GERARD HENDERSON’S MEDIA WATCH DOG

ISSUE – NO. 588

20 May 2022

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  • LA TINGLE CRITICISES FELLOW JOURNALISTS FOR NOT BEING PROFESSIONAL BUT FORGETS HER “IDEOLOGICAL BASTARDRY” TWEET ABOUT THE MORRISON GOVERNMENT

What a stunning performance by 7.30 political correspondent Laura Tingle on the program last night.  La Tingle accused her media colleagues, who are covering Opposition leader Anthony  Albanese, of lacking professionalism.  You see, 7.30’s political correspondent believes that her colleagues are being rude when they ask the Labor leader a question to which he does not give a specific response and then proceed to interrupt him.  This is what she told 7.30  presenter Leigh Sales last night:

Laura Tingle: …I also find the way the media have behaved in this not really all that, not very professional really because all they were saying is, you could hear them saying, “Oh, just tell us the figures, tell us the figure.”

Earlier, at 10.44 am that very morning, La Tingle put out a tweet which declared: “Sorry. But this is embarrassing for my profession.”  She attached part of a transcript of Anthony Albanese’s press conference earlier that day where journalists interrupted him claiming that he would not give specific answers to questions as to what was the specific figure for budget deficits under a future Labor government.

Could this be the very same Laura Tingle who, in a late night tweet sent at 11.27 pm on 9 October 2020, accused the Morrison government of “ideological bastardry”?  Sure is.

So, it’s okay for Comrade Tingle to accuse the Prime Minister and his ministerial colleagues of ideological bastardry.  But it’s unprofessional for journalists to interrupt the Labor leader when they believe that he is not answering their questions.  An unpleasant double standard, to be sure.

The fact is that a professional journalist who is on record as accusing a government of ideological bastardry would have recused themselves from covering an election campaign for a major media organisation.

However, La Tingle did not do this. She remained as 7.30’s political correspondent during the 2022 election campaign where she has criticised the Prime Minister and his government. And she has continued to appear as a panellist on the ABC TV Insiders program when, at times, she has fanged and mocked the Coalition.  See this issue’s “Outside Insiders” segment, for example.

Moreover, Laura Tingle did not step down as president of the National Press Club – which includes a role of chairing speeches by both leaders during an election campaign.  Labor proposed that Laura Tingle fulfil this function in the 2022 campaign.  However, Scott Morrison did not accept the NPC’s invitation to attend a NPC function chaired by Tingle. Quelle Surprise!

It made sense for Tingle to continue her weekly column in the Australian Financial Review during the election – since this is opinion. But it was unprofessional for her to continue her roles at the ABC and the National Press Club during the election.  Yet now Comrade Tingle is lecturing fellow journalists about their behaviour and (alleged) lack of professionalism.  Clearly La Tingle is somewhat short in the self-awareness stakes.

  • NO POLITICAL BALANCE IN Q+A AUDIENCE

Introducing Anthony Albanese’s solo Q&A appearance on Thursday 5 May, presenter David Speers made the following point:

It’s great to have so many of you here with us tonight. Each week, our audience is made up of one quarter Coalition voters, a quarter Labor, a quarter representing minor parties and Independents, and a quarter undecided, and tonight is no different.

It’s quite a while since Q+A asserted that it had politically balanced audiences.  And it has not been repeated since 5 May.  When Q+A used to make this claim, it relied on audience members attesting to their voting intentions.  Since the Q+A audiences are replete with leftists who sometimes become a baying mob – the easiest way for a member of the Sandalista Set to get into the audience was for them to take off their Che-Guevara tee-shirts and put on a shirt, cover their dreadlocks under a Make America Great Again (MAGA) cap and kick off their sandals for sensible shoes. This way they become political conservative on the outside but remain Green/Left on the inside.

At least last night David (“Call me Speersy”) abandoned the Fake News and made no pretence that the audience contained 25 per cent Coalition voters and so on.  As on virtually every occasion, the Q+A audience’s fave panellist was the most left-of-centre type. Last night it was former Independent MP Cathy McGowan who used the occasion to urge viewers (if viewers there were) to go out and support left-of-centre Independent candidates in the election.  The fact is that Q+A invariably has fewer right-of-centre panellists than left-of-centre panellists and the audience is replete with leftists, irrespective of how they dress for the occasion.  No wonder, for the second election in a row, the Prime Minister declined to appear on Q+A  during an election campaign. For a political and social conservative, there is no upside in appearing on Q+A.

