ABC cuts Liberals


Crikey readers came out swinging for the ABC, responding to Christopher Warren on how the Liberal Party has moved beyond mere political theatre in its threats, and Bernard Keane’s deconstruction of how an industrious government would go about vivisecting a beloved public broadcaster. 


On the steps to divvying up the ABC

David Salter writes: What Bernard Keane doesn’t understand — in all his jargoneering about “Requests for Tender”, “Universal Service Obligations” and “Requests for Information” — is that much of the ABC’s strength and value comes from the fact that it is an integrated, comprehensive service.

The public trusts Aunty largely because her standards and standpoints are consistent across all platforms. That culture is what make the ABC so dependable as a whole. Break it up into its component parts — each provided by a separate company trying to make a profit — and the whole basis of genuinely independent public broadcasting would quickly turn to dust.

Ian Mannix writes: The ABC is the only network in Australia which issues Watch and Act messages repeatedly and for as long as necessary during an emergency. It is also the only network to issue emergency warnings every 15 minutes. It is my view that splitting up the ABC would add pressure to emergency agencies and the value of the warnings would be diminished.

Robert Smith writes: Let’s get more imaginative. Just to spite the pollies the ABC should drop special election night coverage — just give the results for a few seconds on the regular news. It really doesn’t matter much who is elected. Regional programs should be financed by a levy on commercial media in inverse proportion to their own efforts. Landline, Compass, Gardening Australia, Four Corners and Australian Story should be compulsory to be shown on all media outlets.


On the Libs’ long game

Roger Clifton writes: The ABC is also trusted overseas. Its foreign correspondents and analysts are effectively providing “soft” intelligence from the region, to the region. Promotion of understanding between neighbours is a pretty honest way of keeping the peace.

Jim Spithill writes: The right are good at playing the long game. The HR Nicholls Society (established 1986) was envisioned in the middle of World War II amid concerns about the returning diggers not being so politically malleable as earlier generations. John Howard’s maiden speech included his intention to smash the unions. They are quite comfortable with a 40-year time-frame. Death by a thousand cuts, and all that.

Libratorr writes: Just waiting for the local media industry’s protectionist calls for streaming services to have a local content quota to evolve into an insistence that Netflix run news and current affairs programming, or else tender for a takeover of the ABC’s various local content infrastructure in the event of a selloff. Not that it’s a thing likely to happen in this glorious neoliberal dystopia, right?


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