GERARD HENDERSON’S MEDIA WATCH DOG
ISSUE – NO. 625
3 March 2023
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ADELAIDE FESTIVAL ARTISTIC DIRECTOR DODGES THE LATEST ADELAIDE WRITERS’ WEEK INCIDENT OF ANTI-SEMITISM
Today’s Australian carries a page one story by David Penberthy. He reveals that the Palestinian writer Susan Abulhawa has issued yet another vile tweet. This time describing the Jewish American civilian Elan Ganeles – who was murdered on the West Bank recently by Islamist terrorists – as “human garbage”.
As avid readers will recall, Media Watch Dog covered the leftist stack that is the 2023 Adelaide Writers Week on 10 February and again on 17 February. The lack of diversity in the program – including the fact that AWW director Louise Adler invited seven Palestinians to discuss the Middle East but no Israelis – has drawn attention to the vile anti-semitic comments of Ms Abulhawa and fellow visiting AWW speaker Mohammed el-Kurd. This is also discussed in the current segment of “Can You Bear It?”
Ruth Mackenzie, the artistic director of the Adelaide Festival, of which Adelaide Writers’ Week is a part, was interviewed this morning by Patricia Karvelas on ABC Radio National Breakfast. The final discussion turned on the criticism of AWW concerning the lack of balance with respect to Palestine/Israel and the evident anti-semitism of Abulhawa and el-Kurd.
It was a tough but fair interview – in which Abulhawa’s tweet re the late Elan Ganeles was not mentioned. Ruth Mackenzie, in a look-over-there contribution, avoided any reference to anti-semitism. She referred to AWW’s Kids Day and declared that authors were in Adelaide “because they’re artists and writers; they’re not here because of their social media accounts”. Mackenzie referred to comments about the controversial tweets – implying that what someone writes on social media can be completely disassociated from what they write in books.
Also, the Adelaide Writers Week’s artistic director did not address the issue as to why no one on the AWW program was designated as providing a different view from the Palestinian duo.
According to the Mackenzie/Adler rationalisation, we need to listen to all artists and writers. Which does not explain why there is not one political conservative among the large Australian contingent. Moreover, are Ruth Mackenzie and Louise Adler really saying that the AWW is so interested in ideas that they would invite J.K. Rowling or Donald J. Trump to Adelaide next year?
The theme for the 2023 AWW is “Truth Be Told”. The real truth which will not be told at the Adelaide Festival is that the 2023 AWW is a leftist stack without political diversity.
NINE’S CBD COLUMN TAKES “THE TINGLE WARS” SERIOUSLY BUT SNEERS AT THE MENZIES MOVIES
Media Watch Dog has queried on occasions about the relevance of Nine’s CBD column – which appears in The Age and Sydney Morning Herald – to business blokes and sheilas who work in the central business districts of Melbourne or Sydney.
For example, today’s CBD reveals that ABC TV 7.30 presenter Laura Tingle is running to be elected for the position of staff representative on the ABC board. As MWD recalls, this “breaking news” was first revealed in The Australian over two weeks ago. The matter is discussed at length in today’s “Can You Bear It” segment.
Then there was the occasion on 24 February where Kishor Napier-Raman and Noel Towell, the authors of CBD, thought that Melbourne and Sydney business types would be oh-so-interested in the fact that some younger types were about to watch a documentary on the late Robert Menzies. CBD commented:
While some university student societies mark the start of the year with debaucherous pub crawls and macabre hazing rituals, a bunch of young fogies are out to prove that baby conservatives can, in fact, have their own sort of mature fun.
The Liberal-aligned Robert Menzies Institute at Melbourne University is hosting a very special movie night – a screening of Foxtel documentary The Menzies Movies. “A tribute to Australia’s longest-serving prime minister, Sir Robert Gordon Menzies – intimately told through Menzies’ personal collection of restored home movies, which he captured with his own 16mm camera,” it promises. If that wasn’t enough of a sell, there’s popcorn, soft drink and lollies provided.
Notice CBD’s sneer about young fogies and popcorn directed at political conservatives – as befits Nine’s newspapers. However, students would learn more about Australia by watching Foxtel’s The Menzies Movies (produced by Michael O’Donnell) than reading an account of “The Tingle Wars” in CBD.
