Gerard Henderson can be a poisonous little toad when he puts his mind to it. To drag my wife into the Jonestown brawl, as he did in Crikey yesterday, is the sort of nasty irrelevance we have come to expect from him. “Mrs Carlton”, he called her, with old-fashioned sexist condescension. It will no doubt come as a surprise to him and Mrs Henderson, but a lot of married women don’t automatically take the husband’s surname these days. Fancy that.

He and the rest of Alan Jones’s frothing crew of admirers resolutely ignore the central theme of the Masters book. It is not Jones’s homos-xuality that’s the problem; it’s his dishonesty as a broadcaster and its baleful effect on, among other things, the body politic.

But the right wing rabble – Henderson himself, Devine, Flint, Pearson, Akerman, and Bolt, the Melbourne village idiot – won’t touch that with a barge pole. Jones is to be defended at all costs, so they hide behind the smokescreen of attacking his critics as homophobes. 

David Marr a gay-basher? Oh, please. This is a breathtaking piece of hypocrisy from people who, over the years, have revelled in putting the boot into the Sydney Gay Mardi Gras, Justice Michael Kirby, gay marriage, gay rights at law and so on.

Henderson’s endless posturing as the high arbiter of ethics in the media is tedious and disingenuous. The chair of the board of his family business, the Sydney Institute, happens to be Ms Meredith Hellicar, who is also chair of James Hardie. Is Gerard taking money from the asbestos killers? I think we should be told.

Meanwhile, Margaret Simons writes:

Alas, Gerard Henderson finds me disingenuous, but I think he mistakes my meaning. I did not intend to imply that Henderson had written about Alan Jones’s s-xuality. I acknowledge that Henderson has been consistent and staunch in opposing such explorations.

The part of my review of Jonestown where I referred, in passing, to Henderson dealt with Masters’s sourcing and footnotes. I was countering David Flint’s suggestion that the main sources for the book were anonymous. The “nice twist” I saw was nothing to do with s-xuality, but the irony of Henderson’s earlier work being so useful to Masters, while Henderson himself supported the ABC Board’s decision to stop publication of the book.

Having said all that, I would be genuinely interested to know Henderson’s response to the rest of Masters’s revelations about Jones – the multiple abuses of power, the distortion of policy process, the lies and the venality.

CRIKEY: For the record, Alan Jones and 2GB lost ground in the latest radio survey figures, released yesterday. In his third consecutive dip in the ratings since June, Jones still dominates with a 14.5% share of the breakfast market. Meanwhile his breakfast competitor at 2UE – Mike Carlton – increased his position to 9.7%.