GERARD HENDERSON’S MEDIA WATCH DOG – ISSUE NO. 311
15 April 2016
The inaugural issue of “Gerard Henderson’s Media Watch” was published in April 1988 – over a year before the first edition of the ABC TV Media Watch program went to air. Since November 1997 “Gerard Henderson’s Media Watch” has been published as part of The Sydney Institute Quarterly. In 2009 Gerard Henderson’s Media Watch Dog blog commenced publication.
- Stop Press: AM runs Hugh White’s Let’s-Be-Nice-to-China Line; Mike Carlton Throws the Switch to Abstinence (of the Liquor kind)
- Corrections: MWD Corrects Martin Flanagan Error While Noting His Double Standard
- Can You Bear It? Adam Gartrell; Fran Kelly; Derryn Hinch & Andrea Clarke
- Literary Festivals: An Update – Nancy Gets A Drop on Special Sydney Writers’ Festival “Fringe” Soviet
- Five Paws Award: Step Forward Frank Brennan re Cardinal George Pell
- New Feature: Remembering the False Prophet of Palm Beach – How Bob Ellis Had a Book Pulped in 2001
- Correspondence: Stephen Mayne and Martin (yes, Martin) Flanagan Help Out
- HUGH WHITE BAGS AUSTRALIA’S CHINA POLICY (AGAIN) ON AM
Remember the saying – from the film Love Story – that “love means never having to say you’re sorry”? Well it seems today that being a prominent academic means that you never have to say you got it wrong.
As MWD readers are aware, Hugh White (Professor of Strategic Studies at the Australian National University), has made a lot of Bob-Ellis-style-false-prophecies about the United States, China, Australia and Taiwan. In November 2014, White declared there was a “possibility” of a war in “our region” between the US and China. Around this time, White compared the situation in the Pacific as being “a little like what happened in 1914” – just before the outbreak of the First World War.
In December 2012 the learned professor suggested that Australians should not be “too surprised if the US and Japan go to war with China” in 2013. And in March 2005, White claimed that “we may face…[a] naval battle this year…between the US and Chinese navies, ostensibly over Taiwan’s independence, but in reality over which power would emerge pre-eminent in Asia in the 21st century”.
In spite of this less-than-impressive record, Hugh White was invited on AM this morning to discuss the Prime Minister’s visit to China. Dr White (for a doctor he is) criticised Tony Abbott’s visit to China in 2014. This morning he criticised Malcolm Turnbull’s current visit to China.
You see, Hugh White seems to believe that Australia’s foreign policy should be decided in Beijing and that in any dispute between China and the United States – Australia should support the former. The likes of Malcolm Turnbull, Tony Abbott and Opposition leader Bill Shorten do not happen to support this view.
AM presenter Michael Brissenden said nothing when Professor White twice declared – without evidence – that Australian government ministers in general and the Prime Minister in particular are simply repeating “talking points”. What a load of absolute tosh. No other view was heard on AM this morning.
- IT’S OFFICIAL – MIKE CARLTON’S OFF THE TURPS
Can there be a conspiracy to diminish Media Watch Dog? First, Bob Ellis – the False Prophet of Palm Beach – died. See last week’s obituary along with today’s MWD “New Feature”. Last Sunday MWD learnt that Hinch Live was no longer extant on Sky News.
And now word has come through confirming the rumour that Mike (“I’ll pour the gin”) Carlton is off the turps. Really. Thanks to the avid reader who forwarded (at 4 am this morning) this tweet which your man Carlton sent to cartoonist Paul Zanetti at a minute to midnight last night (usually post-dinner drinks time up Avalon Beach way). Mr Carlton’s rant has been slightly altered to fit in with MWD’s Courtesy Guidelines.
MWD regrets to advise that once this news breaks it is likely that shares in Distillers Company Limited (the makers of Gordon’s Gin) will drop dramatically. [Now that the Philosopher of Avalon Beach is sober, perhaps he might enrol in your Courtesy Classes and learn how to widen his vocabulary. Just a thought. – MWD Editor).
In last week’s MWD, when referring to Martin Flanagan’s incorrect claim that there were referendums over conscription in 1916 and 1917 when, in fact, they were plebiscites – Gerard Henderson called Mr Flanagan by his brother’s first name (i.e. Richard).
MWD is always willing to correct errors and apologises to Martin Flanagan in this instance. For the sake of completeness, MWD also apologises to Richard Flanagan for associating him with his brother’s howler.
