About the ABC

So yesterday Chris Berg and I had an op-ed in the AFR (ungated version here) talking about the ABC:

Let’s be blunt here: the ABC burns through $1 billion of taxpayers’ money every year. Not shareholder money, not a mogul’s money. Taxpayer money. The ABC is a not a blog run on a shoestring, or out of someone’s basement. To argue that being left-partisan is simply to compensate for right-partisanship in the commercial sector is to disfranchise all those coalition voters who pay for the ABC. Australians do not expect their government agencies – even nominally independent agencies – to exclude other Australians without excellent reason.

We also have a piece in the Spectator Australia:

That question invites us to speculate as to the rationale for the ABC. The ABC itself denies that it is a market failure broadcaster, while the notion of it being independent is difficult to pin down. Independent of whom? It is publicly funded and its management are required to appear before parliament and answer questions posed by politicians. True, the ABC is independent of the demands of commercial reality, but it is not independent of its political paymaster. Of course that undermines the argument that the ABC is a bulwark of democracy. A free press may well be a necessary condition of democracy but that does not necessarily imply that the government should subsidise the press. To the contrary, many non-democratic nations have maintained very high levels of government ownership and subsidy in the media. A further argument undermining the ABC’s claim relates to the large and obvious  political bias in its reporting and news coverage. A 2013 survey revealed that ABC journalists are almost five times more likely to be Greens voters than the average voter and twice more likely to vote Greens than the average journalist.

Then this morning in the Australian Henry Ergas gives them a serve too:

As for the ABC’s self-proclaimed “fact” checking unit, its attack on the senator is a poorly executed beat-up at best, a politically driven abuse of taxpayer funds at worst. With its reputation for accuracy already in tatters, the ABC needs to get its own house in order. The “fact” checking unit would be a fine place to start.

For Sunday early birds I’ll be on Outsiders talking about Chris’ and my book.

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51 Responses to About the ABC

  1. Dr Fred Lenin

    I strongly reccomed a budget cut of $1,500,000,000,discrepancies between money given and $1.5 b to be paid by staff and board . Privatise it on ASX ,pay staff entitlements and pensions in scripting company pensions of politicians paid in the same shares . Lease offices studios equipment to company at commercial rates ,then Go for it comrades .

  2. John Constantine

    Their billion a year isn’t spent on their abc, it is invested in progressing their Bloodless Revolution.

    Without their abc Warring Down the deplorables clinging to lives as puppets of capitalist old Australia,and helping the mass peasant welfare voteherds to think the right way, it is quite possible that blood would have been shed to topple Old Australia and hand over management of the masses to our Better Type of transnational looting warlords.

    Their creeping victories of their irredeemably debt financed abc however are so soul-destroyingly final as they ratchet ever left, that the worn down and warred out self-funding running dog lackies of capitalism will be too tired to rise up when their Revolutionary Big Push hits critical mass.

    The billion odd dollars a year for their abc isn’t real money, because it is only borrowed until the time of the Revolution, and after their Revolution the whole point is that the left will never have any liability for the debt of the previous Nazi regimes.

    Comrades.

  3. Ellen of Tasmania

    “Independent government body” is an oxymoron.

    If you are paid by the tax-payers then you are accountable to them. I think this should apply to all ‘IGBs’ – if you can’t be accountable then go find your own funds.

    The growth of government paid people is breath-taking.

  4. Rohan

    I’ve said it before: the ABC’s net value as an ongoing business concern is $0.20.

    My offer to purchase the ABC at that price still stands.

  5. Bruce of Newcastle

    To argue that being left-partisan is simply to compensate for right-partisanship in the commercial sector

    That is disingenuous from the ABC too.
    The commercial channels are centre-left, which reflects the view of their journalists.
    That is clear from their political reporters like Mike Amor and of course Chris Uhlmann.
    Journalism courses in Australia are solidly controlled by the left and indoctrinate their students.
    Graduates only get one of the few plum jobs in commercial channels if they are distinction plus.
    And no right wing student will ever get such a mark unless they are a very good liar.

