Michelle Guthrie’s sacking is all about the ABC’s digital march

Michelle Guthrie’s sacking is all about the ABC’s digital march, by Chris Kenny.

Those welcoming the sacking of Michelle Guthrie as a long overdue shake up of a delinquent ABC ought to think again. The rationale behind this decision does not augur well for ABC reform or for media balance in this country.

Make no mistake, if Guthrie had been sacked for her demonstrable failure to rein in the journalistic excesses of the national broadcaster I would have been lauding the move. After the organisation’s worst journalistic week in a decade – running jejune conspiracy theories as news after completely missing the political tensions and policy imbroglios that led to the demise of Malcolm Turnbull – it is clear to all that the green Left groupthink at the organisation is running out of control.

But this sacking has nothing to do with journalistic standards, the drift to the lunar Left and alienation of mainstream Australian audiences. It is all about the relentless march of the ABC into every available digital media space. …

ABC chairman Justin Milne has refused to detail reasons for Guthrie’s dismissal, even daring to suggest she had done a “good job” while adding that “her leadership style was not the leadership style that we needed” in the future. Yet when pressed about how the ABC could improve Milne went straight to “modernisation” and a digital infrastructure project called Project Jetstream. …

I have long argued that the expansion of the ABC charter to include digital media services — that happened under the Gillard Labor government with bipartisan Coalition support — was a mistake. It has given the national broadcaster carte blanche to expand into any media market it chooses. …

Commercial media operators have to be nimble and innovative to find new services, products and markets as well as models to make them pay; the ABC just dips into public funds to follow them into every crevice and crowd them out with free content — free, green Left content.