Illustration by Benjamin Thomson
The ABC has come in for some criticism recently from the Government with the Prime Minister calling them unpatriotic. The ABC reported on leaks that showed Australia bugged the phones of Indonesia's President and his wife, and more recently reported claims from asylum seekers that they'd been burnt by navy personnel.
The Prime Minister believes that "a lot of people feel at the moment that the ABC instinctively takes everyone's side but Australia's". By Australia, he obviously means himself. Unlike newspapers like The Australian and The Daily Telegraph, the ABC keeps putting its foot in it by reporting in a balanced way.
As The Australian reported last year, people are trusting the ABC less—trust in the ABC went from 83 percent to 78 percent over the past four years—one in five people don't trust it.
This is how you report a story. You pick out the bits that work for you and ignore the rest. This is why the ABC keeps on failing! If The Australian had published the full results of the Newspoll survey on trust in the media it would have shown that trust in commercial newspapers is less than 50 percent—but who needs to know that! Crikey published it, but they're a bunch of overeducated commies like the ABC.
The situation at the ABC is dire—the Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull has asked for an efficiency audit to see where money can be cut, while there are suggestions they'll lose a $200 million contract to provide content to the Asia Pacific region. The question is on all our minds—how will expats sitting in villas in Jakarta be able to watch Rake? Something needs to be done!
Tony Abbott is essentially saying that if the ABC can't get their act together and report the way he wants them to he'll destroy them. But the ABC just can't get it right. They've tried apologising, they've flogged themselves on Media Watch, they've tried defending themselves, they've even let Niki Savva say that Julie Bishop is the best Foreign Minister we've ever had on Insiders with no-one disputing it. And still, nothing is going right.
That's why I've put together this handy guide for the ABC so they can avoid being unpatriotic and stay alive.
The following is a list of rules that every ABC journalist needs to memorise.
Asylum seekers – BAD
White people – GOOD
Indonesians – BAD (except for Bali)
Chinese – GOOD (what human rights abuses?)
Brave men and women of the military – GOOD
Brave men and women who are asylum seekers or muslims – BAD
America – THE BEST!
The Royal Family – GOOD
The Catholic Church – GOOD
Muslims – BAD
Bias is essentially taking sides in an argument while saying you're impartial. You're allowed to do this if the side you're taking is that of Tony Abbott, the Government generally (as long as it's a Coalition government) or if you're reporting news that will help billionaire owners of media empires, mining, pharmaceutical, insurance or property companies make more money. Then it's not bias, it's truth.
There are some topics that are obviously biased which you need to avoid mentioning altogether. These include Gonski, the NDIS, foreign policy from 2010 to 2013 or anything to do with women. If you are going to talk about the Labor Party, you're advised to stick to the following topics—union corruption, carbon tax, failure to stop the boats and Julia Gillard's physical appearance.
Once you're labelled as a left-wing sympathiser there's no going back. Being left of centre is being biased. Being right of centre is being patriotic.
Facts are the things you need to be able to report a story. However, if those facts contradict any of the rules listed above, then they're no longer facts. For example, when you have asylum seekers with burns all over their hands saying that it was the navy who did it, it's obviously not true for the simple reason that asylum seekers are bad and the navy is good. See how easy it is? The proper way for the story to be reported would be something like this:
"MORE LIES - Asylum seekers burn themselves in desperate attempt to tarnish the good name of the brave men and women of the Australian Navy."
The ABC has followed this up with another blunder and found evidence that the navy sprayed the asylum seekers with pepper spray, which was why they couldn't see the engines that burnt their hands. It's almost as though they care about asylum seekers feeling pain, when really we all know they deserve it. If you don't want to get hurt, then join the queue with the rest of the asylum seekers who aren't really good at cricket.
But hang on, didn't all the media mistakenly report that children were thrown overboard back in 2001? Why weren't they forced to apologise? If you'd refer back to the basic rules, you'll find that they were completely correct in reporting that asylum seekers are uncaring and manipulative. There are a couple of points here—one, is that the Government is never wrong, and if it is then it's for a good reason—in this case, so they could win the election and get rid of that commie Kim Beazley for good. The second is that asylum seekers are by definition lying scum, so making a little mistake like this is simply patriotism.
But sometimes it's not that simple, I hear you say. How do I report on stories where army and navy personnel raped each other? Isn't raping bad?
It is bad, but that doesn't override the fact that we're talking about the brave men of the defence forces, men who are both white and non-muslim. It's completely understandable if you just avoid reporting on this altogether, but if you have to, make sure you avoid blaming anyone in the Government. Do not take the side of the victim, as the ABC did in the case of 'Kate', rather, highlight things like the fact that she was on the pill, like The Daily Telegraph did—it just helps readers understand that she was a slut.
If you want to add a personal touch, put forward the point of view of the perpetrator, who was probably stressed out and didn't know what he was doing, like The Australian did in the case of a navy rape. Play down the raping bit, emphasise the excuses of the guy who did it, maybe allude to the fact that the woman was stripping so people realise that she was probably asking for it.
After all, women should be at home raising children, not joining the army!
This country is about freedom and free speech and stopping the boats, and the ABC better start reporting what they're told or we'll end up in a communist dictatorship where the state controls our media.