ISSUE – NO. 647

11 August 2023

* * * *

* * * *



As avid readers are aware, this blog is put together by a very small team. So much so that it’s quite an achievement to get it out at Gin & Tonic Time on Fridays.

Since MWD commenced in 2009, Gerard Henderson has had special help from volunteers of the canine kind.  Initially from Blue Heeler Nancy (2004-2017) and Blue Heeler Jackie (2016-2023). Usually with a little help from the American psychic John Edward of Crossing Over fame.  Your man Edward has a great relationship with the dead – but not so much with the living – and he keeps Hendo in touch with canines who have crossed the river Jordan (so to speak).

The late and deeply lamented Nancy graduated from the Canine School of Hard Knocks but went on to give Courtesy Classes from beyond the grave.  The recently departed and deeply lamented Jackie is preparing to help out (from the Other Side) with monitoring posts (nee tweets).

And now it’s time to introduce another Queensland Heeler to assist with MWD.  Step forward Ellie – who, like her predecessor Nancy, is deaf.  Nothing much is known about your canine Ellie (nee Jynx). Except that, according to rumour, her mother walked the streets of Canberra’s affluent Red Hill – while her father pissed off after the canine version of a one-night stand.

During her long incarceration at the Australian Capital Territory Domestic Animal Service at Symonston, Ellie undertook adult education. From which she emerged with a BCS – Bachelor of Catastrophe Studies – which is a handy qualification in Canberra.  And also obtained the status of A Junk Professor at The Canberra Bubble Institute. MWD looks forward to Ellie lending a paw (or four).

Here is Ellie.

Ellie Hendo BCS (Bachelor of Catastrophe Studies) A Junk Professor – The Canberra Bubble Institute



Gerard Henderson’s Weekend Australian column on 5 August was titled “On Wuhan and Covid, Paul Barry fails fairness standards”. It dealt with the failure of the ABC to acknowledge errors and exaggerations and to correct them.  The column focused on Paul Barry’s ABC TV Media Watch and the documentary The Dark Emu Story which was produced for the ABC by Blackfella Films.

No mention was made of atheists or Bolsheviks or communists. Except for the fact that your man Barry was quoted in the column as having claimed – without a shred of evidence – that two News Corp journalists had accused him “wildly of being a closet communist”. The ABC Media Watch presenter just made this up.

How strange, then, that Phillip Adams (aka The ABC’s Man in Black) put out this post at 10.28 am, shortly after The Weekend Australian came out. Here it is:

By the way, who would have thought that Phillip Adams – AO, AM, Hon DUniv (Griffith), Hon DLitt (ECU), Hon DUniv (SA), DLitt [sic] (Syd), Hon. DUniv (Macquarie), FRSA, Hon FAHA – is a communist in the line of the original Bolsheviks of 1917 Russian Revolution fame?  Sounds impossible, doesn’t it? Except for the fact that Comrade Adams has self-reported on this matter. How else to explain this tweet which he put out on 5 June 2023?

It’s a “joke” of the Adams genre – with a photo of the ABC’s Man-in-Black waving a communist flag proudly standing in front of an image of the Vietnamese communist leader dictator Ho Chi Minh (1890-1969). The pic was taken in 2015; Prime Minister Anthony Albanese visited Vietnam in June 2023.

Ho was a communist totalitarian dictator who presided over the deaths of thousands of his countrymen and countrywomen by means of land collectivism (read forced famine) in the 1950s.  He killed and incarcerated his political opponents and anyone else – including religious leaders – who showed any sign of disagreeing with the Vietnamese Communist Party.

The Vietnamese government of today is a marked improvement on Ho Chi Minh’s time.  But it imprisons political opponents and clamps down on citizens.  The current issue of Human Rights Watch’s entry on Vietnam reads as follows:

Vietnam’s human rights record remains dire in virtually all areas. The ruling Communist Party maintains a monopoly on political power and allows no challenge to its leadership. Basic rights are severely restricted, including freedoms of speech and the media, public assembly, association, and conscience and religion. Rights activists and bloggers face police intimidation, harassment, restricted movement, arbitrary arrest, and incommunicado detention….

