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Get Fact: is Tony Abbott right about the ABC?

Tony Abbott claims “a lot of people” think the ABC is biased and anti-Australian. Is there any evidence to support the claim? We fact-check the Prime Minister.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott claims many people think — and are “dismayed” — that the ABC is biased, as he paves the way for likely budget cuts at Aunty. This is what he told 2GB radio host Ray Hadley yesterday:

A lot of people feel at the moment that the ABC instinctively takes everyone’s side but Australia’s … I think it dismays Australians when the national broadcaster appears to take everyone’s side but its own, and I think it is a problem.”

The claim led to this front page screamer in The Daily Telegraph today …

So is Abbott right? Do people think the ABC is biased and anti-Australian, and are we “dismayed” about it?

The evidence indicates that an overwhelming majority of people think the ABC is balanced and even-handed, and it’s been recently rated the most trusted media organisation in Australia.

Newspoll conducts an annual survey for the ABC and asks what people think about the national broadcaster. The most recent survey, a phone poll of 1900 people in June 2013, found 78% of respondents thought the ABC did a good job at being balanced and even-handed. The number of those who think it does a “very good job” is steadily rising and stands at 42%. Just 11% agree with Abbott that it is doing a poor job.

Question: Based on your own experience, or what you may have seen or heard, do you personally think the ABC is doing a good job or a poor job on being balanced and even-handed? 

Each column represents a year from 2005-13 (with 2013 on the right), and the results are shown by percentage. The graph doesn’t show those who said “neither/don’t know”, which was 11% in 2013.

And in case Abbott has concerns about bias in the taking of this poll, he can rest assured that Newspoll is half-owned by News Corp Australia and its findings regularly appear exclusively in The Australian. 

Newspoll asked the “balanced and even-handed” question for specific ABC programs, finding the 7pm news got the highest rating — 91% said it did a good job at being balanced (the question was only asked of people who said they had watched it). This image shows the ratings for the 7pm news (on the left) and flagship current affairs program 7.30 (on the right).

The question was also asked about daily ABC radio programs AMPM and The World Today, where the proportion of those who thought the programs did a good job at being balanced was slightly lower (see page 33 of Newspoll’s report).

Newspoll also cast some light on whether people think the ABC has an anti-Australian and unpatriotic bent, as Abbott claims they do. Some 82% said the ABC did a good job at being distinctively Australian, while 5% agreed with Abbott and said it didn’t.

Question: Based on your own experience, or what you may have seen or heard, do you personally think the ABC is doing a good job or a poor job on being distinctively Australian?

As can be seen across all these graphs, positive sentiments about the ABC have been slowly declining (an effect more evident in the last two years), but remain very high.

In terms of overall sentiment, Newspoll asked whether people thought the ABC (including television, radio and online properties) was valuable to the Australian community. Eighty five per cent said it was valuable (47% said “very valuable”); only 9% said it was not valuable. The proportion who said the ABC was valuable has come down from a peak of 90-91%, seven to 11 years ago; Newspoll describes this as a “very subtle decline”. The proportion who think the ABC is valuable is fairly consistent across age groups, although the proportion who rate it as “very valuable” increases with age.

In terms of what people think about the ABC as compared with the commercial media, Newspoll didn’t ask that in relation to the questions above. Where it did ask people to compare — on quality of TV programming, “number of [TV] shows you like to watch”, quality of radio programming, etc — the ABC was in front of commercial operators, sometimes well in front.

Newspoll’s findings are broadly borne out by another set of data from Essential Research, which regularly polls on trust in media. Here are the results from an Essential online poll of just over 1000 people from December 2013. Essential found the ABC was the most trusted media organisation in Australia (the same finding as when it asked the question in January 2013).

Question: How much trust do you have in what you read or hear in the following media?

Essential also asked about trust in individual newspapers. Among those who have read The Age, 68% had some (or a lot of) trust in it, while 64% of those who had read The Australian had some trust in it. Among the News Corp tabloids, 48% of those who had read the Herald Sun had some trust in it. The lowest level of trust was for The Daily Telegraph; only 41% of those who had read it had some trust in it (and that number declined 7 percentage points over 2013). A quarter of people said they had “no trust at all” in the Telegraph.

