ISSUE – NO. 665

15 December 2023

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Friday 15 December was the last day before ABC Radio National Breakfast presenter Patricia Karvelas went on what journalists like to call a well earned break. She introduced the political wrap segment by stating that the regular co-presenter David Speers had gone on a break – but gave the impression that it was well earned.  Your man Speers was replaced by Australian Financial Review’s senior correspondent Jacob Greber who joined the regular panellist Samantha Maiden, political editor of

Both panellists did well – with Jacob Greber performing better than David Speers’ usual commentary.  The zany Samantha Louise Maiden performed to her usual high standard by avoiding predictable fashionable statements.  Greber’s only error was to state that Jews oppose the  Albanese government’s recent stance calling for a ceasefire in the Israel-Gaza war. In fact, many non-Jews hold a similar position. And there are few Jews in opposition in Canberra. No doubt he knows this – but it would have been better to say so.

Let’s go to the transcript where Patricia Karvelas appears to support the Albanese government’s position:

Patricia Karvelas: Sam, obviously, we’ve heard from the Coalition, condemnation of this [Albanese government’s position]. But also [it is] a really strong pro-Israel line with, with not, not a lot of nuance. There’s a strong public sentiment that the war should stop. Is the Coalition out of step with that?

Samantha Maiden: Well, hang on, I mean, let’s unpack that. I don’t know if there is a widespread, kind of clear position of the Australian public, that Israel doesn’t have a right to defend itself, or that the war should stop tomorrow. I mean, I think that there are different views within –

Patricia Karvelas: There are different views. But wouldn’t you say that that a lot of the community, I’m basing it on those enormous public protests, is saying that it’s concerned about this?

Samantha Maiden: …I would respectfully say that, yes, there are large public protests. But I don’t think that they’re necessarily an accurate gauge of mainstream views. Will those rallies reflect a proportion of the Australian community? I’m just not sure that they reflect, you know, where everyone’s at, if that makes sense.

It was not Comrade Karvelas’s finest moment.  Later she went on to appear to join the chorus of leftists who maintain that there is no proof that the “Gas the Jews” cry was heard outside the Sydney Opera House on 9 October. Re which see this issue’s Documentation segment.


Wasn’t it great to see the Guardian/ABC Axis back in operation on ABC TV’s News Breakfast  program on 15 December?

The Guardian Australia’s Josh Taylor did the Newspapers commentary segment.  He was interviewed by Emma Rebellato. Comrade Taylor expressed the view that News Corp newspapers were hostile towards Lisa Wilkinson’s testimony at the Federal Court trial where Bruce Lehrmann is suing Network Ten for defamation.  Let’s go to the transcript:

Josh Taylor: …I thought it was quite interesting, just in terms of the coverage today that you can kind of see how different publications are treating her. So I think I think one publication called her a former Dolly journalist, when she said she’s not a tabloid journalist. The Australian sort of lead with a with an analysis piece, basically saying that, she said the obvious now, she believed Brittany Higgins. So it’s just been interesting to watch the reaction. And she’s back in the witness box again today as well.

Emma Rebellato: Take us to The Guardian. So, we’ve got a story about a WhatsApp photo….

Your man Taylor accepted the (kind) invitation and plugged a story in The Guardian.

As to his comments re Tim Blair’s comment piece in The Daily Telegraph. Well, Ms Wilkinson – who demeaned “cheap tabloid journalists” in the witness box – was once the editor of Dolly and Cleo magazines.  Which are a bit way south of The Times of London.  And the report by Stephen Rice in The Australian was correct. Ms Wilkinson did say in court that she believed Ms Higgins’ account of the alleged rape.

It’s not clear what Josh Taylor was on about while on News Breakfast. But he was on ABC TV in his role as a Guardian journalist.


There was enormous interest in the last issue of Media Watch Dog which covered the review of the 2023 political year in Australia on ABC Radio National’s Between the Lines program.  The date was Saturday 2 December, Nick Bryant was in the presenter’s chair and the panel comprised Mark (“Please call me professor”) Kenny and emeritus professor Judith Brett.  Not a political conservative among this lot.

It was one of those oh-so-familiar ABC discussions where everyone agrees with everyone else in a leftist kind of way and a fine ideological time is had by all.

