The Australian ABC: 45 Years of Cultural Dominance by the Political Left in Australia

The Australian ABC: 45 Years of Cultural Dominance by the Political Left in Australia

by David Evans

13 October 2018


While the ALP is the main political opponent of the Liberal Party, the ABC is its main cultural opponent.

Culture is upstream of politics. So, from the point of view of the right, it is ultimately fruitless to occasionally defeat the ALP without also defeating the ABC. The ABC frames the issues for the opinion-making class in Australia, thereby defining what is politically possible.

For nearly five decades now the non-left, even when in power, has not been able to implement most of its agenda. It is constantly playing defense. Politics has been like a ratchet: leftist accomplishments are rarely reversed, while election of a Liberal government merely slows down the left’s progress for a while. The cultural left has even subverted the Liberal Party, half of whom now go along with political correctness as often as not.

Because the left has won the cultural battles, it wins most of the political battles. And it wins those cultural battles because it owns the ABC. The left can tell its stories in the manner of its choosing, but the right cannot.

The ABC is the de facto arbiter of political correctness in Australia.

Have you ever wondered how most on the left adopt the same position at the same time, while conservatives are all over the shop? Disciplined ranks versus a squabbling rabble. How does that happen? Politically active people on the left watch or listen to the ABC’s current affairs programs. From the impressions formed as the information is presented, from how issues or people are framed and what is juxtaposed with what, they learn the proper opinion and the correct talking points. What is “good” and what is “bad.” It is not overt, but it is persistent. The ABC is like a mothership, coordinating all the left’s political operatives in the field. So, take out the mothership and the left become undisciplined, like the right, like the left used to be before 1973.

The ABC audience is flattered, rewarded by being given the impression that they are superior to their fellow Australians simply by virtue of believing the progressive canon taught to them by the ABC. (Yes, like some religions.) They feel good. They get hooked on the ABC for their good feeling, for being told how wonderful they are. Everything else in their life might be going poorly, but they can feel better about themselves just by watching the ABC. It gives them purpose. Yes, I know this might seem absurd if you are not of the left, but I am speaking from long personal experience — and have listened to leftists in personal crises rely on the rock of superiority that the ABC provides them.

The ABC lies by omission constantly. The politically correct (PC) narrative is a set of PC fantasies, but ABC watchers are carefully shielded from the information that would expose them as unrealistic. Instead they are constantly reminded of the points that support the PC narrative. They are inoculated against opposing views. by being forewarned that they are “hate” facts — put forward by evil people of defective character and questionable motives. After a while they come to firmly and genuinely believe the PC fantasies — even though those beliefs may be positively ludicrous to people more conversant with the relevant facts.

As with so much about the modern left, the key is selectivity: selective reporting, selective outrage, and selective enforcement of laws. It’s not that the latest confected outrage against someone who threatens the PC canon is completely bogus — it usually has some merit, even if exaggerated — but that the same standards are not applied to those on the left.

You could be forgiven for thinking that the job of an ABC journalist is to consider each news event or fact and ask: how does this help the left?

A recent demonstration of the increasing political power of the left’s cultural dominance is gay marriage. Just a decade ago, marriage for gays was considered ludicrous and was not supported by any mainstream politician. Now you are a social outcast in opinion-making circles if you are not enthusiastically in favor. Did you notice that in the recent referendum a principal argument against gay marriage was never heard — that marriage is principally an economic deal for raising kids? The woman withdraws from the workforce to have the man’s kids (and only his kids), while he supports her and the kids. Instead the gay marriage issue was framed as about equality, which was always going to get approval because most everyone wants equality of opportunity. But who framed it as about equality instead of about raising kids? We never even heard about kids, monogamy, or sexual restraint in the lead-up to the referendum.

Then came transgenderism, which has consumed western culture faster than any previous obsession. It is suddenly pushed in movies, current affairs, documentaries, talk shows and so on. Is there any other institution in Australia with a greater grip on the national conversation and more ability to steer the zeitgeist than the ABC?

The media trains conservative politicians to become politically correct. Politicians crave media attention like flowers need water, but the media simply ignores non-left politicians unless they say something that supports the PC narrative. Except, of course, when a conservative politician says something non-PC in a way that can be mocked, in which case they will get plenty of publicity! Reward and punishment works. So much easier to go with the flow, to get with the program. (Speaking of political death by silence, has anyone heard of Cory Bernardi lately, now that his departure has stopped embarrassing the Liberal Party? I suspect the ABC isn’t too keen to repeat what Cory actually says.)

