Troppo Watch

John Quiggin launches Economics in Two Lessons.

Welcome to the launch of another book by Australia’s most overachieving economist. A global authority on decision theory, he also publishes in the daily press, in submissions to government inquiries on his blog and in academic journals in any number of other fields in environmental, agricultural, welfare, tax and finance economics to name a few areas I’m aware of. As you do.

And a meditation on the matter of political bias at the ABC.

Claims of a left-wing bias at the ABC are seldom absent from public discussion. These claims quickly lead to suggestions that the ABC should privatised.

Of course, bias and impartiality are notoriously elastic and subjective concepts. The only arbiter that can make sense of this tangle of subjectivity is the Australian public. The ABC’s impartiality can only be judged by its perceived alignment with the views of the Australian public as judged by the Australian public.

But how are we going to determine what the Australian public thinks is biased or impartial?

Why not just ask them?

The post is illustrated with the results of a small telephone survey showing that 8% thought the ABC is biased towards the Coalition, 32% thought is is biased towards Labor and 60% thought it was neutral. Interesting but given the low ratings of the ABC how many people would have an informed opinion?

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36 Responses to Troppo Watch

  1. Melanie

    Can someone tell me where I can find the ratings results for the abc?

  2. old bloke

    Can someone tell me where I can find the ratings results for the abc?

    Let me guess…. The ABC probably called paid up members of Friends Of The ABC for their views.

    But how are we going to determine what the Australian public thinks is biased or impartial?

    Privatise the damn thing, let it survive on advertiser and/or subscriber contributions. If it sinks within five years, you can assume that Joe Public thinks it stinks.

  3. Leo G

    The deconstructionist defence of ABC bias.

  4. Howard Hill

    Their ABC is catering to most Aussies. You just need to read the crap about censoring do no evil and that other cretin that runs farcebook! Most Aussies, the ABC, SBS are all on the same wave lenght.

  5. Nob

    60% of Australians say ABC “not biased”, reports ABC.

    71% of Australians don’t watch ABC, reports OzTAM.

  6. Nob

    Whoops, that was 91% of viewers not watching ABC last week.

  7. Jannie

    Its not even necessary to privatise it. Just stop forcing taxpayers to fund it.

  8. jupes

    The post is illustrated with the results of a small telephone survey showing that 8% thought the ABC is biased towards the Coalition, 32% thought is is biased towards Labor and 60% thought it was neutral.

    Bollocks on stilts.

    Apart from the fact that the ABC is clearly biased against the Coalition in general, and its conservative members in particular, perhaps a more revealing survey would be whether the ABC is biased towards, gays, climate alarmism, asylum seekers, Aboriginal rights and feminists while being biased against President Trump and Catholics.

  9. RobK

    The abc is effectively the media arm of the greens.

  10. Mother Lode

    The survey was from the SMH?

    Do you think he accepts that the people who read that would be biased to the left:

    What they consider neutral would be to the left of the population at large.

    What they consider bias to the coalition would be viewers to whom the left wing bias is not enough.

    The ones who thought it biased toward Labor might have included some relatively neutral compared to the general population, but may well have included people of the Greens who think a bias to Labor is a bias to the right. It has often been noted that when Labor is criticised it is from further left.

  11. Fair shake of the Sauce bottle

    ABC is essentially a Taxpayer funded terrorist organisation. They do more damage to our community institutions industry and defence than any adversary could.

    If the community thinks their actions should be supported then privatise it and let the community choose to subscribe to their ABC.

  12. Mother Lode

    Apart from the fact that the ABC is clearly biased against the Coalition in general, and its conservative members in particular, perhaps a more revealing survey would be whether the ABC is biased towards, gays, climate alarmism, asylum seekers, Aboriginal rights and feminists while being biased against President Trump and Catholics.

    Persactly.

    All you need do is look at the stories they run and look to see how often the call someone wrong or right, how many times they support a position and how often the denigrate it.

    AGW is a perfect example – the only program they ran taking a position against it, The Great Global Warming Swindle, was bracketed by shows pushing it – there was even one show critiquing TGGWS itself – to make sure the viewers did not inadvertently hear something with an open mind.

    Oh, and if the ABC was on the same wavelength as most Aussies then most Aussies would watch it.

    Instead it’s audience is from professions with strong left wing tendencies like teaching and the public service.

  13. Iampeter

    A rejoinder to our own Steve Kates. The left fights back.

    Your own Steve Kates is a nationalist supporter or regulating trade, immigration and private enterprise.
    The left isn’t “fighting back” because Steve Kates is ON the left. As are you and most other posters here.