If Comrade Adams has any doubts about Ho and his successors, perhaps he might consult some of the many, many thousands of Vietnamese who fled communist rule after the fall of non-communist South Vietnam and settled in Australia – along with their descendants.

Look at it this way. On 5 August, Comrade Adams sneered at the idea that there were communists (or Bolsheviks) in the ABC.  But on 5 June he put out a post standing in front of a portrait of the communist dictator Ho Chi Minh waving the flag of communist Vietnam.  Which raises the question:  Can You Bear It?


At least the ABC TV Media Watch program (presenter Paul Barry, executive producer Timothy Latham) had the courage to go up against the Matildas v Denmark football (aka soccer) match on Monday 7 August.  The game was shown on Channel 7 and rated highly.  Anticipating this, ABC TV Four Corners held off its scheduled program for the week.  Not so the brave Barry/Latham duo – realising, no doubt, that their stories would not hold over for a week.

Media Watch Dog  was interested in how the taxpayer funded public broadcaster media program, which has only had a leftist or left-of-centre presenter since its inception in 1989, handled Four Corners’  filming of a demonstration outside the suburban home of Woodside chief executive officer Meg O’Neill in Perth on 1 August.

It so happened that the Four Corners crew rocked up outside Ms O’Neill’s abode just as Disrupt Burrup Hub climate activists were in action – intent, apparently, on getting inside the O’Neill house. What a coincidence, as the saying goes. Let’s go to the transcript at the end of Comrade Barry’s most recent sermon on Australia’s taxpayer funded media mount:

We’re not condoning the actions and tactics of the Perth protest but it’s surely something the media must be allowed to report on. Four Corners is trying to make a program about direct-action climate protesters and tough new laws that target them.   And if Four Corners did get too close to the activists — and we’re not saying they did — can we get a sense of proportion here?

Woodside’s Burrup Hub will produce billions of tonnes of carbon emissions in its lifetime, if you include the gas burnt by its customers…. [UN Secretary General]  Antonio Guterres has urged the world to stop oil and gas expansion or face climate disaster.

Meanwhile, The West Australian, The Australian, Sky News and the News Corp tabloids are more interested in raising hell about the ABC filming a protest that didn’t even happen. We believe the ABC was doing its job, reporting on matters of public interest. We don’t think it should apologise. And any attempt to cow the ABC or shut down its reporting would be an attack on media freedom.

So, there you have it. Paul Barry has lined up with the eco-catastrophist Antonio Guterres (the former socialist prime minister of Portugal) and his “global boiling” rhetoric.  Overlooking that it will be impossible for the world to move to zero emissions by 2050 without the use of gas as at least a temporary replacement for coal.

Moreover, your man Barry believes that the ABC should not apologise for a Four Corners camera crew appearing on the driveway of a person’s home early in the morning.

This is the very same Paul Barry who records his 12 minutes Media Watch program each week (with the support of some ten staff) at the ABC studio in Sydney’s inner-city Ultimo.  The ABC Ultimo headquarters is replete with security – so much so that no sane protestor would bother to attempt to break in and disturb, say, ABC managing director David Anderson at an early office breakfast around 6.30 am.

The Australian  has reported that Mr Anderson sent a letter of regret to Ms O’Neill concerning the behaviour of the Four Corners  crew, but will not apologise for it. How does that work?  And how come Media Watch spent so much time defending the right of Four Corners to report on a protest that it maintains “didn’t even happen”?  More importantly: Can You Bear It? [By the way, I note that the ABC is now undergoing “a detailed examination” of the matter.  I can barely wait for the outcome. – MWD Editor.]


