Clear-headed observers of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation know full well that poor – and we stress the poor – Aunty is shit-scared of the Morrison government after years of LNP budget cuts and risible claims by ministers and shock jocks of it always showing a left-wing basis.
The shameless way the ABC cut off Bill Shorten to go to a Scott Morrison presser during last year’s election in a pathetic attempt to return to some form of professional balance was proof enough of that.
And there are always little ongoing signs that Aunty either by accident or design leans to the right if anything for survival, and Thursday’s ABC TV News Breakfast program gave us such a glimpse.
Whoever wrote the background info for a piece on Sports Australia’s $50,000 grant to the Sans Souci Football Club in Scott Morrison’s electorate for a building that was already built came up with this for the on-air talent to read out: “The prime minister defended the [funding] decision…”
What clearly needed to be used by anyone who had stayed awake during Journalism 101 was the word “deflected” or something similar.
When the PM says it was up to Sports Australia and the club to ensure the funding application was eligible – his regular buzz word for all successful applicants for quite a while there until he couldn’t any more – that’s not “defending” what happened.
That’s deflecting, side-stepping, blame-shifting. Take your pick but, sorry ABC chaps and chapettes, it’s not defending.
Our media team was somewhat bowled over by the bold use of the word “bold” in bold font on top of a story in The Courier-Mail in Brisbane a day or so ago detailing the LNP Opposition’s plans for beefing up anti-domestic violence laws (pictured).
Now we have no problem with a columnist or commentator describing the proposed laws as “bold”, or even if the headline had cited someone from the LNP itself labelling their initiatives as “bold”.
But, naturally, the latter would have required the word “bold” to appear in quotation marks.
As it ran it could be interpreted only as an editorial judgement by The Courier-Mail itself.
A deliberate ploy to support the LNP? Or a simple stuff-up caused by a lack of thought and a lack of sub-editors and others to do the thinking?
During the week an item appeared in the Daily Telegraph Sydney marking the death from cancer of former Sydney TV journalist and newsreader Kay Stammers.
The piece (pictured below) by the Tele’s editor-at-large Matthew Benns described Ms Stammers as a genuinely “pioneering” female television journalist.
The content of the story definitely backed that up and it is always sad when people like her pass on.
But we couldn’t help but notice a paragraph that explained how Ms Stammers gained a foothold in the world of TV news in the sexist 1970s.
It seems she was enticed into television reporting after somebody in Sydney TV land offered her a job after seeing a photo of her lying in the sun in her bikini on page three of the then Sydney newspaper The Sun.
Now, we’re not having a go as Ms Stammers. Good luck to her for taking up the job offer and going on to build a solid career in TV journalism.
It was simply the bald way in which the paragraph was presented — with no remarks about the sexist nature of that initial step in her recruitment.
Ms Stammers obviously confronted and overcame such attitudes to carve herself a distinguished career based on her own skills and talents.
Because the Tele saw no need to put that paragraph in context, we think it’s no wonder that close to 50 years later such attitudes still hold sway in media land.
Speaking of television land, Colin Vickery, Melbourne-based TV critic wrote a piece in the Herald Sun pondering the ratings for a number of shows currently screening on the box and opining that in Australian television there is always only room for two successful shows in any one category.
He considered breakfast TV, with the strengthening viewer ratings of ABC News Breakfast threatening the traditional two-way battle between Nine’s Today and Seven’s Sunrise.
He also turned to the reality TV genre (a gross misnomer in our opinion for those heavily over-produced shows that live off orchestrated conflict and bitchiness) and compared the ratings of Network 10’s Australian Survivor, Nine’s Married at First Sight, and Seven’s My Kitchen Rules.
His theory is that in any programming genre on Aussie TV there is room for only two successful programs and a third will languish. True, but so very outdated isn’t it?
The Bug simply asks: why is anyone even writing about ratings for the shows pumped out by the old-style TV networks when they represent just one way — and a diminishing way at that — for people to absorb their entertainment and information in the internet age.
Over the decades since TV started in our nation there has been an obsession about ratings. But who really cares about them except the people who sell ads in the middle of TV shows?
The ratings don’t matter to fans of any of those shows. They just like watching what they watch.
Which is why viewing so-called “television” shows on mobile devices at times we want to watch them will eventually kill off the old TV networks as we knew them.