Friday, December 9, 2011

Boycott The ABC

THERE is much to be said for Sinclair Davidson, of RMIT and Catallaxy, who seems a very sensible fellow. But there is one of his irregular endeavours which he really needs to renounce: writing for The Drum. He is not alone in this, as a small contingent of free marketeers, libertarians and conservatives also places its thoughts on Jonathan Green's taxpayer-funder iteration of Crikey!, the site he formerly edited and whose politics and journalistic standards, such as they are, must have been prime recommendations when he was recruited by the ABC chapter of the New Establishment. The argument could be made that Sinclair and others are doing their bit to remedy The Drum's daily demonstation of the liberal limbo -- low as you can go while leaning way, way to the left. Unfortunately, while it is always nice to see flashes of good sense in a madhouse, the token presence of reputable sorts at The Drum is counterproductive.

Sooner or later, unless climate change drowns Canberra in the meantime, we can expect to see Prime Minister Abbott  set about the ABC with axe, cudgel and, ideally, thousands of letters informing current employees of their need to find new jobs. This will come as a terrible shock to Jonathan Holmes, who will blame Alan Jones, and to all the other members of collective, who will not enjoy being reminded that "work" is what their viewers and listeners are doing while they enjoy three-month summers breaks. The move also will be denounced in the Fairfax press, where the locusts who have eaten the heart out of fairness, in-house intelligence and truth will have been looking to the ABC for their further, low-exertion employment.

To grasp why Sinclair's well-intentioned urge to reach the widest audience is so misguided, picture the scene as the Senate Estimates Commitee gives Mark Scott the rounds of the kitchen for his indulgence of ideology and inaccuracy. That will be the moment when Fred Hilmer's nephew reaches into his briefcase and produces a sheaf of articles by Sinclair and others. Look here, he will say, we are open to opinions of all varieties and this portfolio of rabid extremism proves it. What Scott will not say is that, as Sinclair almost noted yesterday, any example of conservative thought on The Drum is published not to promote civil discussion or rational analysis but as an invitation for the site's commenting audience to let the bile pour forth.

Full disclosure: Some months ago, Green invited the Professor to contribute, but his letter went unanswered. What would be the point of allowing oneself and one's thoughts to become tokens and, within minutes of publication, an amusement for cretins who have learned how to click the "comment" tab?

In a perfect world, shunning the ABC would not stop at The Drum. How long have Coalition voters bemoaned the ABC's leftoid bias? Yet every day, at least when the current affairs shows are not taking 12-week breaks, conservatives dutifully present themselves for hectoring by Virginia Jones-Holmes and all the other composite characters extruded by the national broadcaster's groupthink. Yet we never do a damn thing to stop it, other than whine.

Wouldn't it be lovely if, the next time Tony Abbott or one of his colleagues is summoned to an ABC studio, he and they simply let the opportunity go through to the keeper. It would, at the very least, put the ABC on the back foot for a change, obliging Scott to explain why his organisation is not fouled with bias. Lost opportunities to spread the righteous word? No, not really. The larger chunk of the ABC's audience, the bit on the port side of politics, is not open to argument or persuasion, while the right-thinking minority would cheer long-awaited evidence that its side's flag-bearers are serious about doing something more constructive than grumbling amongst themselves.

Realism says that it is too much to expect a politician to spurn a microphone, even one that distorts his words. But for the rest of us, boycotting the ABC should be an easy choice -- indeed, an obligatory one.  


  1. On the other hand John Howard never recoiled from the ABC and gave as good as he got. But I think Geoff Kennett is a better example of the way to treat the progressive media -- boycott. I know he ignored The Age and I seem to recall he never appeared on the ABC. Perhaps a more knowledgeable reader can confirm.

  2. Elizabeth (Lizzie) B.December 9, 2011 at 2:35 PM

    These taxpayer-funded lefty pow-wow sites are as biased as biased binding (a simile proudly extracted from my failed needlework days) and need to be called as such, whether on them, or preferably, off them. I hope the Coalition has some people doing some tallying up to provide ammunition for the beheadings to come. Volunteers anyone? - no Certificate 111 needed. Anything Wendy can do, etc...

