They’re a network who pride themselves on being ‘expressly independent of government and politics’.
And yet, the government-grant-funded Australian Broadcasting Network (ABC) have recently been accused of favouring just one political party in particular when it comes to airtime promotion.
And it likely wouldn’t have been many people’s first choice.
Liberal Democrats Senator David Leyonhjelm has produced evidence which shows a marked bias on behalf of the ABC towards the Greens party.
Leyonhjelm found ABC’s flagship news program, Radio National Breakfast, allocates a disproportionate amount of airtime to promoting the views of this minor party.
An inarguable bias
ABC’s acting general manager, David Anderson, was called in to answer Leyonhjelm’s concerns at a recent Senate Estimates hearing.
A media release outlined ABC’s response, which advised that they had twice as many Greens senator interviews than Labor senators — 24 compared to 11 respectively, within a year.
Leyonhjelm was quick to pounce on the inconsistency that such a skewed result will form:
‘It beggars belief that the ABC has given the Greens more than double the airtime of Labor, even though Labor is the official opposition, has nearly three times more senators (26 compared to 9) and more than four times the community support of the Greens.
‘The ABC’s generosity towards the Greens knows no bounds, it seems, offering its senators half the airtime afforded to Government senators (numbering 31 in the Senate). And Coalition interviewees are typically Government ministers being cross-examined on government policies they are implementing.’
It clearly isn’t a minor oversight, or coincidental result. Because think about it, 24 interviews in total means nearly every Greens senator would had to have been interviewed three times in a year. That doesn’t just happen by accident.
And that’s only one element of a larger problem.
A no-tread zone for the ABC
ABC figures also show that the entire 10-member crossbench get only two-thirds of the airtime than that of the Greens in the Senate.
This, as Leyonhjelm points out, isn’t just biased, but also journalistically incorrect:
‘Because of their fringe views, the Greens are rarely in a position to determine parliamentary outcomes in the Senate, so the ABC’s argument that editorial decisions are based on relevancy or newsworthiness just don’t wash.
‘Whenever Labor opposes the Government, the Greens side with Labor. The rest of the crossbench are the real decision makers, but the ABC appears to have made the editorial decision to de-platform them.’
On top of that, such behaviour completely disregards the moral integrity of the ABC. As Leyonhjelm continues:
‘A commercial media outlet is free to de-platform anyone; the ABC is not. Australians deserve, and should demand, better from their public broadcaster.’
Something tells me all ears will be tuning in to Radio National Breakfast, waiting for the moment when the ABC have the courage to harp on about the Greens once again.
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