ABC: Mark Scott's response to bias charge "defies belief"

ALP Broadcasting Corporation

ALP Broadcasting Corporation

I have to admit I read Mark Scott’s piece in The Australian last week with increasing bewilderment. Comments such as this:

The panel [on Q&A] includes some of the most outstanding political correspondents in the nation: Phil Coorey, Annabel Crabb, George Megalogenis, Lenore Taylor, Mark Kenny, Malcolm Farr. They are employed by News Limited and Fairfax, broadsheets and tabloids, and by media outlets across the country. And their task is to provide analysis on the events of the week. Which they do, carrying no ideological badge and pushing no line

and this:

Not everyone will agree with all his remarks, but I believe [Barrie Cassidy – host of ABC’s Insiders] works in a way that embodies journalistic standards of fairness, balance and impartiality

left me utterly dumbfounded. Is Scott really that blinded by his own organisation’s groupthink, or is he just dense? It has to be one or the other.

Andrew McIntyre responds today:

THE response by the managing director of the Australian Broadcasting Corp, Mark Scott, to Janet Albrechtsen’s piece on ABC bias, almost defies belief. It is not the first time he has argued this case, even as he presented figures to a senate inquiry on the biased make-up of the panellists on Insiders.

Somehow, Scott trusts his “outstanding” commentators, by claiming that they are “carrying no ideological badge and pushing no line”. Well that settles it, doesn’t it?

If there is one lesson to be learned and many of us in Australia have been saying it for years it is about the selectivity of issues, the bias that is formed by the things that are not reported, and in interviews, by the people who are not interviewed.

This is an exquisitely refined technique on the ABC. Presenters tend to interview only those experts who agree with their own opinions, thus transforming news from factual content into a point of view without appearing to express the view of the presenter. On a panel on Insiders or Q&A, one simply gets the false impression that there is a consensus.

I guess if you stand on a platform that leans to the left for long enough, it begins to seem level again.

Comments

  1. Excellent response from McIntyre.
    This article is also interesting.

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/media/abc-sets-lower-standards-bar/story-e6frg996-1226540744470

  2. Phil Coorey, Annabel Crabb, George Megalogenis, Lenore Taylor, Mark Kenny, Malcolm Farr, Barrie Cassidy … all potential future Labor Party candidates for the 2016 federal election!

    • John Barrett says:

      Malcolm Farr?? Ha ha ha! Far out. No chance.
      Sorry I couldn’t help myself. But then again, Slippers got in.

  3. Charles Gerard Nelson via Facebook says:

    The ABC should be defunded. It is not fit for purpose.

  4. Confusious says:

    Fabian Marxist Scum everywhere

  5. So, if the ABC has “no ideological badge and pushing no line” and “embodies journalistic standards of fairness, balance and impartiality”, we can only put the absolute absence of any sort of objectivity in relation to climate and politics in general down to incompetence and lack of rational thought.

    • “incompetence and lack of rational thought”…so, pretty much like the Labor party then? Or, for that matter, like any Australian political parties…

  6. “groupthink, or is he just dense”
    I think, the latter emboldens the former.

  7. What stuns me is how people misunderstand the concept of bias.

    The national broadcaster should have an obligation not just to avoid bias, but also to avoid the perception of bias.

    In relation to Insiders, there clearly is a perception of bias.

  8. Peter Pond says:

    When undertaking a recent tour of ABC’s Sydney studios with my family, I mentioned to our tour guide (a volunteer, I think) that the Q&A Studio didn’t lean to the left as I had imagined. She indignantly responded that the ABC (and the Q&A program) were always balanced.

    I really don’t mind the obvious tilt to the left by most ABC presenters and programs – to some extent it balances out the tilt in the other direction from most of Australia’s “shock jocks”. However, what is of great concern is that, within the ABC, this obvious tilt is so unrecognised – they really do believe that they are presenting balanced reports.

    • When they only look with the left eye and listen with left ear it is understandable that all appears to be normal to them. Anything coming from the right side will totally blind-side them and anything from dead ahead will have a left bias.

  9. John Edwards says:

    It’s remarkable how people who don’t hear what they want to hear sink the slipper into the messenger. If your were prepared to read more widely, check the Internet, cross-reference and do some actual research instead of reading and relying soley on Murdoch’s bilge …[Snip. Enough. – you’ve had your little rant, now go back to the comforts of the ABC where your own biases and prejudices will be massaged to your heart’s content – Ed]

  10. John Edwards says:

    Well, the true colours of a propagandist revealed. Ive kept copies of my post and your reply. This will look good when it gets posted on social media, which has far greater coverage than your miserable Murdoch rag!

    [Be my guest, just don’t come back here, then we’ll both be happy – Ed]

  11. Simon Matthews via Facebook says:

    You crazies are brilliant. I especially love on the ABC News page you have the people who identify as Left complaining how biased to the Right they are. Then the next day it’s the Rights turn.
    One day critical thinking will be the norm and ABC will be commended for their balanced reporting.
    P.S. balanced reporting does not require them to present the side of “Intelligent Design” when discussing evolution.

    • You are getting two concepts mixed up completely. Critical thinking is not synonymous with balanced reporting, and never will be.

      The ABC employs some reporters who do make it very obvious which side of politics they are on, which indicates a complete lack of professionalism, if nothing else. This is the inherent problem. Rather than writing pro-Labor, then pro-Liberal to balance things, why not aim for objective reporting in the first place? The Drum, obviously, is about opinions, and, even if there were identical numbers of pro Labor/Greens, and pro-Liberal articles, you’d still get claims of bias based on word count or something equally ridiculous…

      A lot of people who comment on The Drum represent the type of Labor/Green or Liberal “football-fan” or schoolyard mentality that pervades Australian politics. I’m so sick of this petty, and ignorant “My leader is better than your leader because…” rubbish. We can only go backwards as a society when political discussion is reduced to this level of drivel.

  12. As an Australian citizen, I am absolutely “Shocked and Concerned” at the obvious extreme biases and propoganda that comes out of the ABC almost everyday via all of their mediums of broadcast, television, radio,web etc. The power of this propoganda in brainwashing the nation can not be underestimated.There is clearly an undeniable and strong Socialist/Communist and Feminist slant to the vast majority of everything that emanates from the ABC. The bias and propoganda in relation to news services and reporting can be seen by “priority placement”,”what is said” and also “what is left out”. What is particularly alarming is that this is coming from The National Broadcaster that is Government Funded body. My question is why is this able to continue? Any body of enquiry could examine the recordings of the broadcasts to conclude that there is bias. Bring on an enquiry!

    [Very good sarcasm, by the way – Ed]

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