Did anyone read the Sydney Morning Herald’s beat-up “exclusive” on 10 August titled “Bragg’s Voice could be silenced as Dutton eyes tricky reshuffle”?  Written by Paul Sakkal and James Massola, here’s how it commenced:

One of the key Liberal voices in the upcoming referendum would be silenced from advocating for the Indigenous Voice if Peter Dutton promotes him to the frontbench in a looming reshuffle. NSW senator Andrew Bragg is among a handful of Liberals who have put their hand up to replace shadow assistant treasurer Stuart Robert, who resigned in May, though the opposition leader is under internal pressure to appoint a Queenslander….

Bragg’s promotion would mean he would need to stop campaigning for the Voice as the shadow ministry is obliged to oppose the initiative. The NSW senator wrote a book about the Voice and is a strong supporter of the idea, but has lately criticised the way the referendum has been handled and called for it to be delayed.

What a load of tosh.  No one is silencing Senator Bragg. For starters, it’s not clear whether he wants a promotion to the front bench before the referendum, which will probably be held in October.  Moreover, as the SMH scribblers conceded, it’s not at all clear that the shadow minister position vacated by a Queensland Liberal Party member of the House of Representatives would go to a senator from NSW.  Time will tell.  In the meantime, it would seem that there was little real political news out of Canberra this week.  Hence the non-story story.  Can You Bear It?


While on the topic of the Sydney Morning Herald, Media Watch Dog was interested to read an article on the SMH Opinion Page on 9 August.  Written by Tone Wheeler, it was titled “Housing may be third rail for Labor’s second term pitch”.  A clever heading to be sure. Even if it is not clear what constitutes the first or second rail or where the rails go to.

Your man Wheeler was presented as president of the Australian Architecture Association (AAA).  It’s not evident how such a designation equips him to have expertise on Australian politics or the rental market.  But the SMH must know something that MWD does not know.

Early on, Wheeler described the Coalition as having “zombie policies” on housing.  Abuse posing as analysis, don’t you think?  Then he accused Labor of supporting “a property owing gerontocracy” – whatever that might mean.  Then Comrade Wheeler went on to praise the Greens and its housing spokesperson Max Chandler-Mather (one of the many Greens who belong to what Paul Keating once called the Hyphenated-Name-Set).

Then the AAA president waded through the article to political prophecy:

Labor should be terrified that the next election will see more Greens’ candidates winning inner-urban, rental-based electorates. In a double dissolution, the Greens could hold the balance of power in both houses.

This could be deeply ironic in the seat of Sydney, held by Tanya Plibersek….

Plibersek must know her seat is now vulnerable to the Greens, particularly since Albanese sidelined her as minister for the environment, a faeces focaccia forcing her to approve more coal mines. In addition to that, poor housing policies could see a progressive electorate turn against her.

The crystal ball gazing did not impress the Tasmanian-based psephologist Kevin Bonham who put up this post:

Then there is the fact that the SMH scribbler reckons that a double dissolution election would assist the Greens to win the balance of power in the House of Representatives. Why?

As to Comrade Wheeler’s reference to “faeces focaccia” – well that’s just bad taste and not the slightest bit funny.  And yet the Sydney Morning Herald published this sludge.  Can You Bear It?


Wasn’t it great to hear Radio National Breakfast presenter Patricia (“I love to be called PK”) Karvelas throw the switch to a Green/Left slogan, towards the end of her interview with Opposition frontbencher Dan Tehan on 9 August 2023? Let’s go to the transcript:

Patricia Karvelas: Minister, in the last minute we’ve got left. The Coalition will put nuclear at the centre of its energy policy. Why didn’t you put it on the map when you were in government for nine years and would you have one in your backyard?

Dan Tehan: Ah well Patricia, I’m not the minister anymore. I wish I was but I’m the shadow minister. We’re developing policy to make sure that we can meet our net zero commitment of net zero by 2050. And we think that there should be a broad range of energy mix to be able to deal with that….

A reasonable answer, to be sure.  It would seem, however, that Dan Tehan is a kinder/gentler politician.  Perhaps he should have asked eco-catastrophist PK – who is a barracker for alternative energy – whether she would have a wind turbine in her backyard.  Or, perhaps, fill her backyard with solar panels.  Presuming that she has a backyard in her inner-city abode.

