ABC TV’s Emma Alberici wants us to believe that lice are twice as popular as US president-elect Donald Trump. In her 34-minute Foreign Correspondent special on Sunday night (20/11) she splices in (at 29mins) polling data showing 54% of respondent voters favored lice over Trump, while only 28% favored Trump over lice.
This doubtless had Alberici’s luvvie pals squirming with pleasure. It did nothing for the credibility of herself, Foreign Correspondent or the ABC. Nor did she see any inconsistency worth explaining between the lice “finding” and Trump getting 61 million votes in the election.
She provided no context for the lice poll, merely lifting the factoid in from a youtube clip. In fact, the poll involved 1222 respondents nationally last May, and generated a raft of other crazy memes like Trump being slightly more popular than haemorrhoids and cockroaches.
Needless to say, the pollsters never sought views on whether Hillary Clinton was more popular than lice, cockroaches or haemorrhoids, or whether Trump supporters hung up the phone rather than take any more anti-Trump insults. But it was good enough for Alberici as part of Foreign Correspondent’s juvenile stitch-up of Trump and his supporters.
Other gems from the episode:
- Alberici verbals Trump as boasting about “sexually assaulting” women. She edited the covert 2005 recording to delete his comment that the women consented to his advances
- She takes seriously supposition from New York Times Trump-hater Tim O’Brien, author of Trump biography TrumpNation, that if and when Trump family members work with him in the White House, they will plunder government money to corruptly enrich themselves. She even relays the hypothetical criminality to Republican congressman and budget executive Tom Cole for comment, asking, “How will you make sure he puts the American people first and not his businesses?”
- She lards her Trump “analysis” with further abuse from O’Brien:“His entire life has been short-term money-grubbing. That is the single biggest animating force, other than his need for attention” and “You mean you’re surprised that Donald Trump lies? He’s a serial fabulist to the point of almost being pathological. He will not hesitate to lie if he sees it in his short-term interest.”
- Another Alberici talking head, a comedian apparently, likens Trump to a tame chimpanzee “who seems fun but someday Coco is going to tear your f—g limbs off.”
- With cavalier imprecision, Alberici inserts grabs of Trump taking extreme positions, such as banning Muslim immigrants, without mentioning that Trump has already toned-down his policy to “extreme vetting” of those from terror-prone countries.
- Alberici mocks Breitbart News for a headline “Political Correctness Protects Muslim Rape Culture”. Alberici, bless her, has never heard of the recent rape epidemic by Muslim immigrants in Western Europe or the 2012 conviction of nine Pakistani Muslims for gang rapes of scores of women over many year in Greater Manchester, while authorities looked the other way rather than ruffle the multicultural harmony thery prefer to believe is the normal state of affairs.
- Her Main Street interviews with Trump supporters all happen to be white, fat. ageing, and working class.
- She produces a New York Times reporter, Tim Rutenberg, as sage and oracle about Trump, as if the NYT had covered itself in glory with prescient coverage of the Trump/Clinton contest. In fact, the NYT publisher issued a post-election apology and pledged to ‘re-dedicate ourselves” to good journalism.
- Alberici, post-election, gets on a New York subway carriage where, surprise, other passengers are staring out the window or accessing their cell-phones. “I feel like a ghost at a funeral,” Alberici says, as if people on the subway there normally engage in merry japes and folk dancing.
- She ends the program with a protester waving a sign, “Not Mein Fuhrer”, and a factory churning out hideous face-mask caricatures of Trump.
At least twice in the 34 minutes, Alberici asks her interview subjects how they feel about Trump “boasting about sexual assaults” in the Access Hollywood tape.
To black female Trump staffer Omarosa Manigault: “How did you feel when you saw that Access Hollywood tape with Trump boasting about sexually assaulting women?” (She plays her interview with Manigault with a straight bat, given that Manigualt seems to have triple Alberici’s IQ).
To two Trump-supporting women in a hair salon: “What about what Trump said about women when he was caught on the tape boasting about sexual assault?”
Alberici knew that Trump’s relevant words were:
“I’m automatically attracted to beautiful [women]—I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star they let you do it. You can do anything … Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything.” (My emphasis. I’m not saying Trump’s words were tasteful).
So the context is that Trump, when he was an insanely rich media star, boasted that he had women groupies around him who would trade sex favors for access and relationship. To demonstrate her false point, Alberici aired the “pussy” bit of the tape while snipping off the key sentence, “When you’re a star they let you do it.” I’ve put in a complaint about this to the ABC, we’ll see how they (eventually) respond.[i]
In yet another tired “gotcha”, Alberici recycles Hillary’s debate claim about Trump calling women “pigs, slobs and dogs.” Trump in fact acknowledged calling TV host Rosie O’Donnell fat and a loser. In 2013, O’Donnell shed 50lbs after surgery. The pair had been insulting each other for a decade, with O’Donnell falsely calling him a bankrupt. O’Donnell followed up “snake oil salesman” with “[He] left the first wife — had an affair. [He] had kids both times, but he’s the moral compass for 20-year-olds in America. Donald, sit and spin, my friend.” The link, however, also shows Trump treating his foe O’Donnell with surprising courtesy and compassion during one of her illnesses.
Alberici is particularly respectful when interviewing some of the “tens of thousands” of post-election protesters on the streets, panning to snuggly signs like “Take Care of Each Other”. She apparently failed to notice that pre-election, the Clinton team had a field day predicting that Trump supporters would not accept his imminent electoral defeat.
To sum up, the ABC is and will remain clueless about how and why Trump won the election. It will continue to serve its public with mindless sneers about Trump in lieu of analysis, as seen in Foreign Correspondent.
As a public educator, Alberici is a disgrace. As a source of information, Foreign Correspondent is a disgrace. For tolerating and promoting both of them, the ABC is a disgrace. But we knew all that, of course. What we don’t know is why the purportedly conservative government of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull disgraces itself by doing to nothing to clean out the national broadcaster’s billion-dollar stable.
Tony Thomas’ book of Quadrant essays, That’s Debatable – 60 Years in Print, is available here