An extract from today’s Crikey

One audience member asked Albrechtsen what she thought of the media. She acknowledged the difficulty in speaking frankly due to her position on the ABC board, but thought the last five to ten years had seen steadily improving media, “such as Fox News.”

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Ron
Ron
15 years ago

Reminds me of a bumper sticker I saw today:

Do you get the news
or is your News Limited?

Grendel
15 years ago

All of which adds to her credibility I am sure.

Yobbo
Yobbo
15 years ago

The way you guys speak about Fox, you’d think it was more biased than the ABC. At least we aren’t forced to subsidise Fox through our taxes.

Andrew Landeryou
15 years ago

Yobbo – star of screen – is quite correct. Fox News is genuinely popular and survives on the support of viewers and advertisers. The ABC relies on hundreds of millions of dollars a year of public money and spends precious little of it on programming, most gets sprayed against the wall on a massive bureaucracy and little else of merit.

It honestly matters very little who they put on the ABC Board, it’s the culture of the place that’s the problem. It is stacked to the rafters with inner urban leftists who regard the left of the ALP as compromising sell outs.

There is little hope for them, even with good people like Janet on the board.

It should be sold off to the slowly bleeding to death leftist publisher Fairfax, with one slowly strangling the other so that our nation may be free of both.

Game on.

zoot
zoot
15 years ago

*yawn* No Yobbo we’re forced to subsidise Fox through shopping.
As soon as you find a way to save me from paying that tax I will gladly pay your share of the ABC.

Yobbo
Yobbo
15 years ago

What tax is that zoot? If you say advertising I will ignore you, it’s quite easy to avoid that tax, don’t buy products that advertise on Foxtel.

Dan
Dan
15 years ago

The way you guys speak about Fox, you’d think it was more biased than the ABC.

Anyone who’s not a complete moron can see that Fox is more biased than the ABC.

Andrew Landeryou
15 years ago

Dan, as a complete moron then I must respectfully disagree. Obviously Fox is American for a start so there is a difference in perspective in that way. It probably seems patriotic about America in a way you might find jarring. But our television is just as patriotic about us, it’s just we don’t notice it.

I was a member of the ALP for 20 years and I believe there is little doubt that the ABC was/is very biased not just against the Liberals (that almost goes without saying) but against those within the ALP they saw as insufficiently left-wing. I know a good dozen ABC employees, not one of them would be a Liberal voter, all of them live in the inner city, most would probably support the Greens and reluctantly support the ALP while constantly complaining about it. Some of them are very nice, to be sure, but to suggest the ABC culture is anything other than stridently left-wing does seem a little absurd.

Look at the most recent scandal, involving the kids programme Behind The News, where it basically made the case that Hezbollah terrorists were the moral equivalent of Israel and made a number of serious factual errors. ABC management have apologised.

Look at the composition of the Friends of the ABC. All well-meaning folk I’m sure, but all lefties. Go and ask one of them what they think of John Howard next time you see one of their card tables promoting the cause.

In 2006, the ABC is simply not needed. If the community wants to spend its tax dollars on funding worthy but uncommercial content, it could do that without running a vast bureaucracy and old-fashioned network of radio and television stations. It could subsidise an enormous amount of programming for the money that is currently spent.

Instead we get a vast left-wing bureaucracy that almost always peddles a very left-wing line and pretends it’s “independent.”

ABC “independence” is really just code for being completely unaccountable to the people who pay the bills. Just my two cents (a day).

Ron
Ron
15 years ago

No govt, Liberal or ALP likes the ABC, Andrew, and can only see ‘bias’. That ‘bias’ is really much-needed criticism of a current government, something increasingly not seen in other MSM particularly as they wait for widening of media ownership laws.

Fraser, Hawke, Keating and Howard govts have all been critical of perceived bias with the ABC except when they are the Opposition.

I just re-read your comment, Andrew, and I think you would even find the Murdoch-saturated Outsiders a left-wing conspiracy.

