Saturday, May 26, 2012

An exploration of Groupthink at the ABC

Update: see also Simon's comments at Australian Climate Madness. Simon's successful FOI request for ANU's emails sparked the current controversy.

The Australian has a series of articles in today's paper that examines the deleterious effects of "Groupthink" at the ABC.

In the first Chris Kenny delves into the way Groupthink has spread its tentacles through the ABC. There is a bright light however, exemplified by ABC reporters who work outside ABC's inner city Ultimo and Melbourne latte lines.
Groupthink takes over at national broadcaster
"Critics see the problem at the ABC as too much news judgment, opinion and perspective flowing in the same direction on a range of key issues. The ABC tends to favour an alarmist view on climate change, open borders approach on asylum-seekers, rights over responsibilities in indigenous affairs, antagonism towards Christianity but tolerance for Islam, reverence for the UN, animus towards the US, enthusiasm for gay marriage, suspicion about business and development, and deference to the green agenda. "
"Yet it can be argued that this "collection of low-lying tribes" - as one senior ABC journalist describes the organisation - acts as a counter to groupthink, ensuring that somewhere in the vast empire, always, dissent can flourish. And few would argue, for instance, that ABC regional radio stations aren't more entwined with their communities."

This blog gets a mention in the second article by Legal Affairs editor Chris Merritt. that discusses further issues surrounding reporting of the ANU "Death Threat" emails.
"THE only uncontested lesson from the furore over the ABC's coverage of climate change is this: those inside the national broadcaster see the world very differently from their external critics."
"Everything else is the subject of deeply held views that are as polarised as they are sincere.
Alan Sunderland, head of policy at ABC news, gives every indication of being a reasonable man. But so does Marc Hendrickx, who runs the blog ABC News Watch. He has been left dumbfounded at what he sees as the national broadcaster's inability to accept that when it comes to climate change, the organisation is riddled with groupthink that diminishes its journalism on this subject.
Even when the ABC qualifies earlier reports on climate change - as it did this week - it does so in a way that Hendrickx believes is grudging and inadequate."
Our series of articles exploring aspects of ABC's reporting on Climate change can be found under the Climate coverage at the ABC page at the top right.

There's also a related piece in today's Australian by Christopher Booker about bias at the BBC mothership.
BBC's climate change scam

No doubt the Oz will carry contesting opinions on the above in next week's editions.

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