ABC hits a new low in bi­ased re­port­ing

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - OPINION - PIERS AKERMAN

THE abysmal ABC cov­er­age of re­cent events in the Mid­dle East can be ranked with the broad­casts of Lord Haw Haw from Nazi Ger­many and Tokyo Rose from Ja­pan dur­ing World War II.

The fact that armed Pales­tinian ter­ror­ists us­ing hu­man shields were at­tempt­ing to in­vade Is­rael with the spe­cific goal of mur­der­ing or kid­nap­ping civil­ians was ig­nored and valu­able air time was de­voted to apol­o­gists for the out­lawed Ha­mas or­gan­i­sa­tion.

Given that Ha­mas is a mur­der­ous, misog­y­nist, ho­mo­pho­bic regime, some card-car­ry­ing mem­bers of the ABC’s fem­i­nist and pro-ho­mo­sex­ual ca­bal may have had some doubts about the or­gan­i­sa­tion they were pro­mot­ing but if they had any qualms they cer­tainly weren’t voiced pub­licly.

The ABC’s obli­ga­tion un­der 8(1)(c) of the ABC Act “to en­sure that the gath­er­ing and pre­sen­ta­tion by the Cor­po­ra­tion of news and in­for­ma­tion is ac­cu­rate and im­par­tial ac­cord­ing to the recog­nised stan­dards of ob­jec­tive jour­nal­ism” was ob­served only in the breach. The cov­er­age of the bor­der clashes last week took the ABC to a whole new level of dis­grace­ful dys­func­tion. The bias at the ABC is pal­pa­ble in most ar­eas of news and cur­rent af­fairs.

In re­cent weeks, apart from the near-uni­ver­sal con­dem­na­tion of Emma Al­berici’s lack of the most ba­sic un­der­stand­ing of struc­tures in­te­gral to the round as­signed to her, the or­gan­i­sa­tion’s chief po­lit­i­cal re­porter An­drew Probyn was found by the broad­cast watch­dog ACMA to have broad­cast views that or­di­nary view­ers would have un­der­stood to be “declar­a­tive” and “pe­jo­ra­tive”.

Probyn, demon­strat­ing the group-think that pre­vails at the ABC, stated for­mer prime min­is­ter Tony Ab­bott was “the most de­struc­tive politi­cian of his gen­er­a­tion” con­ve­niently over­look­ing those on Labor’s side who en­cour­aged il­le­gal im­mi­grants to their deaths.

But when it came to the Gaza story, the ABC’s cov­er­age re­flected the same on­go­ing bias ex­hib­ited by its cor­re­spon­dent So­phie McNeill (who used her Twit­ter last week to air her views on the ter­ror­ist-in­spired at­tacks on the Is­raeli bor­der).

“Stag­ger­ing. UN says 55 Pales­tini­ans were reported killed by Is­raeli forces on Mon­day in #Gaza in­clud­ing 6 children. 2,771 peo­ple were reported in­jured, in­clud­ing 1,359 by live am­mu­ni­tion. Among the fa­tal­i­ties was one health worker,” she wrote.

Miss­ing from her ac­count is the fact that Ha­mas was urg­ing Pales­tini­ans to de­stroy the bor­der fence and at­tack Is­raelis with knives or any other weapons they could carry.

The ABC 7.30’s Leigh Sales pro­moted the fic­tional con­fla­tion that the deadly protests were linked to the of­fi­cial foun­da­tion of the US Em­bassy in Jerusalem by the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion, al­though suc­ces­sive US pres­i­dents had de­clared Jerusalem to be the Is­raeli cap­i­tal since Bill Clin­ton promised he would recog­nise Jerusalem dur­ing the 1992 pres­i­den­tial race.

Sales also pro­moted the hoary line that mur­der­ous at­tack­ers must be greeted with some sort of “pro­por­tion­ate” re­sponse by le­git­i­mate de­fend­ers of na­tional bor­ders, ask­ing a rep­re­sen­ta­tive of Amnesty In­ter­na­tional for her views.

Magda Mughrabi told Sales it “was a com­pletely dis­pro­por­tion­ate re­sponse”.

She said there had then been re­ports of over 52 deaths, in­clud­ing six children and that over 2000 peo­ple were in­jured in­clud­ing over 1300 with live am­mu­ni­tion.

As health work­ers reported the over­whelm­ing na­ture of the wounds were to the legs, it would seem to in­di­cate that the Is­raeli forces took pains to de­liver non-lethal shots at the as­sailants.

While Sales was per­mit­ting the pro­por­tion­al­ity ar­gu­ment to get an air­ing, the US Am­bas­sador to the UN, Nikki Ha­ley, was out­lin­ing Ha­mas’ in­cite­ment of the armed demon­stra­tors and re­port­ing that Ha­mas maps and social media show the fastest routes to reach Is­raeli com­mu­ni­ties in case demon­stra­tors make it through the se­cu­rity fence as well as Ha­mas mes­sages played over loud­speak­ers urg­ing demon­stra­tors to burst through the fence, claim­ing Is­raeli sol­diers were flee­ing, when in fact, they were not.

How­ever, the ABC’s at­tempted white­wash of the na­ture of the ter­ror­ist at­tack was demon­stra­tively un­der­mined by the co-founder of Ha­mas Mah­moud al-Za­har, who told Al-Jazeera that the ter­ror group was “de­ceiv­ing the pub­lic” when it spoke of “peace­ful re­sis­tance” be­fore the vi­o­lent protests be­gan.

The ABC’s “peace­ful pro­test­ers” line was fur­ther un­der­mined on Wed­nes­day when an­other Ha­mas of­fi­cial ac­knowl­edged that of the 62 Pales­tini­ans reported killed dur­ing Gaza bor­der ri­ots on Mon­day and Tues­day, 50 were Ha­mas and an­other ter­ror­ist group, Is­lamic Ji­had, claimed three more, bring­ing the mem­bers of ter­ror groups among the fa­tal­i­ties up to 56.

There is an­other facet to this vi­o­lence which should also be ex­plored but which the ABC is un­likely to look into.

While child sac­ri­fice is un­think­able to most Western­ers, we have in just the past fort­night seen children strapped with sui­cide vests by their ji­hadist par­ents in In­done­sia and children placed in the line of fire in Gaza.

In Gaza, an in­ter­view with Dr Mah­moud Ran­tisi, the fa­ther of a young man who had been killed as he tried to tear down the Is­raeli bor­der fence, went some way to ex­plain­ing the dif­fer­ence in phi­los­o­phy.

The 60-year-old pro­fes­sor re­port­edly smiled and waved his hand dis­mis­sively when asked about the death of his son Ahmed: “I am not sad, I’m very happy. We con­sider this event to be like a wed­ding for us. We think our son didn’t just die. He moved on to an­other life.”

When the ABC was es­tab­lished in 1932 it reached au­di­ences com­mer­cial broad­cast­ers didn’t ser­vice. That is not the case to­day. “Our” ABC now so reg­u­larly and defini­tively demon­strates its in­abil­ity to abide by its char­ter it must be closed.

Ha­mas ter­ror­ist mil­i­tants.

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