GERARD HENDERSON’S MEDIA WATCH DOG – ISSUE NO. 94

13 MAY 2011

“Media Watch Dog on Fridays…is a sort of popular read in the Crikey office”

Crikey’s Andrew Crook on ABC 2 News Breakfast, 24 September 2010.

“Gerard Henderson is big enough to take care of himself, but that doesn’t stop us worrying about him from time to time.  Lately it’s Hendo’s tendency to self-harm that has us losing sleep.

For example, peruse the correspondence he’s published in his latest Media Watch Dog blog…..There’s a part of us that just wants to ask: “Hendo, are you OK?”

– James Jeffrey’s “Strewth!” column, The Australian, 8 November 2010.

“I realise this makes me practically retarded, but until five minutes ago I thought Nancy was Gerard Henderson’s wife, not his dog.”

– Byronbache via Twitter, Monday 7 February 2011

“Before going further can you write to confirm that these emails are private correspondence and not for publication”


– ABC News Radio’s Marius Benson, 11 March 2011. He did go further – see MWD Issue 86.

Media Watch Dog – “disgraceful”, “sick” – Professor Robert Manne, April Fool’s Day 2011

●  Stop Press : Strangely Inarticulate Julian Morrow Pressured by Kara Greiner

● Howlers of the Week: Step forward Martin Flanagan and Alex Millmow

● Nancy’s Picks-of-the-Week : U-Turns by Mark Latham and Robert Manne

● Five Paws Award : Gavin Atkins Nails the Leftist Drum

● History Corner : How the IR System Created Aboriginal Unemployment

● Correspondence : Sassy Sushi Das Writes to MWD from the Guardian-on-the-Yarra (Hooray)

ABC2’s Stuart Menzies On Why Hitler’s Genocide is a Suitable Occasion for “Comedic Exaggeration”.

STOP PRESS

Kara Greiner Puts-Down Julian Morrow

What a wonderful put-down on ABC News 24 The Drum last night when the panel – including The Chaser’s Julian Morrow and the lawyer Kara Greiner – discussed the budget.  Discussion soon turned on so-called middle class welfare.  Mr Morrow and Ms Greiner seemed to be agreeing with one another until the former apparently forgot that he is a fully paid subsidiary of the Australian taxpayer.  Let’s go to the video tape:

Julian Morrow : There is a tendency of people to just feel that the way they’ve run their own budget means that they’re struggling. And then to become reliant on rebates from the government and to think that somehow is part of their entitlement.  I think this is a problem that runs across the board. Both parties have bought into this.  And at some point, um, particularly as – you know – people like us age and become more, um, dependent on different forms of public funding. This is gonna have to stop – one way or another. [Is Mr Morrow really as inarticulate as this? – Ed].

Kara Greiner :  Isn’t your entire income from public funding?

Julian Morrow:  Absolutely. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Indeed. Yeah.  Well, I’m, I’m, I’m feeling it great.  I don’t want it capped.  [Ditto. – Ed].

Not much of a comeback there – which suggests that Mr Morrow was somewhat taken aback by Ms Greiner telling the truth. [Is the average age of The Chaser Boys still 38? – Ed].

HOWLERS OF THE WEEK

▪ Martin Flanagan Revisits 1967 Myth

Last week MWD wrote that Paul Austin had replaced Roslyn Guy as the editor of The Age’s Opinion Page.  The reference should have been to Paul Austin and Sushi Das as co-editors (see Correspondence section).  This is the very same Sushi Das, who according to her Age Profile, left the fashionable suburb of Islington and came to Melbourne to escape Thatcherism.  Pretty twee, don’t you think?

Last week’s edition of MWD was not long out – and Nancy was on her early evening walk – when an email arrived from Ms Das advising that she edits “The-Guardian-on-the-Yarra” Comment & Debate section every Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Well she didn’t exactly say that about the Yarra and all that – but MWD readers will know what was really said.

