GERARD HENDERSON’S MEDIA WATCH DOG
ISSUE – NO. 630
14 April 2023
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Can You Bear It? – Nine’s Julietta Jameson gives 3 stars to a prison-turned-hotel in hip Sandalista Coburg; Guy Rundle’s return to anti-Catholic sectarianism; Madeleine Morris regards 54 per cent as close to 100 per cent; The Grattan Institute’s Danielle Wood claims to be “starting the conversation” re tax reform; SMH’s letters page channels The Green Left Weekly
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THE ABC’S NORTHERN TERRITORY DENIAL
Much attention has been drawn to the fact that ABC presenter Joe O’Brien abruptly terminated a media-conference yesterday. This occurred after the Opposition leader Peter Dutton classified a query from an ABC journalist as to whether he had evidence for what the journo described as “this so-called rampant child sexual abuse occurring in remote Central Australia”. Dutton described this inquiry as “such an ABC question”. The live media conference continued.
Peter Dutton: Do you live locally? I mean, do you speak to people on the streets? Do you hear what it is they’re saying to you? I mean, do you believe –
ABC Reporter: [interjecting] I live locally.
Peter Dutton: You live locally, you don’t believe there’s any problem –
ABC Presenter: Ok, we’ve got to leave that there because we’re going to our break. That was live from Alice Springs – Opposition leader Peter Dutton.
Viewers might have been surprised by the need for the ABC to take a break. After all, the taxpayer funded public broadcaster only does its own promotions along with advertisements for ABC products. But there you go.
Following the Dutton press conference, ABC reporters ran the line that the Opposition leader had no evidence for his claim that there was a serious problem with child abuse of Indigenous Australians in the Northern Territory.
Interviewed by Peta Credlin on Sky News’ Credlin program last night, Matt Cunningham – Sky News’ Northern Territory correspondent – had this to say:
Matt Cunningham: I’ve been covering these issues for the best part of a decade, Peta, and there is an overwhelming body of evidence that suggests that the rates of child abuse and neglect in the Northern Territory are significantly higher than anywhere else in the country. That, in most cases, they involve Aboriginal children. And there is also a body of evidence that suggests that authorities have not done enough to act in many circumstances where Aboriginal children have been abused or neglected.
I can just give you a couple of examples off the top of my head. Hilary Hannam, the former Chief Magistrate gave evidence at the Royal Commission in 2017 and told that inquiry that the rates of child removal, of Aboriginal child removal, were significantly lower than the rates of substantiated abuse and neglect.
If you go forward one year to 2018, the rape of a two-year-old Aboriginal girl in Tennant Creek. A report by the Northern Territory Children’s Commissioner, Colleen Gwynne, found that the child and her siblings had been the subject of 52 separate notifications to Police and the Child Protection Department in the years that led up to that event. And yet nothing was done to remove that child and put her in a safe space….
It is not a secret. You heard Jacinta Price in that same press conference today say that it’s something that everybody knows about here in the Northern Territory. And the data is not hard to find. Look at 2021, the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare finds that the rates of child abuse and neglect in the Northern Territory are almost double that of any other state.
On ABC Radio National Breakfast this morning, presenter Patricia Karvelas continued the ABC’s case that Mr Dutton lacked evidence for his claim that sexual assault of Indigenous Australian children is a huge problem in the Northern Territory. The following exchange took place with South Australian Liberal Party Senator Kerrynne Liddle, an Indigenous woman:
Patricia Karvelas: ….do we have evidence to say that there is widespread sexual abuse going on in the Northern Territory?
Kerrynne Liddle: I don’t think we can pretend that there is not abuse going on in the Northern Territory.
Patricia Karvelas: Of course there is, but there’s abuse going on everywhere.
