GERARD HENDERSON’S MEDIA WATCH DOG

ISSUE – NO. 619

20 January 2023

* * * *

* * * *

Media Watch Dog  is out again today – at around Gin & Tonic Time – after what journalists like to call a  Well Earned Break (aka W.E.B.).  MWD’s W.E.B. commenced on Friday 16 December 2022 and Jackie’s (male) co-owner and the small MWD team are back in action five weeks later.

This compares with ABC TV Insiders, which presents as Australia’s leading weekend news and current affairs program (for some of the year at least). The team at Insiders – presenter David Speers, executive producer Samuel Clark – went on its W.E.B. on 4 December 2022 and will not be back in action until 5 February – a W.E.B. of an eight week duration, or 15 per cent of the year.  This compares with Sky News’ Sunday Agenda – whose W.E.B ran from 18 December until 20 January.

And so it came to pass that Insiders was in its (proverbial) summer swimmers on 11 December, the week which saw National Cabinet meet on the energy crisis.  This Sunday, Speers and Co will not be able to provide their “insider” views on such matters as energy price caps, The Voice to Parliament, the national Australia Day date, the debate over the cashless gaming card, NSW flood recovery, violence in the Northern Territory in general and Alice Springs in particular and the resignation of New Zealand’s prime minister Jacinda Ardern. And more besides.

Even the increasingly boring ABC TV Q+A program will commence on 30 January – going back to its original Monday slot.  This is not good news for MWD since Q+A on Thursday evening invariably provided good copy for MWD – much of which was put together around Hangover Time on Friday mornings and fitted in well with MWD’s “Stop Press” segment.

Avid readers are encouraged to send in material.  All contributions are read and as many as possible are used.  Let’s hope all readers Keep Morale High in 2023.


  • MICHAEL ROWLAND IS UPSET BY AUSSIE CRITICISM OF NEW ZEALAND PM BUT ACCEPTS IT FROM A KIWI

Media Watch Dog is delighted that the commencement of the MWD year witnessed the further consummation of The Guardian/ABC Axis.

The Guardian Australia’s Josh Taylor did the Newspapers segment on ABC TV News Breakfast this morning.  First up, attention focused on the decision of New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to resign from politics.  Let’s go to the transcript:

Emma Rebellato: So much happening in the news, yesterday and today. And one thing we’re all talking about, which took quite a few people by surprise, at least here, was the resignation of Jacinda Arden.

Josh Taylor: Yeah, it was, it was quite shocking for a lot of people. I mean, if you, if you live in New Zealand, and you’ve seen the poll numbers, it’s probably not that surprising. But I think it’s often unexpected when a leader goes out at a time of their own choosing, rather than being done by the voters. And, you know, it’s been interesting to see sort of all the glowing responses that we’ve seen from political leaders and things like that. But The Australian has gone a little bit hard against her, a bit of an outlier there. Basically saying, you know, she was Saint Jacinda for everyone, but she was actually a really bad prime minister.

Comrade Taylor banged on about how The Australian had criticised New Zealand’s prime minister.  As if the avowedly left-wing Guardian had never criticised a prime minister – like, er, Scott Morrison – but there you go.  Then Comrade Rowland weighed in:

Michael Rowland: Yeah, it’s over the top right, The Australian front page. You’ve got that, the main story we showed was a piece, opinion piece by Greg Sheridan, their foreign affairs editor. Headline, “Queen of woke leaves chaos in her wake”. By all means, discuss her weaknesses, which we did on Breakfast with Winston Peters, politician over across the ditch, earlier in the show. But yeah, it just strikes me as being overkill.

So there you have it.  Comrade Rowland declared that it was overkill for Greg Sheridan to criticise the Ardern government’s economic and social policy along with its approach to defence and foreign affairs.

