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Your ABC should be on YOUR side

June 29, 2015

29 June 2015

Is the ABC biased?

When a convicted criminal and terrorist sympathiser appeared on the ABC’s Q&A program last Monday and allowed a live platform to ambush Federal minister Steven Ciobo about citizenship cancellations for terrorists, Prime Minister Tony Abbott asked which side was the ABC on, that the ABC should be on Australia’s side. When ABC managing director Mark Scott was asked the same question, he also said Australia’s side.

Obviously the two have different interpretations about “Australia’s side”, with Abbott defining it as being 100% support for Australia’s anti-terrorism policies, while Scott defining it as a broadcasting corporation run by independent Australians, for all Australians, and specifically that Q&A gives Australians a chance to speak.

The ABC quickly apologised, citing an “error in judgement”, that it did give such a notorious criminal a prominent platform to speak, which also happened to defy the recommendations of the judge when sentencing the criminal for making death threats against Australian security officers. That apology proved worthless when Q&A was repeated in full the next day, complete with a warning at the start noting the “error in judgement”, which only served to forewarn the viewer to expect something juicy and, in effect, provide more publicity for the criminal. This made Abbott even more furious, claiming “heads should roll”. The government will undertake an investigation.

The comments made from the criminal were not that controversial anyway. He ran the line that government policies disenfranchise Muslims and encourage them to join ISIS – something that you hear just about every week somewhere on the ABC, particularly from Labor party shills, and evidenced by the applause the criminal received from the Q&A audience when he said he’d like to see Ciobo dropped in Islamic State. Ciobo responded that such comments are actually the reason Muslims get a bad name, leaving Ciobo the winner of the night.

The real controversy was never in the criminal’s right to speak, it was in the breach of security, that this criminal could have done anything dastardly on live TV. The ABC new his identity, and such is the contrived nature of the show, even helped word the question, to facilitate someone that had tweeted: “Australia has two decent whores, @RitaPanahi and Miranda Devine. Both need to be gang banged on the Sunrise desk.” Of course, those two journalists being conservative, the rabid fascination to “call out misogyny wherever it is seen” would be on hold, such is that political bigotry supersedes most of these causes of conscience. Mostly they are used as political wedge issues. So let’s imagine had such comments been repeated on Q&A? Probably the criminal would have received a bigger applause.

What about this: “Australian Citizenship test: Question: Do you support the throat slash of Australia’s first female prime minister? Please tick YES or NO?” It makes the whole melodrama of a “ditch the witch” sign appearing behind Abbott at a rally one time seem like a childish prank. Who knows. You’d like to the think the misogyny class would back their precious Julia Gillard, the supposed victim of so much misogyny during 3 years of PM, or maybe Gillard should just cop this one for the sake of not suppressing Muslim free speech and forcing them into jihad?

Abbott called the ABC, and Q&A specifically, a “leftie lynch mob”. These claims of media bias are always dubious, particularly because they always come from the most biased people themselves. Labor say News Ltd are biased; Liberals say the ABC and Fairfax are biased. Often there’s a pattern to these claims: when government fear-mongering doesn’t work, out comes playing the victim and blaming the media for blocking the message. Facts are that people are not dumb, they hear the message, and they don’t like the message. Blaming the messenger is a sign of weak government.

The media is actually more about agendas, with populism vs idealism, not so much right vs left. Populism swings with the mood of the people, while idealism is always looking for the next fad or social issue to promote or progress. The ABC is different to private enterprises in that its charter is to be balanced. Last Monday, of the six panelists, they had two Liberal politicians, one Labor one (usually it’s one vs one), two rabid lefties and a Labor shill. That made it four from the left vs two from the right. Compounding that problem are the themed Q&As – like 5 socialists – or the repetitive topics sympathetic to the left side of politics. Never do you see a panel of 5 capitalists or many topics leaning the right. That wouldn’t fit the ABC’s idealistic agenda.

These lopsided panels don’t make the ABC biased, because the panelists are allowed their say and the right-leaning ones certainly get their word it. It’s more the hostility of the forum that seems biased, with the audience far louder in cheering the lefties, and the tweets running along the screen heavily stacked left. Some of that is explained that lefties are more tribal in their voices and righties more deferential to the individual, while the tweets merely reflect the type of people watching. The main problem with the tweets is they suspiciously come from the same accounts each week. At least be more random about it.

Both Abbott and Scott have it wrong: the ABC should be on YOUR side. “Your side” meaning the democratic side, the will of the people. In terms of holding the government accountable, that should be to the account of the people, not to the ABC’s agenda or individual preferences of ABC staff. Key examples we can look at over the years include Abbott’s carbon tax repeal and illegal boats, and even as far back as Kevin Rudd’s emissions reduction scheme.

Instead of continuing with its global warming hysteria, the ABC should have been hounding anyone trying to block the carbon tax’s repeal. It was the cornerstone of Abbott’s election win and a huge mandate. The ABC should be justifying that the tax can go because Australia’s emissions are so small and a delay of a few years won’t matter. It should be banging on that both parties have the same emissions targets of 5% reduction by 2020, and that the Abbott government’s “Direct Action” plan – as dubious as it sounds – actually does the job, and does it cheaper and more efficiently.

On illegal boats, the most notorious story recently was the Australian navy reportedly forcing boat people to hold hot parts of the boats and burning their hands. Instead of siding with the boat people, the ABC should have been siding with the navy. The boat people are already cheating and lying their way to Australia, so there should be huge doubt on their stories. As it proved, the navy did nothing of the sorts. As the boats were quickly slowed to a trickle, the ABC should have been applauding the government, not criticising it for the odd one still landing. Instead, it has a bunch of so-called “human rights” guests on its shows saying that Australia is mean. No problem having them on the shows; just interrogate the hell out of them and ask them to offer some worthwhile solutions.

When Gillian Triggs released her ridiculous report about children in detention, the ABC should have been all over her like a pitbull on a poodle, reinforcing the facts that with the borders under control, the number of children in detention has dropped by 90%. The ABC should have been querying the purpose of Triggs’ report: What is she really proposing? Does she want Australia to re-open the borders and repeat the catastrophe of the 1200 drownings, the 50,000 illegal arrivals and over-crowded detention centres? Instead Triggs got a gig on Q&A and escaped any scrutiny. Not even a Liberal plant could get in and ambush Triggs, unlike the criminal that ambushed Ciobo last week.

When Kevin Rudd was Prime Minister and had problems getting his emissions reduction scheme through, this time the ABC should have been hounding the Greens for blocking it. They should have been egging Rudd to an early election. After all, Rudd came into power citing the “greatest moral challenge of our time”, and the ABC sat back allowing the partisan bickering between Labor and Liberal. Had they done their job, maybe Australia has a fully entrenched Emissions Trading Scheme, Rudd is still PM, and planning to hand over the baton to Gillard just prior to the 2016 polls.

If there’s any tangible evidence that the ABC is biased, it’s in their support. The tiny 1% budget cut for each of the next 5 years, it was Labor, Greens and Socialists all out in protest. When News Ltd was under attack by the Gillard government, no one was out protesting. That sort of confirms the populist nature of News and more the environmental and soft socialist idealistic nature of the ABC. Whether there’s a real problem, not really, because there’s so many media outlets that people can choose. For all the talk of media conspiring against governments, we still regularly have government changes. It really is all bollocks, and just sycophantic party shills unable to accept their party’s failure and their personal ideology is not the majority anymore. Maybe for the sake of a better perception, the ABC could examine the perspective as to how it holds governments accountable, and then see how its much avowed “independence” really is independent.

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