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Fair Winds And Foul For ABC

Filed under Editorial

October 19, 2017

by Anne Miller

“Blondewithblueeyes” commenting on an ABC News online news report today:
“It’s disgusting that even in Australia the media are fake news. This is all total BS. President Donald J. Trump is a brilliant President and the markets are showing the effect on the American economy. The people who elected him are only getting stronger in their support of him as a result of all of this total rubbish. God bless him and his family.”

* * *

Well, it looks like the pincer movement that has been targeting the national broadcaster for a while may have won its first battle.

On one side are those on the Far Right, people like “Blondewithblueeyes” above, who cry “FAKE NEWS” (usually in capital letters) whenever they see something in the media they don’t agree with.

Other Conservatives – closer to centre – tend to support the general concept of the national broadcaster but get apoplectic when shows such as Q & A are mentioned.  They sometimes suspect some Leftist conspiracy in the ABC.

On the other side, are the commercial TV broadcasters and newspaper publishers, especially News Limited.

They have been watching as the ABC has eaten into their profits by providing innovative content online, via podcast and iView … for free.

They’re not concerned about a free service to the people of Australia (who have paid for it by taxes); they just see their paywalls and subscription services failing, and opportunities for them to make money going begging.

Enter Pauline Hanson’s One Nation Party.

Never one to miss an opportunity, the minority party stirred up its support base on the Right and also sucked up to the commercial media to complete the perfect pincer move on the Federal Government.

The government today began to implement the demands made by Pauline Hanson during the recent media law reform negotiations.

It has introduced two Bills designed to change the ABC’s Charter.

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation Amendment (Fair and Balanced) Bill 2017 will add words “fair and balanced” to the ABC Charter.

The Charter already requires that the ABC should be “accurate and impartial according to the recognised standards of objective journalism”.

Apparently, that isn’t enough for the critics.

“Balance” is in the eye of the beholder.

Contrary to what some people may think, “balance” isn’t achieved by giving every view in a debate an equal voice.

We could now hear more interviews with the minority of scientists who decry climate change.

Sadly, we could also hear claims about why Halal certification is a secret Muslim tax fueling a world caliphate.

I just hope we won’t hear basketball player Kyrie Irving explaining why the world is flat.

While the Right will be rejoicing – and News Corp executive chairman Mark Miller has already welcomed the proposed changes –  ABC managing director Michelle Guthrie has called them “dangerous and unnecessary”.

She should know …

The second Bill, the “Australian Broadcasting Corporation Amendment: Rural and Regional Measures Bill 2017” should be less controversial.

It is designed to establish a regional Advisory Council to advise the ABC Board on  matters relating to the provision by the Corporation of broadcasting services in regional areas.

This should again be welcomed by One Nation’s rural voter base, as well as by the National Party / LNP.

These two Bills have yet to be passed but there’s one thing for sure … there’s changes ahead for the national broadcaster, and I fear that these may well just be the first.

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