    As for the ABC, turn it off. I mostly do, and feel better for it. As with Fairfax, refuse to engage. Guerilla warfare tactics best used at present.

  3. Whats the going rate for publishing drivel on the ABC Drum? The only reason I ask is that they seem to reheat a lot of stuff already printed elsewhere. Especially "Climate Change is Really and Truly Happening Swear to God Cross my Heart!" and stuff by Robert Manne.

  4. Anon, I was given to understand that it's $200, which seems a tad on the low side. If someone like Bob Ellis has to serially humiliate himself on the Drum for only $200 a pop, then it's very sad but I suppose he doesn't have the phsyical or mental stamina for the more dignified jobs that old poor guys usually have to take on: driving taxis and/or delivering flyers.

  5. "Kennett ... never appeared on the ABC"

    Jeff Kennett did an interview on Enough Rope. Perhaps still not trusting the ABC he insisted the interview only cover his current career in Beyond Blue and not be about politics. He didn't quite get his wish. Funny that.

  6. Watching ABC/SBS news with the sound turned OFF, is as instructive as with it turned on. The commentaries are so predictable, one could write the scripts oneself to match the footage. The flickering screen, and the moving image, without the partisans spouting their agitprop, make for idle distraction whilst the evening meal is underway.
    There is hope though. Even the ABC cannot stand in the way of our weather systems drifting from left to right on a nightly basis.

  7. The Drum is a great reality check for anyone who wishes to see how deeply the supposed latte types think about politics and a lot else. It is interesting to put things to them about their reasoning which they obviously prefer not to consider. Obviously anything to do with the IPA has no place on "Their ABC" and so, for that matter is anything from the Liberal Party. When some see the ABC as Murdoch-influenced, what else can you do but take the mickey out of them.

  8. How about turning the TV off?
    Mine got unplugged about 15 years ago, and truthfully, you get over the craving in about two months.

  9. I'm sorry. How does one boycott the ABC in a was that will have an impact? Don't we pay for it whether we like it or not?

  10. I think Abbott does need to go on the ABC. John Howard understood this perfectly. However, every other shadow minister, should keep well away from the ABC (and especially dills like Bishop and there mincing poodle). There's simply nothing to be gain, except, perhaps, pandering to one's own ego. A lot can and frequently is lost in a moment.

  11. Boycott the A B stinking C? Legislate to force the bastards to start telling the truth for a change! That would be a start. One of the most misleading taxpayer funded bunch of lefties in the country. And we just sit back and cop it! Day after day!

  12. Sensational. Don't play their game. Ignore them. Why subject yourself to their vile techniques? The ABC should be boycotted until they fulfill their charter.

  13. The larger question I have is that why, in this age of digital plenty, where there are literally thousands of news sources available - do we have a state funded commissariat of information? Surely the ABC should have been privatised by now? Let the luvvies fund it themselves.

  14. PhillipGeorge(c)2011December 9, 2011 at 11:16 PM

    Prof, it is off topic - but then maybe not - it might be on topic as being the lively evidence of my immediate boycott to be changing topic away from "whats their names?"

    I got a "Season's Greetings" Email today:

    To which I replied:-

    Dear XXXXXXXXXXX et al,

    rather than "Season's Greetings"

    I really wish you had the guts simply to say, "Merry Christmas Everyone",

    One reason for this is that the Western World is based on the Christian heritage and that alone. Without Christendom there was no "West".

    Another reason for this is that the vast majority of people celebrate this "season" because it really is "Christmas".

    Otherwise, you might say "Merry Christmas Christians", "Happy Hannukah Jews" and "Happy Winter Solstice Pagans"

    Political Correctness, you might wish to observe, is killing Australia much the same way it is devestating bits of Europe. It is the very antithesis of openness and honesty.

    "Merry Christmas Christians", "Happy Hannukah Jews" and "Happy Winter Solstice Pagans".

