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May 19, 2004

Media Watch, ABC bias and Rehame

Media Watch host David Marr has been at it again - see what he's been stirring up in recent sealed sections:


Media Watch host David Marr has been at it again – see what he’s been stirring up in recent sealed sections:

Media Watch, ABC bias and Rehame

Sealed section – 18 May

Wasn’t it amusing last night watching one of the most left-leaning ABC
shows run the campaign against Howard government-inspired excessive and
expensive monitoring of the ABC for political bias in the forthcoming
election campaign.

Yes, Media Watch host David Marr put in another fine forensic
performance demolishing the ABC’s critics, CEO and board. Check it out
here: The ABC of elusive bias

Can you believe that the ABC board has turned to a polling company
owned by News Corp, arguably the world’s most blatantly biased and
pro-right media company, to poll the public about its views on ABC
political reporting?

How bizarre that the ABC doesn’t have enough money to fund its own
authoritative political polls and must dutifully report the various
private sector polls, led by Newspoll which is in today’s Australian,
but it does have enough money to pay a pollster to assess its own

Then you have the ridiculous decision to hire Rehame, a company with a
long record of legal threats and litigation to resolve massive bills
from alleged over-servicing, to conduct the seemingly huge task of
providing quantitative and qualitative assessments of bias in ABC news
and current affairs reporting from last week’s budget right up until
the federal election.

Rehame’s controversial owner Peter Maher, the John Singleton of
Melbourne but with only a few million to his name, must be licking his
chops. He could hire 20 people from across the country on $13 an hour,
some working from home after buying their own monitoring equipment, and
charge the taxpayer a fortune. This will probably be his biggest ever
gravy train, possibly running into seven figures.

Being one of the most fiercely anti-union employers in the country,
right up there with Gary Morgan’s polling outfit, we wonder if Maher’s
concerns about Mark Latham’s retrograde IR policies influenced his
apparently low-ball bid to undercut Media Monitors and score this
controversial assignment for the government.

Rehame is suing the Bracks Government for refusing to pay a $500,000
bill from the last state election so don’t be surprised if Maher’s mob
ends up suing another set of taxpayers for seven figures through Aunty.

Even Shane Warne felt Rehame overcharged him and they eventually
settled their differences with Warnie agreeing to speak at Rehame

It would be interesting to know what Maher’s underpaid Aunty monitoring
team made of the exchange between Tony Jones and the PM on Lateline
last night.

Jones asked whether it would be illegal to hand out $600 in cash to
certain voters on polling day and how this differed from the budget
hand-outs. The PM was dismissive, saying it was “a very cynical and
naughty question” and that “for a very respectable program like
Lateline, it really does ill-become you”.

Is that biased? Check out the Lateline website later today here: PM plays down Budget reaction

Crikey has long tracked the record of Rehame and you can see some of our earlier efforts here:

2000 – The first legal threat against Crikey
2001 – Copyright, Rehame and over-servicing
2003 – Warnie at the Rehame booze up

We’ll one day get around to hitting Rehame with a legal letter for
on-selling out material without a licence. After all, they were stupid
enough to allow an employee to provide an affidavit in Steve Price’s
legal assault against us confirming that they did store and sell out
material. They obviously didn’t do this for nothing and we never gave
them permission to on-sell our material to anyone. We still haven’t.

Bolt goes at Marr again

Sealed section – 19 May

Predictable Herald Sun raver Andrew Bolt is at it again in today’s
column, jumping up and down about that ABC scallywag David Marr.

It’s hard to know what aggravates Bolt most about Marr, his politics,
his intellect, or the fact that he never got an official apology
following one of Marr’s stinging attacks.

See Bolt’s spray at Media Watch on the site here

Bolt says Marr is not entitled to use $1.2 million a year of “our
money” to attack his personal and ideological foes, claiming Marr
regularly “savages the few commentators of the Right. Read Bolt.

But as Bolt himself has been paid about $30,000 for expressing his own
Right wing views on Insiders over the past two years, it’s hard not to
see him as a little hypocritical. Indeed his whole argument with Marr
sounds like sour grapes.

While the ABC is probably does have a slight Left wing slant, much the
same as any organisation dependent of government funds for its
survival, as Marr said on Monday’s show, “There’s no systemic political
bias on the ABC”.

Indeed the only “systemic” bias at the ABC would be the government’s
attempt to load the board with Liberals. No wonder it is the board
which was worried about Left wing bias.

Subscriber feedback:

Saying that the ABC has a slight left wing slant is like saying that
Alan Jones has a slight right wing slant or that Crikey slightly
doesn’t like Steve Price or Andrew Bolt or NSW for that matter. The ABC
has got more bias than a lawn bowls ball but you probably choose not to
see it even though it stares you in the face.

David Stanford


Bolt has done nothing but become hysterical in the face of what is
legitimate criticism regardless of the politics of the critic.
Bolt was wrong in what he first wrote and in his rejoinder to Marr’s
piece appears to try and change what he has written by further
“clarifying” his oafish excuse for a column. He displays high
cowardice – not only does he not admit his error, he lies to cover it
and then returns to the very behaviour of which he was accused by Marr,
insults and petty schoolyard posturing.

His whining that he can so too take criticism made me laugh. I
can just imagine him pouting and sulking, kicking things about his
office in a hissy fit. His pretensions at accuracy and his “poor
misunderstood Andrew” act is also a classic for the comedy annals.

This is classic Andrew Bolt and no reader of the terrible rag that he
writes for would disagree. His continued farcical and inaccurate
columns are nothing more than froth and bubble for the willingly
ignorant. He certainly has some brass to call himself a
journalist. How he remains in the employ of the Herald Sun
beggars belief and does nothing for the credibility of this publication.

Andrew Bolt is wrong. And quite frankly it’s not before time that
someone (in this case Marr and on a lesser scale the good folk at
Crikey) called his bluff in a very public way.

Tim Baird for the Banish Bolt Party


I think we all agree that this argument about ABC bias will never go
away, but so what? Every media organisation is biased and if the Feds
are so uptight about it why don’t they vet everything we read, see or

The only paper my Mother reads is the Herald-Sun and its staggering the
way all of her opinions are the same as Andrew Bolts. Is the Government
going to save my Mother from the terribly biased reporting in the

Some people I know don’t read the paper or watch TV news or anything
and interestingly enough, they don’t have opinions one way or another
on much at all. Who is going to save them from there apathy?

Perhaps another course of action to take would be treat everybody as
adults who can form there own opinions without the ABC, Andrew Bolt,
Rehame or anyone else. Just like the old days, and if there is one
thing this Government loves its the old days. I can’t see it catching
on for some reason.

Brian Marshall


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