  6. Robbo

    If the federal government has any interest whatsoever in what is in the best interests of taxpayers then they will CLOSE DOWN THE ABC. If the lunatic lefties want their own media organisation then let them pay for it.

  7. NuThink

    A 2013 survey revealed that ABC journalists are almost five times more likely to be Greens voters than the average voter and twice more likely to vote Greens than the average journalist.

    So do I understand this correctly, as an ABC journalist is five times more likely to vote Greens than the average voter it follows that the average journalist is therefore 2.5 times more likely to vote Greens than the average voter. So the journalists do NOT reflect or represent the average population in their politics. Who’d have thunk that? I would never have believed that such things could happen in a democracy, only in a DINO (Democracy In Name Only), and is DINO not a common name for a Dinosaur, a lumbering giant crushing and devouring all before it.

  8. Snoopy

    Compared to SBS News the ABC is unbiased. As SBS already partly relies on advertising revenue let’s go for the low-hanging fruit and cut all taxpayer funding to SBS. The internet has made SBS redundant. It’s now simply a sheltered workshop for Green Left ethnics and homos.

  9. iain russell

    I just opened this thread after watching the ABC’s mealy mouthed ‘apology’ for yet another example of hate-filled bigoted Christophobia. This time it was for broadcasting some SJWoofer’s rant claiming Peter Hollingworth was a ‘protected sex offender’, subject to or involved in four enquiries. Écrasez l’infâme!! Shut the ABC down now!

  10. Norbert

    The abc issue is simple. There’s no competent managers of content at senior levels. The ceo is clearly out of her depth and is surrounded by office politicians. Fifield has filled the board with people who the Libs want to reward or those like the chairman who thinks it’s about tech.

  11. Roger

    To argue that being left-partisan is simply to compensate for right-partisanship in the commercial sector is to disfranchise all those coalition voters who pay for the ABC.

    What right-partisanship in the commercial FTA sector?

    They are generally just as Left-leaning as the ABC, which is why I no longer watch them.

    Back to the ABC, the editor in chief Ms Guthrie is paid close to $1m per annum but refuses to take editorial responsibility. What does she do…manage the budget? That could be outsourced for much less.

    “No more fat to trim”, my arse.

  12. Roger

    And another thing, if we must have the ABC could they please employ at least one economics commentator who understands that a tax cut is not a hand out.

  13. Habib

    Commercial meeja’s near as left-leaning as the ABC/SBS agitprop factories, Ch 10’s possibly even more lunar. Which is why they’re all going broke. And a bloody good thing too. The Oz is portrayed as a local Völkischer Beobachter (which illustrates the pig ignorance of the left as it was a socialist rag), and at best it was a middle-of-the-road fish wrap, which has editorially veered left over the last few years. Bill Leak croaking was the final straw for me, I kept it coming until I moved, and haven’t bothered since.

  14. H B Bear

    So which branch of the UniParty is going to take the axe to the ALPBC?

    And there’s your problem.

  15. thefrollickingmole

    None of the talk about the cost of the ABC factors in the incredible economic damage the corporation has caused with its trumpeting of its pet causes.

    Remember it apparently only take 40 (or 30 for ‘fugee issues) to ensure screen time where the ABC will happily let you make any allegation you like under the guise of “just reporting”.

    From the Franklin dam, through live export, LGBT issues & any left wing cause the process is the same. A steady drum beat of “just reporting” from one side, with unrepresentative swill being blown up into major crusades, all coincidentally left leaning.

    1.4 billion in damage when they shut down live cattle is a drop in the bucket compared to their lifelong cost to this country.

  16. Speedbox

    I absolutely agree about the ABC bias but primarily wonder why, in 2018, we need it? As pointed out in the opening text, the ABC is not some blog site – it costs a bomb, has vastly exceeded its original purpose and is now a collossus that operates in every area that a media organisation can operate. No commercial network is allowed the coverage under the media ownership rules yet the ABC carries on regardless.

