No bias at ABC, audits conclude.

2014-03-13_0036After being regularly accused of bias in news and current affairs stories and political interviews, the ABC has been all but cleared by two independent audits headed up by journalist Gerald Stone and former BBC journalist Andrea Wills.

They found the public broadcaster overwhelmingly meets its professional standards and is fair and impartial with more than 95% of the content attracting no criticism.

Of 97 stories about asylum seekers Stone found one story on 7:30 and four on Lateline required further investigation.

One Lateline story portrayed asylum seekers “as frequently misled as to their real mission and too naïve to understand why they are offered more money for one voyage than the average Indonesian fisherman makes in a year.”

But Wills said of ABC interviews with Kevin Rudd and Tony Abbott interviews, “In my professional judgment the ABC did achieve due impartiality across this sample of items.”

Chairman of the ABC Jim Spigelman said, “Consistent with other processes, these reviews have once again demonstrated that against the background of thousands of stories produced over the period reviewed, the error rate is small.

The ABC’s director of news, Kate Torney, said ABC News would attach an editor’s note to the online transcripts of the four stories noted by Stone.

Source: The Guardian


  1. I’ll admit I trust the ABC. They can get things wrong but that’s because nothing is perfect. As long as they try their best to report what has happened as accurately as possible then I’d have no problem with that.

    Unfortunately they get into trouble with me when they use the News to report the future announcing how much they don’t trust the audience. Maybe they are right but I guess I’m never going to react happily nor positively to paranoid advertisements. Verbal as well as written. I’m too straight forward and don’t like trickery. Nor do I like abusive stuff seemingly designed to be for psychopaths that skip the ads.

    I’ll just say this one thing I like about the ABC is they change their ads in the ad break including on ABC News 24. More than the BBC does for their service. I appreciate that. Even if they scare me in other ways.

  2. The ABC will always be Left of the Liberal Party and Right of the Labour party and that is as it should be.

    But you will never see an inquiry into Rupert’s recent behavior despite laws on owners influence on news.

  3. once-upon-a-time


    Sadly what you say is a well known fact, where if first given the desired outcome, statisticians will always produce the statistics that prove it, and also sadly much like many political pollsters of late.

    So this is nothing new, and many eyes only see the ‘ expected’ or ‘respected’, with the only difference being is the ‘ RS’es who use,misconstrue or ignore them whenever it suits their own agenda.

  4. Secret Squirrel

    @Tex – looks like you were proven right only 39 minutes later. The people who accuse ABC news and ca of being biased (always to the left) clearly don’t actually watch it.

  5. jezza the first original one

    I think the ABCs default position is slightly to the left of centre. As it is a less commercial organisation they are more likely to attract employees with leftist sympathies. This is more prevalent on radio than tv.

    Still in fairness to them they did a great union bashing piece about union leaders expediture (hookers etc) and connections to bikie gangs. So its only slight

  6. In what way were they independent?

    There has never been an independent inquiry, and anyway what would would look like anyway. The last ABC report that proved the ABC wasn’t biased looked at the number of minutes spent talking about the ALP and Coalition during the campaign and found they were of a similar size.

    This was an ABC exercise. They picked two narrow topics and then hand picked two journalists (one from the BBC and another known for challenging authority) and asked for their opinions on the reporting.

    If Telegraph got someone from Fox News to review their coverage of the NBN and then put out a press release saying “Telegraph not biased” would you expect the ABC to report and accept that?

  7. And this will stop the claims of ABC bias … how?

    Every few years there’s an independent audit, and every few years the answer is the same.

    Yet the claims keeps being made. Maybe, for a change, the people making them should be scrutinised for impartiality?

  8. once-upon-a-time

    The ABC overwhelmingly meets its professional standards and is fair and impartial in 95% of its content.
    This will no doubt frustrate Mr Abbott/Murdoch agenda’s, and can we now expect, Mr Hockey’s waffle about funding cuts that will no doubt emerge in the coming budget, to be now possibly justified by claims that because of the high costs of obligatory account auditing, and by giving the ABC much less in funding, we are in fact not actually reducing the allocation, because with less money to audit, the reductions in audit costs will balance out at the bottom line, perverse rationale perhaps? But no more perverse than Mr Abbott’s rationale applied in the tax payers gift to Cadbury’s and his refusal to even match it for SPC-A, and has since claimed validity of his refusal, and now even trying to claim credit, for the public support and Woolies $70mill. deal, ‘perverse indeed’

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