GERARD HENDERSON’S MEDIA WATCH DOG
ISSUE – NO. 635
19 May 2023
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Media Watch Dog is much saddened to report that Jackie died peacefully on Friday 12 May 2023 after a short illness. She was to turn seven years of age at the end of the financial year (or thereabouts).
The Queensland heeler Jackie was a rescue dog from around Gunnedah who was adopted by Anne and Gerard Henderson in mid-2017. She turned out to be a great mate and over-zealous watch dog. Equipped with a Dip. Wellness (The Gunnedah Institute), Jackie was blessed with a pomposity detector – which served in assisting her (male) co-owner in his media critique of leftist sandal-wearers.
Jackie’s final contribution appeared in Issue 634, 12 May. It is expected that – like her predecessor the much-loved Nancy (2004 – 2017) – Jackie will continue to assist MWD from the grave. Perhaps with a little help from the American psychic John Edward. [I just can’t wait. – MWD Editor.]
Jackie – Requiescat In Pace.
A LOQUACIOUS DAVID SPEERS TAKES SAMANTHA MAIDEN’S AIR-TIME ON RN BREAKFAST
ABC Radio National Breakfast hears from David Speers (presenter ABC TV Insiders) and Samantha Maiden (political editor for news.com.au) on Friday mornings shortly before 8 am. RN Breakfast’s Patricia Karvelas is in the presenter’s chair.
Well, that’s sort of true. Ever since he moved from Sky News to the taxpayer funded public broadcaster, David (“Please call me Speersy”) Speers has become, well, quite loquacious – full of words and sound but light on interesting content.
Take this morning’s segment, for example, where Patricia (“Please call me PK”) Karvelas raised such issues as The Voice, the G7 Summit, Peter Dutton’s recent speech on gas and Australia’s unemployment rate.
MWD can’t remember anything Speersy said as he went on and on. Indeed, your man Speers took up 47 per cent of a 9 minutes and 10 seconds segment. PK got to talk for 30 per cent of the available time – while Samantha (“Please don’t call me zany”) Maiden managed a mere 23 per cent.
This despite the fact that Ms Maiden is one of the few lively and interesting members of the Canberra Press Gallery – since it is very difficult to predict what her views will be on any particular topic. That’s why she is a Media Watch Dog fave.
As it turned out, only Mr Speers got to comment on what Indigenous leader Noel Pearson had said earlier in the program about The Voice. Ms Maiden was not asked her opinion. Eventually, it seems that PK realised that Ms Maiden was not getting much air time – and the following exchange took place:
Patricia Karvelas: Yesterday the unemployment rate rose slightly to 3.7 per cent. Is that going to be making some people nervous? And what sort of impact will it have on the budget? [pause] Sam, Sam – sorry, I want to bring you in.
Samantha Maiden: That’s alright, I’m happy to be brought in.
Yep, finally Samantha Maiden was invited to get a word in. MWD’s suggestion to this Breakfast problem? Get Speersy to interview Speersy next time. It cuts out the middle women.
THE NEW YORK TIMES PROVIDES BALANCE IN REPORT OF JERUSALEM DEMONSTRATIONS – UNLIKE ABC’S AM PROGRAM
This is how presenter Sabra Lane introduced a segment on the ABC Radio AM program (which goes out from Sandalista Central Hobart) this morning about the recent demonstrations in East Jerusalem:
Sabra Lane: Violent scenes have erupted in Jerusalem, as thousands of far-right Jews joined an annual march marking Israel’s capture of East Jerusalem. The Israeli celebration, though, is viewed as a provocation by Palestinians. Our Middle East correspondent, Allyson Horn, reports from Jerusalem.
Allyson Horn: Waving flags and dancing in circles. Thousands of Jewish Israelis march towards East Jerusalem’s Old City, gathering at Damascus Gate, the main entrance to the Muslim quarter. The right-wing Jews chant nationalistic slogans to celebrate Israel’s capture of East Jerusalem in 1967. 17-year-old Shuki Nidar has travelled from a West Bank settlement to celebrate the day.
Shuki Nidar: I feel very happy, excited that I’m here. Um, I love this, uh, I love this city. We’re all happy to be here.
Reporter: What do you think about your Arab neighbours? What do you think about how they might be feeling today?
