GERARD HENDERSON’S MEDIA WATCH DOG
ISSUE – NO. 636
26 May 2023
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JULIA HOLMAN’s NEWS CORP CONFUSION
Julia Holman is executive producer of the influential Radio National Breakfast program (presenter Patricia Karvelas – or PK as she likes to be known). Last evening, Comrade Holman appeared on “The Journos Forum” on the ABC Radio Sydney Drive program presented by Richard Glover.
When discussion turned on the abuse directed at ABC Indigenous journalist Stan Grant on social media, Comrade Holman had this to say:
Julia Holman: …A prominent person, you know, of any – of any colour can be abused. But particularly people of colour who dare to do their job, really. Um, I mean, just one point though. I really do think it gets amplified when the commercial media jumps on board. We had Stan Grant on Radio National Breakfast recently talking about his book The Queen Is Dead; really similar discussion to what he had on the Coronation coverage. And we didn’t get, you know – the – the backlash didn’t happen from that interview. And perhaps nobody from The Australian was listening to RN Breakfast that morning, um –
Richard Glover: [interjecting] Ok, in other words, the commercial media can be urgers in this….
What a load of absolute tosh. Comrade Holman appears to be ignorant of the fact that Stan Grant’s The Queen is Dead: The Time has come for Reckoning is published by HarperCollins – part of News Corp. She also seemed unaware that The Queen is Dead received substantial positive coverage in The Weekend Australian Magazine on 22 April 2023. An extract from the book was published in The Weekend Australian on the same day which included Nick Cubbin’s photographic portraits of Stan Grant.
An author could not hope for better coverage. Yet Julia Holman stated – without a shred of evidence – that the only reason why someone from News Corp’s The Australian didn’t attack the Karvelas-Grant interview on RN Breakfast turned on the (alleged) fact that no one from The Australian was listening.
As the transcript demonstrates, Richard Glover did not challenge Holman’s rant. Glover is the author of Flesh Wounds which is published by ABC Books. ABC Books is an imprint of HarperCollins which is owned by News Corp.
So there you have it. Two leading ABC journalists apparently totally unaware of the link between The Australian, HarperCollins (Grant’s publisher), Flesh Wounds (Glover’s publisher) and News Corp.
What Julia Holman told ABC Radio Sydney’s Drive was an unprofessional slur – for which the only excuse is blissful ignorance.
MICHAEL ROWLAND’S FAKE NEWS ABOUT HIS AU REVOIR FROM ABC TV’s NEWS BREAKFAST
Who is now entitled to the status of Australia’s “Comeback Kid”? Up until recent times, the Australian diva Nellie Melba (1861-1931) was the unchallenged title holder in this category – making so many final exits stage right (or was it left?). Only to return after what became a brief retirement to start the process all over again.
But what about this challenge from stage left? Media Watch Dog is referring to the news at the end of ABC TV’s News Breakfast on Wednesday 24 May that co-host and MWD fave Michael (“I’m top for puns”) Rowland might be taking a break. Here’s what your man Rowland said just before 9am on Wednesday 24 May:
I just want to use this semi-regular opportunity to thank all of you, our viewers, you have been fabulous for this show in the time that I’ve been on the show, it’s been great presenting to you. If it wasn’t for you, the viewers, none of us would be here doing what we do, so it’s been a real honour.
It seemed to News Breakfast viewers that Comrade Rowland was following Stan Grant out the taxpayer door at the ABC. Except that Michael’s exit was in inner-city Melbourne whereas Stan’s exit was in inner-city Sydney where he told Q+A viewers (if viewers there were) on Monday 22 May that he would be taking a break from presenting the program. This is discussed in Gerard Henderson’s column in tomorrow’s Weekend Australian.
It’s not clear when your man Grant will return to the ABC and in what capacity. But your man Rowland will be back next month. Yes – a June return is on the cards. Even Nellie Melba teased her audience for longer than this.
Just when it seemed that Michael Rowland had created a vacancy on the News Breakfast couch – out comes this tweet at 10.13 am that very morning:
Well, that escalated quickly…
Just taking some long-scheduled leave.
I will be back on News Breakfast in late June. Look forward to seeing you then! 😃 https://t.co/RJTlLVsg6w
— Michael Rowland (@mjrowland68) May 24, 2023
Talk about a tease. It turned out that Michael Rowland seems to be taking some taxpayer funded long service leave. Except that he calls it “long scheduled leave”. No doubt at the request of the ABC’s auditors – since these days auditors don’t like their clients to carry over too much of their employees’ leave and long service entitlements on the client’s books.
