Paul Bongiorno writes for Saturday as well as being an ABC Radio National commentator on politics and cultural affairs.
Very popular is ‘Bonge”, as he is affably known to ABC talk hosts, in fact, he’s the Perfectly Politically Correct Man for All Seasons. Except that on July 8 he unloaded, by tweet, on respected indigenous elder Warren Mundine the racial slur “Uncle Tom”. “ABC panned over Bongiorno Uncle Tom slur” reported the Australian but the ABC was unconcerned.
“As many ‘righties’ on Dky (sic) after panels…and that included Uncle Tom lefties craving relevance” had tweeted “Bonge”, enraging Mundine, who called out the ABC management to speak out against its contractor. “Bonge” then apologised for causing offence, saying he never intended to use a racist slur and that he objected to Mundine calling for the ABC to sack him.
“I am an independent commentator and journalist…it is passing strange that the only reaction to some who take offence is to demand one of my employers sack me. My tweet was in response to an attack on the ABC for only having ‘lefty’ panels. I made the point that there is plenty of evidence to show Sky has “rightie” panels or acceptable ‘lefties’ which was my intention using the term “Uncle Tom” he plaintively tweeted.
Things didn’t get better when the ABC told the Australian ‘Mr Bongiono is not an ABC employee: his Twitter account is not an ABC account; any tweets are Mr Bongiono’s own.”
Hmmm. A morning or so after, Radio National morning host Hamish MacDonald verballed the Member for Hughes Craig Kelly for his remarks on Sky that perhaps it was time for Russia to be brought back into the global fold in the interests of world peace.
That provoked an avalanche of protest centred around the downing of the Malaysian Airlines plane by a Russian Buk missile and a verbal finger wag from Julie Bishop, who reminded Kelly that Australia held Russia accountable while the Opposition reeled in shock, shaking its collective heads at the sadness and painful memories evoked by Mr Kelly’s comments.
Kelly apologised profusely and contritely for any pain he had caused Australians who had lost loved ones in the tragedy of the plane downed by a Russian Buk missile.
Someone who Knows These Things in Canberra informed Flat White that every aircraft has a signal, an aviation identity code that informs ‘This is me.”
The Malaysian aircraft’s identity signal was either ignored or was assumed a ruse. The perpetrators of the Buk missile attack had earlier shot down a military aircraft and possibly assumed the Malaysian plane was another. “Probably just partisans, not Russian military who’d have known what they were doing, realised it was a civilian flight,” according to the informant.
Craig Kelly’s comments continued to make the ABC news, right up to the Sunday morning dissection by the ABC’s Insiders, who, with literary eminence and Labor warrior David Marr leading the charge, condemned him in the strongest terms.
But one may wonder why a racial slur against a respected indigenous man and former Labor office holder was swept under the carpet by the ABC while comment from a government backbencher was not?
Your ABC? It’s certainly Bongiorno’s.
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