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Tony Abbott lays out his lines of attack on the ABC

The language of Tony Abbott’s attack on the ABC indicate the government’s tactics in preparing to cut funding. Aunty staff should prepare for the worst.

The Prime Minister’s extraordinary attack on the ABC yesterday signals not merely that the national broadcaster is to be targeted by the Coalition but that the war on whistleblowers and journalism launched by the Obama administration is being prosecuted with renewed vigour by the Abbott government.

Speaking to Ray Hadley — “interview” would be the wrong word — Prime Minister Tony Abbott declared (oxymoronically), “you would like the national broadcaster to have a rigorous commitment to truth and at least some basic affection for our home team”. He complained that the ABC “appears to take everyone’s side but our own”, criticised the establishment of a fact-checking body within the ABC as a waste of money, agreed with Hadley that the ABC was “self-regulated” and returned to an issue that clearly vexes the Prime Minister:

Well, I was very worried and concerned a few months back [it was actually mid-November] when the ABC seemed to delight in broadcasting allegations by a traitor. This gentlemen Snowden, or this individual Snowden, who has betrayed his country and in the process has badly, badly damaged other countries that are friends of the United States, and of course the ABC didn’t just report what he said, they took the lead in advertising what he said …”

Bear in mind that Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull took the extraordinary and entirely improper step last year of ringing the managing director of the ABC to complain that the ABC had run the Snowden Indonesia story in conjunction with The Guardian - a mistake Turnbull again appears to have made in relation to the ABC’s asylum seeker burns story. After the Indonesian story, Abbott accused the ABC of, in effect, breaching its charter by “advertising” for The Guardian. When Katharine Murphy of The Guardian asked him why the ABC’s journalistic collaboration with News Corp and Fairfax wouldn’t also be advertising, a stumped Abbott refused to answer.

The claim that the ABC is breaching its charter — and using the loaded term “advertising” — is a serious one. And Abbott’s comments about the ABC needing to barrack for Australia as well as have a rigorous commitment to truth echo  Thatcherite criticisms of the BBC during the Falklands War, when that broadcaster was attacked for failing to cheer on British forces and instead was behaving “neutrally”. Remember also that the during the Iraq War debacle, Coalition senators attacked the ABC for refusing to use the possessive pronoun “ours” about Australian troops engaged in invading Iraq — again suggesting a lack of patriotism. There is nothing accidental about Abbott’s wording here. And it echoes his previous criticism of the ABC, which he accused last year of working with a “left-wing British newspaper”.

In addition to claiming the ABC was unAustralian and breaching its charter, Abbott also suggested the ABC was wasting money in setting up a fact-checking unit — a unit that caught the Coalition (and Labor) out in lies during the election campaign.

Breaching its charter, not being Australian enough, wasting money: this is the basis for the Coalition’s attack on the ABC, which will most likely begin with withdrawing the contract for the international television service the Howard government insisted the ABC run back in 2001.

The Abbott brains trust — led by Peta Credlin, who was then-communications minister Helen Coonan’s chief of staff and also Richard Alston’s broadcasting adviser — understands that stacking the ABC board won’t work in influencing the ABC. The Howard government put pretty much every right-winger except Andrew Bolt and Gerard Henderson on the ABC board, with no effect — all it meant was that ABC management had a freer hand because the likes of Janet Albrechtsen and Keith Windschuttle didn’t understand the basics of broadcasting and thus couldn’t scrutinise management properly. There are five ABC board appointments falling vacant in this term of Parliament, but nearly all are in 2015 or on the eve of the next election.

So that leaves only one option — cut the ABC’s funding — and to do that, the government need to make the case it’s out of control …”

So that leaves only one option — cut the ABC’s funding — and to do that, the government need to make the case it’s out of control and needs to be reined in. New Corp’s campaign against the ABC won’t be enough — its readers, especially at The Australian, which has led the campaign, are old conservatives who don’t need to be convinced that the ABC is Pravda. Abbott has to convince voters in the real world, and he seems to have settled on his line on it.

Abbott also agreed with Hadley’s suggestion that the ABC was “self-regulated”, compared with commercial broadcasters, which were “hammered” by the Australian Communications and Media Authority  — a howling error. Sections 150-153 of the Broadcasting Services Act explain that in fact ACMA can investigate complaints about the ABC and SBS just like with commercial broadcasters, and can direct the ABC about ways of complying with its codes of practice, including broadcasting retractions and apologies, which the ABC has 30 days to comply with or face parliamentary scrutiny. Abbott plainly forgot that his then-colleague Richard Alston devoted considerable effort to using the then-ABA to pursue the ABC for its coverage of the Iraq War debacle.

