Obviously round-the-clock state television has worked out well in Syria, Iran and North Korea. But is it right for Australia? Just before you allow Commissar Mark Scott to use your TV set as his own personal glory hole, perhaps it’s time to take a balanced look at the pros and cons of whatever the f-ck he thinks he’s playing at.

First question: do we really need the ABC to give us a more depressing version of what’s already available on Sky News? For those of us who pay little or no tax their service is free. But you get what you pay for. For the price of a carpetbag steak you can have Sky, fully engorged with the resources of News Ltd, throbbing with the team that bring you the Gold Coast Bulletin, Sydney Confidential and Sally Morrell. Who will ABC News twenty-flaccid be sourcing content from? The local radio deadsh-ts who do gardening talkback? The panel from the Einstein Factor? Deb Cameron?

And ask yourself, how many hours a day do you actually want to spend staring at these freaks? Compare the knockabout charm of a David Speers with the twitchy punchability of a Chris Uhlmann. Think about the effortless virility of Kieron Gillen beside the advanced senility of Kerry O’Brien. And who takes better care of their hair — Annabel Crabb or Peter van Onselen?

From recent, painful personal experience, I know that 24 hour news comes into its own when the big stories break. Can you really trust the ABC to bring you live coverage of the stories you care about? If you want a rolling broadcast from the Radio National float at Mardi Gras, you’re sorted. But what about the good stuff  — wars, Rugby League, Liberal Party talking points? At Sky we’ll always be on the scene, and if we’re not we’ll drag out Graeme Morris to gab about whatever’s happening in a knowing manner.

Something I may not have mentioned yet is Mark Scott’s incredible egomania, arrogance and hubris. These qualities have led him to attempt to monster and crush a battling small business. We’re not afraid of competition, but nor are we afraid to denounce any hint of it in the most lurid and hyperbolic fashion. In this spirit, let me remind you that like Mark Scott, Joseph Goebbels was in charge of government communications.

Here’s a little thought experiment for those who want a taste of what ABC News 24 will be like. Imagine being stuck in a beige lift in Ultimo with Jon Faine and Phillip Adams. Adams just farted. They’re talking about the enlightened treatment of same s-x couples in the Cuban health system. And they’re never, ever going to stop until you loosen your vice-like sphincter and stump up for a Foxtel subscription. You parasites.

Follow Fake John Hartigan on Twitter @BigHarto.

It’s time to book your next dose of Crikey.

Through the week, news comes at you fast. Every day there’s a new disaster, depressing numbers or a scandal to doom-scroll to. It’s exhausting, and not good for your health.

Book your next dose of Crikey to get on top of it all. Subscribe now and get your first 12 weeks for $12. And you’ll help us too, because every dollar we get helps us dig even deeper.

Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
12 weeks for just $12.