  • NINE’S PETER HARTCHER MAKES LEGAL ERROR ON Q+A WHICH WAS NOT CORRECTED FOR 11 MINUTES

Peter Hartcher, international editor of The Age and the Sydney Morning Herald,  presents himself as a man of wisdom and moderation.  Indeed, he invariably tends to look down on politicians and more besides whom he seems to regard as being of lesser depth.  So you would expect your man Hartcher himself to act in accordance with high standards.

Not on Q&A last night, alas.  Asked by David Speers to comment about Prime Minister Scott Morrison, he had this to say:

Peter Hartcher: Um, bulldozer Morrison, you know, uh, has a place in those circumstances [of major crisis]. Kinder and gentler? When there were crises with, uh, a rape being committed in – in the ministerial wing of Parliament House, when there were other atrocities going on, he could have shown more empathy. When there was a march of Women 4 Justice, in Parliament House, that he didn’t – he refused to meet. He said they could send some representatives, perhaps, but he wouldn’t meet the – the crowd….

This was a grossly irresponsible statement but it passed without any intervention by Q+A presenter David Speers – for a while at least. This despite the fact that Speers has a tendency to interrupt interviewees and panellists at will.

It would seem that Peter Hartcher has no understanding of sub judice – the concept that when something is before a court in a criminal matter the merits of the case should not be discussed in public before a jury, or perhaps a judge, comes to a decision at the conclusion of a criminal trial.

It was a full 11 minutes before David Speers said what he should have said 11 minutes earlier in response to Peter Hartcher.  Let’s go to the transcript:

David Speers: Now, before we move on, a little earlier in the discussion there was a reference to a rape being committed in Parliament. I would just like to clarify – they are allegations. That matter is before the courts. Let’s move to our next question.

Quite so.  It is in the interest of the complainant and the accused alike that a fair trial be held. The Chief Justice of the Australian Capital Territory has warned the media that there should be no commentary on the matter to which Peter Hartcher referred. Under Australian law, a person is assumed innocent until found guilty.  Any such decision can only be overturned in an appeal court.

It would be understandable if this kind of error was made by a cadet journalist.  But the likes of Peter Hartcher should know better – irrespective of how much they want to criticise the Prime Minister for his alleged actions or inactions.


Can You Bear It?

  • THE SYDNEY WRITERS’ FESTIVAL’S MICHAEL WILLIAMS STILL IN DENIAL AS HE DICES WITH BENJAMIN LAW IN THE GOOD WEEKEND

MWD just loves reading Benjamin Law’s “Dicey Topics” in the Sydney Morning Herald  and The Age each Saturday where it appears in the Good Weekend Magazine.  It works like this.  The leftist Law invariably invites one of his leftist mates – who happens to be a “public figure” – to “roll a die” (aka dice) and to talk about the topics on which the numbers land.  The options are (i) death, (ii) money, (iii) sex, (iv) religion, (v) politics and (vi) bodies. By the way, the word “die” is the old English word for a single dice.  Somewhat pretentious word usage by your man Law, don’t you think?

As avid readers will recall, on 10 July 2020, MWD documented the memorable day when none other than Dr Norman (Australia’s most trusted doctor who hasn’t practised medicine for around four decades) Swan threw the dice. When it landed on Sex, Australia’s (allegedly) most trusted doctor told Comrade Law about “an erotic story” written by a female about a woman who – wait for it – gets excited when hearing Swan’s voice on ABC radio and television.  Wow – as the saying goes.  At the time, Comrade Swan was 67 years old.

But MWD digresses – yet again. On 14 May 2022, Comrade Law’s fave public figure was none other than Michael Williams – well known to MWD avid readers as the artistic director of the Sydney Writers’ Festival in 2020, 2021 and 2022 – all of which have been leftist stacks. See MWD passim ad nauseam.  When Comrade Williams’ dice landed on Politics, the following exchange took place:

Benjamin Law: The theme of this year’s SWF is “Change my mind”. When was the last time you changed yours?