Abbott also launched an out-of-the-blue attack on Edward Snowden, declaring him a traitor. I asked Abbott’s office on what basis he believed Snowden was a traitor, given the US Department of Justice hadn’t indicted Snowden for treason but for theft and unauthorised communication. No reply. Perhaps Abbott should speak to a few of his Republican colleagues in the United States, like congressmen Justin Amash and Tom McClintock, who have claimed Snowden is a whistleblower who revealed law-breaking by the Obama administration. Or he could ask the Republican National Committee, which recently resolved that “the mass collection and retention of personal data is in itself contrary to the right of privacy protected by the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution … an intrusion on basic human rights that threatens the very foundations of a democratic society, and this program represents a gross infringement of the freedom of association and the right to privacy …”

The campaign to smear Snowden has been escalated of late, with allegations from senior national security figures in the US that he is working with the Russians (it used to be the Chinese, but never mind) and, overnight, noted perjurer James Clapper, US director of National Intelligence, referring to journalists who have worked with Snowden as “accomplices”. Both Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and Abbott have declared him a traitor even in the aftermath of the NSA review by a panel handpicked by Obama, which found no evidence that the NSA’s surveillance had thwarted a single terrorist attack, while Turnbull recently wrote about the “very profound damage” Snowden had inflicted on the US tech sector, as though they hadn’t in many cases collaborated with, and been funded by, the NSA.

Of course, Australia has its own spying outrage, with revelations last year that the Howard government used an intelligence agency, hiding behind an aid program, to bug the East Timorese Cabinet in order to advantage resources company Woodside — revelations Attorney-General George Brandis and Australian Security Intelligence Organisation then tried to suppress by raiding the former intelligence officer who blew the whistle on the scandal.

Who broke that story? Oh yeah, the ABC.

Related stories:

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  • 1
    poppy41
    Posted Thursday, 30 January 2014 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

    Don’t bullies get cross when they don’t get their own way!!

  • 2
    Andrea
    Posted Thursday, 30 January 2014 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

    Surely if Tony Abbott thinks the ABC should be doing a better job its funding should be increased rather than cut.

  • 3
    MJPC
    Posted Thursday, 30 January 2014 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

    BK, thank you for being un-Australian and reporting this whole sorry beat-up. I think there words say it all:
    “a stumped Abbott refused to answer”, unless it’s to the nodding parcel shelf dogs of commercial radio, namely Hadley on 2GB (by the way, what’s this with Hadley and not the Parrot).
    Two quotes sum the contempt held of this government:
    “Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel” and
    “Truths not subject to continual challenge cease to have the effect of truthby being exagerrated into falsehood”.
    If he thinks he is on a winner going down this track he is kidding.

  • 4
    Jimmy
    Posted Thursday, 30 January 2014 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

    I must say I find it more than mildly amusing that a PM and govt that owes so much to a partisan media department mascarading as an independent news organsiation complains about bias in the media!!

    Gillard would of killed for the media treatment this govt’s constant failings and bungles have received!

  • 5
    Posted Thursday, 30 January 2014 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

    That Tony Abbott would come out with his diatribe against the ABC was predictable. Nearly all new governments have the same crack at it-especially the Liberals. What was unusual was the viciousness and the Gung Ho blather with which he told the electorate the ABC was being un-Australian (??)

    Even by the ever lower standards of Tony Abbott his sledge was insultingly amateurish. The whole thing stank of another person, a powerful person who wants to eliminate the ABC. Rupert Murdoch is no lover of left wing governments -especially Australian Labor governments. And its no secret he sees the National Broadband as being inimical to his own communications set up. What better way to both sabotage the ABC and bury the unspeakable Labor villains of the Party who introduced the National Broadband scheme?

    If this seems unlikely ponder the fact that Rupert Murdoch used a very similar tactic to nobble Britain’s then Labour government because he wanted to make sure his bid for Britain’s B sky B would succeed. And the BBC was against it.

