The longer this debate goes on, the more muddy the waters become and the more muddled the thinking gets. The Age reports that Television veteran Ray Martin is facing calls to step down from an editorial audit of the ABC’s Q&A program, after he described a government boycott of the program as “silly” and backed the impartiality of host Tony Jones and that Martin’s comments were criticised by, both critics of the ABC.
There are three issues here.
The first is that Martin’s support for fellow journalist Tony Jones was understandable but probably not appropriate in the circumstances. He was simply giving the ABC bashers ammunition.
The second issue is that Martin and former SBS managing director Shaun Brown are conducting a review of editorial policy of the Q&A programs, not the impartiality of Tony Jones.
The third issue is that the decision by Tony Abbott to insist that his ministers boycott Q&A is quite separate from the issues of Q&A impartiality and its editorial policy which Martin and Brown are reviewing.
And there is a wider issue here.
McGrath and Macdonald typify an attitude of the current Federal Government that anyone who is slightly critical of the government cannot possibly be impartial. It follows from this line of thinking that the only people who are really impartial are the people who agree with everything the government does or says.
There has probably been a directive to Liberal party MPs to create enough of the smokescreen to conceal the fundamental idiocy of what is happening and this little incident is part of that plan.