Michael Williams: I’m so bloody pig-headed I don’t change my mind about anything! [Laughs] No, I had a funny experience a while ago when I read a book I really loved. About a week later, I read a review of the book that was brutal – absolutely savage, tore strips off it – and it changed my mind…. The visual design for the festival shows the words “change my mind” with a lens over them, but the lens is turned a fraction, just off-kilter. You can still read it, but it’s no longer flush. You have to slightly tilt your head to make sense of what’s going on. That kind of mind-change happens to us all the time. And we need to be more open to it.

What a load of absolute tosh.  The only way a conservative gets to arrive at the Sydney Writers’ Festival is if they become lost on the way to somewhere else after one (or perhaps two) too many Gin & Tonics – or if they receive an invitation sent by mistake.

The reason the SWF is a taxpayer-funded leftist stack every year turns on the fact that Comrade Williams doesn’t change his mind. But your man Williams told Comrade Law that he does change his mind because he once altered his view after reading a review about a book which did not bear a name. Can You Bear It?

  • DR JENNA PRICE (FOR A DOCTOR SHE IS) ANALYSES THE PM’S JOB BY REFERENCE TO DIETS

When reading Nine newspapers, Jackie’s (male) co-owner invariably goes first to the columns of Julia Baird (on a Saturday) and Jenna Price (on a Thursday). After all, both put out tweets where they present themselves as “Dr Julia Baird” and “Dr Jenna Price” respectively. Pretty impressive, don’t you think?  When Jackie enters the Twitter world she is destined to present herself as “Jackie, Dip Wellness The Gunnedah Institute”. Gee – that would surely impress the teeming masses.

But MWD digresses.  On 18 May, Jenna (“You may call me doctor but don’t bother in the case of a medical emergency”) Price wrote a column in the Sydney Morning Herald  titled “It’s hard to change; I know, I tried.” The reference was to Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s recent statement that, if re-elected at the 2022 election, he would moderate his behaviour somewhat and downgrade somewhat from a human bulldozer.

Now this may or may not occur.  But it’s understandable why a PM – who in three years has presided over drought, fire, floods and pandemic – might choose to tone down the intensity level a bit if such crises dissipate.

In any event, Comrade Price, who is a visiting fellow at the Australian National University no less, is of the view that Scott Morrison will not change. And so it came to pass that she wrote 1000 words or so explaining her position.  Believe it or not [I believe it – MWD Editor], Comrade Price devoted most of her column to her successful attempt to lose weight over the last decade or so – including her interaction with an associate professor at the University of Sydney and a professor of psychology at the ANU.

So there you have it.  Jenna Price compares leading a nation of some 27 million people with going on a diet.  Her very own.  Can You Bear It?

  • NIKI SAVVA FIRES ONE LAST (POLITICAL) SHOT AGAINST THE PRIME MINISTER

While on the topic of Nine columnists, avid readers are bound to be interested in what Niki Savva is up to in the Sydney Morning Herald  and The Age – where week after week she writes a column about how hopeless the Prime Minister is.

Well, the news is that nothing has changed.  On 19 May, Ms Savva, once again, bagged the PM.  She even had a “joke” of sorts – quoting “a friend” who had described Scott Morrison’s statement that he would moderate his behaviour in future as a “ScoMopology”.  Get it?  – a “ScoMo-apology”.  What a hoot.  And then there were the definitive sources – in this case “NSW Liberals”, “Labor”, “Liberals”, “one”, “Labor”, plus “Liberal and Labor strategists”. Almost as authoritative as ABC journalist Louise Milligan’s famous source – namely the anonymous father-in-law of an anonymous ABC journalist.

The Nine columnist decided to opine on the accidental collision between the PM and a young boy while playing soccer in Devonport recently.  She used the occasion to have a whinge about the Prime Minister’s refusal to accept an invitation to address the National Press Club in Canberra during the election campaign – where, as it turns out, she lives. NS had this to say:

Morrison became the first leader in more than 50 years to spurn the platform. Crash tackling a little boy on a footy field was obviously a much better use of his time. A strange unit for sure.