Kerrynne Liddle: It’s going on everywhere. And it’s always underreported and always affecting the most vulnerable, and they are the facts here. So I think, you know, it’s a sensitive issue. You can’t just walk into a community and say “By the way, who here has ever been sexually abused?” and expect that people will come forward. That is an insensitive way to expect that people will respond or to make declarations…
Patricia Karvelas, however, continued with her claim that Mr Dutton’s allegations were “unsubstantiated”. Senator Liddle was not impressed. The interview continued:
Patricia Karvelas: Now returning to this issue about there being rampant child sex abuse going on. Of course, there’s a lot of sensitivities on all of this because of the [Howard Government’s] Northern Territory Intervention [in 2007]. And allegations that were made to justify that intervention among Indigenous Australians across the country. Absolutely a lot of sensitivity. Do you encourage your leader to temper his language given we haven’t yet seen evidence to say that there is a widespread phenomenon of this?
Kerrynne Liddle: I say prove it’s not happening. And then we can have a conversation about the kind of language that we can actually use for this.
Soon after, Patricia Karvelas interviewed David Speers (ABC TV Insiders) and Samantha Maiden (news.com.au) in the program’s “Politics” segment. The following exchange occurred:
Samantha Maiden:….according to the Northern Territory News, the rates of child abuse and neglect are almost double that of any other jurisdiction in Australia. Now, that’s not Alice Springs specific obviously. And so, I’m very troubled by the idea that we’re having this debate that “Oh, child abuse happens everywhere” or “Children get raped everywhere”. One case like this is not ok –
Patricia Karvelas: [interjecting] No, it’s not ok –
Samantha Maiden: – and there are clearly –
Patricia Karvelas: – anywhere.
Samantha Maiden: – and there are clearly more cases than one in Alice Springs. And so, I find myself very troubled by this debate where people seem to want to minimise the sexual assault of children. Or act as if it happens everywhere, and somehow that makes it ok.
Patricia Karvelas: David…
Samantha Maiden had the intellectual courage to make unfashionable point. Patricia Karvelas, apparently not wanting to continue the discussion, flicked the matter to David Speers, who said not very much at all.
It was not Ms Karvelas’ best morning. But it was good radio – and a rare ABC moment where divergent views were heard on an important issue.
NINE’S JULIETTA JAMESON GIVES “3 STARS” TO THE ADINA APARTMENTS HOTEL PENTRIDGE MELBOURNE – A FINE PLACE TO HANG AROUND FOR (WEALTHY) HIPSTERS
Media Watch Dog has an interest in prisons, especially of the decommissioned genre. In this regard, Jackie’s (male) co-owner visited Pentridge Prison in the Melbourne suburb of Coburg soon after it was decommissioned in 1997. Come to think of it, Hendo made one visit to the prison when it was still Her Majesty’s Prison [do you mean They’s Majesty’s Prison? – MWD Editor.] – in the capacity of a visitor, thank God.
So it came as considerable interest to find a piece in The Sun-Herald and The Sunday Age “Traveller” section on 9 April titled “Inside Job”. Written by Julietta Jameson it commenced:
Melbourne’s Pentridge Prison saw a who’s who of Australia’s criminal world – names like bushrangers Ned Kelly and Harry Power of the 1800s, early 20th century gangster Squizzy Taylor and the contemporary ex-crim-turned-celebrity, Chopper Read – housed between its imposing bluestone walls.
The neo-Gothic “Pentridge College”, as nicknamed by the underworld, was decommissioned in 1997, and the area around it, the northern suburb of Coburg, began its journey of gentrification, a working-class drabness making way for a hip fabness to rival neighbouring Brunswick.
Something of a beat up, don’t you think? The bushranger Ned Kelly – who murdered three policemen in 1878, one of whom he shot in the back – only served a brief time in Pentridge. He was mainly imprisoned in Melbourne Gaol on Russell Street near the contemporary CBD. That’s where Kelly was hanged on 11 November 1880. Melbourne Gaol closed in 1924 and was decommissioned five years later. It is currently a museum.
To be sure, the sandal-wearers of Melbourne and Sydney would be delighted to read that the eco-friendly Adina Apartments Hotel Pentridge Melbourne has been constructed on the site of Pentridge’s old B Division. And how appropriate, in a Sandalista kind of way, that – as Jameson reports – the suburb of Coburg “began its journey of gentrification” from “working class drabness” to “making way for a hip fabness to rival neighbouring Brunswick”. The once working-class suburbs of Brunswick and Coburg are part of Green Left Central in Australia.