    I don’t understand why it isn’t substantially pruned back and forced to divest itself of various radio and television assets – actually, yes I do. And so does everybody else. It is too valuable an instrument for the Left and the Right are too gutless to even suggest it.

  17. .

    Public broadcasters are obsolete, more if we have a government owned, cable broadband internet network.

    The ABC and SBS ought to go the way of typewriters and copper washing kettles.

  18. Dr Fred Lenin

    Welcome back dot you have been missed for your valuable contributions . Been in a socialist re education facility have you ? Learning “fairness” , ethnic superiority,and globalist theory ?.o

  19. Ron jenkins

    Funnily enough the Brits have the same problem with the BBC but at least there they have a dedicated web site to show up the garbage.Readers here should have a look at …..biased bbc.

  20. .

    Ron

    Have you seen ABC Watch or XYZ.net?

  21. Roger

    I absolutely agree about the ABC bias but primarily wonder why, in 2018, we need it?

    We don’t, of course, it’s an anachronism, like an icebox in the age of the refrigerator.

    The trouble is we have it, so what to do?

    If the L/NP don’t have the guts to shut it down, they should at least be more aggressive in both holding it to account and paring it back.

  22. Delta A

    The ABC is obsolete. Almost everyone has access to a range of media thanks to Internet.

    I resent being forced to pay for biased opinion pieces instead of news.

  23. manalive

    Our preferred option would be for shares in the ABC to be given away, either to all Australians or to existing and previous staff. The staff are the best people to realise the value of the ABC …

    I’m not sure what’s meant here, in the case of the staff presumably only the licence to broadcast.
    If it is meant the whole joint fixed assets etc. what’s to stop the 4,500 or so employees, or even including past staff, selling the lot, lock, stock. and barrel and walking away with an overnight windfall?

  24. Sinclair Davidson

    If it is meant the whole joint fixed assets etc. what’s to stop the 4,500 or so employees, or even including past staff, selling the lot, lock, stock. and barrel and walking away with an overnight windfall?

    Nothing. But they would still have to pay capital gains tax.

  25. Tim Neilson

    If it is meant the whole joint fixed assets etc. what’s to stop the 4,500 or so employees, or even including past staff, selling the lot, lock, stock. and barrel and walking away with an overnight windfall?

    The only way the ABC could be worth more than Rohan’s A$0.20 bid price is if the purchaser were permitted to launch an immediate and massive downsizing of staff and slashing of benefits to those who remain. Just think of the share windfall to the staff as a kind of redundancy benefit.

  26. Mother Lode

    They rely on a verbal dodge, confounding impartiality and independence. The latter was supposed to guarantee the former – placing beyond the influence of governments of the day.

    They have instead used their editorial independence to be very much not impartial.

    The impartiality requirement is set out in legislation and the guidelines their charter obliges them to follow. The independence part was more an obligation on the government.

    If they were intellectually diverse then the excesses of any opinion would be called out and restrained by everyone else. Instead they have managed to make filter out all but undergraduate level leftism – utterly unrestrained by contrary voices.

    I would not trust a single person there above the cleaners and the lowest techies to not be running with an agenda.

  27. cuckoo

    Judging from this morning’s Radio National Breakfast. On the day the DOJ IG’s report on Comey/Clinton was released, this got a two line mention several items down in the 7am bulletin, and only to mention that it exonerated Comey of any bias. While fulsome and repeated coverage, including in AM was given to the bogus NY Attorney General’s civil suit against the Trump Foundation, a story that was only cooked up in order to be released on the same day as the IG’s report. Can someone get Michelle Guthrie at Senate Estimates and ask her about this?

  28. Rococo Liberal

    Funnily enough the Brits have the same problem with the BBC but at least there they have a dedicated web site to show up the garbage.Readers here should have a look at …..biased bbc.

    But at least the BBC produces some of the world’s best TV and Radio dramas, comedies and documentaries.

