4 September 2017
By Dick Smith for Dick Smith Fair Go
(Part 1) – ABC TV News and Current Affairs is letting us down when it comes to important and open discussion on the fact that perpetual growth is impossible. Is this caused by ‘institutional culture’ or ‘well-placed bigots’ within the organisation?
I’m a fan of the ABC and I watch it more than any other network.
I particularly like Landline, Australian Story, The Gruen Transfer, Shaun Micallef’s Mad as Hell, and Hard Chat, Adam Hills: The Last Leg, Catalyst, and of course Four Corners. These landmark shows have covered so many important issues, especially the working poor in America who have to live on about $7 an hour. The minimum wage in the USA hasn’t increased in real terms in 30 years.
Checkout is another one of my favourite shows, and also Utopia – it reminds me of the days of running the Civil Aviation Safety Authority.
Yes, the ABC can be considered a bit “left” but I don’t object to that. I consider most of the commercial media, especially the newspapers, a bit “right” to say the least.
Generally I find the ABC covers both sides of the issue in a reasonably fair way. I say “generally” because there is one major anomaly. I didn’t realise it until over 8 years ago, when I read Mark O’Connor’s excellent book Overloading Australia.
In this book there is a chapter headed “Media bias and ABC blues” which explained that in Mark’s experience, the ABC – primarily television news and current affairs –is totally biased in relation to the population issue.
Mark O’Connor has given me permission to reprint the chapter which covers this issue. It is available here: Overloading Australia Chapter 19
This is a most serious issue for the future of Australia, as with our present forms of endless growth there is little doubt we will completely destroy Australia as we know it today.
What could be the reason for this ABC bias? Could it be (as covered by Mark O’Connor) “institutional culture” or are there some “well placed bigots” within the organisation influencing the good work of others?
In the last decade or so I have experienced this more and more. First of all, my recent Fair Go campaign, including a $1 million advertising campaign on commercial TV and SBS, received no mention whatsoever on ABC television news and current affairs. “Very strange,” people may say.
Then again, I look back at when I launched the Wilberforce Award, which is $1 million to go to a young person under the age of 30 who can communicate that we can’t have a continuing growth economy. At the launch I had $1 million in cash, a security dog and five beautiful “blonde bombshells.”
The ABC sent along their news camera team and a reporter who asked me three questions about – wait for it – racism, which the Wilberforce Award is not linked to. When the reporter could not get an answer linking the Wilberforce Award to racism, yes, you guessed it, there was no coverage whatsoever about the Wilberforce Award on ABC TV or current affairs.
By the way, I got the “blonde bombshells” along because my friend Sir Richard Branson always received coverage on the ABC with every idea he ever spruiked in Australia. I assisted Richard with a number of these, and he always got extraordinary coverage on the ABC News. I thought it was the “bombshells”.
Below is the actual award ceremony – have a laugh at the security dog.
“So what is going on?” you may ask. You would think an organisation that was considered “left” would cover my important Fair Go campaign – especially when you consider I am calling for higher taxes on the 1% of wealthiest Australians, full openness and publicity on the tax they actually pay (if any), and a ban on political donations.
However it appears that the “institutional culture” or a “handful of well placed bigots” (or could it be something else?) stopped any coverage on ABC News and Current Affairs of this major campaign.
I should point out that a number of politicians have said to me that even though they agree that we need to have a population plan, they said “Dick, if I ever mentioned it I would be crucified by the ABC. They would immediately link my comment to being opposed to immigration – or worse still being a racist”. This is an absolute shocker and it must be fixed as our very democracy depends on our politicians being able to talk freely about such issues.
Please put your comments below on how we should go about getting balance back into the ABC TV news, current affairs and Q&A (see this email I sent to Tony Jones and producer Peter McEvoy about seven weeks ago – still no reply…) so we can have an Australia that is worth living in for our children and grandchildren.
ABC TV NEWS AND CURRENT AFFAIRS BIAS ON GROWTH ISSUES (Part 2)
Quotes from Chapter 19 of Mark O’Connor & William J. Lines book “Overloading Australia” published 2008. To read the full chapter, click here.
“Relative to its fixation with economics, the reluctance of some ABC TV programs to cover population issues is extreme”.
“Air-time was repeatedly given to propagandists claiming that our ‘shamefully low immigration quotas’ were proof of racism.”
“One would therefore expect population to be covered repeatedly, and from all possible angles, much as ‘the economy’ is. Instead, the subject is taboo…you could watch a whole year of the ABC’s TV News and 7.30 Report and learn only that our high immigration policy is good and inevitable, and that anyone who questions it is probably a secret member of the Hitler Youth League.”
“ABC News misrepresents the majority of Australians who oppose high immigration as a small and suspect minority while presenting the small minority who endorse it as a responsible mainstream opinion.”
“Over the past 10 years each major ABC news program has ignored about 100 timely and well-informed releases from Sustainable Population Australia.”
“During years when Australia’s per capita migrant intake was the highest of the word’s 200-plus countries, no one succeeded in mentioning this fact on any of ABC TVs several news or current affairs programs, though many tried.”
A betrayal of colleagues
“At a time when the ABC needs all the friends it can get, and needs to be able to trade on a reputation for unquestioned objectivity, the partiality of its news programs is a betrayal of colleagues in so many other sections of the ABC.”
“Among its many acts of censorship, ABC TV News long suppressed the fact that the Australian Conservation Foundation and the Australian Democrats had policies calling for zero net migration. Yet as soon as the One Nation party announced a zero net migration policy, the ABC cited it as evidence of ‘racism.’”
What could the reason be – “institutional culture” or “well-placed bigots”?
“The failure of ABC news and current affairs programs through nearly three decades to deal with population issues – the most important matter facing Australia today – may have less to do with individuals than with a pervasive institutional culture.”
“… there is also a possibility that it may … be the work of a handful of well-placed bigots.”
LEAVE A COMMENT LETTING ME KNOW WHAT YOU THINK COULD BE THE REASON FOR THIS ABC BIAS. COULD IT BE ‘INSTITUTIONAL CULTURE’ OR SOME WELL-PLACED BIGOTS’ WITHIN THE ORGANISATION INFLUENCING THE GOOD WORK OF OTHERS? AND TELL ME YOUR SUGGESTIONS ON HOW WE CAN GET THE ABC TO REFLECT THE POPULATION GROWTH ISSUE IN A PROPER, PROFESSIONAL, BALANCED WAY. ~ Dick