Category Archives: Our Australian Broadcasting Commission

RAP artists of the ABC

SPECTATOR AUSTRALIA

14 December 2019

9:00 AM

Our household switches on ABC TV at 6pm and checks how long it takes to sight an Aboriginal-identifying Australian. Typically, it’s under three minutes but sometimes one is there as the screen powers up. Australia has about as many Buddhists as Aboriginals, and half as many Hindus. For that matter, we’ve three times as many Chinese Australians as Aboriginals, but no quotas for them on the ABC.

Is it racist to count the ABC’s Aboriginals? Certainly not, because the ABC itself meticulously tallies ‘the perceived numbers of Indigenous characters, guests and presenters in ABC content’. My latest broad figures are for 2017 when more than a hundred Aboriginal-focused programs, perspectives or issues ran ‘across ABC, ABC Comedy, ABC Me, ABC Kids and iview.’

ABC last month signed up for ‘Elevate’, the most stringent of four Reconciliation Action Plans (RAPs) and pledged to tally progress. Its all-powerful Bonner Committee, chaired by Scripted Productions head Sally Riley, a Wiradjuri woman, monitors any backsliding and reports direct to MD David Anderson and over to Reconciliation Australia’s CEO Karen Mundine.

Progress is hard-won. A decade ago the ABC was missing its RAP target for Aboriginal staffing and content and in 2014 it ordered a fix. Bosses in mid-2015 whipped the 7pm ABCTV Bulletin journos into shape. The Sydney hacks boosted content from eight stories (first half 2015) to 50 (second half); Melbourne hacks from 14 to 33; Canberra from ten to 35 and even little Hobart’s bureau discovered 15 Indigenous stories (first half, only nine).

Counting Aboriginality on ABC radio proved challenging even with intros in local languages at Horsham and Orange ‘interspersed and backed by Indigenous music’. The ABC Radio crews gybed at the pressure to run Aboriginal stories and mentions, declining to measure ‘Indigenous participants in content, [because] measuring the total number of Indigenous guests/talent across ABC Radio’s numerous, mostly live outlets is impractical and may be culturally inappropriate.’

ABC News also revolted, ‘noting that relevance to the stories it is covering is the primary determinant of the persons that will be included; its ability to ensure numbers of Indigenous subjects, interviewees and commentators is thus dependent on events.’

Shocked ABC executives had to rediscover this ‘news value’ thingo. As a double shock, their bonuses involved a ‘key performance indicator’ to show ‘a visible and measurable increase in the ethnic diversity of our on-air and off-air creative talent.’

Here’s more from 2015’s RAP report:

– ABC News Online posted 1,525 Indigenous articles (up from 805 in 2014), as well as 141 videos, 232 audio clips and seven photo galleries.

– Nearly 30 Aboriginal writers, 12 directors and seven producers helped put out The Secret River drama series employing ‘70 Indigenous media professionals, including 63 cast members and seven crew.’ (The Secret River is about ‘the murder and displacement of Aboriginal people’ by British settlers, ABC says). Likewise, ABC’s film Spear used 44 Indigenes.

– ABC Radio tracked music by ‘artists that identify as Indigenous’. For music lovers I should do a spreadsheet analysis. Radio National had 1 per cent Aboriginal tracks; local radio 3.6 per cent (well done!) and ‘Triple J Unearthed’ had 1.6 per cent (573 artists and 1,023 tracks).

Six panellists were mobilised for Q&AComedy Up Late episodes had an Aboriginal host and talent; and multiple comedians featured in ‘key commentary and content roles’. Three Aboriginal presenters were talking heads at the New Year fireworks; and four starred in the Doctor Blake Mysteries.

‘Their’ ABC’s chair Ita Buttrose and MD David Anderson have endorsed this ‘diversity’ push, which excludes conservatives like Andrew Bolt: ‘Sorry, Andrew, but there are no job offers here,’ she said (13/9/19).

The pair want 3 per cent Aboriginality in content-making, editorial decision-making and management roles, including 3 per cent Indigenes at Executive Level by end-2021. (Alert for Ms Buttrose: also inspect your white-board).

From 2010 the ABC used its RAP to take up the white persons’ burden of ‘cultural awareness training’ for all staff. ‘Training’ sounds Pavlovian to me. The program has run like Rob Sitch’s Utopia comedy, meriting an ABC tut-tut in 2014 of ‘low completion rate [and] too time-consuming and too general to be effective.’ The ABC People battalion did ‘significant work on improved approaches’, hiring IT people to tart things up on-line, but ‘several delays’ halted roll-out till 2016. The task was also disappearing down the cracks between ABC People and state executives. Last month the ABC yet again lamented ‘significant underperformance’ and delivered troops a RAP over the knuckles:

‘The number of staff receiving the training was consistently well below the target of 30 per cent in the first two years of the RAP but met the 30 per cent in the third year. While a variety of factors reduced the number of cultural awareness training sessions, it is clear that cultural awareness training did not receive the same focus, high-level support and coordination as other areas of the RAP. Accordingly, the ABC will make cultural awareness training mandatory for all staff and institute a coordinated online and face-to-face programme in late 2019.’ Lucky ABC staff!

Meanwhile the ABC mandates welcomes to country at all major events, with optional smoking ceremonies. These ancient ceremonies date from a Perth arts festival in 1976 – performers now charge north of $500. In contrast, ABC talent freely mocks Christians, calls conservative politicians ‘c—s’, and on Q&A urges murder and arson.

If you’re wondering how Reconciliation Australia defines ‘Reconciliation’, RA includes fealty to a black arm-band history of wrongs, and partisan support for self-determining treaties and constitutional recognition. By signing on, the ABC seems to forget its impartiality charter, whatever its new RAP waffle about incorporating Aboriginal languages into mainstream Australia.

In 2010 the ABC’s annual report said reconciliation would take ages. A decade later and Ms Buttrose says it’s still going to take ages.

Memo to self: Update her Reconciliation Journey in 2030.

Yes, we have a truth emergency

FEATURES AUSTRALIA

23 November 2019

Last Monday the Australian described ABC journos organising a ‘solutions journalism’ approach to what they call the ‘climate crisis’. This bureau of propaganda, or in their words, ‘brains trust’, would be a management/staff overlay putting special hype on ABC climate coverage.

Melbourne producer/presenter Barbara Heggen bulk-emailed for support and got plenty: ‘A fabulous idea’, ‘I’m keen’, ‘Great idea’. Management response is awaited but the email says it all about ABC journos’ mindset and contempt for their chartered impartiality.

Monday was also the tenth anniversary of Climategate, the bulk leaking of emails among IPCC-leading climate scientists confessing how they were exaggerating global warming. The University of East Anglia’s climate guru Phil Jones casually wrote that the now-ballyhooed 2 degree Celsius tipping point on warming had been ‘plucked out of thin air’. Today’s ABC would censor such revelations.

