The ABC bites back

It’s become something of a sport among politicians, particularly of the fed Libs, when interviewed by ABC journalists to imply the interviewers are biased. But ABC journos aren’t the sort to put up with this sort of crap from anyone.

The other day Virginia Trioli, after grilling an interviewee with appropriate journalistic vigour, was accused of bias by a caller. She snapped back something along the lines of ‘No I don’t have an opinion one way or the other, I get paid to ask difficult questions’. Right on.

This morning it was ABC Melbourne’s Jon Faine interviewing Alexander Downer about David Hicks and copping more of the same (transcript via Crikey, subscription required):

FAINE: We shall see what our listeners make when we get to calls in a little moment or two. Thank you for your time this morning.
DOWNER: Well I know what you make of it.
FAINE: No you don’t, in fact, Minister. With absolute respect, whether I’m interviewing you or your counterpart, whether I’m interviewing the Prime Minister or the Leader of the Opposition, surely you agree my role is to ask the stickiest question I can think of regardless of what my personal views might be and I’m personally getting a little tired of being told that you must think this and you must think that.
DOWNER: I think you do a wonderful job.
FAINE: Well I don’t want to be patronised either if you don’t mind.
DOWNER: Toughen up.
FAINE: Thank you.

It’s a case of taking your own advice there, Mr Downer. Every time someone at the ABC gives you a grilling, how about toughening up and just answering the bloody question instead of muttering snarky asides about bias? Boo hoo, a journalist was mean to me, Mr Howard.

In fact, whinging about ABC bias has got to be the sum total of the right’s intellectual contribution to media debate in this country in the last 10 years.

How come nobody on the right is asking why the ABC is the only media outlet you can go to if you want to see politicians’ claims consistently handled with any degree of scepticism . . . or competence?

One Comment Add yours

  1. Josh says:

    He was a wee bit more subdued on Lateline last night although Tony Jones’s questions were probably also more polite than Jon Faine’s. Though at one point Downer did ask Jones to “let me answer the question maybe, rather than you answer it”. Still, was Tony Jones hinting at anything with this gem of a question?

    TONY JONES: I’ve got to move on to other subjects and I notice you carefully and politely answered a series of questions on the David Hicks case on the Sunday program. After viewing a story entitled “Caged Animal David Hicks a Nation’s Shame”, does your new softly, softly approach indicate that you think the national mood has changed on Hicks?

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