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John Passant

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February 2014



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My interview Razor Sharp 18 February
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace on Razor Sharp on Tuesday 18 February. (0)

My interview Razor Sharp 11 February 2014
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace on Razor Sharp this morning. The Royal Commission, car industry and age of entitlement get a lot of the coverage. (0)

Razor Sharp 4 February 2014
Me on 4 February 2014 on Razor Sharp with Sharon Firebrace. (0)

Time for a House Un-Australian Activities Committee?
Tony Abbott thinks the Australian Broadcasting Corporation is Un-Australian. I am looking forward to his government setting up the House Un-Australian Activities Committee. (1)

Make Gina Rinehart work for her dole

Sick kids and paying upfront


Save Medicare

Demonstrate in defence of Medicare at Sydney Town Hall 1 pm Saturday 4 January (0)

Me on Razor Sharp this morning
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace this morning for Razor Sharp. It happens every Tuesday. (0)

I am not surprised
I think we are being unfair to this Abbott ‘no surprises’ Government. I am not surprised. (0)

Send Barnaby to Indonesia
It is a pity that Barnaby Joyce, a man of tact, diplomacy, nuance and subtlety, isn’t going to Indonesia to fix things up. I know I am disappointed that Barnaby is missing out on this great opportunity, and I am sure the Indonesians feel the same way. [Sarcasm alert.] (0)



The right wing war on rationalism and ABC ‘bias’


The relentless campaign in the Murdoch press and other right wing media outlets accusing the ABC of ideological bias and groupthink is so laughably hypocritical that it would be easy to conclude the lot of them were a cutting new satire from the people who brought us The Onion writes Corey Oakley in Red Flag.

“The ABC of treachery” screamed the Daily Telegraph. “Why does the ABC hate our Navy?” asked Miranda Devine. “These blokes and these women get away with this on a daily basis and no-one holds them accountable”, thundered 2GB’s Ray Hadley. That’s right Ray, no-one.

Andrew Bolt, as usual, trumped the lot. He claimed that the fact the crazy-eyed right hates the ABC is in itself proof that the broadcaster is run by a bunch of communists.

Citing an IPA headline “It’s time we privatised the tone-deaf, left-leaning ABC” Bolt asked “If the far left [by which he means Get Up!] considers the ABC friendly and conservatives consider it hostile, can Mark Scott really maintain both have got it wrong?”

Even the least flamboyant doyens of the liberal establishment, like 774 Melbourne’s Jon Faine, have found it easy to point out that there is something amiss when half a dozen opinion writers from Murdoch papers across the country all come out with virtually identical polemics about systematic ideological bias at the ABC.

The anti-ABC campaign, led by a feverish right wing press and eagerly endorsed by an otherwise directionless Liberal government, can seem too ridiculous to be taken seriously. But this latest outbreak of the “culture wars” is part of a long term strategy of the right wing over the last decade and a half that has been remarkably successful in dragging political discourse to the right, intimidating liberals and social democrats, and making it harder to establish any genuinely left alternative to the status quo.

The basic strategy, imported more or less directly from the US, is this. Abandon any pretence of reasoned or logical argument. Treat facts with derision. Castigate mainstream, thoroughly bourgeois concepts about journalistic freedom and media ethics as dangerous Marxist ideology. Redefine “left” and “far left” to encompass anything to the left of (or even on the left of) the Liberal Party.

The problem with this is not that the right’s narrative is the slightest bit compelling, but that the institutions in their line of fire have, by and large, capitulated all the way down the line, falling over themselves to prove how unbiased they are.

In the case of the ABC this has meant stacking the board with notorious right wingers, and running a mile when their stories are challenged.

Even Media Watch – which has done a better job than many in exposing the  lies of the lunar right – got in on the grovelling on 3 February, attacking the ABC for running allegations that the navy torured refugees in their custody. These allegations have since been backed up by additional reporting in the Fairfax press, but not before Mark Scott gave a grovelling apology for his journalists who were brave enough to pursue a story.

The left needs to defend the ABC from scurrilous attempts by the right to delegitimise any challenge to the Liberal government’s agenda. But by the same token, we need to recognise that the ABC, and the liberal wing of the political establishment in general, cannot be relied upon to stand up to Murdoch’s attack dogs.

You only need to look at the US, where the process of lunatic right wing claims followed by shameful liberal capitulation has played out more fully, to see that all attempts to accommodate the right in order to appear “reasonable” only strengthen the hand  of these latter-day Spanish inquisitionists.

If the left wants to put the right on the back foot, we need to stand up and defend an unashamedly radical left agenda.




Pingback from The right wing war on rationalism and ABC ‘bias’ | OzHouse
Time February 12, 2014 at 6:12 pm

[…] Feb 12 2014 by admin […]

Comment from Kay
Time February 13, 2014 at 6:23 am

There is no denying the Murdoch press’ current generally-right-wing slant (despite also printing some more left wing opinion pieces). However, the Murdoch press only has to answer to its shareholders – hence is free to run any editorial line it wishes. Newspaper sales/subscriptions determine how popular the editorial line is – hence the market regulates it.

The ABC on the other hand is taxpayer funded and is supposed to give a ‘balanced’ slant on news topics. I think you will find that it is not just the Murdoch press that perceives the ABC’s reporting on many topics to be biased towards the left. It is a very widely held view, developed over many years by viewers.

May I suggest your overly florid article here is a load of extremely one-eyed rubbish. But hey, it’s your blog site, so you too are entitled to your view. Thank heavens the taxpayer doesn’t fund it!

Comment from John Barr
Time February 13, 2014 at 9:26 am

The Right Wing war on the ABC is a reaction to the Left Wing Greenie war on The Right Wing.

Comment from Hasbeen
Time February 13, 2014 at 12:00 pm

Only someone totally divorced from reality could writs such an article.

Comment from Lorikeet
Time February 13, 2014 at 4:48 pm

I share John’s concerns about attempts by Right Wingers to wipe out the sometimes Left Wing press. This is more about corporates pushing their own agendas with little government control.

When I was preselected to run in the Queensland state election in 2012, I was blocked from the local rag (Murdoch Press) for 8 weeks straight, even after I withdrew due to illness.

From my point of view, both the ABC and commercial channels discriminate in favour of anti-Australian parties and are biased against those who don’t support a neo-Liberal agenda.

Take this comment on ABC24 the day before the by-election in Kevin Rudd’s former seat of Griffith.

“We will be interviewing BOTH of the candidates later on.”

Since when did 11 candidates become both?

Comment from Phillip Barker
Time February 15, 2014 at 6:35 pm

Love the article.

About the last paragraph though. I’m not that interested in defending a radical left agenda. I’d settle for one slightly left of centre that believes in things like social justice, universal healthcare and a fair system of taxation.

Comment from John
Time February 17, 2014 at 6:36 am

The problem for me Phillip is that those goals can only be achieved by overthrowing the system. Given the declining profit rates in much of the developed world – see Marx’s ideas about the tendency of the rate of profit to fall – capitlalism can no longer afford universal health care and a fair taxation system. Social justice is the never ending dream under capitalism. I will join with you in the fight for these goals but they are not attainable under a system built on the exploitaiton of working people and whose matra is profit, profit, profit, not human need.

Comment from Lorikeet
Time February 17, 2014 at 10:03 am

Yes, and giving those profits out to the rich instead of looking after the poor and the average.

The capitalist system is the opposite of the actions of Robin Hood. While he robbed the rich to give to the poor, they are hoods robbin’ the poor to give to the rich.

Unfortunately the Woolworths and Coles of politics support this, as does a large section of the community which falsely believes the money will come back to them in the form of superannuation.

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