    The Star on your email-card is a reminder of the Star of Bethlehem, which points to the Jewish Prophets' promise of a Messiah, and the actuality of the birth of Jesus Christ.

    May you celebrate Him, above all else, this coming "Christmas"; and may the peace He gives, and only He can give, be upon you.




  15. I think I agree.
    It's true that Howard went on the ABC, but as the PM it was his job to appear on prominent news outlets, and to not do so would be to squib. In other words, as leader, it was his obligation to follow the market. That's not the case for our commentariat, who have a product - opinion and analysis - and can choose what distribution networks to use.

    On the other hand (he said, thinking out loud), to boycott the ABC is effectively to wage an ideological war against it. This reveals you to be a partisan, whereas the pose of the commentator is independence.

  16. If the ABC Drum pay only $200 per article then it explains why their contributors look so youthful, inexperienced and fanciful or just old farts desperate for a few bucks. Also explains why old Bob Ellis wants to gag any disclosure of payment from The Drum.
    Kind of embarrassing for him.

  17. Any conservative thoughts on the Bolt blog are also a cue for the puring forth of leftist bile, since his moderators' commitment to free speech appears to have overwhelmed common sense.
    I would suggest a compromise. Allow the ABC to continue to do the entertainment shows and BBC re- runs, but cross to FOX News Australia (coming soon I hope) for every news break or current affairs matter. This would defang the monster that they have so successfully created on the taxpayer dollar.
    Keep a close watch on what those friendly types at Play School are telling the littlies too!

  18. ""work" is what their viewers and listeners are doing while they enjoy three-month summers breaks"

    In fact, ABC employees who work on roster get six weeks holidays - three days fewer than journalists in the private sector.

    (Although, if you work at Kununurra, the ABC will give you an extra seven days off for working in an isolated locality.)

  19. Anonymous 11:45, don't worry about the littlies, no where has the decline at the ABC been as great as amongst kids. Pay TV, the internet, PlaystationTM, etc, have had a massive effect on the ABC's audience share.

    As for defanging the monster, and what a truly ugly beast it is, that's right. Just avoid the ABC for all news and political comment. And also spread the word when you're in Asia on business that Aust TV is an instrument of Australia's foreign policy. Hey, I always do!

  20. The ABC have a very low turn over rate of staff. People start there at age 16 and leave at 65. I once worked for them and noticed the same faces on a story about the ABC on last nights 7.30 Report 20 years later! They never leave! They are like some genital disease. The only way you can change the culture at the ABC is to sack the lot. Fiddling with their budget won't solve much - as like all sheltered workshops this action will only cut their program output which is already minimal at best but the culture will never reduce staff numbers. We are stuck with them unless PM Abbott privatizes the mob and sells the lot to a Chinese consortium...

  21. Elizabeth (Lizzie) B.December 10, 2011 at 11:00 AM

    Yeah, Rake was a good series. I even purchased the DVD's, a rare compliment from me for an Australian production. However, even there, they just couldn't help themselves. The episode with the 'shock jock' woman was pure leftist vindictiveness against the right, written into script beyond characterisation requirements. The general leftism of the series was only made vaguely bearable by the fact that the series was clearly depicting people who were trying to live and deal within a leftist agenda - viz Rake's Labor parents, Barney's wife's lefty causes, Rake's psychologist ex-wife's conflicted inner-west attitudes about being 'suburban' and maintaining strong parental guidance, Missy's Labor Candidate lover etc. etc. We will wait a long time for the ABC to present us with honest non-leftist dramas showing thinking, self-aware and interesting characters in suburbia fighting the good fight to bring up their kids against lefty venality and intrusion into their lives, with a property developer as the good bloke hero coming to the rescue. Ain't gonna happen, and as the inverse of what they do, maybe it shouldn't. But the best TV drama, cool analytic and impartial distancing from subject, a la the early Mad Men series, is clearly beyond the ABC. Don Draper as Hamlet, suits me.