Shuki Nidar: Uh, we think we need to be in charge here, and, uh, Arabs find their place here. We need to be in charge, they can listen to us.
And so it went on and on with Allyson Horn highlighting the views of Israelis chanting such comments as “Death to Arabs” and attacking Palestinian journalists – while airing the view of a Palestinian woman who says she is scared. Allyson Horn concluded her piece by stating that this demonstrates further strain on the fragile relationship between Israelis and Palestinians.
What was missing from the ABC AM report was – you’ve guessed it – balance. The New York Times is no supporter of Israel. However, writing in the NYT on 18 May, Patrick Kingsley and Hiba Yazbek made the following comments about the relatively small number of right-wing Israeli demonstrators:
Israeli officials say the parade is a largely peaceful and festive event marred by only a small minority of participants. But several groups of marchers were filmed making threats to Arabs, and some threw sticks and bottles for several minutes at Arab journalists in full view of the police, injuring at least four journalists, according to medics.
“May I be avenged on Palestine,” chanted a group of roughly 40 participants, shortly before the parade was formally scheduled to start. “May its name be erased.” “Death to Arabs,” chanted several other, similarly sized groups once the march was underway…
Some Jewish Israelis attempted to set a different tone. A group of leftists, including some foreigners, briefly blocked a road from the occupied West Bank to Jerusalem, unsuccessfully seeking to stop settler groups from attending the parade. Others distributed flowers to Palestinians in the Muslim quarter of the Old City.
In other words, The New York Times provided balance in its report. Not so the ABC, which presented contemporary Israeli news in a negative light.
IN WHICH THE SUN-HERALD’S RED BANDANNAED ONE DEMONSTRATES IGNORANCE ABOUT AUSTRALIA’S NUCLEAR REACTOR AT LUCAS HEIGHTS
Lotsa thanks to the avid reader from the Sydney suburb of Lucas Heights who drew Media Watch Dog’s attention to the put-down of a 16-year old boy by the Red Bandannaed One (aged 68).
But first some background. Young William Shackel, aged 16 and in Year 11, is campaigning for nuclear energy in Australia – which is currently banned by legislation. The Brisbane schoolboy took his campaign to the national capital this week and managed to get a hearing at the Senate Estimates Committee. He also scored an interview with Sky News.
MWD understands that there is a case for and against with respect to Australia acquiring nuclear energy of the kind which prevails in France and many other nations. However, this is an issue which warrants discussion.
As MWD readers will recall, Nine columnist Peter FitzSimons is forever banging on about how he had a punch-up with a French player while representing Australia in a Rugby Union test at the Sydney Cricket Ground some decades ago. Yawn. And that he once played the rugby game in France. More yawns. So it is fair to say that Fitz – who once wore a red rag on his head until, after a decade or so, he sent it to the dry cleaners where it was lost –would have showered in France per courtesy of water made hot by nuclear-powered electricity.
However, the oh-so-pompous FitzSimons felt the need to advise Twitter types that he was not impressed by Young Mr Shackel and his attempt to get 5000 signatures to back his Nuclear for Australia campaign. Here’s what the Red Bandannaed one had to say:
Onya for your passion, young man, as misplaced as it is.
I stand to be corrected, but is nuclear energy not most expensive to produce? Why do that, when renewables are blooming, and cheap?
Takes 10 years to build?
ANYONE out there, who would welcome big or mini-reactor nearby? https://t.co/daaw4ZHHtO
— Peter FitzSimons (@Peter_Fitz) May 15, 2023
So there you have it. The garrulous Fitz is in a Twitter war with a 16-year-old schoolboy and wants to know if there is anyone out there who would welcome a nuclear reactor nearby – apart from young Mr Shackel. Fitz seems unaware that there is a nuclear reactor in the Sydney suburb of Lucas Heights – not all that far as the crow flies – from the FitzSimons’ pile overlooking Sydney Harbour. How’s that for ignorance? More importantly – Can You Bear It?
2GB’s RAY HADLEY IN TOO-MUCH-INFORMATION MODE ABOUT WATERBEDS AND ALL THAT
While on the topic of garrulous Nine journalists/broadcasters and the like – did anyone hear Nine’s radio star Ray Hadley on 2GB on Thursday 11 May? In his warm up slot on Ben Fordham’s 2GB breakfast show, Hadley initially spoke about the subject he knows best – HIMSELF. Let’s go to the transcript, at the start of the interview, where the discussion turned on, yes, waterbeds:
Ben Fordham: The Ray Hadley Morning Show is coming up after nine o’clock and Ray – lovely to see you in the studio this morning. All well?
