Friday, October 26, 2012

"The ABC Is Unaware...."

EARLIER THIS year, ratings collapsed for the Canberra edition of ABC's nightly news, but not to worry, as the senior news executive, John Mulhall, assured the local rag, "'I don't think it means any startling changes, and one thing we do know is that ABC audiences don't like change, or not big change or sudden change.'' Rejoicing in the national broadcaster's immunity from the tawdry business of turning a profit, which tends to concentrate the thoughts of commercial operators, the quality journalist continued: ''We have no plans to change anything but we will certainly be looking at what we are doing and we will be trying to get some quality audience feedback and we'd be more than happy to hear from our audiences."

Well some viewers, anyway, and recent correspondent Bill Parker evidently falls in the less-welcome category. Mind you, it might have been Parker's topic which inspired Mulhall's explanation of what, to an ABC journalist, constitutes a story worth reporting. Via Michael Smith, whose blog continues putting mainstream organs to shame (emphasis added at the Billabong):

Dear Mr Parker,

Thank you for your email regarding Mr Blewitt's statements. The ABC is aware of these statements but we do not at this stage believe it warrants the attention of our news coverage.

To the extent that it may touch tangentially on a former role of the Prime Minister, we know The Australian newspaper maintains an abiding interest in events 17 years ago at the law firm Slater and Gordon, but the ABC is unaware of any allegation in the public domain which goes to the Prime Minister's integrity. If indeed Ms Gillard has had questions to answer, ABC News reported those answers from her lengthy media conference of 24/8/12 in which she exhausted all questions on the issue.

However, if any allegation is ever raised which might go to the Prime Minister's integrity, the ABC would of course make inquiries into it and seek to report it. As for matters concerning Mr Bruce Wilson, ABC News will cover the case against him as it proceeds.
Once again thank you for your query.

Best regards,

John Mulhall
News Editor, ABC News
Your taxes at work, folks. Or rather, not at work -- and unlikely to start work anytime soon.

UPDATE: How to explain a news director so determined not to pursue news? Close association with Canberra University academic and Finko's get-the-gag offsider Matthew Ricketson may help to explain such selective blindness.

Mulhall is the bloke with ears on the far right of the back row. Ricketty is two empty spaces to his left.



  1. Old Ranga of VictoriaOctober 26, 2012 at 1:07 PM

    I have been a listener/viewer of the ABC for 70+ years. I have a happy memory of marching along the lines in my grandparents' living room carpet in 1944 in time to the theme music for the ABC radio news. A trusted news service then, and greatly valued by those families with husbands and sons overseas fighting in WW2.

    Then I proudly became an Argonaut, and I still know my ship name and number. Valued and trusted information came over the air from those remarkable committed Argonauts' Club experts. The Country Hour kept me sane in the 1960s while coping with long hours, a young family and limited income. The ABC news continued to supply me with information that - yet again - was valued and trusted.

    In the 1980s I worked as a journalist in Melbourne. The ABC then was viewed as second to none for its cadet training, and the top newsroom for any young broadcaster to crack a job. Poor pay compared to commercial radio and TV, but there was professional pride in the job done and the industry street cred was second to none. If you worked for the ABC News you were somebody, and you were expected to go the extra mile to ensure you got your story right. So you did.

    Today? I listen almost exclusively to music on ABC Classic FM where the same traditional standards of professionalism are still upheld. Superb music presentation by people who know their stuff and do their job well. But ABC news and current affairs? Half of me gets so angry that my day is soured; the other half wants to throw up. So I've given away Fran Kelly in the morning and Leigh Sales at night because my world is not worth wrecking. When the hourly radio news bulletin interrupts the classical music during the day, I listen with detached cynical amusement (having already learnt the real news from The Australian, Prof Bunyip, Michael Smith, and the redoubtable Andrew Bolt) mainly to hear what the ABC ignores or swallows whole.

    A sad, sad sheltered workshop is the best description of what was once a respected structural pillar of our country, our democracy and our way of life. Valued and trusted? Not any more.

    1. O.R, I, too, remember the Argonauts and The Search for the Golden Boomerang. What fun they were for us young ones. I also developed a real love of classical music through the ABC radio broadcasts and many was the Saturday afternoon that I would sit, ears glued to the radio, listening to the tennis being played at ... I think it was, White City, in those days. I vowed then that when I was grown up, I would go and see the tennis live, for myself, and I have never lost that interest in it. For an isolated little country child, ABC radio did have a very big impact on my life, so it is very sad indeed to see the way the ABC has ended up being barely a shadow of its former self. Very sad, indeed.

    2. I'm a few years younger than you and I came here as an immigrant in 1976, so I don't have the growing-up memories; but I can remember when I trusted the ABC news.

      Perhaps 15 so years ago, a friend who has many years of experience in both ABC and commercial news told me that the ABC was getting a bit sloppy with their facts. Of course, I didn't believe him. A year or so later he showed me where the ABC had just regurgitated a press release as fact. It only took one or two more examples of the ABC's perfidy to convince me.

      Since then, I have stopped watching the ABC News and stopped listening to the ABC radio. It's just too distressing to witness a once respected institution become a tout for the Green/Labor abomination.

      My wife still watches the ABC News, but she's almost totally deaf so I don't think she's being polluted.