So Tony Abbott may have the Tele on his side when he claims that people don’t trust the ABC to be even-handed — but it’s actually the Tele that people don’t trust. Time to think again?

58
  • 1
    mikeb
    Posted Thursday, 30 January 2014 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

    The people who read the Tele won’t change their minds one way or the other. Everyone else doesn’t care what is on the front page.

  • 2
    LWW305
    Posted Thursday, 30 January 2014 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

    Theres no doubt that most ABC journalists have strong ties with the Labour Party and a lot of the programs are favourable to Labour issues like climate change , gay marriage and equality, and aboriginal rights and welfare as well as boat arrivals and immigration but I feel that it is equally balanced iff not overwhelmed by the amount of right wing press available to the masses. It does need some more right wing rhetoric or argument to satisfy those of other persuasion. There is a definite attitude that they don’t like the present Government or their leader hence more balance is required.

  • 3
    Deeceem
    Posted Thursday, 30 January 2014 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

    Well, no, not time to think again. A very simplistic analysis.

    According to the first chart, belief that the ABC is doing a good job at being fair and even handed is at an all time low (78%) , and the proportion who believe it is doing a poor job similarly high.

    These are not good trends.

    I will always support a strong, independent ABC but these charts confirm a gut feeling that it has gone off the rails lately with gratuitous editorialising, obsession with irrelevancies like US gun control, and a decline in straightforward presentation of news that that allows viewers to make their own judgements.

  • 4
    MJPC
    Posted Thursday, 30 January 2014 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

    If the proletariat need more right wing input than virtually all commercial TV and radio outlets (on AM at least) between listening to the cricket and football and visiting the pub or bottle shop I’ll eat my hat.
    This is a Murdoch inspired rant.
    Whilst the DT has ranting front pages, every letter in the SMH today supported the ABC independance and was critical of the excuse we have for a PM. This is a no win for Abbott if he thinks this is going to ingratiate himself with the body politic but, where’s Shorten!!!!

  • 5
    Mr starling
    Posted Thursday, 30 January 2014 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

    That is the most poorly executed graph I have ever seen, and I major in stats.Come on guys — do you actually expect the layman to be able to interpret that thing? Even a frequency distribution represented as a scattergraph would have been better than this abomination, at least people would have been able to read it.

    As for Abbott on the ABC, it is probably just the thin edge of the wedge towards privatization. If he can sell it, he will.

  • 6
    Cathy Alexander
    Posted Thursday, 30 January 2014 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

    Mr starling, the graphs are lifted straight from the Newspoll report to the ABC. I don’t think they’re very clear graphs in the original, there’s too much data on them, and the red and grey lines are confusing. But should we be using Newspoll data to draw up our own graphs? That could open us to claims of misinterpreting or appropriating data.

    http://about.abc.net.au/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/AppreciationSurveySummaryReport2013.pdf

    I’m interested in what you think.

    Thanks Cathy

  • 7
    Mark from Melbourne
    Posted Thursday, 30 January 2014 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

    So what are we going to do about such a partisan, self-interested push to nobble the ABC?

    The problem with comments like mike’s is that I am getting the sense that the vast bulk of us who care are being silent and will be rolled without a whimper.

  • 8
    Posted Thursday, 30 January 2014 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

    CATHY: For heaven’s sake, all new governments give a serve to the ABC-especially the Liberal Party hacks.

    What is extraordinary was the wretched Rabbott’s Gung Ho attitude. Un-Australian for Pete’s sake. How pathetic! I think Rupert Murdoch is behind Tony tiny buns Rabbott’s latest endeavours. I explain my reasoning in the comments under today’s article by Bernard Keane.

    Your article was, however, very interesting.

  • 9
    zut alors
    Posted Thursday, 30 January 2014 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

    And with headlines of pure piffle such as the ‘treachery’ one today people will trust The Daily Telegraph even less.

    Stand by for Mark Scott in a N@zi uniform on page 1 in the mode of their attack on Rudd.

