IPA Today

Episode 3: Their Echo Chamber

Written by
8 November 2021

The third episode of ‘Their ABC: What’s wrong with the ABC and how to fix it’ Their Echo Chamber looks on the ABC’s disconnect from the mainstream.

Twitter is a platform full of green-left activists, and anonymous troll accounts, yet ABC staff use it religiously as a vox pop and to reinforce their own views.

This episode looks at its Twitter activism, recent scandals surrounding staff social media activism, including from one of its most prominent journalists, Louise Milligan.

This episode looks at how this echo-chamber led to one almighty blunder at the 2019 Federal Election.

Featured in this episode: Chris Kenny, Andrew Bragg, Sarah Henderson, Dave Sharma, Chris Mitchell, Gemma Tognini, Phillip Booth, James McGrath and many more.

You can listen to episode 3 of Their ABC, ‘Their Echo Chamber’on Soundcloud, SpotifyPodbean, Apple Podcast or YouTube 

Chris Kenny told the Their ABC podcast his views on Twitter::

“The ABC and other media, I should say, follow it way too much, the ABC, especially. It becomes this inane, feral-left echo chamber that they use to validate their own views. It’s actually increased their problems. It’s made them more isolated from the mainstream.”

Worse, the tweets by ABC journalists themselves openly reveal their bias against conservatives, making a mockery of ABC’s charter that requires journalists to be trustworthy and impartial.

Victorian Liberal Senator and former ABC journalist Sarah Henderson commented on ABC staff social media activism:

“The ABC’s social media policy is woefully inadequate. It is incredible to me that the ABC’s managing director doesn’t appear to recognise that when a high-profile ABC journalist posts something on social media, that there is not an associated responsibility in relation to what they say. If I had done the equivalent action, [when I worked at the ABC] I would’ve been sacked.”

The ABC’s 2019 Election Fail

The results of the 2019 election were surprising to most commentators across the media – but especially on the ABC. This was embarrassing for the national broadcaster that prides itself on its election coverage. How did they get it so wrong? Could their bias have clouded their judgement? We look at the ABC’s election coverage.

Take this exchange, for example, between ABC journalists Leigh Sales and Laura Tingle, a day before the election.

“LEIGH SALES: Can you think of a historic example where a government in this kind of position has been re-elected?”

“LAURA TINGLE: No. I suppose you want a longer answer to that Leigh (both laugh).”

NSW MLC Mark Latham told me what Scott Morrison should have done after the 2019 election, when it was clear that ABC was campaigning for Labor:

“The first thing you should have done, re-elected into the Prime Minister’s office, is nut out a plan for how you can pair back the ABC, make more of it pay for itself through subscription services. But Morrison missed a golden opportunity…basically said to the ABC, you’ve had your big lash to try and kill my political career, and now I’m not going to touch you.”

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Evan Mulholland

Evan Mulholland is the Director of Communications at the Institute of Public Affairs

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