Flat White

Fact checking finds ABC’s Fact Check un-factual

17 August 2020

12:06 PM

17 August 2020

12:06 PM

As small businesses close their doors forever, right across the country, the(ir) ABC still continues with the chorus of “Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?”. 

Our national broadcaster sucks up over $1 billion each year from the taxpayer – but still cries poor to anyone who will listen.

Now, amusingly, Communications Minister Paul Fletcher, aka ABC’s line manager, has slammed the ABC’s fact checking unit for being “riddled with errors”.  

Fact check found unfactual? 

You couldn’t make this up.

The RMIT ABC Fact Check unit is jointly funded by RMIT University and the ABC. It sings its own praises, claiming to be an “agenda-free zone”. It reckons it has no political bias and runs no activist agenda.

However, The SMAge today reports that Fletcher criticised the unit over a July article that tested his claim that the ABC’s funding is increasing each year. The article described Fletcher’s comments as “misleading”.  

Both the ABC’s chair Ita Buttrose and managing director David Anderson have referred to cuts as being the result of the Turnbull government’s decision in 2018 to freeze the budget rather than see it rise with inflation.  

Fletcher says the funding is rising. That is: the ABC’s funding is actually rising in both real and nominal terms.

“Fact check is really being pressed into service to support a particular position in an argument,” Fletcher told SMH and The Age.

He continued, “There’s a number of other technical errors in the Fact Check report, such as the claim that one of those statements is accrual accounting and one is cash accounting, that’s not right either. Basically, that fact check document, for something that calls itself a fact check, is riddled with errors.” 

So, if a Fact Check is not factual, does it actually exist?

“Really, frankly, somebody should do a fact check on Fact Check,” Fletcher continued. “Let’s have a debate where the facts are agreed and let’s not have cute games, like quoting the wrong budget paper which is at odds with what the ABC reports in its own annual report. Let’s not play silly games.”

Silly games?


Audience members who don’t think that a fact check meets the editorial standards for accuracy, are invited to lodge a complaint. 

What a terrible shame it would be if the unfactual Fact Check received a flurry of complaints…

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