  • 10
    Posted Thursday, 30 January 2014 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

    MR STARLING: For Tony Abbott to privatise the ABC would mean having to find a buyer. And the one man on the planet with the money and with news creds is Rupert Murdoch. Such a sale would increase Murdoch’s share of the Oz media from seventy-five percent to around eighty-five to ninety percent.

    Tony Abbott may be brain dead, I agree, but not even Alan Jones’ market would tolerate this.

    BTW: In another publication today I accused all the people wanting privatisation of the ABC as being hired by Rupert Murdoch. I hope you are not one of them.

  • 11
    Electric Lardyland
    Posted Thursday, 30 January 2014 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

    As someone who tries not to give any of my money to the Murdochs, I’m just a little bit concerned that the ABC are giving a small amount of taxpayers money to News Corp, by using Newspoll for their polling.

  • 12
    klewso
    Posted Thursday, 30 January 2014 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

    Here’s a contest : compare trust in the ABC to that for Murdoch’s Limited News and Singo’s Cock-or-Two Circus?

  • 13
    klewso
    Posted Thursday, 30 January 2014 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

    Nailing your colours to the masts of either Singo or Murdo - like nailing the Hesperus?

  • 14
    JMNO
    Posted Thursday, 30 January 2014 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

    LLW305
    On what basis do you say that there is no doubt that ABC journalists have links to the Labor Party? There have been several ABC journalists who have stood for parliament for the Liberal Party. As for espousing left wing causes: climate change is an issue whatever your politics and right-wing governments in other countries recognize the need to do something about it. And as for focussing on gay marriage and equality at the expense of other issues, I haven’t noticed this at all. Perhaps - if you watch, listen to or read ABC sources - you just take more notice of issues you don’t agree with and don’t notice all the other topics covered.
    Ian McDonald, Govt minister attacked the ABC this morning on RN and when Fran Kelly challenged him with examples he had to admit that he didn’t actually listen to her program.
    The Drum online gives plenty of writing space to ex-Liberal ministers like Peter Reith and the never-ending queue of idealogues from the IPA.

    Perhaps the decline in support for the ABC is a result of the relentless anti-ABC campaign run by the Murdoch media influencing people’s perceptions.

    I am not saying the ABC is perfect but I think Abbott’s attack has the flavour of a spoiled brat who is no longer getting his own way after a dream run with the media when he was Opposition leader.

  • 15
    graybul
    Posted Thursday, 30 January 2014 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

    Caught last part of PM’s interview on ABC and its alleged biased treatment of Australian Navy personnel. As I recollect, PM closed with “you can’t, you shouldn’t criticize your own Country.” If not a reputable Australian Institution or Citizen . . who then holds to account the actions of the body politic? The wonderful term adopted from USA, “Un-Australian” is an effective tool with which to subjugate unsympathetic opponents. ‘McCarthy’ employed it to the max! The genius of our PM lies in an ability to attack or parry a requirement for clarification by employing oversimplification, bull…., or unsubstantiated facts. ie Navy inadvertently strayed into Indonesian waters (number of times) due to wind or tide; and/or, everyone at sometime makes mistakes!
    Response . . Uproar, laughter, incredulity, exasperation, disbelief etc etc. The PM’s genius . . Everyone loses sight of the thorny Issue . . and focusses upon the Messenger!! The PM is not a fool. He is on a Mission. And the Australian Nation is being separated into sheep or wolves. The Minister for Communications knows that to survive, he must arm himself with a rapier. For to employ a broadsword . . he would surely lose both arm . . and head! The absence of a political party representing workers, does not help!

  • 16
    Mr starling
    Posted Thursday, 30 January 2014 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

    Cathy I’m honestly not sure, that is a question beyond my training. My feeling is that if you changed the visual scale of the original some slick suit out there could construe this as misrepresentation, but don’t quote me on that, I’m not a lawyer. It is ultimately impossible to know how salient any statistical representation is without having access to the methodology. Social research is notoriously difficult to construct at the study design stage for a variety of reasons (and easy to design so as to specifically and intentionally skew the data; for example, I could augment the outcome of a social study through the sampling method alone). Some of this is owing to inevitable plethora of confounds and dubious confidence intervals, a lot of it is owing to the fact that people say and do a lot of random things for random reasons. It is a lot easier to study things which can’t think or feel.