    Happy Christmas. Careful grandad doesn't electrocute himself on those lights - a true suburban tragedy (or even a comedy?) in the making.

  22. :The ABC have a very low turn over rate of staff. People start there at age 16 and leave at 65."

    And you understand why that is, don't you?

    The obvious and correct answer is it's because they don't have to work.

    You're right about the 20 years. This is a true story:

    I turned off Lateline, mid sentence in 2007. On tuning once during 2011, I saw the same faces, discussing the same topic, picking up the conversation where it left off mid sentence.

    BTW, that Mark Scott sure is a PC, Fairfax style dud.

  23. The ABC is a sheltered workshop for useless leftist losers. Of course they're not going to leave.

  24. Yea Gods!
    I would have thought any ABC site that opened its arms (Drum that rolled) for Robert Manne would NOT be a site any self respecting commentator would WANT to write for!

  25. Professor,

    Far be it from me to criticise your work, but I did notice what I assume to be a spelling error in your statement "Virginia Jones-Holmes and all the other composite characters extruded by the national broadcaster's groupthink". I am sure you meant "excreted" rather than "extruded"

    I am actually going to swim against the tide here and offer a word of praise for Their ABC.

    The noted anti-jihadi campaigner, Robert Spencer, director of the JihadWatch organisation and author of ten books on Islam, was recently in Australia touring most capital cities and holding public meetings to discuss the threat to the western world from stealth jihad.

    In Brisbane, he was invited to speak on ABC radio, and, surprise, surprise, given a fair hearing.

    The interviewer, Steve Austin, asked pertinent questions, gave Robert time to answer, didn't belittle his guest, and didn't allow his own social and political views to distort the interview. It was one of the best, unbiased interviews I have heard on the ABC; so much so that I am now of the opinion that there is hope for that organisation yet.

    If it is of interest, the interview can be heard at:

  26. Anonymous banana bender: Steve Austin is the exception to the ABC rule. If his colleagues followed his example, the only objection to the ABC would be having to pay for it. When in Qld -- not as often as I would like -- I always think it would be nice to bring him home as a replacement for JOn Faine.

  27. I think this is the wrong forum for someone like me, but the Austin example only reinforces the problem with the ABC.

    Sure it's balanced when Jihad is the topic, understandably. But if instead it were a discussion involving the interests of, let's call them traditional Australians , the ABC would consistently undermine those interests.

    It ALWAYS supports an establishment position on broader global issues -- that's actually it's raison d'ĂȘtre. There's nothing new here.

  28. To anyone foolish enough to Uncle Tom at the D(r)um(b), just remember that by appearing there, you are associating with them, and supporting them. Allow me to share one of my favourite quotes.

    "In the SS, one met a better class of people."

    - SS Officer Walther Schellenberg

  29. Professor,

    This "anonymous banana bender" actually lives further to the west. I live up in the hills over Perth where I have a wonderful view over the Indian Ocean all the way to Madagascar and the Seychelles (or Rottnest Island at least).

    My praise for Steve Austin comes not only for the unbiased nature of his interview with Robert Spencer, but also because of the absence of other television and radio interviews by the self proclaimed, breast beating "champions of free speech" in Australia.

    Apart from a short interview on 2GB in Sydney, they were completely mute.

    Here we had a real champion of free speech, an author of ten very revealing books on Islam (including two New York Times best-sellers), the director of one of the world's most frequently visited blogs, a man with a multi-million dollar bounty on his head from AQ, a man who now must travel everywhere with bodyguards, and what did these "champions of free speech" in Australia do?

    Nothing, zilch, zero.

    Hypocrisy abounds.

  30. Sell the ABC and use the proceeds to pay down the national debt which is currently running at $221 Billion dollars and increasing at about $2 Billion per week.
    This will teach the Left that actions have consequences.

  31. Thanks for your kind words. You shouldn't discount the intense satisfaction one gets from taunting lefties - even from within the belly of the beast. They have no sanctuary.

  32. I am so on board with that fine idea Winston 'Actions have consequences' - Please let it be so.