So, there you have it. Your man Rowland is only going on a Short Melba – not a Long Melba. His break is just one month – despite telling viewers that his time on News Breakfast has been a “real honour”. Well, at least viewers will get a well-earned-break from your man Rowland’s puns. Can You Bear It?
ABC NEWS & CURRENT AFFAIRS BOSS JUSTIN STEVENS ADVISES ABOUT Q+A’s FORTHCOMING WELL-EARNED BREAK
As avid MWD readers know – mere mortals enjoy what journalists call holidays. Whereas journalists take what they like to call a well-earned break.
While on the topic, Justin Stevens – the head of the ABC News and Current Affairs – told presenter Raf Epstein on ABC Melbourne Radio’s Drive program on 25 May that Q+A itself will shortly go on a – yes, you’ve guessed it – a Well Earned Break. He had this to say:
Justin Stevens: So Stan’s presenting Q+A tonight, which is great, he was really keen to do that. And I’m sure he’ll do a great job of it. He is keen for a break. He wants to rest, he wants to spend time with his family and have a breather from this – and [I] totally respect and understand that. And we want to give him time to do that. Q+A is due – I think it has a few more episodes after this week and then it’s got a mid-season break and then it will return.
Turn it up. Q+A commenced this year on 30 January. Yet, according to your man Stevens, Q+A will have a WEB in around four weeks’ time. The ABC presents Q&A as “the show that holds newsmakers and leaders to account”. Australia’s leaders and newsmakers will work right through the winter. But Q+A, which claims to hold them to account, will take a Well Earned Break during this period. Can You Bear It?
[No, not really, now that you ask. For starters, it’s not clear what Q+A will take a break from. Except, perhaps, hard work. I would have thought that due to its falling ratings and the fact that Q+A has become almost as boring as ABC TV’s The Drum and Insiders, the comrades at Q+A would work through the year. But this is not the case. What a pity for Hendo for whom Q+A invariably provides great copy. – MWD Editor.]
IT’S A FIVE TO ZIP MURDOCHPHOBIA PILE-ON AT CRIKEY’S MIDWINTER RANT-NIGHT
While on the topic of BORING, has anyone noticed that the leftist newsletter Crikey is holding what it calls an event on Tuesday 6 June at the ACE Hotel in Sydney? This is how it’s been promoted by what it calls The Crikey Team:
MWD received an invitation to the free function but will not be attending. There must be a more challenging way to spend three hours on Tuesday night in Sydney than listening to how Rupert Murdoch is the Devil Incarnate. As told by such Murdochphobia suffers as former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull, the Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young, Crikey’s very own political editor Bernard Keane, Lesley Power (Alliance for Journalist’s Freedom) and Crikey’s editor-in-chief Sophie Black.
The event will surely witness Malcolm agree with Sarah, as Sarah agrees with Bernard, as Bernard agrees with Lesley, as Lesley agrees with Sophie, as Sophie agrees with Malcolm and Malcolm agrees with himself. Or something like that.
Your man Turnbull believes that the United States-based Rupert Murdoch is somehow responsible for him losing the Liberal Party leadership and prime ministership in August 2018. Australia’s 29th prime minister overlooks the fact that he lost the support of a majority of his colleagues in the Liberal Party room. That’s all. Tony Abbott suffered a similar fate in September 2015 – without Mr Murdoch’s interference. MWD could not sit, or even sleep, through more of the self-pity involved – so will be a no-show at this event.
So, what would be more interesting than hearing this Crikey-endorsed quintet on a winter’s night in Sydney? Well, perhaps counting the rooms in the Turnbulls’ Point Piper pile on Sydney Harbour. Or watching paint wither on the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Or maybe staying home and reading – yes – The [Boring] Saturday Paper. Can You Bear It?
NINE COLUMNIST SEAN KELLY EXHIBITS MORE DOUBT ABOUT HIS AGE/SMH COLUMN
There was enormous interest in the Can You Bear It? segment on 12 May which referred to the fact that Sean Kelly – a columnist for Nine’s The Age and Sydney Morning Herald – had queried whether his column about the 2023 budget was “worth writing”. The point being that the one-time staffer for prime ministers Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard – surely an achievement in itself – admitted he had written a column before the budget was handed down which was published after the budget’s delivery. Comrade Kelly asked: “Is that really a column at all?”
Good question, don’t you think? However, it seems that your man Kelly kept his remuneration from Nine, despite his self-doubt. On 22 May, Comrade Kelly was at it again. He wrote a column titled “A brave voice we need to hear” about Stan Grant – re which see above.
