May 22, 2013

Australian Story‘s sainthood problem: inside the ABC ‘cult’

The popular ABC show is a ratings winner and counters the nastiness that dominates other current affairs programming. But has Aunty gone too far to give its subjects a golden glow?

Matthew Knott

Former Crikey media reporter

As part of our 15th birthday celebrations, we’ve trawled through the archives to bring you some of the best, weirdest and most salacious articles published on Crikey since our launch on February 14, 2000.

*This article was originally published on May 22, 2013.

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8 thoughts on “Australian Story‘s sainthood problem: inside the ABC ‘cult’

  1. Cuppa

    [“The job of a Four Corners reporter is to interrogate a story, to keep his or her distance from the players, to get as near as possible to the objective truth,” Holmes said. ]

    Many of us are still waiting for Four Corners to investigate the Ashbygate affair – the conspiracy to bring down the Federal government. 4C has received many requests to investigate this scandal, but for reasons they have not made public, still refuse.

    Independent Australia has done a sterling series of articles. If IA can do it on funding from mostly volunteers, why cannot our publicly-funded supposedly independent national broadcaster?

  2. Peter Wildblood

    I agree with much of what Matthew says: Australian Story is substantially “soft” on its subject matter though this is only of real significance when the subject is controversial in some way; in other words when “both sides of the story need to be shown. With JH’s caveat this appears to be the the basis of Carlton angry response.

    That said, though a regular viewer, I have long been critical of some of the AS’s coverage. Some years ago I was incensed at the way they dealt with GG Hollingsworth. This was far from a soft piece. In fact it was I suspect the “straw that broke the polity’s back” as it showed what a bumbling dissembling idiot he was.

    I was cranky about it not because I disagreed with its political impact (far from it, Hollingsworth was well past his used by date at that point if he ever had one), but because I thought it was far too “political” a piece in the context of the Australian Story.

  3. JosieK

    If that’s the purpose of Australian Story program, then so be it. But then why interview Mike Carlton in the first place? Or, if the producers did not anticipate his strongly negative views about Hadley, they should (a) get better researchers and (b) take into account the content of the interview and ditch it in total rather than include parts of it in a manner that they must have realised was not reflective of the Carlton’s intent.

  4. Shaniq'ua Shardonn'ay

    I agree with a lot of this. I just don’t watch it anymore as it really is little more than a PR job most of the time. I haven’t seen a program lately on anyone who hasn’t ever been in media in some capacity. It seems like if there isn’t footage to show the story isn’t worth telling. It’s like spending an hour staring at a motivational poster. Even Dolphins in sunsets can make you gag after prolonged exposure.

  5. Aphra

    Although I don’t often watch Australian Story these days I wonder why Carlton agreed to participate in the program – surely he knew, as did I, that it would present Hadley as a ‘hail fellow, well met’ sort of guy. He’s a deliberate troublemaker and a divisive loudmouth and I’m blowed if I know why he was a subject and his program needed promoting, anyway. Was it to show us how low,as a community, we’ve sunk?

    And Australian Story was unfair to Black Caviar!

  6. Pusscat

    Absolutely 100% agree with Cuppa and IA re Ashbygate. Finding out that Carlton agrees with everybody else about Hadley is for me a somewhat less urgent information need.

    But of course, in fact, we all now know about his compelling and original critique because Carlton, just ilke Hadley, is a Media Personality.
    Wow, temple of hate, that’s SO marvellous! Never hear anything remotely as stunning as that from anyone on internet threads!
    Poor Mike! How outraged he must have felt, to have to go to the trouble of picking up a phone so that we all wouldn’t miss this groundbreaking verbal virtuosity.

    Personally, wouldn’t be fazed if all of AS joined Mike on the cutting-room floor.

  7. AR

    FULSOME, in the original meaning.

  8. Jendy

    I decided to watch the Hadley episode with an open mind, but soon felt that he was manipulating the audience to get a warm fuzzy feel for him. When he started shedding tears about his father’s sudden death many years ago I thought he was using his father’s early death to win sympathy.

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