ISSUE – NO. 656

13 October 2023

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As Media Watch Dog has pointed out for eons, the ABC is a Conservative Free Zone without a conservative presenter or editor for any of its prominent television, radio or online outlets.

So, it came as no surprise to read Sophie Elsworth’s exclusive in The Australian on  Friday that Tom Joyner, the ABC’s Middle East correspondent, described the early reports that Hamas terrorists had beheaded babies following its invasion of southern Israel as “bulls—t”. The (now deleted) comment was made in a WhatsApp chat group. Joyner said: “The stories about the babies is bullshit”.

This is yet another case of left-wing journalists believing what they want to believe.   Initially, Joyner regretted his word usage – but maintained that he had not seen “clear evidence” of Hamas’ crime.

In view of the evident barbarity exhibited by Hamas terrorists in murdering Israeli civilians in cold blood, it would have made sense for the ABC’s man in the Middle East to reserve judgment.  But Joyner was in denial about Islamist atrocities.

The Jerusalem Post, a respected Israeli newspaper, carried this story on 12 October (Jerusalem time):

The Jerusalem Post can now confirm based on verified photos of the bodies that the reports of babies being burnt and decapitated in Hamas’s assault on Kfar Aza are correct. May their memory be a blessing…. In the past two days, the Hamas terrorist movement has launched a campaign denying that it kidnapped, murdered and abused civilians during its attack on southern Israel.

It’s understandable that Hamas is in denial about its war crimes. However, an ABC journalist is expected to assess available evidence before leaping to untested conclusions.

It is understood that the ABC has declined to comment on Joyner’s WhatsApp message – yet another example of the taxpayer funded public broadcaster’s Communications Department failing to communicate in response to reasonable requests for information.


It would seem that the ABC has embraced its very own culture of complaint – a term popularised by the late Robert Hughes.

On Friday, ABC Radio National Breakfast presenter Patricia (“Call me PK”) Karvelas told listeners (if listeners there were) that Senator Jacinta Nampijinpa Price had declined invitations to come on the program to discuss her role in the No case in the Voice referendum.  Presenting Q&A on Monday 9 October, PK also complained that Nyunggai Warren Mundine had knocked back an invitation to appear on the program. On 8 October, Insiders presenter David (“Everyone calls me Speersy”) Speers told viewers that Opposition leader Peter Dutton had declined to be interviewed on the program in the lead-up to the referendum.  Oh yes, on Thursday 12 October ABC TV 7.30 presenter Sarah Ferguson expressed disappointment that Senator Price had declined her invitation for a discussion to balance one with “Yes” advocate Noel Pearson. Woeful tidings, indeed.

Now, the ABC has “cancelled” quite a few political conservatives in recent years – let’s be honest and call it censorship.  However, ABC types get very upset when political conservatives decline invitations to appear on programs at certain times.

What’s the lesson in this?  Clearly, the likes of Mr Dutton, Mr Mundine and Senator Price do not believe that there is anything to be gained from appearing on ABC programs when the ABC wants them to do so.  Moreover, all three probably realise that there is little point in subjecting themselves to the baying leftist Q+A mob, along with abuse from panellists of the kind that confronted Liberal backbencher James Stevens when the program was filmed in Adelaide on 9 October.

There was a time when Q+A claimed that its audience was balanced.  It has since dropped this claim. Moreover, PK said nothing when a panellist thrice told Mr Stevens that he was “disgusting” – Q+A presenters rarely protect the rare conservative who appears on their programs.

One of the problems with the ABC having become a Conservative Free Zone is that there is little point in conservatives appearing on the taxpayer funded public broadcaster. In view of this, there is little point in presenters complaining when their invitations are declined.


By 9am Australian Eastern Daylight Time on Sunday 8 October, it was evident that the terrorist organisation Hamas was firing thousands of rockets from the Gaza Strip into southern Israel and was attacking Israeli citizens and members of the Israel Defence Force on the ground inside Israel.  In view of the likelihood that Israel would retaliate, this was already a huge international news event.

But not, it would appear, to the executive producer (Samuel Clark) and presenter (David Speers) of the increasingly boring ABC TV Insiders program.  The overwhelming focus of the program was the forthcoming referendum on the Voice to Parliament and the executive.  Sure, 9 October 2023 was the last Sunday before the referendum on Saturday 14 October – but the program had been discussing the Voice for eons – and there was nothing fresh to say.

After introducing the news of the morning, including a brief reference to the Hamas/Israel conflict, Speers directed the panel discussion to the Voice. The panel comprised Dan Bourchier, Katharine Murphy and Peter van Onselen.  Then Speers interviewed Prime Minister Anthony Albanese.  Again, the focus was on the Voice followed by a few questions on the Hamas/Israel conflict, Ukraine and nuclear-powered submarines. Then discussion resumed on the Voice. Then – wait for it – David Speers commented to Peter van Onselen:

David Speers: ….we just need to get some thoughts on what’s happening in Israel.  PM obviously very concerned about, everyone’s very concerned about where this might go.  The escalation, well, what’s already happened over the last 24 hours?

