Groupthink and the ABC

Gerard Henderson, executive director of The Sydney Institute, writes: Re. “Groupthink hits the Right” (yesterday). It’s great that Andrew Crook  is a dedicated follower of my Media Watch Dog blog. And it’s pleasing to learn that he has noticed my critique of many an ABC program where everyone agrees with everyone else — in a leftist kind of way, of course.

However, Crook should be aware that I highlight fashionable-think on a particular program. I don’t refer, for example, to days on which Fran Kelly (in the morning) happens to agree with Waleed Aly (in the evening), who happens to agree with Phillip Adams (at night).

For the record, I did not read Andrew Bolt’s blog last weekend concerning his intention to remind mankind about Jon Faine’s suggestion, after John Howard’s defeat, that conservative commentators might be subjected to a “cleansing process”. But I am not surprised that Andrew Bolt, Cut & Paste, The Spectator Australia and myself raised this matter on different platforms. More seriously, it is wrong for Andrew Crook to assert that I quoted “selectively” from Faine’s comments in early 2008. Meanwhile, I’m still waiting for The Mornings with Jon Faine presenter — he of the self-proclaimed “sticky” questions — to respond to my email of last week concerning whether he will suggest a “cleansing process” at Aunty following Labor’s defeat.

Ministers on merit

Neil Hunt writes: Re. “Caro: promotion on — ahem — merit? It’s hard to see how …” (yesterday). While I agree with practically everything that Jane Caro wrote, she is completely wrong on her comment about Gandhi visiting Britain in the 1930s “for the very first time”. Gandhi, in fact, first visited London in 1888, when he went to University College to study law, and was then called to the bar at the Inner Temple in 1891. He then spent many years working as a barrister in South Africa. It was in South Africa around the start of WWI that he was first referred to as Mahatma (meaning enlightened in Sanskrit).

As for promoting anyone on merit, yep, I’d seriously love to see that happen.

John Gleeson writes: With all the discussion regarding the lack of female representation in the incoming government, there has been zero discussion based on merit — even in the Crikey article yesterday. So if it is desirable to increase the number of women in cabinet, will it be done on merit or quota?

Peter Longhurst writes: It is reasonably obvious that the new government male ministers have few relevant qualifications for the ministries that they will control. So do any of the women elected from the minority Liberal Party (68% of voters did not vote Liberal Party) have better qualifications? Let us not forget the Liberal Party assert that Steve Bracks did not have the relevant qualifications for a much less important role in Australia’s management. It is a raffle — take a ticket, winners notified by the raffle seller at his discretion.

Too late to change courses now

Dylan Taylor writes: Re. “Abbott delivers voters what he promised: a dearth of women” (yesterday). Well said, Bernard Keane, but alas, too late, because while we always knew that Joe Hockey, Andrew Robb, Tony Abbott et al would change their tune, nobody bothered to press them about it when it mattered — that is, during the campaign. Just watch out for more of the same on many other issues. Hypocrisy is a hall mark of modern conservative politics.

iPad winner

Congratulations to Amanda Morris, who has won an iPad for her response to the question “who should lead the Australia Labor Party?”:

“Penny Wong: articulate and intelligent Malaysian-born female Christian lesbian solicitor Senator mother (who can also cover a traditional father role). Something for everyone!”

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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