Many thanks to the avid reader who drew MWD’s attention to a similar leftist-luvvie event that took place on Monday 4 December on ABC Radio National’s Late Night Live. In the chair was MWD fave Comrade Phillip Adams – AO, AM, Hon DUniv (Griffith), Hon DLitt (ECU), Hon DUniv (SA), DLitt [sic] (Syd), Hon. DUniv (Macquarie), FRSA, Hon FAHA. The panel comprised Laura Tingle (ABC 7.30’s chief political correspondent) and Niki Savva (columnist for Nine’s The Age and Sydney Morning Herald). Not a political conservative among this lot.

Now Phillip (“How many times have I told you that I was a teenage communist?”) Adams is not primarily responsible for the talent he interviews on what he calls his “little wireless program”.  That responsibility is with his executive producer. However, he has some influence on such matters.

The discussion turned out to be boringly predictable.  Comrade Savva wasted no time in attacking Peter Dutton for having been “cruel” when he was in charge of immigration.  She went on to criticise former Liberal Party prime ministers John Howard, Tony Abbott and Scott Morrison – but not Malcolm Turnbull. This had little to do with politics in 2023 – but there you go.

When discussion turned to Qantas, Comrade Adams reminded listeners that he was the author of Qantas’ “The Spirit of Australia” logo. Well done. La Tingle made some obvious points about the Albanese government’s handling of the airline Qantas – consistent with her earlier (profound) comment that “all” was “sort of going to custard a bit” with respect to the Albanese and State Labor governments.

Then mention was made of former Coalition treasurer Peter Costello. Let’s go to the transcript:

Phillip Adams: Niki, in introducing you I reminded the listener that you worked for former treasurer Peter Costello, what’s your –

Niki Savva: Very unkind of you, Phillip.

Phillip Adams:  I know but you’ve got to, you’ve got you’ve got to face up to your CV….

How ungracious can a journalist get? In her memoir So Greek (Scribe, 2010), Savva reported that she was told by The Age that she would be demoted from her “job as a national political editor” and felt the need to resign. The problem was that she was spending a lot of time with her Melbourne-based sister who was seriously ill. In So Greek, Savva made the valid point that The Age was really good at delivering lectures on the need to treat people humanely but did not always live up to its own high standards.

But what about Niki Savva’s own standards?  After leaving The Age, Savva phoned Coalition Treasurer Peter Costello and asked for a job as his press secretary.  He obliged and even accepted that Savva’s first priority would remain the well-being of her sister Christina.  Also, Costello knew that Savva was on the left.

Costello’s decision to employ Savva led to other jobs over time.  Yet Savva told Adams that it was unfair of him to remind listeners that she once worked for Peter Costello. Can You Bear It?

[I wonder about this parable – Luke 17:11-19. It seems to me that the one leper who thanked Jesus for curing him did not benefit much for his evident courtesy. But what would I know? – MWD Editor.]


Gerard Henderson has written about the fact that ABC TV’s The Drum is dead, cremated and buried in The Weekend Australian for 16 December. [I’m that impressed that you have got the order correct and put the cremated bit before the buried bit – unlike many others. – MWD Editor.]

There, Ellie’s (male) co-owner focused on the reactions of the program’s presenters to the fact that The Drum is as dead as the parrot in the Monty Python sketch of recent memory.  To wit, Julia Baird, Ellen Fanning and Dan (“There’s lotsa racists in the ABC but I’m not naming them”) Bourchier.

However, there are also the panel members to consider. Especially the fact that Dr Baird (for a doctor she is – as even her X handle attests) declared on the ABC News website (12 December) that The Drum was all about “ensuring conversations are respectful” so that “we might allow others the decency of difference”.

Well, how did respect for the difference work on Tuesday 12 December? – the day the death of The Drum was announced?  It was one of those ABC panels where everyone agreed with everyone else on almost everything in a left-of-centre kind of way. But the star of the show, without question, was Professor Lisa Jackson Pulver of Sydney University, who identifies as Indigenous.

Much of the panel discussion turned on the referendum as to whether an Indigenous Voice to Parliament and the executive should be placed in the Constitution. As readers know, the proposal failed by a vote of 39 per cent for “Yes” and 61 per cent for “No” on 14 October. Obviously, there was support for both causes – but “No” prevailed by a large majority.