NINE’S CHIP LE GRAND’S DELUSION IN BELIEVING THAT LOUISE ADLER’S 2023 ADELAIDE WRITERS WEEK IS BRAVE
Did anyone read Chip Le Grand’s oh-so-soft portrait of Louise Adler in Nine’s Sydney Morning Herald and the Age on 25 February? Titled “Published, damned and still stirring” the sub-heading read: “Louise Adler sets up Adelaide Writers Week as “a brave space”.
Turn it up. Louise Adler – formerly of Melbourne University Publishing, then Hachette and most recently Monash University Publishing – has been appointed to a three-year term as director of Adelaide Writers Week. AWW is part of the primarily taxpayer funded Adelaide Festival.
As MWD documented as long ago as 10 February (Issue 622), Adelaide Writers Week in 2023 is a leftist stack. MWD cannot identify any Australian on the AWW line-up of performers who would present as a political conservative. As Gerard Henderson wrote in his Weekend Australian column on 25 February:
Amanda Vanstone, who served as a cabinet minister in John Howard’s Coalition government, is on the program. On investigation, it turns out that Vanstone – who, by the way, would not call herself a political conservative – is chairing a session called “Food for thought or thought for food?”. Needless to say, it’s all about cuisine.
Elsewhere in the line-up are former Labor parliamentarians and staff such as Steve Bracks, Bob Carr, Gareth Evans, Maxine McKew, Anne Summers, Wayne Swan and Don Watson. Bob Brown (Greens), Sarah Hanson-Young (Greens), Simon Holmes à Court (who backed the teals against the Liberal Party in the 2022 election) and ACTU secretary Sally McManus are also on the program.
The Australian leftists and left-of-centre types on the AWW’s 2023 line-up include Monica Attard, Tom Ballard, Michael Bradley, James Curran, Richard Dennis, Sarah Ferguson, Sheila Fitzpatrick, Peter FitzSimons, Jonathan Green, Tony Jones, Bernard Keane, Paddy Manning, Sophie McNeill, Shaun Micallef, Jim Middleton, Louise Milligan, Rick Morton, Katharine Murphy, Margaret Simons, Anne Summers, Lenore Taylor, Laura Tingle, Don Watson and Marian Wilkinson.
Oh, by the way, Chip Le Grand is also appearing at the 2023 AWW – per courtesy of an invitation from its director. Comrade Le Grand wrote this about Comrade Adler in Nine newspapers:
Adler tells me what she will repeat many times in the days to come: that she is interested in creating brave spaces, not safe spaces. “If writers’ festivals, like universities and the media, cannot with care and considered approach engage with complex and contentious issues, then we have a problem in civil society.”
Noble sentiments, indeed. But the fact is that Adler’s 2023 AWW does not engage with most complex and contentious issues. It just ignores them. Consequently, according to Adler’s logic (for want of a better word), the AWW is part of the problem we have in contemporary civil society and it is not at all “a brave space”.
As documented above, Adler’s bestie Louise Milligan gets a guernsey at the AWW. In recent times, she is perhaps best known for her ABC TV Four Corners’ campaign against former Coalition attorney-general Christian Porter. However, Australian Financial Review senior correspondent Aaron Patrick, who wrote an important book on the Porter case and related matters, was not invited to appear at the AWW to discuss, among other things, Ego: Malcolm Turnbull and the Liberal Party’s Civil War (HarperCollins).
MWD understands that there was a suggestion that Patrick would be invited – but it was not proceeded with. Despite the fact that Patrick is not a political conservative. At Adler’s AWW it would appear that non-left-of-centre Australian writers are excluded.
It was much the same with the 2022 Adelaide Writers Week – which was directed by Jo Dyer, a foe of Porter who unsuccessfully contested the Adelaide seat of Boothby as a Teal independent opposing the Liberal Party – along with the 2022 Sydney and Melbourne writers’ festivals.
What drew special media attention to the 2023 AWW was Adler’s decision to invite seven Palestinian writers but not one Israeli. Two of the seven are on record as making vile, anti-semitic statements including an anti-semitic attack on the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky who happens to be Jewish.
This has been extensively covered in News Corp papers (including The Australian) and on Sky News. The controversy has led to some businesses dropping their support for the Adelaide Festival and the refusal of South Australian Labor premier Peter Malinauskas to attend some AWW functions.
