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ABC bias, real or imagined?

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I love the ABC and that love is strong enough that I can appreciate its general virtues even though I am so very aware of its specific vices.and its chief political vice is the way that its journalists and news producers subtly skew their reporting to support their leftist philosophy. Its the subtly of their bias that the so often hide behind when they deny the bias in the ABC’s reporting, thus when they reported on the claims by disappointed returned mendicants they insisted that they were being “fair” because they had prefaced the claims of abuse with “alleged”, pardon me but in the real world such qualification just floats by the  average listener and in my opinion its just a sort window dressing that allows the apologists for ABC bias to use pedantry about the text to obscure the truth. The instruction in the screen shot above should never have been necessary that it was given should be enough to silence the  myth of an “unbiased ABC” though I doubt that it will be.

Cheers Comrades

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40 Comments

  1. deknarf says:

    Oh rubbish Iain! Just have a listen to Sayles and Ulhmann (now ex ABC thank God) and The Drum! The ABC and SBS are the last bastions of generally reasonable & responsible media in this beleaguered country of ours. The MSM generally has failed us and I curse the day that bloody Labor freed up media ownership.
    PS: Last statement doesn’t mean that I’ve suddenly shifted from being a latte sipping lefty to a rampaging ultra-conservative. The NO Coalition is still a No, No!!

  2. Iain Hall says:

    Deknarf
    My position is that bias is there in all media and journalism, frankly the only way to get around it is listen to a range of views on any one topic. None the less I stand by my point that the caveat of using “alleged” is just window dressing unless it is accompanied with some exposition of the very strong possibility that the allegations are utter rubbish.

  3. deknarf says:

    These days those ‘range of views’ are more from media that is not Australian. Jakarta Post, Straits Times, The Guardian, and many blog sites. Anything Murdoch is biased. Herald stuff is generally representative.

  4. Richard Ryan says:

    Andrew Bolt report 24 hours!

  5. Tom Harley says:

    Nothing much is subtle about their bias these days …

  6. Richard Ryan says:

    To who it may concern: It is not the role of the ABC to act as Lord Haw Haw for the Abbott Government. That is the job of Andrew Bolt, and his amigo Piers Akerman.

  7. Ray Dixon says:

    its journalists and news producers subtly skew their reporting to support their leftist philosophy

    No they don’t, Iain. The ABC is far more balanced than the likes of News Ltd, who blatantly skew their reporting to support their right-wing bias. As for the recent directive, well that is merely a reaction to the clear threats of funding cuts or even privatisation being made by Tony Abbott.

    Cue GD, claiming News Ltd can be as biased as they like because they are privately owned, whereas the ABC is funded by taxpayers. Well, I agree that News Ltd can say what they like (and the more they do the more stupid they look), but the ABC is simply not biased. It reports, it does not editorialise or express opinion (unllike News Ltd) and to claim there is bias in the way the ABC reports is nitpicking in the extreme.

  8. GD says:

    Iain said:

    the ABC…its chief political vice is the way that its journalists and news producers subtly skew their reporting to support their leftist philosophy

    I don’t agree, Iain,

    “the ABC…its chief political vice is the way that its journalists and news producers blatantly and rabidly skew their reporting to support their leftist philosophy”

    There, I fixed it for you..

  9. Iain Hall says:

    Ray
    I am rather certain that your views of both the ABC and News LTD are an artefact of your own confirmation bias.

    GD
    My point is that in this instance and many others journalists structure their news presentations to give the semblance of impartiality while they still manage to get across their leftist agenda.

  10. GD says:

    I disagree Iain. The ABC’s wild allegations of the Navy purposely burning illegal aliens who were attempting to breach Australia’s security is bizarre and beyond the pale.

    Likewise with the ABC siding with an Indonesian back-bench politician, ex-game show host and former pop singer rather than trusting the veracity of statements made by the Australian Navy is an example of overwhelming anti-government sentiment and bias.

    The ABC’s editorial standards have slipped so far to the left as to even embarrass decent thinking Labor voters.

    Enough is enough.

    When it comes to Indonesian-Australian relations apparently the ABC prefers to trust this bozo:

  11. Iain Hall says:

    Don’t get me wrong GD I have no doubt about the bias of our Auntie but they are also as cunning as a shithouse rat when it comes to having ready made excuses and caveats to pretend otherwise.

  12. GD says:

    While costing the Australian taxpayer $1 billion dollars, the public broadcaster made just $159 million from its commercial activities in the past year – its worst effort in at least a decade and a third less than just four years ago.

    That’s a heck of a lot for re-runs of Midsomer Murders and a whole lot a lefty sneering on Insiders, Q&A, Media Watch and Lateline.