PvO had only spoken for 65 seconds when Speers declared: “We’ve got to move on”. Which meant that Dan Bourchier and Katharine Murphy made no comment whatsoever on one of the biggest news stories of the last two decades.  Talk about missing the lead, especially for a show which presents itself as Australia’s leading political discussion program. Can You Bear It?


As avid Media Watch Dog readers will recall, in the last issue Hendo was bewailing what might be the demise of what MWD has termed The Guardian/ABC Axis or, at the very least, its temporary absence on what journalists like to call a Well-Earned-Break (aka WEB). This has manifested itself in particular on the Insiders program.

As MWD has documented, there have been occasions when about 80 per cent of the Insiders talent at Hangover Time on a Sunday morning comprised comrades from the Guardian Australia soviet and the ABC soviet.  Ellie’s (male) co-owner was worried that MWD’s focus on The Guardian/ABC Axis may have motivated Insiders producer Samuel Clark to look for talent other than that provided by such Guardian luvvies as Katharine (“Malcolm calls me Murpharoo”) Murphy, Amy (“I can barely live on my Guardian wage”) Remeikis and editor Lenore Taylor.

But, no.  On Sunday 8 October, The Guardian/ABC Axis was back in force – with presenter David Speers along with panellists Dan Bourchier from the ABC and Murpharoo plus Michael Bowers (the “Talking Pictures” host) from The Guardian. That is, 66 per cent – or two-thirds.  Thank God (with a capital “G”).

But MWD digresses – not for the first time.  It turned out that Comrade Murphy told viewers that she had been away for six months.  Her return to Insiders occurred on the morning after the night before when The Guardian Australia published her 7 October column titled “Peter Dutton is the exploding fire hydrant of politics, pushing his party to the angry fringes and electoral oblivion”.

Murpharoo commenced with fanging political conservatives in the United States and Britain for dishing up “piping hot serves of bonkers”.  Sounds like abuse, don’t you think? Then attention turned to Australia’s very own Opposition leader Peter Dutton. She accused Mr Dutton of exhibiting “anger and aggression” and serving up “buzz words in red hat bingo”. Clever, eh? But what does this mean?

Murpharoo went on to bag Dutton’s “boosh fans” and declared that he was “like an exploding fire hydrant”.  Really.  She then focused on Tony Abbott – describing him as “Australia’s Trump prototype”, which might have surprised the former US President Donald J. Trump.

The Guardian Australia’s political editor went on to say that Dutton was going nowhere politically. Her analysis was based on a Guardian Essential poll which analysed the views of “a man under the age of 35”, “an older Coalition voter from Queensland”, “an older woman from NSW” and “a younger man without a partisan leaning”.  That’s all folks.  How more scientific can a leftist comrade get than this?

Murpharoo concluded by stating that “red hat politics is a mistake for the Liberal Party and terrible for the country” and that the Liberals were destined to become “a party of the fringe” – a recipe for “electoral oblivion”.

Murpharoo’s rave was welcomed by former Liberal Party prime minister Malcolm Turnbull who put out this post on X:

As readers may recall, it was your man Turnbull who suggested that The Guardian be brought to Australia and advised that Comrades Taylor and Murpharoo should be offered senior jobs on The Guardian Australia. All this is set out in Malcolm Turnbull’s memoir A Bigger Picture (Hardie Grant, 2020).

Now the Malcolm/Murpharoo unity ticket appears to be of the view that in the referendum on 14 October, the “Yes” case advocated by Prime Minister Anthony Albanese will probably fail – and that the “No” case advocated by Opposition leader Peter Dutton will prevail.

However, even if “No” prevails, the Liberal Party is still headed for “political oblivion” according to the Murphy/Turnbull view.  This sounds like wish-fulfilment to MWD.  Which raises the question: Can You Bear It?

[Interesting. I note that Q+A presenter Patricia Karvelas said on 9 October that she was “not sure if anyone” in the large Adelaide audience watched the Canberra-based Insiders – presenter David Speers – the previous day.  Perhaps PK, as she likes to be called, only watches Insiders when she is on it.  Just a thought. – MWD Editor.]


The ABC also presents itself as the expert on constitutional referendums in Australia and invites viewers/listeners to contact the ABC if they have any questions about the issue. Oh yes – and then there is The Voice Referendum Explained podcast presented by Media Watch Dog fave Fran (“I’m an activist”) Kelly with Carly Williams. And then there is the RMIT-ABC Fact Check unit.

