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Jan 31, 2014

Losing faith in Aunty

Crikey readers talk refugees and whether the ABC is really unAustralian.

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Is the ABC unAustralian?

John Shailer writes: Re. “Get Fact: is Tony Abbott right about the ABC?” (yesterday). At last some plain speaking from our PM regarding the taxpayer-funded ABC’s continual efforts to undermine his relationship with Indonesia, destroy the reputation of our armed services, and restore Labor’s failed boat-people policies with the loss of 1200 lives. Instead of defending the ABC from his inner-city electorate, when is Malcolm Turnbull going to take steps to bring some balance into its news and current affairs, which currently is simply a propaganda outlet for the Greens/Labor left, leaving over 70% of us unrepresented?

Eva Court writes: Concerning the PM’s comments on the ABC being unAustralian, etc, my question is, how Australian is it to go to Davos and bag the previous Australian government. Is that a good look? Methinks not.

Nigel Gladstone writes: The Get Fact piece about ABC bias in today’s Crikey was based on a June 2013 poll, making it irrelevant information to test the claim that the ABC is now unAustralian. It’s pretty obvious Tony Abbott’s dismay with ABC reports is based on the ABC’s recent choices: navy torture reports of asylum seekers, boat tow-backs falling apart and Snowden revelations of SBY spying, etc. These are all issues after June 2013, so a poll from then is not news and should not be used to fact-check contemporary opinion.

If get fact bothered to get facts first they may find Abbott’s claims are not “rubbish”, with recent (small sample) polling and vox pops (in the Tele) showing concern over recent ABC reporting.

Fact-checking is a welcome addition to the Aussie news landscape, but so far it’s been poorly executed and plain lazy journalism, which gives this great concept little hope of survival if it continues in this manner.

Godwin’s law applied

Tim Simpson writes: Re. “Ex-Immigration officer: is there asylum seeker blood on my hands?” (yesterday). Lauren Smith’s article invokes, in relation to Australia’s asylum seeker policy, the Holocaust in the first sentence of the article.

The thrust of the article appears to be that it is not enough that Australia’s current asylum seeker policy is legal and the policy of a democratically elected government. Smith implies that people who voted for the Coalition are in a similar position to ordinary Germans in the Nazi era, who she says share blame. For the Nazi atrocities.

Lauren Smith is described in the byline as “refugee worker and former Immigration Department administrative officer”. A little googling reveals that Smith is a prominent refugee advocate, having co founded Learning and Ideas for Tibet, a “free Tibet” group, in 2009 and having been active in a number of refugee areas since.

Perhaps “prominent refugee advocate” would have been more correct than “refugee worker”.

Correction

Crikey writes: Re. “Kathy Jackson facing litigation of her own in HSU fallout” (yesterday). In yesterday’s piece we reported that two civil actions are underway between the Health Services Union and Kathy Jackson in Victoria. In fact, one action is underway in Victoria and one is underway in NSW. Crikey apologises for the error.

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