ABC policy already censors views contrary to the orthodoxy that by 2050 or 2100 humanity will be broiled by fossil fuel emissions. The last nod to objectivity was by ABC chair Jim Spigelman in 2013. He’s a former NSW chief justice and if you ask me, a bit of a sceptic. Suspicious of his reporters’ gullibility, he whistled up a quality audit of ABC science coverage, saying: ‘What I believe needs most work, is to develop our capacity to appropriately challenge scientists, not least those whose work is distributed by press release from organisations with a vested interest in favorable publicity. I would hope we can further develop the scientific literacy of our news and current affairs staff. In this… we must go beyond PR handouts, or what has been called “churnalism”.’

He felt the need to add that he was ‘not a climate sceptic’ which in ABC-land is a bit like insisting, ‘I am not a cannibal’. Sadly the science audit was neither independent nor public. It was chaired by Professor Fiona Stanley – she was the lead signatory to the greenies’ ‘Monster Climate Petition’ of 2014, which began with ‘My great-great-grandchildren ask me in dreams, what did you do while the planet was plundered? What did you do when the earth was unravelling?’. Another science audit panelist (I’m not making this up) was Media Watch’s Jonathan Holmes. This secret report, according to management, found that the ABC’s science coverage was terrific and the ABC was fulfilling its charter obligations of impartiality very well, thank you for asking.

Concurrently, managing director Mark Scott told Senate Estimates that the ABC should ‘follow the weight of evidence’ or ‘consensus’. If sceptics were to be broadcast, ‘they should be robustly questioned, just as the climate scientists are robustly questioned’.

Has anyone ever seen a warmist ‘robustly questioned’ on the ABC? About that time, ABC guru Robyn Williams had Harvard fabulist Naomi Oreskes on his Science Show. She wanted to frighten climate-apathetic families with her forecasts that global warming would kill their pet pups and kittens in 2023. Williams, a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science, agreed: ‘Yes, not only because it’s an animal but it’s local. You see, one criticism of the scientists is they’re always talking about global things… And so if you are looking at your village, your animals, your fields, your park, your kids, and the scientists are talking about a small world that you know, than it makes a greater impact, doesn’t it?’ Oreskes: ‘Well, exactly. It was about bringing it literally home, literally into your home, your family, your pet, the dog or cat that you love who is your faithful and trusted companion.’

Over at the BBC, climate guidelines derive from ‘28-gate’, a pure fraud. The BBC Trust adopted recommendations from an outside panel of what it called ‘28 best scientific experts’. Because the science was settled, dissent should be suppressed, they said. The BBC complied by infusing green lines into BBC output everywhere from science to comedy. When a pensioner in Wales FOI’d for names of the 28, two pricey BBC barristers and four lawyers fought disclosure for years. Sure enough, the 28 experts included only two climate scientists (and only one other scientist) amid a majority of green activists (two from Greenpeace), vested-interest business people and even an odd bod from the US embassy.

A year ago the BBC’s director of news Fran Unsworth further emailed staff, ‘To achieve impartiality you do not need to include outright deniers of climate change, in the same way you would not have someone denying that Manchester United won 2-0 last Saturday. The referee has spoken.’ (Amusingly, Manchester won on Sunday, not Saturday).

Warming advocacy and censorship by the media is now on steroids.

More than 250 news outlets worldwide have signed on to Covering Climate Now, ‘a project to improve coverage of the emergency’. They dedicated a week last September to hyping warming in synchrony with a UN climate confab.

The Guardian and a rabble of other media have switched to using the terms ‘climate emergency, crisis or breakdown’ and ‘global heating’. Guardian editor-in-chief, Katharine Viner ruled to her troops, ‘The phrase “climate change” sounds rather passive and gentle when what scientists are talking about is a catastrophe for humanity.’

Misha Ketchell, editor of the university and taxpayer-funded Conversation announced in September a ban on all sceptic comments and sceptics themselves: ‘Climate change deniers are dangerous – they don’t deserve a place on our site. Not only will we be removing their comments, we’ll be locking their accounts.’ This was on a site mast-headed, ‘We believe in the free flow of information.’ The same day he ran a Tim Flannery piece libeling sceptics as child predators.

Dr Andy Pitman, Director of UNSW Centre of Excellence for Climate Extremes, last June denied any link between drought and climate change, which prima facie makes things wetter. ‘Now, that may not be what you read in the newspapers,’ he warned, in a weird outbreak of candour. He thus scuttled the illogic that climate change is fuelling the bushfires. Paul Barry’s effort on Media Watch to spin away Pitman’s view was in line with staff’s ‘solutions journalism.’

We do have a truth emergency. The truth’s dull reading but here goes. The warming trend in the monthly HadCRUT4 global temperature series from January 2000 to last April was 0.0156 degrees Celsius per year or a mere 1.56 degree C per century. Exclude the freak 2015-16 el Nino and the trend drops to 1.32 degree C per century. Spin that away, ABC colleagues!

Lefties’ shaggy dog story

Spectator 9 November 2019

9 November 2019

At this distance, it’s hard to credit the derangement of the US leftist media over Donald Trump. The president had quite a success last month unleashing his special forces on Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. The media can’t allow such success. The Washington Post mourned the defunct Isis leader under a heading, ‘Austere religious scholar at helm of Islamic State dies at 48.’ In Mosul in 2016, the austere religious scholar’s forces put 19 young Yazidi women into an iron cage and burnt them alive because they refused to be sex slaves. Last week WaPo was at it again, confecting a Trump scandal about Conan the military dog who chased Baghdadi into that dead-end tunnel. The leftist media piled on, from the New York Times down.

Inspired, ‘our’ ABC gave the canine scandal a big run on its news website last Friday. Despite fakery, errors and brazen breaches of the ABC impartiality charter, it did allow some facts to get in the way of its narrative. But first, here’s how this ‘scandal’ unfolded.

Last Monday week: Trump praises a military dog that attacked Baghdadi, ‘a beautiful dog, a talented dog’.

To appease public demand, and as a bit of a joke, he then tweets an unclassified and sort of goofy pic of the big Belgian mutt. He warns that the dog’s name is still classified (because it might identify the specific unit involved). Social media takes the dog to its bosom. The same evening, Newsweek says the dog’s name is Conan, sourcing its scoop to multiple leakers in the military.

Tuesday: The conservative media site Daily Wire, run by the hyper-entertaining and brilliant Ben Shapiro, sends out a photoshopped joke pic on Instagram. It shows Trump bestowing a ‘Medal of Pawner’ on Conan. The medal is engraved with a dog pawprint. The original photo had shown Trump draping a Medal of Honor on a hero Viet medic in 2017.

Wednesday: Trump retweets the dog pic as ‘American Hero!’ and adds that he’s invited ‘Conan’ to the White House.

Wednesday/Thursday: The Left media goes nuts saying that Trump has distributed a faked pic. Trump has insulted the medic hero. Trump has revealed the dog’s secret name (which everyone including Isis knew anyway from Newsweek). Trump is bad and a hypocrite because unlike Obama and Bo the Portuguese Water Dog, Trump doesn’t own a pet anything.

