ABC finds no breach over Four Corners episodes

ABC’s internal complaints’ division assesses complaint by FOX News over Sarah Ferguson reports, but finds no breach.

ABC has dismissed a complaint by FOX News around two Four Corners episodes on the 2020 US election which screened earlier this year.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports ABC’s internal complaints’ division has ruled the national broadcaster did not breach its code of practice and sent a 27 page letter of its findings.

FOX News sent a formal complaint to ABC’s chair Ita Buttrose and ABC managing director David Anderson arguing the Sarah Ferguson reports breached its code of practice and the federal government’s standards for national broadcaster.

“First, and most basically, the episodes abandoned all semblance of impartiality and instead presented a one-sided political polemic against FOX News, the most-watched cable news organisation in the United States for nearly two decade,” the complaint noted.

“The patent bias, second, led to programs riddled with basic factual errors, uncorrected even after Fox News presented contrary evidence. Those errors, third, stemmed from the ABC’s abject failure to abide by basic journalistic procedures.”

FOX News declined a Four Corners interview for the story but sent the broadcaster a statement.

The finding comes as ABC has appointed its own review of its complaints process with former Commonwealth and NSW Ombudsman, Professor John McMillan, and former SBS, Seven and 10 news boss Jim Carroll to hand down its findings in March next year.

It’s unclear if FOX News will now escalate the complaint which could lead to an ACMA investigation. Initial reports indicated it would do just that.

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