Ray Hadley: Lovely to be seen. It’s much better than the alternative.
Ben Fordham: Waterbeds….people have revealed, yeah, they’ve been around for about 35 years.
Ray Hadley: Probably half a century. It’s good that you’ve come up with a really innovative idea about heating up the waterbed. I actually have slept in one, probably in 1982 or ’83. I don’t want to disclose the circumstances, but the person I was in bed with had a heated waterbed….
Ben Fordham: What’s it like to sleep on? I don’t think I’ve ever –
Ray Hadley: Mate, I’m talking about 45 years ago, how would I remember that, I can’t remember what happened four and a half minutes ago. You know what, I think I got seasick – because, because if you lie on a waterbed in one section, the other section goes up. And your section goes down. Don’t rock the boat baby.
Ben Fordham: Yeah I can only imagine.
For its part, MWD can imagine this – sort of – but would prefer not to. Really – does anyone in their sound mind want to turn on 2GB at Hangover Time on a Thursday morning and hear a 68-year-old bloke carrying on about how he got seasick doing a, er, horizontal dance with someone or other circa four decades ago? Can You Bear It?
NINE’S PETER HARTCHER PREACHES IN SMH ABOUT PM ALBANESE AND SAINT PAUL (OF ON THE ROAD TO DAMASCUS FAME)
While still on the topic of Nine journalists, MWD is yet to recover from reading Peter Hartcher’s comment piece in The Age and Sydney Morning Herald on 10 May – the morning after the budget night before. The somewhat pompous Mr Hartcher commenced his article as follows:
With this budget, Labor is making a grab to take the Holy Grail of Australian politics away from the Liberal Party. The Liberals’ most sacred treasure is its brand advantage as the party that better manages the nation’s finances. But today it is the Labor government of Anthony Albanese that is about to deliver a budget surplus. The Liberals had nine years in office and didn’t do it once. Labor will be able to claim a surplus in its second budget, achieved in a little over a year. It’s projected to be a surplus of $4.2 billion for the year ending on June 30.
In fact, the Albanese government delivered a budget surplus on 9 May – not 10 May. Moreover, as your man Hartcher’s Nine colleague Phil Coorey pointed out in the Australian Financial Review on 11 May, if the 2018 budget had been determined according to the same methodology as applied in 2023, the Coalition government in 2018-19 “would have delivered a $7.2 billion surplus rather than a deficit”.
But there you go. Could it be that the Holy Grail of Australian politics is a contested space? It would appear so – unbeknown to the political editor of Nine newspapers. But there was more. Your man Hartcher had this to say, after commenting about Labor’s “holy relics”.
…Albanese’s attitude to change is to pursue renovation, not revolution. He is setting out methodically to cement Labor as the dominant force at the centre of the political system, incrementally building credibility on the left and right simultaneously. St Paul’s letter to the Corinthians comes to mind: “I am made all things to all men that I might by all means save some.” The Albanese update would be to add all women.
Turn it up. Now Peter Hartcher is flashing his New Testament knowledge and linking the Prime Minister’s economic message to all Australians in 2023 – with Christ’s message to all living souls as reported in St Paul’s letter to the Corinthians circa AD 53. Which raises the question: Can You Bear It?
[No. Not really, now that you ask. By the way, doesn’t your man Hartcher realise that St Paul’s epistles were written in some ancient language which may not have distinguished believers as “all men” and “all women”. After all, that was around 2000 years ago. – MWD Editor.]
LENORE TAYLOR CELEBRATES THE GUARDIAN AUSTRALIA’S 10th BIRTHDAY – BUT OMITS ANY REFERENCE TO MALCOLM TURNBULL’S ROLE IN ITS CONCEPTION
So it’s Happy 10th Birthday to The Guardian Australia – Editor Lenore Taylor.
Media Watch Dog readers will be delighted to know that The Guardian Australia is currently running an article by Comrade Taylor titled “Guardian Australia launched in a spirit of hope and determination: Ten Years later we’re going from strength to strength”.