  • 17
    Electric Lardyland
    Posted Thursday, 30 January 2014 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

    It seems like Super Tony has already succumbed to the reasoning of tinpot dictators everywhere. That is, a criticism of himself or of the policies of his government, is actually an attack on the nation as a whole, since he is the embodiment of the nation.
    It’s going to be an interesting couple of years, folks. Let’s hope that one of the more sane members of the Coalition taps Tone on the shoulder, before it gets a bit too interesting.

  • 18
    David Hand
    Posted Thursday, 30 January 2014 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

    A media outlet can be biased and trusted at the same time. They are not mutually exclusive. I trust the Australian and I also think it’s biased to the right. I don’t trust the Tele. I trust the ABC and also believe it is biased to the left. I don’t trust 7, 9 and 10.

    The numbers in the survey may be positive for the ABC but the trend is clearly down. If I was there I would seek to stop the rot before it got any worse.

    In today’s SMH, 8 letters were published on this issue and every single one was critical of Abbott. Maybe the SMH never got one letter supporting the PM’s view but I doubt it. I expect they published letters in line with the SMH editorial view, AKA left wing bias.

    Thank you to all you commenters who see the ABC as providing a foil to the Murdoch right wing press. Your agreement that the ABC is biased to the left is welcome.

  • 19
    Jeremy Smith
    Posted Thursday, 30 January 2014 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

    I think this whole business is about Tony Abbotts ability to tailor his message to his audience. For many years he has shown a remarkable ability to give different messages to different people, depending on what those people want to hear, with no apparent shame or cognitive dissonance about the fact that he’s contradicting something he said to someone else, even minutes before. It’s the real secret behind his success in opposition, and the main reason he won the election.

    In this case, his audience was Ray Hadley (and by implication, Ray’s listeners). That audience wants to hear that they are the sensible majority, even though on any reasonable statistical analysis, they are clearly on the loony fringe.

    If Tony ever had the cohones to front up on the ABC, I’m sure he would say calm and soothing things about our National Broadcaster to assuage fears from this new audience that our Prime Minister might actually be insane. But then again, maybe he just knows that on the ABC, he wouldn’t be fooling anyone.

  • 20
    Electric Lardyland
    Posted Thursday, 30 January 2014 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

    Actually, David, since the Murdoch stable is so far to the right, other media outlets could be totally centrist (whatever that is) and still be a foil to their rabid views. Also, that trend is only marginal and no reasons are given for the drop. It might be because of the unhinged campaign being waged against it, by tabloid and talkback types, as well as the odd right wing politician. Or it could even be less trusted, because of the amount of airtime that it gives to IPA members?
    And speaking of IPA members, I wonder if anyone has asked our new Human Rights Commissioner, Tim Wilson, what he thinks of Tony Abbott’s blatant attack on freedom of speech? Apparently Tim’s big on freedom of speech.

  • 21
    colin skene
    Posted Thursday, 30 January 2014 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

    Mark from Melbourne….my thoughts exactly. It is high time we took to the streets to smash the smugness and unfeterred arrogance of this APPALLING government. They are worried about ABC bias? What the hell got them to where they are? The bias and blatant lies of commercial mainstream media and the morons who read/listen/watch their putrid offerings. What goes around, comes around? Couldn’t have said it better, Kevin Andrews. Except, I don’t accept that the ABC and SBS are reporting anything but the truth. The government just doesn’t like. We need to mobilise as a matter of urgency!!

  • 22
    Pedantic, Balwyn
    Posted Thursday, 30 January 2014 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

    Demonise asylum seekers, demonise the Unions, demonise the ABC, demonise workers on above award wages, demonise Indonesia and China, demonise anyone who disagrees or offends the sensitivities of the Coalition; let the Murdoch press spread the message of demonisation. All part of a program to reduce criticism of a do little, ignorant and neo-con opinionated government and we voted them in!!

