Tim Blair


New Criterion



Friday, November 05, 2004
I need to update my earlier post on David Marr's trashing of the ABA report into biases in Auntie's political reporting.

It is now clearer why Media Watch took the scalpel to some of the ABA's detail. It was misrepresenting the ABA's overall and devastating conclusion.

Here's what David Marr told us on Monday night, quoting selectively from the ABA report: "The ABA considers that the program was balanced overall in its coverage of the Iraq War and related issues."

Very comforting, no?

What David Marr didn't report was this more general, and more damning conclusion.
The ABA has concerns about a pattern of emotional, tendentious language used by AM's studio presentation team.

The ABA concludes that nowithstanding the high quality of the overall coverage, the impression left by the presenters was that issues and perspectives were pre-judged. To some extent this was mitigated by the balance provided by on-the-field reporters and military and political commentators.
Well and truthfully put. (As reported by Errol Simper in Thursday's Australian).

And how much education and training do you need to see this March 22, 2003 AM intro for what it is?
The Bush administration has been briefing journalists on the latest developments in Iraq, quickly taking the opportunity to make advances in the propaganda war to match those they say they're making on the ground.

The ABA report (enormous file here) is a draft for discussion with the ABC. The ABA is, as Media Watch has often told us in commenting on ABA reports on other people's media, something of a pussy-cat.

It may be a long time before the ABA report sees the light of day. The arrogance of the Auntie left, however, is plain for all to see.

Errol Simper's report also claims that the ABA report was leaked to Media Watch from within the ABC. To my knowledge no-one has yet given staff-elected Board member Ramona Koval the opportunity to refuse to say whether or not she leaked it.