Martin Flanagan should attend MWD’s Courtesy Classes. For the record shows that he refuses to correct his own howlers. For example, on 5 December 2015, Martin Flanagan incorrectly stated in The Age that Herald-Sun columnist Rita Panahi had “twittered approvingly” about a comment attributed incorrectly to Voltaire. In fact, Ms Panahi issued no such tweet. Martin Flanagan confused Rita Panahi’s verified account with a parody account.
But Martin Flanagan refused to apologise for the error or to print a retraction. An unpleasant double standard, to be sure. How very Fairfax Media. For more on your man Flanagan, see the “Correspondence” section.
- ADAM GARTRELL’S BRING-A-PLATE TO OFFICIAL LUNCHES CAMPAIGN
What a stunning piece in the Fairfax Media Sunday newspapers last weekend by its national political correspondent Adam Gartrell.
In the Sun-Herald, Mr Gartrell’s article was headed “Taxpayers fund PM’s $300K China lunch”. The clear implication was that Australian taxpayers had to tap the mat and finance a “China lunch” for Malcolm Turnbull and his mates, which will cost $300,000. This is how the article commenced:
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull will enjoy lunch with some of China’s richest and more powerful people when he visits Shanghai on Thursday but Australian taxpayers will be picking up the nearly $300,000 bill.
Mr Turnbull will deliver the keynote address at the Australia Week in China gala lunch as part of his first prime ministerial visit to the middle kingdom. The lunch is the grand finale of the week-long event designed to showcase Australian trade, investment and tourism opportunities. But it won’t be cheap.
What a load of absolute tosh. In fact, as your man Gartrell later conceded, the $300K ($285,000 in fact) was to fund a lunch for close to 2000 guests – Australians and Chinese alike. In other words, the Prime Minister’s trip is about government. As was that of his predecessor Tony Abbott to China in 2014. Perhaps Fairfax Media reckons that the Australian Embassy in Beijing should have asked guests to bring-a-plate. Can you bear it?
- FRAN KELLY INTERRUPTS JOSH FRYDENBERG
What a stunning intervention by Fran (“I’m an activist”) Kelly on Radio National Breakfast last Tuesday. During her interview with Energy and Resources Minister Josh Frydenberg, discussion turned to the issue of negative gearing – as the transcript demonstrates:
Fran Kelly: Some have criticised this [decision to reject a banking royal commission] as a captain’s call by the Prime Minister. Was it a captain’s call? Or did cabinet meet and decide on the rejecting the notion of a royal commission?
Josh Frydenberg: Look it certainly wasn’t a captain’s call. This has been our consistent position, not just under Malcolm Turnbull but previously under Tony Abbott. And, you know, the cabinet discusses lots of issues related to the economy and this is one. But if you ask me what’s the bigger issue today it’s what is the Labor Party’s response to the news that they were actually briefed, Fran, about the disastrous negative gearing policy – that they were told, based on an independent report, that home values would go down and that rents would go up –
Fran Kelly: Sorry to interrupt Minister. But that’s got nothing to do with the banking inquiry that we’re talking about now. And, actually, on the program, we’ve just heard an interview with the Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen refuting that. But that’s not the discussion for here and now – I don’t think – for us. Can we go to your portfolio now, resources?
So, when Fran Kelly did not like what the Minister was saying, she closed down the debate by quoting Labor’s Chris Bowen against Josh Frydenberg and then changed the topic without giving the Minister a right of reply. Somewhat unprofessional don’t you think? – even for an activist. Can you bear it?
- HINCH LIVE – NOW DEAD (APPARENTLY)
News from the Sky News bunker indicates that Derryn (The Human Mumble) Hinch will no longer be presenting Hinch Live on Sundays at 9 pm. What a shame. Hinch Live provided lotsa material for MWD.
Moreover, the demise of the program will mean that Gutless Wonder Hinch will have a permanent excuse for refusing to allow Gerard Henderson a right of reply on Hinch Live to The Human Mumble’s false claims about Hendo’s comments on Cardinal George Pell. See MWD passim, ad nauseam.
So, apparently, Hinch Live is dead. But what an exit. Towards the end of last Sunday’s program, your man Hinch introduced the topic of Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce’s past helicopter travel on government business in his electorate of New England. Yawn. This commenced with a beat-up from Fairfax Media’s Heath Aston – who attempted to equate the Deputy Prime Minister’s helicopter travel on government business with that of former speaker Bronwyn Bishop. Yawn.
And so it came to pass that Hinch Live’s presenter plus his panelists Andrea Clarke and Sara James lectured Mr Joyce at large about travel entitlements. It’s difficult to do transcripts from Hinch Live since Mr Hinch mumbles so much as to lead to a situation where his verbal output is indistinct. However, here are some of the “gems” from Hinch Live last Sunday – transcribed as accurately as possible:
٠ Sara James declared that one time New York mayor Michael Bloomberg “took the subway”. She neglected to mention that New York City is geographically small whereas Barnaby Joyce’s electorate of New England covers some 60,000 square kilometres.