Julietta Jameson concluded her piece with this plug for the hotel’s hip fabness:
Accommodations here consist of historic B Division prison cells joined together and converted into calm, modern spaces where you can come and go as you please. See adinahotels.com.
Talk about hip fabness. As MWD recalls, B Division is not far from D Division – the place where Ronald Ryan was hanged in 1967. The last woman executed was Jean Lee, a 31 year old mother of one. She was hanged in Pentridge in May 1951 – while seated in a chair, since she had collapsed before the hangman arrived. Ms Lee was hanged along with her fellow accomplices Robert David Clayton and Norman Andrews. The former’s execution was bungled – he choked to death at the end of the rope after some 18 minutes. All were convicted murderers – but perhaps not the worst murderers to spend time at Pentridge.
MWD just can’t wait to travel to Coburg to enjoy the food and (Victorian) fine wines on offer at B Division. If you consume enough alcohol, it’s possible to forget about Jean Lee hanging from a rope – with her chair on the floor. How’s that for hip fabness? More importantly – Can You Bear It?
CRIKEY’S COMRADE GUY RUNDLE GETS ALL CONFUSED ABOUT DOMINIC PERROTTET’S CATHOLICISM
As avid Media Watch Dog readers are aware, Guy Rundle is this publication’s fave Marxist comedian. Your man Rundle isn’t writing much comedy these days. Unless you regard gigs as a correspondent-at-large for the leftist Crikey magazine and being associate editor at the leftist Arena Quarterly as funny in itself. By the way, Arena was formed in Melbourne in 1963 as “a Marxist journal of criticism and discussion”.
In any event, Comrade Rundle is very clever and occasionally insightful. As is the case with his piece in Crikey on 6 April titled “Dom is the Dom! In NSW, Perrottet shows the Liberals how it is done”. In a thoughtful article, your man Rundle made the point that the former NSW Liberal Party premier did relatively well in the recent NSW election for a government that was 12 years old. Sure, the Coalition lost – but Labor failed to win a majority of seats and has been forced into minority government.
However, every now and then, the Marxist comedian throws the switch to anti-Catholic sectarianism – presumably the kind with which he grew up in suburban Melbourne all those years ago. How else to explain the first paragraph of his Crikey piece re the former NSW premier? – who has never sought to hide his Catholic faith:
Poor old Dominic Perrottet! Not only does he have to do something like whip himself across his naked back with a metal-studded cat-o’-nine-tails every evening as part of his religion (source: trailer of the movie of The Da Vinci Code), but the general cataclysm of the Liberal Party in the Aston [by-election] conflagration has robbed him of his moment of glory.
Jackie’s (male) co-owner dislikes the serious usage of the exclamation mark!!!! Moreover, it’s absolute tosh to state that Catholics practise mortification as part of their religion. It would seem that Comrade Rundle regards Perrottet as a member of the small traditional Catholic organisation Opus Dei – and maintains, therefore, that he is into mortification.
The only problem with Rundle’s introduction to his Crikey piece is that it is littered with errors. For starters, Dominic Perrottet is not a member of Opus Dei and never has been. He just went to a school in Sydney which is run by Opus Dei supporters. What’s more, there is no evidence that Opus Dei members whip their naked backs every evening with a metal-studded cat-o’-nine tails. Sure, some Opus Dei numeraries (as they are called) practise forms of mortification – but not to the extent of doing a cat-o’-nine tails workout every night on bare backs. Comrade Rundle also made this up – presumably to mock Opus Dei Catholics – in his false belief that your man Perrottet is an Opus Dei type.
As for his source about the metal-studded-cat-o’-nine tails – well, it’s in the trailer of the movie The Da Vinci Code – based on the works of American conspiracy theorist Dan Brown. That’s all folks. Which suggests that MWD’s fave Marxist comedian is the flog in this instance. Can You Bear It?