Adler, unaware of her (apparently unconscious) bias in this instance, has chosen to state that it’s all the fault of a relentless Zionist lobby. Le Grand did not put this quote in direct speech. But he did with his own words – referring to the two Palestinian writers being “in the crosshairs of the Zionist lobby” in Australia.
It is one matter as to whether Adler should have invited two writers with known anti-semitic views to a taxpayer funded event in South Australia. But the essential problem with the 2023 AWW sessions on Palestine and all that turns on the fact that only one view – opposition to Israel – is scheduled to be heard. It’s not only Zionists, or other Jews, who are complaining about the lack of political diversity in the line-up. It’s just that this is what has drawn special attention to the event.
Yet Louise Adler is so deluded that she really believes that the 2023 AWW will engage with complex and contentious issues. Not so – since only one side of the various issues will be heard. Yet Chip Le Grand did not raise with Adler the central criticism of the 2023 Adelaide Writers Week – namely, that it is an unbalanced political stack and not at all brave.
The Age and Sydney Morning Herald claim to be “Independent. Always”. Yet Nine commissioned a Nine journalist to use his Nine platform to defend Louise Adler’s AWW (which is partly sponsored by Nine) – in spite of the fact that Chip Le Grand was invited by Comrade Adler to appear at the 2023 Adelaide Writers Week. How “Independent. Always.” is that? And is this really “brave”? Moreover, Can You Bear It?
LAURA TINGLE GETS TRADE UNION SUPPORT IN HER RUN FOR AN ABC BOARD SEAT – BUT DECLARES THAT SHE IS NOT A UNION FLOG
While on the topic of Laura Tingle – who will be involved in no fewer than four sessions at the 2023 Adelaide Writers Week – isn’t it grand that she is running for the position of ABC staff representative on the ABC Board?
Writing in his “The Diary” column in The Australian on 27 February, Nick Tabakoff reported La Tingle’s response to the criticism of her candidacy. According to Tabakoff, when the 7.30’s chief political correspondent first announced that she would be contesting the Board election – which will be conducted, at taxpayers’ expense, by the Australian Electoral Commission – Comrade Tingle declared that she was an “independent” candidate. And added: “I have decided not to seek the union’s nomination for the job.” In a high moral tone, La Tingle proclaimed that “it would be detrimental to simply be perceived as representing the interests of one section of our workforce”. The point being that more than one trade union covers ABC staff.
However, guess what? The promise was broken and the candidate has accepted the endorsement of the Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU). This from a journalist who is wont to criticise Coalition governments for breaking promises.
And then there is the word usage. This is what Tingle told Tabakoff:
I don’t regard it as a change of heart at all, I’m smiling benignly. Am I supposed to turn around and say I’m not accepting the CPSU endorsement? It’s ludicrous. The CPSU has chosen to endorse me. I didn’t seek their endorsement. As far as I’m concerned, I haven’t changed my position in any way, shape or form….
All of this stuff is more fascinating for you than it is for me. I’m honoured to be chosen, but I haven’t made any promises to the CPSU. I’m not going to go through the frenzy of offering everyone an ice cream, I don’t need it [the CPSU endorsement] on my CV, and there are much easier things in life. It’s just a way of giving back to a long career in journalism.
Sounds a bit like, say, such former politicians as Joh Bjelke-Petersen or Clive Palmer. It’s ludicrous to say that Tingle has changed her position – merely from opposing the CPSU’s endorsement to accepting it. The whole matter is all the more fascinating to journalists than it is to her. And she’s not offering everyone an ice-cream. And she is only seeking election to give back to others after a long career in journalism. Oh yes, and La Tingle has assured ABC’s toiling masses that she is no union flog. That’s handy to know.
Which raises the question – Does the lady protest too much? And, more importantly, Can You Bear It?
[Perhaps you’re being a bit tough on La Tingle. After all, ABC Board members receive around a dozen business class trips a year to various outposts of the taxpayer funded public broadcaster – and may have to sit next to a bore or two. On arrival they are wined and dined in their capacity as visiting celebrities. That can be hard work.
And then there is the annual remuneration paid to Board members said to be in the vicinity of $70,000. MWD has asked the ABC whether the ABC staff member on the ABC Board receives this payment. ABC Communications advised MWD that it could not communicate in this instance (Quelle Surprise!) and directed MWD to the office of the Minister for Communications. The Minister’s office advised that the amount, determined by the Remuneration Tribunal, is $60,290.
