Saturday 5 January 2008

A future for ‘our’ ABC

CairnsBlog contributing writer Sid Walker continues his debate about a dear ol Auntie...

For many years, I’ve been a fan of the local ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation). ABC Far North, based in Cairns, that is.

I listen regularly to Pat Morrish, weekdays from 8.30am, who provides fine coverage of the region’s politics and life in general. I don’t know all the staff at the ABC Cairns, but I've met a few over the years and been impressed by their friendliness, intelligence and competence.

So, this is written as a friend of the ABC… of sorts.

I wrote recently in CairnsBlog about the ABC’s non-coverage of WTC-7, which caused me initial disappointment, eventually turning to disgust. I gave that as an example of the ABC’s grossly biased coverage of the entire 9-11 incident and its aftermath - the so-called ‘War on Terror’.

I could write in similar vein about other recent incidents. The London bombings on 7-7-2005 spring to mind – a horrifying event used to rationalize a swag of repressive new anti-civil liberties laws enacted by the Australian Parliament in late 2005. To my knowledge, copious evidence suggesting this also some manner of ‘inside job’ – and that Muslims were again patsies for someone else’s mass murder - has never been covered by Australia’s public broadcasters.

Even stories run on the British mainstream media – such as 7/7 victims and their families calling in vain for a public inquiry – have barely been mentioned in Australia. Controversial information that doesn’t gel with the official version of events has been excluded from Australian mainstream media coverage. Mindblowing anomalies have gone unreported. For critical, probing analysis about the 2005 Bali bomb atrocity, which also gave impetus to the so called ‘anti-terrorism’ laws of late 2005, you’re better off getting commentary from thoughts of a Canadian economist than any of Australia’s self-styled ‘Insiders’.

To my mind, that is disgraceful.

Growing realization about this has transformed me from someone who not long ago believed that 14 cents per day was a bargain for national news and current affairs free from corporate interests, into someone reluctant to pay a cent to an organization that I believe is effectively covering for murderers.

Even so, the ABC has many local branches – such as ABC FNQ – as well as a team working on national and international) programs.
As I said, I’m fond of the local ABC. What of its future?

I have mixed feelings.

In general, I believe we are long overdue for a root and branch shakeup of the Australian media.
Private corporations such as News Corp and PBL, with close Zionist connections from Board-level down and a long, blatant track record of lying about crucial events such as 9-11, should go the way of quasi-monopolies of the past. They should be broken up into smaller pieces - I suggest plenty of smaller pieces.

Local, regional and issue-specific publishers could thrive if these behemoths with their anti-competitive practices were dismantled. We need diversity – a real plurality of voices – not a media oligopoly. A handful of giant nationwide media corporations has been tried – and found wanting. They’ve failed to protect our interests and even our basic safety. In my opinion, they should be dismantled, the sooner the better.

Now, the ABC and SBS are also clearly part of the dissembling oligopoly also known as the contemporary Australian mass media. What’s to be done with them? Are these publicly-owned institutions also rotten to the core?

The public will eventually form a view on this. For myself, I keep an open mind. To some extent, my attitude will depend on what happens now.

The ABC does plenty of good programming. If courageous ABC journalists at long last raise their voices, they can start to restore their own reputation and the reputation of the corporation as a whole. But we've waited 75 months already. If it doesn’t happen soon, the Australian public can reasonably conclude that both the ABC and SBS are staffed entirely by people willing to dupe the public over mass murder, within 'western' countries and the countries we invade - or at the very least by people willing to go along with this ghoulish charade for a quiet life.

In that case, as the truth becomes more and more apparent, I suspect the great majority of Australian taxpayers won't want to fund them anymore.

Will honest journalists start speaking up? We’ll see. Perhaps the union movement needs to offer more support to journalists willing to swim against the now institutionalized current? Maybe an ‘ABC Journalists for Faithful Reporting” is needed? It’s partly a matter of organizing against intimidation, as unionists have known for centuries. In relation to 9-11, engineers and architects have now started doing this, joining scientists, pilots and others with special expertise to offer.

Surely at least a few prominent ABC journalists can find the fortitude to put their reputation on the line and speak out? They wouldn’t be the first – or the last.

A few years ago, I met a local ABC journalist at a party – a nice and clever person – and shared some of the basic facts about 9-11. I presented enough information, I thought, to whet the appetite of anyone with intellectual curiosity. He/she listened with interest and asked a few thoughtful questions. Then, just when it seemed I’d made the basic case that there really was something worthy of further investigation, he/she clammed up. “What’s this got to do with me?” I was asked, almost aggressively - and was given to understand that this was someone with family and a career who didn’t want to court trouble. Fair enough.

And yet…I may be naive, but surely journalists DO have something to do with truth, in the same way doctors have something to do with health?

Just as a major health crisis requires a lot of medical attention, a big news story needs lots of journalistic scrutiny. There can be few more important events to scrutinize than 9-11. After all, we were told at the time it might well be the start of 50-100 years of war!

Also, just as good doctors take care to diagnose accurately, surely good journalists should investigate, discuss and report without fear or favour?

As things stand, the journalism profession in Australia these days is the equivalent of institutionalized quackery - prescribing either placebos of essentially harmless information (at best), or the poison of disinformation at worst.

Why should we, long-suffering ordinary folk, occasionally subjected to unexplained acts of 'terror' that they never bother to investigate properly, continue to pay the wages of any of these people?

We’d be better off, in my opinion, with a system of media tokens – say $50 per person per year - granted to everyone in Australia to donate to a news service whose truthfulness they value and respect. That way, folk like CairnsBlog editor Michael Moore might make a decent living from their dedication and courage.

I’ll bet the talented Pat Morrish and her team’s regional news coverage would survive and thrive under such a scheme.

Crucially, we’d also get real ‘balance’ on issues such as 9-11, Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan, the so-called ‘Intelligence Agencies’ and all the rest of the topics either spun out of recognition by the western mass media or consigned to the Memory Hole.

Lying so blatantly about 9-11 is a contemptuous insult to the intelligence of the public. The deficiencies of the official narrative are obvious to a child when clearly explained. It is also obvious that major mass murders that lack well-documented official investigations of any kind remain unsolved crimes.

Dissembling over 9-11 has been going on for more than six years and counting. It’s way beyond a joke.

Like the infamous joke of Queensland’s not-so-distant past, it must come to an end.

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