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Ita wants more diversity of views on ABC

"Sometimes I think we might be biased," acknowledges ABC Chair.

ABC Chair Ita Buttrose has expressed a desire for more diverse voices on the national broadcaster.

Speaking to ABC Radio Melbourne host Rafael Epstein yesterday she was asked whether the ABC was guilty of being biased.

“Sometimes I think we might be biased. I think sometimes we could do with more diversity of views,” she replied.

“I haven’t got a problem with anybody’s view but I think we need to make sure ours is as diverse as we can make it

“Sometimes I think, people without really knowing it, let a bias show through. We can all do that.

“The way we can deflect the critics that love to give us a tough time is by having a wider viewpoint.

“The more diverse views that we can represent, the better it will be for us.”

Asked how to address concerns if the government keeps saying the ABC is too biased to the left, she said, “I don’t ever think we should we should start to think about what they might say. We don’t we just wait and see what they do say?”

“I wouldn’t be nervous at all,” Ms Buttrose said. “There are many ways of achieving savings, you know. It’s not just people.”

Buttrose and managing director David Anderson are hoping to meet with new Minister for Communications Paul Fletcher and hopefully Prime Minister Scott Morrison to address ABC funding.

A three-year freeze to the ABC’s annual funding indexation was announced in 2018, set to cost the broadcaster $83.7 million. Under the re-elected Coalition Government, the cut will come into effect at the start of the 2019-20 financial year with a first-year impact of $14.6 million.

But she said savings were possible without any immediate fears of job cuts.

“There are many ways of achieving savings, you know. It’s not just people.

“There are many things that can be cut. There are many things that can be changed.”

She maintained there were no plans to cut television or radio and no staff should feel nervous about losing their job.

“No. Not at this point. I wouldn’t be nervous at all.”

Buttrose also told Epstein her ‘media day’ consisted of ABC News Radio, “ABC News Breakfast“, Joe O’Brien on ABC News, reading 4 Sydney newspapers (both print & online), the New York Times online, Richard Glover on ABC Radio, ABC News at 7pm and “The 7:30 Report.”

23 Responses

  1. Ita, please cites some examples of ABC bias? I really want to know where it is. If you are talking about SkyNews, that is perfect bias. Actually, it is probably more accurately propaganda. The ABC did become pro-Coalition biased during the election campaign as it became terrified about its future. But generally, biased? Cite some examples please and I would be grateful. Balanced and factual and offering a point of view that the Right doesn’t want to hear is not biased. It’s the truth.

    1. It’s often said that accusations of “bias” tend to say more about the bias of the accuser rather than that of the accused and, having worked there for many years, I don’t happen to subscribe to the view that “the ABC” is, of itself, biased one way or the other, however your assertion that the ABC is “… offering a point of view that the Right doesn’t want to hear …” suggests, almost by definition, that they are offering a point of view that the Left does want to hear, ie “biased”. Maybe you might want to rethink that?

    2. Pages and pages of it here, abc.net.au/news/corrections/?page=1 Among them are:

      June 2012 – ABC’s Stephen Long forced to apologize over comments made on The Drum
      Feb 2014 – false claims of Burnt Hands against the navy and government
      Feb 2016 – Corporate Tax “materially inaccurate & conflated total income with taxable income”
      Feb 2016 – false claims of rape of children on Naru
      Apr 2018 – multiple errors in ABC online article by Emma Alberici
      Jun 2018 – interview with Jody Webster fictional drilling in the Great Barrier Reef
      Oct 2018 – Tonightly apology to Mr C Fox re false Camp Gallipolli Foundation
      Dec 2018 – erroneous claims that Carmichel Project did not have an Indigenous Land Use agreement

      When it comes to asylum seeker claims and economics/taxation/business the ABC news division seems to have an ongoing problem with the truth.

      1. Corrections don’t always = bias and if we look to the amount of output it’s still very small. The Alberici article and Andrew Probyn matters were more serious and deserved to be pulled up on it. I’d look to ACMA breaches over a corrections page.

  2. There are many shows that have been cut or ‘put to rest’ that shouldn’t have been and many shows that are still on that should not be anymore. ABC needs to change their tactics to better their audience & to do that that will need more funding. We want a channel like the BBC, not more dodgy news, celebrity and affairs shows…

  3. ‘A three-year freeze to the ABC’s annual funding indexation was announced in 2018, set to cost the broadcaster $83.7 million. Under the re-elected Coalition Government, the cut will come into effect at the start of the 2019-20 financial year with a first-year impact of $14.6 million.’ – curious as to what inflation figure is being used to calculate these costs.

  4. >> Sometimes I think we might be biased.

    That “thought” needs to be accompanied by the details.

    >> I think sometimes we could do with more diversity of views,”

    Across its network the ABC is the most diverse media organisation in the country – by several country miles.

    1. Completely agree, and I feel very uncomfortable about the use of ‘diversity’ in this context. Ita’s message was clearly meant to suggest diversity among the ABC’s content and commentators – which means actively including more conservative voices.

      To co-opt the term ‘diversity’ to mean ‘conservative’ is a dangerous precedent to set during these times where the majority feels like they are now a minority, because they are no longer the only ones represented in our mainstream media landscape.

      If this is a sign of things to come under Ita’s supervision, hopefully SBS feels emboldened to continue being at the forefront of diverse representation in Australian media, and audiences will respond to that.

  5. “Sometimes I think, people without really knowing it, let a bias show through” maybe I can help Ita could it be the 7.30 Report or the Insiders or Q & A and the best of all Media Watch

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