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Sell ABC TV!

By Ken Lovell - posted Thursday, 24 January 2008

If I had the energy and the spare time and the know-how I swear I’d start a public campaign to sell ABC television. Or close the bloody thing down if a buyer couldn’t be found. It’s become a pointless exercise in self-indulgence. Sure it throws up the odd enjoyable tidbit but so does News Ltd. It’s not enough for me to want to pay money to the latter and I’m buggered if I see why I should be compelled to keep helping fund the ABC.

The trigger for this latest intemperate spray was an item on tonight’s (October 25, 2007) 7.30 Report. Right now, a bushfire catastrophe is unfolding in the USA that dwarfs anything we have ever experienced in this country. Half a million people have been evacuated from their homes. Can you imagine the enormity of an exercise like that? Half a freakin’ million! Hundreds of homes have been burnt, god knows how much damage has been done … all in all it’s an incredible natural disaster.

I could nominate maybe 143 different aspects of this major event that I would like to see explored in a TV current affairs show segment. ABC television managed to think of the 144th.


Tonight’s coverage was a disjointed affair that had one loose connecting theme, namely: was George W. Bush responding to this natural disaster as incompetently as he dealt with Hurricane Katrina in 2005?

Brilliant, ABC. Just what I really want to watch on a Thursday night … talking heads of whom I have never heard in my life, enjoying their Warholian 15 minutes, uttering grave inanities from their offices in the University of Buttfuck Idaho or wherever, about the way Dubya has learnt from his mistakes in 2005 and is doing a peachy job this time around … interspersed with selected clips of The Man himself, giving bland drivellous answers to journalists at a press conference.

What in god’s name is the point of any of this for an Australian audience? What is the point even for Americans? It’s not like Dubya is standing for election again. Who gives a sh*t if he’s actually learnt anything about public administration?

But the inanity didn’t stop there. No, the ABC’s North American correspondent, who probably costs us a cool $10 million or so a year to support, had another really, really perceptive insight to bring us. You see, San Diego, where the fires are, is mainly a white, middle-class city, whereas New Orleans was mainly a poor black city. And George W. Bush is doing a heckuva job in San Diego whereas he did a crap job in New Orleans.

Well nudge-nudge, wink-wink, say no more … you guys can join up the dots.

Talk about a pathetic bit of vicious innuendo … all of course expressed with hints and knowing phrases in order to preserve wide-eyed deniability of any intent to imply anything nasty. The idea that sometimes public authorities handle emergencies better than others - just like normal folks - didn’t seem to have occurred to this idiot reporter. And of course the notion that George W. Bush was in any way personally responsible for doing anything remotely practical in either disaster is just laughable.


So what with the ABC News consisting largely of somebody reading out the stories that were on the front page of The Sydney Morning Herald 12 hours earlier, and the first bit of the 7.30 Report sounding like an amateurish rehash of stuff I already read online, and the rest of the 7.30 Report comprising stories like tonight’s that seem deliberately designed to illustrate every shopworn cliché about the mindless prejudice of The Left, I honestly cannot see any reason why I should ever turn the ABC on again.

Sell the bloody thing … if anyone wants to buy it.

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First published at The Road to Surfdom on October 25 2007.

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About the Author

Ken Lovell spent most of his life living in Sydney and working in the construction industry as an industrial relations executive (on the employer side). He now lives on the Tweed Coast of NSW and works as an academic teaching management at undergraduate and postgraduate level. He also blog at Road to Surfdom. He's never been a member of a political party. Over the last 25 years his federal vote has moved from Liberal to Labor to The Greens. Like Malcolm Fraser, he maintains that he hasn't changed his fundamental values - the parties are the ones whove shifted ground.

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

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