The media hunts down the medic hero in the original pic. Worse luck, they discover he enjoyed a laugh about it. The media pivot to j’accuse over the photo ‘fakery’. But Daily Wire had even put its watermark signature on it, one of a billion jokey and harmless memes online.

Ben Shapiro published Daily Wire’s  interaction with the sombre leftist media, whose sleuths have an Inspector Clouseau earnestness. WaPo reporter Alex Horton emailed Shapiro , ‘Hello, I wanted to get confirmation this photo originated with you, and if it did, that you digitally removed Medal of Honor recipient James McCloughan and replaced him with a dog.’

Shapiro’s offsider Jeremy Boreing, belying his name, gave this epic reply,  ‘Alex, on the record, you’ve got to be f—ing joking. Please quote me on that.’

The WaPo then published that Boreing ‘dismissed emailed questions about whether the altered photo originated from his publication.’ Shapiro responded, ‘What? No, he  didn’t dismiss emailed questions. He dismissed your stupid question, he dismissed you.’  WaPo’s story also suggested, in maniacal mode, that Trump didn’t know the pic was ‘fake’. Shapiro to WaPo: ‘Yes,  we created the meme. Yes, it is a joke. Yes, you people are also jokes. Please feel free to quote us on this.’

Commenters added spice. ‘Democracy dies in stupidity,’ said one, mocking WaPo’s masthead motto which is ‘Democracy dies in darkness’. Another said the military doesn’t use reporters to chase terrorists because reporters are not as smart as dogs.

A sage comment was, ‘This is very funny in a terrifying way.’ Shapiro points out that the mainstream media will stop at nothing to discredit conservative outlets, even pretending to fact-check their jokes. Fact Check: False! A chicken does not intentionally find reason to cross a road.

Twitter’s ban announced last week on all political advertising goes further by subtly targeting conservative media. Like the Daily Wire, conservative media live online, and the ban aims to return mainstream media such as WaPo and New York Times to their former unchallenged state.

As for our ABC’s version of the dog stuff, the headline on its so-called news report reads, ‘Donald Trump tweets previously classified name of “hero” dog from Baghdadi raid, after photoshopped Medal of Honour image.’

Curiously, the story both hypes the ‘scandal’ and undercuts it. The ABC cropped its main pic to avoid showing the paw print on what the report  falsely calls the ‘Medal of Honor’.  But lower down a second pic reveals the paw print.

The report begins, ‘US President Donald Trump once said the name of the dog… would remain classified. So much for that.’ Then a second sneer: ‘After Mr Trump was needled by sections of the US media for tweeting an obviously faked photo of himself with the dog, he was unable to resist tweeting his response and revealing the name of the dog.’

Wait! Further down the reporter concedes that Newsweek had already published the name as Conan. Shouldn’t the ABC’s proper story have been, ‘Military leakers to Newsweek undermine troops and President’?

The report’s saving grace is to confirm that the Viet medic hero was not enraged but amused about being photoshopped out in favour of a dog. So I’d award the writer (why no byline, ABC?) five marks out of ten for professionalism. But maybe such ABC teams could do some real work on, say, the origin of the Steele ‘pee-dossier’ hoax, rather than peddling this piffle.

Talking of shaggy dogs, the above-mentioned ‘Conan’ scoop by Newsweek had a post-modern line that reverberates: ‘A female Belgian Malinois was along for the ride in the historic military operation. His name is Conan, Newsweek has learned.’ Perplexed readers asked, ‘Does the bitch identify as a dog?’ I don’t want to gross you out, but the original Conan pic seems to show a crotch lacking protuberances, which might have led Newsweek into error. Anyway, it amended its piece to dogsplain that Conan’s sex or gender was masculine. Toxic masculine, I’d say, as seen by the late Mr Baghdadi

Four Corners Knows All About ‘Fake News’

I watched ABC’s Four Corners “Fake News” episode on September 16 with some incredulity. It was Four Corners, after all, that brought us last year’s three-part barrage of fake news about President Trump (‘It’s the story of the century‘). Intrepid reporter Sarah Ferguson — possibly the ABC’s top-paid star on $460,000) — breathlessly attempted to establish that Trump colluded with Russians to steal the election from the ABC’s rightful president, Hillary Clinton. Except the Mueller inquiry announced “no collusion”.

Anyway, the “Fake News – Battle of the Social Networks” program was about social media spreading misinformation. It was a stale pot pourri of leftist interviewees urging government control of the internet, Julian Assange’s lawyer emoting[1] and an obsession about the Spanish government’s cruelty to Catalonians. There were sideswipes aplenty at Trump and vast admiration for the New York Times as the purported standard-bearer for objective reporting.

I liked the twitter comment below the iView episode:

Meaning mainstream media such as the ABCaustralia, 4corners, nytimes, MSNBC etc are the only ones allowed to spread disinformation & smearing. Hence, their push to censor social media… Nice try.

Another commenter wondered perceptively, “Why didn’t you do this story from an Australian perspective? Did you just get this story from overseas?”

I had the same thought. And sure enough, the ABC had bought the “Fake News” film from a leftist documentary and advertisement-making outfit in Barcelona, Catalonia. The closing credits name “La Kaseta Ideas Factory”. No wonder the film gave the Spanish government a drubbing: the project was “supported” by Barcelona City Government’s human something-or-other department. No disclaimer in English was given, although the government sponsorship is mentioned[2] in closing credits in the Catalan language – gracies per aixo, ABC.[3] The ABC has no problem using foreign government-backed leftist propaganda.

Is the doco stale? I’ll say! Visuals are dominated by clips from the October 2017 Catalan independence referendum (which Spain suppressed as illegal) and material was worked up through 2018. La Kaseta’s website says the film “premiered” on the ABC. Their ABC could become the first and only buyer, since the material gets more stale each month.

As for its leftist credentials, La Kaseta’s previous big doco was a prize-winning tear-jerker “To Kyma”, which “reported” how Spain, Italy, Greece etc were being mean to boats full of African illegals. Its protagonists were inspired by the heartbreaking photo of the drowned three-year-old Aylan Kurdi. In fact the boy’s father had paid people-smugglers to get him from his safe home in Turkey to Greece and from there he planned to set off for cheap dentures in Germany.

In the film refugee children are comforted by Palestinian psychiatrist Essam Daod. In promos he rants at Israeli injustices: “What is happening there is a crime against the humanity! Gaza is the biggest prison in the world, almost 100 have been shot and killed just last months in the peaceful demonstration on the border! All the world need to wake up and fast” — and so on.

The Four Corners/La Kaseta piece on fake news had an odd array of talking heads. One was author/journalist John Carlin. The doco didn’t mention he’d been sacked from Spain’s La Paisnewspaper in 2017 for “an article highly critical of the Spanish government … regarding the Catalonian independence referendum.” I’m not arguing about Catalonia’s rights and wrongs, only about the ABC’s use of foreign propaganda pieces.