Andrew Landeryou
15 years ago

Criticism is fine. “Speaking truth to power” and all that is what good journalism is all about.

But let’s consider whether the ABC really is a neutral critic or simply just a very left-leaning one.

Can you imagine someone at the ABC criticising the Government for being too lax on illegal immigration?

For taxing and spending excessively?

For failing to privatise Australia Post?

For spending insufficiently on our nation’s defence?

For adopting bizarrely complex and over-regulating Workplace Relations laws that place god-like powers in the hands of a Federal Minister?

These are to some degree valid criticisms that could be made of the current Federal Government I suppose from a more conservative position than the government has.

I’m not necessarily raising those positions either as worth debating before I prompt a wave of distraction. The point is that you are just not going to get those views or news angles from Kerry O’Brien or Monica Attard or (shudder) Virginia Trioli the other comrades at Aunty.

So let’s please dispense with the fantasy that the ABC is non-ideological and neutral and independent. It isn’t. It belongs to another era and should be allowed to die with dignity.

Ron
Ron
15 years ago

Good heavens, Andrew. After reading that it’s hard to believe you were a member of the ALP! I am trying to think of a party to the right of the Liberal Party that you would support now. :-)

As for Ms Trioli, I find her to quite fair: she gives as much stick to one politician as another regardless of their party.

Dan
Dan
15 years ago

Dan, as a complete moron then I must respectfully disagree. Obviously Fox is American for a start so there is a difference in perspective in that way. It probably seems patriotic about America in a way you might find jarring. But our television is just as patriotic about us, it’s just we don’t notice it.

Fox is systemically and deliberately biased in a way that the ABC is not. It might be true that the ABC, like most state-owned enterprises, is staffed largely by lefties, and I’m sure that the FOTABC are, but all of that is beside the point. The question is actual bias as revealed in the content. While ABC producers are running around with stop watches trying to make sure they’ve shown both sides of the story to avoid this week’s whipping by the Communications Minister, Fox producers are reading down their list of talking points direct from Rupert Murdoch. There’s just no comparison

Stephen Hill
Stephen Hill
15 years ago

On a side issue, what is interesting about America’s Fox News is that Rupert Murdoch may have been clever in finding a niche service, but it’s audience is still less than 1% of the American population. Consider this, even the worst-performing MSM news programs get about five times the ratings of Fox’s top-rating performer, Bill O’Reilly. On a good day O’Reilly gets about 2,000,000 viewers, most of the other programs are well under a mill.

Even Fox News’s claim that it is the top-rating cable-news service is slightly misleading in the manner in which it reports its results. If it is number of viewers per day CNN wins, but as Fox has more opinion-driven content its viewers watch for longer than CNN viewers who use it like a newspaper to quickly pick up the news of the day and flick-off after 10-15 minutes, this tends to inflate Fox’s ratings.

So from this info Fox is hardly a reflection of the broader American consciousness as some people like to pretend. Also I should add that I doubt Fox is particularly effective in improving the American conservative vote, other than offering a hymn-book for followers, for at the same time it also gives progressive supporters a detailed understanding of the sort of messages and tactics that could be employed at coming electoral contests.

Chris Lloyd
Chris Lloyd
15 years ago

Andrew:
You said Janet is a good person to be on the ABC board. She thinks Fox news is an indication of improving media standards. You opined that Fox News is genuinely popular and survives on the support of viewers and advertisers.

Can we just get this crystal clear? Do you reckon that Fox is anything than completely biased? If so, how can Janet be a good person to be on the board? Do you see no problem at all with the proposition that a (ostensible) new service is justified if it can survive on its popularity? How about Al Jazeera? KKKTV?

NEWS IS NOT A PRODUCT. INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM IS NOT A PRODUCT. EFFECTIVELY CROSS EXAMINING POLITICIANS IS NOT A PRODUCT. It happens to be largely provided by the private section BUT IT IS NOT A PRODUCT!

Yobbo: I love being called a leftie. It makes me feel young again.