    Then came the English election and their PM, David Cameron, gave Rupert carte blanche as far as the B Sky B bid was concerned. All was roses between Cameron and Murdoch. Paradoxically, it took Rupert Murdoch himself to scupper the bid. He, in a blaze of publicity, lost billions and the bid, thanks to the ‘phone hacking scandal.

    Comments/articles/blogs, here and there are appearing who authors want the ABC to be privatised. Ho, ho, ho, I would ask; who has the money for such a scheme? None other than Rupert Murdoch. This would see his share of the Oz media rise from seventy-five percent to eighty-five to ninety percent. Would the Oz electorate really wish this to happen, or do the purveyors of this tripe work for the Sun king?

  • 6
    K.D. Afford
    Posted Thursday, 30 January 2014 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    Tony Abbott, in farming terms, should be cut!
    Listen to him struggle for words as he tries on his bully tactics, he is incompetent and there in lies his hatred of the truth - or fear of it. He is a moron in front of a microphone, if this is the making of a Rhodes Scholar well I know dogs that would do a better job.
    As for being unpatriotic, lets look at his handling of Indonesia, his turning his back ( our) on China, his denial of Climate Change - backed up this am on ABC RN where Macdonald ( or was it Andrews/ the freaking lot are deniers) said Don Carter should put scientists right and get a equal time to explain why climate always changes on ABC to protect the bias they support in presenting the truth.
    We have on our hands the most dangerous PM ever, sadly the people are too busy trying to dodge yet another heat wave to notice.

  • 7
    K.D. Afford
    Posted Thursday, 30 January 2014 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

    Is a Rhodes Scholar some one who is barking mad and chases cars?

  • 8
    JohnB
    Posted Thursday, 30 January 2014 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

    Can I send my “8 cents per day” to the ABC instead of via this government?

  • 9
    Dogs breakfast
    Posted Thursday, 30 January 2014 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

    A strong and worthwhile synopsis of recent events BK, but I have to pull you up about this;

    The Abbott brains trust..”

    What the hell? What does that phrase mean? I’m sorry, that’s just not getting through. In what land of non-sequiturs did you come up with that one.

    Can you please edit the copy and fix up this obvious error.

    (scratches head)!!!!!!

  • 10
    drmick
    Posted Thursday, 30 January 2014 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

    This was your politician of the year Keane. The emperors new clothes are there for all to see, including his supporters; and especially the fawning “press” gallery. If the churnalists had not been so blindly supportive of this rubbish last year, they might have a case for bias this year; but between you and the Murdoch dailys, he has absolutely no credibility in bagging the only press that did not “support” him.

  • 11
    Margaret Swieringa
    Posted Thursday, 30 January 2014 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

    Now is the time for everyone to join the Friends of the ABC.

  • 12
    Mark M
    Posted Thursday, 30 January 2014 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

    Surely if Abbott convinces himself that the ABC is un-Australian, then it makes it easier for him to hand the Asia contract over to our dear leader Murdoch. I expect this may have been on of the promises before the election - the ones that the government actually keep

  • 13
    klewso
    Posted Thursday, 30 January 2014 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

    Abbott seems to be able to stand anything but scrutiny.
    As for throwing all your rotten eggs in with Rupert and Singo’s …….?

  • 14
    zut alors
    Posted Thursday, 30 January 2014 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

    Name me a government which has ever been comfortable with the ABC’s coverage? The only one which comes to mind is Whitlam’s - in the early days when he lavished money on the national broadcaster. But the gloss soon wore off.

    The ABC is in the broadcasting industry to entertain, their News department is there to report facts & to investigate. If Abbott & his gaggle don’t like what they’re hearing then perhaps there’s a simple solution ie: stop saying and doing embarrassing things which attract unwanted attention.

    Of course Abbott rails against the ABC Fact Unit, the concept is anathema to him.

    Meantime, where’s Bill Shorten? He should be all over this like mozzies at a barbie.

  • 15
    Scott
    Posted Thursday, 30 January 2014 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

    I think the budget needs to be reviewed however.

    2007 Government Grant - $809 million
    2013 Government Grant - $1023.7 milion (+ another $20 million from DFAT to run the international tv business)

    That’s an extra 4% a year when the Government’s sources of revenue are falling into a hole.

    Time to cull I believe.

  • 16
    Jimmy
    Posted Thursday, 30 January 2014 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

    Scott - Exactly where would you cull?