It’s understandable why, say, a young journo for the Green Left Weekly would run the “Do you want a nuclear reactor in your backyard?” attack.  But PK should be able to do better. Can You Bear It?


Media Watch Dog was shocked – absolutely shocked – to open The Saturday Telegraph on 5 August only to turn to Page 5 and see a photo of an almost naked Mike (“I’ll pour the Gin”) Carlton – apart from a cap, budgie-smugglers and watch.  After all, it was Hangover Time, and there were three pics.  It was enough of an excuse to pour an earlier than usual Gin & Tonic on a Saturday morning.

The story was written by “Saturday Confidential”  columnist Briana Domjen and branded as an “Exclusive’. Well, perhaps it was.  But it would seem that there is nothing exclusive in seeing your man Carlton, er, sans kit on Whale Beach – not far from the Sage of Avalon Beach’s abode.  Here’s how Ms Domjen’s piece commenced:

It’s normally commentator Mike Carlton causing controversy, however this time Northern Beaches locals have a bone to pick with him. They say the 77-year-old former Fairfax columnist and author has been getting his kit off at Whale Beach too many mornings to count and “Avalonians” have had an eyeful.

Rain, hail or shine, they say, Carlton loves to be at one with nature while swimming laps or walking along the 600m-long Northern Beaches beach.

When contacted by The Saturday Telegraph on Friday, a fiery Carlton responded to our query about why he swims in the nude by saying: “I’m not the slightest bit interested in talking to you. F**k off.”

As avid readers know, “F**k Off” is a familiar Carlton sign-off.  The Sunday Telegraph report continued:

“I often go down to Whale Beach with my two teenage girls to do yoga early in the morning and the first thing we see is Mike Carlton getting out of the pool in the nude with everything on display,” one woman, who did not want to be named, said. “All the locals talk about it, but he just loves it. One of the locals said something to him once and told him to put it away and he came back down in a pink G-string.”

Media Watch Dog does not quite know how to handle such an, er, small story. Beyond saying:  Can You Bear It?

[No, not really. Now that you ask.  I hope you don’t mind. But in view of the public interest in this matter, I commissioned our new recruit Ellie to interview the veteran G-string wearer. After all, Ms Ellie has a similar attraction to water as Mike – and she swims either Au Naturale or covered only in a small collar.  The interview is below. – MWD Editor.]



Ellie: Knock, Knock Mr Carlton are you ready for an on-the-beach interview? I’m just outside the Whale Beach changing rooms.

MC:  Hang on. I’ll be there in a flash.

Ellie: Oh no. Please.  I’m a young female canine and this is my first job interviewing for my master.  Could you put something on?

MC: Okay. I’ve got a G-string plus a cap and a watch.  Will this do?

Ellie:  Fine.  I’ve been told that’s what you wear when you dress up for the day at the beach.

[Mike Carlton emerges from the Whale Beach changing rooms in full cap/G-string/watch attire.]

Ellie: Thanks for that. By the way, it’s a real honour to interview a prominent leftist like you. I’ve been asked to find out about your apparent aversion to clothes.  Sure, I’m sorta starkers. But I’m a dog who identifies as a dog and –

MC: Shut up for a minute will you, you mongrel.  I’ll dress – or, rather, undress –  the way I want to.  I don’t want to be told what to do by Murdoch lackies, or fascists or Catholic prelates (like my old man was) or canines. I’ll do as I please and –

Ellie: But, er, why?  For starters, it’s winter – and in most places swimming nude is illegal. And then there are people who have to watch your entire self – if you know what I mean – who would prefer an uninterrupted view of the sea and sand and naked seagulls and –

MC:  Pissants all. They just don’t understand. Did you hear about the radical leftist religious believer who went topless to be closer to God?  Well, I’m a bit like that.  The less I have on, the closer I am to the masses.  Sure there are a lot of dickheads on the beach.  But many beachgoers like to feel as close as possible to me.  You see, I’m oh-so-popular with the wealthy leftist sandal-wearers of the Avalon area.  On occasions, I dress in sandals only – as befits a Sandalista.

