Out of everything said by our politicians and journalists in the last two days regarding the Tony Abbott’s outburst at the perspectives of the ABC, this comment from the PM has been a major stand-out:
“You would like the national broadcaster to have a rigorous commitment to truth and at least some basic affection for the home team”
To me, affection for the “home team” means affection for Australia and all its citizens, not just the views and actions of one political party. Don’t we have a right to exposure of multiple views from multiple media organisations? Abbott wasn’t complaining during the 2013 election when News Corp took Rudd and the labor party to town on Australia’s door-steps each morning.
Why should we give our government, our navy (or anyone else, for that matter) the “benefit of the doubt” when it comes to reporting?
Yes, journalists aim to be “fair, balanced and accurate” and to report information that is factual and in the public interest. We don’t need our political leaders to remind us of that. Their job is to lead our country, not our newspapers. It certainly isn’t their job to decide when a journalist (let a lone an entire broadcasting network) has crossed the line.
To me, a “rigorous commitment to the truth” involves running stories about issues our government is clearly trying to keep at bay. Sure the ABC rely on heavy government funding, but at the end of the day this money comes from tax payers, aka the Australian public. Fundamentally, being committed to the truth means putting thorough research and evidence into absolutely everything you report. However a rigorous commitment to the truth also means biting the hand that feeds you because it is in the public interest.