Archive for the ‘Journalists talking about each other’ Category

Another remarkable Telegraph column – Do as I say not as I do

March 10th, 2015 Comments off

A wonderful addition from this morning’s Sydney’s Daily Telegraph to my “Journalists talking about each other” section. The regular Tuesday purveyor of the paper’s vitriol column – Sarrah Le Marquand – has reached heights of which her peers Piers Akerman, Miranda Devine and Andrew Bolt surely would be proud.

Ms Le Marquand spent a couple of hundred words putting the boot into Mark Latham for his “I hate-youse*-all bile dressed up as an opinion column” that appears in the Australian Financial Review.

haterNothing wrong with that. If you hand it out like Latham you must expect to get it back, and as the Le Marquand writes, that “is the very result he so craves.”

Rather it is the “do as I say rather than what I do” hypocrisy that follows that puts this column onto the Tele’s top shelf.

Latham has proven beyond a doubt he has nothing of substance or merit to impart.

His columns are little more than the attention-seeking tantrums of a self-entitled toddler, so why waste time and energy in reading them? Responding hysterically to every new insult he hurls is only prolonging his shelf life.

Left to his own devices, he is nothing more than a washed-up, embittered has-been.

Ironically it is only the noise made by his detractors that affords him any oxygen. Only when his work attracts the attention it deserves — which is none — will his supply be cut off.

Practising what you preach might have been a good way to start such a process.


The Daily Tele welcoming a new columnist to the SMH

August 9th, 2014 Comments off

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The columnist is dead so long live the columnist. John Birmingham filled the Mike Carlton space in the Sydney Morning Herald this morning and the opposition tabloid gave him a welcome. Noted the Daily Telegraph on its editorial page:

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Veteran Sydney Morning Herald columnist Mike Carlton resigned this week rather than face suspension for his abusive and obscene online comments. The SMH is reportedly considering replacing Carlton with John Birmingham (pictured), who lives in the remote northern Sydney suburb of Brisbane, Queensland. But is Birmingham any less abusive or obscene? Let’s see how Carlton’s possible replacement conducts himself online:

“F… off.” “(The Prime Minister) is such a c….”

“ASIO arse softc..ks.”

“Poor fellow my f…… country indeed.”

“I’d wager a blowjob from a toothless crackwhore hurts more.”

“F… the CIA.” “F… you is more than a policy.”

“Australia’s most f…witted sportscasters.”

“Soft ricotta cheese c..k.”

“F… that old prize stealing wrinkly.”

“Like enduring an aggressive blowjob from a toothless crackwhore.”

“F… them in the nekbeard.”

“(The Prime Minister) f…ed a generation of students.”

“C..kheads. All of them.”

“It’s not really a very conservative government, is it? More like a mob of bugshit crazy f…… radicals.”

Thursday had seen the Tele giving Mike Carlton a farewell with a double page spread no less.

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PROUD hater Mike Carlton has resigned from The Sydney Morning Herald but the controversial columnist is certainly no stranger to the unemployment queue.

Sackings, orchestrated “agreements with management” and inglorious resignations are as customary in Carlton’s colourful career as his aggressive, hate-filled attacks on those who disagree with him.

Carlton’s decision to leave Fairfax Media on Tuesday night is the third time he has been shafted — this time by his own hand. The others were by sacking (Herald, 2008) and happy divorce (2UE, 2009).

Latecomers to the columnist’s modus operandi may be stunned at the expletiveridden abuse towards his Twitter antagonists and appalled Herald readers after his July 26 column lambasted Israel.

But those who knew his ways barely batted an eyelid.

In 2007 on 2UE, on the morning of f late colleague Stan Zemanek’s funeral, Carlton said he would attend only to “check if he was actually dead’’.

Goodness knows what the readers are actually thinking of it all. Not much I would suspect.

Gaza and Australian newspaper circulations

August 5th, 2014 Comments off

The Sydney based duo of Murdoch dailies are having a great time highlighting reports of readers cancelling subscriptions to The Sydney Morning Herald. Believe this morning’s editorial and you might think that old granny has hardly a reader left.


Now I am very much in the camp of those who found the Glen le Lievre cartoon offensive and made that clear soon after it was published.


And I was surprised that my old colleague Mike Carlton (he once was a star on a Mike Willesee current affairs program where I was an abject failure) did not add a note to his last column expressing his regret at the illustration accompanying his words the previous week rather than leaving it to the Herald’ editor to do it yesterday.

But be that as it may, I have no doubt that if people buy newspapers on the basis of the views they contain that the Herald will be winning the circulation battle over the Tele. Public opinion, as I see and hear it in, and on, the media, is very much anti-Israel when it comes to the bloodshed in Gaza. Mike Carlton will have more supporters than opponents for the views he expressed.

A humorous side to a plot to bring down an Abbott

August 2nd, 2014 Comments off

It is one of those stories that you feel guilty about giggling at as you read it. But righteous indignation from a Murdoch paper about journalists hacking computers to get information really does have a humorous aspect.

