ISSUE – NO. 594

1 July 2022

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Media Watch Dog just loves it when journalists talk to other journalists about journalism.  Especially when journalists are celebrating their own (collective) birthday party.

This was the case on Thursday 30 June when ABC 90 Celebrate! went to air on the main ABC channel.  The exclamation mark was a great idea, don’t you think!!!  The taxpayer funded public broadcaster commenced operations on 1 July 1932 in the midst of the Great Depression.

The ABC’s 90th birthday gig went for 120 minutes or thereabouts.  It’s not clear how many viewers made it through from 8 pm to 10 pm.  For those who missed the celebrations, here are the MWD’s  highlights:

۰ Craig Reucassel Celebrates the ABC’s Mass Balloon Drop

ABC 90 Celebrate! ended as there were two large balloon drops on the stage.  They landed near the feet of the presenters Zan Rowe, Tony Armstrong and Craig Reucassel. Mark Humphries, who identifies as a comedian, joined the trio for the curtain call.

Hang on a minute. Isn’t this the very same Comrade Reucassel who presented the series War on Waste on ABC TV? – where he railed against those who are not focused on the problem with waste.  Alas, it was.  So there you have it.  Your man Reucassel said nothing as a hundred or more un-recyclable balloons were dropped on the floor of the ABC studio – presumably to be removed by cleaners.

Three ABC Blokes and One Sheila celebrate ABC 90 Celebrate! with the help of Lotsa (non-recyclable) Taxpayer Funded Balloons

۰ Sarah Ferguson Looks On The Good Side Of ABC (News And Current Affairs) Life

It is a matter of fact that around 95 per cent of considered complaints about the ABC involve about 5 per cent of its programming output – television, radio and online.

The ABC 90 Celebrate! celebration involved Sarah Ferguson (who will commence as 7.30  presenter on 4 July) handling news and current affairs. Here was the introduction:

Sarah Ferguson: Over the last 90 years, the ABC has evolved from the mild-mannered Aunty of its early days, into one of the last bastions of true public broadcasting in the world, and the home of fiercely independent journalism… Along the way we’ve shared stories that have reflected our changing society and revealed hidden truths that have fuelled the conversation here and abroad.

Ms Ferguson praised the ABC. Quelle Surprise!  She even maintained that it covered its own happenings and told “both sides” of stories.  But there was no reference to Sarah Ferguson’s hopelessly wrong “story-of-the-century” about President Donald J. Trump’s (alleged) association with Vladimir Putin and Russia in the lead-up to the 2020 presidential election – or to Louise Milligan’s seriously flawed 7.30 program on Cardinal George Pell which was totally discredited in the courts – including by a unanimous decision in the High Court.

Sarah Ferguson concluded: “We’re not going anywhere”. That’s no surprise.  Let’s pull the curtain and release the balloons and look forward to more taxpayer funded self-praise in a decade’s time.

Can You Bear It?


Talk about giving hubris a bad name.  Thanks to the avid Bendigo reader who drew Media Watch Dog’s attention to the effort at self-promotion by Laura Tingle – ABC TV’s 7.30 political correspondent and Australian Financial Review  columnist. Here is the tweet she sent out pre-Dinner/Drinks Time on 29 June:

The reference is to this portrait of La Tingle by artist James Powditch which is a finalist in the 2022 Archibald Prize at the Art Gallery of NSW – superimposed by La Tingle on the 2022 Archibald Prize flyer.

The “cough” hint is an obvious plea for La Tingle’s Twitter followers to rock up at the NSW Art Gallery and vote for her portrait to win the People’s Choice Award – in an “absolutely fabulous” field.

If Comrade Tingle were running in an election to retain her spot as president of the National Press Club such canvassing would be understandable.  But this spruiking is about winning votes for an artist in an artistic prize.  Has La Tingle no shame? More importantly – Can You Bear It?

[Er, no. Not really – now that you ask.  Sure, La Tingle has a high profile. So it’s quite possible that her spruiking will get the artist James Powditch over the People’s Choice line.

