After mega bucks were spent by wood chipping industry lawyers,
the Australian Communications and Media Authority has criticised the 2004 ABC Four
program for using “emotive” language.

This followed a similar internal
process within the ABC when the first complaint was lodged. The ABC responded
to some of the loggers complaints and issued some corrections here including
the earth-shattering realisation that the national broadcaster had inadvertently
labelled Huon pine a hardwood when it should have been classified a softwood.

But when right wing columnist Michael Duffy’s ABC radio program allowed
more than a dozen factual errors in favour of the logging industry to go to air
a year later in April 2005, no action was taken.

This wasn’t a question of emotive language – basic facts were
wrong. What’s more, there wasn’t even an attempt at balance on Duffy’s show. In
over 2000 words on the topic, no view other than that of the loggers was put to
air. Compare that to the acres of air time given to the logging industry in the
Four Corners special.

After a complaint made to the ABC, Duffy was forced to put one
correction on his website – which simply
repeated the error and all other mistakes and biases in the program remain
uncorrected. The complaint was dismissed out of hand by the ABC despite the
glaring one sided nature of Duffy’s program.

When one ABC program uses some “emotive” language all hell breaks loose,
when another is completely one sided, makes grubby unsubstantiated attacks on
environmentalists and gets facts wrong, no one says

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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