Just two months after the ABC’s Four Corners dedicated a full program to nationalist and former Donald Trump adviser Steve Bannon, he’s back on high rotation at our national broadcaster.
ABC Europe correspondent Linton Besser scored another sit-down interview with the former Breitbart editor, who’s working in Europe ahead of the European Parliament elections. Bannon is trying to pull together a bloc of far-right leaders across Europe to work together on reforming the European Union. And the ABC hasn’t wasted any effort in giving the interview a good run.
It was played throughout the day on the ABC News channel on Sunday, then featured in the 7pm bulletin’s “special report” as a five-minute package, and made it to flagship radio current affairs program AM on Monday. The story has also been made up into a lengthy news story for the website.
Crikey asked the ABC how this most recent interview came about, what news value it added to the most recent (and prominent) interview, and whether it was responsible to be giving so much airtime to Bannon. A spokeswoman declined to comment.
The ABC was widely criticised both within and outside its own ranks for Four Corners presenter Sarah Ferguson’s interview with Bannon in September. Four Corners executive producer Sally Neighbour called the furore “hysteria”, and Ferguson responded with a photo on Twitter with the caption: “What’s wrong with this photo? NOTHING.”
High-profile journalists tweeted in support of the September interview, while others (mostly younger, and more diverse) didn’t think Bannon should be given a platform. Bannon helped craft Trump’s “Muslim ban”, and under Bannon, Breitbart pushed an anti-immigration and often racist agenda. In September, he was also uninvited from speaking at the New Yorker Festival after outrage over his presence on the bill.
Bannon’s latest ABC appearance is yet to create much of a fuss, perhaps helped by the fact that his interview was run as part of a story package, and it hasn’t been given as high-profile a slot as Four Corners.
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