ABC Fact Check: Error-ridden and misleading III

In this third installment (I and II) of the RMIT-ABC Fact Check analysis of Chris and my comment:

A 2013 survey revealed that ABC journalists are almost 5 times more likely to be Greens voters than the average voter and twice more likely to vote Greens than the average journalist.

I want to focus on the downright political dishonesty of the “Fact Check”.

Sinclair Davidson, an RMIT academic and adjunct fellow at think tank the Institute of Public Affairs, has co-authored a book with fellow IPA colleague Chris Berg, entitled Against Public Broadcasting: Why and how we should privatise the ABC.

Note: “fellow IPA colleague Chris Berg”. Now as we have pointed out to the ABC several times Chris Berg is an RMIT employee.

It would be very hard for the RMIT-ABC Fact Check unit to not know that Chris is an RMIT employee because they cite our Spectator article in their fact check.

The Spectator article gives our affiliations:

So in other words – rather than report that two academics at RMIT wrote a book critical of the ABC, the RMIT-ABC Fact Check misrepresented the affiliation of one of the authors.  When we pulled up Media Watch on the very same issue, they told us this was about “ease of storytelling” and facts “being immaterial to viewers” and “that’s not how journalism works”. Well that’s clearly not how fact checking works either.


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11 Responses to ABC Fact Check: Error-ridden and misleading III

  1. Tim Neilson

    fellow IPA colleague Chris Berg

    Do they have a tautology checking unit?

    Can’t risk people not getting the IPA collusion spin, can we?

  2. Habib

    Green Goebbels. Without the snappy uniforms.

  3. Mother Lode

    Is there anyone in parliament with the mettle and mongrel to highlight this nonsense.

    Surely if they can’t properly fact check themselves, the task should be handed to an outsider.

    Then the sudden damburst of ABC failures would really highlight just how badly run the organisation is.

    And all that for $1 billion+.

    Actually, if they outsource the fact checking role, the external entity should be funded by reallocating some of the funding currently budgeted for the ABC which will no longer be paying for their unit.

    There is a lot of fact checking to be done there, so I would say about $1 billion be reassigned.

  4. RobK

    Sinc, you are very right to elaborate on the specifics. The ABC is almost immune from damage though, the average punter has moved on. When I read the abc conclusion and it didn’t say “false”, i knew they were in trouble.

  5. Louis Hissink

    facts “being immaterial to viewers”

    There you have it in a nutshell. This belief is pervasive and manifests as the primacy of ideology over reality.

    It is the Humpty-Dumpty policy, that words can have any meaning that Humpty deems them to have. Subjectivity is paramount and objective facts non existent.

    This allows them to rewrite history in PC terms since what they believe is the only truth. It is the hallmark of the religious mind – the supremacy of belief and faith over fact.

    And they run the system. This will not end well.

  6. testpattern

    ‘Against Public Broadcasting’

    We need better not cheaper and easier. That will still require subsidy. We cannot destroy the ABC and leave National Interest broadcasting to the vagaries of the private enterprise profit motive. The authors need to demonstrate muscular alternative models that won’t hand over the Pacific and SE Asia broadcasting to the PRC. The more funding cuts there are the more the ABC reduces it’s Pacific broadcasting, Concetta Fieravanti Wells has admitted as much. The online Benarnews is part of the Radio Free Asia stable. This is a US model. As a US ally we need to muscle up and do more in the region, not less. Even Tones has belatedly woken up. If the ABC can’t or won’t do it, we need a new Gov agency that will.

    ‘The Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) is an independent agency of the United States government.According to its website, its mission is to “inform, engage, and connect people around the world in support of freedom and democracy’ [wiki]

  7. RobK

    Are the people of the Pacific still listening to shortwave radio broadcast or do they tune in to satilte coverage of FTA, or internet? How are their local FM stations doing? Community re-broadcasts like NATV etc?. The world has changed.

  8. Procrustes


    You are trying to breath life into a fossil.

    Why do “we” need anything? You don’t really provide much of an answer. While you do point to national interest broadcasting, you don’t say why this should be provided by the ABC. If you recall national interest TV broadcasting was put to tender – and an organisation other than the ABC won. Scandalously, the Gillard government overturned that process and awarded the gig to the ABC.

  9. testpattern

    ‘you don’t say why this should be provided by the ABC’

    No, I don’t. I say show something better first before destroying what exists because, in the Pacific, the stakes are too high. RA and successors have a brand, across Asia Pacific in remote villages people tuned in to hear the laughing Kookaburra tell them what their own Govt wouldn’t. The profit the National Interest has made from the brand has been enormous. Destroying a profitable brand is not good business.

    Prior to RA our soft power in the Pacific resided largely with the Christian Churches and the centrality of Australia to the Bishops Conferences. Often mission schools were the only education providers. RA was a secular successor. Australia is no longer a Christian country, churches and clergy are held in low esteem. The Chicoms can’t and won’t compete with Christian broadcasting in the Asia Pacific. HCJB broadcasts from the Kimberleys to SE Asia where they have partner radio stations and tremendous influence. There are alternative models incl public private partnerships. The US Board of Governors is one, very successful. I’m asking the authors to show successful alternative models that won’t destroy our soft power, as Bishop, the most disastrous FM in recent history has been doing. The IPA lobbies for private interests as is proper. Expecting them to put the NI first is like waiting for the ABC to make comedy that’s funny. Not in the DNA.

    ‘HCJB Global’s focus is now on “radio planting”—assisting local Christian ministries in beginning implementing their own Christian radio ministry. Worldwide, more than 350 local stations have been assisted in this type of endeavor, including nearly 60 stations in Latin America alone. Although the historic station and transmitter sites in Ecuador will no longer operate on the shortwave bands, Shortwave broadcasts continue from HCJB Global Australia’s site in Kununurra, Australia and from commercial broadcast sites and partner ministry broadcast sites around the world.’ [wiki]

    ps the work done from Kununurra in SE Asia during a time of Islamic militancy has been to our great advantage.

    To the authors: Now, please give us some successful alternative models or the discussion will die with the book.

  10. Procrustes


    I did give you an alternative model. Put it out to periodic tender. Go with the results of the tender.

    Instead, there is a lack of transparency when it is under the ABC’s rubric. Also, having given the TV contract in perpetuity to the ABC, all pressure for cost efficiency is removed.

    If this type of broadcasting is in the national interest in diplomacy sense, then it should not be anywhere near the public broadcaster whose charter sets them up to be independent.

    In any case this is a sideshow – it represents a small share of public broadcasting. It is the tail wagging the dog. Your comment about wanting an answer for an issue that will otherwise die with the book lacks perspective.

  11. testpattern

    ‘I did give you an alternative model. Put it out to periodic tender. Go with the results of the tender.’

    That’s not a model. I asked for examples of proven successful alternative models from the authors. Cost efficiency not an important issue. We need better/best not cheaper/cheapest. Defence and security can’t be done on the cheap nor can great NI radio broadcasting.

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