In any event, it is still possible for Comrade Tingle to be “giving back to…journalism” while flying business class around the country. Greater love hath no journalist for their colleagues than to undertake service on the ABC Board – for an ex-gratia payment of around a mere $60,000 a year. Think about it (as the saying goes). – MWD Editor.]
Media Watch Dog follows the lead of the one-time Conservative Party prime minister of Britain and novelist Benjamin Disraeli (1804-81) who, it is said, once declared: “Everyone loves flattery and when it comes to Royalty you should lay it on with a trowel.”
Quite so. Your man Disraeli was probably thinking of Queen Victoria and her court – when it comes to trowels and all that. However, the saying has a wider application as the one-time statesman understood. Including with respect to journalists.
IN WHICH PK FAWNS OVER DAVID CROWE’S GREY MATTER
As a profession, journalists do not take well to criticism. There are exceptions, to be sure – but not all that many. The flip side of being sensitive to criticism presents as a love of flattery. This is invariably reciprocated. As in “I will call you as being as wise as Plato today, and you can tell me I have the fortitude of Joan of Arc tomorrow”. Or something like that.
And so it came to pass that when Patricia (“Please call me Professor PK”) Karvelas interviewed Nine’s chief political correspondent David Crowe – on his regular ABC Radio National Breakfast Wednesday slot on 28 February – she referred to his “BIG BRAIN”. Really.
Now, Comrade Crowe is a respected member of the Canberra Press Gallery and is a left-of-centre kind of guy. As would be expected of the chief political reporter for the left-of-centre Age and Sydney Morning Herald. Yet he is not quite Plato – or, indeed, Joan of Arc. For the record, here is the fawning end of the PK/Crowe exchange:
Patricia Karvelas: Very interesting stuff David, always lovely to pick your big brain.
David Crowe: [Laughs]
Patricia Karvelas: You let me just pick whichever bit I like – and that’s always enjoyable. Thank you, David.
David Crowe: We do our best, thanks Patricia.
How about that? Your man Crowe is into using the Royal “We” when acknowledging praise about his big brain. It would seem that Disraeli was somewhat wrong. Flattery also needs to be laid on with a trowel when some journalists are being fawned upon.
[Groan. Maybe the learned professor believes that Nine’s chief political correspondent has a brain the size of the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Come to think of it, maybe you should have run this in your hugely popular “Can You Bear It?” segment. Just a thought. – MWD Editor.]
COMRADE HUMPHRIES CONTINUES HIS STREAK OF BASHING ANYONE BUT THE ALBANESE GOVERNMENT
Thursday 2 March saw yet another failed attempt at sketch comedy by 7:30’s resident funnyman Mark Humphries. Humphries, who identifies as a satirist, has mostly avoided making fun of the federal Labor government since the 2022 election. This is a marked change from his behaviour between the 2019 and 2022 elections, when his favourite targets were Scott Morrison and Barnaby Joyce.
The latest attempt concerns the controversy over the Albanese government’s plan to introduce a cap on superannuation tax concessions. Whatever your attitude towards the government’s plan, this would seem to be a topic ripe for satire given the somewhat haphazard way in which the plan was announced. Predictably Comrade Humphries sidesteps having a go at the (Labor) government of the day, instead choosing to mock people with large super balances who are opposed to the change.
As is usually the case with Humphries, the sketch takes the form of a fake ad, though in this case it isn’t clear who is meant to have made the mock ad or for what purpose. The voiceover, explaining the proposed change to superannuation, is in the style of a government ad. However, this voiceover airs over footage of people doing the hand symbol from the famous “From little things, big things grow” ad campaign by Industry SuperFunds Australia. It is typical of Humphries’ brand of comedy that this reference is both dated and confused.
Bizarrely, the sketch features a man, dressed as an 18th century British “red coat” soldier, arguing that he is entitled to further tax concessions on his $3 Million super account. As far as MWD can determine, this is meant to be a joke about “class warfare”, where the red coat represents the upper class because he is British.
The sketch only lasts around 80 seconds, which matches a merciful recent trend towards brevity in Humphries’ sketches. Whether this is a limitation imposed by 7:30 higher-ups or just a new frontier in laziness by Humphries and co-writer Evan Williams is unknown. What is known, is that the satirical sketches on ABC TV’s premier current affairs program remain laser-focused on mocking anyone but the current Labor government. And, needless to say, the Greens.
