Media

The ABC and its Feral Audience

Among the many fingers the ABC has jammed into the mass-media pie its Facebook page is one of the most unintentionally instructive, the reader comments posted on threads beneath the re-posted news reports regularly opening a window on the sort of people successive Coalition governments have persisted in squandering a billion-plus dollars per year to inform, entertain … and incite.

There was another example just this morning in the comments thread beneath the national broadcaster’s coverage of an emotional speech by retiring South Australian Liberal Nicolle Flint, who is quitting politics after being subjected to a campaign of sustained and vile harassment by Labor supporters and the party’s GetUp! auxiliaries. But first, some of what Ms Flint had to say:

“I ask the Leader of the Opposition, where was he and where was his predecessor and where were the senior Labor women when GetUp, Labor and the union supporters chased, harassed and screamed at me everywhere I went in the lead-up to the 2019 election?”

She started to cry again as she accused the Opposition of failing to support her.

“What I say to the Labor Party today is they may not have held the spray can to vandalise my office with sexist slurs, they may not have held the camera pointed at me by the stalker or called me evil in GetUp’s phone calls, but they did create the environment in which hate could flourish,” she said.

“I say to the Leader of the Opposition, this can’t be about politics anymore.

“We all bear the responsibility for change.”

When this was cross-posted on Facebook, which happened late on Tuesday night, the commenters went to town.

Below, a small sample of the hundreds of comments about Ms Flint from Labor/Greens supporters and ABC friends (sorry, I repeat myself).

 

Those are far from the worst, or the most unhinged, but the scores of other vile and abusive posts directed at Ms Flint can no longer be screen-grabbed and captured because the ABC deep-sixed the entire post, either ashamed of its very own viewers, which it should be, or concerned that their endless bile was perhaps just a bit too illustrative of the core audience it services.

On the ABC’s home page, coverage of Ms Flint and her address is now also scarce. While the report, posted at 10.25pm on Tuesday, is still available  if you have its URL, the marquee placement of the original has been replaced by a post in which Penny Wong scoffs at the criticism she and other senior Labor figures should have done or said something — anything–  to decry supporters who scrawled ‘skank’ and ‘prostitute’ on a rival candidate’s office window, not to mention the stalking and physical intimidation. Ms Wong reckons such criticism should be a private, just-between-us-girls sort of thing:

Senator Wong said she would be happy to work through the issue with Ms Flint, but rejected any suggestion she was involved in Ms Flint’s treatment.

“Do you honestly believe that I would be part of a campaign of that kind of harassment and targeting of a woman? After all my years in public life and all the positions I have taken?” she said.

“So I would say to Ms Flint, rather than making these discussions in public and on Twitter, let’s have a discussion.”

Ms Flint, of course, never accused Ms Wong and others of directly participating in the campaign of vandalism, slander and intimidation. What she said, rather, was that the ALP leadership could and should have urged its supporters to act with decency and civility.

The ABC might have pointed this out but, being the ABC, it didn’t.

UPDATE: While the ABC’s account of Ms Flint’s speech survived a mere 12 hours on the homepage. This little exercise in, er, “analysis” has occupied pride of place for 26 hours and is still going strong. Read it if you have the stomach and ask why a garden-variety newsroom hack is opining rather than reporting.

One might also ask why a Coalition government persists in feathering the nest of its sworn foes. Yes, one might ask that, but with no expectation of an answer.

Roger Franklin is the editor of Quadrant Online

13 comments
  • grpalmer1911

    Follow the Science:
    It is a well know scientific medical fact that “bullies” are clinical psychopaths on an abusive power trip.
    They like sociopathic criminals are biologically genetically hard wired to be self serving opportunists, even violently so, if the need arises, and the risk of punishment is low.
    It is why they brought in the 3 time loser laws.
    Proven medical scientific fact that some people about 4% – 5% of the population are incurable self serving opportunists and potentially violent criminals.
    It is clear and present danger to civil society when all powerful media organisations are hi-jacked by such persons.
    It seems ethical journalism become an oxymoron in some quarters of the all powerful public / global reach media organisations.
    Look at what CNN did to an school boy, a minor.
    Their wilful actions was a clear violation, and abuse of his Human Rights.
    Such organisations should be proscribed by law for their Human Rights violations.
    It is time to make the “Press” accountable under the law to the people.
    No one has the right to violate the Human Rights of others with impunity.
    No one is about the law.

  • Harry Lee

    Wong replied to Flint’s points by labeling them as “unfair”.
    Chuckle.
    Of course.
    Send Wong and ilk compensation and reparations.

