Too much red cordial in their soy lattes?

Caption: Aw, bless their little cotton socks. Don’t let the totes sad faces fool you, they’re having the time of their lives.

All children know the value of a good tanty. Throw a strategic screaming fit and even the most unflappable parent might be more likely to buy you off, just for a moment?s peace.

The employees at Australia?s public broadcaster seem mostly very young. The rest, cosseted in their taxpayer-funded nursery, have never had to grow up. So, the chance to throw a public tanty is just too exciting an opportunity for them to pass up.

When ABC chairman Justin Milne sacked managing director Michelle Guthrie, ABC staff were smugly satisfied. But, when it emerged that Milne had previously instructed Guthrie to sack a couple of uber-luvvy senior journos whose fake news clangers had severely embarrassed the broadcaster, they swiftly changed gears up to high dudgeon. Excitedly clutching their soy lattes and pumping their skinny arms in defiance, they surged into the leafy surrounds of Ultimo in Sydney.

It all seemed very thrilling for them. They probably hadn?t had this much fun since their student days, back in the halcyon era of 2015.

If all that seems a bit confusing to my Kiwi readers, well, it?s par for the course at the insular, taxpayer-funded kindergarten that passes for a national public broadcaster. Quote:

Former ABC chairman James Spigelman says about a quarter of its staff think they can do the best job running the national broadcaster??For the ABC about a quarter of the staff think they can run the show better than anyone.? he told ABC Radio. ?It?s a very special organisation the ABC and its got a lot of different units within it, some would say silos … they look after their own sphere and its very hard to make significant changes but it?s happened and its necessary for it have happened.? End of quote.

Interesting choice of words: ?very special? is the sort of condescending euphemism people tend to use when they?re desperately trying to avoid saying ?retarded?. But Spigelman undercuts the ABC?s self-serving piety.

A bit of background: two of the most senior journalists at the ABC recently published reports that were full of factual errors and breached its own code of impartiality. These on top of previous issues, such as the false claims that Australian Navy personnel had tortured people smugglers. The ABC has also been implicated in the pursuit of war hero Ben Roberts-Smith.

Deny it as they might, there is an obvious pattern to the ABC?s breaches. Quote:

Current ABC chairman Justin Milne is facing calls to step down after it was reported today he told Ms Guthrie to sack chief economics correspondent Emma Alberici after Malcolm Turnbull lodged a complaint concerning an article she wrote on company tax policy.

Mr Spigelman said he had ?no idea? why Ms Guthrie was sacked, but said he wouldn?t have pressured her like Mr Milne had. End of quote.

Chris Kenny, no fan of the ABC, agrees, to a point. Quote:

His intercession in the controversy over a shoddy report by economics correspondent Emma Alberici – revealed in a leaked email ? was beyond the pale and reeks of political interference.

Anyone with experience in management knows the difficulties and sensitivities around terminating staff and the need to consider the proportionality of any alleged transgressions. And anyone with knowledge and experience of journalism, politics and public broadcasting should realise how unwise and improper it is to convey even the perception of political interference.?Still, it is hardly surprising that the chairman would discuss this case with the managing director; Milne had every right, even a duty, to ensure the matter was being handled appropriately – the ABC?s reputation was at stake.

…But the gist of his email was improper. End of quote.

Whatever errors Milne may have made, the ABC staffs? pious protests reek more of nursery antics than high-minded principle. Quote:

Yesterday, ABC staff gloated over Guthrie?s departure, kicking her on her way out and complaining that she was never their champion?Now Guthrie appears to have been a strong leader who stood firm for journalists against her chairman and resisted political interference?And [shoddy journalists] will be beatified as a martyr to the cause of editorial independence. End of quote.

When the ABC sacked journalist Glenn Milne (a wicked conservative) from their Insiders panel program, after a series of furious phone calls from then-prime minister Julia Gillard (a beloved leftist icon), there was not a peep from the bearded hipsters now shaking their little fists.

While there is certainly grounds to criticise Justin Milne?s actions, let?s not pretend that the tanties being thrown in Ultimo are anything but self-serving cry-bullying.