Leading article Australia

Aunty’s dropped her bloomers

29 September 2018

9:00 AM

29 September 2018

9:00 AM

There’s delicious irony in sacked managing director of the ABC, Michelle Guthrie, being replaced by a man. Having pursued the Liberal party relentlessly since the recent leadership upheaval about its treatment of women MPs like poor Julie Bishop, and programmes like The Drum obsessing with #MeToo and workplace sexism, in dismissing Ms Guthrie the ABC is guilty of the same alleged gender bias that routinely enrages its PC presenterariat.

As it turns out, however, ABC luvvies are not terribly upset about their board ruthlessly turfing a female MD. Rather, the Ultimo munchkins are singing Ding-Dong the Witch is Dead.  Before it emerged chairman Justin Milne appears to have been Malcolm Turnbull’s errand boy, informing Ms Guthrie of the then PM’s wrath about Emma Alberici’s reporting, high-profile luvvies like Jon Faine used their taxpayer-funded soapboxes to dial schadenfreude up to 11.

Ms Guthrie was an ‘astonishing fail… She would not take on her role as a champion for this organisation’, Mr Faine railed. What championing the ABC means to the likes of Mr Faine is being a staunch defender of the ABC’s shameless embrace of identity politics, promoting diversity over quality and, above all, ensuring its news and current affairs programmes are not only skewed left, but are de facto taxpayer-funded propaganda for Labor and the Greens. To the many Faines of the ABC, Ms Guthrie’s first duty was to them and their world view, not the broader values of the Australian community.

While subsequent leaks of Mr Milne’s emails made the internally-despised Ms Guthrie an instant martyr for ABC staffers’ confected hypocritical outrage at so-called ‘political interference’, she still deserved to go for her abject failure to rein in the ABC’s general lack of editorial and presenter impartiality. For every conscientiously-balanced presenter like AM’s Sabra Lane and political correspondent Greg Jennett, there are far too many Faines, Probyns, Harmers, Ballards and Albericis stridently imposing their leftist activism on the rest of us who aren’t Balmain or Brunswick basket-weavers. Ms Guthrie poor relationships with government was far less heinous than her failure to cauterise the ABC’s malignant institutional bias.

Most recently updated by the Gillard government, the ABC charter bangs on about respecting ‘cultural diversity’, and ‘the multicultural character of the Australian community’, reflected in oh-so-PC Q&A and Drum panels. The charter, however, says nothing about respecting diversity of ideas and opinions. Hence the almost monolithic leftist mindset of the national broadcaster whereby Trump, Abbott, coal and straight white men all are evil, and conspiracy theories about a couple of billionaires deciding the fate of our democracy, complete with mocked-up ‘quotes’, are reported breathlessly as fact.

Things do need to change. And urgently. The new MD (and Chair?)should be an outsider with a genuine understanding of the media business and journalism. His/her task(s) should be obvious: to ‘drain the swamp’ of entrenched leftwing political bias among key decision-makers, producers and presenters; then start preparing Aunty to eventually stand on her own two feet, sans taxpayer largesse.

In praise (partly) of the PM

Scott Morrison must be congratulated for his full-throated defence of January 26 as Australia Day. On the other hand, his suggested second national day specifically honouring our Aboriginal brethren is a well-meaning mistake that will bite him hard.

Besides already having too many public holidays, such a tokenistic day would divide far more than unite Australians. According to the Productivity Commission, nearly seven per cent of total government spending is on Aboriginal programmes and services, more than twice as much per capita than for the whole Australian population.

Such generosity of spending is recognition enough.

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