٠ Andrea Clarke then proclaimed: “Look at Turnbull – he’s on a tram or a train or a ferry everyday.” True, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull does use public transport in cities. But he does not use a train or tram or ferry to travel from, say, Werris Creek to Tenterfield.
٠ Sara James then proposed that government ministers should travel by, wait for it, “a big, fat, bus”. The American-born Ms James does not seem to understand that it takes a lot of time to travel from Cairns to Perth by bus – however fat or thin.
٠ Derryn Hinch then mumbled that he travelled in a Jayco Mobile Home somewhere or other but presumably in Melbourne. There you go.
٠ Andrea Clarke then stated that, in US presidential campaigns, “everyone has their own bus”. She seemed unaware of US Airforce One which transports the president or that presidential candidates use jets to cross the United States.
And so it went on. And on. And on. Andrea Clarke wound up by using the occasion to praise Malcolm Turnbull while damning Barnaby Joyce. Let’s go to the transcript:
Andrea Clarke: ….It’s you know, pretty rich when you see Turnbull on a ferry every morning. I mean, I think it’s the most awesome thing to wake up and in my Facebook feed I can see how the PM’s got to work. He’s snapped a shot of the Sydney Harbour. You know, he’s involved, he feels like a very accessible human being. But a chopper? You mention a chopper to anyone and, all of a sudden, you’re like “Hmm”.
Hmmmmmm. It seems that the Melbourne-based Ms Clarke seems unaware that the Prime Minister lives in Point Piper and his office is in the Sydney CBD – just 6 kms away. This is not a common helicopter route. [Did Andrea Clarke really say how “awesome” it is to wake up in Melbourne and learn how Malcolm Turnbull got to work in Sydney? What an exciting life she must live – MWD Editor]
Then the Human Mumble concluded the segment as follows:
Derryn Hinch: Well, I took my first ferry ride in about 40 years the other day from about Cremorne Point across to Circular Quay and thought I should do this all the time. I have an opal card now, you know, in Sydney – like Myki but better – and use it all the time.
Fancy that. How can Sky News viewers get by on Sunday nights without such Hinch Live insights? Can you bear it?
- ANDREA CLARKE LOOKS DOWN ON THE (ALLEGED) RIFF-RAFF
While on the topic of Hinch Live last Sunday, did anyone notice the extraordinarily elitist comment made by Andrea Clarke – without any objection from Derryn Hinch or Sara James. It seems that Ms Clarke believes that educated types like her should vote. But not the hoi polloi who do not have her level of education or sophistication. Let’s go to the transcript as discussion turns on the wisdom – or otherwise – of compulsory voting in Australia.
Andrea Clarke: I think threatening to fine people [for not voting] is a very effective way to motivate people to get to the ballot box. But once they’re there, how do you know that they’re informed? Is that responsible? I mean, I’m against mandatory voting. I don’t think it – I just don’t think it’s effective. Every time I’ve looked around at people around me voting, I haven’t necessarily thought that anyone has any ideas about who to vote for, or what’s going on, or the issues. So why? – why do it?
Why indeed. Why not just deny the vote to anyone who, according to Andrea Clarke’s opinion, do not know what’s “going on”? How snobbish can you get? Can you bear it?
NANCY DISCOVERS “FRINGE” AT THE 2016 SYDNEY WRITERS’ [LEFTISH] FESTIVAL
There was absolutely huge interest in last week’s “MWD Exclusive” – documenting how, once again this year, the Sydney Writers’ Festival is a taxpayer subsidised left-wing stack in which a group of leftist luvvies have invited hundreds of their leftist luvvie comrades to address a literary festival before adoring audiences of leftist luvvies.
Since then, Nancy has sniffed around and discovered that there is also a SWF “Fringe Festival” this year – details of which are about to be released. It will include the following new CONVERSATIONS – replete with the “balance” for which the main annual SWF leftist stack is now famous.
▪ Topic: “Tony Abbott: A Real Nazi or Just a Clerical Fascist?”
