ABC does not tollerate attacks on its friends
A warm thank you to the Australian Conservative for its support. This excellent blog has been a consistent testimony to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s failure to uphold its charter on balance and bias.
In effect, the question of balance in the ABC has been a long standing issue. I remember helping to organize a national conference for the Institute of Public Affairs ten years ago, Their ABC or Our ABC? in Sydney on ABC bias. In a predictable defence of the ABC, and as a direct reaction to this conference, Stuart Littlemore on Media Watch displayed “a classic example of jackboot journalism designed to silence critics.”
It would appear that precious little has changed over that time. Neither 12 years of the Howard government, nor the placing of three conservatives on the ABC Board, nor the complaints of impotent ministers in parliament, nor the constant public admonition of Kerry O’Brien or Tony Jones in the press for their selective and unfair questioning of people with whom they disagree, has changed anything much. Nor has the documented, transparently differential treatment both the 7.30 Report and Lateline routinely give to sceptics of climate change made a difference. Let me not get started on Robyn William’s Science Show. Tony Jones’ QandA discussion panel — biased in audience and in panel — has very recently been thouroughly analysed for balance in an excellent article, This ‘adventure in democracy’ is unfair and unbalanced by John Styles in The Spectator. QandA remains steadfastly biased in audience and panel.
The most striking thing in all of this is the lack of shame, or embarrassment, or accountability of any ABC presenters. The reality is that, unlike governments which are ultimately accountable to the electorate, the capture of institutions is impervious to democratic action. Top down change is ineffectual, and bottom up change irrelevant, as the ABC is not market driven. The ABC “collective” know it. As a result, they can simply ignore criticism, and display an indifference and cynical contempt to taxpayers.
The only exception to this rule is Phillip Adams on Radio National’s LNL [Left ‘n’ Left] who has openly admitted that his programme is an antidote to the Right wing shock jocks on commercial radio. This is such an accepted idea that the ABC itself boasts of Michael Duffy on Counterpoint as “the Right wing Phillip Adams”.
To finish on a clear, and one would have thought, non-controversial point. I have always found that Labor voters, generally speaking, find the ABC to be fair and balanced, and that Liberal voters, generally speaking, find the ABC often unfair and often unbalanced, or at best, very lumpy. I don’t know about you, but if that observation is largely plausible, then that to me would appear to be a quod erat demonstrandum.