And there it is on page one of The Australian this morning:


NSW police are close to completing a criminal investigation into computer hacking that led to confidential student records about a $60,000 scholarship granted to Tony Abbott’s daughter being leaked to the left-leaning, online magazine New Matilda.

Wendy Bacon, the prominent journalism teacher and contributing editor of New Matilda, has claimed the leaked information — which also involved a hacker allegedly gaining illegal access to the files of more than 500 other students — was justified in the public interest.

Leaving aside the pot-calling-the-kettle-black aspect, it is an interesting examination by the Oz of the way journalists may gain information and the legal and ethical implications of some of them; another example worth putting on the journalism school curriculum along with the Murdoch press exploits from the United Kingdom.

But what was lacking from this effort by the author Brad Norington is an examination of the merits or otherwise of the New Matilda assertion that the documents it had obtained showed a scholarship awarded to Frances Abbott by the Sydney-based Whitehouse Institute of Design was not based on merit and, being awarded to Ms Abbott only because her father was a “mate” of the institute’s chairman, thus should have been recorded on the Prime Minister’s register of interests.

This matter of substance was covered with “Mr Abbott has dismissed the suggestion he was required to declare a scholarship for his daughter, and the Whitehouse Institute claims it was awarded on merit.”

Big hook nosed Jews

July 28th, 2014 Comments off

From my former Crikey colleague Christian Kerr in the Oz’s Strewth! column this morning comes this observation:

SATURDAY’S Sydney Morning Herald featured a nuanced — not — column on current events in the Middle East by Mike Carlton, accompanied by an equally subtle cartoon of a nasty Israeli with little round pebble glasses and a big nose. Just like, as eagle-eyed spotters at Quadrant noticed, this cartoon from Der Sturmer from 1934. How very tasteful.

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Miranda Devine’s selective selection to “prove” Fairfax hating

July 27th, 2014 Comments off

From Miranda Devine’s Sunday Telegraph column this morning:


Look at the original SMH letters page and decide for yourself who has “an obsession bordering on sickness”.

2014-07-27_atlastA critical and, in my opinion, wrong-headed letter, sandwiched between two that praise the government, does not seem very obsessive to me.

But then, I clearly have different view on many things to Miranda Devine. Consider for a moment the implications of this opinion also offered in this morning’s column:


Now I have no desire to support head-lopping terrorists but I do worry about a system that would allow people with Ms Devine’s views to judge which natural born Australian citizens are to be forever banished from Australia. Just a tad sick and obsessive?



Blaming Labor and the Sydney Tele versus the NY Times

July 9th, 2014 Comments off
The cartoon backed up the editorial view i the stabbing death this week was Labor's fault. As the editorial explained: An Iranian refugee to Australia yesterday appeared in court on charges of stabbing a man to death at Westfield Parramatta. Horrified witnesses claimed the man, an Australian resident since being granted a protection visa in 2010, allegedly stabbed his victim repeatedly with a large knife. The accused killer, Kazem Mohammadi Payam, arrived in Australian waters in 2009. Officials say he carried no identification, yet he was still granted a protection visa the following year. Until 2013, when then-prime minister Kevin Rudd finally restored measures that would deter unidentified arrivals from obtaining Australian residency, discarding visas was a common ruse used by claimed asylum seekers. Having used visas for flights to Indonesia, they were thrown away for the final leg of the journey to Australia.

The cartoon backed up the editorial view – the stabbing death this week was Labor’s fault.
As the editorial explained:
An Iranian refugee to Australia yesterday appeared in court on charges of stabbing a man to death at Westfield Parramatta. Horrified witnesses claimed the man, an Australian resident since being granted a protection visa in 2010, allegedly stabbed his victim repeatedly with a large knife.
The accused killer, Kazem Mohammadi Payam, arrived in Australian waters in 2009. Officials say he carried no identification, yet he was still granted a protection visa the following year.
Until 2013, when then-prime minister Kevin Rudd finally restored measures that would deter unidentified arrivals from obtaining Australian residency, discarding visas was a common ruse used by claimed asylum seekers. Having used visas for flights to Indonesia, they were thrown away for the final leg of the journey to Australia.

The Sydney Daily Telegraph has moved on from sniping at its Sydney rival granny Herald. The world is now its oyster with this morning’s editorial getting stuck in to the New York Times.

9-07-2014 televtimesThe Times, you see, had had the temerity recently to criticise Australia’s attempts to secure its borders, claiming that Australia is “pursuing draconian measures to deter people without visas from entering the country by boat”.

Aside from this being an intrusion into the sovereign affairs of another nation, the New York Times is clearly ignorant of the circumstances surrounding many asylum seeker arrivals. It isn’t that arrivals didn’t or don’t have visas. It is that the documents were deliberately discarded prior to reaching Australian territory. In other words, the very first act committed by these arrivals upon reaching their potential new home was one of dishonesty, intended to thwart background investigations.
The Times continued: “The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, António Guterres, said recently that “something strange happens” in the minds of Australians when it comes to asylum seekers who arrive by boat without a visa.
On the contrary, there is nothing strange at all about wanting to know in detail the background of potential immigrants. The US requires similar checks, as do most other nations on Earth.
Presentation of a visa or other identifying documentation is simply standard procedure.