And so it came to pass that the learned professor from Sydney University threw the switch to anger. She told The Drum’s viewers (if viewers there were) “I have to say I’m very disappointed in the Australian people”. Presenter Bourchier did not ask whether a majority of Australians were disappointed in Professor Jackson.  But it was The Drum, after all.

The Deputy Vice Chancellor of the University of Sydney went on to declare: “People were just too lazy or too disinterested [sic] or just felt it didn’t involve them – so they’ll just check the box for ‘No’ because that’s simple.”

How about that? Professor Jackson used the platform of The Drum, on the taxpayer funded public broadcaster, to classify some 60 per cent of Australians as lazy simpletons.  And yet Julia Baird reckons The Drum was all about respectful conversation (That’s such a cliché word. – MWD Editor) and allowing “others the decency of difference”. Really. Can You Bear It?


While on the topic of the referendum, did anyone read Charlie Lewis’ “Vote now for Crikey’s prestigious Arsehat of the Year” piece in the leftist newsletter of 11 December?  [Hang on a minute. It’s not as “prestigious” as MWD’s “Media Fool of the Week” award. – MWD Editor.]

Comrade Lewis – who presents as Crikey’s Tips and Murmurs Editor – advised the names of those short-listed for Crikey’s “Arsehat” award.   [Why is Crikey so rude and abusive – I guess it could be because, unlike Ellie’s (male) co-owner, your man Lewis does not have an AC (aka Always Courteous) gong. – MWD Editor.]

Soon after, Crikey’s self-declared murmurer piled into what he presented as the leaders of the No case – commencing with Jacinta Nampijinpa Price and Nyunggai Warren Mundine. Peter Dutton was ineligible for the award for some reason or other.  While conceding that “there was a principled case for voting No”, Lewis reckoned that none of this group reached it. Instead, they were into misinformation, appeals to ignorance, stoking grievance and, wait for it, racism.  What’s more “their work diminished the country”.

In other words, a large majority of Australians are so dumb as to be misled by “arsehats” – according to Crikey’s Comrade Lewis – some of whom happen to be prominent Indigenous Australians. The sophisticated Eric Beecher is the publisher of Crikey.  Can You Bear It?


Wasn’t it great to see MWD fave La Trobe University’s professor Clare Wright doing the “Newspapers” segment on ABC TV’s News Breakfast on Tuesday 12 December?

The idea is that the likes of Dr Wright (for a doctor she is) should talk about what is in the news.  Rather than, say, what in their opinion should be in the news.  On 12 December, the Herald Sun ran a story by Ian Royall that Melbourne Lord Mayor Sally Capp had racked up more than $30,000 in chauffeur-driven limousine trips this year.  She even took a ratepayer-funded ride in a luxury BMW to the 2023 Grand Final at the MCG, a relatively short walk from Melbourne Town Hall.

What’s the problem? Well, it’s just that on election to her exalted office, Ms Capp scrapped the Town Hall’s mayoral limousine and declared that she would be a cycling/walking/public transport-using/private car-driving kind of lord mayor while on official duty. It has turned out not to be the case.

But MWD digresses. Here’s how Professor Wright approached Ian Royall’s story.

Lisa Millar: The Herald Sun is turning its eye to Lord Mayor in Melbourne, Sally Capp. What is this about?

Clare Wright: Yeah, now look, I’m doing something a little bit cheeky here. Because I know that the City of Melbourne made a really important announcement on Saturday that didn’t make the front page of the Herald Sun. So, they’ve got this little, you know, kind of story about Sally Capp and she got into some expensive cars or something. But actually what the City of Melbourne announced on the weekend is that it is going to build its first statue of a woman in, and which is, Vida Goldstein…

No problem here.  Vida Goldstein has a Federal electorate named after her and deserves a statue.  It’s just that this was not Tuesday’s news.  Rather, Clare Wright used the occasion to accuse the Herald Sun of engaging in “nit-picking” and a “gotcha moment” about Lord Mayor Capp in order to justify the mouthing of her opinion about statues.

The point was that the Lord Mayor of Melbourne appears to have broken an election promise with respect to limousine use. Yet Professor Wright threw the switch to “cheeky” and decided to talk instead about something that was not in that day’s newspaper.  Can You Bear It?

