Sack the ABC board and rid this bloated monolith of its bias
THE Coalition shouldn’t miss the opportunity provided by the crisis at the ABC. Prime Minister Scott Morrison is wrong to call on the organisation to “resume normal transmission”.
The ABC’s normal transmission of undeniably biased views can no longer be accepted. The ABC is a statutory government authority and has responsibilities that it has long scoffed at. Its disdain for the obligation placed upon it by Parliament is at the heart of the ABC’s ongoing dysfunction.
On Friday, featured ABC host Jon Faine claimed with zero evidence that politicians had called for the sacking of a number of presenters. The arrogance with which he did so highlighted the entrenched position ABC staffers maintain. Yesterday The Weekend Australian revealed that the ABC’s acting chairman Kirstin Ferguson sent a folksy congratulatory message to the ABC’s socalled chief economics correspondent Emma Alberici last February after the ABC published a story on corporate tax that was shown to be grossly inaccurate, leading to multiple corrections.
If Ferguson is so ignorant of basic corporate law, what are her actual areas of skill and how can she possibly lead the board now or ever?
Whatever the current departmental investigation discovers about the ABC’s flawed management processes, the facts make it clear that the selection process and appointment of former CEO Michelle Guthrie was a gross error. She was incompetent.
It is as clear that former chairman Justin Milne was an idiot and that the ABC’s own editorial processes are worthless. It was that last point that led to the other fiascos.
Alberici’s demonstrably inaccurate and biased reporting on legitimate corporate tax avoidance policy was so egregious that the ABC received complaints from Qantas chairman Alan Joyce, Business Council of Australia CEO Jennifer Westacott, the Prime Minister and the Treasurer’s offices and the Communications Minister Mitch Fifield.
The ABC had no option but to take down the offensive article and extensively rework it. Alberici reoffended in May. That same month another serial offender, the ABC’s political editor Andrew Probyn, emerged.
The Australian Communications and Media Authority upheld a complaint that Probyn unfairly treated former prime minister Tony Abbott in calling him “the most destructive politician of his generation” and, in June, the Coalition accused him of repeating Labor rhetoric about the timing of five by-elections caused by the citizenship issue.
In both cases, the ABC failed to take any meaningful action against the journalists.
Guthrie, who held the title of editor-in-chief, failed in her duty and so too it must be said did the various news managers right down the line.
Milne fielded complaints and then stupidly committed his thoughts to emails. He lacked the necessary skills to be chairman. A friend and associate of former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull, he was Turnbull’s appointment and he, too, was a failure. Incompetence at every level. Alberici should not have been given an appointment beyond her capability.
Probyn, after he first exposed himself as partisan, should have been taken out of the political arena. Instead, he doubled up, and then showed himself to be utterly lacking in judgment by playing in a mock-up re-enactment for ABC TV current affairs.
Their failure is stupidity, but the real failure is endemic and institutional within the ABC and one that must be dealt with if anything is to be gained from this whole exercise.
The ABC staff have been shown to be as stupid and as self-serving as their management. They cheered Guthrie’s sacking without any full knowledge of what she may have actually been doing to protect them. Indeed, the ABC’s staffelected director Jane Connors, who has sat on the board since May, said on Monday that Guthrie’s sacking was “in the best interests of the ABC”. So much for their constant whining about inclusiveness and the need for female executives.
Labor is pathetically shedding hypocritical crocodile tears over the whole affair, which may convince the braying fools in the Friends of the ABC but no one else.
So here’s what to do.
Sack the whole ABC board and put in an administrator while a root and branch examination of the broadcaster is conducted into its relevance.
It is not in the interests of the nation to have a taxpayer-funded media organisation that doesn’t respect its charter and is stacked with partisan employees who reject the views of the majority of the country.
The bloke in the cafe calling me “darl”, an older male colleague saying “sweetie” or “honey” … None of them are sexists.