Thanks for that – since MWD now knows who was responsible for editing Martin Flanagan’s article in last Tuesday’s Age titled “Rose’s champion style went way beyond the boxing ring”.

The column was about the life of former world champion Australian boxer Lionel Rose, who died earlier this week. Martin Flanagan pointed out that around 1968, when Lionel Rose won his world title, life for Aborigines was changing:

Australia was changing. Grossly paternalistic laws such as those that had seen Namatjira jailed in the NT for supplying liquor to a relative were becoming an embarrassment. The year after the Gurindji strike, 1967, saw the passing of the referendum which extended the voting rights of Aborigines and saw them counted as human beings and not numbered among the country’s fauna and flora.

Had Mr Flanagan – or, indeed, Ms Das –  checked the facts, one of them would have noted that the question which Australians voted on at the constitutional  referendum, which was held on 27 May 1967, read as follows:

Do you approve the proposed law for the alteration of the Constitution entitled – “An Act to alter the Constitution so as to omit certain words relating to the People of the Aboriginal Race in any State and so that Aboriginals are to be counted in reckoning the Population”?

Contrary to Martin Flanagan’s claim, the 1967 referendum had nothing to do with “the voting rights of Aborigines”.  Rather, the referendum (when passed) made it possible for the Commonwealth to remove Section 127 of the Constitution – which had prevented governments from “counting” Aborigines “when reckoning the numbers of the people of the Commonwealth”.  In other words, the referendum was about the census – not about electoral enrolment. By 1967 many Aborigines were on the electoral role and voted in the referendum.

Moreover, Martin Flanagan missed the main part of the 1967 referendum.  It also removed that part of Section 51 (XXVI) which prohibited the  Commonwealth from making “special laws” with respect to “people” of “the Aboriginal race”.  After the referendum passed, the Commonwealth was empowered to make laws with respect to Aborigines. Prior to 1967, only the States were able to make laws with respect to Aborigines within their respective States.

Misunderstanding the 1967 referendum is a constant howler in Australian political commentary. Islington please note.

▪ Alex Millmow Brings Up The Double

The Age’s Opinion Page on Tuesday 10 May 2011 also carried an article by Alex Millmow, who had this to say about the budget which would be delivered that evening by Treasurer Wayne Swan:

In bringing down a budget that will impart a mildly deflationary effect upon the economy, Wayne Swan will be unaware that he is perhaps writing his own political obituary. There have been three other Queenslanders who have been federal treasurers and deputy prime ministers who had to face handing down odious budgets.

Interesting theory.  Pity about the facts – and the prophecy.  First up, it is not at all clear that the 2011 budget will “impart a mildly deflationary effect upon the economy”. Then there are the three treasurers who delivered allegedly “odious budgets” – Labor’s Ted Theodore in 1931, the Coalition’s Arthur Fadden in 1951 and Labor’s Bill Hayden in 1975.

Sure, Labor imploded at the 1931 election and “Red” Ted Theodore lost his seat.  But Bill Hayden’s 1975 budget did him no particular harm.  Labor lost the 1975 election but Hayden went on to become Labor leader in 1977. He led the party in the 1980 election before being replaced by Bob Hawke on the eve of the 1983 election. Hayden was a Cabinet minister in the Hawke government and, later, governor-general. His political career extended a decade beyond his 1975 budget.

Arthur Fadden was a Cabinet minister in the Coalition which won elections in 1954 and 1955 before retiring in 1958. His 1951 budget came to be well regarded and Fadden retired at a time of his own choosing.

The 1951 and 1975 budgets were not political obituaries for Artie Fadden and Bill Hayden respectively.

NANCY’S PICKS-OF-THE-WEEK

GREAT MEDIA U-TURNS OF OUR TIME (CONTINUED)

▪ Mark Latham On Asylum Seekers In 2004 – And 2011

This is the entry for 1 February 2004 in The Latham Diaries on the issue of asylum seekers:

The Party even-handled the refugee debate okay, the Left doing what it does best: going through the motions of defeat. I announced a new policy position ahead of the Conference last Friday week—a tougher stance on people smugglers, but a softer stance on TPVs [Temporary Protection Visas]. We caught Howard on the hop and he was slow to attack it.