How bad is that badass Tony Abbott? Hear Niki Savva, Peter Van Onselen, David Marr, Phillip Adams, Van Badham and Mike Carlton discuss how the Abbott-haters lived through the Abbott dictatorship. A tale of survival. The self-proclaimed leftist/conservative Ms Savva will also reveal the cause of all of Australia’s problems. It’s called PETA CREDLIN. Niki Savva will read from the manuscript of her next book – titled “Peta Credlin: Worse than Madame Mao & Mata Hari”
▪ Topic: “Why Cardinal Pell Should Go to Hell”
Hear Australia’s leading Pell-haters discuss this challenging topic on the fate of Cardinal George Pell in the next life. Speakers include David Marr, Tara Brown (Lebanon willing), Phillip Adams, Fran Kelly, Derryn (“The Human Mumble”) Hinch, Virginia Trioli, Paul Murray, Emma Alberici, Peter FitzSimons, Kristina Keneally, Leigh Sales, John Barron and Mike Carlton – along with Waleed Aly and The Project team.
Music by Tim Minchin. Lisa Gorton will recite a poem – since just so many words rhyme with “Pell”. Such as bell, dell, elle (Macpherson), fell, gel, hell, tell and well (I never).
▪ Topic: “Climate Change – Why the End of the World is Nigh”
A lively evening is ensured as Tim Flannery leads a discussion on why Australian cities will run out of water – or drown under water – by 2030. All due to climate change. SWF attendees will remember the prediction by Dr Flannery that Brisbane would run out of water – a prophecy he made just before the Brisbane Floods of 2011. Suffering from shock, he then bought a property on the water’s edge in Coba Point, north of Sydney on the Hawkesbury. Tim Flannery will discuss why the rain will eventually stop and/or why the water levels will invariably rise (except at Coba Point). Bring a desalination plant and/or a swift water boat.
▪ Topic: “Robert Manne on Robert Manne”
BYO blankets for this special event as the person who has been twice voted Australia’s TOP PUBLIC INTELLECTUAL talks about his wisdom (for eight hours). Followed by commentary from your man Manne’s besties Morag Fraser, Judith Brett and Julian Burnside. All three will initiate a call-out for Emeritus Professor Manne to be voted Australia’s top Intellectual of the Year. Again.
٠ Topic: “Why Julian Burnside AO, QC has a Morality higher than Every One Else’s Morality”
Join a forum in praise of Julian (“I just love flashing my post-nominals”) Burnside AO QC. Speakers include Julian Burnside AO, QC, Kate Durham (aka Mrs Burnside the Second), Robert Manne and Lisa Gorton. On this occasion, Ms Gorton will not write a poem in praise of JB, AO, QC – since nothing much rhymes with “Burnside”.
٠ Topic: “What’s Rai Gaita on About?”
A panel of Rai Gaita admirers will attempt to interpret the Thought of Rai Gaita by looking at his words on the page. Early in the morning. Including the deep and meaningful statement from Professor Gaita that “many people wonder whether there is such a thing as who someone really is”. Hear Helen Garner, Robert Manne, Arnold Zable and Rai Gaita himself discuss the Gaita brilliance. Compered by Mike (“I’ll pour the gin”) Carlton who will host the panel over breakfast at the Avalon hotel. Gin and Tonic available from 8 am.
[That’s quite a scoop. The only problem with the SWF Fringe – as revealed by your dog Nancy – is that it’s not much different from the 2016 Sydney Writers Festival “Real Thing”– MWD Editor]
STEP FORWARD FR FRANK BRENNAN – ON CARDINAL GEORGE PELL
The Jesuit priest and lawyer Frank Brennan has never been a member of the George Pell Fan Club. As MWD recalls, when George Pell was Archbishop of Sydney he called Fr Brennan S.J. typically unhelpful – or words to that effect. So, Cardinal Pell is not a member of the Frank Brennan Fan Club either.
However, following Cardinal Pell’s third lengthy appearance before the Royal Commission Into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, Fr Brennan spoke out about what he termed an anti-Pell witch-hunt which has broken out in Australia. He did so in an interview with America: The National Catholic Review which is available on the Eureka Street website here. This is how the interview commenced (note that 1996 was the year that George Pell became Archbishop of Melbourne and almost immediately set up the Melbourne Response to deal with clerical child abuse in the Melbourne archdiocese):
America: What sense do you have regarding the sex abuse scandal here in Australia and how it compares to the United States?
Frank Brennan, S.J.: In Australia we are not as litigious as you are in America and damages are usually not as high as they are in the United States. But having said that I have no doubt there will be further developments in the law here in Australia. Particularly in light of much of the evidence that many of the bishops have given that seems to indicate that prior to 1996 it would be very difficult to argue that the best interests of the child was the highest priority. Prior to 1996 there was a great lack of awareness among the senior church leaders and there was a lack of action by senior church leaders.
Now without imputing moral blame necessarily, you simply have to say that the system was broken and if you had a system and it was broken and children were being abused because of that, I think you’re talking about legal liability not just moral liability.
