ABC TV news viewers this week could have been excused for thinking the Papacy had been suddenly vacated.
Fully five minutes at the top of the ABC 7 pm bulletin on Tuesday night was dedicated not to the resignation of the Pope – but to someone far more important — footy club president, His Eminence Edward Joseph McGuire, AM.
Anyone who watched ABC TV’s coverage of Eddie’s ‘high drama’ resignation would have been astounded to note that Eddie’s antics at the Pies took priority over all other national and global news including a worsening Covid-19 outbreak in Melbourne.
The Collingwood report itself was a shambles with live crosses dropping out and technical glitches rendering the coverage incomprehensible.
Incompetence and amateurism have become the hallmarks of ABC TV news as viewers have come to expect failed live crosses, incorrect identification of people on screen and frequent technical foul-ups wrecking bulletins.
Five minutes on Eddie’s resignation was roughly four minutes too many for this viewer. After all, the ‘news’ was already well known by 7 pm when the ABC tried and failed to put its coverage to air.
Not for the first time has the ABC seriously misread its own audience. In terms of domestic and global priorities at present Eddie McQuire’s resignation was worth a mention at best.
It does not warrant five minutes of airtime — let alone to lead a bulletin — even if the ABC had managed a professional package on the subject.
With fawning media coverage such as this perhaps we can expect Eddie to have a crack at the Papacy when a vacancy arises.
John Simpson is a Melbourne company director and governance adviser.
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