Bias at the ABC on gay marriage could engender a silent revolt?

Bias at the ABC on gay marriage could engender a silent revolt? By Caroline Marcus.

It all started when a contact at the ABC forwarded me a memo which had been circulated to all ABC News and Radio staff. The email reminded journalists that some 40 per cent of Australians do not support same-sex marriage and it was the taxpayer-funded broadcaster’s statutory duty to remain impartial on this matter, including across employees’ social media accounts. …

Unsurprisingly, it didn’t take long to find several examples of ABC staff still flagrantly breaching the directive. Hell, in the six hours after the latest memo was sent, ABC News’ own official Facebook page published five posts from the pro-SSM side, one that was neutral and none from the No case.

But the most high-profile of those who’d gone rogue was Emma Alberici, the host of Lateline. Days earlier, she’d begun an interview with Finance Minister Mathias Cormann suggesting party room bickering was endangering vulnerable young gay people. She went on to claim the wider public doesn’t want a plebiscite, although anyone who’s taken even a cursory glance at the polls knows this to be patently false. But it was Alberici’s social media activity which proved most illuminating: she regularly lashes out at defenders of traditional marriage and openly admits she can’t get her head around why some may oppose change. …

Is the gay marriage Australia’s Brexit/Trump moment? Probably not, but there are some commonalities…

Certainly, the arrogance in some sections of the mainstream media about assured victory and moral superiority, coupled with the taunting of those opposed to change as deplorable, were eerily familiar. I watched one openly gay friend post on his private Facebook page that he was abstaining from the plebiscite because he was personally against same-sex marriage. He was so viciously attacked by his own so-called friends, he deleted the post.

I made it clear from the start I was sympathetic to gay marriage, to the point of mentally planning my wedding guest outfits, but went on to point out that some Yes campaigners’ strategy of intimidation and suppression of other views would almost certainly push not just the undecided away, but many inclined to be supportive, too. …

I was well-acquainted with Twitter lynch mobs after years of writing columns, but even I was taken aback by the ferocity of the online attacks that ensued. This was more brutal than the times I’d argued the merits of capital punishment, written in support of Israel and taken on bloodthirsty jihadists put together. …

There’ll always be a special place in my heart for the brave soul who trawled through my Instagram feed to find a photograph of my baby nephew under which he could comment: ‘hope he’s not gay’. A casual observer could be forgiven for thinking I’d argued homosexuals should be hanged, drawn and quartered at dawn. …

A public shaming by the rainbow thought police is hardly going to dissuade me from speaking out, but you can bet it will make others think twice about expressing their views openly if they don’t conform unequivocally to the groupthink.

All the more reason to suspect we may well see a silent revolt at the postbox.

hat-tip Stephen Neil