The billion-dollar echo chamber that is public broadcasting

It’s an article of faith on the political left that they and their friends have the market cornered on truth and morality. If we “deplorables” dare to have a differing opinion, well, that’s only because we’re irredeemably stupid and wicked. At best, we simple souls are just too brainwashed by “false consciousness” to be obedient little leftists.

To the Australian left, Rupert Murdoch is Lex Luthor. The superhero nemesis to Evil Rupert Murdoch is the taxpayer-funded Australian Broadcasting Commission.

But, which media empire really is even close to being “fair and balanced”? Their respective coverage of the Australian election gives the game away.

Was the ABC deliberately biased towards the ALP at the federal election, or was its gross fail just a problem of groupthink?

The ABC is a taxpayer-funded behemoth. Where every commercial media organisation has seen their budgets continually restrained, the taxpayer cops it in the neck more and more for the ABC every year. Its current budget is over one billion dollars per year. For that money, the ABC is statutorily required to be balanced in its coverage and to represent all Australians – outback Queenslanders as well as inner-city Sydneysiders.

The ABC is the best-resourced news organisation in the country, paid for by taxpayers who vote across the political spectrum. In Queensland, which swung strongly to the Coalition, the ABC’s many state-based staff apparently failed to see the trends in their own backyard.

If ABC journalists in its many Queensland bureaus had been paying the slightest attention to their audiences, why did they completely fail to pick up on the voter anger that saw Labor almost wiped out in the Sunshine State?

Former ABC staff-elected representative Quentin Dempster…offered two defences of the ABC’s failure: few others saw the result coming and ABC political reporters were basing their views on published polling that showed Labor likely to win…Kenny asked why, if there were a range of views at Sky News, did literally everyone at the much larger ABC fall in behind the Labor narrative?

Trying to pin the blame on polls is pathetic. While polls were consistently tipping a Labor win, the narrowness of the margin should have prompted ABC journalists to at least consider the possibility of a different result. Not one did.

Meanwhile, contrary to the leftist narrative, the Murdoch media in fact gives a voice to a broad range of opinion. The real media monoculture in Australia is the ABC.

Unlike the staunch denialism of most ABC luvvies, former Media Watch host Jonathan Holmes at least admits that the ABC is biased to inner-city, Greens-voting leftist groupthink.

“I think the sort of person that most ABC people think about when they make their programs are the sort of people (who) think roughly the same as they do…They are talking to people like me and they are not talking to people who think differently to me”[…]

News, like its Sky News subsid­iary, employs journalists with a ­diversity of views. Think of this paper’s writers from the left: Troy Bramston, Phillip Adams, Graham Richardson, Alan Kohler and, from the left of the Coalition, Peter van Onselen and Niki Savva….The nation’s biggest website, News Corp Australia’s news.com.au, is very left-wing.

This is as it should be because readers of the biggest newspapers in the country have diverse views. As do viewers of the ABC. Yet the ABC does not represent a diversity of views.

As a journalism student, I often had this very argument with my fellow students who were almost universally young, left-wing and resolutely anti-Murdoch. As I pointed out, Murdoch just couldn’t survive if people didn’t buy his media. If Murdoch didn’t cater to the broad spectrum of readers and viewers, they wouldn’t buy his product – it’s as simple as market forces could be.

The ABC, on the other hand, has no such responsibility. It can peddle its leftist monoculture to its heart’s content, and Australians will still be forced to pay through the nose, year in, year out.

Voters are smarter than journ­alists think. They were right on climate­ and Adani. They know Australia, with 1.3 per cent of global CO2 emissions, can’t change the climate. They support the aspiration that is anathema to the public service culture of the ABC.

theaustralian

The ABC are public servants with a megaphone. Australian taxpayers deserve more for their billion dollars than leftist groupthink on steroids.

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