The producers were thrilled to interview an Adam B. Ellick, the New York Times’ director of opinion video. Check out his Twitter feed and you’ll know in an instant where he stands with his two Left feet on the issues of the day he intones,

The Times has a set of standards, processes and verification methods that … enable us to stay committed to things like verification and fact-checking and they are able to prevent us from being susceptible to things we think endanger free press in other countries such as such as bribes, gifts and being compromised by people with a political agenda or a monetary agenda. Then, of course, there is fake news which has been hijacked for political purposes by so many people, including President Trump.” (My emphases)

The doco had no hint of the NYT’s hostility to Trump from the outset, including two years’ use of anonymous sources to drive the Russia-collusion narrative. The following items post-date the doco but are germane to the issue of NYT hypocrisy:

# On August 6 NYT runs a headline about Trump which is neutral: “TRUMP URGES UNITY VS. RACISM”. Its own reporters and Twitter erupt in indignation and force the Timesto replace it with an anti-Trump headline, “ASSAILING HATE BUT NOT GUNS”.

# On August 12, in the wake of the headline furore, Executive Editor Dean Baquet lays down editorial policy to staff. Someone records and leaks the pep talk to Slate, which publishes the transcript. Since its heavy investment in the Russia-collusion narrative has failed, Times staff will now swing the narrative to depict Trump and mainstream America as racist, Baquet orders.

# On September 15 The Times runs a “news analysis” piece by two staff reporters who have written a book about the Brett Kavanaugh Supreme Court nomination hearings. They allege on negligible evidence a new sexual assault by Kavanaugh on a woman during his college days. The Times sub-editors delete from the reporters’ already-lame story a crucial admission that the woman herself has no memory of such an assault.

# Concurrently, the two NYT author/reporters fail to report in their NYT’s piece their own book’s revelation that allies of Trump accuser Christine Blasey Ford had threatened to smear and harass Leland Keyser, Ford’s lifelong friend, if she gave her evidence doubting Ford’s story.

This is quite a list of NYT’s anti-Trump fakeries for just over one month. And at the height of these NYThit jobs the ABC airs the Times’ Mr Ellick prattling about his newspaper’s super-objectivity! He continues that the government should regulate social media companies “so it is not just a free-for-all … they are going to need the government to rope them in …We as a society are going to solve this problem through many different sectors of society but it begins with the government.” His point is a little obscure but his worldview is clear. Other interviewees make similar calls for government control of the online media. Cut to an approving clip of French President Macron saying, “I have decided we are going to change our legal arsenal to protect democratic life from fake news.”

In what could be satire but isn’t, the show features (from 20 months ago) a Madeleine de Cock Buningwho is chair of the European Commission’s 39-member High Level Group Against Disinformation.[4] She makes a stirring call at an EC gabfest for “formal agreed steps to provide Europe’s citizens with trustworthy information and to make them better equipped to navigate in the online environment.” This looks like Big Brother (correction, Big Sister) promoting truthspeak. Another prominent talking head in the doco is a fact-checking professional Clare Jiminez Cruz, who we are not told is actually on the same EC “truth” group.

Helen Margetts, billed as former director of the Oxford Internet Institute, likewise wants “to restrict the kind of pathologies – the hate speech, the misinformation that are part of success of people like Trump or the new Brazilian president.” (Cut to US troops cheering Trump, immediately followed by spooky music and vision of Spanish riot police bashing Catalans).

The doco does have a lone dissenter from the sought-after government control, a Freedom House spokesman warning of the obvious risks.

But then was cited Dr Claire Wardle, founder of Harvard University’s First Draft News, and a 2018 visitor to bringing her perspectives to the University of Tasmania. In the Four Corners doco she brackets Trump and Brazil’s Bolsanaro with the Philippines’ nasty president Rodrigo Duterte — all undermining mainstream media, she says. She claims fake news “is the biggest crisis we face as humankind because it is dividing us and as we get divided we get to a point where democracy is no longer functioning…” Beyond her weird hyperbole, she seems to dislike diverse views, which is today’s typical stance of a liberal academic.

Fake news from the Left? No such thing exists, ABC viewers must conclude from the doco.

So who foisted this masterpiece of mendacity on us taxpayers? Roll the end-credits and it looks like Sally Neighbour, Four Corners executive producer, claims responsibility. Good job, Sally!

Tony Thomas’s new book, The West: An insider’s tale – A romping reporter in Perth’s innocent ’60s is available from Boffins Books, Perth, the Royal WA Historical Society (Nedlands) and online here

 

[1] On QandA last Monday there was a similar fixation with Assange. He’s a bit of an ABC hero.

[2] “Supported by Ajuntament de vic ciutat a la mesure humana, ajuntament de Barcelona – Barcelona Activa.”

[3] “Thanks for that!”

[4] My, thirty-nine appointees is a big make-work group, even by EC funding standards.

The ABC’s Bended-Knee Adoration of Al Gore

What delusionary world do ABC people inhabit?  The national broadcaster’s editorial director, Alan Sunderland, last year fulminated against “liars and cheats and deceivers” generating fake news for the gullible. He wrote, “All responsible media organisations promise to aim for accuracy, to tell all sides of a story… Some, like the ABC, promise never to take an editorial stand or express an opinion, while others promise to make clear the distinction between their reporting and their commentary…” (My emphasis)

Oh, I see. There’s no ABC green-left narratives on lovely wind and solar energy, or ABC tear-jerking for discredited Sri Lankan “refugees”, or for stacking panels with ‘progressives’ and blackballing the Institute of Public Affairs

My incredulity accelerated when I came across Sunderland’s 11-page audit of the ABC’s coverage of Al Gore’s Melbourne-Sydney visit in mid-July 2017. Gore came to push his new climate-horror film “An Inconvenient Sequel”.

Sunderland’s “Editorial review of ABC interviews with Al Gore, July 2017” checked if the ABC’s coverage of Gore was biased and/or excessive, and whether Gore suckered the ABC into unduly promoting his film. Sunderland also checked whether the ABC, as per charter, was “present(ing) a diversity of perspectives so that, over time, no significant strand of thought or belief within the community is knowingly excluded or disproportionately represented.”

Actually Gore was here again only last June, when the Queensland government spent $320,000 for his Climate Week appearance. (His regular fee is $100,000). My partial list of some Gore visits is 2003, 2005, 2006 (twice), 2007, 2009, 2014 (rostrum-sharing with Clive Palmer), 2015, 2017, 2018 and 2019. He’s about as newsworthy as a Collins Street tram.

Moreover, Gore’s Inconvenient Truth film was deemed in late 2007 by the UK High Court’s Justice Burton to have nine errors,

the first two of which are apparently based on non-existent or misunderstood evidence, and the balance of which are or may be based upon lack of knowledge or appreciation of the scientific position, and all of which are significant planks in Mr Gores’ ‘political’ argumentation.

The Judge said the Education Department had also been violating laws against feeding politically partisan material to students. As a result the film can only be shown in UK schools if students are also given guidance notes both about the errors and the film’s agitprop content. Teachers must note

areas where there is undisputed scientific consensus …Areas where there is a strong scientific consensus but where a small minority of scientists do not agree (and) areas where there is political debate.

