Leftist wonderland at the ABC

Leftist wonderland at the ABC, by Tony Thomas.

Kerry O’Brien in his mammoth memoir argues that his decades of ABC TV presenting were not Left-biased. It’s an easy accusation as he was press secretary to Gough Whitlam and Lionel Bowen, and wanted the same role with Bill Hayden. But he says no-one has yet demonstrated a Labor bias in his interviewing. …

Interviewing Paul Keating, O’Brien, who had interrupted, got this back: “Why don’t you have this interview by yourself? You could talk for the whole program… Maybe I could just sit here and you could carry on with a monologue.” …

O’Brien 73, fronted Lateline for six years, 7.30 Report for 15 years and Four Corners for five years, collecting six Walkley Awards. For decades political tragics followed federal events and elections as filtered through O’Brien. …

On joining Opposition Leader Whitlam as press secretary in 1977, he dropped in to the next-door office of Whitlam’s deputy Tom Uren to say hi. He was ushered out with the advice that Uren and Whitlam weren’t on speaking terms and Uren’s chief of staff had banned all contact with Whitlam’s staff, as stunning an illustration of dysfunction as you could imagine. …

He loathes Tony Abbott and implores the Liberal party to return from the right to the Menzian centre. He writes, “It is still startling to contemplate how Malcolm Turnbull built the nation’s hopes so high with his manifesto for a better nation when he challenged the Popeye of Australian politics, Tony Abbott; and how quickly he destroyed those hopes because he wasn’t a strong enough leader.” …

Another whom O’Brien likes is John Hewson, Liberal opposition leader 1990-94: relaxed, personable, broad-thinking and today, potentially, a much more attractive proposition for the electorate. No wonder the ABC has Hewson on every five minutes.

O’Brien offers the government an even more poisoned chalice. Oozing compassion for ‘refugees’ –- no mention of drowned ones -– he pleads for a bi-partisan solution team led by our best-credentialed, most respected international elder statesman -– to wit, Labor’s one-time foreign minister Gareth ‘Biggles’ Evans. …

O’Brien’s a fat encyclopaedia of Leftist clichés and memes. He even seems equivocal about the fall of the Soviet Union which left capitalism exposed. It no longer had an enemy to point at and say, there’s an ism that’s worse than us… He had wondered if capitalism would get even nastier because of its baser instincts and hunger for profits. …

Trump derangement? You bet. Mr Mueller can wrap up his inquiry — O’Brien has confirmed Russian collusion. …

He also suffers derangement about that supposed extreme ideologist Rupert Murdoch and he laments the moral decline of the Australian, which loves to shut down important policy debates. The Age and SMH, by contrast, sit vaguely around the centre in their political coverage.