Much of the serious media in Australia follows the ABC line by default. They distinctly follow rather than lead. It helps that most journalists are trained at journalism schools, which are firmly under the control of the left. But a bigger reason is probably that almost all the best jobs in journalism are at the ABC — higher pay, better conditions, and more status. You will never get such a job if you ever disagree with the ABC.

Until the early 1970s, the ABC used to be a fairly conservative institution, employing reporters rather than (advocacy) journalists. It rarely flavored its political reporting with adjectives. Political bias was hard to detect. But that all changed with the left’s march through the institutions. In the ABC’s case, the march was led by Allan Ashbolt, a self-confessed Marxist, whose troops effectively took over the ABC with support from the Whitlam government from 1973.

When left leaning ideologues are hired by an institution, they hire other left leaning ideologues. Once they are in control, the institution is captured by the left, in perpetuity. So, it is irredeemable. It must be deleted. If the institution is actually necessary for society, it must be completely rebuilt.

According to polls, most Australians believe that the ABC is “credible.” Presumably they mean that the ABC is rarely caught out in an overt lie. But generally they are unaware of the extent to which the ABC lies by omission, and presents issues only to suit a leftist agenda.

That the ABC has a great influence on political outcomes becomes obvious simply by asking: who is more influential politically, Tony Jones or your local Federal member? In early every case it is Tony Jones, by a country mile. He also gets paid more.

In order to contest the narrative and get the balance back towards the center in Australia, it is first necessary to reveal the ABC’s deceits to wider Australia. (May I suggest a daily program on Sky or the Internet that dissects the nightly ABC news, pointing out in a humorous and fast paced fashion what the ABC omits and the framing and other tricks they get up to? It’s not hard. Joanne Nova and I do that for fun every night in our living room.)

When Australians realize how much they are not being told, there will be anger and sympathy for reform. Without the cultural and political leadership of the ABC, the left will suddenly become much easier to defeat — just like it was before the Whitlam government.

Donald Trump came to a similar strategic conclusion. To lower the credibility of his chief opponents, he now refers to the US mainstream media product as “fake news.”

The left knows all this of course. They will fight like furies to keep their taxpayer-funded game-winner just the way it is, thank you very much.


11 thoughts on “The Australian ABC: 45 Years of Cultural Dominance by the Political Left in Australia

  1. An incisive and timely analysis which reminds us of the importance of cultural renewal when conservatives tend to place their hopes in political parties. The Media establishment has to go but it will take something drastic for that to occur – fortunately history is full of these sort of events so we need to busy ourselves building our ‘little platoons’ until the cracks and opportunities for significant change present themselves.

  2. Nobody on the conservative side is credible unless they want to repeal the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Act of October 2017, and get rid of the ABC.

  3. ” … a daily program on Sky or the Internet that dissects the nightly ABC news”

    While your article is accurate, there have been many such articles, none of which have made the slightest bit of difference. A Sky program of the sort you outline here will not be broadcast at any time suitable for attracting a mass audience.

    The current fate of Outsiders shows this: the program makes a serious attempt at dissecting the Left’s various positions and has gained quite an audience. Politicians have learnt that Sky will allow intrusive live interviews on the Outsider Sunday time – these intrusions are quite deliberate and very disruptive, as they are meant to be. The weekly time slot for this program is now shifted to 11pm, so destroying the audience attention it has gained. The Sunday timeslot remains so that left propaganda can still take advantage of the Sunday morning audience reach. Who in Sky decided on these changes ? Who has forced them through ? We will never know. [This does not mean I uncritically accept all that Outsiders broadcast but sometimes they amuse me. Their aim is generally true, if not completely informed].

    Trump’s clever riposte “Fake News” is the most effective fightback I’ve seen. The Left truly, truly hate it because it’s true. Their reaction is one of absolute fury, mostly expressed as the malicious shriek of “You’re just cynical”.

    An internet program with the same aim of exposure will not gain a critical mass within the Aus demographic – it never has as the audience is just too scattered to threaten marginal seats.

    • Ian,

      Articles along these lines are becoming more common, more incisive, and more comprehensive. This viewpoint is gaining momentum. These arguments are making a difference because more people are realizing this is how it works. This is how change comes about, one person at a time, honing arguments as they gradually gain wider circulation. Eventually it will break out into the mass media, once enough of us are pushing such arguments.

      Sadly what you say about Sky is correct. But some people are hungry for the truth 🙂

      • David

        I’m afraid I agree with Ian Plimer (or he agrees with me, whichever).

