Chris Kenny on Media Bias

Chris Kenny had a piece in the Weekend Australian pointing out the left/ALP biased herd mentality of the Canberra Press Gallery, and indeed the media at large. Andrew Bolt has reproduced the article in full, with permission.

Australia’s journalistic cohort is not unusual. In most Western democracies, liberals (or, their preferred moniker, progressives) dominate journalistic ranks. That point is not contended except by the journalists themselves, who tend to bristle at the presumption.

This defensiveness compounds the situation since a commonsense acceptance of this fact would be the first step towards dealing adequately with the consequences, guarding against the perils of groupthink and making efforts to stay in touch with middle Australia.

The liberal bias is obvious to anyone who has dealt closely with the media or worked among journalists and the predisposition is evident in any sampling of their published or broadcast views.

Of course they don’t think the are biased, they just think they are “right thinking” and so to be left-biased in their view you would have to be an unreconstructed communist. The ABC is the best example. Our taxes at work.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

35 Responses to Chris Kenny on Media Bias

  1. THR

    This is a rather long documentary (by link standards), but it does a pretty good job of demolishing nonsense claims about a rabid, leftist media. For decades, media outlets have simply been reporting, uncritically, the press releases of the government of the day. Hence, the printed media are largely enthusiastic about war in Afghanistan, for instance. The people of Australia much less so.

  2. jtfsoon

    yes, THR, I’m sure you’re expecting that recommendation to go down well in these parts.

  3. Tom Valentine

    Yes,most ABC journalists think that supporting the Labor Party is balanced because it is somehow in the middle.They haven’t considered reporting different viewpoints.

  4. C.L.

    …media outlets have simply been reporting, uncritically, the press releases of the government of the day.

    We all remember the media’s uncritical reporting of the waterfront dispute.

  5. JC

    I know it annoys but it’s time the raise the wonderful piece of research done by Andrew Leigh in which they found that the ABC was right wing.

    I would therefore have to to agree with THR. The Canberra press gallery is terribly skewed to the right. Horribly so. Michell Grattan.. and the rest of the cohort are just a bunch of right wing propagandists.

  6. Peter Patton

    Rafe, I’m afraid much of this stuff is just baseless assertion, which invariably coincidentally validates your – or LP or who/whatever – worldview. Over at LP, we have an ABC filled with Thatcherites, and all manner of neo-neo-neos.

    I know, have known, am acquainted with, a lot of people who work in the media. In their personal lives, they are overwhelmingly on the luvvie side. But even those who once bowed at the altar of Keating, boy have they changed since Sep.11! Even though most of them vote ALP – or at least preference the ALP – very, very, very few are anything like socialists. And they would eat their grandmothers, rather than sit on a story that would be disastrous for the ALP, the Greens, or leftist causes generally. That is, they are much more accurately categorized as yuppies, than as political advocates, let alone agitators.

    As I constantly have to repeat, the ALP is not a leftist party, and has not been for years. The only people who get all defensive about the ALP are people who are on the ALP payroll.

    Very, very few of these people have much autonomy over the work they produce. They are tightly controlled from above. In the case of the ABC, that control is very similar to the authoritarianism of corporate HR departments. They are more risk averse and paranoid, than leftist.

  7. THR

    yes, THR, I’m sure you’re expecting that recommendation to go down well in these parts.

    I don’t expect that the film-maker will be loved, but the doco itself has a number of interesting moments.

    The problem here is that some people are conflating the views of journos qua private citizens (who are mostly ‘liberal’, so to speak) with the media as a whole (which isn’t remotely left-leaning). On call the key issues of the past few years, the Australian print media, for instance, has been right-wing and generally pro-Coalition (to a ludicrous extent), and the Fairfax media centrist (balancing anti-war op-eds with pro-war stooges, for instance).

    When the lives and interests of workers get the same coverage as the stock market, then you might have a serious argument that the media has a leftist influence.