On one issue Liberal and Labor strategists are agreed: dislike of Morrison remains the dominant factor in the campaign. The antipathy to Morrison is so embedded Labor is banking on it having the power to surmount any lingering doubts about Albanese, unless he stumbles between now and Saturday.

It would seem that Niki Savva has become one of Australia’s leading Morrison-haters even going to the extent of (alleging) he was into “crash tackling a little boy”.  For Savva’s sake, here’s hoping that the Prime Minister wins on 21 May.  If Anthony Albanese became prime minister, what would Niki Savva write about? Can You Bear It?

  • EVERYONE AGREES WITH EVERYONE ELSE ON COMRADE ADAMS’ LITTLE WIRELESS PROGRAM

While on the topic of Niki Savva, did anyone tune into the little wireless program of the ABC’s Man In Black? – aka Phillip Adams AO, AM, Hon DUniv (Griffith), Hon DLitt (ECU), Hon DUniv (SA), DLitt [sic] (Syd), Hon. DUniv (Macquarie), FRSA, Hon FAHA.

On Mondays, Phillip (“I was once a young member of the Communist Party but I can’t remember when”) Adams usually talks Australian national politics on ABC Radio’s Late Night Live program with Morrison-hater Laura Tingle.  But on 16 May he doubled-up by inviting another Morrison-hater, Niki Savva, on to his little wireless program.

It was not long before Phillip was in frantic agreement with Laura who was in frantic agreement with Niki who was in frantic agreement with – you get the picture.

A highlight of the occasion occurred when Comrade Adams asked Comrade Savva the leading question as to whether Scott Morrison had handled the Teal (so-called) Independents badly. Ms Savva’s response commenced as follows:

Niki Savva: Um, well, he has. And, um, not just him, but, um, you  know, his, uh, MPs and also, um, even dare I say, my old boss, uh, John Howard.  I think they’ve um – first of all, they, um, ignored the threat, you know….

There is no evidence that the Liberal Party ignored the threat of the anti-Liberal Independents running against sitting Liberal MPs in relatively safe Liberal seats.  No evidence at all.  But since this Phillip/Laura/Niki trio presented as a mutual admiration society – there was no one to present an opposing view.  And ABC management maintains that the taxpayer funded public broadcaster presents a diversity of views.  Can You Bear It?


DOCUMENTATION

  • ABC STILL PUSHING ITS VOTE COMPASS AUDIENCE SURVEY AS REPRESENTATIVE OF ALL AUSTRALIANS

Prior to each Federal election since 2013 the ABC has rolled out Vote Compass, an online questionnaire accessed through the ABC News website. The results of Vote Compass are weighed by certain demographic factors and presented by the ABC as a representative sample of the electorate – equivalent to the scientific polling conducted on behalf of other media companies. There are many problems with conducting a poll in this way, some of which were covered in MWD Issue 585.

Nevertheless, during this campaign, the ABC has continued to pump out articles based on Vote Compass data. Vote Compass can apparently shed light on: what voters think of the leaders (Scomo bad, Albo okay) or how Australians feel about Prince Charles becoming King (not great) – among many other issues.

Some articles inspired by Vote Compass are essentially recycled every election. Vote Compass has shed light on Australia’s most and least conservative electorates for the 2022 (Maranoa & Wills), 2019 (Maranoa & Cooper), 2016 (Maranoa & Batman) and 2013 (Maranoa & Grayndler) elections. No doubt Vote Compass will return for the next Federal Election to inform ABC readers that Maranoa is still very conservative.

Vote Compass also asks respondents which issue they find the most important. On 22 April 2022, the ABC reported early results showing that Climate Change rated as the top issue for voters – with 29 per cent naming it as most important for them. This finding was brought up during by ANU professor Mark Howden in a report by Katherine Gregory on the 19 May edition of ABC Radio’s The World Today:

Mark Howden: I think, if you compare the proper level of public interest and concern on climate change, with the action and coverage with the major parties, there’s a big gap there. And, for example, Vote Compass shows that 29 per cent of Australians list climate change as their number one concern, it’s more than double the next one, which is sort of economic and financial concerns. And so it’s a big issue for many voters and the coverage just doesn’t match.