In other words, in early 2004 Mark Latham was pleased with Labor’s policy on asylum seekers – especially the decision to take a softer stance on Temporary Protection Visas (which were introduced by the Howard Government).

And this is what Mark Latham had to say about Labor’s asylum seeker policy on The Bolt Report last Sunday:

For ten years Labor policy was baloney. The [Gillard] government is ’fessing up to that now… There’s one more domino to fall and that’s the reintroduction of the temporary protection visas…There’s only one big thing left to do and it will come sometime before the next election.  And that’s for Labor to recognise that reintroducing the Temporary Protection Visas stops the flow.

So there you have it.  In February 2004 Mark Latham, when Opposition leader, praised Labor’s policy to take a softer stance on temporary protection visas. And in May 2011 Mark Latham, when a guest on The Bolt Report, called on Labor to reintroduce Howard-like temporary protection visas. In 2004, Mr Latham was satisfied with Labor’s response to the refugee debate.  However, last Sunday he declared that Labor’s refugee policy over the past decade (including, presumably, when he was leader) was “baloney”.

Well, there you have it.  Or not.

▪ Robert Manne Looks At Tony Abbott – Winner (2011) And Loser (2009)

In a lengthy extract in The Age of 2 May – taken from the introduction to Making Trouble: Essays Against the New Australian Complacency (Black Inc, 2011) – Robert Manne looked to the future and declared:

A battle for the future of Australia – on one side Labor and the Greens, the partners of a tense, forced marriage; on the other an increasingly strident populist conservative Coalition under the leadership of Tony Abbott – will be fought out over the next two years.

The issues of the battle will most likely include not only the management of the economy but also Muslims and multiculturalism, asylum seeker policy, the referendum to acknowledge indigenous Australians in the constitution and, above all else, climate change and the carbon tax. Unless the mood of national complacency is successfully challenged, the victor in this battle seems certain to be Tony Abbott.

So, circa mid 2011, Professor Manne believes that Tony Abbott looks like a potential winner.

This is the very same Robert Manne who on the day before the by-elections for Bradfield and Higgins wrote an article in The Australian (4 December 2009) predicting that the Liberal Party, led by Tony Abbott, would be decimated and might implode.  Here is the remainder of The Thought of Professor Manne just over a year ago:

In the week before the by-elections, the Liberal Party has imploded in a way no mainstream party in Australian politics has managed since the Labor split of 1954. It has, moreover, imploded over the absolute unwillingness of its troglodyte-denialist wing to accept even the most timorous legislation on the question of climate change that could conceivably have been devised. In the end, it was the troglodyte-in-chief Tony Abbott, who was elected as leader.

It is a truly barking-mad piece. Professor Manne theorised  (i) that Greens candidate Clive Hamilton might win the Higgins by-election, (ii) that the defeat of the Liberal Party candidate in Higgins would trigger a double dissolution election and (iii) that in the election “the Coalition will be routed”. Professor Manne also declared that “very many Australians would not vote for a Catholic party leader [Abbott] whose religious convictions fashion his politics” and that Kevin Rudd would win the next election.  Needless to say, all of Professor Manne’s predictions turned out to be false.

There you have it. In December 2009, Robert Manne said that Tony Abbott was unelectable and the Liberal Party was doomed.  In May 2011, Robert Manne believes that Tony Abbott “seems certain” to become prime minister of a Liberal Party-National Party government.

FIVE PAWS AWARD 

▪ Gavin Atkins On Jonathan Green’s The Drum Opinion

This week Nancy was most impressed with the analysis of Gavin Atkins (The Australian, May 2011) of the political content that appears on the ABC’s The Drum website – which is edited by Jonathan Green.

