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ABC boss: No evidence we are biased

ABC managing director David Anderson rejects claims of bias and accusations he is politicising during an election.

Newly-installed ABC managing director David Anderson yesterday appeared on News Breakfast to answer questions put forward by viewers.

One raised by Michael Rowland asked about perceived bias by the broadcaster.

“I don’t see any evidence to say we are biased,” Anderson replied.

“We are compelled to be impartial and accurate at all times. I see talented teams that do great work at the ABC, who do abide by that. Of course, occasionally with the amount of volume we have and the good work hat w do… occasionally there is human error, but it’s very small.

“We have a complaints process, and investigation process in our content. We run our own reviews, and none if it comes back that we are breaching our obligations to being partial and inaccurate. I don’t see systemic bias.”

Earlier this week Anderson reiterated that cuts of $84m under a Coalition govt would impact he broadcaster, but denied he was getting political during an election campaign and said it has been discussed for a year.

“Of course people are sensitive to it but we have been consistent about an $84 million reduction to the ABC in three months from July and what that might mean,” he said.

“The fact that people are going to ask me questions about that I am still going to be consistent with that response. And I want to be genuine about how we are going meet this challenge. I don’t think we can meet this challenge without there being some reduction in staff and a reduction in services.”

You can see the full video here.

19 Responses

  1. Maybe its just a coincidence that Leigh Sales wears Green attire when she interviewed the Greens and Red when she interviewed Labor I assume she would have worn Blue if she had interviewed the Prime Minister?

        1. Nobody knows what anybody votes. Leigh Sales will tell you she has been accused of bias against Labor & Libs, usually in the eye of beholder. If I told you Michael Rowland was conservative or Jeremy Fernandez, how would you prove true / false? Has to come down to the balance of content surely.

      1. Q and A when right leaning people are on the panel they are often ridiculed.

        The egg throwing girl, 7 and 9 both told the audience of her left leaning views on facebook. But ABC didn’t. If she was right leaning the ABC would have called her extreme right even if she was just centre right

        1. If the audience laughs, claps or audibly reacts it is difficult to stop them (it’s part of the QandA experience anyway) but the hosts regulary tell the audience to let the panel speak and if the panel member skirts around the question or goes off topic then you expect the host to keep them focused and on topic. I have seen this with both left and right panelists so I don’t see the bias but I guess if you are sympathetic to a certain panelist and see the whip being cracked at them you probably retain that memory of discipline more than when it is being dished out at the opposition. As audience members we have just as much potential for bias.

    1. I personally prefer my presenters to keep their views to themselves. I don’t mind having commentary sometimes but I feel like it has become news itself. I don’t want conservative or liberal presenters I just want them to do their job and as for bias topics what are these bias topics? I see shows like War On Waste or Employable Me and I don’t think left or right wing, they seem like universal issues. What are the shows that are bias? I always hear these bias complaints but I never see examples.

  2. I do wish that people would stop referring to the $84mil as a “cut”. Next year’s allocation will be the same as this year’s and so on. If you want to use a word to describe it, you can more correctly use “freeze” – just because you “expect” to get a pay rise next year, it doesn’t follow that you’re necessarily gonna get it. Exactly the same applies to government-funded corporations like the ABC.

    1. Correct. Another example is me promising you a 10% increase but when the new boss walks in and looks at the cash flow he says they can’t afford it and only give you a 5% increase. This is not a cut but called living (operating a business) within your means…

  3. I agree with David Anderson that there is impartiality for the most part & not systematic. ABC’s Media Watch has also had reports on ABC’s own breaches. There are infrequent segments that I think are one sided, deceptive & misleading to portray a particular viewpoint, therefore I’m not sure if it’s error because it seems intentional.

    There are also times when there are accusations of bias even though the reporters and journalists seem to interrogate both sides of politics equally. It was interesting to read Leigh Sales views on bias that “I often think bias is in the eye of the beholder”

    1. ” the reporters and journalists seem to interrogate both sides of politics equally”

      Their bias doesn’t mainly reside in the treatment of political parties, it shows it what they consider important. The 2 most politically divisive issues in Australia are fighting climate change and the treatment of boat people/asylum seekers and the ABC marches hand in hand with the left by considering both issues fantastically important.

      1. There was an intention to make complaints about reports on a particular issue regarding one-sided, deceptive and misleading claims. People associated with one of the organisations that was mentioned in one of the segments had made threats of legal action and intimidation towards people that had pointed out the discrepancies that were unfavourable to their agenda. There was good evidence, but plans were abandoned to avoid legal tangles.

    1. You mean like this one (I note the co-author Andrew Leigh did not disclose he was a member of the ALP, he is now an ALP MP)

      smh.com.au/business/study-finds-abc-bias-leans-towards-coalition-20090902-f8gm.html

  4. Mr Anderson you should try looking. See what is important to the right, important to the left and important to the ABC, and the bias will be glaringly obvious.

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