MADELEINE MORRIS REGARDS 54 PER CENT AS CLOSE TO 100 PER CENT
What a stunning interview of Leader of the Opposition in the Senate Simon Birmingham by Madeleine Morris on ABC News Breakfast. The date was Wednesday 5 April and the topic was the Liberal Party’s attitude to the proposed Indigenous Voice to Parliament and executive government. Here’s how Comrade Morris led off:
Madeleine Morris: Senator Birmingham, thanks so much for joining us. I’ll just run you through who supports the Voice according to Newspoll yesterday. 54 per cent of Australians, a majority of states, millennials, wealthy Australians, NAB, Commonwealth Bank, ANZ, BHP, Rio Tinto, Wesfarmers, Woolworths, Jeremy Rockliff (the premier of Tasmania), the Nationals in WA, your Liberal opposition counterparts in the States aren’t opposed. So, in opposing this, exactly who are the federal Liberals representing?
Now, it’s a long time since Jackie’s (male) co-owner did maths. But, as Hendo recalls, if 54 per cent of persons support something then it is quite likely that the remaining 46 per cent don’t. If Comrade Morris’ “logic” is extended – it would appear that the Liberal Party might be representing 46 per cent of Australian voters in this instance. Not a majority, to be sure – but more than zero.
Only time will tell – as the cliché goes. However, even the likes of Liberal Party MP Julian Leeser (who supports The Voice) has expressed concern that 54 per cent support for the forthcoming referendum at this stage may not get the “Yes” case over the line when the referendum is held in six months’ time. Mr Leeser wants the support for “Yes” to increase.
MWD is not aware of one prominent ABC presenter who opposes the Voice. All, like Ms Morris, present as barrackers who regard those who disagree with them as being on “the wrong side of history”. The News Breakfast co-presenter used this term in her interview with Simon Birmingham.
The problem for the “Yes” case with this kind of arrogance is that it could turn out to be counterproductive. In that electors may get turned off by being preached at by media types about how they should vote.
It is well known that recently ABC management advised ABC journalists that they must be objective when covering the debate on The Voice. It would seem that the message has not gotten through.
At Sky News, there is diversity among prominent presenters and contributors. For example, Chris Kenny is in the “Yes” camp and Peta Credlin is in the “No” camp. There is no such diversity at the ABC. In any event, the likes of Comrade Morris should be aware that history is about the past – not the future. Those who believe otherwise are prophets – not reporters. Can You Bear It?
THE GRATTAN INSTITUTE’S DANIELLE WOOD TELLS AGE & SMH READERS THAT SHE STARTED THE “CONVERSATION” ON TAX
Nine Newspapers boasts every morning that they are “Independent. Always”. But not of pomposity, it would appear. Here’s how the column on 31 March in The Age and Sydney Morning Herald by Danielle Wood commenced:
We need to talk about tax. I say that with some trepidation, because mentioning tax has become akin to bringing up religion or medical issues: not to be done in polite company. On Friday, I’ll join several other experts to dive into these fraught waters at a tax reform summit hosted by teal independent Allegra Spender. Why go there? Because our tax system matters.
Turn it up. Just when you thought that Australians involved in the economics debate have been talking about tax since Joan of Arc was a girl – up bobs this self-declared “expert” and tells us (non-expert) mortals that no one has been talking about tax. Could it be that the Grattan Institute’s chief executive does not read the columns of, say, Nine’s very own economics editor Ross Gittins? Surely not.
And this is how Ms Wood concluded her piece:
So, here we are. The need for reform is clear: Australia faces both a productivity and a revenue challenge. But the over-the-top reaction each time even modest tax changes are proposed…strikes fear into the hearts of would-be reformers. Perhaps talking about tax can overcome this. I look forward to starting the conversation.
So, there you have it. The chief executive of the Grattan Institute – which was set up with the help of lotsa taxpayers’ money – reckons that Australia needs more changes (read increases) in taxes. Moreover, Ms Wood believes that she is “starting the conversation”.