Later in the program, your man Rowland interviewed New Zealand’s political commentator and New Zealand Herald  columnist Bryce Edwards.  He referred to Ms Ardern’s “mixed legacy” – praising her ability to guide the country through crises. But there was more:

Bryce Edwards:  …But then, on the other side of the ledger. She hasn’t really delivered on some of the core policy areas that she needed to, that she promised. And there’s especially ones that have disappointed her own supporters. So the housing crisis, problems of poverty, inequality, climate change. Some of these things have actually got worse under –  or they have a feeling at least of getting worse – under her watch. She’s had to deal with lots of other worsening law and order issues, cost of living. And so those things, I think, will tarnish that legacy. Unfortunately for her.

How about that?  The Edwards’ criticisms of Prime Minister Ardern’s perceived failures were not manifestly different from that proffered by Greg Sheridan. Comrade Rowland described Sheridan’s critique as “over the top” – but responded to Edwards by merely declaring that “all political leaders cop criticism”. Turn it up.

  • 7.30 LOOKS BACK IN (SOME) CONFUSION ON OLD PARLIAMENT HOUSE

Just when it was thought safe to assume that Jackie’s (male) co-owner had been banned for life from appearing on the taxpayer funded broadcaster, up popped Hendo on ABC TV’s 7.30 last night.

Well, sort of.  There was a glimpse of him entering Old Parliament House Canberra accompanying John Howard.  For those interested in trivia, it was the first week of September 1985.  Opposition leader Andrew Peacock had called a spill to replace Howard as Deputy Liberal Party leader.  Howard was on leave with his family in the NSW snowfields at the time and arrived at Old Parliament House in casual gear to prepare for the challenge.  Henderson flew down from Sydney in business gear.

The vote occurred a few days later – on 5 September 1985. It was lost.  Peacock resigned his own position and Howard became leader of the Liberal Party for the first time.

The image appeared in the7.30 segment titled “End of the Parliament House” – which was presented by Laura Tingle.  The story focused on the doorstop interviews which used to take place when politicians entered Parliament House – with the emphasis on Old Parliament House, which closed in 1988.

It was an interesting segment – worth watching on iview.  But it could have done with a fact check so beloved by the ABC.  Laura Tingle and those she interviewed were correct in stating that the change in the way the media covers politics along with COVID-19 led to the effective end of the doorstop interview.

But the segment was not without error – as the following extracts demonstrate with reference to Old Parliament House:

Laura Tingle: The Doorstop was very much a function of television arriving permanently at Old Parliament House in the 1970s. Instead of just radio interviews and formal print interviews, everybody wanted to see their politicians on television. And there was nowhere more obvious to see them than here on the steps of Old Parliament House. It was a funnel for everyone; the executive from the prime minister down, to the most humble backbencher….

Douglas Ferguson: (cameraman) This was it here [on the front steps of Parliament House]…we stood here every day waiting for the members of parliament to arrive. Mainly the executive, because that’s who we were interested… Even when they didn’t want to be questioned, they still had to come in the House, and we knew how to get them.

Sure, the Old Parliament House’s main door is famous.  But there was also a door on the House of Representatives side and another on the Senate side. Moreover, the Prime Minister had a special door to the PM Office which was on the House of Representatives’ side of the building.

Certainly, most politicians entered Old Parliament House via the Main Door – but there were other options for those wishing to avoid the media.

Gerard Henderson and John Howard entering Old Parliament House via the Main Door in early September 1985 – per courtesy of the ABC TV 7.30 last night.


Can You Bear It?

  • DEE MADIGAN COMPLAINS THAT WOMEN WHO APPEAR ON TV CANNOT CLAIM MAKE-UP AS A TAX DEDUCTION

Gerard Henderson, Jackie’s male co-owner, got little sleep last night – so worried he was about the financial plight facing MWD’s equal fave leftist feminist along with Amy Remeikis. The reference is to Dee Madigan – the creative director of Campaign Edge which does lotsa advertising work for the Labor Party.  When not hard at work or appearing on the ABC, Ms Madigan spends time banging on about how her late father was – or had been – a Catholic priest.  How frightfully interesting.

What has led Hendo to feel concerned about Comrade Madigan? – MWD hears avid readers cry. Well, it’s this tweet which she put out at Gin & Tonic Time on Thursday 19 January.

