The findings of the ABC’s “independent” editorial complaints investigation unit are usually viewed with the same mix of bemusement and amusement that was once reserved for, say, former Iraqi information minister Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf, AKA “Comical Ali”. They contain levels of integrity usually only associated with Victoria Police.
However, their most recent pronouncement has got people talking. It’s a response to a member of the #IStandWithDan brigade, who complained that the ABC had violated its very own Charter of Left-Wing Conduct by failing to proclaim that the Chairman shares miraculous powers usually only associated with the Kim dynasty in North Korea.
It reads in full:
The ABC’s independent editorial complaints investigation unit, Audience & Consumer Affairs, has rejected a complaint that political correspondent Jane Norman breached impartiality standards when, in a live cross on the ABC News Channel, she referred to the Victorian Government’s handling of hotel quarantine as a “fiasco”.
The A&CA finding says:
“The focus of (the News Channel report) was the 25,000 Australians stranded overseas and the different political views about how to resolve this problem.
“The reporter explained: ‘Right now, only 4000 Australians can return home each week and that’s because of the caps that were imposed back in July in response to the Victorian hotel quarantine fiasco.’
“While we note your objection to the term ‘fiasco’, we are satisfied that this description is grounded in demonstrable evidence and is duly impartial.
“The failures in hotel quarantine in Victoria have allowed a second wave of coronavirus to take hold in that state, leading to avoidable illness and deaths and the longest and most stringent lockdowns in Australia.
“As the report explained, the ‘ripple effects’ of these failures also led to this problem of thousands of Australians stranded overseas, with no certainty as to how or when they will be able to return home. The consequences of the failures in hotel quarantine have been disastrous for many Australians.”
Experienced reporters such as Jane are expected to be able to form evidence-based conclusions about the consequences of events and decisions made by public officials.
The conclusion that hotel quarantine in Victoria was a failure is demonstrably true.
Whether it is described as a “failure” or a “fiasco” is a matter of style, not substance.
That “whether it is described as a ‘failure’ or a ‘fiasco’ is a matter of style, not substance”. Ouch.
If Chairman Dan has lost even the ABC, he’d better hope that those stories about Harold Holt and the waiting Chinese submarine are true.
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