[No. Not really.  But at least News Breakfast’s Newspaper segment invariably provides good copy for us. – MWD Editor.]



Media Watch Dog is one of the few publications in the English-speaking world where the staff take holidays – rather than what journalists like to call a Well Earned Break – or WEB.  For the record, holidays at MWD are “well earned” – it’s just that we don’t brag about it.

This is the last MWD for 2023 – it is expected publication will resume before Australia Day 2024 – God Willing.  MWD finishes after the taxpayer funded public broadcaster’s Media Watch program presented by Paul Barry – and will resume earlier. That’s capitalism, eh?

MWD is put together with a very small but highly skilled staff.  Lotsa thanks to them and to the avid readers who draw MWD’s attention to material.  Everything is read and as much as possible is used. And a special thanks to the Mysterious Mr M – who acts as a proofreader while leaving the odd John-Laws-Style-Deliberate-Mistake in MWD to keep avid readers alert.

Once upon a time, dogs and others died. Now it seems that they merely “pass”.  As avid readers are only too well aware, Nancy (2004-2017) still runs courtesy classes for MWD with a little help from the American psychic John Edward. Already Jackie (2017-2023) is prepping for a regular slot – now that she too is in recently departed mode.  And then there is Ellie (date of birth unknown – her mother walked the streets) who is on the case already.

Gerard Henderson and the (small) Sydney Institute team wish avid readers Happy Christmas and/or Happy Hanukkah – and urge all to Keep Morale High.



As Media Watch Dog readers exclusively know, MWD  does not run many “exclusives” – unlike so many media outlets. But, every now and then, Ellie’s (male) co-owner runs into one. Like this.

Not long ago, the Federal Court of Australia released a document titled Bruce Lehrmann and Australian Broadcasting Corporation – Deed of Settlement & Release.  This was an ABC document.   But, as pointed out, it was not released by the ABC.

Under the heading, “Settlement Sum”, the following comment appears:

Settlement Sum

2.1  Subject to Lehrmann complying at all times with his obligations under the Deed, the ABC will, within fourteen (14) days of the execution of this Deed by both parties, pay the total sum of $150,000 (the Settlement Sum) as follows:

(a) $143,000 as a contribution toward Lehrmann’s costs of the proceeding, to be paid to Lehrmann’s solicitor’s trust account in accordance with clause 2.6; and

(b) $7,000 to be paid to solicitors acting for Laura Tingle on account of the costs liability incurred by Lehrmann in connection with her compliance with the subpoena to produce documents issued by him to Ms Tingle and dated 28 June 2023.

Now, as is known, on 9 February 2022 Brittany Higgins and Grace Tame gave a joint address and answered questions at an event organised and conducted by the National Press Club of Australia.  This event was televised by the ABC on ABC TV’s News Channel – it was subsequently made available for streaming and viewing on demand.  Bruce Lehrmann brought proceedings against the ABC alleging that what were called “the publications” were defamatory to him.  The ABC denied any liability.  The parties agreed to settle the proceedings.  The Settlement Sum is set out above.

On 13 December, Gerard Henderson emailed ABC Communications – which, as MWD readers know, rarely communicates – with this query with respect to the ABC:

In what capacity was $7,000 paid to the solicitors acting for Laura Tingle?  Were the documents issued by Ms Tingle provided in her role as president of the National Press Club?  Or were the documents provided in Ms Tingle’s role as an ABC journalist? I would be grateful for a reply by close of business on Thursday 14 December 2023.

On 14 December, an ABC Comms (as it is termed) spokesperson sent the following reply:

Hi Gerard. I’ll look into it whether this is something we would comment on in the media. I note that the ABC did not “put out” the deed, it was released by the Court after having been produced by Mr Lehrmann in the proceedings.

So there you have it. The ABC is a proud member of “The Right to Know” coalition.  And yet it tells listeners/viewers/taxpayers that they have no right to know more often than not.

Media Watch Dog accepts that it would be reasonable for payment to be made to Laura Tingle’s solicitors in this instance – rather than be borne by her personally.  However, it is far from clear why the National Press Club – of which Ms Tingle is president – should not have been billed for this expense, rather than the ABC.

