GERARD HENDERSON’S MEDIA WATCH DOG

ISSUE – NO. 669

16 February 2024

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EDITORIAL

  • NEMESIS’ FAILURE TO GET INTERVIEWS WITH 50 PER CENT OF RECENT LIBERAL PARTY LEADERS AMOUNTED TO AN INCOMPLETE DOCUMENTARY

The ABC three-part documentary Nemesis on the Coalition governments headed by Tony Abbott, Malcolm Turnbull and Scott Morrison ended on 12 February. Nemesis, which will be analysed in forthcoming issues, broke no new stories. But it did give insight into the personalities of some Liberal Party and Nationals politicians.

However, Nemesis underlined the problems for a taxpayer funded public broadcaster which is a conservative free zone and alienates many political conservatives.

Half the Liberal Party leaders of the last decade declined invitations to be interviewed. Namely, Tony Abbott and Peter Dutton. This left Malcolm Turnbull (who dropped vindictive assessments of some former colleagues) and Scott Morrison.

In this sense, Nemesis was a fail. In addition to Abbott and Dutton, the likes of Mathias Cormann, Julie Bishop, Abbott’s chief of staff Peta Credlin and Liberal Party operative Brian Loughnane did not appear on the program. Their absence meant that the Nemesis documentary was seriously incomplete – and will remain so as a purported record of the Abbott, Turnbull and Morrison governments.


  • DAVID SPEERS & MICHAEL ROWLAND DAMN BARNABY JOYCE WITH A FALSE COMPARISON

The ABC’s Canberra-based David Speers – who now holds the title of “the ABC’s national political lead” – whatever that might mean – filled his regular ABC TV News Breakfast slot on Friday 16 February, which plugs his Sunday Insiders  program.

Co-presenter Michael Rowland asked “Speersy” (as he likes to be called) about the call by Independent MP Zali Steggall for random drug and alcohol testing in Parliament. The obvious reference was to Nationals MP Barnaby Joyce, who has apologised for having fallen on a footpath in Canberra after mixing alcohol with prescription medicine against medical advice.  The matter is covered in this issue’s “Ellie’s Pedantry Classes” segment.

Comrade Rowland asked Comrade Speers about Mr Joyce.  He gave a somewhat loquacious response (as is his wont) which concluded as follows concerning the former deputy prime minister.  Let’s go to the transcript:

David Speers: [Anthony Albanese] was rejecting the idea of drug and alcohol testing in the building. Barnaby Joyce, for his part – I was sitting in the chamber – he sat there stoney-faced throughout all of it. Um, Coalition MPs mostly had their heads down and didn’t, um, you know, didn’t want to engage as that conversation was going on. They’re not in support of random drug and alcohol testing either. But I would just note finally, the Coalition, when they were in office, people might recall, did try to introduce random drug testing of welfare recipients, uh, back then. And Barnaby Joyce, as Deputy PM, even said “You can’t go to work if you’re smashed or drugged”, in support of testing welfare recipients.

Michael Rowland: Words worth remembering. David, thank you so much.

Turn it up.  There is no evidence that Barnaby Joyce was drunk or drugged when he went into work at Parliament House on Wednesday 7 February.  None at all.  Mr Joyce fell down when walking home at around 10 pm on a night when the House of Representatives was not sitting. Messrs Speers and Rowland should know this.


  • JUSTIN STEVENS’ “SPAGHETTI” GUIDE TO HOW THE ABC CAN ACHIEVE DIVERSITY – WITHOUT IMMEDIATELY REPLACING SUCH POST-COLONIAL PRESENTERS AS COMRADES ADAMS & TINGLE

There was enormous interest in the previous issue of Media Watch Dog which demonstrated that the ABC’s much-proclaimed quest for diversity and inclusion was yet to impact on its key television and radio presenters. As MWD has long proclaimed, the taxpayer funded broadcaster’s key presenters – from Phillip Adams to Virginia Trioli – resemble a white sight screen at a red-ball cricket match. For an illustration see the previous issue of MWD.

In The Australian on 26 January, media writer Sophie Elsworth revealed that Justin Stevens, ABC Director News, had sent a “Dear News Colleagues” email to staff which commenced as follows: “Improving the culture of inclusion in ABC News is a priority…we’ve come a long way from where we were…[but] we still have a way to go.”