MWD understands Ms Madigan’s pain.  While apparently not short of a quid – she feels entitled to claim make-up as a job-related expense which she should be able to claim to reduce her tax.  All because of her occasional gigs on commercial TV. As far as MWD is aware, the ABC still provides make-up services for those appearing on the taxpayer funded public broadcaster.

How about that?  Comrade Madigan is silent about the need for some females who drive trucks, to wear make-up.  But she reckons that there should be a tax break for female creative directors who appear on the telly. Somewhat snobbish don’t you think?

Talk about a first world problem.  Also, Comrade Madigan seems unaware that quite a few men wear make-up when appearing on TV.  Are they, then, also entitled to claim their MAC Studio Fix Powder Foundation and American Crew firm hold gel expenses for tax purposes as well?  It’s surely one of the big questions of our time.  [I’m very impressed with your make-up awareness. Did you ever work for Donald J. Trump? – MWD Editor.]

At a time when energy prices and interest rates are rising and there is a home ownership and renting crisis (especially for the young), the well-heeled Comrade Madigan is whinging about not getting a tax credit for her make-up expenses when appearing on TV.  Can You Bear It?

  • DR MILES PATTENDEN’S HOWLERS ABOUT GEORGE PELL AS PUBLISHED IN NINE’S NEWSPAPERS

Gerard Henderson has written about the media coverage of the death of Cardinal George Pell in his column in The Weekend Australian on 21 JanuaryWhen checking out what scribblers had written or said about the deceased Cardinal, he was surprised at the number of howlers which made it to the newspapers or were uncorrected by TV and radio presenters.

Take the Melbourne-based academic Miles Pattenden – who refuses to enter into correspondence about his work – for example.

Writing in The Age and Sydney Morning Herald on 12 January, Dr Pattenden (for a doctor he is) had this to say early in his piece:

Pell’s story was a compelling one. An Aussie lad done good, he overcame 24 operations on his throat as a child to become a heavyweight boxing champion and a ruckman for his college first XVIII.

Really.  Sure, Pell was a star Australian Rules footballer at school.  But boxing? He graduated from St Patrick’s College in Ballarat at age 18 and joined the Catholic Church’s Corpus Christi Seminary in Werribee soon after.  It’s not clear how a young man could become a heavyweight boxing champion at the age of 18 at a school or seminary where boxing was not a sport.

It would appear that the learned Dr Pattenden has misread Pell’s Wikipedia entry. It refers to George Pell’s father – George Arthur Pell – who was a heavyweight champion boxer in Western Australia.

Later on, your man Pattenden declared that Pell “was a fan of monarchy and Brexit”.  Certainly, he was a supporter of Britain quitting the European Union – as were the majority of Pattenden’s fellow Brits.  But Pell, a Catholic of part-Irish background, was a republican who believed that Australia should have an Australian head of state. If Comrade Pattenden had done any research he would know that Pell supported the republican cause at the Australian Constitutional Convention in 1998.

MWD emailed Miles Pattenden and asked him to provide evidence that the late Cardinal Pell was ever a heavyweight boxer or a monarchist.  There was no reply.  It seems that The Age and SMH are prepared to publish tosh about one of the best-known Australians, without fact-checking.  Can You Bear It?

[No, not really.  Since the academic Pattenden is based in Melbourne, it is likely that his article was first submitted to The Age when Michael Bachelard was acting editor.  I understand that his article also contained one substantial error which is covered in your Weekend Australian column. – MWD Editor.]

Miles Pattenden as he appeared on Facebook 14 August 2021

Miles Pattenden as he appeared on ABC TV News Breakfast – 12 January 2023

 

  • ROBERT MICKENS’ FALSE (AND UNCORRECTED) CLAIM THAT GEORGE PELL AND TONY ABBOTT WERE AT OXFORD AT THE SAME TIME

While on the topic of (uncorrected) howlers in the coverage of George Pell’s death – here is what Robert Mickens, the editor-in-chief of La Croix International, said when interviewed by Hamish Macdonald on ABC Radio National Breakfast on 16 January:

Robert Mickens: Well, I mean, as you know, the people in Australia know quite well, he’s an extremely, he was an extremely controversial character. You either loved him or loathed him. And I suspect that the weight was heavier on those who did not like George Pell. But he did have his supporters and they’re certainly the political conservatives. Tony Abbott, of course, is a great friend of his, they attended Oxford together. And the political right wing in Australia and around the English speaking world and many traditionalist Catholics saw him as a hero….