America: Despite the fact that you and Cardinal Pell have had your differences over the years, you were pretty public about saying that he deserved due process. What prompted that?
FB: Well, I thought there was a sort of lynch mob mentality developing. A popular singer putting out a song that says he was scum, a coward and a buffoon. Well it’s a free country, singers can say what they like, but to have the song being played routinely on all the mainstream media before he appeared seemed a bit unfair.
But then what was truly objectionable is that the Royal Commission was engaged in two case studies. The first into the archdiocese of Melbourne where Pell had been an auxiliary bishop and then the archbishop. The second was into the diocese of Ballarat where he had been a consultor to the bishop of Ballarat many years before when he was a young priest.
Just before Cardinal Pell was to give evidence there was a leak which must have emanated originally from the Victoria Police Force, suggesting that Pell himself was being investigated for child abuse. Now these are completely unsubstantiated and uninvestigated complaints. To have this complaint emanating originally from the Victorian police force when the Royal Commission on these two case studies was investigating not only the Catholic Church but also the Victoria Police, made it very dubious.
Secondly, Victoria is one of the sponsoring governments of the Royal Commission. To have its own police force in some way involved in a leaking exercise when you have a star witness about to appear, I thought risked muddying the waters significantly. And though Cardinal Pell and I have had our past tensions I was strongly of the view that a witness like that deserved the protections of due process and natural justice.
America: Has anything happened with those allegations?
FB: Well, nothing has happened and Cardinal Pell himself immediately referred the matter to the Victorian government demanding an investigation into the leak. So we’ll have to wait and see what happens with that but it’s not made easy when the Victorian police commissioner himself goes on the radio and says he hasn’t even read Cardinal Pell’s statement. Well that tests the credulity of the situation pretty substantially you’d have to say…
Frank Brennan: Five Paws.
HOW BOB ELLIS HAD A RIVAL’S BOOK PULPED
Nancy’s (male) co-owner did not make it for the non-Christian burial of the born-again atheist Bob Ellis in Sydney last Saturday. It seems to have been a memorable occasion as the False Prophet of Palm Beach was laid to rest up French’s Forest way. Why, someone even referred to the recently departed as an “old-fashioned gentleman”. Which must have come as some surprise to many victims of Ellis’ misogyny.
Late last night – or was it early this morning? – Gerard Henderson was flicking through Bob Ellis’ error-laden memoir Goodbye Jerusalem: Night Thoughts of a Labor Outsider (Vintage, 1997). Hendo’s library contains a surviving copy of the first edition of Ellis’ memoir, which was pulped.
Turning to Pages 80-81, Nancy’s (male) co-owner noted the following reference to Clover Moore dated March 1995. Ms Moore is currently the Lord Mayor of Sydney – in 1995 she had just been re-elected as the Independent Member for Bligh in the New South Wales Parliament. Here’s what “Gentleman” Ellis had to say:
A tie, with a casting vote for Clover. Moore, the jolly Mary Poppinish fag-hag from Paddington (but schooled at Abbotsleigh, an Archdale tory, I bet, in her heart of hearts) seemed possible. I burst in drunk….
How’s that for misogyny? By the way, Clover Moore was in no sense a “fag hag” and she was not educated at Abbotsleigh on Sydney’s North Shore where Betty Archdale was a long-serving principal. What’s more, Ms Archdale was not a Tory. Clearly, Bob Ellis just made all this up – despite Bob Carr’s endorsement that Goodbye Jerusalem “tells it as it really is”. What a load of tosh. A few pages later in the book, “Gentleman”, Bob Ellis reflected how in 1996 “I wanted to break Fran Kelly’s nose” (Page 97).
In recent times, there has been much focus on how, in 1987, Goodbye Jerusalem was pulped due to what Sydney Morning Herald obituarist Damien Murphy referred to as “an unfortunate anecdote” about the alleged premarital sex life of certain Liberal Party politicians and their wives. As usual with “Gentleman” Ellis, a female was his principal target.
Of course, the libel damages to Peter and Tanya Costello and Tony and Margie Abbott were paid by the publisher. The False Prophet paid nothing and received heaps of publicity when he turned up at the court case dressed up like a character out of Waiting for Godot, presenting himself as the victim of a cruel legal proceeding.
For years, Bob Ellis bemoaned the fact that Goodbye Jerusalem had been pulped. But neither Bob Carr’s favourite court jester nor members of the False Prophet’s fan club ever mentioned that Ellis himself succeeded in getting a book pulped. Oh, yes he did.