    If it could only get out of news and current affairs it would be worth the money it costs

  29. MichelLasouris

    The up-coming mergers/take-overs by the likes of Google of mainstream media, spells doom for the free to air networks.
    But does it really matter? Sadly no-one wants the ABC BBC so they will be left to spout the Socialist bias and agenda ( to quote the ABC Promos)

  30. Boambee John

    manalive at 1450

    If it is meant the whole joint fixed assets etc. what’s to stop the 4,500 or so employees, or even including past staff, selling the lot, lock, stock. and barrel and walking away with an overnight windfall?

    Far cheaper than continuing to pay $1.2 billion pa ad infinitum.

  31. David Brewer

    1.4 billion in damage when they shut down live cattle is a drop in the bucket compared to their lifelong cost to this country.

    True, and the moral cost is even greater. Media Watch, Fact Check and the weekly 65 Minutes Hate on QandA are key contributors to the cultural terror against conservative, small-government and libertarian opinion.

    The ABC not only promotes money-wasting schemes, welfarism, high taxes, punitive regulation, green energy madness and myriad environmental bugaboos, they also shoot the heads off anyone who gets in the way, and denigrate anyone who adds value in the real economy.

  32. BorisG

    So the journalists do NOT reflect or represent the average population in their politics.

    Nobody stops you from becoming a journalist or starting your own newspaper for that matter. ABC however is taxpayer funded, and that needs to be corrected.

  33. areff

    Rather than zap the ABC straight away, it would be much more fun to:

    a/ institute an outside board to examine hiring procedures, with a particular eye for nepotism (gay and straight)

    b/ publish everyone’s salaries and expenses, right down to tram tickets, as does the BBC

    c/ institute an outside board to handle and inestigate viewer complaints

    d/ impose open and competitive bidding so that the ABC can’t slip Red Kerry a lovely, seven-figure sum to chat with Keating and then refuse to say how much it paid his production company (which it did).

    e/ stack the board with antipodean Scott Pruits. What could be sweeter than the howls outrage upon the news that the Doomlord, Berg, Rowan Dean, Tim Blair and, say, David Flint were causing trouble at the top.

    Do all that and the ABC would self-destruct. Killing it after that would not raise a peep of protest.

  34. .

    Rococo Liberal
    #2737792, posted on June 15, 2018 at 3:58 pm

    You’re right. The BBC drama stuff (at times) is getting very good in recent years.

    Our ABC produces utter drivel.

    The fact is the ABC and SBS ought to chucked out on bin night like your “athletic” parachute pants from 1995 you used to wear going for a run on Thursday night before you did you stats tute questions.

  35. Xiff

    The ABC used to start every day’s broadcast with the national anthem!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=np8TU6CqSIc

    Bring back the old days of the ABC!

  36. Squirrel

    The commentary on the Singapore summit – with the ABC seemingly having scoured the globe for commentators keen to be critical, was yet another example of the ABC world view and their obsession with Trump.

    As others have already noted, was the story about Trump being “sued” by the New York Attorney-General really the most important news item for Australian audiences today???

  37. Time for ABC News & Current Affairs to go, unless it can regain its independent voice from the mainstream news media.
    Its gross misreporting of last week’s GDP growth figures was in lock step with The Australian and the Sydney Morning Herald.
    Its failure to report anything at all about Australia’s government debt – the greatest increase since 2013 in the OECD – is also in lock step with the mendacious mainstream media.
    It no longer serves any useful purpose.

  38. Chris

    Huge cackling excitement outside the office. A ute has pulled in and we are looking at lumpy metal in quartz.
    I work in a gold mine.

  39. Chris

    Whoa, wrong thread. A gold mine gets excited over a million dollars in extra metal, the ABC gets FIFTEEN HUNDRED TIMES AS MUCH to display contempt for me, my values, my country’s industries.

  40. Neil

    Its failure to report anything at all about Australia’s government debt – the greatest increase since 2013 in the OECD

    Why start in 2013? Why not start with 2008 when labor started running deficit budgets? IN 2006 Costello celebrated debt free day when the Commonwealth became debt free. In 2007 debt became less than zero at minus 3.3% of GDP. It exploded to 13% of GDP in 2013 and 19% now.