What a load of absolute tosh – which Comrade Macdonald (who specialises in interrupting some guests) did not correct.

George Pell was born in June 1941 – Tony Abbott in November 1957. Pell was at Oxford in the early 1970s – Abbott in the early 1980s.  In short, Cardinal Pell and the former Australian prime minister never attended Oxford together.  Which raises the question – why did your man Macdonald fail to correct so obvious a howler?  More importantly – Can You Bear It?


NEW SEGMENT: JACKIE’S LEFTOVERS

The Year of the Tiger was a great one for MWD – so much so that not all material could be used and some leftovers piled up.   Due to enormous demand to discover what did not make it on this blog last year – in future editions MWD will look back on what was missed in various categories. Commencing with the Most Significant Own Goal in 2022.

  • MOST SIGNIFICANT MEDIA OWN GOAL IN 2022 – STARRING BRIDGET BRENNAN WHO CLAIMED THAT THE VOICE SHOULD BE FEARED

Appearing on the ABC TV Insiders panel on 31 July 2022 – in the wake of the Garma Festival, Bridget Brennan (the ABC’s Indigenous affairs editor) had this to say about the proposed Indigenous Voice to Parliament:

Bridget Brennan: …I actually think there’s a lot of appetite now to see some transformative change when we imagine what a Voice would look like. I think it does need to have teeth, it does need to be feared and revered. It needs to be a building, it needs to be an institution that has much more than that of a voice, it has some control and some autonomy.

David Speers: Well, control over administering funds. That’s not what is being proposed here –

Bridget Brennan: It’s not. It’s what we see internationally. It’s what we’ve, we can see in Canada, in the Sami parliament –

David Speers: But it wasn’t recommended by the Uluru Statement.

Bridget Brennan: No, no, it wasn’t. But I think leaving the detail quite opaque in terms of what it could do into the future, what could happen if it goes to the High Court…You know, I think we need to imagine that this body has, has much more than just an advisory role.

David Speers, who clearly supports The Voice going into the Constitution, tried to salvage the situation.  But the damage was done – much to the satisfaction of The Voice’s opponents.

The obvious point is – why would a majority of Australians in a majority of states want to support a Voice which needs to be feared?

Bridget Brennan – Most Significant Media Own Goal of 2022.


  • AI RUNS ABC LINE ON ABC

On January 10 this year, Crikey’s Cam Wilson covered the decision of The Chaser to restrict their content to users with an account. Their reasoning? Fear that their articles could soon be written by an artificial intelligence program. Their primary concern is ChatGPT – an AI program that generates human-like text based on online information it scans and ingests.

It can have conversations, answer questions and generate articles based on information it has processed. The chatbot has even learned to write jokes – a skill very much lacking at The Chaser.

The Chaser’s concerns prompted some fear here at Media Watch Dog that artificial intelligence may soon replace this blog. Fortunately, after a few experiments, it seems that MWD will be safe. Here is one of ChatGPT’s responses when asked to write a segment for this week’s Can You Bear It? segment:

The taxpayer funded broadcaster has long refuted the claim that there are no conservative presenters, producers or editors on prominent programs at the taxpayer funded public broadcaster – but no one will name them. Even with the help of artificial intelligence technology, the identity of this alleged conservative individual or individuals will remain a mystery.

When asked to name one conservative on a prominent program at the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, AI responded as follows:

Based on these results, perhaps the ABC Complaints team should be concerned about being replaced by AI. It is not far from the response one gets when making a legitimate complaint to the ABC.

For now, avid readers can rest assured that MWD will continue to be run by humans and a blue heeler.


