Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Hendo-sphere of Henderson Howlers ...

(Above: the contenders, found here).

It is said there are two types of people: those who like Gerard Henderson and those who have met him - Mark Latham

No doubt there are some that might apply that hoary old joke to Mark Latham as well, but it's a fine way to celebrate Latham's latest Gerard Henderson Watch - that's a giant mistake, tiger.

In turn Latham was trading off and celebrating Malcolm Farr's denunciation of Henderson, which was a beauty, if you take the trouble to read Midwinter Brawl: 'Why I called him a complete fuckwit' (naturally News uses asterisks but here at the pond we believe adults have come across the word, the notion and the activity of fucking).

Farr was indignant about Henderson's report of the media ball, a whining, whinging, spiteful spray that you can read in Henderson's fantasy life as a dog, Gerard Henderson's Media Watch Dog, Issue No. 143.

Farr, one of the more insightful, balanced and engaging of the Murdoch pack (he's often called a socialist by the dense readers the Murdoch rags service), didn't hold back.

Along with pointing out a number of factual errors, Farr dubbed Henderson an A-grade banality merchant ... with the tone of a jealous man straining for vindication (yes, someone else paid for Hendrson's ticket to a charity do).

And he called Henderson's home away from home the Sydney Institute for Greyness.

Of course the main point is that Julian Morrow from the Chasers was the host:

If there's one group which makes Gerard grind his dentures more than the Press Gallery it's the Chaser chaps. Others had a good time but Gerard - noted for the magnitude of his sense of humour - had only complaints about Morrow's jokes.

Gee Mal, tell us what you really think:

There is a simpering dullness about Henderson on most writing occasions, but he is free to question the integrity and thoroughness of all journalists.

Naturally there was some simpering dullness on view in Henderson's follow-up piece in his imaginary life as a dog in journalistic satirical heat, Gerard Henderson's Media Watch Dog - issue no. 144.

Henderson, who has the generosity of a gnat, and the willingness to sustain a feud up there with the Hatfield-McCoys, continued the war by giving vent to childish asides and adolescent swipes.

First up he published a letter from Julian Morrow that was marked "not for publication", showing the ethics of a gutter-trawling rag like the National Enquirer, and then indulged in this kind of witty retort:

For someone who has made a profession out of laughing at others – with a little assistance from applied trespass – I am genuinely surprised at your apparent lack of self-awareness...

I now learn that you regarded this comment as “complimentary”. How about that? Most non-narcissists with a degree of self-awareness would have picked the irony.

"Pompous twit" springs readily to hand, though fuckwit is shorter and equally to the point.

Henderson was a bit more cautious and craven when it came to Farr, the one who had called him a fuckwit (Morrow was much politer, but he's a Chaser boy, without the blessing of a spot in a Murdoch rag).

How's this for cockscomb insolence of a saucy kind?

Pardon the one error in my MWD piece on the Mid-Winter Ball. I was so impressed by the colour photo of you on the program that I cut it out and placed it in my cult-of-personality file. Consequently, because of the subsequent hole in my program, I was not able to check your correct position when I wrote MWD last Friday. That’s how it came to pass that I described you as a member of the Parliamentary Press Gallery committee – rather than a member of the Mid-Winter Ball Committee. I will correct this.

That's so pathetic, it's uber-pathetic. Puerile, childish, painful to read. Like Bob Ellis on steroids, and with the same self-serving regard as Ellis. Simpering dullness.

Anyone with a shred of dignity would have simply said sorry, I got it wrong, and moved along, but not Henderson, who never resists an opportunity to show he has absolutely no sense of humour.

Cult-of-personality file? Oh dear sweet absent lord ...

As for the rest, all I can say is that – as a journalist who criticises others – you are remarkably sensitive to light-hearted criticism. All I said about the event was that someone should have said something before 10.20 pm. That’s all.

This from a man who is remarkably sensitive to any form of criticism, light or heavy, and routinely engages in wars with those around him.

One final point. You referred to an unnamed “researcher who provides some of the deep thoughts Henderson parades as his own in columns”.
No such person exists. I do my own research for my Sydney Morning Herald column and for my Media Watch Dog blog.
You seem to have accepted as true a rumour which Mark Latham put around in Crikey.

So now he boasts that it's entirely his own doing that his work is full of errors?

There is of course no evidence that Farr accepted as true a Latham rumour about Henderson having a research assistant.

Sadly Farr knows Henderson too well. Farr might have been making an ironical, light-hearted point, for all Henderson could know. But then - having already got himself into deep water by getting his facts wrong - he keeps on doubling down and compounding his stupidity:

You should know that Mr Latham makes things up and that Crikey does not engage a fact-checker. I would counsel you against running unchecked material which may come across via Google. It’s not good journalism.

Yes, the man who uses a "cult of personality file" as an excuse for an error has the cheek to chide Farr about googling and good journalism. The sheer hide, the unmitigated gall ...

Cue Mark Latham's latest list of Henderson Howlers, but not before Hendo leaves Farr with this:

By the way, I loved the shirt you wore on Insiders last Sunday. Wonderful.

What a pompous prattling prat. Not a clue, and easy pickings for Latham, as he reveals how Henderson seems to get his facts - if any - via Google, which leads to a series of errors, including confusing the 1992 British election and the Sun wot won it headline, with a date in 1979. And this summary of the feud:

The Farr thesis is that Henderson is a shrunken, narrow, miserable sod who received a free ticket to the ball, adding nothing to its charitable fund-raising efforts, but then bagged the event on his blog. This captures the Henderson method perfectly. He is that most despised of Australian characters: a non-stop whinger.