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The Australian reaches new heights in journalists talking about each other

July 5th, 2014 Comments off

From this morning’s Weekend Australian:

5-07-2014 kenny15-07-2014 kenny2Can anyone actually remember any of the wisdom in any of those Paul Kelly books?

Find similar media items at Journalists talking about each other


The reformed Twitterer Mark Textor denounces the social media vanity of journalists and the online chattering classes

June 30th, 2014 Comments off

Ah, with what nostalgia I remember Mark Textor on Twitter. A source of such entertaining, self-opinionated commentary. And then, alas, the day when he judged himself to have gone too far with his barbs and his retirement into a self imposed Twittering exile.

Those indelible Textor memories came flooding back this morning when, with all the zeal of a reformed smoker denouncing the evils of the evil tobacco, he took to the pages of the Australian Financial Review to denounce the new vanity set loose upon journalists and others of the political class by their devotion to social media.

The Press Gallery is showing dangerous vanity. Quite apart from the questionable practice of one them recently posting pictures of a new Porsche, the obsession with their own importance has lead to a “look-at-us, look-at-them”, Balkanised finger pointing war. The ongoing catfight that is the ABC v News Corp v Fairfax Media is so self-obsessed it now demeans the profession. It certainly demeans their audience who want news, not news about news-people. The left erroneously attacks News Corp for “delivering [Tony] Abbott to government”. But in doing so, are they just feeding the vanity of an editor that believes this fantasy? Political biographies lead to incredibly vain behaviour amongst the players. One practice I have sometimes practised is to march into a bookstore, go straight to the index and see how many times, if at all, I have been mentioned. Moreover, as Joseph Conrad wrote: “Vanity plays lurid tricks with our memory” and many significant political events I’ve witnessed first-hand have strangely disappeared from the pages of more than a few famous biographies I have read from authors involved in those same events, but which don’t fit their legend.

… I fear the vain elites and online chattering classes are the modern equivalent of the puffed-up, perfumed and wigged French aristocracy before the Parisian mob cut their throats, bewildered by reality and unable to fight.

Gerard Henderson both writes and is written about – the commentariat daily for Saturday 21 June

June 21st, 2014 Comments off

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  • The Henderson gigs – Gerard Henderson writing about other journalists, other journalists writing about Gerard Henderson, Gerard Henderson writing about other … and so on ad infinitum. Mike Seccombe knows how to play the game of sticking with the tried and true with this piece that confirms there’s nothing very innovative about The Saturday Paper.
  • Gerard himself in his weekend piece for The Australian gives an explanation of how ” ‘Occupied’ East Jerusalem stunt confuses fact and fiction” with the Lee Rhiannon’s Green-left line being the culprit because it only undermines the peace process. He notes: “Reports from the committee meeting have tended to run the line that Brandis changed Australia’s attitude to the Middle East peace process by describing some of the territories that Israel attained consequent upon the 1967 Six Day War as ‘dispute’ rather than ‘occupied’. In fact, Bishop had flagged the Coalition’s position on this matter in an interview with ABC Radio National Breakfast’s James Carleton on September 6 last year.”
  • Inaction in Iraq would be far too risky for the West Is Paul Kelly’s argument in The Oz but don’t expect to find out what the action should be. He concludes: “Obama has been trapped. His disengagement from Iraq came undone long before his watch was over. That is the reason he needs to refocus now on Iraq. This is Obama’s problem; he cannot use the excuse that it is all Bush’s fault since we have known since 2004 that Bush’s invasion was a mistake. Obama has got to find the capacity to exert real influence without fuelling the Jihadist frenzy.” Thanks for that sage advice, Paul.
  • And if Iraq does not give you enough to worry about, The Oz has more:


  • Why the Kouk is plain wrong sees Henry Ergas give us yet another instalment of the “are we smoking more or fewer cigarettes” serial that has been The Australian’s crusade for the week. With my tobacco industry history I’m too scared to make a comment other than that all will be revealed over time as the excise duty figures are published.
  • In Lib Senators ponder disgraceful use of conscience vote Peter van Onselen takes to Coalition senators threatening to cross the floor on Abbott’s signature policy – the paid parental leave scheme.  It “represents a disgraceful misuse of the conservative right to exercise a conscience vote on issues even when party policy has been set”. – The Weekend Australian
  • An overlooked hero of reform – Laurie Oakes in the News Corp tabloids remembers the role of Bill Hayden as the Opposition Leader who did the hard yards that enabled the later reform years of Hawke and Keating. “Shorten needs to start demonstrating a similar approach to Hayden’s — and soon. … So far, Shorten is vulnerable to government claims that he sticks like glue to policies of the past. Hayden tackled party reform with the kind of courage that Labor could benefit from now, backing intervention in the Queensland branch — his home state — even though it meant falling out with good friends and facing intimidating abuse. And, often defying the factional heavies, Hayden shaped the frontbench that became the Hawke cabinet — one of the best Australia has seen.”