  • Michael

    The culture in politics that needs to change is smear campaigns against individuals, ad hominem attacks denigrating their character, de-legitimising and dehumanising them.

    Politics is hard fought. So is boxing, but it has rules that keep it from the barbarism of a bare-knuckle brawl.

  • Harry Lee

    Michael, what I see is that the political situation has gone beyond the bounds of rules-based competition.
    Consider the forces of the Left:
    The ALP and the Greens, the ABC and SBS and 90% of the commercial media, and much of the law and education industries and most of the public services.
    These leftist forces -essentially anti-Westernist in their aims- have long since ceased to operate within frameworks of empiricism, individual freedoms in expression of views, wealth-creation, and responsible, contributing citizenship.
    These marxist-inspired forces are using any and all methods to destroy the foundations of our once good version of Western Civ.
    To treat these deadly enemies as though they are legitimate and worthwhile components of our polity and civic order is very mistaken -indeed it is a suicidally false comprehension of what we face.

  • Citizen Kane

    The whole partisan feminist victim campaign now officially launched after much backroom strategy, formulation and deliberation was designed and directed by a red right hand. Start with Porter as payback for referral of potential unlawful behaviour by ABC journalists in the Afghan Files story. Daily the ABC and Labor/Green left alliance work hand in glove to destabilize any conservative government.

  • Harry Lee

    The ABC people are utterly parasitic in their anti-Westernism.
    The ABC would not and could not exist without, first, the productivity or earlier generations of Europeans,
    That is, White men as supported, enabled and nurtured by White women, all loyal to British-founded Australia, and all very grateful for the great benefits of that heritage -none of which could be matched by any other cultural/racial/religious heritage.
    And now the ABC people are self-righteous in their efforts to destroy the foundations of the civic and political order that makes possible their parasitic, malign, scum-like existence.
    (Ditto the ALP and Greens people, and many public service people, incl many people in the education industry, and many lawyers, judges and other operatives in the failed justice system.)

  • bobmbell39

    My first quadrant comment. Hopefully not the last. As an elderly retired geologist I am appalled at the lack of debate about this issue. I have frequently emailed the ABC about the lack of alternative views in most if not all of their programs and when I do get a reply it is the science in in and fixed. Gallilao, Newton, Einstein?
    At an advanced age what can I do? The grandkids won’t listen, their parents are mostly brainwashed.
    Thanks for quadrant, spectator, occasionally the Australian.

  • Tony Thomas

    A comprehensive background to the Nicolle Flint harassment story is here
    https://quadrant.org.au/opinion/qed/2020/08/the-abcs-slip-is-showing/
    I might be paranoid but when I searched for this piece on google, it failed to show despite more than a dozen inputs of terms. I switched to Duckduckgo and it was first hit on first page.

  • talldad

    To quote Sen Wong: “Do you honestly believe that I would be part of a campaign of that kind of harassment and targeting of a woman? After all my years in public life and all the positions I have taken?” she said.

    Well, Senator, I do actually believe that you were sufficiently aware that you should have had the decency to reject the entire campaign against Nicole Flint. Because you retain your membership of a party that believes in doing “whatever it takes” to gain, retain and exercise power over others.

    I venture the opinion that you are a disgrace to the Parliament.

  • talldad

    Apologies. Grammatical error: “over others” comma, space “I venture”

  • Roman Dost

    I actually have more respect for the left in this case – becuase they WON. They got Flint out. They got what they wanted.

    Flint, if she (with the LNP) was up to the job, would have used all the assault against her – and smashed it back at her enemies. Sue people, demand apologies, demand the police prosecute for assault, vanadalism, etc. Make emotional demands in parliament for the resignation of Albanese, etc. Make the left answer for their behaviour. Shame them. Keep the video of those screaming at her. Save the nasty tweets. Put it all on TV… But she wasn’t up to it and neither was the LNP in planning and executing any such response. Where was the PM during this?

    Conservatives must fight the fight that’s actually happeneing, not the one they’d like to fight – that tactic is called “losing”.

  • Rebekah Meredith

    Roman Dost–you’re exactly right; why did Flint give in?

  • bomber49

    Flint’s harassment went reported in the Adelaide morning newspaper for weeks yet Penny Wong was totally unaware that this was happening. Oh come on. If a politician is too lazy or illiterate to read, staffers read all sorts of publication and report back to the boss. I once had a letter to the editor published sarcastically pointing out the merits or otherwise of the nodding sycophants behind some MP speaking for the cameras and low and behold a staffer from my local MP’s office sent a response offering to help me in any way. This proves they read everything about politics, but generally don’t give a toss.

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