Doing Murdoch’s dirty work

Comment: On how the ABC continues to do Murdoch’s dirty work.

ABC-Fergusin-SenatorA couple of nights ago on the ABC’s 7.30 Report, the program’s presenter, Sarah Ferguson, interviewed the Palmer United Party senator-elect Dio Wang. Much has been made of this interview with much scorn heaped on Dio Wang for his somewhat naive responses and that he stated he was not across many of the financial details that Sarah Ferguson indicated that he should have been.

For me this was of little interest compared to the far more serious issue at play.

The issue was that Sarah Ferguson was basing her questing on stories that had been put about by the Murdoch Press in order to discredit Clive Palmer and his party members especially in light of the power arrangements in the new senate when it comes into play in July.  The ABC had taken this story as evidence to use in questioning the senate-elect Dio Wang. Her manner was aggressive almost to the point of bullying while the senator-elect was calm and somewhat cynical given that he believed the accusations about Clive Palmer were not true.

This was a clear case of the ABC picking up the accusations from Murdoch and running with them without any checking of their factual basis. The ABC set out to make the whole interview a sensation in order to gain some headlines for themselves. Murdoch would have been laughing as he had once again got the ABC to do his work in attacking the enemies of his friend, Tony Abbott.

ABC-ulmannAnother example of this ABC stupidity occurred in the week prior to this. On the ABC’s morning program, the presenter, Chris Ulmann, was interviewing the former leader of the liberal party in South Austral who had defected to join the South Australian Labor Government and to become a Minister.

Chris Ulmann attacked the man for the whole interview and kept bringing the question back to whether the man was a traitor to his former party. There was very little opportunity for the man to explain why such drastic actions were necessary for him. People changing parties occurs every now and then in Australian politics, so this was really no great sensation.

Following his announcement of defection, the South Australian Liberals through the Murdoch press provided a quick response by calling this man a traitor and many other nasty things. This promotions by the Murdoch press was all that Chris Ulmann had based his relentless bullying of the man on. It was rude and a complete waste of time for anyone who was listening to hear the background to this news item.

The other on-going complaint I have along these lines is the reading out every morning by the ABC breakfast program of the headlines from the day’s newspapers. Given that most of these are the Murdoch press, what we end up with is a situation whereby the Murdoch press know that their daily headlines will be read out every morning on the ABC. How dumb is that? Not very if you are Murdoch as he is achieving free advertising for his newspapers on the ABC which does not run advertising.

I have watched several interviews by Sarah Ferguson on the 7.30 Report and she is picking up accolades for her tough approach to questioning. There is nothing sophisticated or entertaining about her approach. Many others have achieved better responses from people being interviewed without having to be rude. She could achieve much more through a more intelligent and subtle approach to her interviews. She could also set out to uncover far more background to complex stories rather than just applying the blow-torch in order to provide for an ABC headline the next day. It makes for boring TV to the extent that I now rarely watch such programs on the ABC.

The 7.30 Report is no longer providing background information as it is now just another churnalism style program that churns out scandals based on headlines and makes interviewees uncomfortable in order to create its own headlines for the ABC the next day.

I much prefer to read The Guardian, Crickey, Independent Australia, The Saturday Paper The Monthly, The Conversation and a few more for my news and the stories behind the news. The ABC has become a second-rate carrier of news and current affairs.

On the matter of the attack on the Palmer Party, Clive Palmer responded to the Murdoch methods. This was reported in The Guardian. Click here. It is as I expected. Clive did not need to move the 12 million dollars to assist his election campaigns. His a multi-billionaire and I would imagine such an amount would have been in his small change.

Here’s a link to the 7.30 Report episode – click here. Here’s the link to the ABC Chris Ulmann episode – click here.

There’s also a good piece on the current campaigns by the Murdoch Press. Margaret Simmons has posed the question as to whether the press has lost touch with its own readers given their attacks on their readership. They have done this while defending Tony Abbott’s lies and harsh treatment of people but in the process have blamed and attacked the people who would have elected him. Click here.

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Paul Costigan, 31 May 2014

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