  • Gadfly: Ashby pulls out – Diarist-at-large Richard Ackland flys about the nation for the Saturday thing. Should be read out of commiseration by every real and wannabe freelancer.
  • You can’t keep hiding the ugly truth – Andrew Wilkie writes in The Mercury of the “systemically cruel” live animal export trade. ” Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce has given the green light to live export to Iran after a 40-year boycott. This while regulations are routinely ignored and any effective oversight of the industry is left to noble welfare organisation such as Animals Australia. This is a government content to treat animal cruelty as a growth industry even though the economics of the industry simply don’t add up.”


  • Queensland voters deserve the truth on Labor’s big ideas – “The party’s awesome majority of 78 seats will no doubt be reduced. However those rushing to administer last rites to the Newman Government are moving in haste. … Labor still has not released anything resembling a winning manifesto, and its hapless crew of seven members in Parliament often resemble goldfish tipped out of their bowl. If Labor has any big ideas voters deserve to hear them now.”


  • New Senate, new force or rabble?The Fairfax duo Deborah Snow and James Massola look at the new lineup. “Nick Xenophon, the independent senator from South Australia, is scrabbling for a metaphor to describe how the nation’s upper house will look from July 1. ‘If it were a painting,’ he says, ‘I don’t think it would be a landscape. I don’t think it would be a Picasso. I think the Senate will be more like Blue Poles.’ It’s an intriguing comparison. The famous painting by Jackson Pollock, which hangs in Canberra’s National Gallery a short walk from the Federal Parliament, is a sprawling, chaotic masterpiece governed by eight poles leaning at different angles across the paint-spattered canvas. … The PUP group is already picking off Abbott government measures it won’t support – paid parental leave, the fuel excise increase, the $7 GP co-payment, an increase in the pension age – though its support for the repeal of the carbon and mining taxes look more assured. In the longer term, government strategists believe the Palmer senators can be peeled away on individual pieces of legislation and privately question how long the colourful billionaire can hold his flock together. Coalition party bosses are also keenly aware that a double dissolution could well enhance, rather than decrease, the representation of micro-parties because all 12 senators from each state, not just six as in a regular election, would go to the polls.”
  • No lies in Parliament, just truth deficit disorders – Fairfax’s Tony Wright tackles the use and abuse of liar in the federal parliament.
  • Our politics needs to change. Here’s how Michael Gordon fails to live up the headline but has a good anecdote about the press gallery mid winter ball.
  • The contender. Ben Hills profiles Victorian Labor leader Daniel Andrews for Fairfax’s Good Weekend

It’s official: theguardian australia makes the big time

June 16th, 2014 Comments off

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And now there are three. The Guardian has joined the ABC and the Fairfax press on the News Corp list of media leftists.

From this morning’s Tim Blair column in the Daily Terror:

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A vintage day at The Australian writing about its competitors

June 12th, 2014 Comments off

Another vintage day at the Oz for journalists talking about each other. Even the cartoonist got into the act.

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And another tedious lot of reading it all was.

And I should add that even Rupert Myer, chairman of the Australia Council for the Arts, made a contribution with an op-ed containing some veiled chiding of “our national broadcaster” and a reference to an unnamed paper (it was, yes, those dreaded Fairfax tabloids again) that “in a recent clumsy attempt relying on unnamed sources to raise doubts about the fairness of federal government support towards the Australian Ballet School in Melbourne”, wrote about it as being “a creche for some rich kids”.

The most boring read in newspapers – News on Fairfax, Fairfax on News

June 11th, 2014 Comments off

Enough. Enough.

Both of you. Fill the space with something else.

Whose ally is Putin in another ridiculous attack by the Oz on the ABC?

April 28th, 2014 Comments off

And just when you thought the attacks by The Oz on the ABC could not get more ridiculous, along comes a Sharri Markson item with the added support of a Nicholson cartoon.


The Sydney Tele and the wife of the boss

April 26th, 2014 Comments off

How thoughtful of the Daily Telegraph team this morning to recognise the beauty of the boss’s wife.

2014-04-26_sarahmurdochBut what happened to Lachlan on the male list?

And for a more serious comment on the media have a read of Back to the future – the return of the partisan press


Juanita Phillips and Greg Combet – the Tele sees a point but I can’t

April 25th, 2014 Comments off

25-04-2014 juanitaLast April’s gossip this April is the best I can say for this morning’s offering by the Sydney Daily Telegraph. The story of a retired politician who took his partner on an approved trip when he was a Cabinet minister hardly seems news to me even if the partner was an ABC news reader. Yet the Tele’s headline suggests there was something untoward about Greg Combet and Juanita Phillips doing what other ministerial couples do regularly.

It has taken News Corp attacks on the ABC to a new low point.


The Climate Apocalypse Daily under attack

April 2nd, 2014 Comments off

On a slow news day life can be tough for even “Australia’s leading business commentator.” All that space to fill and nothing to write about. So why not have a shot at the lesser business commentators on the rival daily?

