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Book details
  • SubGenre:Philosophy, Theory & Social Aspects
  • Language:English
  • Series title:News Corp Narratives
  • Series Number:7
  • Pages:213
  • eBook ISBN:9781483525730

Our ABC, Dominated and Intimidated

by Uthers Say

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This News Corp Narrative is an “other” record of the performance of Australian media, and specifically the ABC, during the Gillard Years (2011-2013) It records how Australia’s public broadcaster let Australians down by failing to provide fairness and balance, unable to resist the dominance and control News Corp had over narrative and agenda during those years. It explores the question of how the ABC became captive to the group think that vested interests intent on regime change imposed on Australian journalism. It is about the power to magnify a narrative of shortcomings, both real and fabricated and the power to silencing the narrative and evidence of successes. It gives a view of how a powerful propaganda machine could exploit sexism and misogyny and convince so many that the victim was the perpetrator. It raises questions about whether sexism and misogyny were on display in the inability of many Australians journalists to deal honourably with Australia’s first female Prime Minister. It is about the Australian experience of the “News Corping” of public broadcasting, a phenomenon of the takeover of the Fourth Estate. But it is readers who are invited pass judgment. Readers can judge for themselves whether this was a period of limited freedom of the press in Australia- not a freedom limited by draconian laws and ruthless enforcement- but a freedom limited by the dominance of one media organization prepared to use its control of the fourth estate for the benefit of the most powerful and privileged; a freedom limited by the lack of courage of “journalists” in the employ of News Corp and of “journalists” coaxed and badgered, dominated and intimidated as those from our ABC who feature in this narrative. Readers can judge how successfully the corporate giant milked the residual sexism and misogyny not only in the country but also in a selection of journalists who revealed much about themselves.


Some may wonder why a series entitled News Corp Narratives would include a book focussing on the public broadcaster in Australia. The News Ltd narrative of the Gillard years The theme of several of these narratives is that during the prime ministership of Julia Gillard, the distribution of news and opinion in Australia was shaped by the ideology and business interests of the media baron who dominated the media scene. This particular narrative will make the case that the public broadcaster, the ABC often marched lock step with the narratives, the distortions and the personal attacks of the behemoth that dominated Australian news media. The narrative pushed was that the Gillard leadership was illegitimate and constantly under threat of being terminated by Kevin Rudd whose every thought, deed and action was treated as the most important news of the day; that lack of civility, personal abuse, sexism and even misogyny were justified because that was what the Prime Minister and the government deserved, and the government in Australia was so awful – after all there was a preoccupation with the polls which were a mere reflection of the only narrative the News Ltd media was feeding the Australian people – that it was terminal. There was virtually a strike on the discussion of policy and ideas. The silenced narrative The ABC was also very proactive in silencing the other narrative of this period of government. It was as if there were severe restrictions on the reporting of good news, and there was plenty of good news with the Australian economy a standout performer among its peers in the developed world in the aftermath of the global financial crisis. ABC commentators and various ABC programs minimized and often refused to entertain any good news as they became consumed by the hyperbole of the media giant about disasters, crisis, dysfunction, assassinations, nightmares, lies, and always to the point of the obsession, Kevin Rudd. A group think enveloped Australian media as the tradition of a fair go was abandoned Our ABC could not congratulate our first female PM on her first year in the job and celebrate a remarkable Australian. They, the collective that manned the assets of our ABC, could not hold the line when the bullies of the media playground demanded they join in the muck raking over the AWU slush fund. They, the men and women of our national broadcaster for the most part did not hear the speech by the PM condemning the sexism and misogyny of the leader of the opposition which resonated around the world as the PM listed a litany of statements and behaviours of the leader of the opposition which would offend many decent people. Our ABC went with the group think and for the first time during the term of the Gillard government reached for the collective dictionary the news limited chorus of defenders of bad behaviour offered. The narrative begins with the badgering of the hapless Barrie Cassidy by Andrew Bolt which sets the tone Barrie Cassidy accepted for Insiders over three years covered by this story. The narrative covers the adolescent delight of Tony Jones every time the Rudd narrative was weaved into Q and A. If anything could excite the boy in Jones more than parroting or enabling the parroting of fantasies about knifing, assassinations and blood on the floor (all offered without a dictionary in sight), it was a focus on the Prime Minister's bum, doubtlessly a situation that would never have arisen if the Prime Minister had male appendages. The narrative touches on the predictable Marius Benson on ABC News radio delivering the front page of News Ltd publications or salivating about News polls or inviting employees of the News Corporation to start each day with what could have been "the coalition news." There is also evidence that pressure was brought to bear, a pressure that earned for Chris Kenny in the narrative the title of News Corp Minister for the ABC.

About the author

The author is a retired school teacher. He is the second son of Sicilian refugees from poverty. He was blessed to be born an Aussie. His culture and values were influenced by his Italian heritage. He was also soaked in Americana that invaded his consciousness on many levels. His teaching was rewarding but undistinguished. For a little while he was a shop keeper. His whole life had been ordinary. As a baby boomer in an affluent country he was privileged and pampered. He was a captive of the consumer society and as such embraced cable television with anticipation. He was soon troubled by “some who said and some who were saying” on the cable news he was fond of. Rarely did he agree with those “saying” and who had the ear of the cable presenters. For a time he lacked the confidence to say anything but embolden by comedians who sometimes mirrored his own views he set out to verbalize what “others” said or at least what “one other” said. He gave voice to Uthers Say in his first book Cheers and Tears for America: Broken Media. This series of News Corp Narratives offers the same challenges to promote the good wolf and to constrain the bad wolf while others were saying.