Early on, Sean Kelly – who has written about his (political) dreams in his book The Game: A Portrait of Scott Morrison (Black Inc, 2021) – claimed that Australians are not “permitted to talk” about the monarchy except to say, “how wonderful it is”. Kelly did not say how it has come to pass that Nine allows him to write comments about the monarchy which suggests that it is not wonderful – in view of the claim that Australians are not permitted to talk about the topic. But there you go.
Comrade Kelly concluded his column by returning to the matter of Stan Grant. This time he ‘fessed up that “the truth is that this column, and all others like it, come too late” with respect to the Grant controversy. So, there you have it. Kelly has admitted that (i) his column is sometimes not a column at all and (ii) that it is sometimes published too late to make a difference. Which raises the question: Why does he bother? And more importantly, Can You Bear It?
[Your man Kelly’s confession reminds me of my Australian Rules football coach in Melbourne in decades past who was wont to declare: “Time’s your greatest enemy. You’re either too old or too young – too early or too late.” In this case, the Nine columnist admits to writing columns that are too late. Perhaps coach Jock Plunkett was a seer. – MWD Editor.]
ABC’S DAVID ANDERSON DOES NOT DENY THAT HE IGNORED THE LIBERAL PARTY’S PLEADING TO REMOVE VILE ABUSE FROM THE ABC’S SOCIAL MEDIA
As Media Watch Dog readers will be aware, ABC managing director and editor-in-chief David Anderson appeared before Senate Estimates on Wednesday 24 May. He expressed concern about the fact that there is vile abuse on social media with respect to ABC Indigenous journalist Stan Grant – and worried as to whether other Indigenous ABC journalists would become victims of such verbal attacks. Fair enough.
However, Mr Anderson went into the familiar ABC no-comment mode when Victorian Liberal Party front-bencher Senator Sarah Henderson asked about the ABC’s record with respect to vile social media attacks on Coalition politicians. Since the Hansard report for this particular Senate Estimates hearing will not appear for several days – let’s go to MWD’s EXCLUSIVE transcript:
Sarah Henderson: For a number of years, I have pleaded with the ABC to turn off comments on Twitter. I’ve raised specific complaints, Mr Anderson, that when you [i.e. the ABC] promote someone like me going on Q+A, we get hit with hundreds of the most disgusting, vile, defamatory comments. And I pleaded with you to turn your [i.e. ABC] comments off because of what we were being subjected to. And you refused to do so. So, could we perhaps get a commitment that you are now going to take this seriously?
David Anderson: Senator, yes, we take it seriously. And I should add that our concern is for the people, also, that come onto our programs, as well, the panels that come on –
Sarah Henderson: Well –
David Anderson: And I know. I hear you, Senator –
Sarah Henderson – Well, I’ve been pleading with you to do this for a couple of years, including that you’re liable in defamation when you are publishing the comments of others, under the current law…. But I find this testimony galling, when this has been such a big issue and it’s caused so much trauma, and you haven’t acted. And it goes to your mismanagement of your social media policy more broadly. Which I’ve been very, very vocal about….
Mr Anderson’s “I hear you” response to Senator Henderson is meaningless – since he did not answer the question as to why the ABC gets so upset when ABC journalists like Stan Grant are subjected to vile attacks on Twitter – but takes no action when vile attacks appear on the ABC twitter feed directed at Liberal Party parliamentarians who are scheduled to appear on the ABC.
MWD will keep avid readers posted if the ABC managing director ever responds to Senator Henderson’s question. All that is evident from the transcript is that David Anderson did not deny that he had ignored Sarah Henderson’s pleadings.
AN UPDATE TO MICHAEL ROWLAND’s CLAIM THE ABC IS WALKING THE WALK RE DIVERSITY
Avid readers will recall the 21 April 2023 edition of MWD which documented Michael Rowland’s claim, on Friday 14 April, that the ABC is “walking the walk, and not just talking the talk” when it comes to diversity. MWD has always maintained that the ABC line-up of presenters could fulfil the role of a white-sight-board behind the arm of a bowler at a red-ball cricket match. As evidence of this the 21 April edition of MWD ran the following depiction of the ABC’s prominent TV and radio presenters:
Hardly a great representation of ethnic and racial diversity. In recent days this situation has grown worse due to the much-publicised decision by Stan Grant (centre, bottom row) to step away from journalism and his gig host ABC TV’s Q+A.
For the moment he is being replaced on Q+A by Patricia Karvelas (second from the left, bottom row). PK, as she is often known, is of Greek descent, and so would appear to be the most racially diverse prominent ABC presenter remaining. Whether or not she would qualify as a “woman of colour” is a matter for the learned sandal-wearing race-scientists who populate university sociology departments.