And so it came to pass this morning that the Herald Sun’s Terry McCrann turned his attention to the Melbourne Age. A couple of extracts:


2014-04-02_agelackofenthusiasmWithering stuff.

And all based on a finding in a survey conducted for the Institute of Public Affairs that Australians are reluctant to see their taxes increased when the cause is taking action to curb greenhouse gas emissions. That to me was hardly a surprising finding. Ask the same people if they like paying taxes so mining companies could get tax reductions from accelerated depreciation allowances and the answer would be the same or even more so.

But still, covering the poll was legitimate enough I suppose. Just a pity that there was not enough substance in it to fill up the daily quota of words without the irrelevant excursion into The Age.


Resurrecting journalists writing about each other to welcome Viscount Mike Carlton

April 1st, 2014 Comments off

At last a different theme for my journalists writing about each other section. I got sick of the Murdoch papers slinging off at the ABC and vice versa. The Daily Terror trying to be humorous at Mike Carlton’s expense makes a refreshing change.

2014-04-01_sirmikeI am eagerly awaiting the return of serve.



Australia’s most boring viewing and reading – Media Watch versus The Australian

March 18th, 2014 Comments off

It’s hard to know what’s more boring – other people talking about Andrew Bolt or the ABC’s Media Watch and The Australian taking verbal pot shots at each other. Last night Paul Barry gave us both.

  • Will the ABC apologise to Bolt?
    After comments on last Monday’s Q&A, Marcia Langton says Andrew Bolt is not a racist. But will the ABC apologise anyway?
  • Sorry, John – an update
    Last week Media Watch looked at some selective editing of a letter to the editor by The Australian. This week we bring an update.

Wouldn’t it be nice if just occasionally, just every now and then, the national broadcaster could broaden its horizons to analyse something serious. And no. I don’t mean having another dig at that other Media Watch standby the shallowness of current affairs television.

2014-03-18_tebloidtvOn balance I think I’d rather watch shallow than boring.


A media veteran on a media veteran – the Phillip Adams view of Mike Willesee

March 10th, 2014 Comments off

Media talking about media – Bolt enters the fray

March 9th, 2014 Comments off

Another entrant in what is becoming one of the major news items of the year – competitors complaining about the ABC. Here’s the Bolt Report’s Twitter summary of its own media watch segment.


A sick media disgraces itself while covering each other explaining why it cannot actually tell a story about Schapelle Corby

March 5th, 2014 Comments off

It has to be the sickest media behaviour for years. The way media groups are treating the release on parole of Schapelle Corby is simply revolting. Almost all of the coverage centres not on telling the story of a woman released after being imprisoned on drug smuggling charges but on how media groups are covering other journalists peeved that they cannot bring any actual news about Schapelle.


A dig at the ABC with a sense of humour

March 3rd, 2014 Comments off


Gerard Henderson gracefully accepts an invitation – Fox News versus the ABC in providing a plurality of views

March 1st, 2014 Comments off

Last Saturday, after giving links to some of the strange views of conservative commentators on Fox News, I invited Gerard Henderson to provide some examples in his Media Watch Dog blog of Fox’s left wing commentary that justify a comment he had made that Fox News provides a greater plurality of views than Australia’s ABC. Yesterday he kindly did so:


MWD used to read “Richard Farmer’s Chunky Bits” column in Crikey — until Mr Farmer got sacked. Your man Farmer always managed to be informative and refrained from writing about himself — unlike his successors at the leftist Crikey newsletter like Jane Caro (See MWD Issue 214). And now for something quite substantial.

In his blog Politicalowl last Saturday, Richard Farmer referred to this comment by Gerard Henderson in The Weekend Australian of 22-23 February 2014, viz:

The ABC declines to acknowledge the point. But a greater plurality of views can be heard on Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News channel in the United States than on the taxpayer funded broadcaster in Australia. The ABC does not have one conservative presenter or producer or editor for any of its prominent television or radio or online outlets.

Richard Farmer went on to cite examples of some conservative or right-of-centre presenters and commentators and concluded:

I’ll leave it to Gerard to give some examples of Fox’s left-wing commentary in his Media Watch Dog blog next Friday.

MWD just loves a challenge. Here is a list of Fox News presenters and/or paid contracted commentators who are left-of-centre types — or “liberals” in the American sense of the term.

▪ Bob Beckel: Formerly a Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in Jimmy Carter’s administration and former national campaign manager for Walter Mondale.

▪ Kirsten Powers: Formerly a Deputy Assistant US Trade Representative for Public Affairs in Bill Clinton’s administration.

▪ Geraldo Rivera: A self-proclaimed Democrat voter and vocal supporter of President Barack Obama.

▪ Alan Colmes: A self-proclaimed left-liberal commentator who is consistently critical of conservatives.

▪ Joe Trippi: Formerly a campaign manager for Howard Dean, Tony Blair and Edward Kennedy.

Fox News has one channel. The ABC has two — ABC 1 and ABC News 24 along with numerous radio stations. There is not one conservative employed by the ABC as a presenter or paid contracted commentator on any of its prominent outlets. But Fox News has at least five left-of-centre presenters or paid contracted commentators who appear on its prominent programs.