The former journalist and current Nine columnist Niki Savva is one of Media Watch Dog’s faves. If only for the fact that she has been remarkably honest about the profession which made her famous. Here’s what Comrade Savva had to say about journalists and the truth in her book So Greek: Confessions of a Conservative Leftie (Scribe, 2010) at pages 94 to 95:
As a journalist I lied often, usually about my sources, but about other things too… Journalists can, and do, get away with lying; politicians and staff can’t. Nor should they….
And there was more. Journalist Laurie Oakes wrote an endorsement which appears on the cover of So Greek. On 30 January 2010 – shortly before the book was published – Oakes reviewed So Greek for the Courier Mail. He would have received a pre-publication copy of the manuscript in order to write the endorsement which he would have used for the review. In his Courier Mail piece, Oakes quotes Savva as saying in So Greek:
…[Savva] has no such sentimentality when it comes to her former journalism profession. She writes: “When it comes to scheming and lying, plain old hypocrisy, and dishonesty, journalists – apart from a few honourable exceptions – win hands down. If you can call it winning.”
There you have it. A Truthful Blast from the Past. This occasional MWD segment will bring readers up-to-date with The (Truthful) Thought of Niki Savva
NIKI SAVVA ON PETER DUTTON AS A BOURBON MONARCH
The good news – for Media Watch Dog at least – is that Niki Savva is back writing a column for Nine’s The Age and Sydney Morning Herald. Much to the dismay of Jackie’s (male) co-owner, Comrade Savva disappeared from the written page soon after the Labor Party’s victory in the May 2022 election to write her book Bulldozed: Scott Morrison’s Fall and Anthony Albanese’s Rise (Scribe, December 2022).
In fact, this tome witnessed the re-rise of Ms Savva in that it documented the fact that the author was correct in predicting a Labor victory in 2022. The draft of her book on the 2019 election had to be re-written (and the title changed) – since it was based on the fake belief that Scott Morrison’s Coalition would be defeated in 2019. Hence the last minute change to title from Highway to Hell: The Coup that destroyed Malcolm Turnbull and left the Liberals in Ruins to Plots and Prayers: Malcolm Turnbull’s demise and Scott Morrison’s ascension.
From the time Comrade Savva commenced as a Nine columnist in July 2021 until the May 2022 election, every one of her columns, except one, was devoted to fanging Scott Morrison and the Coalition. Indeed, it’s not clear what she would have written about if Mr Morrison had not been prime minister.
It seems that nothing much has changed with respect to The Thought of Columnist Savva – except that the Liberal Party is in opposition under the leadership of Peter Dutton. Her column on 2 March was headed “Dutton risks blame or irrelevance” and this is how it commenced – with Mr Dutton depicted in an illustration as a man with a very bad wig à la the Bourbons of old.
It was said of the French Bourbon kings, renowned for their stubbornness, that “they have learned nothing, and forgotten nothing”. Today, as Anthony Albanese holds a handsome election-winning lead with voters so far resisting blaming him for their economic woes, the federal Liberal Party, historically Australia’s most successful political outfit, accustomed to ruling the joint for generations, is in grave danger of being branded the New Bourbons. Almost a year since the election, there are few signs that it has recognised or accepted that it has to change if it is to have any hope of regaining its heartland.
It would appear that Niki Savva is one of those Canberra-based journalists who lives from one election to another. The next Federal election is due in May 2025. In any event, her born-again column was replete with advice as to what the Liberal Party leader “should” do about this and that.
Then she described the Liberal Party member for Bradfield, Paul Fletcher (born 1965) with reference to his “pale, stale, male” cliché – and seems to favour his replacement (if the Coalition loses the forthcoming NSW election) by the left’s hero Matt Kean (born 1981) who is the NSW treasurer.
Overlooking the fact that Kean is somewhat pale and Fletcher is younger than Prime Minister Albanese. And then there is the fact that Mr Kean is of the view that women should be preselected as Liberal Party candidates in safe or relatively safe seats. Surely the NSW treasurer would not deprive a woman of the chance to win Bradfield if Paul Fletcher departs politics.