Comrade Taylor commenced her piece as follows: “I don’t need archives to remember how it felt in May 2013 as we prepared to launch Guardian Australia; the excitement and exhaustion, and also the underlying fluttering of fear.” However, the fact is that The Guardian Australia’s editor did need access to archives – since her article fudged the story of the online newspaper’s birth.
The (real thing) Guardian was established in Manchester in the early 19th Century. It was, and remains, an avowedly left-wing newspaper. The Guardian relocated to London in 1964 and The Guardian Australia commenced in Australia in 2013.
This is how Comrade Taylor remembers the birth of The Guardian’s Australian offspring:
We were backed by the global heft of the Guardian’s news platforms and cushioned by a generous five-year loan from the philanthropist Graeme Wood, but we were launching into a market that had long centred on just two commercial news brands, Fairfax Media and News Corp. And we were starting small.
That is not the full story – not by any means. In fact, the truth behind the newspaper’s creation was not revealed until the publication of former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull’s memoir A Bigger Picture (Hardie Grant) in 2020.
In June 2012, Malcolm Turnbull was the shadow minister for communications in the Coalition opposition led by Tony Abbott. In A Bigger Picture, Turnbull revealed that he “suggested to Alan Rusbridger, editor of the UK’s Guardian, that he should establish an Australian edition”. Turnbull approached Graeme Wood, who had made hundreds of millions of dollars from the online travel booking business Wotif. He wrote that Wood “was on the political left and had been generous in the past to the Greens” and suggested that Wood “use his fortune to bankroll an Australian edition of The Guardian”. There was no claim that Wood’s initial seeding finance was a loan (as Taylor now claims). It appears that Wood’s money was only to be refunded if the project succeeded (as it did). This is how the situation was described by Mr Turnbull in his memoirs:
Once Graeme Wood was on board, I introduced Rusbridger to two seasoned Canberra political writers, Lenore Taylor and Katharine Murphy (aka Murpharoo). He sent his deputy, Kath Viner, to Australia to be the first editor. The (digital) paper exceeded expectations, broke even after a few years and Wood got all his money back. Clearly, my deal-making skills remain intact.
In time, Comrades Taylor and Murphy became editor and political editor respectively of The Guardian Australia. As far as Media Watch Dog is aware, The Guardian Australia has never reported Malcolm Turnbull’s role in the paper’s birth. And Lenore Taylor made no reference to it in her current (birthday) article.
As with most left-of-centre journalists, it was not surprising that Comrades Taylor and Murphy were sympathetic to Malcolm Turnbull when he successfully challenged Tony Abbott in September 2015 and became prime minister and, later, when Mr Turnbull was replaced by Scott Morrison as prime minister.
But, since The Guardian is always banging on about full disclosure and all that, it’s surprising that Malcolm Turnbull’s role in the creation of The Guardian Australia was not declared at the time by Taylor and Murphy and was only revealed by Turnbull himself in his memoirs.
Also, the ABC TV’s Insiders program (executive director Samuel Clark) did not declare the role of Malcolm Turnbull with respect to Insiders’ panellists Lenore Taylor and Katharine (“Malcolm calls me Murpharoo”) Murphy who discussed Turnbull on the program on numerous occasions. Insiders is into the full disclosure ethos – except, it appears, with respect to The Guardian Australia and the likes of Lenore Taylor and Murpharoo. Can You Bear It?
[No. Not really – now that you ask. I note that Comrade Taylor’s “Happy Birthday” to The Guardian Australia’s message made no mention of the recent revelation that The Guardian’s birth in Manchester some two centuries ago was made possible due to profits made by its inaugural owners from the slave trade – and that, without the slaves of the 19th Century The Guardian Australia would not be celebrating its 10th Birthday. – MWD Editor.]
LA TINGLE IN YET ANOTHER RANT AGAINST THE COALITION
Lotsa thanks to the avid reader who drew Media Watch Dog’s attention to the recently released edited collection titled The Indi Way (Scribe, 2023). The book, apparently, has no editor – along with no index. It contains, believe it or not, some 16 chapters on the victory of Independents Cathy McGowan (2013, 2016) and Helen Haines (2019, 2022) in the Victorian rural seat of Indi. Two or three chapters should have done the trick. But Scribe went for the Full-Indi, so to speak. Who knows? Could there be a literary award for the Most Boring Political Book of the Year?
