With much of Australia’s media and commentariat focused on the US election, there was a small “event” that happened last week that did not get sufficient attention – In TAFKAS’ opinion (ITO). That was the comments of Gaven Morris, ABC ‘s Director News of Analysis and Investigations regarding the “inner city elites” focus of the ABC news team.
In words that might curdle a almond milk late and turn a sugar free paleo vegan quinoa muffin, Morris is reported to have:
told (ABC) staff they were too focused on the interests of “inner city left-wing elites” and linked his concerns about editorial coverage to the national broadcaster’s ongoing funding from taxpayers.
But seeking to clarify and contextual his comments, Morris is reported (in the Australian) to have said a few morning things:
He tells us the “elites” comments have been taken significantly out of context. His real point to ABC staff is for them to make sure they don’t give oxygen to any critics who claim it is the network of inner-city elites.
How can that be out of context when many of ABC’s news staff work within walking and cycling distance of the Ultimo Citadel?
But there were 2 particular points made by Morris in his “clarification” that warrant clarification:
Morris’s reasoning for this point of view is uncontroversial. “Every taxpayer puts a hand in their pocket to pay for the ABC. The question we need to be asking ourselves is: ‘Are we able to provide a service for all of them?’ We need to be able to look all Australians in the eye, and say we think we’ve got a great news service here, and great insights into Australia.”
Actually no. Tax payers don’t put their hand in their pockets to pay for the ABC. More accurately, the government puts its hand into the pockets of tax payers to pay for the ABC. And the government does this while brandishing a gun; after all, what happens if tax payer’s don’t want to pay?
The other thing, is that there are actually very few tax payers in Australia. Before COVID, fewer that 50% people paid any net tax (after receiving transfer payments back). Add in those not paid a salary by government and those on Covid related support, that means that there are very, very few who would actually “pay for the ABC”.
Another way to look at this, is that given the GIANT budget deficit and national debt, the people who are actually paying for the ABC are our children and the yet to be born. So if the ABC was to provide a service for those who pay for the ABC, they would be running kids programming 24/7.
And in a back hand insult to not only ABC staff but people outside the inner city ring, Morris said:
Morris says he believes there has in the past been a form of “old- fashioned snobbery” on the subject among some staff, with questioning on why it wouldn’t leave the outer suburbs to “Seven or Nine”.
“They think it’s cheapening our brand,” Morris says. “But this is not about going tabloid or going down market. This is about appealing to smart, intelligent people in the outer suburbs and the big regional cities.”
Because apparently, the ABC is only for smart, intelligent people in the outer suburbs and the big regional cities, however he defines smart and intelligent. Thus far, ABC has been producing content for the dumb and illiterate people in the outer suburbs and the big regional cities
End this nonsense. Let them source their own revenue.
And if there is a public policy need for public interest journalism, let the government allocate funds and put them up for a periodic tender.