MWD will keep readers informed if the ABC answers this question.   But don’t hold your breath – as the saying goes, or went.



On 13 December, Crikey (proprietor Eric Beecher) published an article titled “Viral footage showed protestors chanting ‘Gas the Jews’. Nobody can verify it.”  The article was written by contributor Antoinette Lattouf and associate editor Cam Wilson. Comrade Wilson’s willingness to co-author the article indicates that he is on the Lattouf bandwagon in this instance.

Put simply, Crikey is in denial about whether “Gas the Jews” was heard being chanted by pro-Palestinian demonstrators outside the Sydney Opera House on 9 October. That is, after the terrorist organisation Hamas’ decision to break the existing ceasefire and invade southern Israel from Gaza in an action which included the murder, rape and hostage-taking of civilians, including women and children. Note that this demonstration took place at the Sydney Opera House before Israel’s retaliation commenced on any significant scale.

The Crikey duo will accept that the term “F—k the Jews” was heard being chanted by some demonstrators on the night. But Crikey reckons that the “Gas the Jews” call may be fake news from a Jewish organisation.

The article was picked up by ABC Radio National’s PM program on 14 December, which aired a segment where reporter David Sparkes interviewed an analyst from RMIT and one of the organisers of the rally. On the morning of 15 December, RN Breakfast presenter Patricia Karvelas repeated the Crikey claims during an interview with Australian Jewish singer Deborah Conway. The article was also widely shared on social media, with many of those sharing it dropping the careful wording of the Crikey article and claiming that the “Gas the Jews” chants had been thoroughly debunked and shown to be a fabrication.

The uncut footage of the chant was shown on Sky News’ Sharri program on Thursday 14 December and looked authentic. While the faces of individual protesters are hard to make out in the dark footage, several of the demonstrators can be seen shaking their fists in time to “Gas the Jews” chants. On the morning of 15 December, Crikey published a small update at the bottom of the article which said:

After the publication of this piece, Sky News’ Sharri Markson shared a new video of the protest that includes a single shot with chanting protesters, captioned “gas the Jews”.

Cam Wilson posted a similar update on X/Twitter and added that “we’re continuing to report on this”. Antoinette Lattouf has so far not updated her social media followers on this new development. As is often the case, it seems unlikely any update or clarification by Crikey will reach the people who were happy to share the initial article. For many on the pro-Palestinian and pro-Hamas left it will forever be a “fact” that nobody chanted “Gas the Jews” in front of the Sydney Opera House in the aftermath of 7 October.

All thanks to Eric Beecher’s Crikey which chose to publish a conspiracy theory that would have been better suited to the Green Left Weekly.



In his book Cardinal Pell, The Media Pile-On & Collective Guilt (which the ABC has censored in a secular version of what the Catholic Church, a century ago, used to call “putting a book on the Index”), Gerard Henderson wrote about Sarah Ferguson’s ABC TV series Revelation which was aired in early 2020.  Check out Pages 275-281. But don’t bother looking for the book in any ABC Library.

The final episode in the three-part series was titled “Goliath”. It was written by ABC journalist Tony Jones and presented by Sarah Ferguson.  “Goliath” focused on the late Cardinal George Pell.

Needless to say, the Ferguson/Jones program was a hatchet job on Pell – replete with allegations but devoid of forensic evidence or independent witness testimony to sustain its charges of alleged child sexual abuse committed by Pell.  Ferguson interviewed such Pell critics as David Marr but not one informed Pell supporter.  How very ABC. Moreover, “Goliath” overlooked the fact that Pell had voluntarily given an interview to Victoria Police on the matters raised by Ferguson which demolished the allegations. It appears that she was ignorant of this.

Avid readers have asked MWD about whatever happened with the promised book of the series. Revelation, by Sarah Ferguson and Tony Jones, was to be published in late 2020 by Hachette Australia.  It’s still on the Hachette website.  There is only one problem.  Revelation now has a publication date of – wait for it – 2030. Yes, 2030.  That’s seven years away – or a decade since the book was first announced. MWD understands that Revelation was originally commissioned by Hachette when Louise Adler (who published Louise Milligan’s hatchet job Cardinal for MUP) was running Hachette Australia.

