Gerard Henderson provides comment a dog could dine out on

A dog’s breakfast

Conservative talking head Gerard Henderson’s borderline comical aversion to facts is well-documented. Indeed, Crikey for a number of years ran a column (by, ahem, yes Mark Latham) documenting just how often he managed to get things wrong. Henderson’s latest cock-up involves Antoinette Lattouf over her recent interview of Scott Morrison on LiSTNR’s The Weekend Briefing podcast. 

Henderson’s Media Watch Dog column, published in The Australian every Friday, tore into “The Saturday Paper’s Antoinette Lattouf”, claiming she “diminishes” her own interview with the former prime minister. Henderson labelled the Schwartz Media product as “boring”, before teeing off at Lattouf’s journalism over the course of the interview. He also made a number of snarky remarks referencing Islam. 

The only problem, of course, is that Lattouf doesn’t work for The Saturday Paper, who happen to also have a daily morning column titled “The Briefing”. Nor is there any indication anywhere that she is a Muslim.

We asked Henderson whether he looked up Lattouf (or anything at all) ahead of publication, whether he contacted her ahead of publication, and whether his column was fact-checked. 

We got a very prompt and lengthy response that for reasons unknown was at pains to mention that Peter FitzSimons attended a Uniting Church school, as well as referencing our email, sent at just after 4pm on a Monday, as “Gin and Tonic Time”. Must be nice. 

“Unlike many journalists, I acknowledge — and correct — mistakes,” Henderson told Crikey.

“I shall correct this as soon as possible and will acknowledge the correction in the next issue of Media Watch Dog,” he said. True to his word, after being contacted, any mention of The Saturday Paper in reference to Lattouf was quietly removed from the column.

Henderson also admitted he knew “almost nothing about Ms Lattouf” and had “no knowledge of any religious beliefs she may have”, although this much was self-evident. He claimed his column item was based on a transcript that Lattouf had provided, but Lattouf told Crikey: “I have never had an interaction with that bloke in my life. Here’s hoping it stays that way.” 

Henderson told Crikey it was “a real morale booster to learn … that the comrades at Crikey read my Media Watch Dog blog. Ellie [Henderson’s very cute cattle dog] will be pleased — she often eats her dinner on some of Crikey’s printed pages.”

Henderson also requested that we run his response “in full or not at all”. To that end, here’s a handy cut out ‘n’ keep version should readers choose to do as Henderson does and use the printed page for all manner of messes.

‘I don’t hold a hose’

Liberal Senator for Victoria James Paterson serves as the opposition’s shadow minister for Home Affairs, so naturally was outspoken last week on the ongoing “Direction 99” controversy engulfing the Albanese government. 

“It’s not my direction”, Albanese said in question time last week, directing questions to Immigration Minister Andrew Giles. 

Paterson took to X to deride the prime minister’s remarks as his “I don’t hold a hose” moment. 

“He’s the PM … He should show up and take responsibility,” Paterson said. 

We thought it was quite a turn of phrase, and so we asked Paterson what he possibly could have meant by the tweet. We also asked who he was quoting with the words “I don’t hold a hose”.

The senator declined to comment any further, so we had to go down our own memory lane to relive the original Hawaiian “hold a hose” moment.

Altruism’s in the air

Sticking with Victorian Liberal senators for a moment: Paterson’s stablemate, Jane Hume, told Senate estimates this week of the slightly unusual choice she made when presented with her stimulus check from the Rudd government in 2009 amid the mire of the global financial crisis.

Sitting on the Senate Economics Legislation Committee, Hume asked Treasury whether the government’s proposed $300 energy bill relief would be inflationary, then proceeded to volunteer that she received the famous $900 Rudd-era stimulus package designed for taxpayers earning less than $80,000. 

“I personally was a recipient of the $900 cheque, which I found a bit of an insult,” Hume said.

“I’d just gone back to work at Deutsche Bank and was earning more money than I ever had before … you’ll be pleased to know that I donated it to the Liberal Party.”

“It worked, we got re-elected.” 

Civic engagement, we love to see it. For what it’s worth, Hume told Sky News’ AM Agenda a fortnight ago that she would be donating her $300 energy bill relief to FoodBank. 

Another one bites the dust

Looking back at triple j’s former hosts and asking “where are they now?” is always a fun exercise, with stand-up comedians, music executives and political candidates among the fray. For those of you wondering what former Hack host Tom Tilley is up to these days, it appears he has turned his eyes beyond the journalism world, crossing the Rubicon to become a political spinner. 

Tilley has taken a job as a speechwriter and strategic communications advisor for NSW Labor MLC John Graham, who serves as the minister for roads, arts, music, the night-time economy, jobs and tourism, as well as the deputy leader of the government in the NSW upper house. 

Graham’s wide-ranging portfolio brings with it a number of challenges, including the Rozelle interchange debacle and the ongoing struggles of music festivals in New South Wales. 

Tilley will certainly have his work cut out for him.



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