According to Mr Atkins, there are some 98 writers who have been published eight or more times on The Drum – and, of these, only one in 12 “would pass muster as being on the right of the political spectrum”.  He named  Glenn Milne, David Barnett, Chris Berg, Kevin Donnelly, Tom Switzer, John Hewson, Niki Savva and Sinclair Davidson. [Hang on a minute.  That John Hewson fellow spends most of his media times these days bagging conservative causes.  How did he get on this list? – Ed].

Gavin Atkins wrote that among “all the writers who are given a regular platform on the ABC website” he “could find only four articles that were in some way supportive of Israel and none in favour of the war in Afghanistan.”  Mr Atkins continued:

By comparison, there are dozens of anti-Israel and anti-Afghan war pieces on the taxpayer-funded website, most of them accusatory and damning. For example, there are at least nine anti-Israel articles by Antony Loewenstein alone, 12 anti-Afghanistan war rants by Kellie Tranter, and many more from Labor Party speechwriter Bob Ellis scattered among his 110 contributions

Gavin Atkins – Five Paws

HISTORY CORNER

ON HOW AUSTRALIA’S IR SYSTEM DESTROYED INDIGENOUS JOBS

In Matthew Carney’s report Return to Aurukun, which went to air on Four Corners on Monday 2 May 2011, the presenter made the following point early in the program when comparing the Aboriginal community at Aurukun in 1991 with over a decade earlier:

Matthew Carney : The community in 1991 looked much poorer and sicker than it did in 1978. Money wasn’t the problem – the town was awash with dole and pension cheques. It was the welfare payments, the sit down money that was funding the drinking. The equal pay laws meant jobs for the men had disappeared. This loss of dignity and money for nothing was a deadly mix.

Hang on a minute. What’s this about equal pay meaning that “jobs for men [of Aurukun] had disappeared”.  Surprisingly, the otherwise good Four Corners report just brushed aside the impact of Australia’s industrial relations system as a factor in destroying jobs for Aboriginal men.

When working in the Melbourne office of the Department of Industrial Relations and Employment in 1983, Gerard Henderson prepared a departmental memo on the impact of Australia’s industrial relations system on creating unemployment within Aboriginal communities in the late 1960s and early 1970s.  After he resigned from the Commonwealth Public Service in December 1983, Gerard Henderson wrote up his departmental paper for an essay titled “How to Create Unemployment: The Arbitration Commission and the Aborigines” which was published in book form in 1985. It can be read here

CORRESPONDENCE – STARRING THE AGE’S SUSHI DAS AND AUNTY’S STUART MENZIES

For a while Nancy was concerned that no one was writing to, or responding to, her co-owner.  Thank goodness that MWD’s luck changed this week – with a little help from sassy Sushi Das and the self-righteous Stuart Menzies.  Ms Das wants MWD readers to know that she now co-edits The Age’s Opinion Page. How about that?  And Mr Menzies still believes that Buckingham Palace and Clarence House erred in not being mug enough to let The Chaser Boys (Average Age 38) sneer at the Royal Wedding.

So read all about:

– how Ms Das co-edits The-Guardian-on-the-Yarra’s Opinion Page each Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, including the occasional opus magnums of one Amanda Vanstone.

– how Stuart Menzies reckons it’s quite okay for The Chaser Boys to do a sketch which presents Prince Philip as a barracker for Adolf Hitler and genocide, all at taxpayers’ expense.

ON SUSHI DAS, RACISM, JOHN HOWARD AND AGE COLUMNIST AMANDA VANSTONE

Sushi Das to Gerard Henderson – 6 May 2011

Dear Gerard,

Just a bit of information to help you get your facts right. The Age now has two opinion editors: me and Paul Austin.

I am responsible for the op-ed page that appears in Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday’s paper. Paul Austin is responsible for the oped page in Saturday and Monday’s paper.

Regards

Sushi

Gerard Henderson to Sushi Das – 12 May 2011

Dear Sushi

Thanks for your email of Friday 6 May 2011.  Apologies for the delay in responding.

