ABC gave us groupthink on steroids

ABC gave us groupthink on steroids, by Chris Mitchell.

Was the ABC deliberately biased towards the ALP at the federal election, or was its gross fail just a problem of groupthink? …

The ABC is the best-resourced news organisation in the country, paid for by taxpayers who vote across the political spectrum. In Queensland, which swung strongly to the Coalition, the ABC’s many state-based staff apparently failed to see the trends in their own backyard. The ABC has news ­bureaus in Brisbane, the Gold Coast, the Sunshine Coast, Toowoomba, Bundaberg, Rockhampton, Mackay, Cairns, Townsville, Longreach and Mount Isa. …

[Chris Kenny on Sky] said no experienced political journalist could take a 51-49 poll to the ALP with a margin of error close to 3 per cent and say for sure Labor would win. Kenny asked why, if there were a range of views at Sky News, did literally everyone at the much larger ABC fall in behind the Labor narrative? …

Later last Monday night, Paul Barry on the ABC’s Media Watch lamented the bias of News Corp Australia papers, which largely got the election right, and defended the ABC, which he thought ran a fair and balanced campaign. It did not and the nation knows it. Viewers saw the maudlin performance of its election-night hosts — Barrie Cassidy, Laura Tingle, Annabel Crabb, Andrew Probyn, Michael Rowland and Leigh Sales — as they realised Labor was losing.

The nation had heard Tingle on the ABC’s 7.30 throughout the previou­s week proclaiming both sides knew the Coalition was gone. It had heard the anti-Adani campaigning of Radio National’s Fran Kelly and ABC Sydney breakfast radio host Wendy Harmer. …

News, like its Sky News subsid­iary, employs journalists with a ­diversity of views. Think of this paper’s writers from the left: Troy Bramston, Phillip Adams, Graham Richardson, Alan Kohler and, from the left of the Coalition, Peter van Onselen and Niki Savva.

The Courier-Mail has copped a bucketing on social media but its national affairs editor, Dennis Atkin­s, is a former Goss government staffer, as was former business writer and political columnist Paul Syvret. Long-time columnist Terry Sweetman is of the left. The nation’s biggest website, News Corp Australia’s news.com.au, is very left-wing.

This is as it should be because readers of the biggest newspapers in the country have diverse views. As do viewers of the ABC. Yet the ABC does not represent a diversity of views. …

The big issues:

Voters are smarter than journ­alists think. They were right on climate­ and Adani. They know Australia, with 1.3 per cent of global CO2 emissions, can’t change the climate. They support the aspirat­ion that is anathema to the public service culture of the ABC.

And on franking credits they knew Labor was just wrong. Franking credits are a refund for tax paid by a company to remove double taxation. Paying refunds to people who pay no tax is not a subsidy­. And self-funded retirees on low incomes were the big losers. Rich superannuants mostly do pay tax because they have investments in property and shares outside their super. The ABC should have understood this.

In the last week, I’ve met or heard of several people who are normally Labor supporters but effectively voted Liberal because of religious freedom. A progressive nonsense too far.