  8. JC

    When the lives and interests of workers get the same coverage as the stock market, then you might have a serious argument that the media has a leftist influence.

    You do.. they’re called A Current Affair and TDT. Both chase dishonest salesmen down the road that have ripped off aunt Nelly for 2 grand for a shonky roof replacing the old tiles with plastic ones or some crap.

  9. dover_beach

    On call the key issues of the past few years, the Australian print media, for instance, has been right-wing and generally pro-Coalition (to a ludicrous extent), and the Fairfax media centrist (balancing anti-war op-eds with pro-war stooges, for instance).

    Seriously?

    When the lives and interests of workers get the same coverage as the stock market, then you might have a serious argument that the media has a leftist influence.

    An extraordinary measure; it’s as if the political centre of the left-right spectrum is skewed to almost the end of the left pole.

  10. Rafe

    I am concerned with left AND also ALP bias which does not mean that the ALP is especially left, whatever you take that to mean.

    In any case both the left and the ALP are opposed to the classical liberal agenda (not that they actually know what it is, [and nor do the Liberals] they just don’t like it whenever they come across it).

    The problem starts with the left/liberal intellectual leadership, they have simply lost the plot, and the rot starts at the top, hence my references to the “dead forest” of the left – the paradigm case is David McKnight. And THR.

    http://www.the-rathouse.com/2008/McKnight.html

  11. Rafe

    “political centre of the left-right spectrum is skewed to almost the end of the left pole”

    precisely.

  12. ken n

    claims about a rabid, leftist media

    THR I don’t think anyone here says or thinks that Australian media is “rabid, leftist”.
    My calibration, especially on ABC current affairs, is to the left of the current ALP – closer to Whitlam than anyone around now – with highlights of greenery. Not rabid at all but rather myopic.
    That does not bother me – I don’t think it persuades anyone but annoys the upper middle class loyal ABC listeners and viewers. Which is no bad thing.
    My complaint has always been sloppy quality – the kind of thing that Cut & Paste in the Oz does such a great job exposing.
    BTW I heard Ian McPhee on RN early this morn – probably a repeat. I had forgotten what a true Liberal wet sounded like. Strangely, he said that Hawke & Keating did a great job with their economic reforms – my recollection is that he and the other wets were against tariff cuts, deregulation and all.
    Bert Kelly and then John Hyde spent their careers fighting them.

  13. ken n

    The McPhee interview is here. I can’t find a transcript – the interview is worth listening to, just to remind us what the wets were like.
    I don’t think that element survives in the libs these days? But then Abbott and crew are not very dry, either.
    I must dig out Bert Kelly’s book – I’ve got it somewhere. One of the best thinkers ever in parliament. Agan, i don’t believe there is anyone of similar quality around now. But there might be, hidden on the back bench.

  14. Peter Patton

    ken

    This is wrong.

    I had forgotten what a true Liberal wet sounded like

    This is where people go wrong in deifying modern-day Malcolm Fraser. A political leader’s ideologies can only really be judged from his time in office and the political realities of the times when he was in office. That’s why it is so lame that so much media space is given to comparing Malcom Fraser in 1976 to John Howard in 2006, and so on.

  15. I wrote two responses to The Oz’s defensive missives over the weekend, here and here. There are legitimate criticisms to make about media bias. I myself made some in the recent past in relation to the ABC, calling on Mark Scott to replace K’OB on the 730 Report with Leigh Sales well before K’OB retired. I have also been very critical of Laura Tingle. But I think The Oz has gone way over the top, and that this behaviour reflects a wider malaise.

  16. rog

    Funny (peculiar) that so many of those against the ABC listen to the ABC – it is the only quality media around. In the US they are astounded that we have such a medium, relatively free from political bias and corporate obligations.

    You might say that the ABC is full of lefty types but those that have more expensive needs move on, like Mike Carlton. If they paid more there would be a public outcry about taxpayer funds, rent seekers, the nanny state and god knows what. You can’t win.

  17. Infidel Tiger

    In the US they are astounded that we have such a medium

    They sure are. They can’t believe what suckers we are.