In 2001, Duffy and Snellgrove published Ellis Unplugged: The public life of a great Australian eccentric by Michael Warby. Bob Ellis, who specialised in defaming others, got mightily upset about what he alleged was a defamation in Michael Warby’s book. The author erred in suggesting that Ellis agreed with abortion. However, Ellis’ demand that Ellis Unplugged be pulped was a bit much coming from someone who proclaimed the right to free speech and all that stuff.
This overwhelmingly popular segment of Media Watch Dog usually works like this. Someone or other thinks it would be a you-beaut idea to write to Nancy’s (male) co-owner about something or other. And Hendo, being a courteous and well-brought up kind of guy, replies. Then, hey presto, the correspondence is published in MWD – much to the delight of its readers.
There are occasions, however, when Nancy’s (male) co-owner decides to write a polite note to someone or other – who, in turn, believes that a reply is in order. Publication in MWD invariably follows. There are, alas, some occasions where Hendo sends a polite missive but does not receive the courtesy of a reply. Nevertheless, publication of this one-sided correspondence still takes place. For the record and in the public interest, of course.
As MWD readers are aware, The Guardian Australia’s deputy editor Katharine Murphy put out the following tweet on 6 June 2014 at 4.33 pm – when that issue of MWD was “hot off the press”. Here is Ms Murphy’s tweet: “Without in any way wanting to breach anyone’s human rights or free speech – why do people write emails to Gerard Henderson?” It’s a very good question. Thankfully, not everyone follows Katharine Murphy’s wise counsel – not even Ms Murphy herself (See MWD Issue 297).
- STEPHEN MAYNE AND GERARD HENDERSON
Avid MWD readers have inquired as to how last week’s correspondence between the City of Melbourne councillor and Nancy’s (male) co-owner ended. The answer is – with a whimper, not a bang. It seems that Councillor Mayne has been attending Nancy’s Courtesy Classes. Here we go:
Stephen Mayne to Gerard Henderson – 8 April 2016
A good considered response Gerard. Well done.
We should do this again.
Have a good weekend, Maynie
Gerard Henderson to Stephen Mayne – 11 April 2016
Thanks for your note. Great idea.
+ + + + +
- MARTIN FLANAGAN AND GERARD HENDERSON
As avid MWD readers are aware, MWD is written in the very early hours of Friday morning. mostly after a little sleep. Consequently, it contains the occasional “deliberate mistakes”. In last week’s issue, Gerard Henderson criticised Martin Flanagan’s piss-poor column in The Age on 2 April 2016 in which he incorrectly described the 1916 and 1917 ballots on conscription and referendums – rather than plebiscites. Alas, Henderson referred to Flanagan as “Richard” (Martin’s fiction-writing brother) – rather than Martin. This could have come about due to the fact that Martin’s engaged in fiction in his 2 April column.
Obviously short of topics, Martin Flanagan wrote about Hendo’s “deliberate mistake” in his (boring) “Saturday Reflection” column in The Age last week. Gerard Henderson wrote the following (courteous) letter yesterday and sent a copy to The Age’s Opinion Page editor. It’s not clear whether Martin Flanagan received this letter. So it is printed here for all to read. We’ll keep you in the picture:
Gerard Henderson to Martin Flanagan – 14 April 2016
Good afternoon Martin
It’s great to know that you are an avid Media Watch Dog reader – your “Saturday Reflection” in The Age of 9 April 2016, titled “The confusion of Gerard Henderson”, refers. By the way, you must be short on material to devote an entire column to me.
Also, congratulations on picking up MWD’s “John-Laws-Style-Deliberate-Mistake” award for last week. No one else noticed that you were referred to as “Richard Flanagan” – the name of your writer brother. This could be because no one much reads your column in The Age on Saturdays and were not aware of your existence. Or perhaps not.
In response to your “Saturday Reflection” of recent memory, I make the following points.
▪ Apologies for mistaking you for your brother. I note, for the record, that in recent times The Age has refused to publish my letters which attempted to correct errors written about me in “The-Guardian-on-the-Yarra”. By the way, a correction has been made on the websites of both The Sydney Institute and The Australian – demonstrating, once again, my inherent courtesy.
▪ Your comment that only “a Tory” could criticise the violence and undemocratic method that was part of the 1916 Easter Rising in Dublin is quite ridiculous. Even for a left-wing Age columnist. The reference is to that part of your column where you wrote:
My column of a fortnight ago was about the severe jolt the 1916 Easter Uprising in Dublin gave to Australian politics. Interestingly, elsewhere in his blog last weekend Henderson questioned the legitimacy of the Irish rebels’ actions in 1916, saying they “engaged in violence” and an “undemocratic act”. That’s a Tory argument. The rebels, and soon enough the Irish people, wanted a sovereign democracy of their own.
