Dec 21, 2010

Why read the NBN case when we can just ask the Opposition what it thinks?

This is how the ABC reported yesterday's release of the NBN business case. Two stories, and the headlines reveal the heavy angle:

This is how the ABC reported yesterday’s release of the NBN business case. Two stories, and the headlines reveal the heavy angle:

Obviously, both those lines are Turnbull’s attacks on the plan. The ABC journo (whoever it was) had to put something up quickly and, hell, the Opposition already had an opinion…

As a commenter at Poll Bludger angrily complained:

Program Date: 20/12/2010
ABC Service / Network: ABC Online
ABC Recipient: Audience & Consumer Affairs
Subject: NBN will be ‘no nirvana’ for cheap broadband
Your Comments: I am outraged by your pro-opposition reporting of the NBN story today. you should be ashamed of yourselves.

The 160 pages of detailed costing and stated assumptions with references to respected industry and ABS statistics is relegated to barely a footnote.

Rather, you repeat verbatim the unreferenced, unsourced obviously political rhetoric of the opposition in over 80% of the article. You should hang your head in shame at this pathetic reporting on a nation building initiative supported by the vast majority of Australians.

I hope this looks good on your CV to Rupert Murdoch

They have a point. Is repeating Opposition talking points the best analysis the ABC can offer? Seriously?

(Via Cuppa.)

ELSEWHERE: Check out the hilarious photograph The Australian picked to illustrate its NBN bash.

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15 thoughts on “Why read the NBN case when we can just ask the Opposition what it thinks?

  1. oldskool

    In regards to the NBN thing, people also do not seem to understand what the A in ADSL stands for..

  2. William Conroy

    The Canberra Times has dragged up a Prof Zumbo to throw a dampener on the NBN and has followed up today with an article also written by him, I think I will rename him Prof Dumbo.
    People who say I have 12mbs connection make me wonder what speed they first had when connected to an ISP and why they changed because no one started out with that speed, but the “I am alright Jack attitude” says heaps about themselves when so many people are still on dialup because the country’s monopoly carrier could not give a stuff about them, mostly in country areas where you would think the National Party would be helping their constituents not hindering them.
    At least Sen. Fiona Nash did not speak out against the NBN unlike her fellow National alias Liberal party stooges.

  3. Matthew of Canberra

    Cuppa @12

    I actually browsed over here to post about the same thing. That piece is unbelievable. So, an opposition member’s opinion warrants a headline like that? Does anyone have any particular reason to believe that his opinion is likely to be accurate? Does he even know ken henry? Did they ask around on the opposition or cross benches to see what anyone else thought? Has anyone canvassed the other possibilities like, for example, the chance to earn much more money for less aggro in the private sector? Or just being sick of the crap press coverage?

    If the ABC wants to pop ’round tomorrow I’ll give them all sorts of interesting headlines.

  4. Cuppa

    This one almost justifies its own thread…

    Gos, commenter, Poll Bludger:
    Posted Tuesday, December 21, 2010 at 6:48 pm

    [The ABC is up to its now usual tricks by running the headline

    “Reckless policy” led to Henry Resignation.

    By using quotes only around the first two words instead of the whole headline, the ABC implies that the actual accusation is true, not a politically biased statement which should be questioned.

    Note also that Mr Turnbull is not reported as “claiming” this is true, he is “saying” it is true, two very different things, the latter again giving a partisan claim full credibility as fact.

    One thing is completely missing in the story is any reference to the ABC asking, or attempting to ask, Mr Henry if there is even a scintilla of truth in Turnbull’s claims.]

  5. confessions

    OMG Henry resigns and it’s the government’s fault?! You have to be kidding me.

  6. Ravenred

    I’ve formally complained about the ‘Reckless policy’ headline. My first ABC complaint ever.

  7. Cuppa

    :We report you decide”:

    [Nearly a decade to wait for superfast broadband]
    [NBN will be ‘no nirvana’ for cheap broadband]
    [‘Reckless policy’ led to Henry resignation]

    However would the Australian electorate be able to think for themselves without the Opposition the ABC informing them?!

    “Fair and Balanced”

  8. B.Tolputt

    In the same vein, the article on Ken Henry’s resignation is along the same lines:
    ‘Reckless policy’ led to Henry resignation

    This is lazy journalism or, worse, deliberate bias. I prefer to think of it as lazy as I wish to keep some respect for the ABC… however, it is pushing the limits of my credibility lately.

  9. JulieA

    I had exactly the same thought when I viewed the ABC site yesterday – where were the articles describing/explaining the business case? why not some quotes from Gillard and Conroy? I am grateful for the incisive analysis provided by Alan Kohler on Crikey today.

    I was once a devotee of The Drum and sourced the ABC for all of my news – especially pre- and post- election. I am now thoroughly tired of the vitriolic commentary of Glenn Milne and his ilk … I agree with Dave C that it seems as though the ABC is trying so desperately hard to not be accused of bias, that it actually appears to commit biased reporting every day.

  10. shepherdmarilyn

    Actually Quigley pointed out this morning on ABC Adelaide’s very good Q & A session that the cost includes phone.

  11. shepherdmarilyn

    They are in a war with the OO so they parrot the OO. It’s truly appalling.

    But you did have to love the nonsense peddled by Turnbull because he doesn’t believe most of it.

    Another photo in the Murdoch rags though was marvellous wasn’t it? The tiny little girl from Iran in her hot pink dress and white cowboy boots.

  12. oldskool

    Sorry, forgot to mention, the above quote is Tony abbott

  13. Dave C

    I don’t know what goes on at the ABC, but sometimes I get the impression that the organisation is now quite obsessively paranoid about allegations of “left wing bias”. So much so that they do things like this to appease their accusers. (I’m not saying that’s necessarily the reality – but it certainly looks like it.)

    Bias or not, it would certainly be good to see a bit more dispassionate investigation, and a little less dogged repetition of the opinions of vested interests. Is it a resourcing problem? Can they not afford even to find a disinterested expert anymore?

    The ABC’s journalists usually do a fantastic job when they’re not talking to government or opposition MPs. When they are, it’s hardly worth paying attention.

  14. Daniel Bond

    I don’t understand the Australian’s “FTA and Pay TV will suffer” line. Why am I supposed to be sympathetic to the TV networks? Why not “Callooh! Callay! More content for everybody!”

    Obviously actual thoughtful analysis would be ideal, but I think even the most optimistic among us have given up on hoping for that from the Oz any more.

  15. oldskool

    “Now as far as the Coalition is concerned, there’s nothing wrong with any of this, but given all of the infrastructure needs facing Australia – roads, railways, ports, health, education, let alone the problems with voice telephony – it’s far from clear that this really is a sensible investment.”

    (quoted from the Australian site)

    Funny, I thought people were saying they should be doing those things whilst they were in Government- is this an admission that they let things slide?

    My Favourite line though- “let alone problems faced with voice telephony….”

    Do they actually know what the NBN is?

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