It’s great to know that you read Media Watch Dog.  Nancy and I get up in the very, very early hours of Friday morning to try to get the product out by the time (potential) readers get back from lunch.  If they have lunch, of course.

I was aware that both Paul Austin and you are now editing The Age’s Opinion Page.  After all, I buy The Age in Sydney every day – or, rather, every day it arrives. I did not mention you in last Friday’s MWD because I thought that Paul was doing four days a week and you were doing two.   I now realise that you are responsible for the Opinion Page on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday. I will correct MWD accordingly.

As the record demonstrates, MWD is always willing to run corrections and publish correspondence.  The last time I sought to correct serious erroneous allegations made about me  in The Age’s Opinion Page by Professor Tony Taylor, Roslyn Guy refused to run my response in The Age’s print edition.  Now that you and nice Mr Austin have replaced Ms Guy, I trust that The Age will run responses on its Opinion Page when the occasion warrants.

As Opinion Page editor from Tuesday to Thursday, I assume that you are at least partly responsible for The Age’s new columnist, Amanda Vanstone.  How times have changed at The-Guardian-on-the-Yarra.

I well remember the time – way back in 2005, when Andrew Jaspan edited The Age – when you were commissioned to write a regular column.  Alas, the venture did not last long. However, I still recall your inaugural column which was headed: “There is something rotten in Australia: the smell of racism”. The only contemporary politician named in your column was John Howard. In a piece fewer than 1000 words, you used the term “racism” and “racist” over a dozen times.  Wow.

The thesis of your column was that “racism is embedded” in Australia.  Big theme, for sure.  What a pity, then, that your only supporting evidence consisted of two phone conversations with two anonymous real estate agents.  Just two.

In 2005 John Howard’s minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs was none other than, wait for it, Senator Amanda Vanstone. How times change.  In 2005 you were accusing Mr Howard of having “fostered an environment in which racial prejudice can flourish” and having “fuelled racist beliefs”. You also wrote that “the stench of racist sentiment is evident in government policy” including “asylum-seeker regulations”.  As you are aware, Amanda Vanstone was responsible for asylum seeker regulations at the time. And, now, you are editing the copy of Ms Vanstone – John Howard’s former immigration and multicultural minister and The Age’s brand new columnist.  If a politician had done such a u-turn, he or she would be accused of hypocrisy.  Or worse.

Best wishes to you and nice Mr Austin in your new role as editors of The Age’s Opinion Page.  And please, please print the occasional howler for subsequent use in Media Watch Dog.  Like Martin Flanagan’s column last Tuesday – which ran the familiar howler about the 1967 referendum.  Mr Flanagan’s error will get a run in MWD’s “Howler of the Week” spot on Friday – God and Nancy willing.  I trust you will read it then.

Keep morale high.

Gerard Henderson

ON STUART MENZIES, THE CHASER AND WHY THE ABC WAS JUSTIFIED IN RUNNING A SKETCH WITH PRINCE PHILIP AS A LOVER OF HITLER AND GENOCIDE

Gerard Henderson To Stuart Menzies – 3 May 2011

Dear Mr Menzies

I refer to your recent controversy over The Chaser’s Royal Wedding Commentary which was scheduled to be shown on ABC2 on Friday 30 April 2011. I note that, on the ABC Media Watch program on 2 May 2011, you were quoted as accusing the BBC of having been “aggressive…while acting on behalf of Clarence House to enforce the editorial restrictions” which prevented ABC2 from receiving a clear feed from the BBC.

In view of the fact that you supported The Chaser’s Royal Wedding Commentary going to air –  and that you have criticised the fact that it could not be shown on ABC 2 – what is your position on the Prince Philip skit, which was scheduled to be shown on the program? As you will be aware, this skit was shown on Q&A on Thursday and contained the following dialogue – with Andrew Hansen acting the Prince Philip role:

Queen Elizabeth II : [Watching a black-and-white newsreel of Adolf Hitler – the Queen addresses Prince Philip and asks] “What’s he [i.e. Hitler] saying?”