It seems that Mr Stevens is – to borrow the cliché – on a journey. Here’s the network of organisations at the ABC – as set out in your man’s cliché-laden email of 25 January – which Comrade Stevens intends to implement to make his fellow comrades “feel safe” at their workplace:

  • There is an Inclusive Team Planning project underway which was created from the News Diversity Advisory Group and ABC staff leader.
  • Justin Stevens has re-started in 2024 his “All-Staff Weekly Town Halls”. They will not be held in town halls – but you get the picture.
  • The ABC’s Diversity and Inclusion Group will have Suzanne Dredge – who is Head Indigenous News – as its News Executive lead. She will implement “cultural safety” in this “space” (another cliché).

According to the Stevens’ memo:

Suzanne taking on this responsibility complements a cohort of incredible people inside the ABC, including the ABC’s Head, Indigenous, Diversity & Inclusion Kelly Williams, who are helping drive positive change in our organisation. Diversity and inclusion in News is the responsibility of the full News Executive and all News leaders are expected to lead in this space.

  • In addition to the weekly “Town Halls”, in the week commencing 29 January, your man Stevens will hold a “listening session with culturally diverse staff in News”. He will also continue “bi-monthly drop-in sessions with First Nations staff”.
  • And there’s more. Here it is:

Bridget Brennan has generously accepted my invitation to coordinate an urgent piece of work for us examining international best practice on providing support in culturally safe newsrooms and bringing ideas and recommendations to the News Executive…. Bridget will be supported in this work by the new Chairs of the News Diversity Advisory Group (NDAG), Kevin Nguyen and Bang Xiao.  Bridget, Kevin and Bang will work in consultation with Social Media Wellbeing Advisor Nicolle White and others.  The work will have a particular focus on the issues that have been raised lately and feedback and ideas that come up in my listening sessions, as well as a special focus on supporting women, culturally diverse and First Nations staff – all of whom are disproportionately targeted on social media and elsewhere.

  • And more still. Mr Stevens has set up meetings with the Media Diversity Australia and with The MEAA’s (Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance) ABC House Committee [This is a trade union; in case you are wondering. – MWD Editor] along with such groups as ABC Belong and the Diversity Advocate Network. Believe it or not: “All this work falls under the People Pillar of our Audience-First News Strategy and will be supported by the News Strategy team.”

Go on. Alas, he did – before concluding as follows:

…what unifies us as ABC journalists is our belief that our roles require us to set aside our personal views as best we can to ensure our reporting is accurate, fair, impartial and independent.

What a load of absolute tosh. It seems that Justin Stevens is in denial about the fact that he presides over a conservative free zone without one conservative presenter, producer or editor for any of its television, radio or online outlets.  In short, there is no political diversity in the ABC.

  • Hang on. There is still more. The Stevens memo contains “additional information” which sets out resources for ABC staff in need of support and advice.

This includes, (i) an Indigenous and Diverse HR Case Advocate, (ii) Trauma Program, (iii) Social Media Support, (iv) Peer Supporters, (v) the Employee Assistance Program, (vi) First Nations Converge/EAP and (vii) the Bonner Committee.

There is also the ABC’s Diversity Inclusion Standing Committee.  Phew, that’s about it.

All this suggests that the ABC has become a huge Mental Health Facility which does a bit of journalism on the side.

Even so, virtually all the ABC leading presenters who bang on about the need for cultural diversity decline to step down from their own jobs and give cultural diversity a real chance.

[Interesting.  But I wonder about the Stevens/Brennan coalition.  On Australia Day, in a news cross with Michael Rowland on ABC TV News Breakfast, Comrade Brennan stated that “Australia always was and always will be Aboriginal land”.  If this is true, er, perhaps Mr Stevens should return his property to Indigenous Australians – maybe to Comrade Brennan herself.  Just a thought.

On another matter. Your man Stevens’ convoluted management style reminds me of the BBC mockumentary W1A where Ian Fletcher (Hugh Bonneville), formerly the Head of the Olympic Deliverance Commission, who had been chosen to be the Head of Values at the BBC.  His task is to clarify, define, or re-define the core purpose of the BBC across all its functions and to position it confidently for the future. Whatever that might mean. – MWD Editor.]


