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Sep 17, 2012

ABC’s Eric Campbell to Greg Sheridan: put up or shut up

ABC reporter Eric Campbell took offence at The Australian's Greg Sheridan and his suggestion that "many in the ABC support totalitarianism". Here's his letter in response ...

ABC Foreign Correspondent reporter Eric Campbell took great offence at The Australian‘s foreign editor Greg Sheridan and his suggestion that “many in the ABC support totalitarianism”. In the unlikely event The Oz doesn’t publish it, we produce his letter in response …

Dear Greg,

As you are probably aware, I have taken extreme offence to your article accusing “many in the ABC” of being admirers of totalitarianism. I have no problem with critical opinions. Indeed, I frequently criticise your paper, for example, for its lamentable failure to cover the News International criminal scandal until forced to and for its execrable and dishonest coverage of climate science. But my criticism in based on evidence and I am happy to cite it. Your article was a series of libels for which I believe you have no evidence.

As such, you are honour bound to retract your libels and apologise, or be exposed as an empty propagandist. I have issued this challenge publicly under the Twitter hashtag #sheridanchallenged which many thousands are following.

I have worked at the ABC almost continuously since 1986 and have been a foreign correspondent since 1996. I have never once heard a single ABC employee express any of the sentiments you allege. Either I am extremely dim-witted or you’ve just made it all up. And I contend you’ve just made it all up. I therefore challenge you to substantiate your allegations with concrete examples or admit your error. By concrete, I mean specific details of statements, articles or broadcasts you relied on to make these extraordinarily defamatory and offensive claims. Merely citing a perceived “vibe” will be an obvious fail and a professional embarrassment.

While you stated “many”, I am prepared to be gracious and apply the debating rule of just three examples per question.


  • Which ABC employees praised the Soviet Union and belittled people expressing concern over human rights for Soviet citizens?
  • Which ABC employees praised Pol Pot apologists as “progressive intellectuals”?
  •  Which ABC employees vilified Catholicism? (The third question does not include people criticising the institution of the Catholic Church, as that is legitimate and standard journalism. The ABC does indeed share a basic human “groupthink” that covering up child r-pe is a bad thing, as I trust does News Ltd.)

I am sure that if such examples existed, you would have them readily at hand, for no credible commentator would make such sweeping statements without them.


Eric Campbell

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30 thoughts on “ABC’s Eric Campbell to Greg Sheridan: put up or shut up

  1. David Allen

    Sheridan is supposed to be on Q&A tonight. Should be quite interesting.

  2. The Pav

    Naturally I clicked on the link to the article but smacked into the pay wall.

    As I have no desire to contribute in any way to News Ltd I can’t checki for myself Sheridan’s article but given his rather stupid and inane remalrks about Tony Abbott & the wall I am ready to believe Mr Campbell’s version.

    In fact in a test of credibility between Campbell & Sheridan and the ABC and News Ltd I know which would win.

    I do not believe the Sheridan will respond and I would consider that the group libelled is small enough & definable to take action.

    I hope they do

  3. patrickghamilton

    Eric Campbell should be congratulated on his letter …. Greg Sheridan is a News Ltd suckhole / clown .

  4. Angra

    The Pav – just google it and the article in it’s brazen entirety pops up. The Oz’s paywall is a farce.

  5. Recalcitrant.Rick

    Sheridan is really proving himself to be a complete dipstick isn’t he?

  6. Jason Mountney

    Wasn’t Sheridan a vocal supporter of Suharto’s rule in East Timor? Still thinks it should be run from Jakarta? Maybe not the person to have a dig at people supporting dodgy regimes.

  7. Plonkoclock

    Suharto, Lee Kuan Yew, George W.. It’s a tough and often thankless job sucking up to them, but gee, someone’s go to do it…

  8. Frank Campbell

    Sheridan was for many years Suharto’s chief apologist in Australia. Sheridan also vehemently opposed Howard’s 1999 intervention in East Timor. Suharto was the ultimate kleptocrat, apart from being the driving force behind the mass slaughter of Leftists and others in 1966.

  9. Patrick Brosnan

    Shero had another full meltdown on News Radio over the Abbott wall punching affair. It really was crazy stuff, full of “Let me speak” screeching and hysterical claims of anti-catholic conspiracys. I don’t think The Australian actually cares about it’s reputation any more. It’s all about the spectacle, like Fox News or a traffic accident you just stop and stare.

  10. paddy

    The thought of watching Eric Campbell ask Sheridan a video question on Q&A is *almost* enough to make me watch…….But only almost.

    If it should actually happen, then there’s always Iview.

    Still, it’s a cracking good letter.

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