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July 17th 2018 print

Roger Franklin

Just Another Day at Their ABC

There are stories -- and then there are ABC's versions of events as presented on its News website. In just one single day, July 16, this is the spin and perspective the national broadcaster inflicted on reports from Bangla Desh to Canberra, with stops at the Helpmann Awards and Gaza along the way

their abcOn the face of it, the national broadcaster’s abc.net.au website is an unassuming corner of WWWorld, a place that looks the part of a just-the-facts news site. Open a story, however, and what you are likely to find is that, amongst the police rounds tales of matricide and foreign correspondent dispatches about crocodile massacres, there is plenty of ABC-style “journalism”: stories with advocacy and agendas woven into them and presented without balance or even the pretense of balance.

Below, a sampling of one day’s (July 16) slant and bias:

Ian Verender knows coal must die, taxes are beaut and renewables the bee’s knees:

Most also view a carbon price as inevitable at some stage, which would make coal-fired generators unviable and their bankers nursing multi-billion-dollar losses.

It is a triumph of economics over ideology. While coal will remain an important part of our electricity industry for another 20 years, its influence rapidly will diminish as the new technology takes over.

It is worth remembering that, unlike renewables and gas plants, none (sic) of coal-fired generators have been built with private capital. The only way another will ever be built is with yet another massive government subsidy.

No explanation is offered of the market distortions and subsidies that stop coal plants being built, just assurances that “new technology” will take over. Oh, and do notice the “most” who are said to be happy to accept a carbon tax. “Most”, as in most of those sipping fair trade organic coffee in the ABC canteen?

But why mention ruinous power prices and rent-seekers fattening at the green trough when racial amity is breaking out all over, especially in France, where that country’s World Cup triumph is about much more than soccer? If you are ABCer Edwina Sesalja it’s a wonderful boost for multiculturalism:

The multicultural make-up of the French team has a significant role to play in this too.

“We still have some race tensions in France and the fact the French team includes many cultures, I think it’s very unifying for France,” Nathan said. “They are representing France with their game as well as their values.”

Some team members’ “values”, according to Foreign Affairs, have included declining to sing the national anthem, spitting ostentatiously at its conclusion, blackmailing a fellow squad member, consorting with underage prostitutes and accusing selectors of racism.

But enough with sport! What about the strides Third World women are making with micro loans and sewing machines?

Type the words “sewing machine” and “empowerment” into a search engine and you’ll yield hundreds of thousands of results.

That’s because non-profit organisations and aid programs have led us to believe that small-scale business ventures — via sewing machines, microloans and even goats — empower women in developing nations, known collectively as the Global South…

Ah, but there’s a problem, reports Siobhan Hegarty:

…This may sound like a positive for women in the Global South, but Cardiff University research fellow Dr Santi Rozario says it’s not that simple.

“After about 25 years of microcredit programs in rural Bangladesh, ingrained gender values are still essentially unchanged,” Dr Rozario reported in a 2002 paper.

Women getting ahead is a problem at Their ABC, yet so is women not getting ahead. And would you believe it, this is happening in the theatre, where nominations for the Helpmann Awards groaned beneath an overload of male nominees, writes Michaela Boland

Only one woman, Melbourne Theatre Company associate director Sarah Goodes, has earned a nomination among the 12 Helpmann slots for best director, across theatre, musicals and opera…

… Australian performing arts have a woman problem, still….

… Almost a decade after an outcry about the lack of opportunities for women was triggered by Belvoir Theatre Company artistic director Neil Armfield, Australian theatre’s diversity problem appears frozen in the spotlight.

No matter how bad it is for lady luvvies, they can always celebrate not being Malcolm Turnbull. He’s the subject of an analysis by Andrew Probyn, who laments the man who won Q&A hearts in his non-Abbott leather jacket has been a terrible disappointment. Unruffled by his recent rebuke at the hands of ACMA for loading a news report with his personal and pejorative appraisal of Tony “The Destroyer” Abbott, Probyn continues:

This is the Malcolm who now recognises that the Liberal base doesn’t want re-educating at all but instead requires red meat to ensure it doesn’t bay for his blood.

