Atop this post, a screen grab of the topic headers the national broadcaster chooses to display at its abc.net.au web page. One can easily imagine Alan Sunderland, the ABC’s handsomely paid in-house obfuscator, dashing off one of his how-dare-you notes to defend the prominence of that presidential possessive. He’s very good at that sort of thing, as those who recall his 2012 response to correspondents who wondered why all the marquee news and current affairs shows were showing scant interest in Julia Gillard’s sordid relationship with the light-fingered Bruce Wilson, her then-married swain, union shakedown artist and the organising renovator of her Collingwood home.
When Media Watch quizzed Sunderland about what was, to many, a curious disinclination to follow up on the stream of squalid details being uncovered by The Australian, Financial Review and even The Age, he replied with $178, 145 (as of 2013) worth of generalities and assurances that the ABC would never, not ever, distort or ignore inconvenient stories. He wrote:
There are no edicts, no agendas and no attempts to direct or manipulate editorial decision making. All of our news and current affairs program teams abide by our editorial policies which call for accuracy, impartiality and diversity of perspectives in the pursuit of journalism of independence and integrity.
No agenda then or now, and perish the thought that there might be! Just an emotionally loaded possessive in front of the word “America”. The fact that the “Australia” tab isn’t presented as “Turnbull’s Australia” would suggest, however, a certain inconsistency of perspective.
So, too, would the digitally doctored ha-ha clip which went to air during yesterday’s Insiders. “Trumpocalypse Now” it was titled and, predictably, the US president was cast as the mad and homicidal Colonel Kurtz. You can watch that clip via the link below. Just remember that bit about “no edicts, no agendas and no attempts” to manipulate editorial content and presentation at the ABC.
But then such orders would be superfluous, as the national broadcaster’s staffers do a fine job of twisting, omitting and spinning the news without ever needing to be told.