  • NINE NEWSPAPERS CHANNEL MILLS + BOON AND HEDDA HOPPER IN THE COVERAGE OF THE ALBANESE/HAYDON MARRIAGE

Media Watch Dog congratulates Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and his fiancée Jodie Haydon on their engagement and forthcoming marriage.

However, Ellie’s (male) co-owner, who is not a romantic type, is having trouble coping with some of the media coverage of the occasion.  It’s so, well, a Mills & Boon love story.  For example, here’s how James Massola commenced his coverage in  The Age and Sydney Morning Herald under the heading “Albanese’s Proposal”.

Anthony Albanese’s wedding proposal to Jodie Haydon on Wednesday evening – on a balcony under the stars overlooking the green gardens of The Lodge – was the culmination of months of meticulous planning by the prime minister. He had left nothing to chance, booking dinner at Canberra restaurant Italian and Sons, one of his long-time favourites known for its fine dining and discreet service, and taking the old-school romantic approach of waiting until Valentine’s Day.

The pair spent a couple of hours in a private room at the back of the restaurant enjoying a two-course meal – including blue-eyed cod with couscous, saffron and zucchini flowers, pasta with octopus and capers, and another with smoked duck breast – before making the short drive back over the bridge to The Lodge. Thankfully for Albanese, who surprised even his closest colleagues and friends with the announcement on social media on Thursday morning, “she said yes”. The couple… are firm in their love and friendship….

Groan.  If your man Massola ever gets bored in the Canberra Bubble, he could make a great Mills & Boon author or perhaps edit a cookbook.  The inaugural sentences of, say, the novel titled “He proposed/She accepted” could well commence “The couple came together on a balcony – under the stars since they could not get over the stars.  But, in their minds they were in (secular) Heaven.” Or something like that.

MWD recalls reading somewhere in recent times that Nine’s national affairs editor was married not so long ago.  As a romantic songwriter might say “Love and marriage/Love and marriage/Go together like a Horse and Carriage”.  But Mr Albanese was born in 1963 and Ms Haydon in 1979 and do not really need to behold the Massola gush.

MWD was most interested to learn – via Mr Massola – that Mr Massola played a role, as an observer, in the Albanese/Haydon early courtship. As he put it:

In May 2022, after an election campaign announcement about protecting the Great Barrier Reef, I joined Albanese and Haydon for a walk on the white sands of Fitzroy Island.

Haydon was personable, funny and engaging (and made a point of saying she had grown up reading The Sydney Morning Herald). It was clear the couple were quite taken with each other, but there was also a caution, a reserve about entering public life. While she was happy for photos to be taken of the couple, she didn’t wish to speak on the record.

There were other Nine writers channelling Hedda Hopper. For example, Jordan Baker reported that the couple in mid-2020 were “caught kissing in Woolloomooloo”, and that, around that time, Ms Haydon “found her low-key private romance spinning into something highly unusual”.  Really.

And a breathless David Crowe informed the readers of Nine Newspapers (if readers there were) that the PM’s “personal news will ride on that new energy of the amended Stage 3 tax cuts”. And that the marriage plans are “unlikely to hurt Labor at the byelection in the Melbourne seat of Dunkley on March 2”. Phew.

After reading the Massola/Baker/Crowe trio, MWD wept with emotion so much so that his newspaper was almost drowned.  Meanwhile, Ellie’s (male) co-owner ordered online a Mills & Boon modern classic titled A Wedding at the Italian’s Demand. When Hendo is finished with it he will send his tear-drenched copy to James Massola. Can You Bear It?

  •  ALL THE NEWS ABOUT ROSS GITTINS THAT THE SMH, BUT NOT THE AGE, BELIEVES IS FIT TO PRINT

There was considerable interest in Media Watch Dog’s coverage in the last issue of the Sydney Morning Herald’s  10-page tribute to its economics editor Ross Gittins – despite the fact that he is not in Requiescat In Pace (aka RIP) mode.

The “Sydney Morning Gittins” (aka the Sydney Morning Herald) was celebrating “50 years of Gittins brilliance” – writing, er, pretty well the same column for half a century.  The SMH’s fawn again over-the-topism contained some 20 (graven) images of the great man.  However, in Melbourne, The Age (the SMH’s sister equivalent in Melbourne) ran only the Gittins weekly column.

