the car where he will, of course, make that very important and significant drive to Government House where he will ask for the federal election to be called. Of course, he’s up against the opposition leader Anthony Albanese. It’s the first time Anthony Albanese has gone to the federal election as leader so untested in terms of running for prime minister. Scott Morrison now in the car. He’s landed in Canberra, he is now going to make a drive to Government House. Now, you know, I know Canberra pretty well, living there a decade. That’s about a 15-minute drive.

Fran Kelly: There’s a marathon on [in Canberra] this morning, though PK. It could slow things down. [Laughter].

Patricia Karvelas: Thank you Fran for that, I didn’t – okay, so maybe a bit longer. Let’s see, let’s see if they get a bit of VIP. They are VIP cars and get faster traction to the Governor-General’s house. The way it works is yeah – at least 15 minutes, perhaps a little longer. The Prime Minister will drive to Government House and ask for the election. Have a cup of tea as they say – I don’t know if they have coffee, decaf.  I’m not sure what they’ll want to drink with the Governor-General. He will then make the drive, there usually is a period of time, let’s just go through how the sausage is made Fran. There’s a period of time, not long, and then the Prime Minister will speak [to a media conference] and make his pitch.

Groan.  Does anyone care whether the PM and the GG had tea, coffee or decaf?  Sure, if they had an early Gin & Tonic it might have sparked some interest.  But, alas, they didn’t.

Yet PK and her executive producer Comrade Clark were so caught up with the process trivia of the moment that they ran out of time to run The Guardian’s Michael Bowers’  “Talking Pictures” segment – which is part of The Guardian/ABC Axis. The program ended as it commenced – in Boring for Australia.

 


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 TIMOTHY LATHAM re PAUL BARRY’S FANGING OF PRIME MINISTER SCOTT MORRISON AND CERTAIN “CONSERVATIVE COMMENTATORS”

As readers of this week’s “Paul Barry’s Sermon on the Mount” segment are well aware – on 11 April 2022 Comrade Barry devoted much of his taxpayer funded Media Watch to bagging Prime Minister Scott Morrison plus various individuals who were described as “conservative commentators”. Gerard Henderson wrote to Timothy Latham (Media Watch’s executive producer) pointing to the errors in Paul Barry’s commentary. But Comrade Latham went under-the-bed and did not reply. So Hendo’s epistle to the taxpayer funded “cancellers” is published here – in the public interest.

Gerard Henderson to Timothy Latham – 13 April 2022

Good Morning Mr Latham

I hope this email finds you well since, as I understand it, Media Watch is on a WEB (aka a Well-Earned Break) over Easter.

As previously advised, I do appreciate the fact that Paul Barry and the taxpayer funded Media Watch team of ten (or is it now a dozen?) give me a mention every now and then.  Having been effectively “cancelled” (read censored) by the ABC, I do appreciate the publicity. The same applies to Phillip Adams at Late Night Live.  He occasionally bags me on LNL. However, since I only get invited on his little wireless program every quarter of a century or so, the occasional notice is valued.  There was a 1990 interview followed by 2015. Next interview 2040 – God and Comrade Adams willing.

But I digress.  In the midst of Paul Barry’s sermon on the Media Watch Mount on Monday (it read like it was copy written by Dee Madigan for an attack advertisement on the Prime Minister) the following comment was made:

In The Australian, Gerard Henderson’s column proclaimed:

Fierravanti-Wells’ attack on PM fails the sniff test

– The Australian, 1 April 2022

And Henderson told readers:

… she provided no evidence to support her case against the Prime Minister, especially with respect to her most serious allegation that Morrison was a bully. None whatsoever.

– The Australian, 1 April, 2022

…But Fierravanti Wells’ so-called spray did offer evidence to back up her claims and it concerned Morrison’s behaviour in 2007, in launching his parliamentary career, when he won preselection for the safe Sydney seat of Cook.

As you should know, columnists do not write headlines and I did not make any “proclamation” about a “sniff test” with respect to Concetta Fierravanti-Wells.  It was a clever heading – but it was not mine.

The fact is that in her address to the Senate on 29 March 2022 – which I quoted in my Weekend Australian  column on 1 April 2022 – Senator Fierravanti-Wells did not provide any evidence to support her claim that Scott Morrison is a bully.  And she did not use the word bully with respect to Scott Morrison’s pre-selection in Cook some 15 years ago.

The senator has known the Prime Minister for some two decades.  But she did not refer to one instance where Scott Morrison had bullied her.  That would have been evidence. Contestable evidence – but evidence, nevertheless.  But it was not offered.

Senator Fierravanti-Wells did refer to “several statutory declarations” concerning Michael Towke – but she did not state who wrote them and what they contained.  Nor was the word bully mentioned in this context.  This is not evidence of bullying by Scott Morrison. Standing alone, it was not evidence of anything.

The only other use of the word “bully” in the speech related to a claim that Philip Ruddock (the president of the NSW Liberal Party) has “allowed Morrison to bully his way to a situation where he has put the next election at risk to save [Alex] Hawke’s career”.  Again, this is a mere assertion – it’s not evidence of anything.  It’s a description by one person of an inter-factional dispute within a political party – that’s all.

Concetta, whom I know quite well, did not dispute anything I wrote in my column on 1 April – nor did any of her supporters.  As far as I am aware, Paul Barry is the only person to allege that I falsely claimed that the Senator had made her allegations against the Prime Minister without evidence.

On Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News there is genuine debate about the media.  For example, Howard Kurtz, the presenter of Media Buzz, presides over discussions where more than one view is heard.  As you know , Kurtz moved to Fox News from CNN.  On the ABC’s Media Watch, Paul Barry does not allow for any of his left-of-centre views to be challenged on live television.

Perhaps one day Media Watch might look at the censorship practised by ABC presenters, producers and editors.  I note that you and the Media Watch team have had nothing to say about the fact that authors of books on the Pell Case – published after the High Court’s unanimous decision in The Queen v Pell to quash Pell’s convictions – have not been invited on to any ABC platform to discuss their books – with a single exception.

Namely, Keith Windschuttle who got one interview on The Religion and Ethics Report – which is not a prominent program.  Just one. Frank Brennan has received no coverage on the ABC. Ditto myself.  If all you learnt about books was attained through the ABC, you would be ignorant of the existence of all three works of non-fiction.

I wrote to David Anderson in his capacity as ABC’s editor-in-chief about this censorship on two occasions. He did not reply. That’s a form of denial.

I do not expect that Paul Barry will correct his “fake news” with respect to me.  I also note that the Media Watch team ignores stories about ABC censorship while covering such non-stories about the meaning of the term “rain bomb”.  To use a fave Paul Barry term:  “Wow”.

Keep Morale High.

Gerard Henderson

cc:   David Anderson – ABC managing director and editor-in-chief

Paul Barry – presenter, Media Watch

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Until next time.

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