RANALD MACDONALD. Stop the presses.

Well, they have almost stopped running around this country with so few papers being sold nowadays, but let us stop them anyway.

Hot news! – the ABC has gone right wing.

On radio programs nationally, on Q & A, the 7.30 Report and the Drum, we are being deluged with the views of Murdoch columnists, the IPA, right-wing pollies and the truly vengeful ABC critics seemingly at any time of day or night.

‘Balance’ for the ABC being so eagerly sought by Pauline Hanson and her One Party through Communications Minister Mitch Fifield has been achieved.

And, just to ensure there is no public perception that the ABC is NOT supportive of our Prime Minister, a perfectly reasonable and well-researched article on the Government’s Company Tax proposal by Emma Alberici (and one endorsed as accurate by independent economist Saul Eslake) has been withdrawn after Government pressure. It is said to have failed to meet ABC editorial standards.

And all this so soon after the treasure trove of Cabinet secret documents left in  discarded filing cabinets were returned with the minimum fuss by the ABC to a grateful (though surely slightly embarrassed) Prime Minister’s Department.

Some of the cynical ones amongst us would feel that these constructive (?) moves to ensure the ABC is seen as ‘impartial, fair, accurate and balanced’ in its treatment of news and current affairs might recall the term (allegedly created by former broadcaster Tim Bowden) – THE PRE-EMPTIVE KNEE BUCKLE.

Basically it means putting your hands up after the first threats from some nastie and offering one’s wallet and anything else that bully seeks so as to be gently treated.

Life, in my opinion, seems to indicate that the bully takes this as an encouragement to go further and then to demand the car and the house.

I predict that the actions of those involved in this recent rash of seemingly ‘defensive’ editorial decision-making by ABC editorial and senior executive leadership, presumably with Board support, will be equally counter-productive.

The pressure in Canberra to pass the “Fair and Balanced’ Bill, the proposed ‘Rural and Regional ‘ legislation, attempts to have senior editorial salaries published despite the board opposing such a move and the threat of further cuts, as the Triennial funding is about to be debated.

The bullies are not going to retreat.

The ABC needs friends, desperately, and its board and executives must show a bit of backbone to ensure their supporters will enter the lists to support them in the battles they face.

They need to stand up straight and fight for a properly-funded, politically independent National broadcaster.

Then, I am confident that the vast majority of Australians will support them.

Ranald Macdonald is a former Managing Director and Editor in Chief of The Age newspaper.  He is an ABC 3LO morning presenter and Friend of the ABC.


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9 Responses to RANALD MACDONALD. Stop the presses.

  1. Richard Ure says:

    Does one really need to fear exposure of the right’s born to rule and screw the battler policies? Honing critical skills in the community is the priority.

    The ABC’s capitulation on the Emma Alberici article was the catalyst for its wider dissemination.

  2. Rodney Edwin Lever says:

    I remember a time when Keith Rupert Murdoch and I were considering the plan for Australia’s first national newspaper. My idea, but Rupert became excited. He asked me for a list of the best Australian journalists. I gave him my suggestions and he rejected them all. That showed me that he was only interested in fresh young talent straight out of school, writers who would follow his directions. The Australian has always failed and exists today as a losing proposition kept alive only by his own pride.

  3. Brian Burdekin says:

    Amen !

    And the evening news is truly pathetic. The international “ coverage” is almost non existent — and Usually preceded by the latest truck accident or house fire .

  4. J Deacon says:

    Absolutely correct. The ABC in its current form is a disgrace. Loaded with ex Murdoch staff starting with Guthrie, and Gaven Morris who made the 2 questionable decisions recently, cabinet files and buckling to Turnbull tantrum in parliament and in print, Turnbull has also insisted on overriding the independent list of recommendations for the Board, so Vanessa Guthrie ex Minerals Council, was appointed. Compliant Chairman also a mate of his. Axing Lateline a disgrace, replaced by a big black hole in the evenings program. NationalWrap on Sundays with Patricia Karvelas nasty aggressive unsatisfactory. Insiders stacked with right wingers like Gerard Henderson. Q&A a joke with Tony Jones also favouring right wingers. ABC News Breakfast hosts a procession of IPA clones like Georgina Downer, crowding out independent thinkers like Scott Burchill. Just have to hope ABC survives until the current govt is sent packing and a review and action taken to remove political meddling and the right wing stacking of OUR ABC !

  5. Philip Bond says:

    Media ownership concentration leads to influence peddling by the proprietor (s) to the detriment of the voting public. Diversity is needed.

  6. Shazlac says:

    We saved the ABC in the 90’s from Howard’s plans and we can do it again, our ABC!

    • Rosemary O'Grady says:

      We ‘saved’ the ABC in the 70s…too!
      How about an ABC that doesn’t need to be saved – by whom? from what/whom? but can just supply its underwriters with what it was created to do: News first; all the rest later?

  7. Susan Walmsley says:

    I agree. I find ABC news very suspect now.

    I would like the ABC (22nd Feb) to actually investigate the claim that Israel, working close with our intelligence agencies stopped a meat grinder bomb on Etihad in July 2017. And explain why this is of interest now, 6 months on? What is the intention of this “information”? To get us to see extreme right Israel as a friend and keep fearing terrorist?

    This sounded immediately like a pro-Israel bit of terror-mongering to me with no evidence except Netanyahu said unit 8200 had the proof which is not available. Not news really.

    After the Iraq lies I feel the ABC is just echoing the establishment propaganda in mainstream media. Shame.
    We should lobby Labor for an election promise (ha ha) to fund the ABC properly as a publicly funded independent media, the last of its kind, and hold them to that.
    Send an email to every Labor MP.
    I still like 4 Corners though.

  8. Rosemary O'Grady says:

    Perhaps the ‘intention’ of ‘this information’ is to alert us, the public, to the fact that we (Australia + allies) have little autonomous Signals-Intelligence, and are quite comfortable with permitting Israel to do all that hard work on our behalf?

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