ABC Managing Director David Anderson told Senate Estimates on 24 May that, of the 17 people in the ABC’s senior leadership team, only one was not white. And yet the ABC is always banging on about the need for racial diversity among other organisations.
Below is an up-to-date depiction of the ABC’s prominent TV and radio presenters, with Stan Grant’s permanent replacement on Q+A still unknown at this time.
(Left to Right)
Top Row: Sabra Lane (AM), Virginia Trioli (Melbourne Mornings), Raf Epstein (Melbourne Drive), Richard Glover (Sydney Drive), Charlie Pickering (Melbourne Friday Breakfast, The Weekly), Phillip Adams (Late Night Live)
Second Row: Lisa Millar (News Breakfast), Michael Rowland (News Breakfast), Sarah Ferguson (7.30), David Speers (Insiders), Sammy J (Melbourne Breakfast), Norman Swan (The Health Report, Coronacast)
Third Row: Sarah Macdonald (Sydney Mornings), Julian Morrow (Sunday Extra), Andy Park (RN Drive), James Valentine (Sydney Breakfast), David Lipson (PM)
Bottom Row: Laura Tingle (7.30), Patricia Karvelas (RN Breakfast), ??? (Q+A), Sally Sara (The World Today), Josh Szeps (Sydney Afternoons)
JONATHAN GREEN’S BLUEPRINT PROGRAM LEARNS OF THE IDEAL SCHOOL WHERE THE ONLY POTENTIAL PROBLEM IS PAINT ON A CARPET
There was enormous interest in the previous issue’s brand-new segment titled “Media Watch Dog Tackles First World Problems”. It dealt with Jonathan Green’s Radio National program titled Blueprint for Living. In that instance, it was very much a case of Blueprint for Lemon Tarts – as your man Green discussed with leftist chef Annie Smithers how to make the perfect lemon tart.
It is said that Bolsheviks such as Vladimir Lenin and Josef Stalin were wont to say “you can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs” in order to justify totalitarian rule in the Soviet Union as they murdered and incarcerated their political opponents. Who knows? But in Comrade Smithers’ case, the First World problem is that she can’t make a lemon tart without the curd leaking while baking. Check out her problem in the issue of 19 May 2023. In other words, Comrade Smithers’ ideological problem is that she can’t make a lemon tart with leaking curds. Or something like that.
But MWD digresses. An avid Whyalla reader has drawn attention to another memorable moment on the taxpayer funded Blueprint for Living which airs at Hangover Time (9am in fact) on Saturdays.
On the Saturday morning of 29 April, Comrade Green invited Mary Featherston (who was described as an “esteemed designer”) and Rory Hyde (who was described as a mere “architectural researcher”) to discuss the topic “What makes open spaces actually work?” on Blueprint.
Jonathan Green introduced the topic by saying that, in February 2023, the Melbourne-based taxpayer funded Grattan Institute had warned against open-plan spaces – arguing that there is little evidence to show that they help learning and can impede student focus. Fancy that. The Grattan Institute is now saying what others have said for eons. Worth every cent of taxpayers’ money – don’t you think?
In any event, Comrade Green reckoned that the matter was worth discussing – in spite of this ruling on high from the Grattan Institute. MWD was especially interested in what the esteemed Ms Featherston had to say.
Comrade Featherston expressed grave concern that any abandonment of open-plan classrooms would mean “Up with walls”. She decided to “walk” RN listeners through her “ideal living environment”. Here is how it commenced:
Mary Featherston: It’ll be a neighbourhood that is home to 75 children and their team of three teachers. So, the approach here to learning and teaching is not the lesson plan, but it is collaborative inquiry. In this approach, you’re actually bringing together the skills and the knowledge of the adults, the teachers, together with the capabilities, the interests of this particular group of children. So, the whole community, if you like, is coming together – around an inquiry, like a research question, and they pursue that together and that can go on over weeks or months and sometimes a year.
Go on. Alas she did.
Mary Featherston: So, the space that this happens in is in a large space big enough that it can be a community. But it’s a large space made up of smaller spaces. So, it’s not entirely open, it’s not entirely closed. It’s a sort of hybrid, we might walk in and we, we enter into a large, carpeted space. And I can see a teacher sitting with a couple of girls, and she’s helping them to write a letter. In the same space, I can see children working alone or together, there’s a child curled up in a comfy corner, reading a book. From this space, I can see but I can’t hear a large group of children who are singing and dancing there with their Italian teacher who is coming to teach them a traditional Italian children’s song.