Ellie: What’s the point of that?  Surely –

MC:  Shut up will you.  My point is that the closer I get to the mind of beachgoers – the greater chance I get of convincing them that the end of the world is nigh due to what the World Leader – socialist António Guterres – calls global boiling.  And I can tell them what a bastard Peter Dutton is along with that cat-woman the Liberal Party’s deputy leader Sussan Ley.

Ellie:  I don’t like cats either.  I’m with you there.  I must finish shortly. One final question.  What do you say to a 40-year-old woman who brings her teenage daughters to Whale Beach only to be confronted by a 77-year-old bloke who’s into streaking and swimming – at walking pace, so to speak?

MC: What do I say?  Well, if it’s one of the fascists of that fascist Musk’s posts on X – block them.   In public places, I use all the literary skills I learnt at my alma mater Barker College in Sydney. And tell them f**k off.

Ellie:  Thank you Mr Carlton. I’ve seen into your soul today via a slight detour of your private parts.

MC:  F**k off. Four Paws – you’re a f**ing idiot like your pissant master.


Due to overwhelming popular demand, the Flann O’Brien Gong returns again this week. As avid Media Watch Dog readers will be aware, this occasional segment is inspired by the Irish humorist Brian O’Nolan (1911-1966) – nom de plume Flann O’Brien – and, in particular, his critique of the sometimes incoherent poet Ezra Pound. By the way, your man O’Brien also had the good sense not to take seriously Eamon de Valera (1882-1975), the Fianna Fail politician and dreadful bore who was prime minister and later president of Ireland for far too long.

The Flann O’Brien Gong for Literary or Verbal Sludge is devoted to outing bad writing or incomprehensible prose or incoherent verbal expression or the use of pretentious words.


There was enormous interest in The [Boring] Saturday Paper segment in the previous issue which featured an editorial on 22 July – presumably written by TSP’s editor-in-chief Erik Jensen. As avid Media Watch Dog readers will recall, Comrade Jensen declared in the editorial that Julia Gillard had helped “to destroy the Australian education system”. And he described The Sydney Institute as an entity where the world is held in “harping stasis by a series of filing cabinets”. Really. Your man Jensen’s world – on the other hand – seems to be held in place by hyperbole.

While on the topic of harping stasis (whatever that might mean), Ellie’s (male) co-owner spent Gin & Tonic Time last Friday reading an article in the August issue of The Monthly written by – you’ve guessed it – Erik Jensen.  Titled “Blank Stare” it commented on the drawings of Elizabeth Newman. Early on, Erik Jensen had this to say:

It is hard to say which are the first drawings [by Elizabeth Newman], because they happened all at once. Time does not run in one direction for Newman. There’s not one phase and then another but several phases at the same time. She stops to ask if this makes sense.

Just as well.  Because it doesn’t make sense.  But Jensen ploughed on – apparently after consuming a copy of Roget’s International Thesaurus:

Unlike with her paintings, Newman often signs her drawings. It is as if she is insisting: this is a work, this is finished. She does so a long time after the drawing is made. Her initials resemble the broken palindrome that has fascinated her work: the levidrome of “on” and “no” that clicks from one meaning to its opposite, like a coin rolled over knuckles. The other word for this is semordnilap.

The first no was a no to everything: capitalism, humanism, anything bad. She made it after reading Yvonne Rainer’s “No Manifesto”, its rejection of virtuosity and spectacle and magic. She had also read Freud’s argument that negation was really affirmation. For Newman the no contains an inevitable, fundamental yes. She says a no is an attempt to say what is not there, to find a signifier of negation. She says that if you identify what you don’t like you are also identifying what you do like. If you say what is in you, you are also saying what is outside you.