  18. Ken Nielsen

    Sorry PP – what are you saying? That Fraser was a wet? He was damp (and limp) but not a true wet.

  19. Sid Vicious

    I reject the notion that a fine journalist like Uncle Phil at the Oz is in any way wedded to a Left Wing bias. His campaign to have Paul Keating beatified is based on the fact that Mr Keating performed dozens of verifiable miracles.

  20. JC

    Funny (peculiar) that so many of those against the ABC listen to the ABC – it is the only quality media around.

    Yea because the market is choked by them. have youy ever given it a little thought that those same people that oisten to the ABC could also be served with a privatized ABC?

    Why would you want to change the format that much to get such a big audience? Would you?

    In the US they are astounded that we have such a medium, relatively free from political bias and corporate obligations.

    Bullshit. They have PBS in the US which is pretty much like the ABC with better programming. The ABC really has shit programing for the most past.

    Ever seen Jim Leherer Newshour? It’s actually not a bad soft left news program.

    Ask your American friends to rate HBO and see what they have to say about the best Television programmer in the world which doesn’t make its revenues but from straight out fees paid by the cable companies.

  21. JC

    yikes … should proof read st times.

  22. rog

    Yeah JC, they are amazed that we get Jim Lehrer out here plus more, dedicated tv plus am and fm radio.

  23. JC

    Rog:

    Every freaking program from around the world is available to them even OZ ABC news programs now if you looked on cable.

    However that market is pretty small for foreign junk a good reason. If you’re sitting in the US why the fuck would you want to know what’s going on in Belgium or such. Who really gives a shit, especially if you’re American as the only time you wanna hear about those places is when they get themselves into trouble with a bigger neighbor and start screaming for help.

    But in all seriousness. You’re American friends really don’t know what they’re talking about.

    The 7.30 news on American ABC… has been the best news programing I’ve seen as far as news goes.

    US Lateline was also of a first rate standard.

    You seem to think that news programing is the be all and end all for people. It’s not for the most part.

    Most people don’t give a shit about it.

  24. JC

    And how about “All Things Considered” an ABC radio lift of PBS, which is soft left but is really an excellent listen, as they have some really good off beat stories?

    You shouldn’t be giving those freeloading loafers at the ABC any credit at all as they don’t deserve any.

  25. rog

    You really are boring JC, your constant whining is really tedious, and unmanly.

  26. rog

    Go get a new car, or a haircut or something and stop with this 24/7 whingeing will ya?

  27. JC

    Rog:

    What a nerve. Since your sex change, when you went into hospital on that Friday and cut off the hose you have done nothing but whine here… about the Catallaxians…. remember.

    You audacious dishonest douche-bag.

  28. rog

    Don’t you call me douche bag you greaseball.

  29. ken n

    C’mon fellas – it’s Christmas.
    Simple abuse gets boring.

  30. JC

    Ken

    The resident douche-bag started it. I didn’t.

  31. C.L.

    Its quite easy really, lefties watch ABC current affairs “you rotten bastard” then watch Bold and the Beautiful, Young and the Restless etc…

    Its all about envy.

    – Rog, 12 May 2005, expressing his hatred for the ABC, lefties etc.

  32. JC

    He’s an intellectual joiner now, CL. He’s graduated from the Young and Restful, Bald an not so beautiful to Zoo Magazine and the ABC.

  33. Ev630

    This is a rather long documentary (by link standards), but it does a pretty good job of demolishing nonsense claims about a rabid, leftist media. For decades, media outlets have simply been reporting, uncritically, the press releases of the government of the day.

    It’s not a rabid, leftist media, but surely you can admit that the trend in bias is generally towards the left? To suggest otherwise is pure sophistry.

  34. Obviously you haven’t been reading long if you think he’ll surely admit that, ev.

  35. Ev630

    Yobbo, It was my Christmas donation to the Royal Society for Rhetorical Questions.

Comments are closed.