    Also remember the ABC now has 4 TV channels, an internet presence and digital radio - are you certain you are comparing apples with apples?

  • 17
    Stephen
    Posted Thursday, 30 January 2014 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

    Agree, it’s a very crude way of signalling big cuts.

    Howard would be egging Abbott on to complete the hatchet job on the ABC that he started but could’t finish.

    What gets lost in the furore over ABC News is the fate of ABC Radio National, on of the few Australian institutions that I unequivocally call world class.

    RN is not political, unless you count the inane bleatings of Amanda Van-Size on Counterpoint. Just powerful science, arts, and culture, by some of the best presenters around.

  • 18
    Steven Grant Haby
    Posted Thursday, 30 January 2014 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

    Abbott is mentally unstable and Murdoch is slowly going insane.

  • 19
    Scott
    Posted Thursday, 30 January 2014 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

    ABC doesn’t need a 24/7 news channel.
    ABC doesn’t need ABC3.

    Two areas I would cut immediately.

  • 20
    Jimmy
    Posted Thursday, 30 January 2014 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

    OK Scott - Do you want to articulate why you think the ABC don’t need those things and how much would you save by cutting them?

  • 21
    ianjohnno
    Posted Thursday, 30 January 2014 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

    Scott
    I don’t know much about ABC3 but ABC News24 is invaluable for getting a good overview, which can’t be had from ABC1, SBS and the commercials.
    It even gives a large amount of coverage to the LNP.
    It is also excellent at getting timely news about natural disasters like the recent bushfires.

  • 22
    Scott
    Posted Thursday, 30 January 2014 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

    ABC 24/7 rates poorly (like all 24/7 news channels do, with the exception of the American channels). Perfectly good equivalent on pay TV (skynews) for the news junkies. The actual higher rating shows are all on ABC1.

    ABC3 basically shows reruns of the other two channels and is purely filler. Channel should be sold off to someone else.

    Savings can be made by getting rid of staff from those two channels and freeing up resources to be used by the other channels/divisions

    And the wage bill needs to come down.

    2007 Wages: $352.7 million FTE: 4461.21 Wage/FTE: $79,074
    2013 Wages: $477.5 million FTE: 4664.31 Wage/FTE: $102,373

    So that Wage/FTE (a rough guide of average wage per Full time worker) has increased at an average of 4.3% a year (which is a bit above inflation). This again in an environment where workers are being laid off/wages steady in the private sector.

  • 23
    Lubo Gregor
    Posted Thursday, 30 January 2014 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

    Here’s something I found interesting (posted by ‘Anicol’ on Sunshine Coast Daily website discussion about the same topic):

    How many of 10 fascist properties listed below fit the Abbott governement?

    From “Eternal Fascism” by Umberto Eco 1995

    1 “The Cult of Tradition”, combining cultural syncretism with a rejection of modernism.

    2 “The Cult of Action for Action’s Sake”, which dictates that action is of value in itself, and should be taken without intellectual reflection. This, says Eco, is connected with anti-intellectualism and irrationalism, and often manifests in attacks on modern culture and science.

    3 “Disagreement Is Treason” - fascism devalues intellectual discourse and critical reasoning as barriers to action.

    4 “Fear of Difference”, which fascism seeks to exploit and exacerbate, often in the form of racism or an appeal against foreigners and immigrants.

    5 “Appeal to a Frustrated Middle Class”, fearing economic pressure from the demands and aspirations of lower social groups.

    6 “Obsession with a Plot” and the hyping-up of an enemy threat. This often involves an appeal to xenophobia or the identification of an internal security threat. He cites Pat Robertson’s book The New World Order as a prominent example of a plot obsession.

    7 “Pacifism Is Trafficking with the Enemy” because “Life is Permanent Warfare” - there must always be an enemy to fight.

    8 “Contempt for the Weak” - although a fascist society is elitist, everybody in the society is educated to become a hero.

    9 “Selective Populism” - the People have a common will, which is not delegated but interpreted by a leader. This may involve doubt being cast upon a democratic institution, because “it no longer represents the Voice of the People”.

    10 “Newspeak” - fascism employs and promotes an impoverished vocabulary in order to limit critical reasoning.

  • 24
    Jimmy
    Posted Thursday, 30 January 2014 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

    Scott - “ABC3 basically shows reruns of the other two channels and is purely filler” Given that and ignoring it also has childrens programing aimed above ABC4Kids age how much money do you really think axing it will save given the shows are being made/bought for the other channles anyway?

