Tuesday, October 01, 2002

Ken Parish is having a bet each way on left-wing bias in the Oz Meeja.
First, I don't doubt that the ABC manifests an evident left-ish bias at times

All good so far.
Similarly, there is a detectable slightly left of centre bias in some of the news selection and editorial decisions of the Fairfax press (The Age and SMH). However, I don't accept that this is the case with op-ed pages (where scrupulous balance appears to be sought) nor in the letters pages. I don't detect any left-ish bias at all in the Murdoch press.

Parish doesn’t get the difference between private and public money. The Fairfax and Murdoch press can call for the head of John the Baptist on a spike, and a return to steam-driven computer hard drives. It’s company money and the editors are answerable to their shareholders.

The ABC, on the other hand, uses public money. Part of the common law heritage is that we always treat misuse of public monies harsher than misuse of private funds. They have no right to run an agenda that manifestly contradicts the ABC Charter. The Friends of the ABC not be as sanguine on the subject if, for instance, the ABC took a resolutely pro-war stance. Or condemned talk of a treaty with Aboriginals. Or suggested that perhaps the word of the President of the United States might be worth more than the word of a Middle East dictator.

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