DOCUMENTATION

  • HAMISH MACDONALD – KNOWLEDGEABLE ABOUT THE VOICE ONE DAY, CLUELESS THE NEXT

In recent weeks Radio National Breakfast’s regular presenter Patricia Karvelas (P.K.) has been on a Well Earned Break (W.E.B.). Her spot has been filled by former Q+A host Hamish Macdonald who supposedly left the ABC in 2021 to return to Network Ten’s The Project but, like many who fall into the Aunty orbit, is still on the ABC speed-dial. And appears as a presenter on the taxpayer funded public broadcaster from time to time.

On Sunday 8 January, Opposition Leader Peter Dutton published an open letter to Prime Minister Anthony Albanese. The letter accused the Prime Minister of “treating the Australian people like mugs” by not providing clear details about the proposed Indigenous Voice. Included with the letter was a list of 15 questions concerning The Voice. Mr Albanese responded by calling the open letter a “cheap culture war stunt”. On 10 January, your man Macdonald conducted two interviews which touched on the controversy.

First up was Megan Davis, chair in constitutional law at the University of New South Wales. Professor Davis essentially dismissed Peter Dutton’s complaints, arguing that the specifics of The Voice should be decided by Parliament, after a successful referendum. When asked by Macdonald where Australians could find out more information about the proposed Voice, Davis said that simplified information would be released closer to the referendum, but that Australians were not being asked to vote on the complex details of the proposed body. She also referred to some of the language used in Dutton’s letter as inflammatory and disappointing. Macdonald was respectful throughout the interview, providing no pushback and making no interruptions.

Later in the same program came another interview, this time with Liberal Party Senator Jane Hume. Avid MWD readers will be unsurprised to learn that this interview was far less civil. Almost every answer by Senator Hume was cut off by an interjection from Macdonald, who seemed exasperated by the suggestion that Australians might be lacking detailed information about The Voice. From the transcript:

Hamish Macdonald: But the questions that he’s [Dutton] asking, are dealt with in those documents. Have you read that Calma-Langton Review [The Final Report to the Australian Government by the Indigenous Voice Co-Design Process]?

Jane Hume: I’m gonna put my hand on my heart and say, I haven’t read the whole review. I’ve certainly delved into the detail, and I’ve spoken in detail with our Indigenous Affairs Minister Julian Leeser –  sorry, Shadow Indigenous Affairs Minister Julian Leeser. There are a lot of people in the Liberal Party that want this to succeed. Australians want a successful –

Hamish Macdonald: [interjecting] I’m just questioning how genuine your party is about raising these questions. I mean, I went through the list last night, it took about half an hour to go through those questions put out by Peter Dutton. Compare it with the Calma-Langton review, I’ve got to say it was pretty easy to find those answers. Why hasn’t your party done that before making out that this information isn’t available?

Jane Hume: Well, the question really is why hasn’t Anthony Albanese and the Labor Party made that information freely available? And –

Hamish Macdonald: [interjecting] Senator Hume. It’s on the internet, it took a couple of minutes to find.

Well, there you have it. According to Hamish Macdonald all the questions included in Dutton’s letter can be answered in around half an hour, or maybe a couple of minutes, by looking up a 272-page report on the internet. Never mind that the government is not obligated to follow the recommendations of that report or that Megan Davis had told him earlier in the program that these details should only be finalised after a successful referendum. Later in the interview Macdonald went into rant mode:

Hamish Macdonald: [talking over Hume] Who will be eligible is there. What are the prerequisites for nomination? That’s all there. Will the government –  how will the members be elected, chosen or appointed? How much will it cost? What are the functions and the powers? There’s significant detail on the bulk of those questions, perhaps not the cost. I’m just wondering why you wouldn’t do that work first before trying to create a debate which seems to presuppose that the information isn’t there?

Clearly only a fool would believe Australians lacked any details about The Voice – that was the Macdonald message.

The following day, Wednesday 11 January, Macdonald had a follow-up interview, this time with Selwyn Button, Chair of The Lowitja Institute. Here is how Macdonald introduced that interview:

Hamish Macdonald: As you may recall, we conducted a series of interviews on the proposals for a Voice to Parliament on the program yesterday, some criticisms as well of the process and the government in terms of the amount of information. Many of you wrote in saying, well, what is the information? What are the specifics? I’m thinking about how I might vote. And I want that information. So, this morning, what are the details that do currently exist about the Indigenous Voice to Parliament? What would it mean? What are the powers that the body would hold? Who would be on it?