Katherine Gregory: Professor Howden’s reference to Vote Compass is the ABC’s election data tool. More than 1.2 million Australians have taken the Vote Compass survey. Their answers are weighted by things like gender, age and education to reveal voters’ main priorities and whether their views align with a party’s.

Professor Howden may wish to confer with his ANU colleagues professors Nicholas Biddle and Matthew Gray who on 6 May produced a report titled “Views on policy and politics on the eve of the 2022 Federal Election”. This report drew on April 2022 ANUpoll which asked a representative panel of 3,587 Australian voters which issues they considered a top priority. This survey found that “dealing with global climate change” ranked fifth among the issues offered, in contrast to Vote Compass where it was by far the top issue.

Vote Compass and the ANUpoll differ greatly in methodology and question wording, which likely explains the different results. Climate change may turn out to be a decisive issue at the 2022 election, as implied by the Vote Compass results. However, it is worth looking back at the 2019 coverage of Vote Compass.

In 2019, the preliminary results of Vote Compass showed “Environment” as the top issue among voters (Climate Change was not offered as a separate issue in the 2019 survey). The ABC produced articles which confidently proclaimed that “Crucially, the environment is nominated as the top concern among undecided voters” and “More than 80 per cent of Australians want the Government to take more action on climate change”.

Two days after the 2019, election the ABC News website featured an opinion piece by University of Queensland associate professor Matt McDonald bearing the amusing headline:

Election 2019: What happened to the climate change vote we heard about?


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.

  • CAROLINE DI RUSSO CONTRASTS SMALL OPINION POLL SURVEYS WITH LARGE ITALIAN WEDDINGS

On 18 May, The West Australian  ran the following heading on Page One – next to a photo of Kate Chaney who is contesting the Perth seat of Curtin as a Simon Holmes à Court’s Climate 200 (so-called) Independent at the election on 21 May:

Exclusive Poll:  Independent candidate on track for narrow victory in blue-ribbon Liberal seat of Curtin.

CH – CH – CH

Chaney!

(…with apologies to David Bowie)

There followed a report by Lanai Scarr, The West Australian’s federal political editor, about a poll of 516 voters in Curtin which has Kate Chaney ahead of the sitting Liberal MP Celia Hammond by 52 to 48 per cent.  In fact the gap is so narrow it is within the margin of error – but the recognition of this would not make for a “Ch-Ch-Ch Chaney!” headline.

As Scarr reported, the poll was conducted by Utting Research, which is led by managing director John Utting, the former long-time pollster for the Labor Party.

MWD is of the view that polls of individual seat surveys need around 1000 respondents for them to work.  But then MWD is unfailingly polite and rarely makes such comments in public. Not so MWD fave Caroline Di Russo, a West Australian who appears in the media on occasions – including Sky News’ The Front Page  which goes to air at 10 pm on Mondays to Thursdays where the following morning’s newspapers are previewed.

Here’s what Ms Di Russo said on 17 May at the end of her comments about why she believes that Ms Hammond will prevail over Ms Chaney on election day – following a request for a comment from presenter Jenna Clarke about the poll that had the Teal Independent leading the endorsed Liberal Party candidate by 52 to 48 on a two-party preferred basis:

…I believe this would be  a Painted Dog Poll. We’ve had a notorious run of Painted Dog Polls over the last two years.  And it’s 514 surveyed, which is not – that is not a sample size, that is an Italian wedding at Rosetti’s.

MWD is not too sure what a Painted Dog Poll is – something Western Australian, it is assumed. In any event, The West Australian poll was not from the Painted Dog kennel. However, the linking of a low sample poll size with a large Italian wedding works for MWD.

Caroline Di Russo – Five Paws


OUTSIDE INSIDERS – THE WRITTEN VERSION

As avid readers are well aware, a certain William (Bill) Thompson – who identifies as the ABC’s Southbank Correspondent – set up the “Outside Insiders” video segment some years ago.  This is a print edition of the Bill Thompson initiative.