By the way, Gore successfully bluffed 7.30’s Heather Ewart in 2009 that he won the Justice Burton case:

EWART: There was also, though, a British judge who ruled that there were in fact, I think, nine errors when it was challenged in court?

GORE: Well, the ruling was in my favour.

Sunderland’s audit first deals with a “suggestion” that his ABC climate enthusiasts booked 18 interviews with Gore. Not true:

Our investigations revealed a total of 8 separate interviews were conducted.

However

Segments of some these interviews were picked up, edited and repeated across a range of different programs in addition to that [eight], meaning that Al Gore’s visit generated substantial coverage across the ABC.

He asks, was this “excessive and unjustified by the editorial value?” His answer:

There is no evidence to suggest this was the case.

The primary interviews are conveniently listed[1] as

# July 10 – 7.30 with Stan Grant; “Hack” interview with Tom Tilley

# July 11 – Radio National (Gregg Borschman); Sydney Radio Breakfast (Robbie Buck); Perth Radio Drive (Belinda Varischetti); Melbourne Radio Drive (Alicia Loxley)

# July 12 – Brisbane Radio Afternoon (Kelly Higgins-Devine)

# August 3 – One Plus One (Jane Hutcheon, doing a 30-minute lifestyle suck-up).

In the 7.30 interview, Stan Grant – who sometimes bucks the system – did ask about accusations that Gore exaggerated his alarmism, also making mention of the South Australian SA blackouts. His other questions were patsies, such as “Gore’s view of President Trump’s attitudes and their impact on the US reputation” — sheesh, there’s a hard-ball interrogation for you, not! Grant further asked if climate change agitation is “affected by the rise of populism” — “populism” being ABC code for any success from right of centre.

Sunderland is thrilled by Gregg Borschmann’s interrogation of Gore. He  hails the “highly experienced specialist journalist on environmental issues” who “explored a range of issues more closely”. The punchy ones included (I’m not making anything up):

# More pointed questions on whether Australia was an international ‘laggard’ on climate change

# Whether the world had reached a tipping point and the impact of climate change was now irreversible

# A detailed discussion of some of the more extreme methods and technologies for tackling climate change

Sunderland is miffed that Gore didn’t get a Dorothy Dixer from his ABC myrmidons on the dreaded Adani coal mine (as at 2017; now a mine which Labor is strangely fond of). This omission was remedied by ABC’s Brisbane radio and the Hack program.

Three key points which no ABC person brought up in the eight 2017 interviews are

(a) Why with your multi-million fortune did you never re-shoot Inconvenient Truth to correct the errors – which even included that all citizens of sinking Pacific islands have evacuated to New Zealand? Surely that failure’s Inconvenient when you’re offering a Sequel?

(b) Given that the swimming pool of one of your three mansions uses the same electricity as six average US homes, might you be accused of emissions hypocrisy?

(c) Does your partnership’s profit of $US200mplus from carbon trading in 2008-11 suggest a conflict of interest in your promoting of green energy? Are you now a big investor in Beyond Meat, a plant-for-meat substitute beneficiary of the UN climate push against real meat?[2]

Sunderland has a threefold justification for the ABC’s welter of publicity for Gore. First, he’s a former vice-president (1993-01 – two decades ago) and crusades on climate; second, he made an influential climate film (12 years ago), and third, he has a new film when Australia has “gas shortages, power blackouts, rising electricity prices and policy challenges informed by the recent Finkel Report.” Citing householders’ energy-price horrors is refreshing frankness for the ABC people, 3% of whom are on $200,000-plus a year. For that well-heeled cadre home energy costs are but small change.

Sunderland then checks how good Gore’s new film is by selecting what he presents as a representative sample of overseas reviews: two from the far-left Guardian; one from the liberal Washington Post; one from Variety, the bible of way-left Hollywood; and one from 9to5 Mac, a magazine specializing in Mac news and comment. Since Al Gore is a board member of Apple Inc., that might be seen as just a touch incestuous.

Sunderland’s selection of reviewers illustrates the ABC collective mind: legitimate views from right of centre are beyond his imagination. His sample found the film awesome (with quibbles about lack of fresh agitprop) and therefore “the actual content of the new movie was sufficiently newsworthy” for the ABC to tout.

Sunderland then wonders if the uncritical mass of ABC interviews of Gore “result(ed) in disproportionately representing a particular perspective”. No, he finds. And on the warming catastrophism
 hypothesis, he writes with straight face

Our coverage, like that of other media outlets, has included a wide range of other perspectives to ensure appropriate impartiality.

He lists views from the Bureau of Meteorology; the NSW Nature Conservation Council; the would-be $US100b a year Green Climate Fund (seriously); Flannery’s Climate Council; “a representative group of 35 local government bodies”[3]; Coalition, Opposition and Greens politicians[4]; the independent financial think-tank ‘Carbon Tracker Initiative’ (actually climate finance lobbyists); G20 leaders meeting to discuss the Paris Agreement (don’t mention Trump); the National Greenhouse Inventory; “Pacific leaders meeting in Fiji for a Climate Action Pacific Partnership event”; the ACCC on energy prices; Arrium in Whyalla; the Australian energy regulator, and the true-believing Queensland Resources Council.[5]

In the real world, the 2015 CSIRO poll (p4) showed that 54 per cent of Australians don’t buy the human-caused-warming story. There is no hint of this vast demographic in Sunderland’s “ diversity”.

Concurrently with Gore’s 2017 tour, the world’s top-rated warming sceptic, Marc Morano, also visited Melbourne to push his own film, Climate Hustle. Morano launched his film on Wednesday night (July 12) and Gore launched his on Thursday morning (13th). I got to both . Morano tried to give Gore the Hustle DVD, but Gore’s minders shut down this promising conversation. Gore’s security people physically stopped audience members and a Herald Sun photographer  taking pics and recordings during his speech. They missed me and I posted a full transcript on Morano’s New York blog.

Strangely the ABC which “presents a diversity of perspectives” and never knowingly downplays a legitimate point of view, did not interview Marc Morano in Melbourne. Morano was interviewed by Andrew Bolt and Alan Jones, but the rest was silence. Nature journal has ranked 386 sceptics globally and placed Morano at No 1[6].

Sunderland, “having ascertained that Al Gore’s views were newsworthy and the ABC’s coverage of them was not disproportionate”, moves on to whether eight duplicate interviews robbed other ABC programs of resources.

Sunderland found that overall, the seven news interviews were duplicates except in style and “chatty non-material issues such as Al Gore’s more general views on President Trump…and whether he might make another movie in another ten years’ time.”

Sunderland, with 30-plus years at the ABC and SBS, knows how interviewees manipulate their interrogators. Gore has a sheaf of “talking points” which he “repeated in all the interviews”. Sunderland reconstructs Gore’s cheat sheet from regularities in the interviews. One staple is “comparing the spin used by climate change sceptics now and the tobacco lobby in the past (used in four out of the seven interviews).” That canard is of course from the crazed Naomi Oreskes’ Merchants of Doubt book of 2010.