For the Daily Telegraph “prick” must be a new dirty word

February 26th, 2014 Comments off

2014-02-26_singosprayAlmost a new category – journalists writing about proprietors slanging off at proprietors. The Daily Terror this morning:

IT would have to go down as the spray of the year: Sydney radio tsar John Singleton unleashed yesterday on his onetime would-be business partners at Fairfax Media, calling its chairman a “pompous pr..k” and the CEO an “idiot”…

SINGLETON ON CORBETT – “He’s only got a year to go and then he can be president of the Avoca bowling club or Rotary or something, some self-important, pompous, puffed up job for him.”

SINGLETON ON HYWOOD – “(He is) obviously an idiot.”

FAIRFAX ON SINGLETON – “Anyone who had the misfortune of hearing John Singleton’s deluded and self-indulgent sprays … can only feel sorry for the man.”

And in passing we should note the latest example of hostilities between the Tele’s senior stablemate The Australian and the ABC which made page one again today.


Don’t you just love it when an organ of the Murdoch press takes up the cudgels for ethical journalism?



The tough life of the freelance journalist

February 26th, 2014 Comments off

It’s a tough life being a freelance journalist and don’t I know it. My sympathies, therefore, go to Asher Wolf who at least got a moment of fame via The Oz yesterday.

2014-02-26_freelancersSee more of journalists writing about journalists


The criticism of the ABC returns to The Australian and Gerard has a shot at Crikey

February 22nd, 2014 Comments off

The hostilities have resumed. The Oz returned to attacking the ABC with this editorial comment on Friday:


Fair enough to point out that Ms Bolkan’s was not giving an eye-witness account but more likely that she actually spoke to an eye-witness than did the anonymous author of the editorial.

This morning it was Gerard Henderson’s turn as he returned to a favourite theme.

22-02-2014 gerardJust for the record here are some recent examples, courtesy of Media Matters for America, of Fox’s plurality of views.

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Fox’s Erickson: Businesses Serving Gay Couples Are “Aiding And Abetting” Sin

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Hannity’s Financial Ties To Tea Party Worse Than You Think

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Bill O’Reilly Is Worried About “Homosexual Overtones” In The Girl Scouts

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Meet Fox’s New Anti-Muslim “National Security Analyst”

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Fox Guest Warns That U.S. Could Become Ukraine Without Social Security Cuts

I’ll leave it to Gerard to give some examples of Fox’s left wing commentary in his Media Watch Dog blog next Friday.

In the meantime the current issue is worth a glance as a reminder of what an entertaining writer P.P.McGuiness used to be. The Media Watch Dog has resurrected one of Paddy’s columns from 2006 about the appointment of Mark Scott to run the ABC. Gerard summarises it thus but an abbreviation does not do it justice.

Paddy McGuinness’ 2006 piece was remarkably perceptive. He looked back at Mark Scott’s career at Fairfax Media where he had protected John Howard haters in the Sydney Morning Herald and presided over a situation where The Age became “The-Guardian-on-the-Yarra”. And P.P. McGuinness predicted that Nice Mr Scott would allow the various leftist cliques embedded in the ABC to continue to run the organisation. This has led to a situation where the taxpayer funded public broadcaster has not one conservative presenter or producer or editor for any of its prominent television or radio or online outlets some eight years after Nice Mr Scott’s appointment. Not one.

P.P. McGuinness also predicted that Mark Scott would push the ABC into growth for the sake of growth into numerous new television and radio and online outlets while failing to run the organisation as an editor-in-chief should.

The late P.P. McGuinness – Five Paws – plus a belated Perpetual Indulgence.

[Let’s hope it’s redeemable for atheists/agnostics. – Ed]

And whatever your view might be of Gerard Henderson you would surely agree he has a way of spotting pretentious nonsense as in this commentary on one of the women columnists who the editor chose to replace me with at Crikey:


MWD just loves the angst of Jane Caro – the leading female public intellectual of the left-wing Crikey newsletter. Ms Caro describes herself as a “novelist, author and social commentator”. She used to work in advertising.

Jane Caro’s Crikey column, titled “Caro’s Flotsam & Jetsam”, is a must read in Nancy’s kennel every week – since it gives a wonderful insight into the leftist mindset. Last Wednesday, for example, Jane Caro told her readers that they should not worry too much about the apparent resurgence of right-of-centre parties the world over – since lefties like her were more intelligent than their political opponents. How frightfully reassuring, in a morally superior kind of way.

This is what Crikey’s leading female public intellectual had to say, under the title “The left and the stupid”:

It’s a bit of a dark time for those on the Left of politics these days, and given how far the rest of the world has moved to the Right, being even slightly Left of centre has never been easier. Anyway, those of us on the distaff side of things have to take our comfort where we can find it, particularly in the face of an apparent recovery by the federal government in the polls.