I recall that in an article in Crikey on 16 June, the former journalists’ union boss Christopher Warren quoted from the Reuters Institute of Journalism’s Digital News  Report: Australia 2022. It revealed that Laura Tingle has the highest recall rate among Australian journalists. Closely followed by Sky News’ Peta Credlin, Paul Murray, Andrew Bolt and Rita Panahi – along with Leigh Sales.  Great company. Well done La Tingle. – MWD Editor.]


What a stunning performance by Amy Remeikis, The Guardian Australia’s political reporter, on the ABC TV’s Insiders  on 26 June. It was a typical Insiders panel with two left wing panellists – to wit, Comrade Remeikis and Nine’s Sean Kelly – “balanced” by The Australian’s  Greg Sheridan (who is a social but not a political conservative and a strong supporter of the Albanese government’s foreign affairs policy).

The Guardian/ABC Axis was in full flight when the ABC presenter asked The Guardian political reporter this question:

David Speers: Well, Amy, what’s going on in the party in the Liberal Party on this issue [climate change] right now?

Amy Remeikis: What’s going on in the Liberal Party and the National Party is the same thing that’s been going on in the Coalition for the last decade, where they just continue to politicise an issue that should be beyond politics. Like I’ve been speaking to people within the Queensland LNP who just continually just go: “Oh, if we just go harder on climate, we’ll win people back”. You won’t, you didn’t…. [Clapping commences with one clap for each word]: What. Other. Message. Do. They. Need? [Clapping concludes].

It’s, it’s it’s beyond this now. And we’re at a tipping point, not just with the climate, which obviously is a huge, huge issue. But you want to talk about what is going on economically in this country. You can relate it to what’s going on with climate change and fossil fuels and energy. And so you’ve got now, you’re seeing the pay, the payoff from that, from this 10 years of absolute just complete diabolical politics which now means people are having to choose between eating and heating….

How about that for an (uninterrupted) Guardian leftist rant, replete with slow hand-clapping for effect, presenting as disinterested political analysis.

It seems that Comrade Remeikis is blissfully unaware that the cost of fuel and food is increasing throughout most of the Western world due to inflation, the wind drought in the northern summer and the impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.  And then there have been the recent floods in Eastern Australia which have affected food prices. Consequently, not even the Morrison government can be held responsible for any impact of climate change on energy and food prices.  Yet, no one challenged the Remeikis Rant which took some one minute and 22 seconds. Can You Bear It?

The Guardian’s AR in unhappy-clappy mode as she slow-claps the Liberal National Party


It was great to see Sean Kelly, who is a regular columnist for The Age  and Sydney Morning Herald,  make an inaugural appearance on the Insiders couch on 26 June.  After all, your man Kelly is not a member of the Canberra Press Gallery and does not reside in Canberra – so he does not fit the usual Insiders format and, consequently freshens up the panel somewhat.

Also, unlike most journalistic “experts” who appear on Insiders, Sean Kelly has first-hand experience of working in politics.  He is a former adviser to Labor prime ministers Julia Gillard and Kevin Rudd – a remarkable achievement in itself, in view of the hostility between the Gillard camp and the Rudd camp over the years.

As avid readers will recall, on 17 June MWD described one-time Greens candidate Osman Faruqi’s inaugural appearance on Insiders  as just what the program needed – namely, another leftist panellist. Trigger warning – this was an attempt at irony. But it seems that Insiders executive director Samuel Clark may have taken the comment seriously.  How else to explain the fact that the very next Sunday saw the left-of-centre Kelly on the couch?

To understand that Comrade Kelly is something of an ideological warrior when it comes to Australian national politics, it is sufficient to read his column in Nine newspapers on 20 June. In an article titled “Business as usual falls short”, Sean Kelly described the Abbott, Turnbull and Morrison governments as presiding over “wasted” years whereas the previous two years of the Gillard/Rudd government had been “excellent”.  There were references to the Coalition’s “blunder” and “terrible period” along with a claim that the “sole purpose of climate policy” for the Coalition was “its use as a political weapon against Labor”.  Yes, the only purpose – believe it or not.