    But yea, the ABC is biased and there’s a survey with percentages and stuff. Talking about how biased things are is politics, right? Politics!

  14. Nob

    The whole media’s infected by green bias.

    Mainly because it’s cheap and requires no knowledge or even reflection.

    Nobody needs to build anything or add value – just wait until you see somebody doing something worthwhile then be against it. Preferably with lots of hyperbole and unnecessary adverbs.

    Any issue, real or concocted, to do with mining, resources, farming, manufacturing – guaranteed you can get some green mouthpiece in front of a camera within seconds.

    Anyone who actually knows anything is still going WTF? at the stupid gotcha questions, or researching the latest off-the-wall allegation, already in a defensive position. By the time they have something useful to say, the show has moved on.

  15. 2dogs

    bias and impartiality are notoriously elastic and subjective concepts

    This is false. Confirmation bias has been examined in many studies and can be objectively measured in an individual.

    It should be noted that some of those studies have found that journalists are worse than the general population for confirmation bias.

  16. Herodotus

    Whenever I watch or listen to an ABC program, I find that their line of argument is just as predictably left/green as the Sky After Dark programs are thankfully more conservative and sensible.
    If 60% of those surveyed think it’s balanced, they are in effect approving of it and must be left/green in attitude themselves.
    The 32% who found it biased the other way see clearly, while the 8% who think it biased towards the coalition or conservative viewpoint are certifiably deranged and of diminished responsibility.

  17. Herodotus

    Make that “Sky after dark programs, with some notable exceptions”.

  18. Mother Lode

    Also, look at who supports privatising the ABC, and who vigorously opposes it, who have near meltdowns at the very thought.

    The first group want to keep a little of their own money, while the latter are desperate to poach that of others – a demographic, a proclivity and an attitude that forms a food chain no species of which has a claim to exist.

    Also worth noting that their left wing bias can only be achieved by employing people with no expertise in disciplines outside a very narrow and undergraduate politics. In all other areas they show a lamentable and profound ignorance.

  19. jupes

    ABC is essentially a Taxpayer funded terrorist organisation. They do more damage to our community institutions industry and defence than any adversary could.

    The ABC hasn’t done any more damage to defence than the ADF has done to itself. Not by a long shot.

    It’s more accurate to say that the ABC supports the ADF in its own self-destruction.

  20. Rex Mango

    The ABC makes the Collingwood Cheer Squad look neutral.

  21. 132andBush

    while the 8% who think it biased towards the coalition or conservative viewpoint are certifiably deranged and of diminished responsibility.

    This figure represents the hard core green saturation in our society.

  22. Bruce

    Well, to HONESTLY generate stats in double digits, one would expect at least one hundred, though, with a little :massaging it can be done with less than fifty.

    Or, they could just make it all up.

    Until all these “polls” publish AUDITED RAW DATA, they should be regarded with extreme suspicion.

    As Mark Twain observed:

    “There are three kinds of lies;

    Lies, Damned lies and Statistics.”

  23. Terry

    Privatising the ABC constitutes too many simultaneous steps (a giant leap?) – it’s just too far to climb in one go, hence politically unachievable.

    Far better to eat the ABC elephant one bite at a time.

    1. Compartmentalise ABC functions into essential (eg services to remote/regional communities – ‘the bush’) and non-essential (eg all of the left-wing vanity programming that infests the giant boondoggle).

    2. Price, through competitive tender, provision of essential services to ‘the bush’. If “market failure” remains then this can be retained as a legitimate function of government under a small and lean operating structure, strictly held to a very tight charter to prevent scope creep (one wonders how much of this would remain with increased access to broadband, now and in the future).

    3. Auction off all non-essential “services”. Those not attracting private sector interest are moved to a subscription-based service, funded by a voluntary, hypothecated tax contribution for those that wish to subscribe.

    4. Reduce (I’m reasonable, let’s say over 6 years – two terms of parliament) funding from consolidated revenue to zero, leaving only voluntary tax contributions to form the budget of new “public subscription service”.

    5. Allow advertising on the “public subscription service” to supplement overall budget.

    6. The board and management of the “public subscription service” can busy themselves figuring out which programmes should be retained and which should not, based on available subscription funding and advertising revenue (you know, like any entity wishing to exist should), rather than navel-gazing and occupying their time re-engineering Australian society as their own personal plaything.

    7. Transfer the voluntary tax contribution to a direct subscription model (remove the ATO from the equation).

    8. Allow the remaining (now privately funded) entity to be as left-wing and biased as it likes.

    9. Break out the popcorn as the entity follows the time-trodden track of all left-wing media required to “catch its own”, right down the gurgler.

