Simon Smith writes:

Well another day, another issue of the Australian, another
obsessive story on the ABC. This time – in the Media section for the
19th May – the focus was on drama and how Aunty hasn’t got any, doesn’t
have the money to get any, and may not have any in the future. Yet the
editorial in the next day’s paper tag-teaming this article confirmed
that it was simply another attack on Sandra Levy, head of television,
target of a long running and obsessive campaign by News Ltd. Why
the campaign? After all Levy has brought ratings up to their highest
point ever, on a budget that’s shrunk by a third over the last eight
years, reformed internal management practices and raised the overall
numbers of people watching the ABC at least once a week to more than
two-thirds of the viewing population.
And there’s the rub. The hunt is on for Levy because she’s turned the
ABC into a more popular location, and started to draw audiences away
from the beleagured commercial channels. With shows like the much
criticised Spicks and Specks drawing close to a million viewers, many
of them in the coveted
25-39 age bracket, the potential is there to wreck the numbers for more
than one network, who typically depend on margins of 100,000 or 200,000
viewers to avoid ratings disaster in a given evening. Not good for
beleaugured News Ltd mates the Packers, and even worse for anyone
thinking of taking over a struggling third network when the media
ownership laws change. The attacks on Levy are coming for the same
reason as the commercial stations are resisting the granting of a
fourth license – it would ruin a cosy cartel, and they’d have to put
more money into actual programme development.
But in pursuing Levy, News Ltd has an ally – the ABC. Or more
particularly news and current affairs in the ABC, which is a seperate
department to radio and television, and which hates Levy for not
letting them break into the schedule, for prorgramming alleged fluff
and for all round narkiness. Hence the rather particular strategy of
praising ABC radio etc while turning the guns on TV. Of course if
someone were to programme a higher brow lower rating ABC, they’d then
attack it for elitism and try to close it down.
Whatever the strategy the target is any contrary voice whatsoever.