    DEbt going from 13 to 19% of GDP is a 46% increase I think. So u have to be careful when looking at percentage increases in small numbers

  41. NB

    Not sure why people have a problem with the ABC. Their background reporting reaches the highest standards. Here is a great example:
    Today: ABC radio news reports on the USA Inspector General report on the FBI. ABC explains that the report found CIA Director Comey’s conduct prior to and after the Nov 2016 election was inappropriate and did not obey general procedure. It then explains to those who haven’t been following the story that Hillary had noted that Comey’s actions were an important factor in her losing the election.
    Any reasonable listener would think that Comey had acted against Clinton!!!! No mention in the ABC report that the essence of the report is that Comey had acted against Trump. My ABC. Love it, sell it.

  42. Titch

    This is an organization (the ABC) that is out to demoralize and destroy the Australian Defence forces, by trying to create a situation where our best fighters are being denigrated for trying to deal with the absolute scum of the earth. So they killed a few of them. Wow. These were humans that have absolutely no respect for any other human on earth, they care for nobody and nothing, and are cruel and vicious beyond our understanding, even against their own. But the doo goody little peanuts that are running the ADF and the ABC are out to discredit the men of Australia who have been sent there to attempt to handle the utter filth of the world. Oooh, look ,they shot at some people who weren’t identified as soldiers!! Naughty, naughty. The fact that these people would cut anyone’s throat on a moment’s notice counts for nothing. The defence forces have risked their lives to come back to disgusting treatment, viewed from a fairyland of PC nonsense. Disgraceful.

  43. Helen

    I have your book, Doomlord. I was looking for something to send me off to sleep (all books do this for me, except for murder mysteries) and I glanced at the cover and saw the head of a KKK person. Behind the writing. Then I saw some concentration camp style pjs were attached to the head, and eventually, it all came together as a banana. 1 or 2, who knows?

    But I shall take it off to bed with me and let it do its magic.

    Thank you.

  44. JohnA

    Sinclair Davidson #2737760, posted on June 15, 2018, at 3:03 pm

    If it is meant the whole joint fixed assets etc. what’s to stop the 4,500 or so employees, or even including past staff, selling the lot, lock, stock. and barrel and walking away with an overnight windfall?

    Nothing. But they would still have to pay capital gains tax.

    Heaven forfend that they could not get a cracker for those shares, and thus be able to book a capital loss as a deduction, then.

    (Hmm, Grammarly seems to OK that sentence, but I have my doubts…)

  45. Jimf

    The ABC needs to incorporate advertising to pay it’s way.By that I mean every minute , 24/7 , with no content at all. A windfall!

  46. BorisG

    Any reasonable listener would think that Comey had acted against Clinton!!!!

    But this is exactly what happened. Comey announced new inquiry into clinton just before elections. Who did he help ?

  47. Chris

    16 June 2018 — 11:18am
    Liberal Party council votes to sell off the ABC

    The Liberal Party’s peak council has voted almost 2:1 to privatise the ABC after hearing calls from members to save taxpayer funds by selling the public broadcaster in the same way icons like Qantas were sold decades ago.

    The overwhelming vote on Saturday morning was another display of the anger at the ABC in conservative ranks although no Liberals offered any detail on how the organisation could be sold and how much it would be worth.

    The vote came in a series of debates where federal council delegates, representing Liberal branches from across the country, also voted for an efficiency review into SBS.

    SMH says Libs voted to privatise ABC

  48. Rococo Liberal

    True, and the moral cost is even greater. Media Watch, Fact Check and the weekly 65 Minutes Hate on QandA are key contributors to the cultural terror against conservative, small-government and libertarian opinion.

    Bollocks. No-one gives a fuck about the ABC. It has no influence, unless you give it influence by claiming to be worried about it. Stop being a pathetic weed and go out there and spread your own message and ignore the left wing scum at the ABC. By making it left wing they have destroyed its prestige and power.
    We are the movers and shakers of the community and tthe ABC has no power over us. SO why would you think it has any power over anyone important?

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