High tide in the Anti-ABC slops bucket

Remember the last time the Coalition government was insinuating treachery on the part of the ABC, and making like it was about to take a cricket bat to it? That was back in the days when Prime Minister Howard’s government was keenly promoting our mission to bring freedom and democracy to Iraq. (And by gee didn’t that turn out well?).

Back then Senator Richard Alston was considering installing an independent censor with powers over the ABC , if they didn’t answer the 60 charges of bias against the AM Program who had offended the government by improperly focussing on the quagmire aspects of the Iraq adventure rather that the glorious patriotic motives behind the decision to send brave lads off to war. Then as now the government reaction was just the pointy end of a broader campaign by the New New Guard to dismantle the national broadcaster.

Nothing much happened that time of course other than the ABC getting a bit of a rap over the knuckles, and installing some board stacks , it all eventually just ebbed away, until we returned to the general background noise of the quasi-conservative bloggers and their semi-literate fanboys muttering their incantations and poking pins in their ABC voodoo dolls.

The tide went out. But now its back in. The exhortations, wailing and gnashing of teeth of the ABC haters has once again risen to a frenzy, and the Coalition government has been suckered into the fray, with first the ridiculous accusation by Minister Morrison that the reporting of burnt hands of asylum seekers somehow constitutes ‘sledging’ and blackens the name of the entire Navy, and now the highly irrational statements by the Prime Minister that the ABC weren’t barracking for the home team. Oh come on get a grip.

It’s fortunate that this period of fizzing indignation happens to coincide with a moment when an Australian journalist is being held by an unelected semi-dictatorship in an Egyptian prison on charges of fabricating news and tarnishing Egypt’s reputation abroad. Because it allows us to see that it is just a tiny dial setting higher than the accusations laid by the government against the ABC. The remedy in both cases apparently is to shut down the source of the irritating distraction. The Egyptians have the luxury of being able to employ a ‘go directly to jail – do not pass go’ approach, but the ABC-haters have to take a more subtle long-term approach to dismantling one of our most long-standing and important democratic institutions. So cue the unprovable accusations of bias – cue the demands to sell it off or privatise it because taxpayers dollars are being wasted on something for an elite few, and cue the manful table thumping from a few in the manfully manned up Abbott cabinet.

Of course those of us who appreciate the ABC needn’t worry too much. It’s just high tide again in the Anti-ABC slops bucket, and the tide will recede once more. We can be confident in that because Australians don’t like radicals, and Australians’ conservative nature will never let the radicals, who wish to tear apart such a long-standing and significant institution, have their way.

After all what are they proposing to replace it with? Nothing? Is that it? Just empty radio and TV frequencies and and URL taken over by a cybersqatter? Or is it privatisation – Advertisements up the wazoo like all the commercial crap we’ve already got? Yeah as if that will win the hearts and minds of the Australian people.

See that’s the thing. The ABC haters only ever talk about its bias and about tearing it down, they never talk about what happens next. They just don’t have a convincing alternative.

The Abbott Government won’t do much to the ABC. Firstly they haven’t got the guts, it’d be political suicide, and secondly, It’s not in the nature of conservatives to tear things down and this Abbott Government is nothing if not conservative.

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10 Responses to High tide in the Anti-ABC slops bucket

  1. derrida derider says:

    I think you underrate the swaggering machismo of these people. Howard was rat cunning and very cautious. At core he was even more reactionary than Abbott (his mind being stuck in the Australia of his childhood), but he was only game to slowly whiteant the ABC through Board appointments and Budget nips and tucks.

    Abbott is neither cunning nor cautious – he WILL try to take Aunty down with a frontal assault (if you were being charitable – which I aint inclined to be – you’d say he was putting his money where his mouth is). As Shorten says, they re already looking like oncers.

  2. I don’t doubt their inclination to overrun the walls and sack the citadel. I just don’t think their so stupid as to try. If they do Shortens ‘oncer’ comment will be spot on.

  3. Mel says:

    Thankfully the ABC has very strong public support, according to opinion polls. If it didn’t, the Coalition would squash it.

  4. murph the surf. says:

    What is the internal Liberal party dynamic though?
    Is this significant?
    I am mindful that Abbott looks to be a creature captured by those who elevated him and has to pay lip service to their mad inclinations.
    The curriculum debate, bash the ABC , the winding back of various supports. such as SPC Ardmona…..what is the role of the partner in this Coalition?
    Not touching the farmers yet though Barnaby has had to pull his horns in a little.
    Reports indicate Credlin controls much of this agenda and I am frequently amazed by comments indicating that many think the PM is of limited intellectual capacity.
    Great actors make it look natural and easy.
    Hey this place isn’t the suppository by mistake.
    Don’t both sides need to roll out the circus regularly?

  5. RexR says:

    Don’t both sides need to roll out the circus regularly?

    I don’t think it’s a ruse.
    They’re playing to their base for sure.

    Theyll have to so something to satisfy the bloodlust though. So they’ll probably punish with a funding cut. But really that’s about it. They’ll just hope the ABC gets scared and thinks twice before releasing the next Snowden revelation.

  6. derrida derider says:

    I don’t think Credlin has as much policy influence as you say, but to the extent she does she will no doubt advise speaking loudly (for Murdoch and the base’s benefit) but carrying a tiny twig on this issue. OTOH Abbott and his supporters will be impatient for the reverse, so when the artillery barrage of words abruptly stops that’s when you know they’re about to charge the breach.

  7. paul walter says:

    Am glad to see that Abbott has acheived himself what no one else seemed capable of doing- the unmasking of Abbott.

  8. Sancho says:

    The real prize in all this is the Asia broadcasting licence.

    Rupert’s wanted it for years, and the government has to find some justification for paying back the propaganda debt it owes to News Ltd by giving the licence to Sky.

    Reassigning the licence will seem like a minor issue after a whole national ruckus about privatisation.

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