For what it is worth [Probably not much – MWD Editor], MWD is tired of pretentious references to “the conversation” when the word “discussion” would do. As to Danielle Wood’s claim to be “starting the [tax] conversation” – well, Can You Bear It?
SMH LETTERS PAGE CHANNELS THE GREEN LEFT WEEKLY
While on the topic of the Sydney Morning Herald’s claim to be “Independent. Always.” – did anyone read its Letters Page in the wake of the Liberal Party’s defeat in the federal Aston by-election? On 4 April, the SMH ran seven letters under the heading “Ultra-conservatives stuck in the past will stay there”.
All seven letters published bagged and/or mocked the Liberal Party – and/or its leader Peter Dutton. No other view was expressed. The self-proclaimed “independent” SMH’s Letters Page read like something to be found in The Green Left Weekly. Can You Bear It?
COMRADE TINGLE AND AUNTY
As anticipated by Media Watch Dog, it has come to pass that Laura Tingle – ABC TV 7.30’s political correspondent – has been chosen by her comrades to be the ABC’s new staff-elected director. La Tingle replaces Jane Connors, whose five-year term ends on 30 April 2023. Dr Connors (for a doctor she is) is the author of Royal Visits to Australia and has held senior management positions within the taxpayer funded public broadcaster.
Jane Connors is no political conservative – as befits the ABC as a conservative free zone without one conservative presenter, producer or editor for any of its prominent television, radio or online outlets. However, the evidence suggests that she has been a professional board member during her five-year stint.
The ABC staff-elected board member receives around $60,000 a year in accordance with the determination of the Remuneration Tribunal – and enjoys various perks, including business class travel for the meetings. But beyond this, the staff-elected board member is just one out of some eight members.
Laura Tingle is one of the ABC’s most high-profile journalists. Even so, she narrowly got over the line. According to Nine and News Corp newspapers, Tingle defeated Daniel Ziffer by a mere 30 votes. According to The Australian, Tingle prevailed after the distribution of preferences – having trailed Ziffer on primary votes. In short, Tingle’s victory was very narrow. Especially since she was endorsed by such high-profile fellow comrades as Michael Rowland and Louise Milligan.
Laura Tingle will take up the role on May Day. In touting for votes, she ran the line that the ABC should be more forceful in its relations with the government. In her campaign material, 7.30’s political correspondent declared that, if elected, she would be a “powerful advocate for the staff” and “vigilant about protecting what is the unique heart and soul of the ABC”.
When reporting La Tingle’s campaign on 3 March, Nine newspapers’ “CBD” column wrote this:
By far, 7.30 chief political correspondent Laura Tingle is the most high-profile name in the mix, and her lengthy statement (over 1300 words and several different fonts) could be summarised as a plea for the ABC to grow a pair. [A pair of what? – MWD Editor].
Lashing the broadcaster’s “incomprehensible” five-year plan, and lamenting its twitchiness in the face of a “daily assault from News Corp”, there’s also a broadside at the “Murdoch empire which has openly identified public broadcasters as a competitive threat”, which will no doubt make the terrace-dwelling viewers of Insiders happy.
This would suggest that La Tingle has a scant understanding of how the board works. The ABC board has a supervisory role over the public broadcaster. But it does not run the ABC. Nor should it. Companies, whether public or private, are controlled by management. ABC managing director David Anderson is appointed by the board and is a member of the board. He reports to the board – about the running of the public broadcaster.
La Tingle’s confessed intention to bring about a situation where the taxpayer public broadcaster takes on the government in general and News Corp in particular raises an important question.
As someone intent on being an activist ABC Board member after 1 May, is Laura Tingle the appropriate person to interview Michelle Rowland (the Minister for Communications) or the shadow minister for this portfolio David Coleman? Moreover, is it appropriate that she report on 7.30, ABC TV’s Insiders and other ABC outlets about the debate in Australia over the media, including her employer?
