27 May 2009, Comments (6)

Balance! I’ll give you balance…

Author: Helen

Because of a deliberate campaign by the right-wing senator Eric Abetz, the ABC has gone out of its way to boost the Liberal voting and conservative element in the studio audience for the political discussion program Q & A.

ABC managing director Mark Scott told a Senate estimates hearing yesterday that, of the 2500 people who had attended the program this year, 34.4 per cent said they supported the Coalition, while 33.9 per cent voted Labor. Green voters comprised 12.8 per cent of audiences, while 2.4 per cent supported other parties and 16.6 per cent declined to reveal their voting intention…

…To restore the balance, Q & A producers leaned on Liberal politicians, firms such as Ernst & Young and PricewaterhouseCoopers and organisations including the Australian Christian Lobby, the Australian Union of Jewish Students, the Australian Family Association and the Australian Retailers Association in their hunt for conservatives.

The Howard government has gone but their miserable culture wars live on. The ABC has to bow to the whims of wingnuts like Abetz or, presumably, stand accused of commie radical advocacy. There is a huge double standard at play here.

If that tactic had been employed by the ABC to boost input from people Mr Abetz didn’t approve of, it would have been called “stacking”. If efforts had been made to boost input from marginalised or less powerful groups in society, it would have been called “affirmative action”, and you know how well that goes down with the Abetzes and Albrechtsons. Oh, well, consistency, you know, the hobgoblin of little minds, etcetera.

12.8 percent Greens in the audience is called “over-representation”. When a single Liberal senator pressures the ABC to use affirmative action and stacking to increase the rightwing content of the audience, it’s called “balance”. Anyway, that explains why there are so many inane questions from young apparatchiks-in-the-making in this program’s audience.
Crossposted at Larvatus Prodeo. Edited to correct typo “12.8 Greens” to “12.8 percent Greens

Comments (6)

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  • Mark says:

    We could hope that being shown-up on national TV as half-brained Dorothy-Dixing Liberal morons can weed out these twits, but I fear that it will only prove their suitability as backbencher fodder to the party apparatchiks. *sigh*

  • Mark says:

    Oh, I forgot to say that they are one of the reasons I can’t watch much of qanda these days. Though I wouldn’t say I was ever riveted to the thing before.

  • weez says:

    Clearly, Eric Abetz didn’t think Q&A had enough chaps like Darren Hodges or the LaRouchie nutter in the brown hat (seek to 1:30).

    The LaRouchies claimed no fewer than 15 out of 80 audience members:

    It was at this live debate in the studio of ABC Sydney and broadcast on Australian national television that we intervened. Three organizers were kicked out on sight for “suspicion of being potentially disruptive,” while 15 activists, LYM and chapter members, made it in safely. Two of questions centered on the relationship between Nazi race science, eugenics, and environmentalism. One ALYM member, wearing a t-shirt that said “Anthropogenic Global Warming is a bigger fraud than your girlfriend’s orgasm!”, asked about statistical vs. dynamic analysis concerning the method in which the “warmers” gather their data. For the last question of the broadcast an organizer sharply asked if the panelists were for or against human populations. A more detailed report, including the reactions of the panelists to the questions, is forthcoming.

    Not enough extreme-right nutbags for Eric, obviously.

    (Edited to remove Eric Abetz’s name to make it female, which is supposed to be a putdown. Although you’re welcome here, Weez, this is a feminist blog and that isn’t OK here. Ed)

  • Helen says:

    Oh yes I remember that one.

    Blogged it here:

    The guy in the audience with a Breughel-looking beanie, who began by saying: “I’ve studied astrophysics…
    (Me: Oh, that sounds impressive, maybe he’s just a scruffy but brilliant undergraduate)
    “and classical music”…
    (Me: Oh dear, that sounds irrelevant, probably a crank after all)
    “…with Lyndon La Rouche!”)
    (Me: “…”

    Although I think it’s pretty much a bee’s dick between some LaRouchies and some of the nuttier Libs/Nats (and some on the Labor right I might add.)

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