  13. Iain Hall says:

    There is news and there is emotional news. When Judith Ireland wrote a straightforward news story about Tony Abbott criticising the ABC’s negativity about Australia last week, the response on the Herald’s website was an avalanche of emotion: 12,000 Facebook recommendations, 1170 comments (before the exhausted moderator closed them off) and 690 people forwarded the story via Twitter. These are big numbers. All the Prime Minister had done was make a complaint which many people agreed with.

    Based on this response, and a torrent of hostile reporting by predictable sections of the media, anything about the ABC that involves cuts or criticisms is going to be put through a prism of class warfare and government interference. This nonsense is now institutionalised.

    There is a real story building about the ABC which none of the hysteria has covered. The most critical element unfolding is a move to rationalise the three state broadcasters supported by Australian taxpayers: the ABC, SBS and National Indigenous Television, at a combined current cost of $1.5 billion a year.

    Expect a significant restructuring. A big merger. This is the most likely proposal to emerge from the efficiency review announced last week by Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull. The ABC, SBS and NITV could be merged into a single public broadcaster with a multichannel structure that exploits the rapid convergence of media technology.

    A consolidation of the networks into one multichannel broadcaster would produce both cost savings and raise revenue via the sale of valuable broadcast spectrum freed up by the restructuring.

    Commercial broadcasters are under pressure to make profound adjustments as the internet increasingly delivers TV and radio via computers, iPads and smartphones. One obvious example of where a public broadcaster could cut costs is by ending the provision of foreign-language news, given that such news is available at no cost through the internet.

    It is crucial to look past the irrational hysteria about political revenge and ideological warfare in any restructuring of the ABC and SBS. The government of the day has no control over the content of the ABC and there are no plans to dilute this valued independence.

    The proposed efficiency analysis was instigated by Turnbull, not cabinet. It will examine the operational, governance, structural, financial and cultural issues within the three public broadcasters.

    The context for cutting the cost of public broadcasting is the May budget, in which every agency of government will have to take a cut. Australia has just seen a $1 trillion explosion in government spending over the past six years, going from a budget surplus of $20 billion, and zero federal debt, to a budget deficit of about $50 billion and $667 billion in federal debt.

    In this environment, waste and excess will be attacked everywhere, including the three public broadcasters. An obvious cut will be the debacle known as the Australia Network, which is sub-contracted to the ABC. The Prime Minister all but announced its death last Thursday when he said the government ”had enormous concerns about probity issues [over how] the Australia Network tender was awarded”.

    Two tender panels had recommended that a 10-year contract for the Australia Network be awarded to Sky News (in which the Murdoch media, via BSkyB, has an 11.7 per cent stake). The then foreign minister Kevin Rudd accepted these recommendations. They were overridden by the Gillard government, which gave the contract to the ABC, a move later condemned by the Auditor-General.

    Compounding this debacle has been the performance of the ABC itself in running the Australia Network. It is dreadful. If it was meant to enhance Australia’s reputation in Asia, it has been an abject failure on the basis of dullness alone. But the ABC has been worse than dull. It chose to knowingly damage Australia’s relationship with Indonesia by publishing Edward Snowden’s leaks of Australian spying in Indonesia. It then chose to knowingly damage Australia’s reputation in Asia by running for an entire week with accusations of torture by Australian navy personnel, despite not having a shred of corroborating evidence, and despite a super-abundant pattern of false claims made by asylum seekers who have destroyed documents, scuttled ships and claimed abuse.

    In December the ABC chairman, former NSW chief justice Jim Spigelman, commissioned an ethics audit into any impartiality in ABC Radio interviews between the two major party leaders during last September’s federal election. That will not go anywhere. The ABC does not engender controversy over its election coverage, which is scrupulous given the imperfections built into daily journalism. Even the three most self-evidently biased radio commentators try to restrain their disdain for the Coalition.

    However, a second ethics audit has been commissioned by Spigelman into the ABC’s ”treatment of the debate about asylum seekers”. This, too, will be a waste of time if it is merely restricted to issues of bias in individual reports. The problem with the ABC over the asylum-seeker issue runs far deeper than bias.

    The ABC has been unhinged by the issue. It is obsessional. It is not the content of stories and comment which is the main problem, but the sheer scale of its coverage. This brings into question the judgment of the news and current affairs division, and its self-perpetuating, cultural proclivities at the most basic, granular and reflexive level. Unless this audit considers the scale of the ABC’s obsession about asylum seekers, across all platforms, it will be another bureaucratic exercise in self-preservation and self-vindication.

    Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/comment/abc-and-sbs-merger-simply-makes-budgetary-sense-20140202-31uwl.html#ixzz2sDRZERqR

  14. Ray Dixon says:

    I am rather certain that your views of both the ABC and News LTD are an artefact of your own confirmation bias.

    No Iain, you are wrong about me. I construct no “artefact” when it comes to objectively viewing ABC news reports. I have no “confirmation bias” regarding the ABC whatsoever, and nor do the great majority of Australians, according to polls that show most people believe the ABC is fair, unbiased and independent. I would suggest that the perception you and the other minorities among the conservatives might have of the ABC’s reporting is coloured by your own beliefs.

  15. Iain Hall says:

    Ray,
    everyone colours the way that they perceive the media with their own views, its just not possible to do otherwise. Nor am I saying this as a criticism of you or anyone else.

  16. Ray Dixon says:

    I don’t agree that “everyone” perceives the media according to their own views, Iain. By what written-in-stone law of human behaviour do you suggest that we are all either blinkered, one-eyed or myopic?

  17. Iain Hall says:

    Ray
    All judgements of the media are absolutely subjective and as such we all bring the filter of our way of seeing the world into play when we watch, read or listen to the media, there is no need for anyone to be ” blinkered, one-eyed or myopic” That is basic media theory mate.

  18. GD says:

    Seems not much has changed in thirty years..

    Here’s Bob Santamaria talking about the extreme leftist bias of the ABC in 1985. He quotes Bob Hawke complaining about the same bias. Hawke’s government was the only Labor government that didn’t leave Australia in financial and moral disarray.

    90% of what Santamaria says still applies today.

  19. Ray Dixon says:

    I have no “filter” on the media, Iain, and this ABC bashing is simply the Liberals wanting to control independent media reports.

    Full f*ckin’ stop.

  20. Ray Dixon says:

    Do try to drag yourself out of the past, GD.

  21. Richard Ryan says:

    ” It is not truth that matters but victory” Tony Abbott–sorry—Adolf Hitler.

  22. Richard Ryan says:

    What Say Ye: I would like to see the Union Jack removed from our flag and replaced with the Aboriginal flag, as a mark of respect for the original inhabitants of this continent. For the record the British Empire, was founded on slavery, pillage, murder, and rape. The Union Jack does not speak for me. Shalom. Richard Ryan.

  23. Iain Hall says:

    The Australian flag is fine just the way it is Richard

  24. GD says:

    And the chickens come home to roost..

    After much kerfuffle and denial by head ABC leftist Mark Scott, the ABC has finally admitted that its reporting hasn’t always been accurate and those inaccuracies haven’t been addressed or apologised for.

    In particular the airing of allegations that Australian Navy personnel deliberately burned the hands of asylum-seekers intercepted at sea. The ABC was slow to correct the record and apologise when the incidents could not be proved.

    Mark Scott’s ABC also refused to apologise for portraying Chris Kenny, a columnist for The Australian and television personality, having sex with a dog, triggering a defamation action.

    And yesterday, the ABC Media Watch program ended a week of stonewalling by indicating it would correct false claims that The Australian was losing $40 million-$50m a year, although host Paul Barry was resisting an on-air correction.

    Dragged kicking and screaming, our taxpayer funded lefties have had to admit they’ve been dishonest in their job of reporting for all Australians, preferring instead to promote their leftist ideology.

  25. Ray Dixon says:

    The ABC is not “promoting” any “ideology”. None whatsoever. I’ve heard countless reports on ABC that I would regard as favouring the Coaltion. But then I just dismiss that as my perception, seeing I don’t particularly like the Coalition. You, on the other hand, GD, cherry pick some stuff ups they’ve made that seem anti-Coalition and then you scream “biased taxpayer-funded lefties”. Honestly, you are so one-eyed I’m surprised you haven’t entered yourself in the local freak show.

  26. Ray Dixon says:

    Oh look, the ABC is reporting that claims made by refugee advocates that an asylum seeker who gave birth in Brisbane was denied access to her newborn baby are untrue, according to an Immigration Department review.

    Why is the ABC taking the word of the Immigration Dept’s review of itself? That dept is under the Immigration Minister’s control and of course they’re going to clear themselves. This is a clear case of ABC right-wing bias in blowing up stories that favour the Coalition govt. Bloody tax-payer funded rightards!

  27. GD says:

    This is a clear case of ABC right-wing bias in blowing up stories that favour the Coalition govt

    That’s ridiculous Ray. Perhaps you could address the rest of my comment rather than playing silly buggers, because that is what your latest ‘head in the sand’, ‘wilfully blind’ comments indicate.

    the ABC has finally admitted that its reporting hasn’t always been accurate and those inaccuracies haven’t been addressed or apologised for.