At this stage, the (male) co-owner of the recently departed Jackie (Dip. Wellness, The Gunnedah Institute) began to wonder how long it might have been since the esteemed Ms Featherston put her esteemed feet inside a contemporary school and walked through it in real time. For there was no mention of unruly students disturbing lessons, or of teachers being verbally and/or physically abused by students. And not a mention of drugs in the playground or knives in pockets. None of this exists in the Featherston open-plan school.
And then there is this description of a “wet studio” [How wet can this lady get? – MWD editor.]:
Mary Featherston: So this is all in a room, which is a studio, it’s a wet studio. So there’s lovely north light pouring in. I can see the robust materials so it can easily be maintained. There are sinks. It’s space in which you can do a lot of things. But they’re all of a kind. It’s an enclosed space. But in this case, it might just have a low barrier between that studio and the carpeted space, which is good because it inhibits the movement of wet messy stuff into the carpeted space. You know, so that subtle, you know, it doesn’t have to be a brick wall. it’s just a, it’s a low barrier. I mean, this is what design can do….
Fancy that. In Mary Featherston’s ideal school, the essential problem to learning would be if “wet messy stuff”, that is paint, leaked from a wet studio onto a carpet. An education crisis that, apparently, is best resolved by the construction of a low barrier between the studio and the carpeted space. And certainly not by the building of a big wall. She did not say what should be done to eliminate the possibility of a student artist tripping over the low barrier. But there you go.
At this stage, MWD fell Zzzzzzz and dreamed of a school where the only real problem turned on whether paint got on the carpet. MWD awoke suddenly to hear the segment wind up with these words from the presenter:
Jonathan Green: I guess that that’s the broad lesson we’re sort of pulling out of both of those ideas of school and work is that the space is only half-formed without a philosophy that guides it. We need the two things hand in hand.
Yeah. Just what everyone needs to fill a school (or office) space. A philosophy – to implement Ms Featherston’s description of a classroom which never has and never will exist.
Your Taxes At Work.
“You Must Remember This” is based on the chorus line in the song As Time Goes By which was popularised by the film Casablanca. It is devoted to reminding the usual suspects of what they and/or those they supported once wrote or said or did.
REMEMBERING JOHN HEWSON’S ATTACK ON THE KEATING LABOR GOVERNMENT’S NATIVE TITLE LEGISLATION
It’s hard to pick who is the most boring weekly columnist in The [Boring] Saturday Paper – proprietor Morry Schwartz, editor-in-chief Erik Jensen. Without question, the front runners are Paul Bongiorno STB, STI (Pontifical Urban University) and John (“Please call me doctor”) Hewson B.Ec (Hons), MA, MA (another one), Ph.D.
In any event, Dr Hewson (for a doctor he is) was the outright winner on Saturday 13 May and Saturday 20 May. The columns were long on abuse, extra-long on hypocrisy and boring through and through.
On 13 May, your man Hewson attacked shadow treasurer Angus Taylor. According to The Saturday Paper’s columnist, Mr Taylor is a “hapless” and “childish” person who is into “babbling” and “rambling”. Then on 20 May, the learned doctor attacked his former employer John Howard whom he accused of having attempted to capitalise on the “race dimension of immigration” along with “race-based scaremongering”.
So there you have it. It would seem that the learned professor is a tolerant bloke who is certainly not into race-based scaremongering of any kind. Purer than the driven snow and more besides.
But hang on a minute. This is the very same John Hewson who had this to say on 22 December 1993, when he was Opposition leader, about Paul Keating’s Labor government’s Native Title Bill. This was introduced following the decision of the High Court of Australia in the Mabo Case. Let’s go to the Hansard record:
Dr HEWSON (Wentworth-Leader of the Opposition) (8.57 a.m.)…this is a day of shame for Australia that will haunt the Prime Minister (Mr Keating) and his government every hour of every day between now and the next election. The Prime Minister stood up here and put his hand over his heart, claiming to represent the interests of Australians in general and Aboriginal Australians in particular. He then set out to exploit the politics of this issue through the essence of his comments this morning. It was a classic piece of Keating hypocrisy.
The best way to encapsulate what has been done with this piece of legislation is to recognise that it is simply a deal and, as deals go – and this takes some doing – this is the new low watermark of deal making in this country…. In doing that deal, the Prime Minister sold out all Australians and the interests of all Australians….
In this speech to the House of Representatives on 22 December 1993, John Hewson also referred to the Native Title Bill as a “monstrous piece of legislation”.
Today, per courtesy of The Saturday Paper, John Hewson is accusing his Liberal Party predecessors of “attempting to capitalise on the race dimensions of immigration” (re John Howard) and “bigoted scare campaigns” (re Peter Dutton). But this is the very same John Hewson who ran a scare campaign against the Native Title Bill.
You Must Remember This.
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Until next time.
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