Hendo was contemplating that his taxes were funding such a public service when he turned on the ABC Radio National Awaye! program at around Gin & Tonic Time on Saturday 7 October. Just a week before the polls closed for the referendum on the proposed Voice to Parliament and the executive. He heard the presenter say this with respect to what is required for the “Yes” vote to succeed:

Daniel Browning: It’s a pretty high bar, because the change needs a double majority.  A double majority of voters overall nationally, as well as a majority in every state, in order to succeed. Pretty high bar.

What a load of absolute tosh.  As avid readers are only too well aware – a change to the Constitution requires an overall majority of votes (in the States and Territories combined) plus a majority of votes in a majority of states (i.e. in at least four of the six states). The Yes vote does not require a majority in every state. Daniel Browning’s howler remains uncorrected on the taxpayer funded website. Can You Bear It?


Wasn’t it great to see Niki Savva back on the opinion page of The Age and Sydney Morning Herald on 12 October?  Especially since she wrote her stock column about how weak the contemporary Liberal Party leader is and how the Coalition is destined for continuous electoral failure.

However, Ellie’s (male) co-owner became a bit confused – even though he read the piece before Gin & Tonic Time. Look at it this way.  Comrade Savva quoted former Liberal MP and current Liberal Party critic Ken Wyatt as saying that neither Peter Dutton nor Jacinta Nampijinpa Price has shown that they could ever succeed in politics to the extent of becoming prime minister.

But then Ms Savva wrote this in defence of Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s decision not to put the referendum on the Voice back to 2025:

…Delaying the referendum until the next election would have guaranteed the loss of both the election and the referendum.

Hang on a minute.  Just a few paras earlier, Niki Savva supported Ken Wyatt’s view that Peter Dutton could never lead the Coalition to an election victory.  But then she wrote that if PM Albanese had delayed the referendum, he would have lost the next election to, er, the Coalition – led by, presumably, Peter Dutton.  Can You Bear It?


“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 – or have (sometimes conveniently) forgotten.


It’s very competitive. But at least John Hewson’s column in The [Boring] Saturday Paper is on the shortlist for the most boring column in Australia’s only newspaper which carries no news. Look at it this way. The Saturday Paper (publisher Morry Schwartz, editor-in-chief Erik Jensen) goes to print on Thursdays and arrives in inner-city coffee shops on Saturday mornings – by which time the news cycle has moved on. In short, the Schwartz/Jensen publication is the only one that identifies as a newspaper but contains no news.

Hence the need for such fillers as the boring columns by Dr Hewson (for a doctor he is), Paul Bongiorno and so on.  But again, MWD digresses. How about your man Hewson’s introductory paragraph to his column of 7 October titled “The Stain of White Australia”.

The White Australia policy stands out as probably the most significant blemish on this country’s national character and unity, as well as its global reputation, with continuing consequences today. It has been said that latent racism, carrying echoes of White Australia, persists across the country and all walks of life. We have seen it emerge at football games and other events. Politicians have been known “to play the race card” when they believe that appealing to prejudice will afford them some political advantage.

So, there you have it.  According to the learned doctor, Australian politicians have been known to appeal to prejudice if they believe that this will offer them some political advantage.  Who could such politicians be? – MWD hears avid readers cry.

Could the guilty individuals include the MP who – on 22 December 1993 when Paul Keating’s Labor government introduced the Native Title Bill – described the occasion as a “day of shame for Australia”? Come to think of it, the MP also said that Native Title was “a monstrous piece of legislation” and accused Prime Minister Keating of having “sold out” the miners, the farmers and “all other Australians”.

The speaker?  None other than Dr John Hewson – who was the leader of the Coalition Opposition at the time.

You Must Remember This.

Media Watch Dog’s Five Paws Award was inaugurated in Issue Number 26 (4 September 2009) during the time of Nancy (2004-2017). The first winner was then ABC TV presenter Emma Alberici.  Ms Alberici scored for remembering the Nazi-Soviet Pact of 23 August 1939 whereby Hitler and Stalin divided Eastern Europe between Germany and the Soviet Union.  And for stating that the Nazi-Soviet Pact had effectively started the Second World War, since it was immediately followed by Germany’s invasion of western Poland (at a time when the Soviet Union had become an ally of Germany). Soon after, the USSR invaded eastern Poland in accordance with the protocols of the Nazi-Soviet Pact.

Over the years, the late Nancy’s Five Paws Award has become one of the world’s most prestigious gongs – rating just below the Nobel Prize and Academy Awards.


When walking Ellie at Hangover Time on Saturday 7 October, the said Ellie’s (male) co-owner turned on MWD fave Geraldine Doogue’s Saturday Extra program on ABC Radio National.  It’s the kind of thing that some obsessive dog owners do in cemeteries on a Saturday morning.