To my astonishment, I found my bit of comfort this week in the Daily Mail of all unlikely places, with this rather delightful bit of research concluding that left-wingers are smarter than those on the Right. Whether it’s better than most of the junk research we see in the media nowadays, I have no idea, but hey, it made me feel a little better for a nanosecond or two. As did this tweet from editor-in-chief Joan Walsh:

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It’s a phenomenon I have noticed myself, and if the Daily Mail story is anything to go by, perhaps it is genetic.

So there you have it. Jane Caro reckons that she and her leftist mates are “smarter than those on the right”. And she has joined forces with Joan Walsh, editor-in-chief of the leftist Salon online magazine, in maintaining that right-of-centre types confuse “you’re” and “your”. [Your kidding. What a brilliant insight from you’re Crikey female public intellectual – Ed].

So, according to Jane Caro, there is a genetic link between bad spelling and right-wing political beliefs – a phenomenon identified by their left-wing opponents. Can you bear it? [Perhaps you should have written – “Can you bare it?” – Ed].

Repetitive nonsense about Murdoch surely bores Guardian readers

February 20th, 2014 Comments off

When stuck for a column item, write about Rupert. So here I am with my latest journalists writing about journalists effort.

Thank goodness for the reminder on The Guardian website that comment is free. You would feel cheated if you had paid to read this repetitive nonsense:

2014-02-20_commentisfreeBy all means give a commentary on the Australian tax laws that allow companies to claim deductions and suggest that the laws are wrong. But surely it is going too far to suggest that the Tax Office is crook and the country’s courts are corrupt.

Did this author really believe this amazing conspiracy theory was worth repeating?



The journalists writing and talking about journalists space is getting very crowded

February 19th, 2014 Comments off

Crikey is in on the act today with its version (free) of the newspaper editors at war that follows my own earlier effort on the same subject – Editors editorialising about editorsThen for those that pay there’s Bernard Keane showing how he can be wiser after the event than other journalists were before it when it comes to that federal proceeds of crime legislation that had the thumpers at the 7 Network yesterday.

Crikey touches as well on the competition that the ABC’s Tony Barry will have as a media watcher too -competition that The Australian trumpets on its website as well:

NEWS Corp Australia columnist Andrew Bolt is being given more airtime with his Network Ten show to double in length to one hour when it returns on March 2. The new-look The Bolt Report will include a new segment, called News Watch, which promises “to put the media under genuine scrutiny”… Bolt said: “I will continue to talk to Australians about the things that matter to them, cutting through the spin without fear or favour. This new format lets me cut through the spin of so much of the media, too.”

As the new and extended Bolt program is to go for an hour perhaps there will be time for Julian Clarke to make regular appearances. Bolt’s boss showed a good grasp of tabloid type language when he emerged to give Tony Barry a spray in the Herald Sun and its interstate counterparts.


Somewhat strangely the serve at the ABC did not seem to be in The Oz although I might just have missed it. Maybe the truce is continuing.

Things are getting stranger and stranger.

No doubt there will soon be room for a blog where a reviewer passes comments on journalists watching journalists writing about journalists


Editors editorialising about editors

February 19th, 2014 Comments off

A variation this morning on the journalists writing about journalists theme that we keep intermittent track of in this blog. Now we have an editor taking to an editorial to castigate one of his peers who was once editor of his own paper.

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It really is a lot of fun – especially this reference in The Australian’s editorial to the Financial Review’s Michael Stutchbury for publishing an article by Neil Chenoweth suggesting there was something wrong with an $882 million tax refund paid to the Murdoch controlled 21st Century Fox:

Stutchbury, who was considered incompetent by staff of this newspaper before his removal as editor, and his senior editors should be held to account for publishing Chenoweth’s blatantly dishonest reporting. It does the AFR no credit when routine business events are dressed up as criminal conspiracies.

One thing the Oz’s editorial did not comment on was the competence of the editor-in-chief who had once made Stutchbury editor.


ABC ignores a denial in main Manus Island “unrest” story

February 18th, 2014 Comments off

I would have thought by now that the ABC newsmen would be going to great lengths to ensure that when there are two versions of what happened in an incident involving asylum seekers that both version were reported. Despite the criticisms from government over the burned hands allegations that was not the case this morning on the ABC News website.

Here is what that website reported in part:

Refugee advocate says there were ‘savage attacks’ on asylum seekers

The Refugee Action Coalition’s Ian Rintoul says the latest incident began with locals breaking into the centre.

“The perimeter fences were breached by locals, the centre had already been evacuated and PNG police and locals carried out systematic attacks, savage attacks on the asylum seekers last night,” he told ABC News Breakfast.

“If there are asylum seekers outside the perimeter fence it’s because they’ve fled for their lives late last night from those attacks.”

He says up to 50 people have been injured inside the compound.

“Bashings, cuts from machetes, with sticks, gunshots were heard overnight,” he said.

“I don’t know of anyone being shot but people – one person we were told – was actually thrown off the first floor of one of the buildings.”

The ABC has been unable to verify Mr Rintoul’s claims.

Note that there is no report of Mr Rintoul’s source for his comments. Presumably he was not present to observe things himself. Note also that “the ABC has been unable to verify Mr Rintoul’s claims.”