    In particular the airing of allegations that Australian Navy personnel deliberately burned the hands of asylum-seekers intercepted at sea. The ABC was slow to correct the record and apologise when the incidents could not be proved.

    Mark Scott’s ABC also refused to apologise for portraying Chris Kenny, a columnist for The Australian and television personality, having sex with a dog, triggering a defamation action.

    And yesterday, the ABC Media Watch program ended a week of stonewalling by indicating it would correct false claims that The Australian was losing $40 million-$50m a year, although host Paul Barry was resisting an on-air correction.

    Are you incapable of reading and comprehension?

  28. Ray Dixon says:

    Irony not your strong suit, GD? What’s “ridiculous” is claiming that your cherry-picked examples of ABC reports proves they have a “leftist” agenda. Even though I put it up as tongue-in-cheek irony (something that seems to bypass your radar), my example of one ABC report that gives undue newsworthiness to the Immigration Dept’s own clearing of itself (and thus a clearing of the govt’s actions) is just as valid as any of your examples of ABC reports that seem anti-coalition. The reality is that the ABC reports everything good and bad about both sides of politics and does not editorialise or give opinion. Unlike the writer in your Australian newspaper citation. Geez mate, you’re getting bitter in your old age – try Viagra.

  29. GD says:

    Ray, please look up the meaning of irony.

  30. Ray Dixon says:

    I don’t need to look it up, GD, but okay for your benefit:

    Irony is the expression of one’s meaning by using language that normally signifies the opposite, typically for humorous or emphatic effect.

    You see, GD, I don’t believe that the ABC report on the Immigration Dept clearing itself exhibited bias to the Coalition. I was merely using irony to give an example of how easy it is for one-eyed people like you to see ‘Reds under the bed’, so to speak. Something else you obviously missed. You’re not off to a good start today, mate. Maybe you should go for a walk and clear out the grumpy fog you seem to be in?

  31. GD says:

    Ray, as I already commented, you seem incapable of reading and comprehension. Your example was not irony. For goodness sake, get a grip or get an education.

  32. Ray Dixon says:

    Then what’s YOUR definition of irony, GD? Obviously you’ve got a whole different dictionary to the norm.

  33. Ray Dixon says:

    And of course, you’re diverting from the fact you’ve not proven anything except that you have a skewed outlook on the media.

  34. GD says:

    I’m enjoying this. Ray, given your previous absolute stance that the ABC is not biased in any way, it’s hard to view that last comment of yours as ironic. If you wish to make that claim, perhaps you could admit that the ABC is indeed extremely left-leaning and has been caught out misrepresenting national and international events with its reporting.

  35. Ray Dixon says:

    I can’t believe you wrote that, GD. Just the very fact that you know I regard the ABC as unbiased makes my comment that they are biased clear irony. Geez mate, are you alright? Is it Alzheimers perhaps?

  36. GD says:

    No Ray, that is not irony, it is denial.. 😦

  37. Ray Dixon says:

    Irony is expressing your meaning in the opposite. I don’t believe the ABC is biased but I said they were biased to the coalition in that report to counter your claims they were biased against the coaltion in other reports. That is irony, not “denial”.

    I’m still waiting to hear your definition of irony, btw. Can’t wait.

    As for claiming I’m in “denial”, well, that is a perception you have based on your rusted-on beliefs – ie anyone who doesn’t agree with you that the ABC is biased to the left (or anyone who doesn’t agree with any of your opinions) must be in “denial”. According to surveys though, the vast majority of Australians regard the ABC as fair and unbiased. So in your eyes the vast majority of Aussies are “in denial” and need “an education”, eh?

    Wow mate, I agree, this has been fun.

  38. Ray Dixon says:

    Meanwhile, I’ve got a bloody big hedge to trim outside. I’ll check back later for your definition of irony. Oh, and to see if you’ve conceded that you’ve twisted yourself in knots today.

  39. GD says:

    Trim that hedge, Ray, it’s a more appropriate use of your talents.

  40. Ray Dixon says:

    Your total avoidance of your stuff ups in logic here, GD, is most telling. Got that definition of irony yet? Got any more “proof” of ABC “leftist bias”. I guess it goes like this with you: Any report that doesn’t praise the daylights out of Tony Abbott and his Govt is the work of extreme left-wing biased miscreants. The loopy left at work. Yes, the ABC should simply NEVER report news that might (just might) reflect badly on the coalition. Never mind that they have no qualms about reporting bad news about the ALP (go on, “deny” that), the coalition is ‘hands off’ and one bad report should be punished … by jail.

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