  • 23
    klewso
    Posted Thursday, 30 January 2014 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

    As you say Balwyn, Abbott hides behind “Don’t criticise Australia” - but it’s perfectly all Right to demonise the parts he likes to abuse?
    Look at how “Ditch the Bitch” fitted his agenda - but now he and Murdoch want a kinder, gentler, less negative politick (with no one using their strategies to win government), after they’ve used and promoted the use of just those sort of wanton, wasteful divisive tactics?

  • 24
    rhwombat
    Posted Thursday, 30 January 2014 at 9:04 pm | Permalink

    Bloody Hell! I think even the Tory Hand is beginning to regret supporting Murdoch’s pet Toady. Interesting that this obvious overreach comes as Rupert’s Reptiles start eating each other in the UK hacking enquiry. Schadenfreude ist köstlich.

  • 25
    drsmithy
    Posted Thursday, 30 January 2014 at 10:49 pm | Permalink

    Thank you to all you commenters who see the ABC as providing a foil to the Murdoch right wing press. Your agreement that the ABC is biased to the left is welcome.

    This is what we call a non-sequitur.

    Claims of ABC bias are frequent. Let’s see some examples.

  • 26
    bruce clugston
    Posted Thursday, 30 January 2014 at 11:09 pm | Permalink

    The attack dog is at it again.
    Abbott knows only how to say no , disagree, and attack anybody and everyone who is not in his corner. Heis a fighter an ex boxer used to bashing people around the head… He was like a bull terrier on the ankle of Gillard then he barked and belched at Rudd. He did have trouble talking to the Chanel seven reporter who challenged him…

    Now all he wants to do is silence reporting of the news and anyone again who is not in his corner…

    I truly don’t believe he has picked a fight with Indonesia, .. Who next china?? Maybe the US as they are quite left wing for Abbott.

    This was my greatest fear when labor lost the election.. We end up with this attack dog as a PM.. God help us.

  • 27
    Itsarort
    Posted Friday, 31 January 2014 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    Leigh Sales gives Tony a slice and dicing and the PM cries to mama Murdoch. No doubt for even more grotesquely unctuous and obsequious spin from the charlatans at News Corp.

  • 28
    Cathy Alexander
    Posted Friday, 31 January 2014 at 9:03 am | Permalink

    Thanks mr starling, and I agree. In this case, I wouldn’t think there’s a strong case that Newspoll has skewed the questions to get a particular set of answers (and I think it’s smart of the ABC to use the semi-Murdoch pollsters).

    I’ve been thinking on whether we should ‘redo’ graphs which are not clear in future stories. I am uncomfortable with the idea, because it can give the impression you’re manipulating the data. But I really don’t want to base a story on graphs that a typical reader can’t grasp easily (because of the nature of the graphs). I will think some more about this.

    I’d be interested in what other readers think about this issue. Can you understand the graphs in this story? And what do you think about whether Crikey should redo graphs produced by others, where we think they are not very clear? As a reader, I find it annoying when a graph is hard to follow …

  • 29
    klewso
    Posted Friday, 31 January 2014 at 9:44 am | Permalink

    Does “foil” necessarily mean the same as “alternate”?
    To me one implies a certain element force in contrast - while the other could entail “here’s something else - make of it what you will”?

  • 30
    klewso
    Posted Friday, 31 January 2014 at 9:54 am | Permalink

    Does “foil” necessarily mean the same as “alternate”?
    To me one implies a certain element of force in contrast - while the other could entail “here’s something else - make of it what you will”?
    You would need a foil to Murdoch’s abuse of the market they dominate with paid opinion-oriented assertions, from their domination of the perception/image market - the fact that the ABC offers a wider view doesn’t necessarily mean they’re peddling it with Murdoch’s intensity?

    To me, the problem seems to be any competition is a perceived challenge to Murdoch’s authority and Con-troll over that market - which is probably their biggest gripe? They’re not used to that, and don’t like it?

  • 31
    Deeceem
    Posted Friday, 31 January 2014 at 10:57 am | Permalink

    Hi Cathy, Re the chart issue there are some pretty standard and accepted methods for presenting data visually. As long as the main goal is to present fairly and accurately and avoid basic biases (like not using a zero-base) it is better to be re-format and be clear. The charts and overall presentation in the original report were pretty bad. The little dotted arrows are classic examples of what is called ‘chart junk’.

