The problem with a “Fair and Balanced” ABC being dictated by Pauline Hanson and One Nation

The Guardian reports that: Coalition signals it will negotiate with One Nation over curbs on ABC

These demands from Hanson and One Nation include investigations into “left-wing bias’ in the ABC and moves to make its reporting “fair and balanced”.

The ABC is regarded by Australians as its most trusted news source. It  is the fourth most trusted public institution behind the State Police, the Federal police and the High Court. The Federal Parliament ranks 12th and political parties rank 15th.

In professional terms, politicians are ranked by Australian and 25th  just ahead of used car salesman 30th. (Source Roy Morgan)

Malcolm Roberts was elected by just 77 people. Yet he could be sitting on a Senate committee that investigates the ABC.

Yet we have the Prime Minister and a Government pandering to a political party whose idea of lack of bias is giving equal coverage to anti-vaxers, climate sceptics, science deniers, xenophobes, various members of the flat earth society and Malcolm Roberts.

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So it is profoundly ironic that a group of people for whom we have so little regard is  now interfering with institution for which we have such great regard.

The  ABC has been forced to be fair and balanced in the debate on marriage equality. This has meant giving both the yes and no side of the argument equal coverage.

So we have heard much more from Tony Abbott and his fellow travellers than has really been warranted.

So here is a reflection on a “fair and balanced” approach.

A hundred years ago, women’s suffrage was a burning issue.  Australia and New Zealand were the first nations in the world to grant women the vote.

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It’s interesting to look at the arguments that the ABC would have been obliged air in support of the case for women not being allowed the vote.

  • Women are too precious and innocent to become embroiled in public life.
  • Women are too irrational and emotional to make an intelligent contribution
  • Women do not fight to defend their country.
  • Most women do not want the vote.
  • Women will be corrupted by politics and chivalry would die out
  • If women become involved in politics, they will stop marrying, having children, and the human race will die out
  • Women are emotional creatures, and incapable of making a sound political decision.

Being fair and balanced should not mean giving both sides of an argument equal air time.

When 97% of the world’s climate scientists agree on the causes of climate change and 3% disagree, it’s not “fair and balanced” to give the 3% an equal say.

It’s plain stupid particularly when a respected institution like the ABC gives sputious credence to the views of people like Malcolm Roberts.

 

 

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