ABC stops banging its drum

ABC stops banging its drum, editorial at The Australian.

When the ABC decided to branch into online opinion by launching The Drum website in 2009, even its ideological allies were rattled.

The politically progressive publisher of Crikey at the time, Eric Beecher, spoke of the ABC’s “tanks rolling up” on his lawn. He had a point. Here was an innovative start-up paying its way in a new market and creating jobs by providing left-of-centre analysis and opinion in competition to established players such as this newspaper. Suddenly a publicly funded competitor with enormous resources and no need to turn a dollar followed this lead, competing for readers and likely robbing it of paying customers.

This was ABC mission creep — what began as a public radio broadcaster in the 1930s had morphed into television and in the digital age had effectively become a newspaper and magazine as well. …

The decision yesterday to close The Drum website does not, sadly, seem to be a retreat from this expansionism. …

The ABC’s editorial policies and code of practice expressly state the need to resist any implication the corporation has editorial opinions. Yet The Drum has been full of usually green-left views spruiked by many of its most prominent journalists.