  • 32
    Michael Hess
    Posted Friday, 31 January 2014 at 11:32 am | Permalink

    There aren’t so many people who read the Tele anyway. The radio commentariate, however, do and repeat its matras as fact. This is what’s heard on construction sites, in delivery vans etc etc

  • 33
    zut alors
    Posted Friday, 31 January 2014 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

    Cathy Alexander,

    Some feedback: I found the graphs confusing & agree with Deeceem (at #29)

  • 34
    Cathy Alexander
    Posted Friday, 31 January 2014 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

    OK thanks. Yes, the originals are heavy on ‘chart junk’. I think the numbers should have been taken out and shown separately, and the little arrows are not needed, and placing the neither / don’t know numbers along the bottom is confusing.

    We’ll take a look at being more proactive in redoing graphs that are useful but confusing.

    Michael Hess: that’s true. But I found it fascinating that Labor only lost one seat in Western Sydney at the federal election, after the Tele campaigned so strongly for the Libs. That told me that perhaps people were sceptical about, or not absorbing, the Tele’s campaign (or the people who read it vote Coalition anyway?).

  • 35
    Merve
    Posted Friday, 31 January 2014 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

    Why do people always claim that ABC journalists have strong ties to the Labor Party? There are plenty of ex-ABC journalists take on Liberal party roles and jobs.

  • 36
    klewso
    Posted Friday, 31 January 2014 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

    Because lies suit some people, selling a line, more than facts?

    As for those graphs, I reckon they are a bit “specialty targeted” too?

  • 37
    AR
    Posted Friday, 31 January 2014 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

    Clearly 2GB is now Government Broadcast, with Morrison & Abbott being regulars to reach the parts that reason doesn’t… with Chrissy come up the rear.
    Nice to hear Turnbull repudiate Abbott’s brainburst so thoroughly on Thursday.
    Friday morning had shoutjock Rat Hately suggesting that Abbott should discipline his Communications Minister - presumably for treacherous thoughts.

  • 38
    Itsarort
    Posted Friday, 31 January 2014 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

    Dear Mr Starling and Cathy Alexander, please rotate the graph 90deg (either way) and imagine that the bottom black line (now the centre line) is the balance point between Very good, Quite good and Very poor, Quite poor. The scales will tip significantly in favour of Very good and Quite good. It’s a very informative graph however, the sheer fact that the graph overwhelmingly favours one side, makes it a little confusing at first.

  • 39
    Mr starling
    Posted Friday, 31 January 2014 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

    Itsarort,

    I see you take my point about visual scales.

    Deceem,

    Good post, I agree. However the issue here is the legality of reproducing data in a different format. Hopefully somebody can clear this up, I myself mostly just press buttons whilst running SPSS and try to make sense of things, really.

  • 40
    Yclept
    Posted Friday, 31 January 2014 at 9:24 pm | Permalink

    As the Murdoch minority governments chief government minion Tony now has to deliver the head of the ABC to Rupert on a plate or there will be trouble!

  • 41
    klewso
    Posted Saturday, 1 February 2014 at 9:38 am | Permalink

    One hard interview with Abbott - clears the deck to give vent to your personal proclivities; for business as usual for subsequent coquettish, smiley, cackling interviews with conservative members? While scowling to the Left?
    So Sales gives Turnbull the opportunity to ask the question he wants to answer?

    You go bitter and twisted on one side of politics, and give metaphorical analingus to the other to show how sweet they are? That has no affect on public perception of alternate governance - and voting intentions? So we end up with a government that is Murdoch’s Abbott?

  • 42
    klewso
    Posted Saturday, 1 February 2014 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    …… In the world of organised grime, does it matter which family you work for in Murdoch’s Media Mafia?

  • 43
    zut alors
    Posted Sunday, 2 February 2014 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    Has anybody noticed that on this morning’s ‘Insiders’ with Barrie Cassidy the three panellists are all News Corp employees. The Advertiser, The Courier-Mail & The Australian are represented.