So, it seems that even some Radio National listeners – surely the most intelligent and best-informed audience in the country, if not the world – want more details on The Voice. So, could Selwyn Button provide those answers? The answers that a day earlier Hamish Macdonald was assuring listeners he found online in mere minutes? From the transcript:

Hamish Macdonald: So, in a sense, given that there is the final report, the Calma-Langton report, as you are calling it, which came out of the Indigenous Voice Co-Design Process. Although that exists and has been handed to government, is Peter Dutton right? When he says, “well, we don’t know which version of that or which detail elements of that the government might ultimately accept if there is a Yes vote for a voice”?

Selwyn Button: Yeah, so that hasn’t been finalised. But what we have finalised, and certainly what is available for the public to understand are the principles around the design of a Voice. That the working group and the engagement group have agreed fundamentally on a set of design principles that should be used to inform what the form, what the structure and function of the Voice should look like.

At no point during the interview did Comrade Macdonald show any regret for, or even recognition of, having told his listeners the previous day that the details of the proposed Voice are freely available. Even though both subject matter experts he had interviewed on RN Breakfast  told him that those details are not finalised.


A LITTLE KNOWLEDGE IS A DANGEROUS THING

Due to overwhelming popular demand, Jackie’s (male) co-owner has decided to establish this brand new segment – devoted to demonstrating that wise blokes and sheilas know what they do not know while foolish ones do not know what they do not know. Hence the saying – a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.

  • COMRADE ADAMS OVERLOOKS THE FACT THAT JOHN CORNWELL, THE AUTHOR OF HITLER’S POPE, CHANGED HIS MIND ABOUT PIUS XII

Media Watch Dog is delighted, absolutely delighted, that Phillip Adams (AO, AM, Hon DUniv (Griffith), Hon DLitt (ECU), Hon DUniv (SA), DLitt [sic] (Syd), Hon. DUniv (Macquarie), FRSA, Hon FAHA has provided copy for the inaugural item in this segment.

The German-born Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI died on New Year’s Eve 2022.  Born in 1927, he was elected Pope in 2005 and retired in February 2013.  On 6 January 2023, Phillip (“I was once a teenage communist”) Adams put out this tweet:

One of the manifestations of The Fall and all that, is that we make mistakes, and more besides.  John Cornwell’s Hitler’s Pope: The Secret History of Pius XII, written by English journalist John Cornwell, was published by Heinemann in 1999 (not 1919).

The author made allegations about the relationship between Eugenio Pacelli (who was appointed Cardinal and Papal Secretary of State in 1930 and who was elected Pope in March 1938) and the Nazi regime in Germany headed by Adolf Hitler.  Put simply, Cornwell alleged that Cardinal Pacelli (Pope Pius XII) was too close to the Nazi regime. Hence the label “Hitler’s Pope”.

According to Comrade Adams, in the light of Benedict XVI’s death, it is timely to “re-read” Hitler’s Pope. This assumed that Adams’ Twitter followers – and Adams himself –  have read the book previously.

In any event, your man Adams appears to be woefully ignorant of the fact that John Cornwell came to doubt his “Hitler’s Pope” tag regarding Pope Pius XII.  In 2004, Cornwell wrote The Pope in Winter: The Dark Face of John Paul II’s Papacy. In Chapter 24 – titled “Contrition and the Jews”- John Cornwell had this to say – just five years after he ran the “Hitler’s Pope” line:

According to [Professor David] Cesarani and other Jewish commentators on the issue, there is no way to cut the Gordian knot of the Holocaust, and the Catholic association with it, without the blade of an apology for Pius XII.

I would now argue, in the light of the debates and evidence following Hitler’s Pope, that Pius XII had so little scope of action that it is impossible to judge the motives for his silence during the war, while Rome was under the heel of Mussolini and later occupied by the Germans…

Moreover, Adams seems blissfully unaware of the fact that, during Pius XII’s papacy, numerous Jews were given sanctuary in Vatican City (a state independent from Italy ruled by Benito Mussolini’s fascist regime).