So, what was the news that The Age chose to print in place of the paean to Ross? – MWD hears readers cry.  Here it is (i) reports on the Reserve Bank of Australia and interest rates, (ii) a sketch by Matthew Knott on the ABC’s Nemesis series, (iii) Victoria’s trade in black market vapes, (iv) the Coalition’s tax policy, (v) the Nationals’ position on renewable energy, (vi) Indigenous issues, (vii) the vandalised Captain Cook statue in Melbourne and (viii) the Lawyer X scandal and Victoria Police. Yet the SMH reckoned that its readers are more interested in the boring economics editor than interest rates. Can You Bear It?

  • HILARY HARPER OF LIFE MATTERS REVEALS ALL ABOUT HER LIFE ON A DATING APP

While on the topic of 50 – did anyone catch what the ABC regarded as news fit to hear on ABC TV News Breakfast and ABC Radio National Breakfast on 14 February?  The reference is to the news that Hilary Harper is, or was, dating.

Now, Media Watch Dog’s (male) co-owner was well brought up (a long time ago) and does not ask women of a certain age about their age. But it’s out-there-public-knowledge that Ms Harper is in her fifties.  This is how RN Breakfast described the occasion.

After her marriage of 20 years ended two years ago, Life Matters host Hilary Harper decided it was time to get back out there. And so, she did what any journalist would do, and documented her adventures in and out of love for a new podcast series Dated: Love Online After 50.

How about that? The blurb writers at the ABC reckon that any journalist who is over 50 and whose marriage broke up after two decades will tell everyone about it on the taxpayer funded public broadcaster. But there you go.

Hendo just loves it when ABC journalists interview ABC journalists. So, it was a pleasure to hear the ABC’s Melbourne-based Ms Harper chatting to the ABC’s Melbourne-based presenters Lisa Millar and Michael Rowland, and talking about her (ABC) self.

First up, it seems Comrade Harper had to find out about herself. Let’s go to the transcript – commencing with Lisa Millar’s brief stream of unconsciousness:

Lisa Millar: Good morning to you, Hilary. It’s – you’ve really got to put yourself out there if you’re going to dive into this subject. So, first of all, congratulations for doing that. It is slightly daunting, just the thought of that. But why did you do it? What – I mean, why did you, you know –  tell us a bit about yourself?

Hilary Harper: Well, I had had a very long relationship. And yeah, like a lot of long relationships it goes through ups and downs. But at the end of it, I thought, okay, I need a little bit of time to get back to myself and resettle and work out what I want. And it was a bit startling actually working out that I knew myself a bit less well than I thought I did.

So, what did Comrade Harper find out about HERSELF? – MWD hears avid readers cry.  Well, a friend told her that sex sells.  And so, she changed a photo of her (online) self from a pic of her on a paddleboard to “me being in an exciting night-time outfit”. For the record, viewers did not get to see Ms Harper at night, so to speak.

Then she encountered “Red Herring Poetry Guy” who was just “lovely” but “very intense”.  Alas, he was “not going to lead down a useful path”.  Then there was “Emotional Info Dump Man” – which was a “fine time” for a while with whom she had a lovely date. And then there was “Polyamory Guy” which was “rather startling”. No surprise there – there would have been too much amour in the polyamory.

Then there was this:

Lisa Millar: Any success stories for you that have led to other things?

Hilary Harper: Well, I had a lot of lovely experiences. I had some fantastic pashes on bridges and parks in Melbourne. Because you’ve got to do it all around kids and work, it’s really challenging. But yeah, I think you’ll have to listen to the podcast to find out how it ended up.

MWD can barely wait for details. Was there a pash on Melbourne CBD’s Princes Bridge – and/or Princes Park up Carlton Way?  And then Hilary Harper moved studios in the ABC’s inner-city Melbourne office and did it all again with Patricia Karvelas on RN Breakfast. Here there was – to borrow a cliché – too much information.

The interview commenced with a grab from the Dated: Love Online After 50 podcast.