In recent times, David Anderson expressed disappointment at Senate Estimates that Tingle had accused Scott Morrison’s Coalition government of “ideological bastardry”. Appearing before the Senate Estimates Committee on 22 October 2020, David Anderson said that he knew that “Laura deems [her tweet] to be a mistake”. He added: “I think it was an error of judgment – as I think clearly she did too as she took the tweet down.”
However, Laura Tingle has never publicly expressed any regret for this tweet – she just went into “no comment” mode. And now Tingle is to join Anderson as a board member overseeing the operations of the public broadcaster.
It was not so long ago that 7.30 would complain about the unwillingness of the Morrison government ministers to appear on the program. So what was La Tingle’s response when asked by Nine and News Corp journalists about her annual $60,000 gig on the ABC Board following her narrow victory? You’ve guessed it – nothing. Nine and News Corp both reported that “Tingle declined to comment”.
[What a double standard. Perhaps you should have reported this in your enormously popular “Can You Bear It?” segment. – MWD Editor.]
AN UPDATE ON THE LOST SKETCH & HUMPHRIES RETURNS TO LIBERAL-BASHING
Avid readers have no doubt been eagerly anticipating a follow-up to MWD’s EXCLUSIVE report concerning a disappearing Mark Humphries sketch. For those who missed MWD’s last (pre-Easter) edition – on Thursday 30 March, 7:30 aired a new effort by the program’s resident self-described satirist Mark Humphries. The skit parodied advertisements for gambling companies and has since been edited out of the iview version of 7:30.
As far as MWD can tell, the sketch has been thoroughly scrubbed, not appearing on any of the ABC’s many social media channels. Comrade Humphries and the ABC remain silent on the matter.
The lost sketch has yet to reappear but the same cannot be said of your man Humphries, who returned to 7:30 on Thursday 13 April with what passes for a fresh effort. Unsurprisingly, the target of the sketch was the federal Liberal Party, as has generally been the case since Humphries joined 7:30.
The sketch portrayed the “Liberal Party Quitline”, a fictional hotline for members of the Liberal Party to call when they are considering leaving the party. This idea bears a resemblance to his previous efforts “The Greta Thunberg Helpline” and “The Meghan Markle Helpline”, but at least manages to avoid being a complete rehash.
As usual, Humphries’ latest sketch avoids any satire of the federal Labor government. Aside from Liberals and former Liberals, the only other politician mocked is former Green Lidia Thorpe. Apparently by leaving the Greens, Thorpe has joined ex-Labor leader Mark Latham as a valid target for ABC satire.
Various ABC figures have spent recent weeks crowing about the supposed irrelevance of the Liberal Party following the NSW election. The satirical sketches on the ABC’s premiere current affairs program remain focused on the Coalition, with no mockery of the Labor Party or the Greens for months at a time. Apparently, some habits are hard to break.
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.
STEP FORWARD ANDREW NEIL FOR CALLING OUT Q+A’s LACK OF POLITICAL DIVERSITY ON Q+A
It was the usual politically unbalanced panel at ABC TV’s Q+A on Easter Monday. On the panel of five were Andrew Neil (British journalist and broadcaster and currently chairman of The Spectator magazine), Anne Pattel-Gray (head of Indigenous Studies at the University of Divinity), Archbishop Kanishka Raffel (the Anglican Archbishop of Sydney), Senator Fatima Payman (Labor Senator for Western Australia) and Dimitry Chugg-Palmer (president of the Federal and NSW Young Liberals). It would seem that the head of the Young Liberals was the most senior representative of the Coalition that Q+A could entice to come on the program. No Coalition MP, federal or state, got a gig.
The second question directed at the panel turned on the proposed Indigenous Voice to Parliament. As it turned out, all the Australians on the panel indicated that they supported The Voice. Also, Q+A presenter Stan Grant is an avowed backer of The Voice.
When discussion later turned to “political echo chambers”, the following exchange took place. Let’s go to the transcript:
Andrew Neil: …Where is the strong voice tonight in favour of voting against the Voice? I haven’t seen it.
Stan Grant: Hmm.
Andrew Neil: You know, whereas a good debate would have had at least one voice saying [the opposite]…There’s a lot of voices here in favour of the Voice, too. But let’s have a debate….
