Media bias - ABC presenters demonstrate how to heckle a Liberal
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Media bias - ABC presenters demonstrate how to heckle a Liberal

Gerard Henderson analyses three recent ABC interviews with Coalition frontbenchers and concludes:

The Faine/Trioli/Kelly Lesson

In view of the unprofessional interviewing style to which some ABC presenters subject leading Coalition MPs, it is scarcely surprising if the likes of Tony Abbott decide that they could make better use of their scant media time away from key ABC programs.  The truth is that not many swinging voters watch or listen to the public broadcaster.  It is unlikely that any election has been won on the ABC.

Check for yourself. One example:

Jon Faine: How can hundreds of millions of dollars for schools not be for the better?

Tony Abbott: It’s got to be affordable and -

Jon Faine:  [interjecting] Well it clearly is, it’s in the budget

Tony Abbott: Well, I’m not sure that it is. We’ve got – on the official figures – we’ve got almost $20 billion of deficits, we’ve got deficits stretching out into the future -

Jon Faine:  [interjecting] Minimal, minimal.  Tiny manageable deficits, Tony Abbott

Tony Abbott: [continuing] and after this government we will never get surplus.  What’s that?

Jon Faine: [interjecting] Minimal deficits, manageable and irrelevant in the overall scheme of the economy

Tony Abbott: Well, I’m not sure that’s right. These “tiny”, “manageable”, “irrelevant” deficits can bring countries into terrible, terrible trouble. Just look at what’s happening in Europe. In the end governments -

Jon Faine: [interjecting] Comparing our economy to Europe is absurd, with respect -

Tony Abbott: Governments, no less than families and business, Jon, have got to live within their means

Jon Faine: Going into a almost statistically irrelevant – a tiny small amount of deficit to get over a difficult patch in the cycle of global economies, is regarded by the OECD and elsewhere as sensible, sustainable, manageable and good policy.  But Tony Abbott doesn’t agree -

Tony Abbott: Well, I think that if we are going to commit to billions of dollars a year in extra spending and – let’s face it – Gonski requires six and a half billion dollars a year in extra spending if no school is to be worse off, that is a very serious additional commitment -

Jon Faine: [interjecting] You want smarter kids, better education, better schools, better skills but you don’t want to pay for it.

Virginia Trioli example

Virginia Trioli: - [Interjecting] I don’t know how many times this morning I can say that it’s not a tax –

Greg Hunt: Well, of course it is.

Virginia Trioli: - But I’m just going to put it on the record that it’s not

Greg Hunt:  - The price of electricity –

Virginia Trioli: [interjecting] Just one more time and then viewers can make up their own mind

Greg Hunt: - It’s intended to drive up the price of electricity and that’s what it does

Virginia Trioli: What’ve you got Michael? [Laughs]

Gerard’s third example:

On 17 July Fran Kelly interviewed Shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey.  Like Jon Faine and Virginia Trioli, Fran ("I’m an activist") Kelly was more intent in stating her position than listening to what Joe Hockey had to say. In a 14 minute interview, Fran Kelly interjected, or cut off, Joe Hockey on no fewer than 18 occasions as she attempted to prove that she was correct and the Shadow Treasurer was wrong.

See also "How to be a journalist in one easy lesson"


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