If you have read recently published books on Ireland by Irish scholars you would know that not only Tories (whatever that might mean) have made critical comments about the Easter Rising. I refer in particular to the work of Roy Foster, Charles Townshend, Tim Pat Coogan and Ronan Fanning – among others. Not one could be properly portrayed as “a Tory”.
There is a good view for arguing that the independence achieved in 1922 with the creation of the Irish Free State in 26 of the 32 counties in the island of Ireland could have been achieved by peaceful means around the time the First World War ended. You seem to forget that it was the men you refer to as “the rebels” – including Eamon de Valera – were responsible for sparking the Irish Civil War where Irish killed Irish (not Tories).
▪ It is true that the conscription plebiscites of 1916 and 1917 were termed “referendums” at the time. But they were plebiscites, not referendums. This is made clear in the 44th Parliamentary Handbook of the Commonwealth of Australia (Parliamentary Library, 2014) which distinguishes between “Referendums and Plebiscites” viz:
In Australia referendums on questions that do not affect the Constitution are usually called plebiscites. They have no legal force. Three national plebiscites have been held: two on the conscription of troops during World War I and one on a national song in 1977.
In view of the forthcoming plebiscite on same-sex marriage, it is unwise to refer to the 1916-1917 plebiscites as referendums.
▪ I note you referred to your objection of a decade ago to my statement that the ABC is replete with leftist comedians. The comment is even more accurate today. Take ABC 1 on Wednesdays, for example. It’s a left-wing comedy stack with The Weekly (Charlie Pickering, Kitty Flanagan) followed by Adam Hills. And there is John Clarke/Bryan Dawe on Fridays. There are comedians who are not fashionable leftists. It’s just that none of them ever seem to get a gig on the taxpayer funded public broadcaster.
Even your fellow Age columnist Jonathan Holmes has conceded recently that ABC Radio National and ABC Metropolitan Radio are stacked with leftists. The same is true of ABC television – including what passes for comedy on the taxpayer funded public broadcaster’s TV outlets.
As to your proposal that John Clarke should play me – well, I doubt that it would work. But it might be a break in the Clarke/Dawe format of over two decades where your man Clarke and your man Dawe mock both the Coalition and Labor – but always from the left.
Keep reading MWD. And Keep Morale High.
Gerard Henderson AC (aka Always Courteous)
Until next time – keep morale high.
My oh my. Poor, blithering Gerard “Gollum” Henderson will be incandescent with rage after that Media Watch. The silly prick.
Mike Carlton via Twitter, 15 Feb 2016, 9:44 PM
Gerard: You are hopeless…
– David Marr, 12 February 2016
ABC is a weakened and flawed institution for sure but it is a vital balance to ranting prejudices of Gerard Henderson’s boss@rupertmurdoch
Quentin Dempster via Twitter, 10 Jan 2016,
Poor mad Gerard is obsessed. I expect he had an unhappy childhood, always the last to be chosen…
Mike Carlton via Twitter, 25 Oct 2015, 3:27 AM
Sometimes I think of Gerard Henderson like a Japanese holdout, lost in the jungles of Borneo, still fighting the war 20 years after it ended
– Erik Jensen,via Twitter, 16 Oct 2015, 4:50 PM
Gérard Henderson brain missing. Small reward
– Phillip Adams, via Twitter, 10 Oct 2015, 11:16 AM
I’ve been shot at by the Viet Cong. I once met Gerard Henderson. I can take any shit thrown at me…
Mike Carlton via Twitter, 9:22 PM – 9 Sep 2015
Gerard. You are an idiot #insiders
Bevan Shields via Twitter, 9:46 AM, 23 August 2015
“[Gerard Henderson is a] professional filing cabinet”
– Leftist scribbler Jeff Sparrow, Crikey, 13 August 2015
Leaving the house to avoid listening to GHenderson on @774melbourne
– Jonathan Green via Twitter, 31 July 2015
“gerard henderson trending on twitter, omg [looks out window, where the sun is eclipsed and the sky blood-red] oh yeah that makes sense”
– Adam Brereton via Twitter, 31 July 2015
Gerard Henderson on @891adelaide right now & I find myself shouting at my radio. What a morning”
– Louise Pascale via Twitter, 31 July 2015
“oh hell why is Gerard Henderson trending? Has boredom become the new black.”
– MNihilon via Twitter, 31 July 2015
Told I made the late Gerard Henderson’s little blog today. Read it. What a rancorous, nauseating, humourless little turd he is.
– Mike Carlton via Twitter during Gin & Tonic Time on 12 June 2015.