It would seem that Hachette is not having much success with some books.  In August 2019, Hachette published Peter Fox’s Walking Towards Thunder – which carried a fulsome endorsement by ABC journalist Paul Kennedy. Fox is a former member of NSW Police who was found to be an unreliable witness by a NSW Special Commission of Inquiry.

In October 2020, Walking Towards Thunder was withdrawn from sale. Hachette made a grovelling apology to Detective Inspector Jeff Little of NSW Police concerning allegations made against him by Peter Fox. They involved Fox’s criticism in Walking Towards Thunder of Little when he was in charge of Strike Force Lantle investigating allegations of sexual abuse in the Newcastle/Maitland Diocese of the Catholic Church.  The ABC, which had given considerable (free) publicity to Fox’s book, did not report that Walking Towards Thunder had been withdrawn from sale by the publisher due to the false statements made about Little by Fox.

So, there you have it.  Peter Fox’s Walking Towards Thunder was published in August 2019 by Hachette and withdrawn from sale just over a year later. It has not been re-issued.  And Revelation by Sarah Ferguson and Tony Jones – scheduled for publication in late 2020 by Hachette – is now scheduled for release in late 2030. Which is around The Twelfth of Never – in the words of the old song. And that’s a long, long time.


In a surprising announcement from the ABC, this week it was announced that long-term Triple J music director Richard Kingsmill has not had his contract extended. On the condition of anonymity, ABC staffers told Nine Newspapers’ CBD column that Kingsmill did not leave voluntarily and that it was not a popular decision. Triple J will replace him with someone “more familiar to the commercial radio industry”, presumably in a bid to chase younger audiences that have been deserting the station in recent years. In typical ABC fashion, the ABC declined to comment further when asked for more detail by CBD.

This is a surprising move because the rest of the ABC acts as a sort of haunted house for middle-aged ABC types who will not move on, away from the taxpayer funded ABC. Just like Triple J, the ABC’s radio and television has broadly seen a decline in ratings.

Take the Chaser Boys (average age 481/2), for example. Julian Morrow currently hosts Sunday Extra on ABC Radio National. Chris Taylor and Andrew Hansen returned to ABC screens with their musical comedy series Australian Epic. Dom Knight, who is still involved in the Chaser, is a regular on ABC radio and is currently hosting Weekend Mornings on Sydney Radio 702. Chas Licciardello hosts Planet America with John Barron on the ABC TV news channel, while Craig Reucassel hosts the War on Waste series on ABC TV and in 2024 will host ABC Radio Sydney Breakfast.

Returning to television 2024 is Shaun Micallef – who was allegedly departing to make way for new talent – plus Charlie Pickering with The Weekly and Wil Anderson with Gruen. It appears that Anderson’s other tedious Gruen-esque show Question Everything has been put out of its misery.

Time will tell if the ABC ousting Richard Kingsmill – who has been at the ABC since 1988 – and replacing him with a younger type improves Triple J’s ratings. If so, perhaps there will be a future at the ABC where the Chaser Boys and Wil Anderson are no longer haunting the ABC hallways.


Veteran Sydney radio presenter John Laws was wont to say that he did not make mistakes when broadcasting – only “Deliberate Mistakes” to entice corrections, comments and so on. Ellie’s (male) co-owner Hendo is something of a disciple of Mr Laws – and has adopted this practice.


As avid readers may well recall, in recent weeks Mike Seccombe – he of The [Boring] Saturday Paper – won MWD’s prestigious “Media Fool of the Week” Gong. He achieved this not-so-glittering prize for stating that government and non-government schools “began with religious sectarianism about 60 years ago [i.e. 1963]” when “the Catholics wanted their own schools”.

This was absolute tosh. As MWD wrote, inter alia: “Catholic schools have been around in Australia for close to 150 years; and government assistance to non-government schools in the 1960s witnessed the decline in religious sectarianism in Australia.”

But there was a Deliberate Mistake in MWD’s correction of Comrade Seccombe’s fudge.  Thanks to the Melbourne reader who identified it. He advised that the Christian Brothers teaching order came to Sydney in 1843 and ran three schools. The Deliberate Mistake? Well, MWD should have written that Catholic schools have been in Australia for around 180 years – not around 150 years.



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Until next time in late January.

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