Insights from Quadrant

The ABC’s Ultimo intifada

Following up on his piece about the ABC’s Gaza coverage, a sample of which is reproduced above, Tony Thomas writes:

To my amazement, the SMH reports (paywalled) that at a rowdy ABC editorial meeting of 200 staff on Wednesday afternoon (November 8) run by editorial policy manager Mark Maley, many complained that the ABC’s Gaza coverage was too pro-Israel!

The meeting followed heated altercations between the ABC’s Jewish and Muslim staff. The pro-Gazan staff told Maley the ABC was using too many Israeli IDF talking points and should be larding its coverage with terms like Israeli “invasion”, “genocide”, “apartheid” and “ethnic cleansing”.

Maley responded that accusations of Israeli war crimes were “obviously a credible allegation… it’s an opinion which has got enough basis, in fact, that it’s credible enough for us to be reporting it.”

The pro-Hamas ABC reporters also complained of language style enforced at the ABC –  see my documentation of ABC use of the term “militants” or “fighters” for the October 7 terrorists who stabbed one year-old baby to death and threw the baby’s body into a trash can.

The ABC’s Muslim and Arab-background journalists also complained that the alleged ABC pro-Israel bias was harming their reputation in their communities.

“Another staff member voiced concerns the broadcaster has made ‘possibly irreparable damage’ to the trust it has built with the Australian Muslim community over the years with its reporting.”

In a muddled, curious and subeditor-free passage, the SMH continued,

“In response to questions about how the organisation is verifying claims it publishes, particularly on its live blog, ABC senior editors acknowledged they removed a specialist verification team after it noted the impact it was having on its staff – particularly junior members of staff. Instead, the organisation was relying on the ad-hoc advice of former Middle East correspondents.”

Others complaints were that the ABC’s Sarah Ferguson was giving soft treatment to pro-Israeli talking heads compared with pro-Hamas spokespeople.

The SMH piece ended with, “A likely outcome from the meeting will be an updated editorial guidance note circulated to staff that addresses a number of issues raised, including the appropriateness of certain forms of language, ensuring adequate context and addressing the issue of false balance.” It hinted at a greater tilt towards Hamas.

A curiosity is that the SMH piece had two co-authors. One was Osman Faruqi, son of outspoken Greens Senator Mehreen Faruqi and himself a failed Greens candidate a decade ago for the NSW Assembly seat of  Heffron. According to wiki,  he was a ten-year campaigner for the Australian Greens  until 2015. His co-author was Calum Jaspan, son of Andrew Jaspan who founded the authoritarian woke-left academic blog The Conversation.

As a revelation of ABC politicking over Gaza, their article is excellent.

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