“On Sunday before Insiders…I was giving you a rich and full account of what a weird shit I think you are…”
– David Marr to Gerard Henderson, 1 June 2015
To #swf2015 this morning. Sunlit harbour, fabulous crowds radiating civility. And no Gerard Henderson ! It doesn’t get any better.
– Mike Carlton, via Twitter, 1:48 PM – 21 May 2015
Gerard Henderson’s friday self-harm update is here
– Adam Brereton, via Twitter, May 15, 2015
[Gerard Henderson’s Media Watch Dog is] batshit mad.
– Guy Rundle in Crikey, 14 May 2015:
I’m in the sort of mood that if I saw Gerard Henderson in the street I’d hit him with his own umbrella
– Ben Pobjie, via Twitter, 8 May 2015
It’s a glorious day when Gerard Henderson has a go at you
– Adam Gartrell, via Twitter, 8 May 2015
Meeting of Gerard Henderson Appreciation Society tonight Sydney Opera House phone booth
– Phillip Adams, via Twitter, 28 April 2015, 1.36 pm (after lunch).
“Gerard’s condescension levels high on #insiders this morning”
– Lenore Taylor, via Twitter, 22 February 2015
“Gerard Henderson and David Marr are on #Insiders this week. Like a political Felix and Oscar.”
– Mark Scott via Twitter 19 February 2015 at 1.10 pm
“I once called Gerard Henderson `a complete f%^wit’. I deeply regret that. I was being much too harsh on f%^wits.”
– Malcolm Farr via Twitter 14 February 2015 at 10:14 am
“Oh Gerard. You total clown.”
– Jonathan (“Proudly the ABC’s Sneerer-in-Chief”) Green on Twitter, Friday 3 October 2014, 4.31 pm [Mr Green must be an obsessive avid reader to respond so soon. – Ed]
“Good morning. All the gooder for being attacked (for thousandth time) by silly Gerard in the Oz”
– Phillip Adams via Twitter, 27 September 2014
“What troubles me most is that he [Gerard Henderson] shows such low journalistic standards, yet he is politically quite influential. He is often on Insiders. It’s hard to see why: he comes across as a crank.”
– Kate Durham as told to Crikey, 16 September 2014
“The unhinged but well spoken Gerard Henderson….”
– Bob Ellis, Table Talk blog, 10 August 2014
“Gerard Henderson and Nancy are awful human beings.”
– Alexander White, Twitter, 25 July 2014
“This is my regularly scheduled “Oh Gerard” tweet for every time he appears on #insiders”
– Josh Taylor, senior journalist for ZDNet, Twitter, 20 July 2014
“…that fu-kwitted Gerard “Gollum” Henderson….”
– Mike (“I’ll pour the gin”) Carlton, via Twitter, 12 July 2014
“[Gerard Henderson is a] silly prick”
– Mike (“I’ll pour the gin”) Carlton – tweeted Saturday 27 June 2014 at 4.15 pm, i.e. after lunch
“If Gerard Henderson had run Beria’s public relations Stalin’s death would have been hidden for a year and Nikita [Khrushchev] and co would have been shot”
– Laurie Ferguson via Twitter – 22 June 2014 [By-line: Mr Ferguson is a member of the House of Representatives who speaks in riddles.]
“[Gerard Henderson] is the Eeyore of Australian public life”
– Mike Seccombe in The [Boring] Saturday Paper – 21 June 2014
“Without in any way wanting to breach anyone’s human rights or free speech – why do people write emails to Gerard Henderson?”
– Katharine Murphy, Twitter, Friday 6 June 2014
“[Gerard Henderson is] an unhinged prick”
– Mike Carlton, Twitter, Thursday 12 June 2014
“There’s no sense that Gerard Henderson has any literary credentials at all.”
– Anonymous comment quoted, highlighted and presumably endorsed by Jason (“I’m a left-leaning luvvie”) Steger, The Age, 31 May 2014
On boyfriend’s insistence, watching the notorious Gerard Henderson/@Kate_McClymont Lateline segment. GH: What an odd, angry gnome of a man.
– Benjamin Law, via Twitter, Thursday 17 Apr 2014, 11:21 pm
Can’t believe I just spent my Thursday evening with a video recap of Gerard Henderson. I’m a f-cking moron.
– Benjamin Law, via Twitter, Thursday 17 Apr 2014, 11:23 pm
“[Gerard Henderson is an] unhinged crank”
– Mike Carlton, via Twitter, Saturday 29 March 2014, 4.34 pm
Complete stranger comes up to me: that Gerard Henderson’s a xxxxxx.
– Jonathan Green via Twitter, 8 February 2014