The ABC (the major Government-sponsored Radio & TV broadcaster in Australia) is a weird organisation.
Having been travelling a fait bit recently, I have been waking up in hotel rooms and, as one does, turning on the TV whilst working out how to get an early morning cup of tea of coffee out of a kettle which is the size and weight of a chaffinch. The ABC have a perfectly likeable chap called Michael Rowland, who does a good job of cheerfully hosting their breakfast programme. His job description evidently calls on him to smile a lot, which is fine – no one wants to listen to a misery-guts first thing in the morning. Should not be hard, you might thing, for an easy-going, affable chap like Michael Rowland.
But the ABC put him through daily torture, by making him sit next to an utter shrew called Virginia, who is consistently beastly to him, as well as to everyone else. Any normal person would leave the room as soon as she enters, but poor Michael has to sit next to her and smile. He does his best (and he is surprisingly good at it) but nevertheless, it is gut-wrenching to see such a pleasant chap subjected to such torture.
A bit of digging reveals that said Virginia is married to another ABC horror story, Russell Skelton, who is editor of ABC’s so-called “Fact Check”. Given the endless complaints about the ABC’s left-wing bias, it is hard to imagine a more unfortunate choice. Mr Skelton’s tweets and other indiscretions reveal that he refers to the Prime Minister as “The Monk”, the Minister for Agriculture as a “dense, opportunistic carpetbagger” and the Treasurer as “not the sharpest pencil in the box”. Not the sort of man with a reputation for impartiality.
By way of example, the ABC’s so-called Fact Check on climate change the other day demonstrates that – far from checking facts – the things is a publicly-funded soap box for left-wing proselytising.
It is a bit of a mystery to me that the government has not already moved to privatise the ABC.
Personally, I would just privatise the News and Current affairs bit. Or force them to show SBS News, which, with a much smaller budget, does a hugely much better job. The rest of the ABC is not too bad. But sometimes, babies get thrown out with bathwater.