Other Gore porkies include

“The price of electricity from solar and wind, and now the price declines in battery storage and efficiency improvements of all kinds – these are economic realities that are really kicking in in a very powerful way. (used in 6 out of the 7 interviews)”.

My Fact Check: In the first quarter of 2019, Victoria and New South Wales recorded their highest underlying energy prices on record, while Queensland, South Australia and Tasmania recorded their second-highest energy prices on record. Retail electricity prices have near-doubled since 2004.

# “In the last decade, the climate-related extreme weather events have become much more common, much more destructive” (used in six out of the seven interviews).

My Fact Check: Take just one of dozens of examples – “…as far as the climate scientists know there is no link between climate change and drought.” Andy Pitman, Director, ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate Extremes, UNSW.[7]

There is no mention by Sunderland of any ABC interviewer challenging Gore’s mendacious cheat-sheet claims.

He finishes with one-hand/other-hand conclusions. Gore swamped all interviews with his talking points, so there was indeed ABC duplication. But the plethora of interviews earned a lot of “localisation” brownie points for state programs and personalities. Both Sunderland and Michelle Guthrie, then the ABC’s managing director, urged more coordination and rationalization, but neither showed an awareness that Gore is a hypocritical money-grabbing driver of the climate-apocalypse bandwagon.

Tony Thomas’s new book, The West: An insider’s tale – A romping reporter in Perth’s innocent ’60s is available from Boffins Books, Perth, the Royal WA Historical Society (Nedlands) and online here

 

[1] Date aired by ABC; they were all recorded earlier about the same time

[2] A long time Gore partner David Blood is co-chair of World Resources Institute which has released a 570-page report against meat consumption

[3] Sunderland doesn’t say but I’ll bet the 35 were those mobilized by the Climate Council for grassroots alarmism

[4] One Nation (4.3% of the national primary Senate vote in 2016 and 9.2% of the Queensland primary Senate vote) was not worthy of ABC mention let alone interviewing.

[5] “Climate change is a critical global challenge, which must be addressed by all parts of society. The resources industry is committed to being part of the global solution.”

[6] Perth’s world-reknowned sceptic Joanne Nova ranked 99th, Ian Plimer 51st.

[7] June 19, 2019, at 1.11.20 on Soundcloud. Hat tip: Joanne Nova

ABC of Pauline’s revenge

7 September 2019

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has two Bills at hand to clobber the anti-conservative ABC. The first would force it to disclose the pay of talent earning $200,000-plus. According to ex-boss Michelle Guthrie, at the top is a female on about $460,000. The other Bill is a symbolic slap adding ‘fair and balanced’ to the ABC’s charter of ‘accurate and impartial.’ Both Bills should be sub-titled Pauline Hanson’s Revenge. She dictated them to ex-PM Malcolm Turnbull in late 2017 as her price for supporting his media ownership liberalisation. ABC-lovers howled but the BBC was forced in 2017 to disclose pay rates of all talent earning more than £150,000, so don’t get precious about our local talent.

Problem: is Scott Morrison mongrel enough to try mauling the public broadcaster? If yes, will the new Senate let him? Or will he welsh on the Turnbull/Hanson deal by letting the Bills languish?

The ABC and the journalists’ union, the MEAA, are enraged about Hanson horse-trading the Bills. Their hacks and quasi-comedians have trashed ‘Pauline Pantsdown’ for two decades. In 1998, Queensland Chief Justice Paul de Jersey (now governor) said:

[Hanson] contended that the broadcast material gave rise to imputations that she is a homosexual, a prostitute, involved in unnatural sexual practices, associated with the Ku Klux Klan, a man and/or a transvestite and involved in or party to sexual activities with children. The [ABC] essentially contended that the material amounted merely to vulgar abuse and was not defamatory. These were grossly offensive imputations relating to the sexual orientation and preference of a member of parliament and her performance, which the appellant [ABC] in no degree supports as accurate and which were paraded as part of an apparently fairly mindless effort at cheap denigration.

Unabashed, the ABC persisted with ‘Pauline Pantsdown.’ Its Complaints crew told me in 2016 there was nothing sexual about such a jolly satire and ‘the image was not in contravention of ABC editorial standards.’ In early 2017 Four Corners ran its ‘Please Explain’ expose which included secret recordings of Hanson’s phone calls with staffer James Ashby. This hit job inspired Hanson to use Senate power to torment her tormentor.

In a rough-as-guts exchange, Communications Minister Mitch Fifield told the ABC’s Michelle Guthrie and SBS’s Michael Ebeid to publicise the pay of their talent by November 2017 or he’d legislate. They told him (politely) to get stuffed. The Senate shunted his Bills to sundry committees. Meanwhile Morrison had tastier electoral fish to fry and the Bills lapsed in July. But Fifield’s successor Paul Fletcher has listed the bills for the session starting 9 September. His department tells The Speccie: ‘The introduction date is a matter between the Minister and the Prime Minister.’

In its cheeky style, the ABC board submitted, ‘As this [pay] Bill is neither in the public interest nor leads to any greater corporate governance, the ABC is of the view that the only intended outcome it actually achieves is the fulfilment of the Government’s agreement with One Nation.’ In another snark, the board said disclosure would catch only 3 per cent of ABC staff, whereas Fifield’s department had more than 6 per cent above $200,000.

On the ‘fair and balanced’ Bill, the ABC’s 2018 Annual Report shows the corporation’s pinkishness. There are two gloats about its fake Trump/Russia coverage (‘unprecedented in-depth analysis of President Trump’s Russian connections’) and on P. 38, Vol. 2 is a lurid montage of a sleepy Trump and a wide-awake Putin lurking in the shadowy background. Geez, who mocked that up? ABC artists also did Trump sandwiched between two onion domes.

The report cited polling that 75 per cent of Australians think their ABC is accurate and impartial and 82 per cent trust its information (conversely, one in three don’t trust Q&A and The Drum). The same polling shows nearly 70 per cent for the five years to 2018 ‘believe the ABC is efficient and well-managed.’ So well-managed that last September the board sacked the managing director, the chair committed hara-kiri and the leadership engaged in a mudfight, with taxpayers funding the lawyers and payouts. For five months until February, the ABC had no chair (welcome, Ita Buttrose) and for eight months to May, no managing director (welcome, David Anderson). To repeat, the polls show 70 per cent think the ABC is well-managed and 75 per cent think it is politically impartial.

The ABC got thrashed in submissions from the Farmers Federation and Cotton Australia. Cotton’s policy officer Angela Bradburn cited ‘misrepresentation, inaccuracies and sensationalism.’ The ABC’s campaigns against Murray-Darling irrigators, pitched to city audiences, ‘have been strongly driven by one or two environmental bodies,’ she said, mentioning the unmentionable.