  • LA TINGLE PUSHES THE “NUKE” BUTTON AGAINST THE PM WITHOUT DISSENT FROM SPEERSY, PVO OR COMRADE MARTIN

As news.com.au editor Samantha Maiden said when she appeared on ABC TV’s Insiders on 11 July 2021, the program has become a bit dull in that it lacks spark. For the full quote see MWD 16 July 2021.  A less polite way of saying the same thing is that these days Insiders  is very bland, if not boring.

This is especially the case in the 2022 election campaign where Insiders has been extended from one hour to 90 minutes – even though it focuses on political events which have been extensively discussed over the previous six days.  Moreover, there is little if any disagreement between panellists.  And presenter David (“Oh yes, I’m the great interrupter”) Speers insists on interrupting the panellists in addition to most of his guests.  Insiders  is very much “Inside Speersy” these days.

It was much the same on 15 May when Insiders was filmed in the marginal seat of Reid in Sydney’s inner-west.  The panellists were all well-known public critics of the Prime Minister Scott Morrison. Namely, Sarah Martin (of the avowedly leftist Guardian Australia), Peter van Onselen (Network 10 and co-author of How good is Scott Morrison?) and Laura Tingle (ABC, say no more).  Insiders was yet another occasion of The Guardian/ABC Axis in action – with five out of six panellists from the avowedly leftist Guardian or the Conservative Free Zone that is the ABC. The ABC Team consisted of Speersy, La Tingle, Michael Bowers and Mark Humphries, who identifies as a comedian (to borrow a Barry Humphries term).

Let’s go to the transcript of that part of the panel discussion where the following exchange took place between Comrade Tingle (who is on record as accusing the Morrison government of “ideological bastardry”) and Speersy (as he likes to be called) on the issue of the Morrison government’s promised tax cuts, termed the Stage 3 tax cuts, compared with the Coalition’s housing policy:

David Speers: Stage 3 tax cuts. Laura, that remains the biggie, doesn’t it? In terms of things Labor’s backed for political reasons that are – are going to cause budget problems down the track.

Laura Tingle: It is. I mean, the housing stuff is, you know, Mini-Me vs Mickey Mouse [sic]. Now, is this really the centrepiece of the campaign launch today by the, um – by the government? It’s –

David Speers: [interjecting] There could be another surprise, we don’t know about.

Laura Tingle: You know, maybe they’re going to, you know, announce we’re going to nuke somebody or something. I mean, Lord knows, but this is really small beer policy.

David Speers: And look, this might be small beer, today’s announcement, but again – and both sides have backed it – it’s more strain on the budget, isn’t it….

How about that?  Not only did La Tingle throw the switch to hyperbole by referring to Mini-Me and Mickey Mouse. She also suggested that Australia might “nuke somebody or something” – a failed “joke” to be sure.  But the significant point is that neither Speersy nor PvO nor Comrade Martin thought it appropriate to advise La Tingle that, well, her criticism of the Morrison government was a bit over the top. Rather, it was a not unfamiliar Insiders occasion in that Laura agreed with David who agreed with PvO who agreed with Sarah who agreed with Laura who agreed with PvO who agreed with David who interrupted himself to agree with Laura. ZZzzzzz.

[I know that avid readers will be oh-so-interested in the Speersy Interruption Score Card for his interviews with Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and Opposition leader Anthony Albanese on 15 May. Here it is:

  • Speersy interrupted Mr Frydenberg on 13 occasions in a 17 minute interview.
  • Speersy interrupted Mr Albanese on 4 occasions in a 16 minute interview.

Enough said. MWD Editor.]


THE END IS NIGH (continued)

  • HOW THE ABC’S DR KARL SURVIVED THE (EXPECTED) GREAT TIDAL WAVE OF 60 YEARS AGO

As Media Watch Dog readers will be aware, during the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, the late (and unlamented) Bob Ellis left Sydney and did a bunk for the Blue Mountains. You see, in his give-peace-a-chance days the (False) Prophet of Palm Beach (as he became) was convinced that World War III was imminent – involving, as it would have, nuclear destruction to a greater or lesser extent. Including the city of Sydney.