By the way, Niki Savva quoted some (anonymous) Liberals as stating that their party will lose the Aston by-election in Melbourne’s east this coming April Fool’s Day – and declared that such a defeat would doom Peter Dutton with respect to winning seats up north in the NSW Hunter Valley, which is a long way from suburban Melbourne.
MWD just loves journalistic speculation of this kind – and looks forward to more of the same from its fave columnist.
TOM BALLARD – AGAINST LITERARY BOYCOTTS EXCEPT WHEN THEY ARE DIRECTED AT ISRAEL
Tom Ballard is one of those leftist luvvie types who – in Barry Humphries’ term – identifies as a comedian. At age 33, Comrade Ballard has already written a memoir. Groan. It’s titled I, Millennial: One Snowflake’s Screed Against Boomers, Billionaires and Everything Else, published by Simon & Schuster.
Jackie’s (male) co-owner is yet to read the Ballard tome. He struggled through Shaun Micallef’s somewhat tedious memoir Tripping Over Myself (see MWD, 14 October 2022, Issue 609). Comrade Micallef can be funny – but not so much when writing about himself. Comrade Ballard, on the other hand, is not funny – so reading his memoir could be really hard work. We shall see.
But MWD digresses. As avid readers are aware, the 2023 Adelaide Writers Week – director Louise Adler – is yet another leftist stack. But a controversial one due to Comrade Adler inviting two Palestinian writers who have flashed a bit of anti-Semitism around. This has led to some sponsors distancing themselves from the event by discontinuing their support. Moreover, a couple of London-based Ukrainian writers who objected to anti-semitic attacks on Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky (who is Jewish) withdrew from the occasion.
So what does Tom Ballard think about boycotts of literary festivals and the like? – MWD hears readers ask. You be the judge. Here is Comrade Ballard’s view of boycotts/withdrawal of sponsorships at the 2023 Adelaide Writers Week:
Bit weird but seems like the usual pro-free speech/anti-cancel culture/anti-woke capital/anti-BDS crowd aren’t losing their minds over this?? pic.twitter.com/R7chPySGCB
— Tom Ballard (@TomCBallard) February 22, 2023
The reference was to an ABC report that an AWW sponsor had withdrawn its support.
BDS stands for Boycott/Divestment/Sanctions against Israel. The “anti-BDS crowd”, to use a Ballardism, are supporters of the right of Israel to exist within secure borders.
So, in his tweets, your man Ballard expressed fake surprise that opponents of cancel culture have not protested at the fact that one sponsor withdrew support for the 2023 AWW on account of the pending appearances of two Palestinian authors of anti-Semitic bent. In the event, at least three sponsors distanced themselves from the 2023 AWW.
And here’s what Comrade Ballard said last year when a number of leftist artists boycotted the 2022 Sydney Festival because the Embassy of Israel in Australia part-sponsored the work of an Israeli choreographer:
After listening to the calls to boycott the @Sydney_Festival over its decision to accept funding from and partner with the Embassy of Israel, I have decided to withdraw from my scheduled performance at the Festival's Gala Comedy Night, in solidarity.
— Tom Ballard (@TomCBallard) January 4, 2022
So, Tom Ballard objects in February 2023 when a sponsor withdraws support for a festival which is hosting two speakers who are into anti-semitism. However, he supported the call for a boycott of a festival in January 2022 because the Israeli Embassy was part sponsoring an event by an Israeli artist.
So, as the saying goes, Comrade Ballard is opposed to boycotts of festivals – except when he supports them.
Tom Ballard: A Great Media U-Turn of Our Time.
As avid readers are aware, the late Nancy (2004-2017) did not die. She merely “passed” on to the Other Side. Hence MWD has been able to keep in touch and seek her advice about behaviour, courtesy and all that – with the help of the American psychic John Edward of Crossing Over fame. Your man Edward has demonstrated a first class ability to communicate with the dead, albeit not so much with the living. And so, Nancy’s “Courtesy Classes” continue – albeit from the “Other Side” in a Zoom kind of way and are channelled to Jackie (2016- __) who passes the “learnings” of Nancy on to Media Watch Dog’s avid readers. Or something like that.
ERIK JENSEN DECLARES THAT PETER DUTTON IS A TERRIBLE PERSON
As avid MWD readers know, The Saturday Paper, editor-in-chief Erik Jensen, goes to press on Thursdays and lands in inner-city coffee shops on Saturday mornings. Since it is Australia’s only newspaper that contains no news, Jackie’s (male) co-owner reads it on Monday afternoon – if at all. What’s the hurry?
