Mark Farrell writes:
Has Gerard Henderson ever looked beyond The Age
and his obsession with its political leaning to see the print media mix
in this country? At last count I had 12 major dailies in Australia.
News Corp owns 7 of the 10 capital city dailies, and one of the
nationals (The Australian). Every one of these papers is solidly
pro-Howard at editorial, opinion and chief political commentator level.
Not one has editorialised otherwise in the last three federal
elections. That leaves the West Australian – covered recently
by Crikey which suggested it was the most conservatively biased in the
country – and the three Fairfax papers. Of these, the Fin Review definitely leans Right, albeit towards a classic economic neo-liberalism instead of Howard populism; the SMH
has a broad mix of writers (including Henderson, Miranda Devine) and
you can’t really say it leans one way or the other. At the 2001
election it editorialised for Howard, and in 2004 it sat on the fence.
That leaves The Age. Henderson got one thing right – The Age
is probably the most left-wing paper in Australia. But by how much?
After all, they’ve published him week in week out for 13 years, and
they editorialised for Howard in the last election. News Ltd owns about
60% of the suburban weekly market, with Fairfax’s hold in that area
limited to mainly Melbourne and Sydney. I don’t think Henderson would
have too much trouble finding another job.

Tony McAdam writes:

I would like to add my two cents to Gerard Henderson’s own understanding of why his column was chopped from The Age.
It certainly could not have had anything to do with the intellectual
and literary quality of his contributions – which were always
stimulating and informed by an exceptional knowledge and understanding
of contemporary history, both Australian and international. As the only
other columnist that I know of, or ever heard of, who has received this
particular honour, back in 1982 (fully chronicled in Quadrant
magazine at the time), I would say Gerard is right on the mark – his
sacking has everything to do with the political culture of the paper
and the fact that its new British editor would seem to be set on making
the paper even more left wing than it has long been, long before he
rocked up.

Jaspan however is under a delusion born no doubt of a lack of understanding of TheAge’s history. The Age has after all already established itself, over several decades now, as the Antipodean equivalent of “the (UK) Guardian
on the Yarra”, with its knee-jerk anti-Americanism and smug putdown of
any ideas that don’t fit into the canon of politically correct thought.
The Age, under its new helmsman, is now apparently determined to transform itself into an up-market version of the (Australian) Guardian. Readers might not know that the local Guardian
is the organ of the piddling Australian Communist Party, its 20-odd
members still consumed (incredible as it may seem) with Marxist
Leninist vigour and committed in opposition to anything inconsistent
with the “thought” of the latest “fashionable” Third World panjandrum,
or the last butchering madman to wave from the Kremlin’s viewing
platform on May Day.

Gerard is also spot on when he says that Michael Leuing reflects the spirit of TheAge,
otherwise how else to explain the prominence of his artistically
primitive cartoons in the paper which unambiguously convey his
detestation for America, John Howard, the West generally and, I have
little doubt, the values of most Australians. The Age is now
set on an editorial course which I suspect will see its circulation
decline drastically, and coupled with the withering away of its
traditional classified ad monopoly (thanks to the internet), will cost
it heaps in readership and revenue in the years to come. Such, I’m glad
to say, is the price for pushing an intemperate minority agenda on a
mainly uncommitted readership who primarily want the news of the day
without all the in-house filtering that TheAge’s
scribes feel it necessary to impose. As for the comment pages, readers
will put up with some loading of the issues but above all they want
some choice, some genuine pluralism of ideas – carried off with style,
a sense of perspective and irony – indeed, the very thing that Gerard
Henderson’s column consistently provided.

A “bleeding heart flat white drinker from the inner west” writes:
I think it’s a bit rich when Gerard Henderson goes on in Crikey about The Age being too left wing. Living in Sydney I’d be glad of some regular left wing columnists. In the Herald we
suffer not only Henderson’s dogged devotion to all things Howard, but
also Miranda Devine’s regular spray at “leftists”,”bleeding hearts”
(it’s nice that some people have a heart, at least) and “inner west
latte drinkers” – for which she is apparently paid, and then Paul
Sheehan’s flailing swipes at whatever takes his fancy that week. To
this crew we now have added Michael Duffy who, while he can write a
sentence without the words “moral relativist” or “elite” in it, is not
exactly on the “left” side of the scale. Of course there are the
occasional pieces (in Sydney at any rate) by the “Left – Right – Left”
Robert Manne and the diverting, but sometimes arcane Ramsey. Maybe the Herald
could do us a favour and ditch Henderson for someone of a more balanced
view who might unskew the present right wing bias in its regular

Thomas Jeffries writes:
So that old
National Civic Council organiser on the Latrobe University campus,
having graduated from John Howard’s office to grafting for anonymous
big-end-of-town handouts for his Sydney Institute (Deputy Director his
wife, Ann Henderson) is squealing about The Age dropping his column. The only disgrace in all of this is that the SMH
continues to run his column and the ABC continues to use him as a
commentator without requiring disclosure of his financial backers.
Long-time observers of Gerard’s columns and commentaries know that were
Gerard to be in the HMV logo he would appear as a poodle rather than
the fox terrier. Clues as to which paymasters call Gerard’s tune rely
on the direct (could recent crass stridency on Middle East issues
reflect an infusion of Lowy Institute or related money?) and the
indirect (using “the dogs that don’t bark tell you the most” principle
– could Gerard’s failure to ever criticise the tobacco industry or
anything associated with it reflect the industry’s genorosity to the
Sydney Institute?) Only when Gerard comes clean about exactly who
finances him and his wife in their Sydney Institute lifestyle support
vehicle, can anyone judge the worth of their commentaries and the
extent to which they are tainted by conflict of interests.

Mike Harvey from WA writes:
am starting to doubt my wisdom in renewing my subscription after
reading the drivel about Gerard Henderson. I consider he is a prime
example of the neo-cons who, with their right wing thinking, are slowly
destroying the Aussie concept of a fair go for everyone. I only hope
for WA he gets the same treatment from our local rag.