Then it was time for Comrade Kelly to fire up at “big business”.  He declared that big business had “won one relentless dishonest campaign against good policy” in 2019 and referred to its “corporate aggression”.   Your man Kelly went on to claim that, right now, business is making “false claims” with respect to “wages and inflation”.  He maintained that there “seems good reason for business to refrain from the wrecking role it has previously played” in this area.

Sounds like a piece intended for, say, the Green Left Weekly  which somehow ended up in Nine’s newspapers which claim to be “Independent. Always”. By the way, Sean Kelly only quoted from one source for his otherwise evidence-free column. Can You Bear It?


On Saturday 18 June, news reached Australia that FINA (Fédération Internationale De Natation – aka the International Swimming Federation) had voted to ban (male to female) transgender athletes from elite women’s swimming if they have gone through male puberty.  The issue was discussed by ABC Radio National Breakfast presenter Patricia (“Call me PK”) Karvelas on three successive days.

۰ On Monday 20 June, PK interviewed Dr Catherine Ordway – the Sport Integrity Research Lead at the University of Canberra.  Dr Ordway opposed the FINA decision.

۰ On Tuesday 21 June, PK interviewed Nikki Dryden – a former Canadian Olympic swimmer and human rights lawyer. Ms Dryden opposed FINA’s decision.

۰ On Wednesday 22 June, PK interviewed Kieran Perkins – CEO of the Australian Sports Commission. Mr Perkins indicated some substantial disagreement with FINA’s decision.

Er, that was it.  No other view was heard – despite the requirement that the taxpayer funded public broadcaster exhibit balance in the coverage of news and current affairs.

As avid readers are aware, MWD is the enemy of hyperbole and false prophecy (which, come to think of it, is all prophecy). “Hyperbole of the Week” is committed to nailing exaggerations and false predictions as the spirit moves it.


Jackie’s (male) co-owner can barely wait for the ABC Radio National Breakfast weekly segment “Politics with Katharine Murphy” every Thursday.  So Hendo’s anxiety has increased somewhat due to the decision to move Patricia (“Please call me PK”) Karvelas’ weekly interview with Katharine (“Malcolm calls me Murpharoo”) Murphy from before 8 am until after 8 am. This is but one of many a burden he experiences in this Vale of Tears which we currently occupy.

But MWD digresses.  Let’s go to the transcript for RN Breakfast  on 30 June when PK spoke to Murpharoo about energy policy and all that:

Patricia Karvelas: As Anthony Albanese is spruiking Australia’s new climate commitments and the door opener, as you say, the game changer in the conversations – we’ve got this new AEMO plan that outlines the massive task ahead for Australia’s energy transition. It’s going to cost big, how much more policy work will the government need to meet those challenges?

Katharine Murphy: Loads. [Laughter]

Patricia Karvelas: It’s only the beginning. But it shouldn’t be only the beginning, this is the point, right?

Katharine Murphy: Oh, gosh, don’t get me started. Honestly, stand back listeners. No, no, seriously, I will control myself. Look, the ISP is, in this final report, this new one today….

Not knowing what an ISP is, MWD tuned out for a while as Murpharoo ploughed on with an uninterrupted 2 minute and 58 seconds response.  But MWD woke briefly to hear The Guardian’s political editor allege that, during the years of the Coalition government, “renewables were a thoughtcrime”.

What a load of absolute tosh.  Renewable energy’s contribution to Australia’s power grid increased substantially between the election of the Abbott government in September 2013 and the defeat of the Morrison government in May 2022.  See this week’s Documentation segment.

“Thoughtcrimes” do exist in some totalitarian regimes – Stalin’s Soviet Union comes immediately to mind. But it is just hyperbole to claim that no one was able to legally talk about renewables in what Murpharoo appears to regard as the Morrison Pentecostal/Fascist regime.  Turn it up.

For the record, MWD reckons that the PK/Murpharoo gig should be moved back to the original slot of before 8am on Thursdays.  It’s a wonderful example of The Guardian/ABC Axis in full consummation and well worth a more prominent spot during Hangover Time on a Thursday morning.