    Murdoch controls 70% of the Oz newspaper business - but on ‘Insiders’ he’s scored 100% of the commentary.

  • 44
    Derek Brill
    Posted Sunday, 2 February 2014 at 11:07 am | Permalink

    I love the ABC and have done so since a kid growing up in rural Australia. Many of the journos and presenters of yesteryear were like family or very old friends of the family.

    Whilst I continue to watch, listen and read, my gut tells me that it is re-entering a phase that commenced in the mid-80’s and was not rectified until the mid-90’s. That is, a predominately leftist bent or angle on stories of national political significance. Sadly, I thought this tendancy was done and dusted - I have two close mates that are cameramen with the ABC (both of whom I met whilst posted to and working in an Eastern Bloc country over 20 years ago). I remember telling them around the time of the new millenium that I was really pleased to see that the ABC had worked hard internally at balancing the reporting. Now it has regressed to the regrettable pattern of the 80’s.

    As I say, I love the ABC and I will continue to embrace it as the national carrier. But the ABC staff should also note that they do the national carrier no favours by inserting personal bias. Readers, watchers and listeners are a pretty savvy bunch and will find themselves correcting or expanding their news source intake, consciously or unconsciously, in order to get the true story. That may include avoiding certain programming. For example, I have not watched Q&A for nearly 4 years because of its propensity to mock persons or ideas that conflict with leftist views. And then there is the dreadful audience makeup, which is simply insulting.

    However, we live in hope. Perhaps the cleanup that was effected in the 90’s can reoccur. I suspect, tho, that Mark Scott is not the man to do it. Indeed, I think he has become the patsy of the old hands.

  • 45
    klewso
    Posted Sunday, 2 February 2014 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

    Did you see that list, compiled here, of those that have “passed over” from the ABC, to jobs in the political sphere - including standing on their principles for election?
    About 50:50?
    The view seems to depend on where you choose to stand, to see?

  • 46
    drsmithy
    Posted Sunday, 2 February 2014 at 11:46 pm | Permalink

    That is, a predominately leftist bent or angle on stories of national political significance.
    For example.

  • 47
    klewso
    Posted Monday, 3 February 2014 at 8:22 am | Permalink

    To me, one of the most thought-provoking things I’d seen on TV in a long time, at that time, was the introduction of an episode of South Park - a fierce-looking alien was flying toward earth, landed with death and destruction in mind (if you believed the music), gets out of his spaceship ready to nuke the joint …. then along comes somebody, out for a walk on some errand, down the street and inadvertently steps on the bug sized terrorist :- “the terror is in the scale”?

    Of course the ABC looks like “it bends to the Left” : we’re used to Murdoch’s dominance of the views cycle feeding the Conservative parrots like Singo’s “Cock-or-Two Circus” echo chamber.
    Then if anybody comes along with a contradiction or an anomaly, and asks anything that requires detail that might elicit an embarrassment about Coal-ition policy or actions (rather than asking a Limited Newsesque Dorothy Dix along the usual Murdoch pro forma lines of “How incompetent do you think the Left/Labor is/was …. give examples, I won’t challenge them ….?”) they look like a “pinko, commie, radical trouble-maker, rocking the establishment boat”?

    Everything “bends to the left” - outside the refractive “Murdoch’s Space Warp Continuum”.

  • 48
    Observation
    Posted Monday, 3 February 2014 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

    Really, I mean did anyone expect anything different from this idiot! This government has had an agenda to crush all criticism and transparency and it will gain momentum.

    From turning a humanitarian situation into a military war on protecting our boarders, to silencing any of the critical and promoting their media supporters. The only thing Un-Australian here is the draconian attitude of this mob.

  • 49
    Posted Monday, 3 February 2014 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

    Am I the only person to believe the ABC is too right wing?

  • 50
    Posted Monday, 3 February 2014 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

    DEREK BRILL:

    Silly me! I tend to think the ABC is too far right. A classic example being the early Q & A programs when the audience was mainly young and left wing. The Howard government bitched about this so the ABC had to got out and trawl a right-wing
    audience. Now almost all the audience is middle aged and right-wing. Not happy.

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