Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Miranda Devine, digital media and the ABC

In a recent opinion piece published ironically to an online media source, (article? Surely this is not an 'article'...) Miranda Devine took a crack at dear old Aunty, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, for being a left-wing mouthpiece espousing pinko propaganda to children through its programming.

A swift jab is directed at Q&A to start things off with a nice comforting sound of air being pummelled from a straw figurine. (Or... maybe it's a jab at how the ABC is capable of adapting to a new media climate of predominantly internet-driven content from the previous era of print. I'm still a bit hazy on the matter over here.)

Devine's ensuing rant appears to have been sparked by the objective mention of Education Minister Christopher Pyne's broken promise about Gonski funding (no quotation marks needed, Mandi), on popular children's show Behind The News; which she refers to using associative descriptor 'controversial'.
As in: 'controversial education show Behind The News', teaching such controversial topics as 'gender equality' to our children.

You sick, twisted fucks.
Behind The News has been running on the ABC for 42 near-consecutive seasons since 1969.
As a state-funded channel, this means that the show has aired under a Liberal government for 24 out of the past 44 years. Surely in that time, the political right would have picked up on the program being so 'controversial' and quelled such wanton content from being broadcast in Australian classrooms. Speaking of classrooms, the school mentioned on the program is Norwood Primary. Last time I checked, the electorate of Norwood has been a Liberal seat for the past 3 years.

Would you think that such flagrantly blue tones promote ALP bias?
Norwood I.

If you're going to nit-pick at the ABC's political bias, surely it would have been indicative of ALP-leaning preference to have portrayed a school from a Labor-supporting electorate. Oh, wait, don't tell me... the intent of the interviewer was to sway Liberal schoolchildren against Tony Abbott.
You know, because those 7-year-olds will all totally be voting in the next election and stuff.
I get where you're coming from now.
However, one cannot go past the opening remarks against the ABC, where Devine rolls back her sleeves to conjure up gratuitously vivid imagery of hentai kiddie porn with as brazen a title as:
"The ABC's evil plan to get tentacles into kids."

Tsk, just dodged that Walkley again, Miranda.
But wait, there's more!

"THE ABC is an enormous beast, with tentacles stretching across the internet and digital TV
at a time when other media organisations are struggling to survive..."
- Miranda Devine,
December 4 2013


 "Watch the latest episode of Antiques Master on iView
or perish as I crush the juices from your mortal flesh!"

Come on, Miranda. You've been a professional journalist in the media industry for how long now and the most objective tone you can manage to reference a television broadcast service is that of a sinister bloodthirsty cephalopod hellbent on destroying all competitors in this fierce new realm of the digital age?

Well then, let’s do a brief overview of Australian media organisations at the moment to see how your claims hold up against the facts. I'm sure the ABC will stand out as a glaringly over-funded public resource already awash in a sea of dominant left-leaning media ownership in our country:
Channel 7
($2.44 billion)

- 50% stake in Yahoo! and full licence of digital TiVo in Australia.

- digital channels 7mate and 7Two

- 33% share in 24 hour Sky News

- Chairman Kerry Stokes
#12 richest Australian, worth $2 billion

- 14.9% stake in Prime Media run by Chairman Paul Ramsay
#10 richest Australian, worth $2.4 billion. 

- until recently, joint-owned by KKR, a US company worth $40 billion

- #1 for TV ratings in Australia

- 40,000 Twitter followers


Channel 9
($2.5 billion+)
- 50% stake in Ninemsn online portal with Microsoft

- digital channels Go!, Gem, eXtra and eXtra 2

- Chairman Peter Bush
Former McDonald's CEO and millionaire

- floating publically in a week’s time

- previously owned by James Packer
#2 richest Australian worth $7.7 billion

- owns ACER arena and Ticketek

- #2 for TV ratings in Australia

- 81,000 Twitter followers


Channel 10
($1 billion, down to $737 million recently)

- digital channels One, Eleven (33% owned by CBS) and TVSN

- 17.9% share joint-owned by James Packer (#2 richest Australian) and
CEO Lachlan Murdoch (soon to be heir to part of $13 billion+ Murdoch fortune)

- 10% share owned by Gina Rinehart
#1 richest Australian worth $18 billion

- 10% share owned by WIN CEO Bruce Gordon
#50 richest Australian worth $700 million

- previously #3 for TV ratings in Australia, recently overtaken by ABC

- 94,000 Twitter followers

News Corp
$7.9 billion


- diverse digital portfolio of news media and other websites

- 50% share of digital channel Foxtel

- Chairman Rupert Murdoch, Director Lachlan Murdoch
(Family fortune worth $13.4 billion)

- 759 Twitter followers


Fairfax Media
($1.4 billion)

- diverse digital portfolio of news media and other websites
- 14.9% share owned by Gina Rinehart (#1 richest Australian)

- 100% acquisition of Allure Media online websites

- Chairman Roger Corbett former Woolworths CEO
(Liberal Party member, worth $1 billion)

- 415 Twitter followers

($1.22 billion)

- digital channels ABC2, ABC3 and ABC News 24

- wholly government owned and funded

- out of 19 ABC employees to move into political positions as of 2007, 10 affiliated with ALP and 9 affiliated with the Liberal party

- current #3 for TV ratings

- 49,000 Twitter followers

($158 million)

- digital channels SBS Two, SBS Three and NITV

- originally 100% government-funded, now 20% funded by advertising

- niche foreign language, news and content, #5 for tv ratings

- 77,000 Twitter followers


Without delving further into the diverse range of radio ownership, newspapers and other print media controlled by these Australian media corporations, I think the point is fairly well conveyed that there is *plenty* of digital TV and internet media owned and run by organisations other than the ABC, at a scale that is a far cry from Miranda Devine's notion of a colossus ABC quashing all others. In fact, you will notice that it is the same familiar faces of financial giants who are putting their fingers in all the pies here across the mediascape, buying out chunks from competitors. Boy, they sure must be struggling with all their dominant TV ratings... and car sales, careers and business websites... and the football stadium and stuff. Hard knock life, yo.

Your qualms should not be with the ABC; surely having all local media controlled by a select few rich individuals is where the true potential to wrangle political bias in reporting of information lies. Even *if* ABC leans pinko, that political sway should act as a counterbalance for the right-wing dominance of the private media organisations saturating our televisions and online content; and be a dynamic to be championed in a fair democracy.

Look, I think what I'm really trying to say here is that Miranda Devine is a twofaced charlatan
who sets fire to gay refugee babies as fuel to increase her carbon footprint.

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