Naturally Henderson attempted to return fire on Latham in both his recent imaginary life as a dog on satirical heat epistles, without seeming to understand how he's actively assisting in the rehabilitation of Latham.

It was funny to see how Mark Latham had sat down to sup with Michael Kroger (and bash Peter Costello), but the minute Henderson tries to make fun of it, the tone turns dreadfully twee and bitter. Henderson routinely rails about salaries - mentioning Mark Scott's pay was one bone of contention with Morrow - so naturally he mentions Latham's fully indexed super pension, the ownership of Sky News and the AFR, and dubs Latham the Lair of Liverpool. Perhaps he's doing it tough at the Sydney Institute and feels underpaid and under-appreciated.

He doesn't seem to understand that the harping makes him seem like the spiteful malicious sourpuss phantom of the Sydney Institute, comically accusing Latham of being a hater when all Henderson's media life as a dog on heat diatribes are full of hate.

Henderson even gets agitated about Latham and Kroger enjoying the chilli crab and crumbed whiting:

How frightfully interesting. Can you bear it?

You silly goose, you've just replicated that bit of dull journalism in your own piece, in an attempt to beat up Latham. How frightfully stupid. No, the pond can't bear it, which is why we never read your life as a media dog on heat.

All this is a natural introduction to Henderson in solemn, serious mode in today's Fairfax rag, Old hatreds resurface in party afraid of a hiding, but inevitably, once you've seen the veneer stripped off, and caught the chipboard of dull petty vendettas beneath, it's impossible to take Henderson seriously.

As usual, it's a mix of sophistry and stupidity. According to Henderson, the Labor government is in power thanks to the help of a couple of rural independents in the lower house, thereby ignoring completely the role of the Greens in the upper house. If the lower house had been effectively stymied by a hostile upper house, and completely incapable of getting legislation past an implacable Tony Abbott, how long would it have lasted?

Henderson's view is informed by his fear and loathing of the independents, whom he likes to bag on a regular basis. Being a hater who makes Mark Latham look like a chilli crab lover, he'll distort a comprehensive analysis just to maintain the rage ...

And if you regularly read Henderson because you like to bash yourself with a verbal baseball bat, how many times will you have read and got off by rote this insight?

There is a considerable ideological divide between a century old party which has its base in the old-fashioned working class and an environmentalist movement whose support is based on voters in relatively secure employment in the public sector, or in white-collar industries.

Reading that, you'd expect that Henderson, in relatively secure employment in his own fiefdom at a white-collar Institute for the spreading of FUD, would be a Greenie.

And for the last four pars there's a ritual bashing of a favourite Henderson piƱata, Lee Rhiannon. To do it, he has to revert to Lee Rhiannon's silly proposal (with Paul Fitzgerald) to move the main Sydney airport outside the basin (Second Airport No Saviour), scribbled for New Matilda back in May and mentioned by the pond way back when ...

But that's the Henderson way, digging back through the entrails, and managing to end up on the same side as Michael Danby and Paul Howes.

Uh huh. Well if the Greens are the problem, the Labor party has a simple solution. Stop relying on their help and call an election right now ...

Which is of course what Henderson wants, but being a dissembler, doesn't say, preferring to cloak the notion with idle history lessons, replete with factual errors, and generous dollops of fear and loathing and cliched stereotypes.

So let's leave the last word to Latham, noting how the befuddled Henderson got his AM confused with his PM in the matter of the mid-winter ball (yes, that's where we've reached in terms of insightful political analysis):

I know Gerard is used to long-winded Institute functions, with his Jurassic Park audience nodding off after their last sip of Milo, but really, Arrivederci at 2pm? No wonder the press gallery ball started late (as the MWD whinger repeatedly complained). According to Gerard it was a 19 hour function — longer even than the time one needs to read a Henderson letter.

And even longer than the time it takes to plough through a repetitive, predictable, dullard Henderson column. When will Fairfax wake up?

The evidence suggests Henderson has become an embarrassment to Fairfax (The Age certainly thought so). At a time when the SMH is struggling to stay alive, how can it afford to carry a columnist who constantly misleads its readers? Names, dates, titles, times are a blur in the fading faculties of the Hendo-sphere (aged 66). Dr Evatt was much sharper, his memory in much better shape, at a comparable age (circa 1960).

Who'd have thought it? Malcolm Farr and Mark Latham nailing the Hendo-sphere to the wall ...

Simpering error-laden dullness. Nailed it ...

(Below: the pond will drink to that).


  1. You silly goose, you've just replicated that bit of dull journalism in your own piece, and on it goes. But, will it bring back Mark Latham? I wish it would, a few asses need kicking.
    Like, Alex Downer, who has joined Mal Turnbull & Greg Sheridan in the Grahame Morris corner for ugly Aussies.

  2. I'm glad to hear you don't read the media dog on heat, DP; I'm concerned enough about your current levels of Henderson exposure.
    In an act of utter self-flagellation, I've taken to reading it in recent weeks. It's like the mainstream Henderson on steroids; featuring the same petty grudges and ancient vendettas as all his other media work, but without the customary Hendo segues and facade of objectivity. It's almost hypnotic; I feel myself losing the will to live and yet I can't look away.

  3. Read a bit of GH's correspondence with Julian Morrow: is he seriously that thick?

    BTW, has he attributed those First Dog pics on his blog? I really didn't have the energy to wade through all that tedious, turgid, dreck to find out.


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