But MWD digresses. ABC 7.30 political correspondent and Australian Financial Review columnist Laura Tingle has written a Foreword to this tome and former ABC Insiders presenter Barrie Cassidy has written something called “Observations”.
Laura (“I was counselled by ABC management for referring to the ‘ideological bastardry’ of the Morrison government”) Tingle commences her Foreword as follows:
The 2013 federal election campaign marked a high-water mark in cynicism toward the major political parties that have dominated Australian politics for the past 75 years.
What a load of absolute tosh. Tony Abbott led the Coalition to victory in September 2013 over the incumbent Labor government led by Kevin Rudd. Abbott’s victory was one of the biggest in Australian political history – which was hardly a sign of cynicism toward the Coalition at the time. The Indi Way clearly needed an editor in addition to an index.
La Tingle then proceeds to run her familiar anti-right-of-centre politics line. She refers to Australia’s “political leaders” in 2013 as being “so clever” – the term is used in a mocking way. She then accuses the Coalition and Labor of attempting to “frighten” the electorate on such matters as terrorism.
Looking back, however, Tingle sees the Rudd government as seeking “a new political conversation about education, being connected and actually doing stuff about climate change”. But alas, according to Tingle, the Rudd government “quickly fell to pieces under the weight of the global financial crisis and a lack of political skill to manage complex political debates”. She does not mention that one of the reasons Labor lost in 2013 turned on the unpopularity of its climate change policy (a policy which Tingle supported).
Comrade Tingle goes on to criticise former Coalition prime ministers John Howard and Tony Abbott (Quelle Surprise!). But there is no specific criticism of such Labor prime ministers as Paul Keating, Kevin Rudd or Julia Gillard. With respect to the Coalition, Comrade Tingle has this to say – unsupported by evidence:
For the Coalition in government, the tight numbers meant that just a few Nationals and rebels held massive sway over their prime ministers, and cramped not just their room for manoeuvre, but the scope of our national debate.
This overlooks the fact that there has been a coalition of some kind between what are now called the Liberals and the Nationals for around a century. Moreover, La Tingle does not explain how this coalition contributes to cramping the national debate. Certainly La Tingle’s contribution to the national debate has not been subject to any “cramp”.
7.30’s political correspondent then identifies with such left-of-centre Independents as Cathy McGowan and Helen Haines – implying her support for minority governments:
Times have changed dramatically since then, with Voices for Indi the first grassroots community group to nominate representatives who could be independent of major parties, with many others following their lead later. The election of Cathy McGowan and then Helen Haines in the House of Representatives meant we got to see on our television a new style of community-grown independent advocating calmly and rationally for specific policy outcomes.
Ms McGowan was first elected to the House of Representatives in 2013. However, the elections of 2013, 2016, 2019 and 2022 did not lead to the creation of minority governments. Clearly Tingle supports Independents like “Cathy and Helen” as she calls them – but she does not demonstrate that either has achieved anything of substance from the crossbenches in the House of Representatives. The fact is that neither Independent MP for Indi has ever enjoyed a balance-of-power situation in the aftermath of an election. Either alone or with cooperation with others.
The message from Laura Tingle is clear – political conservatives are invariably mean-spirited whereas left-of-centre types are invariably decent. It’s not clear whether Comrade Tingle has attended one of the ABC’s brand-new Impartiality Classes. Can You Bear It?
[I note that La Tingle appears to forget that there were some Independents in the Commonwealth Parliament before the Voices for Indi raised their voice. Indeed, two Independents brought down the government in 1941. Also, there were minor parties in the modern era – including the Democratic Labor Party and the Democrats. – MWD Editor.]
THE GUARDIAN’S AMY REMEIKIS RUNS A GUARDIANISTA LINE IN HER VARIOUS ABC GIGS
Wasn’t it great to hear The Guardian Australia’s political reporter Amy Remeikis on Phillip Adams’ ABC Radio National Late Night Live program on 15 May?
The Media Watch Dog fave was standing in for ABC TV’s political correspondent Laura Tingle in her regular Monday evening political commentary spot. And Sarah Dingle was standing in for Comrade Adams.
The Remeikis/Dingle discussion was yet another example of The Guardian/ABC Axis in operation. Something that MWD welcomes – since, presumably, Ms Remeikis received an appearance fee for being a panellist on LNL. She certainly receives $600 a performance on Insiders and is probably remunerated for her weekly comments on ABC Radio National Breakfast.
