malcolm in bed with the right-wing ABC...
ABC director Mark Scott is addressing the National Press Club today. We wonder whether he will be asked about the NBN and former ABC technology editor Nick Ross. Managing editor David Donovan spoke to Nick Ross last week.
Outgoing ABC managing director Mark Scott is making an address to the National Press Club today, in which he will be reportedly outlining his brilliant idea to merge ABC with the SBS, cutting channels and putting many of them online. No doubt this will thrill Liberal Party ideologues, who have always been opposed to public broadcasting in principle, as well as seeing it as a potential threat to not only their right to rule, but also their commercial sponsors.
Of course, the great Scott ‒ a former Liberal Party staffer in the NSW Greiner Government and Howard appointee to the ABC ‒ mentioned these plans in Senate Estimates earlier this month. At the same time, he also came under questioning over apparent bias at the ABC in their reporting of NBN before the election and apparent gagging of technology editor Nick Ross.
Scott, of course, denied these allegations entirely.
A sensational 2013 secret recording of ABC current affairs chief Bruce Belsham by technology editor Nick Ross published (as a transcript) after his resignation from the broadcaster in January, indicated that ABC executives (“the 14th Floor”) had been putting pressure on editorial staff prior to the 2013 election to tone down criticism of the Abbott Opposition. It was said to be a self-defence mechanism, since it was expected the Liberals would win. This was revealed, for example, in Belsham counselling Ross to write a piece attacking Labor’s NBN roll-out before publishing a piece critical of the Turnbull plan for a largely copper wire NBN.
Ross’ article was eventually published by the ABC nine days after the September 2013 election — a complete waste of time.
Further evidence of calculated bias of the ABC emerged after New Matilda’s extended series of detailed articles about this affair were, with one exception, completely overlooked by the ABC’s 2000 journalists — quite a remarkable feat.
Another reminder - any journos wanting to write that up, please call me first. So much BS spouted. #Estimates— Nick Ross (@NickRossTech) February 9, 2016
Tech expert Nick Ross’ analysis of the NBN has subsequently been proven remarkably prescient and accurate in virtually every area, as the “mongrel” mix of technologies Turnbull has used to patch together his version of the NBN has proven to be ludicrously costly, unfit for purpose and already redundant.
Even more alarming, the recordings made inferred that then Shadow Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull had privately exerted pressure on ABC executives to get them to soften their reporting of the NBN — something that could be seen as an abuse of his position, given he would (and, indeed, did) have control of both the NBN and the ABC in an incoming Liberal Government. Turnbull received some questioning over these matters in Question Time, but Labor’s Jason Clare was not permitted to pursue it beyond a few questions.
I spoke to exclusively to Nick Ross about all these matters last week, where he gave a frank and damning rebuttal to an ABC Media Watch hatchet job, Mark Scott’s evasive and misleading Senate testimony, as well as strong words about the allegedly underhanded actions of now Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and his chewing gum, paperclip and sticky tape broadband solution.