As mentioned in this issue’s Hyperbole Corner, during a 30 June appearance on RN Breakfast, Katharine Murphy political editor of The Guardian Australia, claimed that renewable energy constituted a “thoughtcrime” under the Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison Coalition governments. She went on to refer to Labor having to sort out energy policy after “the silliness of the last 10 years” and to energy policy being “in an igloo or somewhere for the last 10 years”. Clearly Murpharoo believes renewable energy was put on hold during the previous government.

Well, here are the figures for renewable energy generation from 1994-95 through to the 2019-20 financial year, with the approximate start of the Abbott government marked:

It would appear that, during the period Katharine Murphy believes renewables were considered a thoughtcrime, renewable energy production in fact increased significantly.

Shown another way, here is renewables as a percentage of total electricity generation:

Aside from one dip in 2014-15 (caused by a decline in hydro generation), renewables share of electricity generation has been steadily increasing after it bottomed out during the Rudd-Gillard government. Based on Murpharoo’s comments, you would expect to see some clear difference between the pro-renewables Labor government and the anti-renewables Coalition government. No doubt in a few years, when renewables have continued to increase, Guardian Australia readers (and RN listeners) will be told by Katharine Murphy that there was a remarkable turnaround after the dark days of Coalition rule.

By the way, on the 16 June edition of Q+A, Grattan Institute Energy Program Director Tony Wood said that Australia has had “a very strong transition towards renewable energy”. Presumably much of that transition took place during “the silliness of the last 10 years”, when renewables were a “thoughtcrime”.  Or so Murpharoo believes.

This increasingly popular segment of MWD is inspired by the Anglo Irish satirist Dr Jonathan Swift’s proposal to relieve the plight of the Irish under British control by certain suggestions which he proffered in his writings. Most notably “A Modest Proposal – For preventing the children of poor people in Ireland, from being a burden on their parents or country, and for making them beneficial to the publick”.  As a consequence of such irreverence, your clergyman Swift (1667-1745) never attained his due rank within the Church of Ireland (i.e. the Anglican Church in Ireland). But that’s another story – and he was a great writer who popularised the term “a modest proposal”.


The Guardian  was established in 1821 as The Manchester Guardian  and became The Guardian  in 1959. From its creation, The Guardian has presented itself as a left-wing newspaper. It arrived in Australia at the initiative of Malcolm Turnbull in 2013.  Re which see Media Watch Dog  et al ad nauseam.  Mr Turnbull suggested that The Guardian Australia employ MWD faves Lenore Taylor and Katharine Murphy in senior positions.  And so it came to pass.

It would be expected that Guardian Australia’s editor Lenore Taylor would uphold Down Under the socialist principle of The Guardian’s  founders in faraway Manchester – and stand against the capitalist managerial class and for the toiling masses, or wage slaves, in its employ.

But has it?  You be the judge.  Let’s go to the transcript of the ABC TV Insiders program on 26 June – when the following exchange took place about wages keeping in line with the rise in inflation:

Amy Remeikis (The Guardian): It is absolute fantasy land that we’re all going to get a 5 per cent wage increase. The Guardian is not giving me a 5 per cent wage increase.

Greg Sheridan (The Australian): They should, Amy. They should.

Amy Remeikis: But, like, it’s not going to happen. It would never happen.

So there you have it.  The Guardian Australia is constantly banging on about wage justice, the gender pay gap and more besides.  But it appears that The Guardian’s political reporter Amy Remeikis does not feel comfortable asking her editor Comrade Taylor for a 5 per cent wage rise. Fancy that.

Jackie’s (male) co-owner on the evening of 29 June could barely sleep after reading Comrade Remeikis’ tweet sent out that very evening.  Here it is:

MWD feels Comrade Remeikis’ pain.  Here’s MWD’s Modest Proposal.  The Guardian  should give its employee a 5 per cent pay increase immediately which should cover her $40 per week rent increase.  Here’s hoping this helps.


As avid readers are well aware, Jackie’s (male) co-owner is willing to correct errors or make clarifications.  Following Sydney radio personality John Laws, Hendo calls such moments “Deliberate Mistakes”.  But mistakes, nevertheless.