It is no secret that many journalists working for The Guardian Australia are poorly paid – wage slaves, to use the Marxist terminology. Remember Comrade Remeikis’ comment on Insiders on 26 June 2022 that it was an “absolute fantasy” to suggest she would receive a 5 per cent wage increase? To emphasise the point Remeikis added: “The Guardian is not giving me a 5 per cent wage increase; it’s not going to happen; it would never happen.”
And what has Amy Remeikis been saying in her various ABC gigs of recent memory at LNL, Radio National Breakfast and Insiders – as part of the Guardian/ABC Axis? – MWD hears readers cry.
Well, on LNL on 15 May, Comrade Remeikis heaped lotsa praise on the Greens in general and Brisbane-based Greens MP Max Chandler-Mather in particular. Comrade Remeikis supported Brisbane-based Greens MP Max Chandler-Mather’s rant calling for Labor to increase the tax paid by corporations and declaring the reason why Labor would not do so turned on the (alleged) fact that “they’re on the side of the banks and property developers”. A critique of Labor from the left – so naturally it was endorsed by the Guardian/ABC Axis. Then, with the support of Comrade Dingle, Remeikis ended up bagging the proposed Stage 3 tax cuts. Yawn.
Meanwhile, on Insiders on 30 April, Comrade Remeikis did a full-on leftist rant about Australia’s (alleged) “bottomless pit” of spending on defence while railing against – you’ve guessed it – the “military-industrial complex”. How very mid-1960s leftist.
And on RN Breakfast on 6 April, The Guardian Australia’s political editor supported Noel Pearson’s attack on Opposition leader Peter Dutton for (allegedly) engaging in a “Judas betrayal”.
Needless to say, none of the ABC presenters challenged any of Comrade Remeikis’ comments. By the way, MWD appreciates The Guardian/ABC Axis – since it provides great copy. Moreover, it provides additional evidence that the ABC is a Conservative Free Zone.
Long May The Guardian/ABC Axis Live.
JONATHAN GREEN’S “BLUEPRINT FOR LIVING” SPEAKS TO THE GREAT PROBLEMS OF OUR TIME
In this new segment MWD looks at First World Problems in a land populated by well-heeled, non-dog dogs and well-off and highly educated members of the inner-city Sandalista set with their fake concern along with their fake canines.
Media Watch Dog has been a fan of Jonathan Green’s Blueprint for Living program which runs on Radio National at around Hangover Time on Saturday mornings (9 am to 10 am in fact) for eons. After all, it tells us much about contemporary Western Society, viewed from a leftist inner-city perspective.
MWD is wont to call Mr Green’s little wireless program “Blueprint for Lamingtons” – but perhaps it should be called “Blueprint for Lemon Tarts”. You be the judge.
Here’s how MWD’s fave segment of Blueprint for Living was promoted on Saturday 13 May:
Annie Smithers Conquers the Lemon Tart
For Chef Annie Smithers there’s one dessert that has consistently evaded her – the pesky lemon custard tart. That is, until now, when she joined the other lemon tart camp, the lemon curd tart camp. Annie shares her new found success, so you too can create this delectable treat.
A First World problem – if ever there was one – don’t you think? Here’s how the leftist presenter Comrade Green and the leftist chef Comrade Smithers tackled one of the great problems of our time in “Blueprint for Lemon Tarts” on 13 May:
Jonathan Green asks Annie Smithers what constitutes a kitchen failure. She replies that when you cook your custard too long and it curdles – that’s a flop that can’t be saved. Along with failing to pay attention when reducing stock and failing to constantly stir bechamel sauce. Comrade Smithers then confesses that she cannot make a really good lemon tart.
Your man Green then asks – what is wrong with her lemon tarts? The chef says they leak all over – and adds:
And you have that hope, you pop them in the oven. I’ve got these perfectly blind baked cases. And I open the oven door and I’ve got my jug and I pour it in and make sure it’s all even and I’ve done all the right things. I close the door gently so it doesn’t spill over the side. And then I watch with horror as it starts to come out, sometimes it comes out very slowly. Sometimes it comes out quickly. And other times it’s perfect. It works. And I think: “Oh I’ve, I’ve, I’ve succeeded. I know how to do this now”. And then next time I make it there’s usually some sort of leakage.