The editorial in The [Boring] Saturday Paper of 18 February has been drawn to MWD’s attention. Titled “On Dutton”, it consists of some 592 words fanging the Opposition leader. Here’s how it commenced:
Say what you will about Peter Dutton, he is a truly terrible person. He is a man best known for his awfulness. When newspapers speak to his friends, most of them ask to be anonymous. The best they can say is he’s funny.
Now, here’s a media scoop – of the Erik Jensen kind. Believe it or not, according to Comrade Jensen, “newspapers speak” to Peter Dutton’s friends. Really. The editorial went on to make this point – if point there was – about the Liberal Party leadership under Dutton’s leadership:
It’s like a Civil War re-enactment, with Peter Dutton dressed up as himself and various frontbenchers playing dead in the grass.
So there you have it. According to Niki Savva, Peter Dutton is a 16th Century Bourbon king. But Erik Jensen reckons he’s a general in the Confederate Army and soon to be defeated in the American Civil War of the early 1860s.
Comrade Jensen went on to make this point about the Opposition leader: “Familiarity breeds contempt except when the contempt is what’s familiar.” Clever, eh? But what does this mean?
It’s perfectly reasonable for the leftist luvvies at what some like to call “The Collingwood Paper” – Collingwood being the inner-city abode where Comrade Jensen’s paper is born every Thursday – to criticise the Coalition. But it should be able to do so in a courteous way without such emotive language as “terrible” and “awful”.
Erik Jensen: Off to Nancy’s Courtesy Classes for you – as soon as John Edward can make a connection with the (canine) dead.
IN WHICH THE GUARDIAN’S HENRY BELOT LEAVES THE ABC ONLY TO BE INTERVIEWED BY THE ABC
Wasn’t it great to see The Guardian/ABC Axis consummated – once again – on the ABC this week? The reference is to the ABC TV News Breakfast show – presenters Lisa Millar and Michael Rowland. Here’s how the “Newspapers” segment commenced on 28 February:
Lisa Millar: Well, let’s have a look at what’s making news in print and online this morning. And we’re joined by reporter with Guardian Australia – and one of our former colleagues from Canberra, Henry Belot. Good morning.
Henry Belot: Nice to be back.
Michael Rowland: Nice to have you back.
Lisa Millar: It is good to have you back.
There followed a discussion about the hacking of big companies, the Albanese government’s policy on superannuation, Australia’s intention to acquire drones and the Commonwealth government’s proposal to allow individuals to ban themselves from online gambling companies.
And here’s how the friendly chat concluded:
Lisa Millar: It is an interesting debate. Hey, good to have you back on the couch.
Henry Belot: Lovely to be back.
Lisa Millar: Clearly you miss us at the ABC. Come again sometime.
Now, The Guardian is an avowedly left-wing newspaper. Always has been since its establishment in Manchester in the 19th Century. The Guardian Australia was formed with the backing of The Guardian in London – along with a little help from Malcolm Turnbull in Australia.
So far this year, the following comrades have appeared on the “Newspapers” segment on News Breakfast – Josh Taylor, Matilda Boseley plus your man Belot.
When News Breakfast can’t find a comrade to do the “Newspapers” gig from The Guardian Australia, it tends to grab talent from such leftist outfits as the Australia Institute, the Evatt Foundation, Maurice Blackburn Lawyers and the like. On 3 March, Ebony Bennett – deputy director of the left-wing Australia Institute – made her fourth appearance in this segment for the year. Apparently, members of the politically conservative Institute of Public Affairs have been banned from the program for quite a few years.
MWD is not aware of even one political conservative who has appeared on the “Newspapers” segment this year.
Other Guardian types have regular slots elsewhere on the ABC. For example, Lenore Taylor (Insiders), Katharine Murphy (Radio National Breakfast, Insiders), Amy Remeikis (Insiders, Radio National Breakfast) Michael Bowers (Insiders) and Sarah Martin (Insiders).
For a relatively small online newspaper, The Guardian Australia has substantial access to the taxpayer funded public broadcaster. In short, The Guardian/ABC Axis is quite a phenomenon in the Australian media.
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Until next time.
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