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Opposite of what it first seems

Don’t blame the ABC

16 April 2022

9:00 AM

16 April 2022

9:00 AM

Did readers see that Hollywood’s Academy of Motion Pictures has banned actor Will Smith from attending the Oscars ceremony for the next ten years?  That is his supposed punishment for walking up on stage a fortnight ago and slapping comedian Chris Rock, this year’s host. Call me an outlier compared to the jetsetting film wokesters but I think this falls somewhat short of what is known in the philosophy of punishment as ‘a deterrent’. Heck, I’d pay big money not to have to watch the Oscars’ show, what with its unfailing preachiness, sanctimoniousness, puffed-up self-regard, and unflinching toeing of the entire Democrat party line on everything. All that and not an iota of humour, not unless Ricky Gervais is somehow brought back to host the show – which won’t happen because of all the actors’ and actresses’ holier-than-thou puffed-up self-regard. (And I’m just wondering, but has there been an actor worth taking life advice from since Shakespeare?) The whole episode makes one ponder if Smith might be one of those closet Hollywood Republicans who’s cleverly figured out how he can give the yearly barf-inducing borefest a miss. For someone like me, who works in the Australian university sector, this is roughly equivalent to being told he is now banned from attending the next few dozen ‘diversity and equity training modules’ put on with your taxpayers’ monies. Oh slap, where is thy sting? (Are we still allowed to quote, or rather paraphrase the Bible? I’m not sure the Labor-heavy wing of the Liberal party – aka ‘the dominant faction’, aka ‘we decide who runs in a seat, not you pathetic regular party members’ – still permits that.  Might offend somebody, you know, to point to the Good Book.)

Moving on, some readers who on occasion stray outside the covers of this most excellent publication might have fallen victim to the widespread suggestion that there’s this thing known as ‘white privilege’ which means that whites scoop up more than their fair share. They win, everyone else loses, because the game is rigged. If any of you have been absorbing that sort of guff you might want to take a look at the recent data out of the US. Asian-Americans have a median household income some thirty thousand dollars higher than that of whites. Top of the Asians? Why it’s Indian Americans from the subcontinent. They have the highest median household incomes going in the US. So I’ll make two brief points about that. Firstly, yes, I will definitely be hitting up my Speccie weekly co-writer Ramesh Thakur for a sizeable loan when we eventually meet up.  Secondly, doesn’t this data show that hard work and not seeing yourself as a victim are the recipes to success in life rather than succumbing to the ‘let’s understand everything through the prism of identity politics’ snake oil, a concoction that dupes its takers into wanting always to blame others (especially those whites, who actually aren’t doing nearly as well as you’d imagine) for disappointments and failures and never themselves?

Let’s shift topic again. As we move into the election campaign we are suddenly seeing more than a few commentators on the right side of politics complain about the incredibly slanted and pro-Labor coverage of the ABC (and, to be fair, of the terrestrial TV channels as well as of the Fairfax press, the Guardian, Crikey, the list goes on). We’re seeing these attacks on the public broadcaster’s patent lack of balance on Sky after Dark and in the Australian. All sorts of examples are being given. And you know what? It’s all true. No sentient being thinks that our billion-dollar-a-year national broadcaster behemoth is even remotely even-handed.  Yet why are my fellow right-of-centre commentators not putting blame where it belongs – on the Morrison government? Just a little over two months ago Team ScoMo gave the ABC a one per cent funding increase, per annum, through to mid-2025. That’s yours and my taxpayer money being handed to an organisation that shows every sign of hating conservative views. Yet the Coalition commits to a $3.28 billion support package. It removed the indexation freeze. To put this in context, Boris Johnson in Britain is actually making life uncomfortable for the BBC.  It gets money via a licence fee and that is not at all secure. Moreover, despite skewing massively against the Tories (especially on Brexit), the BBC actually is noticeably more politically balanced than our ABC, an incredibly low threshold I concede. Still, I recently spent a couple of months in Britain and can attest to that fact. A visiting UK journalist to Australia, not all that long ago, came away saying that ‘the ABC makes the BBC look like Fox News’. Remember, there is not a single identifiable conservative presenter, producer or top bigshot at the ABC, but half its money comes from us. Yep, half the population has to be satisfied with pious blatherings about ‘we are all professional journalists who take balance seriously’. It’s a joke.

Again, though, why blame the ABC and not its enablers the Coalition government?  Nine years of ‘our side’ in power and Coalition governments have done nothing except increase the ABC budget. We are electing Liberal MPs who cannot, or will not, fight on any front in the wider culture wars. And remember Mark Steyn’s claim ‘that everything is downstream of culture’. I think that is correct. What do these jokers we elect on the right think is going to happen down the road as all the big cultural institutions are (make that have been) captured by the Left? I’ve been asking that about our universities for a decade as I plead for a Coalition government to do something about the collapsed levels of viewpoint diversity on campus. But the Libs consult with vice-chancellors (aka part of the problem) and never with the shrinking group of actual conservatives on campus. There are things we can do. But there’s not much hope of doing them when we have governments who are so timid that they take off the eensy-weensy financial constraints on our biased behemoth the ABC because Team ScoMo hasn’t got the stomach even for that fight.

And of course such generosity with taxpayers’ monies does nothing – zero, nada, zippo – to shift the ABC imbalance. No one with a brain thought it would. So why, fellow conservative commentators, blame the ABC on this and not this spineless, invertebrate Coalition government of ours?

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