 Hilary Harper: So, that went well. Let’s just say that we had a lovely lunch and now my lipstick is in complete disarray. And then the day after I have this fantastic, exciting, lovely first kiss – he gets Covid. Is this not the most 2020 dating story ever?….

Yes, it is – but never mind. Then soon after, the interview commenced:

Patricia Karvelas: What happened? Did you get – did you get Covid?

 Hilary Harper: No, I did not get Covid.

Well, that was good news for listeners (if listeners there were) because otherwise the ABC’s Dr Norman Swan – who presents as Australia’s most trusted doctor (even though he has not practised medicine for half a century) – would surely have been called for a second opinion.

At this stage, Hendo decided that there was more important news since Hilary Harper’s story was – like Life Matters – a bit dull. Can You Bear It?

[Speaking of the ABC’s good doctor, he last appeared in MWD in early December 2023 after issuing dire warnings that Australia was about to endure another COVID wave over Christmas-New Year 2023. Based on preliminary data from the National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System it looks like there was a small (relative to previous waves) increase in COVID deaths which peaked in mid-November 2023 before returning to low rates in December and January. Another false prediction by Dr Swan. – MWD Editor]


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.

  • SAMANTHA MAIDEN NAILS IMMIGRATION MINISTER GILES’ ERRORS IN OPPOSITION WHICH CONTRIBUTED TO HIS PROBLEMS IN GOVERNMENT

Samantha Louise Maiden is something of a MWD fave – since she does not necessarily follow the fashion that prevails within the Canberra Bubble (aka the Canberra Press Gallery). Like when she appeared on her regular “Politics with David Speers and Samantha Maiden” slot on RN Breakfast.  The date was 16 February.  When it came to a discussion about the asylum seekers who had been released following the High Court decision of recent memory, news.com.au’s zany political editor had this to say, among other comments, with respect to Immigration Minister Andrew Giles.

Samantha Maiden: But the political handling of this [by the Albanese Government] has been completely feeble and inept. And I think that “The Ballad of Andrew Giles” is one of “Be careful what you wish for”.  Because he was an activist in opposition, basically pushing for the Labor government to have, you know, a very different immigration policy to which it originally had. And Anthony Albanese, ultimately, is the person who chose to put him in that [immigration] portfolio. So, that’s his call and his decision. And this is a portfolio that requires an incredible grasp of detail. And just the absolute incompetence of basically being put under the pump of Peter Dutton asking him for a phone number, then finding out that the Victorian government actually did contact this family, then finding out that when they asked for assurance of their safety that some person in the Home Affairs Department wrote them a letter saying “We can’t tell you what’s going on because we need to protect this former alleged criminal’s, or actual criminal’s privacy.”  I mean, it’s just inept….

Samantha Maiden: Five Paws for recalling the advocacy of the socialist left’s Andrew Giles in advocating opposition policies which the Labor Party cannot implement in government.


  • KAREN MIDDLETON JOINS THE GUARDIAN – SHORING UP THE AXIS

Just when avid readers might have thought that the move of The Guardian Australia’s political editor Katharine (“Malcolm calls me Murpharoo”) Murphy to Prime Minister’s Anthony Albanese media office might have diminished The Guardian/ABC Axis – there is good (along with bad) news.

The good news is that The Saturday Paper’s political editor Karen Middleton will replace Comrade Murphy at The Guardian. In short, Comrade Middleton will move from one left-wing weekly newspaper to one left-wing online daily newspaper – in the process providing balance – of an unbalanced kind.

Since, like Comrade Murpharoo, Comrade Middleton has a regular slot on the ABC TV Insiders program and ABC RN Breakfast – there will be no diminution of The Guardian/ABC Axis – which is good for MWD in that it gives Hendo something to write about.

And the bad news?  Alas, MWD’s support for Amy Remeikis to get Ms Murpharoo’s job came to naught.  Here Ellie’s (male) co-owner was motivated by altruism.

It seems that Comrade Remeikis is one of The Guardian Australia’s wage slaves – this is a Marxist term which the comrades at The Guardian should understand. Especially since The Guardian was founded in Manchester off the back of money made by Manchester capitalists from the slave trade.