And so it goes on – in tragic mode. The pair move on to discussing Comrade Smithers’ preference for a flaky flan Parisian crust over a sweet shortcrust. Which reminds us that this duo is prepared to tackle the big issues of our time – per courtesy of the Australian taxpayer.
Comrade Smithers then tells listeners, if listeners there are, about her latest lemon tart failure – where custard didn’t work very well with the pastry as it didn’t have the required crispness. But listeners need not panic – Blueprint for Living’s chef successfully made some shortcrust, although it wasn’t the pastry she was looking for.
The conversation continued about the relative merits of lemon curd as opposed to lemon custard. Apparently, lemon curd is too lemony and needs to be accompanied by a good cream and berries, as it “speaks so much of lemon”. So, there you have it – a lemon curd that “speaks to” the great issues of our time.
Comrade Smithers then says: “The moral of the story is that sometimes some people just can’t cook something. But if you look hard enough, there’s often alternatives that can [work]. I suppose it just comes down to making yourself feel a little bit better about yourself.”
Quite so. The world’s teeming masses eat to survive. But, in the First World Comrade Smithers is prepared to junk the lemon curd for the lemon tart – because that makes her feel better about herself.
Verily, a First World solution to a First World problem.
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 MR SPEERS GOES (BACK) TO CANBERRA
Alas, it would appear that Bill Thompson, who commenced his “Outside Insiders” video blog by attempting – and sometimes succeeding – in interviewing guests and panellists outside the Southbank studio in Melbourne appearing on Insiders – will soon be out of a (Sunday) job. Unless he moves to Canberra.
It is some two decades since the ABC proudly announced that it was establishing a Sunday morning politics show in Melbourne – with former Bob Hawke press secretary Barrie Cassidy in the presenter’s chair. After some indecision the term Insiders was decided on – even though the journalists who appear on the program have never worked inside a parliamentary or public service office.
The idea was to get political discussion in Australia on the taxpayer funded public broadcaster in Melbourne – and out of what is now called the “Canberra Bubble”. Hence the choice of Melbourne – which happens to be Australia’s most left-wing city along with Hobart.
This worked for a while. Comrade Cassidy lived in (inner city) Melbourne and Insiders’ initial Melbourne-based executive producers Kate Torney and Kellie Mayo managed to attract a number of panellists onto the program in Melbourne who neither lived in or were obsessed by Australian national politics as it presented itself in Canberra. In recent years, your man Cassidy has become something of a left-wing ranter on Twitter.
In 2020, the then Canberra-based David Speers took over from Barrie Cassidy – who, in semi-retirement, soon became an adjunct professor in Melbourne’s RMIT University. [Sorry to interrupt – but do you mean “a junk professor”? MWD Editor.]
At the time, much was made of the fact that Speersy – as he likes to be called – had moved from Canberra to take up residence in Melbourne. But now Insiders viewers have been told that your man Speers has already relocated to Canberra and the program will now be presented from the national capital – commencing on Sunday 9 July.
On 5 May, the Australian Financial Review’s Rear Window column reported an anonymous ABC spokeswoman as saying that once Insiders moves to Canberra it will be “much closer to the action of Parliament House as well as the parliamentary press gallery, the public service, the diplomatic corps and Defence”.
How about that? According to the ABC, the Canberra-based journalists who appear on Insiders will be all the more informed for appearing on a Canberra-based Insiders where they will be close to – yes – Parliament House and the Canberra Press Gallery where they already work. Who would have ever thought this?
Insiders has become increasingly boring in recent years with Speersy in the presenter’s chair and Samuel Clark as executive producer. In the main, it consists of Canberra-based members of the Canberra Press Gallery flying into Melbourne for a time to talk about Canberra politics before departing for Canberra. Or something like that.
Now it would seem that primarily Canberra-based members of the Canberra Press Gallery will talk on a Sunday morning program in Canberra about Canberra politics – just up the road from the National Press Club. Sounds like compelling viewing, eh?
It would seem that Insiders runs the risk of becoming as boring as The Drum and Q+A. MWD will keep watching – preferably in a non-sleep mode.
[Could it be that Insiders has moved from Melbourne to Canberra to stop Bill Thompson trying to interview Insiders’ guests and panellists on a Sunday morning? Just a thought. – MWD Editor.]
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Until next time.
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