Yet down at the end of the story itself, but not mentioned in the story, is a copy of a press statement from the company that runs the Manus Island facility. Presumably that statement is based on the observations of people who were present and it gives a rather different version of events.


Now sitting here in Canberra I am unable to verify anyone’s version of who did what to whom when but because of that I believe the right thing to do as a journalist is to record them both. The ABC should have done likewise.


My goodness, now the Oz is saying nice things about the ABC news!

February 17th, 2014 Comments off

What has happened at The Australian? This morning there is even a kind of praise for the ABC and not a word of criticism of the national broadcaster. From the Media section:

17-02-2014 ozonabcSee also Almost an ABC-knocking free week at the Oz from 15 February


Almost an ABC-knocking free week at the Oz

February 15th, 2014 Comments off

A definite change of pace at The Australian this week. It was virtually an ABC free week on the news pages after Monday’s media section effort about the blacklisting of Piers Akerman.

Only this morning did a little of the familiar knocking reappear but then only in passing in Cut and Paste:

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Schapelle Corby unveiled at Woman’s Day – now you see her, now you don’t

February 11th, 2014 Comments off

The Age is running hard on these journalists commenting on journalist stories. Following this afternoon’s special effort on the media scrum in Bali comes this commentary on a Woman’s Day disappearing photo scoop.

2014-02-11_agewomensdayThe other once serious Fairfax paper The Sydney Morning Herald is also doing its bit of filling out its news space with news about other people’s news space.

2014-02-11_smhon72014-02-11_kochiewilllbewrong(If you missed he Kochie comment the Owl recorded it HERE and I wonder, just in passing, if Mike will help Schapelle find God? We’ll probably read about that somewhere tomorrow).2014-02-11_commentonpayments

And good to see the national broadcaster leading its website tonight with a really important story for a change.

2014-02-11_abcandcorbystoriesAfter apparently been outbid for the main event interview with the released convicted drug smuggler, the Nine Network went in for a little spoiling of its own with this effort:




Life in the Corby media scrum – an excellent example of media writing about media (with an apposite Mike Carlton comment)

February 11th, 2014 Comments off

The examples just keep coming but this is surely of award winning status.


And an appropriate comment:

2014-02-11_mikecarltonOther journalists talking and writing about journalists HERE.


A Helen Razer sub-section – journalists writing about journalists writing about journalists

February 11th, 2014 Comments off

My thanks to Helen Razer in  Crikey today for taking my “journalists writing about journalists” survey to a new level. Thanks to her we now have a “journalists writing about journalists writing about journalists” sub-section.

For other examples see my archive section

Journalists talking about each other

Koch on Corby and 7 network ethics – journalists talking about each other update

February 11th, 2014 Comments off

This morning “the other” was “our own” when David Koch broke ranks on Sunrise to criticise his own 7 Network that media reports said this morning was paying Michelle Corby to tell her story. Said Kochie:

 “I reckon we should have nothing to do with her as a network. I totally disagree with paying a convicted drug smuggler $2 million. I know Indonesia is corrupt and all that sort of stuff, but she is convicted.”

Insiders without Piers is like a Pantomime without a villain

February 10th, 2014 Comments off

There was no one to hiss and boo yesterday. The ABC’s Insiders has sacked the star of the show – the one the audience loves to hate. So what a bland and boring performance it was. Lenore Taylor does not make it as a principal boy although Barrie Cassidy comes close to being a Panto Dame. But where were the comic leads repeating “Oh no it isn’t” so we in the audience at home could reply “Oh yes it is”?

Please bring Piers back. The Sunday pantomime needs him.

At least this terrible ABC programming decision gave the media section of the Oz something to carp about.


Journalists writing and talking about each other: the Oz on the ABC

February 8th, 2014 Comments off

I think I’ll make it a new series – journalists writing and talking about each other. And to kick things off what better than a retrospective of recent offerings from The Australian

8-02-2014 weekendaus1-2-20148-02-2014 theaustralian4-2-20148-02-2014 australian4-2-2014

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And here is a little bit of detail from this morning’s effort:

TONY Abbott faces a push from within his cabinet to call a wideranging inquiry into the ABC’s editorial standards, after his Defence Minister launched an extraordinary attack on the broadcaster for airing unsubstantiated claims that navy personnel physically abused asylum-seekers.

Venting his anger, David Johnston accused the ABC yesterday of having ‘‘maliciously maligned’’ the navy and said he was dissatisfied with ‘‘weasel words of apology’’ from senior management.

The minister’s comments — which follow allegations aired on the ABC’s flagship radio current affairs program AM on January 22 that some passengers were ‘‘forced by the navy to hold on to hot metal’’ on board an asylumseeker boat, causing severe burns and blisters — reflect widespread sentiment in the Abbott government that the ABC’s news and current affairs coverage has a leftwing bias against Coalition policy, and should be reined in.

So much for the page one treatment of the ABC. The detailed analysis is left to the special Media section published every Monday. No surprise to regular readers – yes, I confess to being one – that there was plenty of it.

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