Prince Philip :  “Oh, I’m not sure.  But if it’s about Jews, I agree with all of it.”

I would be grateful if you could answer the following questions:

1.    Do you regard Nazi Germany’s murder of some six million Jews as a suitable topic for comedy on ABC2 or elsewhere?

2.     Do you believe it is funny for The Chaser to depict – even in a comedy sketch – Prince Philip as an enthusiastic supporter of Hitler’s “final solution”?

3.     Do you have any evidence to support The Chaser’s interpretation of Prince Philip as a rabid anti-semitic Hitler-lover?  If so, what is it?

4.    Do you still maintain that the BBC acted in an aggressive manner because it refused to allow The Chaser’s Hitler-humour to be shown by cutting into a live feed of the Royal Wedding?

In view of the fact that the ABC has signed up to the Right-to-know-Coalition, I trust that you will respond to the above queries.

Yours sincerely

Gerard Henderson

cc:      Mark Scott, Managing Director, ABC

Maurice Newman, Chairman, ABC

Gerard Henderson to Stuart Menzies – 5 May 2011

Dear Mr Menzies

I would be grateful if you could:

(i)   acknowledge whether you received my email dated 3 May 2011 concerning The Chaser’s Royal Wedding Commentary and

(ii)         advise whether you intend to reply to this email.

There is no need for a prompt reply.  It’s just that I would like to know whether you intend to respond in due course.

Best wishes

Gerard Henderson

Stuart Menzies to Gerard Henderson – 5 May 2011

Hi Gerard.

Yes I did get your email and yes I do intend to reply.  Sorry it has taken a few days just been a rather busy period here so thanks for your clarification.

Regards

Stuart

Stuart Menzies to Gerard Henderson – 9 May 2011

Dear Gerard

The implications you draw from the sketch would appear, with respect, to miss the point of the sketch and are overstated. The content of the Prince’s Speech sketch and all of the other material intended for the broadcast, does not affect my view about the way the BBC and Clarence House have approached this issue. As you would be well aware, the actions of the BBC and Clarence House were pre-emptive and based on the notion that the terms and tone of commentary about a public event and institution(s) should be controlled by the royal family.

Regards

Stuart

Gerard Henderson to Stuart Menzies – 9 May 2011

Dear Stuart

Thanks for your (brief) note received today concerning my note of 3 May 2011 re The Chaser’s Royal Wedding Commentary.

I note that you stand by your position, expressed earlier, that Buckingham Palace and Clarence House acted improperly in preventing The Chaser’s Royal Wedding Commentary gaining access to a live feed of the marriage between William and Catherine.  That answers Question 4 of my four queries which were sent to you on 3 May.

However, you have avoided answering Questions, 1, 2 and 3. So I ask again – with reference to the “Prince’s Speech” skit which contained the following dialogue:

“Queen Elizabeth II” : [Watching a black-and-white newsreel of Adolf Hitler – the Queen addresses Prince Philip and asks] “What’s he [i.e. Hitler] saying?”

“Prince Philip” :  “Oh, I’m not sure.  But if it’s about Jews, I agree with all of it.”

1.    Do you regard Nazi Germany’s murder of some six million Jews as a suitable topic for comedy on ABC2 or elsewhere?

2.     Do you believe it is funny for The Chaser to depict – even in a comedy sketch – Prince Philip as an enthusiastic supporter of Hitler’s “final solution”?

3.     Do you have any evidence to support The Chaser’s interpretation of Prince Philip as a rabid anti-semitic Hitler-lover?  If so, what is it?

I note that, in your email of 9 May, you dismiss my questions by asserting that the implications which I drew from the sketch “would appear, with respect, to miss the point of the sketch and are overstated”.