Isn’t it great to know that Louise Adler is an avid (albeit not uncritical) Media Watch Dog reader.  Especially since Comrade Adler is a Vice-Chancellor’s Professorial Fellow at Monash University where she is responsible for publishing the essay series “In the National Interest”. MWD needs readers like this.

Louise Adler is also publisher-at-large for Hachette Australia and is primarily responsible for the “On” series. It includes such piss-poor little books (both in size and intellectual content) as On Politics by Mark Humphries & Evan Williams.  The top “joke” in the booklet involves the toilets at the official residences of The Lodge and Kirribilli House. No kidding.  See MWD, 4 February 2022.

Monash University Press’ “In The National Interest” series includes the booklet Now More Than Ever: Australia’s ABC by ABC managing director and editor-in-chief David Anderson. (Re which see the review in MWD on 28 February 2022, Issue 577).

This is a bland tome in which the ABC managing director sings the praises of, yes, the ABC.  Quelle Surprise!  It’s the equivalent of, say, the managing director of Coles writing a booklet called “Now More Than Ever: Australia’s Coles” in which readers are told of the necessity to purchase Coles’ fresh fruit and veg (including iceberg lettuce, if such are available).

But MWD digresses.  In the previous issue, reference was made to the fact that Simon Holmes à Court, the spiritual leader of the Teals who identify as Independents, is writing a tome on the 2022 election to be published this year by Melbourne University Press [sic].

It led to this tweet by Louise Adler, who was the first to pick the John-Laws-Style-Deliberate-Mistake not long after MWD came out at around Gin & Tonic Time on 24 June:

Well done, Louise.  Yes, Jackie’s (male) co-owner did get it wrong. MUP (as in Monash University Publishing) and not MUP (as in Melbourne University Publishing) will publish Simon Holmes à Court’s booklet in which, no doubt, the multi-millionaire and renewables investor will praise the Teal political movement. Another Quelle Surprise! moment seems likely per courtesy of Comrade Adler and the team at Monash University.

[I understand your pain. After all, Louise Adler headed Melbourne University Publishing from 2003 to 2019 when she resigned due to Melbourne University’s decision to move Melbourne University Publishing towards more academic works.  And away from such books as the biography of colourful Melbourne identity Mick Gatto and Louise Milligan’s hatchet job on Cardinal George Pell (which was completely discredited by the High Court’s unanimous decision to quash Pell’s convictions).

As you may recall, Robert Bolton reported in the Australian Financial Review on 31 January 2019 that Melbourne University Publishing was costing Melbourne University $1.25 million a year and had run deficits for 15 years.  I thought you might appreciate this memory jogger. – MWD Editor.]


Did anyone watch Network Ten’s The Project  on 29 June?  It included a segment on Blockade Australia’s action disrupting Sydney traffic the previous day.  Here’s how the coverage commenced:

Georgie Tunny: Let’s head to some more news now and 11 more climate activists have been arrested in Sydney after a second day of protests organised by Blockade Australia. Ten activists were charged following yesterday’s action, including a 22 year old woman who allegedly blocked the [Sydney] Harbour tunnel entrance with her car. Police claim she chained herself to the steering wheel with a bike lock.

The 22 year old woman is Mali Cooper and she was a special guest on The Project soon after she had been released on bail after being charged by NSW Police.

Initially Cooper received somewhat critical questions from The Project’s Georgie Tunny, Kate Langbroek, Waleed Aly and Peter Helliar.  In response, the Blockade Australia activist threw the switch to cliché.  She used the word “conversation” on three occasions in her 416 word replies.  There were also references to moving forward/the way forward – and other such clichés.   Oh yes, Comrade Cooper said that she was having a “conversation” on The Project because she needed TV coverage to encourage “radical change to the planet”.

This is how the interview concluded:

Peter Helliar: Just Mali on a very human level. What were you, how were you feeling when you were in your car? You saw that man yelling abuse at you, you must have got a sense of what was happening. What – how were you feeling?

Mali Cooper: I was very nervous. I wasn’t sure how things were going to play out. I didn’t exactly know how things were gonna go. Though I also felt a sense of empowerment in being able to speak out and to speak my own truth and to speak my story. And I’m really grateful to be here now, and to be able to have this conversation.

