How do voters feel about the ABC cuts? In a word, opposed. Half (52%) of voters polled in today’s Essential Research said they were disapproving of the cuts, including 25% who strongly disapproved of the cuts. Half that number, 25% of voters, approve of the cuts, of which just 8% said they strongly approved. Some 36% of Coalition voters disapprove of the cuts ( including 7% who strongly disapprove).

However, the ABC has slipped in terms of voter trust. In January, the ABC’s TV news and current affairs was the most trusted form of news, with 73% of voters having a lot or some trust. That has now slipped to 69%, although it remains the most trusted form of news. Meanwhile, 66% of voters have some or a lot of trust in SBS TV news and current affairs; 62% trust ABC radio, down 8 points since January. There’s a considerable gap in trust after that: 53% of voters trust local newspapers, down 2 points since January; trust in daily newspapers is at 50%, up 2 points; commercial TV news is on 48% (up 4), ABC talkback is also on 48% (down 1); commercial radio is trusted by 45% (also down 1); news and opinion websites are trusted by 42% (up 2); commercial radio talkback is trusted by just 33%, up 1 point.

The least trusted forms of media, in which voters had no trust at all, were blogs (25%), commercial talkback (22%), commercial TV news (13%), and commercial radio and news and opinion websites, both 12%. — Bernard Keane

Freya Newman dodges jail term. The 21-year-old whistleblower who recenty pled guilty to accessing the computer files showing details of Frances Abbott’s secret scholarship recieved a two-year good behaviour bond this morning, dodging a jail term. She will have no conviction recorded. Magistrate Teresa O’Sullivan told a courtroom in Sydney that Newman’s offence was at the lower end of offending, and added that the data accessed was not highly classified despite not being publicly available. — Myriam Robin

How the ABC’s news and current affairs division will fire staff. The ABC’s news and current affairs division will make 100 positions redundant as part of the cuts announced yesterday. In order to not discriminate on the basis of where people happen to be working at the time, News boss Kate Torney has decided to pool journalists into groups with similar skills. A certain percentage of those pools will then be axed.

Crikey has obtained a copy of Torney’s report to staff on how this will work, and a table midday through shows just how deep the cuts will go in some pools …

Meanwhile, we hear that at Foreign Correspondent, some senior producers are being told their jobs have changed and they need to reapply for the new positions, which, in some cases, they no longer clearly qualify for. Foreign Correspondent relies heavily on the content from the ABC’s global bureaux, but with the ABC moving to a hub model (four conventional bureaux) while VJs (video journalists — two-in-one camera operators and presenters) cover the rest of the globe, it’s likely to operate somewhat differently next year. — Myriam Robin

Time travel at Fairfax. Last night Fairfax Media websites reported:

“After months of speculation, former NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell has announced he will not recontest his seat of Ku-ring-gai at next year’s state election, signalling his exit from state politics after 20 years.

“Mr O’Farrell had refused to confirm rumours that his announcement was pending in the final sitting weeks of the NSW Parliament for 2014.

“On Tuesday night he announced via his favoured medium, Twitter, that he had informed branch members of his decision.”

Nothing wrong with that, except O’Farrell made the announcement last night — Monday night. Fairfax Media might be good, but it can’t see into the future … — Glenn Dyer

Meanwhile at News Corp … In its coverage of ABC cost-cutting today, The Australian demonstrated how a savvy modern media company can do more with less. In a “news” story under the heading “Scott ‘not prepared to do both jobs’“, reporter Christian Kerr quoted only one person throughout the entire story — Gerard Henderson, his co-columnist at The Australian. We do wonder if the phones dial out at Holt Street, as reporters at the Oz seem awfully fond of quoting their own colleagues. 

If only they’d listened. To Catallaxy Files now, that gully trap for right-wing thought too wacky even for News Corp blogs. Star performer is RMIT Professor Steve Kates, who takes a taxpayer-funded salary to explain that the public sector produces nothing of value. He has views on the fraught debate as to whether Bob Hawke or Paul Keating was more responsible for financial transformation in 1988 — apparently it was Kates himself. In a post entitled “Paul Keating, my part in his success”, Kates suggests that:

“… it was me that made all the difference. All Keating did was follow the ACCI pre-Budget submission which I had written. It worked like a charm until, moronically, Keating decided the economy was overheating and brought on the recession we had to have. I told him not to do it, but by then it was too late. He had decided to follow Treasury’s advice instead of mine. It was all downhill from there.”

Does the title suggest a degree of whimsical self-mockery? Hahaha, they don’t do that at the Cat, and that the blog’s title is a reversal of Spike Milligan’s title (Adolf Hitler: My Part In His Downfall) gives the clue. If only, if only Keating had listened to a professor with too much time on his hands. The horror! The horror! — Guy Rundle

Video of the day. Republican Senator Ted Cruz proved Cicero a sage for all ages, when he adapted one of his ancient speeches to more modern end …

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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