ABC bias
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ABC bias

This piece from Andrew Bolt on 4 May 2013 is a clear demonstration of ABC bias, a bias that ABC executives and journalists seem blissfully unaware of.

ABC managing director Mark Scott on Rafael Epstein’s show once again plays too cute about the overwhelmingly Leftist bias he’s presided over - in breach of the ABC’s charter and obligations.

And he says something false - indeed, something he should know very well to be false - to deny the undeniable.

Asked by Epstein to respond to criticisms by his former ABC chairman Maurice Newman that the ABC had a “groupthink” on global warming, Scott claimed:

He was talking broadly around the media. It wasn’t a specific criticism of the ABC.

That is an amazing misstatement. Newman actually wrote directly to Scott to complain specifically about the ABC coverage. As The Australian reported last December:

Mr Newman, who retired from the ABC’s top job in March when his five-year term ended, said the broadcaster had been “captured” by a “small but powerful” group of people when it came to climate change groupthink - a claim rebuffed by the broadcaster…

In his written complaint to ABC managing director Mark Scott, Mr Newman raised the issue of personally “offensive and defamatory” material and content [on the Science Show] that compared climate sceptics to pedophiles “more generally”.

The radio segment had also referred to an article that Mr Newman had written in The Australian last month comparing climate change believers to the religious. [Science Show host Robyn] Williams referred to it as “drivel” and his guest, psychology professor Stephen Lewandosky, said that those who denied climate change were “driven by ideology rather than evidence”.

Mr Newman objected to the imputation that he was a flat-earther…

The ABC is not being frank and open about the way global warming is portrayed on its various platforms, although the sense of imbalance is becoming more overt, I feel.”

Newman wrote:

LAST month in this newspaper, I wrote an irreverent piece, “Losing Their Religion As Evidence Cools Off”, illustrating how the global warming establishment was like a religion, replete with the structure, scripture and financial resources required to promote a faith-based movement and how it is losing disciples as the truth wears off.

I don’t know about other readers, but at the ABC, for those with the religion it hit a nerve…

This is not the first time I have provoked the public wrath of the ABC’s climate change clique…

In March 2010 as chairman, I addressed an in-house conference of 250 ABC leaders. In a speech ...  I lamented the mainstream media’s role as an effective gatekeeper....  I blamed group think and used climate change as an example. My mistake was to mention climate change…

Jonathon Holmes, the presenter of Media Watch, was so angry “he could not concentrate"… I was interviewed by PM and teased as to whether I was a “climate change denier or not as obvious as that?” As a further censure, that night Tony Jones read a statement on Lateline saying: “Tonight, ABC management responded to Mr Newman’s speech, saying it stands by the integrity of its journalists and its processes."…

As a taxpayer-funded organisation, the ABC shouldn’t even have a view on global warming. What it does have is a duty to all Australians to broadcast honestly the best available evidence on both sides of the argument so that we can make up our own minds. This is not happening.

I retain a deep affection for the ABC. But, like the BBC, there are signs that a small but powerful group has captured the corporation, at least on climate change.

How can Scott just five months later claim Newman’s criticisms were not specifically of the ABC? Does he not even read The Australian or letters sent to him personally by his former chairman?

Scott also seems astonishingly ill-informed about his staff, to put the matter most kindly.

Epstein read out a text from a listener asking who the ABC had on the “Liberal” side to balance Leftist presenters such as Fran Kelly, Phillip Adams, Leigh Sales and Tony Jones.  (The listener could have gone on to mention Jon Faine, Robyn Williams, Virginia Trioli, Kerry O’Brien, Barrie Cassidy, Jonathon Holmes, Jonathan Green, Waleed Aly and on and on.)

Scott’s response:

That’s a really curious list that’s presented in the text message… I don’t know how our journalists vote. I don’t know what their personal views are.

First, this is evasive. I also don’t know how Kelly votes. For the Greens or Labor? Did Adams vote in 2007 for Labor, his long-time party, or for the Climate Change Coalition his wife helped to create? Did Green, whose party in 2007 included a John Howard pinata, vote Labor, Greens or informal? Did Trioli, who protested against Howard and made “he’s-mad” signals when interviewing Barnaby Joyce on TV, vote Socialist or Labor?

Like Scott, I just don’t know. But I do know that whatever way they voted, their ideological leanings are to the Left, and if Scott doesn’t know that, too, he is remarkably ignorant.

In fact, I don’t think he’s being frank. Take his claim that he doesn’t “know what their personal views are” - other than, he admits, in the case of Adams, who for years has run a Fabian hour four times a week, plus repeats, on ABC radio.

Does Scott seriously assert that he doesn’t know Jones is a global warming evangelist who has been chosen a number of times by warmist conferences to mc the event or moderate the discussions?

Does he really know know that Barrie Cassidy, a former adviser to Labor Prime Minister Bob Hawke, is a close friend of the Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s partner, and is largely defensive of Gillard on his show?

Has he never heard Trioli opine on his airwaves that the September 11 attacks were possibly the work of the FBI and the correct way to deal with Osama bin Laden was be “sitting down with him, treating him like a human being and talking about it, and then Osama bin Laden going home again, not bombing the hell out of bin Laden?”

Is Scott honestly unaware that Science Show presenter Robyn Wiliiams is such a warming catastrophist that he claimed sea level rises this century of up to 100 metres were “possible, yes”? Or that Williams campaigned against the ABC screening a documentary sceptical of the warming scare? Or that Williams likened the sceptical views of former ABC chairman Newman to pedophilia, as an angry Newman later protested in a letter to Scott himself?

If Scott really does believe the ABC to be scrupulously unbiased, why has he named one show Counterpoint to explicitly give the conservative perspective, and handed it to Amanda Vanstone, a former Liberal Minister (from the party’s Left)?

Note how often in the interview with Epstein that Scott cited Vanstone as proof of the ANC’s even-handedness. If the ABC was indeed even-handed, why even mention the show? And if the show is indeed a “counterpoint” to everything else, why is it on just once a week, at 4pm, when Adams’ show alone is on four times, plus repeats? Balance?

Scott either doesn’t know there’s a bias, which suggests he’s incompetent, or he does know there’s a bias but doesn’t want to be, er, frank about it.

If those in charge of the ABC are incapable of addressing the ABC’s bias, the ABC’s critics have no option but to call for the ABC to be starved or sold.

What can’t be fixed must be broken, and should be junked.



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