    ABC 24/7 rates poorly” Isn’t this irrelevant - isn’t the ABC providing a service of quality balanced news that should be available to all, not just those who can afford pay TV?

    So that Wage/FTE (a rough guide of average wage per Full time worker) has increased at an average of 4.3% a year (which is a bit above inflation).” 4.3% per year is hardly excessive - especially when you are dealing with “talent” -what was the average wage rise in Australia over the same period?

    And you haven’t said even approximately the amount of savings you expect to make by slashing 2 channels.

  • 25
    Scott
    Posted Thursday, 30 January 2014 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

    3.3% wage growth a year over the same period Jimmy. So 1% more. Nice little bonus from the public purse.

    ABC1 can provide everything that it needs to under the charter. The rest is hubris and overreach.

    Hard to say how much savings could be gained. Not an easy thing to quantify, especialy since the annual reports don’t break the dollars down in channels. Also depends on whether I could sell the ABC3 and ABC24 channels themselves (that might be serious dollars potentially)

    Back in 2011, I did a rough calculation of ABC24 on crikey for operating costs based on the BBC 24 hour news channel (which worked out at around 2% of total Revenue).

    Based on the ABC spend, would probably save around $24 million a year in operating costs. But that wouldn’t include savings from the balance sheet in capital/provisions etc.

  • 26
    drmick
    Posted Thursday, 30 January 2014 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

    For the rest of us who do pay tax contribute the 8 cents a day, and are pretty happy with the abc product and direction; employees and supporters alike are glad numb nut right wing ratbags are not the producers or payroll officers.
    The rac ist fact free ideologues and neocons would have the abc purchase an endoscope and spend its days searching its own anu$; instead of exposing the “facts” some of the waste of space and the real cancerous growths in this post trot out as the truth.

  • 27
    Liamj
    Posted Thursday, 30 January 2014 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

    Poor Abbott, hasn’t the skills or the ticker for the game and has to try & nobble the ref.

  • 28
    Salamander
    Posted Thursday, 30 January 2014 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

    So News Ltd can write propaganda to overturn a governmentl, after which taxpayer funded ABC can be hobbled and destroyed by a “legitimate” victorious administration.
    This is a bizarre perversion of democracy in which the private sector destroys the public.
    Like the “rational consumer” of classical economics, the “rational voter” is a convenient fiction.
    These political and economic systems are dysfunctional and are destroying democracy.
    Unless we can construct and enforce new arrangements, the democratic paradigm is f****ed and only the filthy rich will rule the world until it gets too hot to work.

  • 29
    Kevin_T
    Posted Thursday, 30 January 2014 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

    So… do I have this right?

    The ABC should be punished for showing bias in their reporting.

    and…

    The ABC should be punished for not favouring Australia or showing “at least some basic affection for our home team”.

    If the options are being punished for showing bias or being punished for not showing bias, what chance has our National broadcaster got?

  • 30
    John Ryan
    Posted Thursday, 30 January 2014 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

    Scott Sky NEWS the news that gives you what Murdoch thinks and says unless of course it is something criminal they they dont mention it,it is Biased News.
    Bit like Faux NEWS OZ

  • 31
    Matt Hardin
    Posted Thursday, 30 January 2014 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

    Scott, my son and thousands of kids his age would be devastated by the loss of ABC3. Itrivides a great niche of age appropriate ad free programming for kis between the ages of about 6 and 14. It would be thd most watched channel in our house and well worth the 8c a day. Other people than you have likes and dislikes as well!

  • 32
    Matt Hardin
    Posted Thursday, 30 January 2014 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

    It provides” not “Itrivides”.

  • 33
    alan speers
    Posted Thursday, 30 January 2014 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

    Apart from the silks who tune-in to Australia’s leading talk-back radio man in the belief that the next law suit involving Ray Hadley is just around the next broadcast corner, is anyone really listening? Hadley’s sycophantic talk with the PM on Wednesday plumbed new depths. The day must dawn when Singo tires of Hadley and his co-rider at GB. How long will it be before Joe Hockey and/or Malcolm Turnbull, both of whom present as decent individuals (much like former independents Rob Oakeshott and Tony Windsor, whom Hadley savaged from behind the microphone) decide there’s still room at the top. Maybe cyclist extraordinaire Abbott oould turn his attention to the Tour de France, running alongside the genuine items, with Hadley horning in on the excellent SBS team in much the same way as he white-anted Andrew Voss.