Turn it up.  What’s Jensen on about?  Or, rather, what’s he on?  It would seem that, having consumed the thesaurus, he regurgitated some incomprehensible words to explain his incomprehensible content. Like “palindrome”, “levidrome” and “semordnilap” plus “tridecagon” and “libidinal”.  As to the content – well it’s just sludge of the written kind. Verily, a coin-over-knuckles experience in the true sense of the term.

[Interesting. Could it be that Comrade Newman was the first to invent the “Yes/No” response to questions that currently contaminates the English language? – MWD Editor.]

Towards the end of his piece, Erik Jensen makes this point – if point it is – about Elizabeth Newman:

The talking in Newman’s work is often political. She is worried about the brevity of the future. She is troubled by consumption. She feels for the oceans. She celebrates small acts of resistance: “Please remove me from your mailing list.”

How about that?  The artist Newman is so troubled by the consumption (of others) that she celebrates small acts of resistance by asking to be removed from mailing lists.

Yet the very same Comrade Newman does drawings ON PAPER which she sells.  Perhaps your man Jensen should tell his fave artist that if she really wants to help save the planet, she should draw on a wall – it’s called graffiti.  Or, better still, draw on the sand and admire her political effort for the day until the tide comes back in.

Which raises the question: why does The Monthly’s editor-in-chief print such pretentious and meaningless tripe?

[Perhaps because your man Jensen is The Monthly’s editor-in-chief.  Just a thought – MWD Editor.]

Literary  Criticism

By Flann O’Brien

of Ezra Pound

My grasp of what he wrote and meant

Was only five or six %

The rest was only words and sound —

My reference is to Ezra £



Inspired by your man O’Brien, here is MWD’s response – with a little help from the late Jackie (Dip Wellness, The Gunnedah Institute) along with the American psychic John Edward:


Literary Criticism

By Jackie

of Erik Jensen

My grasp of what he wrote and meant

Was only four or five per cent

He rants like a drunken cleric

My reference is to Comrade Erik


It’s not so long ago that word went out from the ABC that it was conscious of the need to have balance in its coverage of the forthcoming referendum on the Voice to Parliament and the executive. Well – how’s that going, then? – Media Watch Dog hears avid readers cry.  Not too well – it would seem.

Take the (increasingly boring but constantly worthy) ABC TV Q+A program, for example.  On 7 August it ran a special Q+A episode which was filmed at the Garma Festival.  Dan Bourchier was in the presenter’s chair and the panel comprised Malarndirri McCarthy, Marcia Langton, Merrki Ganambarr-Stubbs, Ben Abbatangelo and Taylah Gray.  All the panellists supported the Yes case to a greater or lesser extent as did the presenter Dan (“There’s lotsa racism at the ABC”) Bourchier.

Verily a worthy – but boring – experience.  The panel selection overlooked the fact that the Yes case could be strengthened to the extent that it can take on and prevail over No supporters in an open debate.

It was much the same the previous day – Sunday 6 August – when the ABC TV Insiders  program also went out live from Garma.  David (“Please call me Speersy”) Speers was in the presenter’s chair and the panel comprised Clare Armstrong (News Corp), Dan Bourchier (ABC) and John Paul Janke (SBS).  It was (another) worthy occasion. MWD nodded off at times – but believes that the Voice was the only topic discussed and that Dan essentially agreed with Clare who essentially agreed with John who essentially went along with Speersy’s gentle comments and so on. You get the picture.  Groan.

The only “news” to emerge from the 60 minutes under the Garma gum trees occurred when the following exchange took place:

John Paul Janke: You know, online, the No campaign have multiple social media pages. Some of them now are using AI, with a black Indigenous character to try and look like it’s an Indigenous person supporting the No campaign.

David Speers: Crikey!

John Paul Janke: Yeah.

David Speers: Sorry, did you say that was from the No campaign or from some random?

John Paul Janke: No. From the No campaign. And they’re supporting, obviously, different voices. And they’re under the guise of moderate voices against the Voice. Like, it’s Australians for Unity. But they’re using AI of a black character that is supporting the No case.

          David Speers: Ok.

