Thursday, May 30, 2002

Gareth Parker points out nicely the problems with defending the ABC left-bias.

Apparently, it's all right for the ABC to have a bias, because the ABC

"draws between 10% and 15% of the national TV audience. I would imagine the figure is even less for radio"

Problem here is that Gareth would probably appreciate the influence of the ABC, and would be very proud of the reach and penetration of the national broadcaster. I've never met an ABC loyalist who wasn't quick to come out with the "ratings are not the only thing". So according to the Friends of the ABC, quality of programming is the important thing, unless this is construed as influence, in which case jump back to ratings.

So if Gareth could supply us with the ratings threshold he would consider to be the tipping point where the admitted bias does become a problem, and suggest a phasing-in plan for conservative commentators.

While you're at it Gareth, clue the rest of us in to the spot in the Charter that even mentions commercial broadcasters.

Gareth is having trouble distinguishing between public and private money. When a private institution operates contrary to its stated objectives, the shareholders take action according to Company Law, or vote with their wallets and sell. The activities of private sector firms cannot be equally compared with public money. The only people with a stake in the bias of commercial broadcasters are the shareholders.

The ABC, however, is a public institution, with carefully laid down obligations. In fact, a close reading of the Charter would suggest that it should be far closer to commercial radio, since the rating show that's what people believe in. After all, they are charged with reflecting the diversity, not moving it.

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