  • 34
    Jimmyhaz
    Posted Thursday, 30 January 2014 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

    I’ve always heard that reality has a left-wing bias. If the ABC is being criticised as a leftist institute, does that mean that it is doing its job as a news outlet?

  • 35
    Mark out West
    Posted Thursday, 30 January 2014 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

    Abbott is OUR Bush moment, look at the eyes and see the empty space behind.

  • 36
    @chrispydog
    Posted Thursday, 30 January 2014 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

    First, they came for the ABC, and I said nothing…

  • 37
    Peter Calder
    Posted Thursday, 30 January 2014 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

    Scott, I could easily afford pay TV, but I refuse to shell out a stupid amount of money per month for maybe 2 or 3 channels (at most). However I choose to watch News24 regularly, I listen to ABC News Radio in the morning while having breakfast and in the car, I regularly read ABC news on the web, my kids consume ABC2 (and will consume ABC3 when they are of age), and ABC1 has some excellent programming.

    Why the hell would I give my hard-earned to Rupert and his corporate shills when some of the best viewing/listening/reading is available for EVERYONE?

  • 38
    Ian Roberts
    Posted Thursday, 30 January 2014 at 8:38 pm | Permalink

    How can Abbott go on 2GB and accuse any other media outlet of bias? I have noticed that our shameful PM has not chosen to criticise the ABC for partnering with Fairfax on this week’s story about alleged CMFEU corruption whereas, according to Abbott, it was a breach of the ABC charter to collaborate with The Guardian on the Snowden revelations. Australian PMs always hate the ABC but have we ever suffered a more hypocritical and puerile government than our current gangsters?

  • 39
    klewso
    Posted Thursday, 30 January 2014 at 9:44 pm | Permalink

    Watching Abbott and his co-stars, it’s like watching an episode of Shameless?

  • 40
    supermundane
    Posted Thursday, 30 January 2014 at 9:50 pm | Permalink

    Unilaterally declaring Snowden to be a traitor is a tactical move. It’s about attempting to frame the debate about surveillance and whistle-blowing amongst those with only a passing interest or knowledge of the issue while the opportunity exists. It’s about conceptually stripping the issue of nuance before most people have been exposed to the nuance.

  • 41
    tonyfunnywalker
    Posted Thursday, 30 January 2014 at 10:30 pm | Permalink

    The free to air channels are in deep financial shit. 7/9 /10, as their programming is poor and dependant on entertain do nothing to entertain but do nothing for the Australian culture.
    Third run and reruns of talentless US shows which are cheap and sold by 21 Century Fox.
    The news service is a sham of advertorials and cheap shot news programs with a tabloid mentality and a cheque book and they call it news.
    Media ambushing and a Fox News mentality of inane questioning by unprepared reporters (they are not a journalists’ arsehole) on big salaries and an even bigger “ego trip” mentality. And they wonder why advertisers have moved away. There is enough literature on TV commercial watch-ability to fill a library. But we are exposed to cheap shouted boredom at mega decibels - no style - and certainly no entertainment value. - so viewers just do not don’t watch or buy.
    Its not the ABC that’s the problem its the Free to Air channels as they like newspapers are not an attractive ” bang for the buck” advertising medium any more. Bowser companies can provide and Google in particular provide better TARPS cheaper and more targeted to a more receptive audience. Its all about choice and availability. That’s why Murdoch hates the NBN.
    So to punish the ABC for their own failings is unacceptable and unfair.
    The Networks have no coverage beyond the metropolitan areas and Foxtel coverage is limited so what Abbott wants to do is to deprive the bush of any news and light entertainment.
    Only SBS and ABC have Indigenous programming. Production is expensive - so is that going to be scrapped? ABC Children’s TV guarantees parents freedom from the advertising of junk food, soft drinks and gambling.
    Only ABC has emergency services in the bush as only they have the coverage.
    Big Advertisers are not interested in the bush as the market potential for sales is limited.
    Turnbull’s ” get out of Abbott’s bad books” plan is ridiculous and stupid and a waste of money as Crikey has already established in its leaked KPMG report. - But that’s the Abbott government in a nutshell - stupid, vindictive, clueless fools, driven by the ” megalomaniac of the media Murdoch” and the IPA.

