Australian Federal Police (AFP) raids on the public broadcaster, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), and News Corporation journalist Annika Smethurst’s private residence, are clear indications the AFP is being used to intimidate journalists and ‘whistleblowers’, meaning public servants willing to leak information about questionable government activities.
After weeks of reading about the Michelle Guthrie-Justin Milne battle for the soul of the ABC, I finally watched the 12 November Four Corners programme featuring interviews with both former senior ‘knobs’ at the public broadcaster.
When Tom Switzer has something to say, he deserves to be read with a healthy dose of skepticism. No Left ideologue could have invented a more stereotypical reactionary: Sydney’s North Shore; private school; Sydney University; conservative think tanks; climate change denier; and obligatory ‘other side’ presenter for the ABC radio’s Between the Lines.
Switzer, like many others, claims to be a conservative when really he is a reactionary. The difference seems to be lost in uncritical repetition of self-representations. It has never been conservative tradition to oppose progressive reforms, including welfare measures. Traditional conservatism merely opposes revolutionary change, seen as too rapid to gauge harmful impacts on established institutions and practices. That is, today, much more nearly the ideological position of the Australian Labor Party (ALP) than of the Coalition–the peculiar post-war alliance between the horribly misnamed Liberal Party of Australia and the National Party of Australia.
Only today I yet again had cause to link political decline to simpleton journalists.
This time the obvious candidate is the ABC’s Queensland commentator, Chris O’Brien, turning out two stories that are so shot through with ignorance, and an absence of a single clear thought, the ABC should feel cheated to have paid O’Brien this week.
Reading the ABC’s Alan Sunderland commenting on objective journalism had me struggling to make out what it was he was trying to say.
More particularly, he seemed to be fudging what journalism has been and is becoming.
Sunderland has been associated with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and the migrant-focused Special Broadcasting Service (SBS) for his entire professional career, and he is now the ABC’s ‘head of editorial policy’. If someone in public broadcasting should know something about journalism, he should be near the top of the list.
Granted he was editorialising, but he did bury the lead to his opinion piece, if there was a lead at all. He failed to define his terms, and came across like a bureaucrat, carefully obfuscating the nominated subject area.