Michael Gawenda, who grew up on the left of Australian politics and became an editor of The Age, was being interviewed on the occasion of the release of his latest book My Life as a Jew (Scribe, 2023).

Early in the interview, the author spoke about the end of his friendship with Louise Adler, his former publisher when she was at MUP. He pointed out that he felt betrayed by his Jewish friend when in May 2021 she signed an open letter with the hashtag “DoBetterOnPalestine” which called on journalists to avoid “both siderism” when reporting the Hamas/Israel conflict.

In other words, signatories maintained that journalists should preference Palestinian voices when reporting news from the Middle East.  Gawenda’s position was that it was not the role of journalists to be activists.

Michael Gawenda thought that Adler had understood his position. But then – well, let’s go to the transcript:

Michael Gawenda: A few months later [in October 2021], she [Louise Adler] published a small booklet – it was an essay by John Lyons, who at that time was a senior –

Geraldine Doogue: [interjecting] Who works for the ABC.

Michael Gawenda: Yeah, and he was a senior executive of the ABC at that time –  which [the booklet] basically argued that this powerful group of Jews, a “Jewish lobby”, had basically nobbled the Australian media in terms of its coverage of the Middle East, especially the coverage of Israel and the Palestinians. And that it didn’t tell the true story of what was going on. I told Louise that he [Lyons] was the wrong person. He had a bee in his bonnet about the Lobby. I understood that – and I understood why he might have had it. But it was not – it was not true, in my experience. And I knew most editors –

Geraldine Doogue: [interjecting] It wasn’t true that – what?

Michael Gawenda: That the “Lobby” had somehow silenced and rendered, kind of, weak the editors and the executive producers who decided on the coverage of the Middle East. It just wasn’t true. And it was a kind of – it was a kind of conspiracy theory, Geraldine, that this group of powerful Jews were able to actually silence the Australian media about what was going on in Israel and Palestine.

Quite so.

Michael Gawenda:  Five Paws.

[John Lyons’ Dateline Jerusalem: Journalism’s Toughest Assignment was reviewed by Gerard Henderson in The Sydney Institute Review on 3 November 2021 – see here.  At the time Dateline Jerusalem  was published, Mr Lyons was the ABC’s Head of Investigative Journalism. He is currently the ABC’s Global Affairs Editor. – MWD Editor.]



There was enormous interest in last week’s Stop Press segment which featured a cartoon by the Australian Financial Review’s David Rowe.  On 6 October, Comrade Rowe drew Liberal Party leader Peter Dutton plus the leaders of the No case in the referendum – Jacinta Nampijinpa Price and Nyunggai Warren Mundine – walking past flags which depicted the image of Adolf Hitler. Rowe’s line was that the trio is soft on Nazism.  Really.

The AFR did carry a response from Peter Dutton in its edition of 9 October – he called the cartoon offensive and said that it made a mockery of the murderous Nazi regime and diminished its victims.

Like many a leftist journalist, your man Rowe is reluctant to recognise mistakes and correct errors.  He was quoted by AFR reporter Tom McIlroy as saying that he had worked from the expression [it’s become a cliché – MWD Editor] “the standard you walk past is the standard you accept” and added:

David Rowe: I drew this cartoon to highlight the growing neo-Nazi presence in far-right elements of the No campaign and a lack of pushback from its most prominent leaders. Mr Mundine, Mr Dutton and Senator Price are depicted walking past the No standards, their relative silence speaking volumes.

What a cop-out.  Rowe provided not the slightest evidence that the leading trio in the No campaign is soft on Nazism or neo-Nazis or is untroubled by images of the mass murderer Hitler. None whatsoever.  Nor did Rowe provide the name of one neo-Nazi who is of any prominence in contemporary political debate in Australia whom the leaders of the No campaign have walked past. Rowe’s cartoon was the work of a leftist agitprop cartoonist.

While on the topic of Nine newspaper cartoonists – did anyone see this work of Cathy Wilcox in the Sydney Morning Herald  on 10 October?  Here is Cathy Wilcox’s contribution to Hamas’ murderous attack on Israeli civilians – including children and women, the initial news of which reached Australia on Sunday 8 October.

The “terrorist atrocity” is a reference to Hamas.  Wilcox’s moral equivalence extended to claiming that as of 10 October, Israel was engaged in the “murderous occupation” of the Gaza Strip.  Gaza is not occupied by Israel.  The only Israelis currently in Gaza are those who have been kidnapped by Hamas and taken into Hamas territory.  Currently, Gaza is partly blockaded by both Israel and Egypt.  But it isn’t occupied and is governed by the terrorist Hamas organisation.  Comrade Wilcox should know this. If Gaza was occupied by Israel, Hamas could never have invaded southern Israel which has been part of the Jewish state since 1948.


  • How the “Advertisement Free” ABC advertises books written by ABC presenters such as Richard Glover & Ed Le Brocq



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