But, alas, it was not okay at all. Sure, an obscure group titled Constitutional Equality did use AI in its campaign against the Voice. But it had nothing to do with the high-profile “No” campaign led by Senator Jacinta Nampijinpa Price and others.  By the way, the self-proclaimed founder of Constitutional Equality, Phillip Mobbs, has a mere 30 followers and 30 connections on his LinkedIn profile.

The sun had not even set on that Sunday when the ABC put up the following comment on the Corrections & Clarifications section of its website:

Insiders: On the program broadcast on Sunday, August 6, panellist John Paul Janke described the use of AI generated videos by some opponents of the Indigenous Voice to Parliament. The ABC wishes to clarify that the campaign coordinated by Warren Mundine and Jacinta Nampijinpa Price – Australians for Unity – is not affiliated with the videos being referred to.

A good try don’t you think?  But those watching the program would have got the impression that Mr Janke was referring to the most prominent No advocates – the Australians for Unity group.  In fact, he was railing against a little-known Melbourne businessman named Phillip Mobbs running an organisation that virtually no one would have heard of if the SBS journalist had not raised the issue on Insiders.

It remains to be seen whether David Speers will do an on-air correction on Sunday 13 August.  Don’t hold your breath – since the ABC rarely corrects errors on the program where false claims were made in the first instance. Moreover, few viewers bother to read the ABC’s online Corrections and Clarifications segment which is buried in the ABC’s cluttered website.

If MWD viewers want some disagreement over the Voice they should turn to Sky News – if they have not already done so.  In recent times, Peta Credlin (presenter of Credlin) and Chris Kenny (presenter of The Kenny Report) have been engaged in a modern-day duel about the Voice – where swords are replaced by verbal weapons. At least the likes of Credlin (a “No” supporter) and Kenny (a “Yes” supporter) hold different opinions. The ABC does not appear to have one open “No” supporter among its close to 4000 staff.

[Interesting.  I note that the useless Phillip Mobbs was interviewed by Patricia Karvelas on RN Breakfast this morning.  Talk about a lamb being led to slaughter.  Perhaps you should have given your man Mobbs a “Media Fool of the Week” gong. Just a thought.  – MWD Editor.]

Phillip Mobbs



As reported in The Australian by Sophie Elsworth on 6 August, the ABC has introduced inclusivity training for its staff and managers under an “Inclusive Team Planning project”. Diversity and inclusion training was mentioned in the recent Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging Plans published by the ABC, with its strategy including that “All ABC leaders will complete Building an Inclusive Culture training. This will focus on inclusion, cultural competence and psychological safety.” As well as “All ABC teams will create team inclusion plans through facilitated discussions.”

An internal ABC document provided to The Australian has revealed what that may mean in practice. According to the document, the ABC’s employees will undergo mandatory “building an inclusive culture” training and a two-hour team meeting devoted to establishing an inclusivity plan.

Managers, however, will devote almost 7 hours to learning how to be more inclusive and whatnot. According to Elsworth, this will include: “… a 45-minute online module to building an inclusive culture, a two-hour live facilitated workshop on leading an inclusive culture, two one-hour planning sessions, a two-hour team meeting and time to write, review and finalise a plan.”

Apparently, there is no better use of the time of ABC managers and staff than sitting in mandatory meetings and talking about inclusivity. Perhaps there could be a few two-hour long meetings devoted to the ABC’s continuing failure to address lack of political diversity, correct errors and respond to complaints. The ABC is certainly lacking in diversity – as covered by Media Watch Dog in the past, the ABC’s prominent presenters are so white they could act as a sightscreen at a red ball cricket match.

Unfortunately, like much of what the ABC does, this training is likely to be a waste of taxpayers’ money, and will fail to make the ABC more diverse, inclusive or psychologically safe – whatever that may mean – as can be seen by the failings of similar programs overseas.

The Diversity, Equity and Inclusion industry (DEI) has grown dramatically in recent years, especially since the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis Police in 2020 and the ensuing Black Lives Matter protests and riots in the United States. It is estimated that globally $7.5 billion (USD) was spent on DEI programs in 2020 alone.