Georgie Tunny: Well Mali we really appreciate your time talking to us. I know it’s been a difficult time.

Mali Cooper: Thank you so much.

How about that?  Mali Cooper, who admitted on The Project that she is “privileged”, disrupted traffic in the vicinity of the Sydney Harbour Bridge to the detriment of men, women and children going about their daily lives.  And Georgie Tunny sympathised with Comrade Cooper having been through “a difficult time” disrupting the lives of the privileged and unprivileged alike.


It’s a tight finish each week as to who will write the most boring column for The [Boring] Saturday Paper – between Paul Bongiorno (who is described as “a 30 year veteran of the Canberra Press Gallery) and John Hewson (who is described as “a professor at the NSW Crawford School of Public Policy and a former Liberal Opposition leader”). This reminds MWD that former Labor prime minister Paul Keating used to call Dr Hewson (for a doctor he is) “the Visiting Professor”.

The columns of Bonge and Hewie (as he once used to be called) are oh-so-boring that MWD rarely reads them.  But Bonge’s tweets are necessarily brief – so it is possible to follow them without going into Zzzzzzz mode.

What are called “The Palace Letters” – being the correspondence between Governor-General Sir John Kerr and Buckingham Palace in the lead-up to Sir John’s decision to dismiss the Whitlam Labor government on 11 November 1975 – were released by the National Archives of Australia on 13 July 2020.  The release of this material was followed up by two books which reached contradictory conclusions.

Namely, The Truth of the Palace Letters: Deceit, Ambush and Dismissal in 1975 by Troy Bramston and Paul Kelly (which was published in October 2020) and The Palace Letters, The Queen, the Governor-General, and the Plot to Dismiss Gough Whitlam  by Jenny Hocking (which was published in October 2020).

Believe it or not, it has taken Bonge some 8 months (which may be fast for The [Boring] Saturday Paper) to acquire and read Professor Hocking’s conspiracy-laden tome. Hence these recent tweets:

OMG (aka Oh My God) indeed. Sir John Kerr’s correspondence with Buckingham Palace makes it clear that he used the Governor General’s reserve powers to dismiss the Whitlam government before informing the Palace that he had done so. See Sir John Kerr’s letter to Sir Martin Charteris 11 November 1975.

Sir John acted because the Malcolm Fraser-led opposition had blocked supply in the Senate and Prime Minister Gough Whitlam wanted to govern without supply. Moreover, money for the operation of the governance of Australia was about to run out.

That’s all.  There was no conspiracy.  Bramston and Kelly disagree with the way Kerr dismissed Whitlam. But they reject any claim of a conspiracy involving the Queen, Prince Charles and so on.  It’s bonkers.  The decision to dismiss the Whitlam government was made in Australia by an Australian who acted alone in accordance with his powers as the governor-general.

By the way, it is the very same Professor Jenny Hocking who maintained that the bombing of the Hilton Hotel in Sydney in February 1978 was undertaken by a combination of such intelligence agencies as ASIO and ASIS along with the Australian Federal Police, NSW Police and elements of the NSW judiciary. Re which see MWD, 21 January 2020.  It would seem that, with respect to Jenny Hocking, once a conspiracist always a conspiracist.


As avid readers are well aware, a certain William (Bill) Thompson – a Melburnian 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 to report on the ABC TV Insiders program.


There was disappointment throughout the land that David (“Please call me Speersy”) Speers put in a poor performance when presenting ABC TV’s Insiders  on 26 June.

David (“Oh yes, I’m the great interrupter”) Speers had scored well when interviewing Peter Dutton on 19 June. He interrupted the Opposition leader 16 times during a 17 minute 30 seconds interview. Good work, eh? Alas, Comrade Speers was off his game the following week. He interrupted Treasurer Jim Chalmers on only 4 occasions in a 16 minute 45 seconds interview.

However, as the saying goes, you have to take life one day at a time.  There’s always another Sunday – and there’s always another Liberal or National target to interrupt.  Stay tuned.



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Until next time.

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