  2. Ahhh .... it is a rare skill indeed to be able to combine abject ignorance with huffy condescension all in just three paragraphs.
    I particularly love " .... the ABC is unaware of anything in the public domain ..."
    Well duh!
    Is it not the job of NEWS organisations to find out stuff that is NOT in the public domain and publish it?
    I believe it is referred to by real journalists as "breaking a story".

    The combination of "ABC" and "Canberra" says it all.

    The Irish Lion

  3. "… to his left."
    Er … that pushes me out of frame to the right, I think …


  4. Hey Prof, I used to work for the ABC in Canberra many moons ago and understand the ABC culture very well. They were glory days back then. I'd start work late at 11am and then off for a boozy lunch at 12pm and not back till 3.30pm staggering around thinking about work and what should be done next for the local bulletin at 7pm.

    Then a quick look out the window to see if the manager had spotted us. He didn't. He was still out at lunch himself and frankly couldn't care less!

    Breaking stories was foreign to our work ethic. We collected a generous salary and were paid the same if we did any work or not. I used to wonder and occasionally felt a bit guilty at how long these glory days would last?

    The manager one day pissed off the general manager out of the Sydney office and in a pique of one upmanship the Sydney guy closed the local news service to spite the local manager who would now be a manager with no staff! He would have to manage himself.

    We all given generous redundancies and a gift of a leatherman tool. (A pair of quality pliers) paid for out of the local managers ABC taxpayer funded slush fund.

    About a year later someone in head office had a brain wave and decided to again do a local TV news service in Canberra. All the usual rats returned back to their old jobs.

    So it goes. Except me. I found a different career. All true I tell you. Nothing changes at the good 'ol ABC. In fact the same faces are still there, if you care to take a closer look...

  5. I wonder if the ABC will comment on the entirely coincidental loss by WA Archives of the relevant AWU file following on the loss of the documents by S&G.

  6. Mildly off topic, but what do the Prof and his readers think about the notion that it might be more approriate to refer to Ricketson and his ilk - people who, err, work at institutions like the UC, a former teacher's college where the ATAR cut off for most courses is around 65 - as 'para-academics'??

    1. Consuela by referring to them as "para" you may seriously offend a group of people who are actually essential to our community and provide a selfless service; i.e. Ambulance personnel who are known as para-medics. Ricketson et al are not fit to be seen in the company of an "ambo".

  7. I haven't seen any reference to Barry O's "we make wind turbines here in China" remark at "our" ABC. Or anywhere for that matter. Anyone would think that they were biased or something. *wink*

    They loved "binders" but not "China turbines".

    1. More disgustingly, how many times would the New York Times / Guardian / Fairfax / ABC have had the Benghazi debacle on the front page/lead story if GWB was the incumbent?

  8. "the ABC is unaware of any allegation in the public domain"

    On the flip side it's not unusual for outlets, when it suits them, to be the original source of the allegation.

    ABC will sit on their hands until the allegation is planted in their face attached to a brick.

  9. Looks like Reitmiester from Zacks Chicago USA.

  10. The Old and Unimproved DaveOctober 26, 2012 at 4:24 PM

    I don’t know how the ABC can claim that they support the concept of an Australian Republic when they're all such precious little princesses.

  11. "...the ABC is unaware of any allegation in the public domain which goes to the Prime Minister's integrity."

    Richard Nixon must be turning in his grave that there were no sycophants like this conga line of suck holes when he was under the pump from actual investigative journalists.

    1. Steady on.
      Trying to work out whether the Prof is sponsored by Kodak or Fuji,etc.

    2. Elizabeth (Lizzie) B.October 27, 2012 at 7:29 AM

      Yes Jupes. I'd say they were 'blissfully' unaware. The ABC is the home of more than three 'wise' monkeys: hearing, seeing and speaking no taint on our lovely and blameless PM.

      One day they will have to answer for this.

  12. And we all know what the ABC would be doing if Abbott has been the lawyer with the stench of the "Workplace Reform Association" matter tied to a love affir with a married colleague, and with accusations of what on the face of it seems illegal actions or inactions and now two particular sets of relevant information records, having gone missing--one of them from a state government archive!! He would be hounded out of the country as they led every hour's bulletin with their cries of SHAME!

  13. ... we know The Australian newspaper maintains an abiding interest in events 17 years ago at the law firm Slater and Gordon ...

    Ah, yes, the sneering, BBC-style bitchiness we've all come to expect from the ABC; particularly its 'men'. Very professional, indeed.

  14. When will their ABC be brought back to charter or sold off..?!

  15. The ABC rot started with Allan Ashbolt in the early '60s producing Four Corners. He came from the "arts" and thought the ABC was unbalanced and conservative after years of Menzies. He was a troublesome maverick but his real damage started in ABC Radio where he gathered a dozen or so young like-minded producers around him ..."Ashbolt's Kindergarten". They were not interested in promoting the "balance" Ashbolt wanted. They were outright propagandists of the Left. They seeded the universal imbalance now entrenched thoughout ABC news and current affairs. The ABC needs a new Ashbolt but of the troublesome Right.

    Pedro of Adelaide

  16. You guys just don't get it. It's not biased. As John Howard stated, and Tony Abbott would say, "I and the Coalition support the ABC." The coalition say this over and over but ppl still winge.