It is reasonable to argue that, like some other world leaders in the late 1930s and early 1940s, Pius XII and the Vatican could have done more to take a stand against Nazi Germany and to speak out louder to support persecuted Jews in Germany and Nazi occupied nations. However, Pius XII did more than most. As Michael Burleigh the English historian, demonstrated in his book Sacred Causes (HarperCollins, 2007), the decision to smear the reputation of Pius XII as soft on the Nazi regime and complicit in the Holocaust was made initially by the communist Soviet Union’s propaganda machine.  It found expression in the West with the publication of leftist playwright Rolf Hochhuth’s The Deputy in 1963.

Like Phillip Adams, Mark Aarons is a former member of the Communist Party of Australia. In the book Ratlines, which Aarons co-wrote with John Loftus, the authors had this to say:

It is ironic that Pius XII is condemned for following Western policy in public, while his private actions may have saved more Jewish lives than all the Allied governments put together….

Certainly, Aarons and Loftus made some criticism of Pius XII.  But their book indicates that Pius XII was in no sense “Hitler’s Pope”.  That’s the conclusion that John Cornwell came to in 2004 –  after he read the considered criticism of his 1999 book.

Phillip Adams would do well to catch up with developments in historical studies. The ABC’s man-in-black’s tweet of 6 January 2023 reminds us all that:

A Little Knowledge Is A Dangerous Thing.


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 then 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). 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.

  • AARON PATRICK OUTS JUDITH BRETT AS LEFT-WING HISTORIAN

It would seem that Aaron Patrick, the Australian Financial Review’s senior correspondent, did not rush to a holiday – or what journalists like to call a Well-Earned-Break (aka W.E.B.)  – this Silly Season.  Hence the publication of his article “Scott Morrison looks to a business career after politics” – which was published in the AFR on 21 December 2022.

Your man Patrick wrote about the possible future career of former prime minister Scott Morrison – and made reference to the life after politics of former prime ministers Bob Hawke, Paul Keating, John Howard, Tony Abbott and Malcolm Turnbull.

Two political historians were quoted in the Patrick piece.  Namely, Macquarie University’s Professor Michelle Arrow and La Trobe University Emeritus Professor Judith Brett.

Dr Arrow (for a doctor she is) made some sensible comments about Mr Morrison’s possible future career.  However, Dr Brett (for a doctor she also is) threw the switch to sneering of the leftist kind.  Let’s go to Aaron Patrick’s report:

Judith Brett, a left-wing political historian from Melbourne, used the prospect of Mr Morrison’s job hunt to criticise his government’s policies – an example of the hostility he may face from companies that deal with the public.

“One of course has to resist the temptation to wish him into a job where he may learn something about the inequalities his government and party have driven in Australian society – such as offsider to Tim Costello at Melbourne’s Collins Street Baptist Church running the program for the homeless, or working in aged care or with the Asylum Seekers Resources Centre,” she said in an email. “But none of these would give him enough money to support [wife] Jen and the girls in the manner to which they are accustomed – including the private school fees. Nor would they satisfy his sense of self-importance, even though they could be seen as doing God’s work.”

How’s that for the thoughts of a sneering secular leftist?  Comrade Brett declared that she had to resist the temptation to wish Scott Morrison into a certain position – but then did so. She proposed that he might work as an offsider to Tim Costello at the Collins Street Baptist Church in Melbourne.  Apparently Comrade Brett is unaware that Tim Costello has not been attached to this church for some two decades. But why let an inconvenient truth spoil a good sneer?

Comrade Brett went on to mock the fact that the Morrison daughters attend a private school in Sydney – even though it is a low fee one.  There was also a sneer at the former prime minister doing “God’s work”.  Yawn.  Plus a suggestion that he could become chief executive of the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks rugby league club. Despite the fact that there is no such position vacant.  Funny, eh? [I note that sandal-wearing leftists never mocked the Red Bandannaed leftist Peter FitzSimons for having sent his children to high fee paying private schools – one of which was a Christian college. – MWD Editor.]