It is well known among the Canberra Press Gallery that many rank-and-file Guardian journalists are poorly paid.  As MWD readers are well aware, Ms Remeikis told Insiders viewers some time ago that she would never ask her boss for a five per cent wage increase because it would be futile – and expressed concern at the cost of food and rent in Canberra where she is based.

The solution seemed obvious.  Promote Comrade Remeikis to Comrade Murphy’s job – which would make possible a pay rise.  But, alas, The Guardian Australia’s  editor Lenore Taylor chose Ms Middleton instead. Shame/Lenore/Shame.

Meanwhile, thanks to the avid reader who drew MWD’s attention to an article by Caitlin Cassidy, The Guardian Australia’s higher education reporter. Writing in her own newspaper on 8 February, Comrade Cassidy revealed that she is hanging out in the spare bedroom of her parents’ home in Melbourne – while she searches for a rental in Sydney that costs less than $2000 a week. The rental is to be shared with three others plus a large labrador.

As MWD readers well know, rental costs in Sydney are very high.  Especially since Ms Cassidy, as befits a Guardian journalist, wants to live in the inner-west – as distinct from the suburbs.  Then there’s the possibility that Comrade Cassidy is yet another Guardian wage slave who will, like Comrade Remeikis, struggle to pay the rent.

MWD readers, who wish to help out the real dog-owning Caitlin Cassidy, are invited to “Occupy the Guardian Australia” office to show support for its wage slaves – not all of whom get extra money for appearances on the taxpayer funded public broadcaster.


SPECIAL TAYLOR SWIFT SEGMENT

In recent times, pop star Taylor Swift has been accused of being a plant by the American National Football League (NFL) to drum up ratings, part of a conspiracy by the NFL and the Democrats to drum up support for Joe Biden, and/or conspiring with her Kansas City Chief’s football player boyfriend to increase Pfizer vaccine rates. Or something like that. On RN Breakfast on 16 February, sociologist Dr Georgia Carroll suggested that Taylor Swift has trapped her fans in some sort of psychological prison system.

Dr Georgia Carroll (for a doctor she is) is an expert in fan and celebrity studies, and recently spoke at something called a Swiftposium – an academic conference on Taylor Swift.

The late Jackie (Dip Wellness, the Gunnedah Institute), an avowed Swiftie, used the powers of psychic John Edward to ask Georgia Carroll a few questions:

Jackie: What’s your favourite Taylor Swift song? Mine is The Last Great American Dynasty, as it is one of the few Swift songs to mention a dog.

Georgia Carroll: I couldn’t possibly choose.

Jackie: As a Swiftie I was excited to hear your interview on RN Breakfast, as usually it is politics, news and current affairs which can get a little boring.

Georgia Carroll: Thank you so much, Jackie. As you know, I am also a Swiftie.

Jackie: After hearing what you said about Swifties being manipulated by Taylor to buy ‘merch’ and defending her online, I am concerned I have joined a cult (AKA entered my cult era). Do you think that’s true?

Georgia Carroll: As I said on the radio interview, I prefer to use the term panopticon. But we shouldn’t even be having this conversation – remember, Taylor is always watching.

Jackie: Did you enjoy the big game?

Georgia Carroll: Yes I did, it was very tense. Admittedly I was a little confused by the new overtime rules, but so were the loser 49ers players so that’s okay.  What did you think?

Jackie: As a Buffalo Bills fan I wasn’t happy to see our rivals the Chiefs win another Superbowl. I also bet my entire Taylor Swift merch fund on a Lions v Bills Superbowl – if Taylor is reading this (which I’m sure she is) I know she’ll be very upset. I’m sorry Taylor.

Georgia Carroll: See, this is what I meant – you’re trapped in a fandom prison system.

Jackie: Okay. Thanks for your time.


NEW FEATURE: ELLIE’S PEDANTRY CLASSES

  • IN WHICH PK (FALSELY) DESCRIBES BARNABY JOYCE AS “LAYING” ON A CANBERRA FOOTPATH

It was around Gin & Tonic Time on Friday 9 February that Media Watch Dog learnt of the trouble that befell – literally – former deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce.  It is understood that Mr Joyce – against medical advice – drank alcohol while on prescription medication and stumbled off a garden box onto the footpath in a street in Braddon. The date was Wednesday 7 February.

