In a stunning display of ideological incompetence, the Prime Minister appointed his friend, Justin Milne, to fill the role of chairman of the ABC. Justin is so unsuited for the job he can’t even see the bias that’s so obvious to the general public. He appears to have no ability to detect or understand information bias and thinks that everyone should take his word for it that everything’s just hunky-dory. This move is so bad that it makes Tony Abbott’s awarding a Knighthood to Prince Philip look like a piece of cultural genius.
For many years, a most confusing aspect of the Liberal Party has been their continual predilection for kicking their allies and kissing their enemies. Yet again, here is another example of how the cultural rulers of the Liberals offer their supporters slops and offer pots of gold to their sworn enemies. For what? Do you think they’ll treat you fairly now that you’ve bowed down to them and avoided the inevitable scorn that comes when making appointments of which they disapprove? Or is the PM so far removed from traditional liberal ideological grounding that he actually thinks this is a good idea? He’s weakened his base, strengthened his opponents and is still scratching his head over his polling numbers.
The social media response from ABC supporters is as predictable as it is trite. When The Australian published the story yesterday and it hit Facebook they trotted out the same old line. “There is no bias at the ABC”, deny, deny, deny. It’s an age old tactic of stonewalling, making opposition such an arduous task that many simply give up. If a Liberal PM not only won’t bring them to heel but enables their behaviour, then it’s up to the public to protest in the strongest terms possible.
When pushed on the issue the retort that will often come back is to try and deflect to the performance of other news organisations. Normally the favourite bogeyman of the left is Murdoch, who apparently has the power to shake kingdoms, if you believe their wild conspiracy theories. Even if such ridiculous suggestions were true, it completely and deliberately misses the point. Private news organisations can take whatever political views they like and their audience will judge them accordingly. In those cases I don’t have to pay for it. The ABC is a different animal as it is required by law to be balanced in its reporting, something it consistently fails to do and sneers at those who suggest otherwise.
Justin Milne’s response amplifies this digital ‘Friends of the ABC’ response and would be funny if he didn’t expect us to take it seriously. He and the Ultimo crowd expect you to suck it up and suffer in silence while they spend your money to tell you how awful you are. And should any reader try to rewrite the ABC’s job description, they do not exist to ‘bring balance to conservative media’. Firstly, such a claim confirms they lean the other way and secondly this has nothing to do with their existence. They are not the media Luke Skywalker destined to bring balance to the media force. The paternalistic suggestion that ‘we the public’ need help from Ultimo to decide the quality of the journalism around us is a joke. We’ve been assessing media output for centuries and the scrapheap of defunct outlets is testament to our discernment. Bad journalism is the journalism not subject to intellectual market forces that we just can’t get rid of.
Milne has made himself a laughing stock of the media world just by virtue of the claim that there is no bias. All media organisations have bias because they’re all made up of humans. Such a state of affairs he claims is simply not possible. Balance is brought by opposing views being held in tension by equal force and influence. No such state exists in the ABC, not even close and people are simply sick of it. Even former PM Paul Keating, ever the shrinking violet, is willing to criticise their performance.
For a total hoot of a comment Milne actually said the following:
“I like ABC for news like all Australians do because the ABC attempts to be unbiased, it attempts to tell it right down the middle so it’s a good reference point for many Australians.”
“Like all Australians do”?
Really, this is actually what he said and I kinda get the impression that he did it with a straight face. Unless he had that Waleed Aly superiority grin, which is just the cultural elites version of a straight face. Only someone who mixes it up with a crowd that thinks it’s a good idea to pressure a sitting government to break a campaign promise would think this the ABC was doing alright. I’d suggest Justin gets out from the inner city lobbying circles he frequents and mixes it up with everyday people, just like his good friend the PM. Oh wait……
Once I recovered from reading Milne’s statement, realising that he wasn’t having a laugh, I began to think about applying this wonderland of self assessment to other endeavours. The beauty of funding divorced from payer’s views and the ease of production separated from broader cultural considerations. In essence, the joy of being accountable only to your own whims.
This brave new world of self-assessment would allow students to mark their own assignments and award their own scores. Police can hold trials for accused criminals proving to themselves that their accusations are true. Coroners will no longer be needed, as doctors can simply give their opinion for the cause of death. No checks and balances needed. Building collapse? no problem, let the builder investigate himself.
In very few areas of society do we allow providers of information to decide whether they’re meeting required standards. However, when it comes to the ABC the Prime Minister allows them to run an information protection racket shielding their favoured positions from open scrutiny and vigorous debate. One more in-house nodding session where everyone agrees with everyone else and I’ll be sick. The Politburo discussing if they should continue to implement communism couldn’t be more comical.
The ABC isn’t biased in the same way that the Greens aren’t cultural Marxists. How can they be when this is the ONLY way to think. You see, it’s easy to be unbiased when your way of thinking is correct, there’s no other alternative! Life’s so much simpler, no need for all that tiresome thinking and debating.
Let the left pay for their own news instead of pilfering my pocket and pissing in it as thanks.
Stephen works as a Quantity Surveyor in Brisbane and has a bachelor’s degree in Construction Management. He has an intense interest in the ideological contest between freedom and control that dominates our social and political discourse. Stephen strongly believes in free market systems, freedom of speech and smaller government.