Andrew Neil went on to criticise what he said was the absence of genuine debate on the ABC – and compared this to the right-of-centre Fox News and the left-of-centre MSNBC in the United States where he said that panellists invariably agreed with each other. By the way, Mr Neil is a critic of Fox News’ proprietor Rupert Murdoch. Andrew Neil’s point was that no debate had been evident on Q+A that very evening – with four panel members plus the presenter supporting the “Yes” case for The Voice and no Australian advocating a “No” case.
With respect to the lack of debate within the media, Andrew Neil went on to say:
Andrew Neil: So, we [the media] are part of the problem. We are not the solution. We are part of the problem.
Stan Grant: Hmm. We’re going to hear now from Abrar Ahmad. [Who asked about the Christchurch terrorist attack on a mosque.]
How about that? Talk about the Elephant in the Room cliché. This was more like an example of the Whole Circus in the Room. Mr Grant simply did not want to talk about the program’s lack of diverse political views. All he had to offer were a couple of “Hmms”. To which MWD responds – Hmm.
Andrew Neil – Five Paws for drawing attention to the lack of a diversity of political ideas on the taxpayer funded public broadcaster.
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.
IN WHICH SPEERSY CONTINUALLY INTERRUPTS PETER DUTTON & NIKI SAVVA TAKES A ONE-SIDED VIEW TO PARLIAMENTARY BULLYING
Anyone who went to church – or slept in – on Easter Sunday would not have missed ABC TV’s Insiders or, indeed, Offsiders. Both programs took a Well Earned Break (or WEB) – journalist-speak for a holiday. On Sky News, however, its Sunday morning Agenda and Outsiders programs went to air. But, then, subscription television is not taxpayer funded public broadcasting.
As it turned out, the week leading up to Easter was a very busy one for news. In politics, there was the Liberal Party’s announcement on its position on The Voice, the fall-out from the Aston by-election, the new NSW Labor government’s ministry, the proposed banning of Tik Tok from Australian government devices and developments in the Australia-China relationship. It was also a busy time for sport – with respect to the Grand Prix, the women’s FIFA matches, golf, football and more besides. But, alas, Insiders and Offsiders slept through all this.
On Insiders the week before Easter (2 April), Peter Dutton was the studio guest. David (“Oh yes, I’m the great interrupter”) Speers, interrupted the Opposition leader 34 times in an 18 minute interview. On 19 March, Speersy had interrupted Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles on 18 occasions in a 17 minute interview. You do the maths. Your man Speers could learn how to interview politicians fairly and professionally from Kieran Gilbert, his one-time colleague at Sky News, who presents Sunday Agenda.
Soon after the Speers/Dutton exchange, the panellist Raf Epstein (who presents the Drive program on ABC Melbourne Radio 774) bagged the Liberal Party in general and its leader in particular. He maintained, for example, that the Liberal Party has “this bizarre obsession with bathrooms”. In fact, Peter Dutton did not mention bathrooms once in his 18 minute interview (when he got to speak in between Comrade Speers’ interruptions).
Then, in the “Final Observations” segment, the Liberal Party critic Niki Savva had this to say:
Niki Savva: Over the last few weeks, the Liberal Party has been trying to construct a narrative of bullying by Labor MPs against Liberal women. And often some of the claims that have been made have been misleading or exaggerated. In any case, all that came to a crashing halt during the week when a group of them – Liberal MPs, men and women – stormed out of the chamber against the order of the Speaker and injured a female attendant in the process.
David Speers: Not ideal.
Not ideal, to be sure. But neither Niki Savva nor David Speers provided details about the fact that a Labor Party minister had insinuated that Liberal Party Senator Sarah Henderson was a Nazi sympathiser. Nor did either member of this duo mention that a Labor Party MP had said to a Liberal Party female MP: “At least I have my own children.”
Not ideal, either. But not condemned by David Speers or Comrade Savva. Nor was any mention made of the fact that the Liberal MPs who accidentally injured the attendant apologised profusely after the event.
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Until next time
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