It turned out that the (fallen) politician got up the next morning and appeared on the Sky News program that afternoon. He subsequently admitted that he made the bad mistake of mixing drinks with his prescription medicine.

Ellie’s (male) co-owner is well aware of the consequences of Original Sin, The Fall and all that and is sympathetic to the repentant politician’s plight.  However, the incident did remind Hendo of this somewhat ungrammatical Irish poem of no known origin:

It was a year ago, September
a day I well remember
I was walking up and down
in drunken pride
when my knees began to flutter
and I fell down in the gutter
and a pig came by and lay down by my side
As I lay there in the gutter
thinking thoughts I could not utter
I thought I heard a passing lady say,
“You can tell a man who boozes
by the company he chooses…”
And with that, the pig got up and walked away

But MWD digresses.  On Monday 12 February, towards the end of the politics segment on ABC Radio National Breakfast, presenter Patricia (“Please call me PK”) Karvelas said this to The Conversation’s Michelle Grattan:

Patricia Karvelas:  Just finally, there’s been, of course, reporting throughout the weekend about Barnaby Joyce – and some images of him laying [sic] on the footpath in Canberra.

To be fair to your man Joyce, he was not laying on the footpath when filmed – perhaps by a Greens’ political staffer. Rather he was alone, talking to his wife on a mobile phone. Moreover, it is not at all clear that Mr Joyce was in any position to lay anything at the time – and, indeed, no one was laid.

Rather he was lying on the footpath.  As the Merriam-Webster dictionary puts it: “Lay is transitive, it requires that the verb has an object; there has to be a thing in person being placed…”. Lying, on the other hand, describes something that is already in position.  As in Barnaby Joyce on that night on a Canberra footpath.

PK – Off to Ellie’s Pedantry Classes For You.


YOU MUST REMEMBER THIS

“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 – and have (sometimes conveniently) forgotten.

  • JOHN HEWSON’S U-TURN ON CRITICS

It’s difficult to determine who is the most boring columnist at The [Boring] Saturday Paper (editor-in-chief Erik Jensen). The problem is that it is a close call between Paul Bongiorno and John Hewson.  So let’s say it’s a dead heat.

Ellie’s (male) co-owner can only manage one column of this duo’s ongoing attacks on the Coalition in general (except during Malcolm Turnbull’s prime ministership) and the Liberal Party in particular on any Saturday.  This time, it’s Hewie (as he used to be called) rather than Bonge (as he still is called). Next time – who knows?

The Saturday Paper describes Dr Hewson (for a doctor he is) as follows:

John Hewson is a professor at the ANU Crawford School of Public Policy and former Liberal opposition leader.

In his boring The Saturday Paper column on 10 February, the learned doctor fanged former Liberal Party leaders John Howard and Malcolm Fraser as well as current Opposition leader Peter Dutton.  In his somewhat turgid prose, Hewson referred to Peter Dutton’s (alleged) “ignorance of detail” on tax and declared that he only supported the original Stage 3 tax cuts to “help his mates at the top end”.  Apparently to your man Hewson, individuals on $150,000 a year are “top end” types.

So that’s clear, then.  The former Liberal Party leader John Hewson specialises in criticising Liberal Party leaders.  But hang on a minute. Media Watch Dog recalls that, soon after he was replaced by Alexander Downer as Liberal Party leader in 1994, John Hewson said that it was wrong for former Liberal Party leaders like Malcolm Fraser to criticise him. Here’s the source:

On 26 May 1994, under the heading “Hewson lashes out at Fraser, Staley”, Don Greenlees reported that “deposed Liberal leader Dr John Hewson lashed out at Mr Malcolm Fraser…for undermining his leadership…”.   The Greenlees reported in The Australian continued:

Yesterday, Dr Hewson criticised Mr Fraser’s statements that the Liberal Party would not have been able to win the next election under Dr Hewson’s leadership. He said former politicians like Mr Fraser should stay out of public debate over the party and their successors. “If you want to give advice, fine. I mean, there are plenty of opportunities to give that advice privately,” he said.

So, John Hewson objected to a former Liberal Party leader criticising him – but he criticises other Liberal Party leaders such as Peter Dutton and John Howard.  Somewhat self-serving, don’t you think.

You Must Remember This.

 

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Until next time.

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