The MEAA called the ‘fair and balanced’ Bill ‘a calculated insult directed at the ABC and its employees … rooted in a transgressive campaign to undermine the performance and reputation of the nation’s most esteemed (and scrutinised) broadcaster.’ The journos, typically paranoid, claimed the proposed ‘fair and balanced’ addition to the ABC’s charter was pinched from the old Fox News masthead, yet the annual report itself trumpets ‘Fair and balanced.’ Ranald Macdonald, my ex-boss as one-time Age supremo, wrote to Fifield blasting ‘media moguls’ chasing profits and power. ‘Just keep your mitts off and allow the ABC to do its job,’
he warns. The Bills are all ‘part of a deliberate and continued campaign of harassment and assault being inflicted on “Auntie” ABC with clear malice aforethought.’ Climate sceptics are no more entitled to balanced coverage than flat-earthers and Holocaust deniers, he writes. He excoriates ‘the IPA and members of the ever burgeoning Murdoch Empire who have everything to gain from weakening public broadcasting – we all lose if the Murdochs (Rupert, Lachlan or the aggressive James) totally rule the waves.’ Isn’t that the Royal Navy’s job ?

On salaries, ABC and SBS argued their boards were accountable for ensuring value-for-money, not public stickybeaks, i.e. ‘a public forum prosecuted by tabloid media.’ SBS, crying poor, said pay disclosure would drain off stars and drive up pay, as happened at the BBC, claimed then SBS boss Michael Obeid (pay grade $800,000). With respect, he’s wrong. Top male stars at the woke BBC are taking six-figure pay cuts to address gender pay gaps. We’ll see if Morrison gets the ABC Bills up. Meanwhile everyone right of centre can throw boots at the screen.

America Observed With an ABC Squint

The BBC is facing a citizens’ crowd-funded lawsuit against its left-biased reporting, while the ABC is still forgetful that half of its funders are centre-right taxpayers. The latest ABC annual report trumpets Leisa Bacon, director ABC audiences, on its second page proclaiming, “The ABC is unique in its ability to
 unite the nation … we are here for every Australian”.

The ABC’s online surveys and Roy Morgan polls show massive trust in the ABC, but why do fewer than 20 per cent of the polled actually tune in? For 2017-18, by the way, ABC 7pmNews audience fell 5-8 per cent.

The most naked bias at the moment is in the ABC’s pro-Democrat US reporting, since few Australians cross-check the material. So let’s sample ABC bureau’s July 4 Independence Day coverage in Washington DC.[1] The reporter is Conor Duffy, mocker-in-chief of President Trump.

For his print piece, falsely labeled “analysis”, the ABC gave us a choice of three headlines. “Trump dreamed of pomp and ceremony. Instead he got soggy tanks”. Maybe that was too deranged, even for the ABC, so a second version went: “ANALYSIS: Wild weather, small crowds and protesters rain on Trump’s parade.” The third top read: “Donald Trump hoped for a parade to rival Bastille Day, instead he got small crowds and soggy tanks”.

For starters, there were no tanks on the Mall, especially not soggy ones. The 25mm chain gun on the two parked Bradley Fighting Vehicles is a pet compared to an Abrams tank’s 5.3m smoothbore of 120mm calibre.

Small crowd? Duffy estimated it as “thousands or tens of thousands” (live TV) or “in the thousands, rather than the hundreds of thousands promised by Mr Trump” (Analysis).  Maybe he picked up about “likely attendance woes” from Politico’s blog that week, piled on by the other liberal media with their history of 90 per cent anti-Trump pieces.

Politico had claimed, via the usual anonymous sources, that “heads are spinning at the White House as Trump’s July Fourth crowd shapes up to be another Inauguration-level disaster.” Trump was even, allegedly, handing pals freebie tickets in multiples of ten. It was double-fake news as the turnout for Trump’s inauguration “disaster” was 500,000 or more, according to Wiki’s experts.

On the day, the Twitterati claimed the official July 4 pics had been PhotoShopped by the device of pasting in a giant crowd from a previous event. This meme died suddenly as leftists recognised their own-goal.

Remarkably, Duffy’s story embeds a video showing, for two seconds anyway, a glimpse of the enormous crowd. On each side of the Mall’s ponds is a packed mass stretching to the high horizon. No-one these days attempts a count. But you can eye-ball it based on an MCG finals crowd of 100,000. There’s at least one MCG unit lengthways (3km) on each side and another unit filling in to the Capitol. Maybe Duffy could visit an optician.

The lead-in to Duffy’s July 5 news report at 7pm was that Trump had “politicised” the holiday. But on Saturday, ABC TV news had another of its US team, James Glenday, saying, “There was actually almost no politicisation of the event at all, despite what his opponents had said.” Bravo, Glenday. But watch your back there.

Duffy didn’t “analyse” why a president shouldn’t do a “Salute to America”. Anyone who takes in Trump’s address can get the full sense of partisan-free American pride. Here’s a sample:

From our earliest days, Americans of faith have uplifted our nation. This evening, we are joined by Sister Deirdre Byrne. Sister Byrne is a retired Army surgeon who served for nearly 30 years. On September 11th, 2001, the sister raced to Ground Zero. Through smoke and debris, she administered first aid and comfort to all. Today, Sister Byrne runs a medical clinic serving the poor in our nation’s capital. Sister, thank you for your lifetime of service. Thank you.”

Pity our schoolkids won’t ever be shown this first-class speech, or encouraged to read its full text, as counter to the customary classroom bashing of America and capitalism).[2]

Speaking for myself, Duffy can be cringe-inducing: “But like a handshake with French President Emmanuel Macron, the American leader was once again left crushed.” Duffy’s link shows Macron taking Trump unawares with a wraparound handshake. I doubt that Trump, who is twice Macron’s build, felt “crushed” then or “crushed” by the size of his Mall crowd. Rasmussen polls a few days later put his approval rating at a 50 per cent high.

Duffy’s sensibilities are also affronted by the Salute’s minor military elements. His so-called “tanks” are not just soggy but “a little sad”, “awkward”, “jarring”, “inelegant” and with “autocratic undertones”. In a linked piece, they’re “grotesque”. He likens the show “to the crass displays of North Korea and China“, albeit by quoting “critics”, a standard ABC deceit to inject bias. I’m surprised he didn’t run an interview with Laurence Tribe, a Harvard Law Professor, who said that the “tanks” were a chilling presage to a possible Tiananmen-style massacre. Not to be outdone, New York Times columnist Charles M. Blow tweeted, “Let this sink in: There are tanks in the nation’s capital and concentration camps at its border. The drift toward the unimaginable is unmistakable”.

OK, Prof Tribe and Mr Blow, fret and fulminate all you like. But Democrat President Kennedy paraded nuclear missiles down Pennsylvania Avenue, as pictured below. The tank-horror media spin collapsed anyway because half a dozen real tanks (not to mention a Patriot missile launcher) are featured at Washington’s army expo each October.

I saw more tanks and cannon parked at Victoria’s modest Avalon Airshow last March than there were at Trump’s Mall. When I was at the Mall for an Obama-era Independence parade in 2012, the only weapons were rifles of a few small services contingents and wooden facsimiles carried by costumed schoolkids. Nice, but maybe the Obama era was a little too dovish. Three years later, Obama refused to bomb Turkey-bound ISIS oil tankers to avoid “environmental damage”.