  • 42
    Shirty
    Posted Thursday, 30 January 2014 at 10:31 pm | Permalink

    The first casualty in war is truth. The worry is, who does Abbott think he’s fighting for, and against what enemy? It seems he has been in the trenches so long fighting the invisible massed hordes of the left that he is incapable of rising above the “us and them” rhetoric upon which he has built his entire career. It is a sad state of affairs when the chief prosecutor of the class wars is our esteemed leader.

  • 43
    Ken Lambert
    Posted Friday, 31 January 2014 at 12:18 am | Permalink

    Bernard

    The ABC has run a notoriously soft left line on asylum seekers - gullible and oblivious to the conspiracy of corrupt Indonesian officials and the people smugglers.

    The ‘hand burning’ incident received megaphone treatment on ABC breakfast radio and TV with not a shred of evidence against our RAN personnel other than thwarted asylum seeker claims aired by their Indonesian cohorts.

    Abbott was right to give the ABC a serve as no doubt a calculated attempt to shake some of the pinker pinkos out of their hush puppies.

  • 44
    Jimmyhaz
    Posted Friday, 31 January 2014 at 12:28 am | Permalink

    Yes how dare they treat asylum seekers like human beings, clearly the ABC has been overrun by communists.

  • 45
    David Brookman
    Posted Friday, 31 January 2014 at 2:10 am | Permalink

    Showing the burns video was extremely useful. First it showed that there were two cases seeing the same doctor. One burn across the base of the fingers did not involve the palm of the hand and was typical of a rope burn. This one was 2-3 days old.
    The second was more typical of a ‘grab’ burn involving the thumb, and palm of the hand but this was healing, well epitheliased. - it was at least 10 days old.
    If the ABC was erroneous it was only due to its credulity and lack of ability to obtain an expert opinion on the burns. What they require is more funding to be able to verify stories by consulting experts.

  • 46
    Gerard
    Posted Friday, 31 January 2014 at 2:25 am | Permalink

    Even if the ABC substituted “patriotic lies” for the “unpatriotic truth” that Abbott objects to it wouldn’t help one iota. Abbott’s current boss has no real ideological convictions - he has been known to support labor when it suited him. His objections to the existence of the ABC are purely commercial. His limited news organisation has been on a slippery slope for some time now, and he really thinks this can be turned around by hobbling his “competition”. Everything else is camouflage.

  • 47
    Moe abdi
    Posted Friday, 31 January 2014 at 8:09 am | Permalink

    interesting calling someone a “traitor” when his own govt hasn’t declared him as such.

  • 48
    Jimmy
    Posted Friday, 31 January 2014 at 8:13 am | Permalink

    Scott - ABC wages grew by a whole 1% more than the “average” despite them having to compete with the likes of 9 and 7 - seems pretty reasonable to me.

    And is it your argument that the ABC should just do the bare minimum to meet it’s charter?

    And shutting down a whole channel save s $24m out of a billion dollar budget - hardly seems worth it really.

  • 49
    klewso
    Posted Friday, 31 January 2014 at 10:05 am | Permalink

    Now we’ve got the other half of Abbott’s dag-team wrestling, Team Murdoch - with their abuse of, and hiding their political agenda behind, PCPs and motherhood statements about “commitment”; their championing of “freedom of the(ir) press (to do whatever they like)” , when it suits, whenever their bias is under scrutiny - coming out and defending the leader of their Limited News Party, attacking a competitor on the grounds of “negligence of core values”?
    Their hypocrisy in the face of those “trading points” would be laughable if it wasn’t so breath-taking and serious?
    Not least for what they and Abbott have done to this country’s core values?

  • 50
    Scott
    Posted Friday, 31 January 2014 at 10:26 am | Permalink

    And shutting down a whole channel save $24m out of a billion dollar budget - hardly seems worth it really”

    I thought you were an accountant Jimmy! A few dollars here, a few dollars there…start to add up to real money.
    Hey, we could always sell ABC in total and save 1 billion a year (but I don’t think you would like that)

    The fact that ABC24 and ABC3 are two of the lowest rating stations on free to air ( ABC24 only beats the two secondary SBS stations according to Oztam) means that they are unproductive assets and should be either closed down or sold.

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