This is the Liberal base, whispering in the ears of his MPs, that needs succour, whether it be hard messaging about those inveterate lefties at the ABC or those horrible unions, or chucking some bones about migration levels and religious freedoms

At least Probyn is honest in conceding he works for and with a mob of “inveterate lefties”. No need for ACMA to bestir itself this time, given that truth is generally considered an adequate defence.

All of the above samplings are taken solely from  yesterday’s ABC News Online offerings — just one single day’s worth of port-canted agenda-pushing, preaching and monocular assessments of the world the rest of us live in.

Perhaps, since the ABC still gets $1.2 billion every year, Communications Minister Mitch Fifield might want to write another of his famously stern letters. That will work a treat. Meanwhile, as the ABC quakes with fear at the minister’s impending wrath, Quadrant Online readers can visit the site via this link.

And do make a point to read the coverage of the latest unpleasantness in Gaza. After a full day, the ABC might actually have moved itself to mention that Israel’s latest walloping of Hamas’ operational centres was prompted by more than hundreds of rockets, mortar shells and fire bombs flying north across the border.

Hey, what do you expect for a paltry billion-plus dollars per year?

Comments [6]

  1. en passant says:

    What do I expect for a paltry $Bn a year? Mass redundancy notices, a sell-off of $1Bn in ABC assets and freedom of speech and balanced views.

    Gotcha!

  2. LBLoveday says:

    I appreciate people like RF, Henderson and others reading/watching the ABC and reporting, thus assuring me the reasons I don’t are still valid without me having to read/watch.

    But, I don’t see that “Most also view a carbon price as inevitable” means they are “are said to be happy to accept a carbon tax”. There are many things I view as inevitable but I am far from happy about.

    So I made an exception and read the link, and it appears to me that “most” refers to banks who must take into account the chances of a carbon tax to guard against “nursing multi-billion-dollar losses”, not “those sipping fair trade organic coffee in the ABC canteen”.

    These unmentioned “fire bombs flying north across the border” have destroyed more than 3000ha of Israeli forest and agricultural land and over 20 per cent of Israeli nature reserves near the Gaza border, yet the ABC says nothing about that while railing about endangering frogs and roasting alive bugs if a few hectares of undergrowth is burned off in Australia and condemn poor Indonesian peasants for clearing small patches of forest to enable them to feed their kids and parents by farming.

  3. Geoffrey Luck says:

    Excellent account Roger. The way to force the ABC to revert to a fact and truth-telling news service is to keep documenting these minor incidents,because they add to the totality of distortion, personal preference and preaching that we all recognise and detest. EG lying here in hospital on Wednesday 11/7.I heard superannuated chief correspondent Phil Williams say “The grand alliance between Europe and the US has underpinned security for years. But Donald Trump may have other ideas.” This vacuous gratuitous comment is what passes for analysis in today’s ABC. Regards.

  4. Jody says:

    Poor old Andrew Probyn (could a name be any less appropriate?) just isn’t terribly bright.

    • PT says:

      I haven’t had any time for Probyn dice his hatchet job on Alcoa (particularly the Wagerup Refinery) in The West Australian in 2004 (his Wikipedia page says he worked in Tasmania until 2005, but his “reports” on that we’re out by April 2004, so he must have started with The West by then.

      Now Alcoa’s facility did have issues with the kiln emissions, and the inversion layer in the area. But he then proceeded to claim the “red mud” (that’s the tailings leftover when the alumina is removed from the bauxite). The worst part was that he gratuitously kept saying the tailings “contained uranium”, and said it each and every time he mentioned the red mud. But the traces of uranium are in the ground of that area, which is where the bauxite mines are! The whole region has higher than normal background radiation levels, although not due to the insignificant uranium quantities!

      For this shows that he is a sensationalist, deliberately misleading, and either poorly researched or deliberately misrepresenting the truth.