Believing that Sydney’s eastern suburbs (where he resided at the time) would soon be hit by a nuke despatched by Soviet Union dictator Nikita Khrushchev, your man Ellis said he pinched his girlfriend’s mother’s car and drove to the Blue Mountains and beyond.  In fact, Ellis could not drive at the time – and his (then) girlfriend was at the wheel.  After reaching Lithgow, the run-away-comrade was advised that Lithgow was not safer than Sydney when it came to a nuclear attack – containing, as it did, an armaments factory.  And so Comrade Ellis returned to Sydney after one night of panic.  And the expected end of the world was delayed – from Comrade Ellis’ point of view. Needless to say, it never entered your man Ellis’ mind, that in 1962, a Soviet nuclear missile aimed at Sydney might land in the Blue Mountains or Lithgow or somewhere else.

MWD was reminded of the Ellis Folly after reading Kirk Owers’ profile of ABC science guru Karl (“Please call me Dr Karl”) Kruszelnicki in The Weekend Australian Magazine on 7 May 2022.  The reporter had this to say about what he termed Hippie Karl – before Dr Karl became a doctor – in the early 1970s:

Most surprisingly, in the early ’70s there was hippie Karl the doomsday prepper who believed Sydney was about to be swamped by a massive tidal wave and fled to the Blue Mountains with like-minded friends, a sack of rice, some ­kerosene and 20 litres of water….

The tidal wave, of course, didn’t arrive. Karl and his hippie friends celebrated their unexpected good fortune, had “a lovely time” and then returned to Sydney and eventually to reality. Now, looking back, Kruszelnicki says he became a paranoid prepper not because he fell for pseudo-science or was persuaded by a controversial book. “I believed simply because my friends told me about it. That was enough; because my friends were so convinced, I took that as a very high authority.”

How about that?  Karl the Younger believed that Sydney was going to be destroyed by a massive tidal wave half a century ago – because his friends told him, so that was enough.  And he believed that survival was at hand in the Blue Mountains – provided a soviet of hippies had a sack of rice, 20 litres of water and some kero (presumably to heat the rice).  Little wonder that your man Karl rose and rose and rose until he became the ABC scientific guru of Dr Karl fame.


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.

  • CATHY WILCOX AND GERARD HENDERSON re THE FORMER’S “OFFENCE” AT RECEIVING A BOOK SHE (FALSELY) BELIEVED WAS SENT BY HENDO

At Hangover Time on 13 May, Jackie’s (male) co-owner received an email from The Guardian Australia’s Amanda Meade about a tweet by a fellow comrade – Nine’s Cathy Wilcox – who had made allegations against him, yes, in a late-night tweet. Now read on, s’il vous plait.  [Oh, don’t be so pretentious. MWD Editor.]

Gerard Henderson to Cathy Wilcox – 16 May 2022

SUBJECT: RE YOUR UNPROFESSIONAL JOURNALISM

Cathy

At 5.51 am on Friday morning The Guardian Australia’s  Amanda Meade drew my attention to these two tweets which you sent out about me late in the evening of Thursday 12 May:

Amanda Meade’s email read as follows:

Dear Gerard

Did you send a copy of your book to the home address of Cathy Wilcox, without a note of explanation, as she alleges above?

Thanks

Amanda

I am busy most Friday mornings but, in haste, I sent out the following reply to Amanda Meade at 6.06 am:

No. CW just made this up without checking with me. I would not waste a book on CW and I do not have the slightest idea of where she lives.

Gerard

I assumed that you were referring to my considered and thoroughly documented book Cardinal Pell: The Media Pile On & Collective Guilt  which was published by Connor Court in November 2021 and launched by Margaret Cunneen SC on 7 December 2021.  This book has been effectively “cancelled” by the ABC, Nine’s Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, The Guardian Australia, The Saturday Paper and The New Daily – all of which engaged in the Pell pile-on prior to the unanimous decision of the High Court of Australia on 7 April 2020.  Other books on the Pell Case by Frank Brennan and Keith Windschuttle have also been “cancelled”.  It’s the modern form of left-wing censorship.

Your tweets were an example of unprofessional journalism. My email address is widely known – including by your employer the Sydney Morning Herald, where I was a columnist for over two decades.  Also, my office number can easily be attained.

If you had bothered to contact me, before throwing the switch to Twitter, I would have told you that I have never sent any of my books to you.