Duffy’s 7pm News report also featured the giant (6m tall) Baby Trump balloon and its 10-20 supporters — maybe those were the “protestors” in his ABC headline. Duffy’s report included a loving 33-second clip of the tethered balloon being turned around, plus a sidebar linking to the ABC’s  850-word balloon backgrounder ( “The Museum of London is even working to acquire it”). Surely our unbiased ABC did angry-nappy-baby-Trump to death during his London visit?[3]

Duffy finished his to-air piece with a smattering of vox pops — quotes from supposedly random individuals. The first two (as I recall) were Trump-negative, and then there came a couple of Trump supporters, presumably in the name of balance. The overall impression, though, at least on me, was that rational souls correctly regard Trump as “the worst president in history” (“a criminal”, “corrupt”, “incompetent”).

Careful, Duffy’s ABC. You do have a charter for impartiality. Maybe one day you’ll look it up.

Tony Thomas’s new book, The West: An insider’s tale – A romping reporter in Perth’s innocent ’60sis available from Boffins Books, Perth, the Royal WA Historical Society (Nedlands) and online here

_____________________________

[1] No longer available on iview – 7pm news pieces disappear after 3-4 days.

[2] I concede Trump mangled his script and referred to revolutionary-war “airports”. He claimed the heavy rain had shorted his teleprompter at that point.

[3] Here’s just a sampling of ABC News headlines on its myriads of baby-balloon stories:

Giant ‘Baby’ Donald Trump balloon is inflated in London
The ‘Trump Baby’ blimp is inflated in Parliament Square
‘Trump Baby’ balloon takes flight in London
Opponents of Donald Trump inflate a balloon depicting him as an orange, snarling baby
‘Trump Baby’ balloon set to take flight during July 4th
The ‘Trump Baby’ balloon dominated headlines” [how did that happen? TT]
‘Baby Trump’ balloon flies over London
A giant balloon portraying the U.S. president as a baby was flown
Activists plan giant ‘Trump Baby’ balloon
Protesters fly “Trump baby” blimp in London’s Parliament

We’re in London, as protesters prepare to fly “Trump baby” blimp…

12 comments
  • whitelaughter

    None of this surprises. And worth noting that when people tune into the Absolutely Biased Collective it is to watch shows from overseas, not the drivel they produce themselves.

  • rod.stuart

    IMHO the ABC is not getting better; it is getting worse.
    However, I have to rely on pieces such as this since I completely ignore the ABC and SBS.

  • Stephen Due

    What is the rationale for a government-funded broadcaster in this day and age? Given its small audience, comprising people who presumably want to consume its Left/Green perspective, why should the taxpayer support it? It is not just anti-Trump, but provides a seemingly endless stream of programs featuring feminism, domestic violence by men, LBGT, socialism, the environment, climate change and issues of race. It is anti-Christian, pro-abortion, pro-euthanasia, and in favour of Political Correctness. I will give the ABC credit for its ongoing effort to expose human rights abuses in China. But really the ABC should be radically reformed or else privatised. User pays is a good principle in a democracy.

  • ianl

    > “The ABC’s online surveys and Roy Morgan polls show massive trust in the ABC …”

    Rail all one wishes, and there are times I feel like joining the howling, but the above quote is the reason the ABC survives as it is.

    It is not the ABC, it is a majority of the people. That most don’t watch or listen is irrelevant; it is (misplaced) national pride.

  • Doubting Thomas

    Those of us who recall World War II, if only dimly, remember when the ABC really was a class act with impeccable standards. No doubt Geoffrey Luck will know when, why and how the rot set in, but my own gut feeling is that it was the advent of television in 1956 that was the start of the rot.
    Back in the pre-TV era, we in the rural areas depended on the ABC for our news, weather forecasts, market reports, and high class entertainment, and we got it in spades. Complaints about ABC bias were never heard, and we couldn’t have cared less whether the newsreaders were photogenic as long as they pronounced the names of our country towns correctly. (One exception to the usual high quality was Jimmy Gussey’s ABC Dance Band which, in the dawn of the Rock and Roll era, was excruciatingly awful to our ears as it tried to cover the current hits. I still cringe at the memory some 60 years later.)
    But when the rot set in (Ashbolt?), the collapse of the ABC as a credible organisation was as complete as it was rapid.
    Nobody in our extended family watches the ABC anymore, and has not done so for decades.

  • Mr Johnson

    Just as well the SBS is better balanced – oh wait, there hasn’t been a pro, or even balanced, report on SBS since Trump came to power. Might as well merge them with the ABC. We’ll still get biased reporting, but at least it’ll be cheaper for the taxpayer.

  • Greg Williams

    Last year, one hundred and eighty nine employees of the ABC on executive pay-grades were awarded a total of about $2.2 million in bonuses. A further 190 non-executive employees of the same taxpayer-funded organisation were awarded bonuses totalling $385 000. This is on top of their already bloated taxpayer-funded salaries and generous superannuation schemes.

    I could understand bonuses being awarded if the ABC was making a profit, or ratings were soaring, but the reality is that the ABC does the opposite of make a profit and is actually bleeding the taxpayer dry. Its ratings, if it were a commercial organisation, would be heading it towards liquidation.

    So what are these employees of the ABC being awarded bonuses for, one might ask? It appears that it is for merely doing their job.

    The sooner this anachronistic, money-guzzling organisation is privatised, so that the hordes of Australians who supposedly love it can pay for it themselves, all the better!

  • whitelaughter

    ianl – that an inhouse survey by the ABC says what the ABC wants it to say should not surprise, and means nothing.
    If the majority of Aussies trusted the ABC, then the ABC news would get a majority of viewers. It does not; ergo, the majority of us do not trust the ABC more than the other channels (and that’s a very low bar).

  • T B LYNCH

    The Scullin Labor Government of 1929 set up the ABC to be the Voice of the Left. The ABC is performing this left propaganda mission to a tee. It is crazy trying to “reform” the ABC. Get it over with. Sell it to Getup, and let them pay for it.

  • T B LYNCH

    The ABC claim to be essential in the Bush. The Bega Valley in southern NSW was well served with news, agricultural market reports, stock reports, weather reports and forecasts etc right through the depression, WWII and the post war years, by privately owned 2BE.
    The ABC metastasised to the Bega Valey in 1960. This “Essential to the Bush” propaganda deceives even the elect, as shown by a comment above.

  • Lawriewal

    Doubting Thomas:
    You got it with:”But when the rot set in (Ashbolt?)”

    There has to be a Hell for the likes of it.

  • John Reid

    Although I agree with all of the above I would like to remind people that it applies largely to News and Current Affairs. Don’t forget that the ABC is also a major promoter of classical music with several symphony orchestras under its wing. For a classical music buff, ABC Classic FM is the best radio broadcast station of its type I have heard anywhere. No doubt in any clean-up of the ABC these will be the first to go.