        A lot more pain to come yet. As you have observed yourself, it has taken over 4 decades (since Whitlam) to reach even this point of pushback, let alone the impetus added from 30 years of propagandised climate scare. Personally, my view is that the shock of a national grid collapse, with all the enormous damage that will do, is needed to allow a turnaround. This is sad …

  4. Excellent article, David. I often send my criticisms about the ABC’s bias in reporting to them but only rarely receive a reply. I am something of a patient bloke – I was part of a small group in Papua New Guinea who realised that we got it wrong when we went along with the idea to change that country’s voting system to First Past the Post from the Modified Preferential System, but it took more than twenty for that to gain traction; alas, there are moves afoot now to change it back again – spearheaded by pollies and bloated civil servants of course.

    I wish you and Joanne every success in your ventures.

  5. Well done David. A very good article.

    “The cultural left has even subverted the Liberal Party, half of whom now go along with political correctness as often as not.”
    Yes, and the name Craig Laundy would be the spokesman for that group, sorry, spokesperson.

    However what is really depressing is that the other half, while still being sceptical of P.C., never seem to see any problem in going on and legitimising the ABC whenever they get the opportunity. That adage of Ayn Rand, ‘the sanction of the victim’ comes to mind here: no matter how oppressive a situation you might find yourself in, you always have one holdout against your enemy, and that is not to grant them recognition and validity, something that they are very often after.

    When asked why they still go on Q&A or the 7.30 report, many senior Coalition MPs will claim that someone still has to carry the flag, and if they are not there, then, on these popular current affairs shows, all these left-wing ideas will be discussed without criticism.

    However, what they fail to realise is that these shows are popular (to the extent that they are) simply because you have representatives from both sides of politics on them. If the Coalition MPs dare to bite the bullet and stop attending, does anyone really expect the ratings to remain the same with left wing talking heads agreeing with other left-wing talking heads or left wing interviewers?

    • Good points Edward.

      Joanne Nova has been invited onto Q&A a couple of times. She has easily the biggest and most active skeptical website in Australia, but they didn’t invite her on when the topic was climate. Oh no, don’t let her speak to the ABC audience — they might learn something the ABC don’t want them to find out. Obviously they wanted her to come on so they can grill her on, say, Islamic immigration or gay marriage, to see if she is a blasphemer against the PC canon. Their goal is to discredit the ABC’s cultural opponents, to present them to the ABC audience with the implicit message that this is a person to be hated and opposed. Joanne turned down their requests to appear.

      If non-PC people decline to go on the ABC’s shows, it starves the ABC of credibility.

      Notice that for ages people from the Labor Party and Greens refused to appear on Bolt’s show — they know how to play hardball.

      When non-PC people appear on the ABC they are never given a fair hearing, a reasonably framed context, the last word, a chance to present evidence like graphs, or even a chance to talk uninterrupted. They are just show trials. So deny the ABC the opportunity. It’s like Lucy and Charlie Brown — she is never going to let him kick the football, despite her promises, so don’t play Charlie Brown!

      In the 1990s Pauline Hanson refused to appear on the ABC and it drove them wild, because they could never pin her down in a studio and rubbish her. Unfortunately she later relented.

      • “Joanne turned down their requests to appear” [ on the ABC]

        I certainly agree with that tactic. It’s a variation on the favourite PC tactic of no-platforming (ie.denying someone the right to be heard over a public megaphone). “No comment” is a good rebuttal to someone eager to humiliate one in public with straw men, assorted concocted gotchas and so on.

        I remember an ABC radio report only a few years ago where the editor had made a mistake, allowing a well-informed sceptic (a geologist, no less, but twas not I) time on air. I heard that on the car radio on the 6am “news” while driving some distance. Clearly panic ensued when it was realised what had occurred because the 7am “news” ran the same interview – but with the guest comments redited, spliced and diced, cut in and out and generally mutilated to the point of complete incomprehension. No shame from the ABC of course. Deliberately and grotesquely misrepresenting an opponent is a matter of pride for these people, not shame.

        • “Deliberately and grotesquely misrepresenting an opponent ”

          Climate really brings it out in them. The ABC (or their agents, Dick Smith’s film company) came to our house to shoot a documentary in 2011. When it went to air they showed me saying things I never said and never would have — by tricky editing, splicing together bits of sentences from 20 minutes apart into one. We can prove it, because we filmed them filming us. What we said is recorded, and can be compared with what they put to air. All on the web:

          Then there are the lies by omission. They left out the data we presented twice to them. They recorded Joanne for two hours, and this is what they put to air: “Carbon dioxide” “There‘s some small immeasurable amount.” “The data says –”. “(Laughs)” “The planet is not going to be destroyed.” Just 18 words, and nothing serious.

  6. Peanuts is a good analogy. The ABC and SBS (in a word, Pravda) invite the non-PC on to kick their ideological football, but at the last minute the hosts do a Lucy, move the goalposts, and thus humiliate them. And what happens: next month the same people go on again in futile hope that this time it will be different.

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