The fault you appear to share with many journalists is that you believe what you want to believe.  You wanted to believe that I sent you the book – and you assumed that this was what occurred…. [The brief deletion that follows did not relate to Cathy Wilcox.]

You should take down your tweet – since it is Fake News.

Best wishes

Gerard

 

Cathy Wilcox to Gerard Henderson – 16 May 2022

Hi Gerard,

I don’t apologise for my tweet or intend to take it down. I didn’t refer to you by name in the first and only by your first name in the second. As noted in the tweet, it came anonymously, without explanation or sender’s identification so all I have to go on is that it’s by you. So likely somebody associated with you, if not you.  After all, it’s just come out, hasn’t it?  Why would someone send it to me if they didn’t want me to talk about it? Any publicity is good publicity when you have a book to sell, no?! I have not seen or heard it mentioned, negatively or otherwise, anywhere in the media, so perhaps the cancellation is more in your imagination.

Perhaps your publisher or publicist could shed some light. And if you feel it casts you in a poor light, to be thought of as having sent a book anonymously to someone you dislike, you might want to know who IS responsible and tell them not to do such a rude thing on your behalf. It was only after I mentioned it to a friend two weeks after receiving it that they pointed out how inappropriate it was, as it could be construed as intimidatory. I replied that I didn’t, a priori, find you particularly intimidating. I mentioned it to my editor as well, who suggested I report it to security.

Meanwhile, I’m delighted if it did not come from you. Your reputation to me is as it ever was.

Cathy

 

Gerard Henderson to Cathy Wilcox – 18 May 2022

Cathy

I refer to your email of 16 May 2022.  In response, I make the following comments.

  • I did not ask you to apologise for making up stuff about me. Since being a leftist journalist means never having to say you’re sorry – it would have been a waste of time. I merely asked you to take down your late-night tweets of 12 May which contain Fake News.
  • You tweeted on 12 May 2022 at 10.24 pm that “somebody” had sent you “a book they’ve written” to your “home address”. Then at 11.07 pm you asked for “Gerard’s home address”. It’s disingenuous for you now to state that you “only” mentioned my “first name in the second” text. You should be able to do better than this – since there was only 40 minutes between the two tweets. Amanda Meade, for one, certainly knew who you were referring to.
  • It is intellectually dishonest for you to write that you had no option but to conclude that the person who sent the book to you was me. There was an option – you could have asked me before tweeting. It’s called professional journalism.
  • For the record, I was not aware that anyone had forwarded a copy of my book to you or anyone else. The first I heard of this was when Amanda Meade emailed me just before 6 am on Friday 13 May.
  • If you did a web search you would not maintain that Cardinal Pell, The Media Pile-On & Collective Guilt has “just come out”. It was released in November 2021.
  • I’m not responsible if someone buys one or more of my books and sends it to someone else – especially since I do not know who the person is. Do you expect me to ask every bookshop to name someone who has purchased one or more of my books? Turn it up.
  • You wrote about my book: “I have not seen or heard it mentioned, negatively or otherwise, anywhere in the media, so perhaps the cancellation is more in your imagination”. Well, if you get your knowledge of Australian books solely from (i) the ABC, (ii) Nine Newspapers – SMH & The Age , (iii)  The Guardian Australia, (iv) The Saturday Paper and (v) The New Daily – all of which substantially reported the Pell Case up until the High Court decision – you would not know anything about my book because all have “cancelled” it, along with the books by Frank Brennan and Keith Windschuttle on the same issue.

I have the personal email addresses of David Anderson (ABC, editor-in-chief) and Tory Maguire (SMH & Age executive editor). I emailed both about my book and offered to send copies to them if anyone at their media outlet wanted to review the book and/or interview me.  Both declined to even acknowledge my email – despite a reminder. That’s what I have in mind about being “cancelled” by the ABC and Nine – or, rather, censored.  Contrary to your supercilious suggestion – this is not a matter of my “imagination”.

  • For the record, in spite of the censorship, my book has been reprinted. As to your copy – there’s always the re-cycle bin since I assume that you would not like reading well-documented views with which you expect to disagree. Most leftist journalists/cartoonists are like this. It’s called denial.

Best wishes and Keep Morale High.

Gerard

Gerard Henderson

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Until next time.

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