    10. Get on with some policy that actually matters to the country.
    No more: –
    * Climate Change Activism;
    * Open Borders Activism;
    * Rainbow Activism;
    * Identity Politics Activism;
    * Promotion of Apartheid and debauching of the Australian Constitution.

    – No doubt these items will still feature heavily on the ‘private’ remnants of the ABC, right up until it is consumed by similarly ‘woke’ competitors (or goes broke) on their race to the ideological bottom.

    But since we’re no longer paying, no one is going to knock back a little free schadenfreude.

  24. nfw

    Of course a great number of those who actually know Their ALPBC is biased won’t say it. Firstly, it is the purview of all socialists to lie. Secondly, they know if they were to tell the truth then something might actually be done to sort out their favourite echo chamber, which they know is being paid for unwillingly by the vast number of taxpayers who never use the “service”. Thirdly, because they are so biased and left wing they wouldn’t consider anything coming out of The Greens propaganda machine to be biased given what they say and think (sic) in their bubble. If all the socialists/Greens/haters of The West and friends of Their ALPBC love it so much, they can make us an offer we can’t refuse and buy it from us. Then we can sit back and watch it disappear.

  25. Roger

    Its not even necessary to privatise it. Just stop forcing taxpayers to fund it.

    We deserve a return on our investment.

    The post is illustrated with the results of a small telephone survey showing that 8% thought the ABC is biased towards the Coalition, 32% thought is is biased towards Labor and 60% thought it was neutral.

    What they should have asked was: Is the ABC biased towards the Greens?

    Even after Jackie Trad had declared the need to “move on” from Adani ABC journalists remain obsessed.

  26. Mother Lode

    We deserve a return on our investment.

    Break the stupid thing up. Sell the equipment. Sell the land. Sell the staff for medical experimentation. Kick those two freakin’ bananas out and have them turning tricks at the Wailing Wall on Darlinghurst Road.

    Are we really supposed to believe our political class does not know this?

  27. Terry

    “Are we really supposed to believe our political class does not know this?”

    C’mon, they’ve played the “incompetent stupid” role, convincingly, for decades now.

    They really don’t know anything at all. They just feed. It’s all instinct to such parasites.

    What we need are more capable bug-killers. We have an infestation problem and it needs to be treated.

  28. Iampeter

    Gotta love people arguing for government regulation of tech companies at the same time calling for getting government out of the ABC.

    Conservatives are the most clear headed capitalist socialists around.

  29. Rex Mango

    One salient aspect of ABC besides it’s blatant bias, is that it has taken over many of the functions of SBS, employing only folk with exotic surnames and pushing multiculturalism relentlessly. At a minimum the two should be amalgamated.

  30. MACK

    You can tell the ABC what you think directly if you join up for their surveys:
    https://www.abcyourspace.net.au/hub

  31. Russell

    In Oz, privatising the ABC would only put it in the hands of union-controlled industry superannuation funds. These funds are already heavily invested in renewable energy due to Greens influence. Not sure much would change. Methinks Terry’s “corporate raider” plan would be more successful at reducing the social impact of their bias.
    And BTW most people are focusing on ABC bias on TV. Their online news is much more dangerous. Paywalled news “services” by other media organisations is just plain stupid because it drives the public to the free ABC internet channel.

  32. Eyrie

    Iampeter
    #3120525, posted on August 1, 2019 at 12:49 pm

    “Gotta love people arguing for government regulation of tech companies at the same time calling for getting government out of the ABC.”

    They are COMPANIES. Entities that only exist by government decree. Nobody is calling for special regulation, just consistent treatment. Are they PUBLISHERS or COMMON CARRIERS?

  33. Frank Walker from National Tiles

    Companies only exist because large partnerships have been regulated and legislated out of existence.

    If we want consistent treatment, we might abolish the Corporations Act, or at least most of its provisions.

  34. EvilElvis

    The first group want to keep a little of their own money, while the latter are desperate to poach that of others – a demographic, a proclivity and an attitude that forms a food chain no species of which has a claim to exist.

    Bingo.

    And enough of these privatise it and 10 point plans to make the ABC more palatable and balanced. Just change the charter to ensure remote and emergency broadcast facilities are prioritised, then cut funding to $250m for year one, then down to $100 million in subsequent years. Hand the file and charter to the board and managing director and give them 3 months to work it out. They spruik their business acumen in the PS nowadays, now’s their chance to prove it.

  35. soberinthemorning

    I would pay a lot to attend a debate between Steve and John Quiggin, or even a bare knuckles kung fu fight.

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