Nothing fake about the Australian ABC’s vaccine bias

Nothing fake about the Australian ABC’s vaccine bias. By Chris Mitchell.

ABC viewers love the confirmation bias they get when Media Watch tells them vaccine hesitancy is being spread by right-wing “fake news” sources.

Yet Aunty needs only to look at its own radio current affairs programs since March to see how the national broadcaster has helped drive vaccine hesitancy. …

The government was already worried then about the ABC’s coverage of rare blood clots in Europe after AstraZeneca vaccination: “Government ministers and health bureaucrats told this column they worry the relentless focus of ABC bulletins may have overheated concerns (about Astra) among the general public. There’s a thirst among left-wing demographics for endless stories about Coalition incompetence, but editors need to balance that with an eye on the national interest — and in Australia that is definitely a successful vaccination program.” …

In a politically polarised media market place there is less room for balance and accuracy.

The libertarian anti-lockdown right attacks the Morrison government for being too left-wing and insists — in the face of obvious real world evidence to the contrary — that there is no proof lockdowns work.

On the left, the ABC and Guardian Australia advocate for ever more stringent health measures and push for ever more federal financial support, ignoring our coming trillion dollar deficit.

Neither side acknowledges the obvious: on health and economic measures Australia has been the world’s best pandemic performer.

Ironically that is a factor in our slow vaccine rollout. The evidence from Sydney’s outbreak now and the last two in Melbourne suggests increasing risk of infection drives vaccination. The ABC seldom acknowledges high rates of vaccination in the US and UK following 628,000 and 130,000 deaths respectively and both countries still report tens of thousands of cases a day.