Unfortunately, there is little evidence all this money is doing anything but lining the pockets of DEI trainers. According to a 17 January 2023 guest essay by science writer Jesse Singal in the New York Times:

DEI training is designed to help organizations become more welcoming to members of traditionally marginalized groups. Advocates make bold promises: Diversity workshops can foster better intergroup relations, improve the retention of minority employees, close recruitment gaps and so on. The only problem? There’s little evidence that many of these initiatives work. And the specific type of diversity training that is currently in vogue — mandatory training that blames dominant groups for D.E.I. problems — may well have a net negative effect on the outcomes managers claim to care about.

Over the years, social scientists who have conducted careful reviews of the evidence base for diversity training have frequently come to discouraging conclusions. Though diversity training workshops have been around in one form or another since at least the 1960s, few of them are ever subjected to rigorous evaluation, and those that are mostly appear to have little or no positive long-term effects. The lack of evidence is “disappointing,” wrote Elizabeth Levy Paluck of Princeton and her co-authors in a 2021 Annual Review of Psychology article, “considering the frequency with which calls for diversity training emerge in the wake of widely publicized instances of discriminatory conduct.”

…Other researchers have been similarly unimpressed. “We have been speaking to employers about this research for more than a decade,” wrote the sociologists Frank Dobbin and Alexandra Kalev in 2018, “with the message that diversity training is likely the most expensive, and least effective, diversity program around.”

As another researcher noted, actually changing the culture in a workplace is difficult work and that “Some organizations want to do window dressing,” he said. “And if so, then, OK, bring in a white fragility workshop and know you’ve accomplished your goal.”

A particularly tragic example of the issues with DEI programs has recently unfolded in Canada. Richard Bilkszto was the principal of a Toronto school primarily catering for adults who did not complete high school at the usual time. Bilkszto had worked for Toronto Public Schools for 24 years, first as a teacher before moving into administrative roles.

In 2021 the Toronto District School Board decided to hold a series of online DEI training sessions. To administer these sessions it hired a company called the KOJO Institute, named after its founder Kike Ojo-Thompson. According to the online publication The Free Press (which was founded by former New York Times columnist Bari Weiss), for four two-hour sessions the KOJO Institute was paid $61,000 USD – that’s around $11,500 Australian dollars per hour.

During the second session, Ms Ojo-Thompson claimed that non-white people face “far worse” racism in Canada than in the United States. When Mr Bilkszto chose to push back against this somewhat bizarre claim, Ms Ojo-Thompson responded by accusing him of “in his whiteness” telling her “what’s really going on with black people”. Another KOJO Institute employee on the call then weighed in and accused him of being an “apologist” for Canada. Ojo-Thompson then told the class that “your job in this work as white people is to believe”.

After the session one of Mr Bilkszto’s bosses sent out a tweet thanking the KOJO Institute for “modelling the discomfort administrators may need to experience”, which Mr Bilkszto took as an endorsement of his treatment. During the next session the previous interaction between Mr Bilkszto and Ms Ojo-Thompson was repeatedly brought up by Ojo-Thompson as an example of white resistance and discomfort which upholds white supremacy. Other attendees weighed in to agree with her, and none dared to voice any further supposedly white supremacist-upholding resistance.

Following this session Mr Bilkszto went on sick leave and filed a complaint saying he had been harassed in the workplace. A workplace safety and insurance board investigated the incident and found Ojo-Thompsons’ behaviour “was abusive, egregious and vexatious, and rises to the level of workplace harassment and bullying”.

He was compensated for seven weeks of lost pay and his contract with the Toronto District School Board was not renewed. Mr Bilkszto was in the process of suing the school board when he committed suicide on 13 July 2023.

An extreme outcome, but an example of the conflict such programs can create in the workplace.

Not much is likely to change in the ABC as a result of this training – one can imagine, at best, the ABC becoming an episode of its program Utopia – A bit like the one below.


* * * *

Until next time

* * * *