Latham v Henderson:

Gerard Henderson writes: Re. “Latham’s Henderson Watch: liberal with the truth” (yesterday, item 16). It’s fun to know that the superannuated Mark Latham is spending some time on his taxpayer-funded pension (a mere $75,000 per year, fully indexed) reading my Media Watch Dog blog and then writing to Crikey.

MWD  is put together in great haste every Friday and corrections are gratefully received. There have been 17 issues of MWD so far this year – totalling some 100,000 words.

Yesterday Mr Latham identified one error and one typo and made one pedantic point covering MWD in 2012. Unlike the ABC and Mark Latham, I have a long-standing policy of correcting errors and issuing clarifications.  The two mistakes identified yesterday have already been corrected.

On a more serious note, I observe that Mark Latham seems to have dropped his anger management course — hence the wild and angry inventions in his Crikey piece.

  • Latham alleged that I am “a perennial backer and defender of the Catholic Church (priests, altar boys and all that)”. This statement, made without evidence, is wilfully false and defamatory. It is also an example of bigoted anti-Catholic sectarianism.
  • Latham claimed that Viren Nathoo is my “long-time ghost writer”. Mr Nathoo, a young migrant, is an engineer and technology wiz who once worked on The Sydney Institute’s website as a part-time employee. He has never written for me and I doubt that he even reads most of my written material. It is grossly unfair to Viren Nathoo for Mark Latham to associate him with me in such a wilfully false manner.
  • Latham also distorted my reason for discontinuing my brief Spectator Australia column, which Tom Switzer had asked me to do. It is true that I objected to false claims made about me by Latham in this magazine, since I had no effective right of reply. But, as I made clear to Mr Switzer at the time, I quit the Specator Australia because I did not want to be in the same magazine as Latham. Mark Latham may need the financial support of David Barclay and Frederick Barclay, The Specator’s  Brecqhou-based owners. Having the choice of being associated with Mark Latham or declining the Barclay brothers’ money, I chose the latter option.

For the record, I note that — once again in Crikey — Mark Latham has attempted to imitate the writing style which I use for MWD. Since Latham is so good at inventing “facts”, perhaps he should attempt originality in his effort at satire.

The republic:

Niall Clugston writes: Re. Yesterday’s editorial. I don’t think the weakness of republicanism has got much to do with the Queen being “nice” and Australians being “polite”.

We live in a conservative era, and Australians have always been very conservative about their constitution. And the republic referendum of 1999 was one of long line of progressive causes in Australia in which campaigners alienated the working class and then wondered why they were beaten at the ballot box.