Why is Aaron Patrick receiving a prestigious Five Paws Award for reporting such academic sludge? – MWD hears readers cry.  Well, here’s the answer.

Many a journalist regards Judith Brett as some kind of political conservative on account of the fact that she wrote the book Robert Menzies’ Forgotten People (1992). Anyone who has read this work would know that Comrade Brett was highly critical of Robert Menzies – especially his anti-communism. But many a journalist refers to the Brett tome without having read it.

Also, as avid MWD readers are well aware, Judith Brett was once a co-editor of Arena Magazine. The June-July 1996 issue – which Comrade Brett co-edited with Comrade Guy Rundle (MWD’s fave Marxist comedian) – documents this.  See pic below:

 

So, finally a journalist has correctly described Judith Brett as a “left-wing political historian”.

Aaron Patrick: Five Paws.

 


Media Fool Of The Week

Lotsa thanks to the avid Fremantle reader who drew Media Watch Dog’s attention to this tweet by inner-city secularist leftist Quentin Dempster – a superannuated former ABC TV “star” – on Monday 16 January 2023.

Writing in The Australian on 12 January 2023, Chris Merritt (vice-president of the Rule of Law Institute of Australia) had this to say:

In his book Cardinal Pell, The Media Pile-On & Collective Guilt, Gerard Henderson has produced a list of journalists and commentators “who took part in the Pell pile-on over around two decades”. That list, in small type, covers almost a full page.

According to Comrade Dempster’s tweet, Hendo’s little list consists of a “dossier with names of persecutors of George Pell and the Catholic Church”.  In fact, as the book states, this is “a list of journalists and commentators who took part in the Pell pile-on over around two decades”. The word “persecutors” does not appear in the text and there is no reference to the Catholic Church in this context.  Comrade Dempster just made this up.

Moreover, your man Dempster did not reveal to his Twitter followers that his good self appears in Hendo’s little list – after The Guardian’s  Melissa Davey and before the ABC’s Rafael Epstein. An example of The Guardian/ABC Axis in operation, to be sure.

Not one of the over one hundred people named has contacted the author claiming that the book contains errors or misinterpretations – including Comrade Dempster himself. Not one.  What’s more, the ABC has refused to mention Cardinal Pell, The Media Pile-On & Collective Guilt in any of their many TV, radio or online outlets. Not one.  Similar censorship has been experienced by Frank Brennan (author of Observations on the Pell Proceedings) and Keith Windschuttle (author of The Persecution of George Pell). Comrade Dempster has not objected to this “cancelling” by the taxpayer funded public broadcaster and seems comfortable with the repression of ideas involved in such censorship.

As to Comrade Dempster’s complaint that Cardinal Pell, The Media Pile-On & Collective Guilt does not mention Geoffrey Robertson’s book The Case of the Pope (Viking, 1999) – why should it?  For starters, Robertson KC is resident in London and was rarely involved in the Australian debate about George Pell – which was at its zenith after 2012.

If Dempster has read The Case of the Pope, he would know that the name “Pell” does not appear in the text.  Certainly Robertson made some criticisms of the Melbourne Response which was established in 1996 and there are references to the John Ellis legal case in the footnotes – both of which involved George Pell.  But that’s all.  In no sense was Geoffrey Robertson a Pell antagonist who took part in the media pile-on against Pell.  That’s why he was not on Hendo’s little list.

Also, if Dempster had done any online research he would note that – after Cardinal Pell’s conviction for historical child sexual abuse was quashed by a unanimous High Court – Robertson wrote an article in The Weekend Australian about the case.  It was published on 11 April 2020. The piece was not hostile to Pell.  Sure, it did contain some criticisms. But the London-based lawyer wrote that he had always thought of Pell – whom he had met – as a “good sport”.

In short, Comrade Dempster’s rant of recent memory was replete with absolute tosh.

Quentin Dempster – Media Fool of the Week.

 

* * * * *

Until Next Time.

* * * * *