So I also ask – with respect, of course – how did my interpretation miss the point of the Prince’s Speech sketch?  Are you seriously suggesting that the point of this sketch was anything other than to depict the Prince Philip character  as a supporter of Hitler’s mass murder of European Jewry?  If there was another point – what was it? Also, if my interpretation was “overstated” – how was it overstated and how would you depict an accurate statement of the sketch?

In view of the fact that ABC management has made much of its commitment to the Right to Know Coalition, I trust that you will respond to my questions and not fob off genuine queries on a matter of public interest with spin and denial.

Best wishes

Gerard Henderson

Stuart Menzies to Gerard Henderson – 11 May 2011

Dear Gerard

The subject of the sketch was Prince Philip’s well documented propensity to make inappropriate statements. Many of the lines used in the sketch were reworkings of his documented comments. The sequence using the Hitler newsreel is comedic exaggeration, it is no more to be taken as literally true as the suggestion that Prince Philip was a patient of Lionel Logue.  I suggest that the point was missed for the very reason that you seem to want the sketch to be literally true, it is clearly not so. So, as to the questions: 1). Hitler’s final solution was not the subject of this sketch. 2). I think the sketch was funny. To reduce it to its component parts is to misunderstand the nature of its comedic construction. 3). No, but this as I have said is not the point.

I think your comments are overstated for two reasons. Firstly because you presume that the audience engages with the information in the sketch literally which I think underestimates the intelligence of our viewers and secondly that any reference to Nazism should be out of bounds for comedy purposes is an opinion with which I do not agree.

Regards

Stuart

Gerard Henderson to Stuart Menzies – 11 May 2011

Dear Stuart

Thanks for your note.  I must say, I admire your front.  You still believe that Buckingham Palace and Clarence House should have allowed ABC2 to splice into the official BBC feed of the Royal wedding a Chaser sketch presenting Prince Philip as backing Adolf Hitler’s murder of European Jewry.

This not long after ABC management defended another Chaser sketch which had Andrew Hansen singing the following words:

Princess Di was just a slut for sex/when they looked in the car wreck/her dress was wet with Arab semen stains.

So, according to ABC management, it is appropriate for The Chaser to present William’s grandfather as a Hitler-lover and his mother as a slut – but inappropriate for the Palace and Clarence House to object to providing a platform for an exercise of the Chaser’s “humour” about the wedding of William and Catherine. Some front.

In today’s email you wrote:

The sequence using the Hitler newsreel is comic exaggeration, it is no more to be taken as literally true as the suggestion that Prince Philip was a patient of Lionel Logue.

What an extraordinary statement.  You believe that there is no difference between a “comic exaggeration” which depicts Prince Philip as a patient of a speech therapist and one which depicts him as a supporter of genocide.  I would be interested in whether the ABC managing director agrees with this view.  Perhaps he does, but I hope he doesn’t.

I also note that your statement “Hitler’s final solution was not the subject” of the Prince Philip sketch. As you know, this was as follows:

“Queen Elizabeth II” : [Watching a black-and-white newsreel of Adolf Hitler – the Queen addresses Prince Philip and asks] “What’s he [i.e. Hitler] saying?”

“Prince Philip” :  “Oh, I’m not sure.  But if it’s about Jews, I agree with all of it.”

So, if Hitler’s “Final Solution” was not the subject of the sketch – then, what was?  Are you seriously suggesting that in the black-and-white footage, depicted in the sketch, Hitler might have been talking about, say, Jewish fashion or, perhaps, Jewish food?

Contrary to your (undocumented) assertion, I have never said that “any reference to Nazism should be out of bounds for comedy purposes”.  You just made this up. Nevertheless, there should be some boundaries when what you term the “comedic exaggeration” involves the mass murder of millions of innocent non-combatants.  Likewise, a boundary should apply when a “comedic exaggeration” leads to the female victim of car accident being described as a “slut for sex”.

Best wishes

Gerard Henderson

cc:      Mark Scott, Managing Director, ABC

Maurice Newman, Chairman, ABC

* * * * *

That’s all until next time.  Keep those cards, letters and emails coming.