IT MAY BE INDELICATE to be so blunt, given that I am — once again — ripping into a sinecure of the Left that the Left itself tries to protect by painting the ABC as a favourite whipping post for conservatives across the country; but the nihilistic farce of “Adventures in Democracy” that is the #QandA programme is a national disgrace. The public broadcaster has no moral or intellectual right to propagate its insidious agenda. #QandA should be axed.
At first, it’s amusing, because no rational person can believe other rational people could possibly spout such drivel.
But if you watch the ABC’s #QandA programme often enough, and for long enough, it becomes all too clear that the villains in this particular drama are in deadly earnest: their pronouncements, forged on the lunatic Left and utterly divorced from any meaningful basis in reality, are enacted in a heavily biased forum and served up by the taxpayer-funded broadcaster as factual content.
(And if you don’t believe the ABC categorises #QandA as “factual” rather than “entertainment,” click here).
Readers know that I watch #QandA religiously every week; not because I agree with it, but because it’s a useful window on the matters presently occupying the thought leaders of the Left, although the longer you watch it the angrier it should make you — unless, of course, you’re one of the slavering left-wing sycophants who finds common ground with a stacked panel of imbeciles, most of whom have their heads wedged so far up their own backsides that they mistake the reverse view of their tonsils for reality.
Since the presentation of yet more mindless twaddle on Monday night — in essence, one hour of attempts to rationalise away the unbridled outrages of Islamic State, the very real and heightened threat of terrorist attacks in Australia, and a stultifying attempt to assert the case that Muslims have absolutely nothing to do with either — I have been stewing, I will confess, and getting very angry that yet more of this bullshit is being funded and disseminated from the taxes paid by ordinary and hard-working Australians.
For those who missed the latest episode of #QandA, knock yourselves out: you can view it here.
This is now the fourth time I have been moved to tear into #QandA in this column in as many weeks, and it’s something I am acutely conscious of; the purpose of The Red And The Blue is not to simply belt the can over a narrow set of issues at every opportunity, but to comment on as broad a selection of political matters as possible, and in a way that enables those who don’t share the highly detailed and intricate love of politics that I do to participate in discussion on rather less complicated ground.
Four articles on one TV show in four weeks tells me there’s a problem.
And so I want to share an article appearing in Sydney’s Daily Telegraph today; it’s by one of my favourite conservative commentators, Miranda Devine, and I think Miranda’s perspective — approached from a different angle to the way I handle these things, but essentially arriving at the same conclusions — says most of what I would say about Monday’s episode myself, and I strongly urge readers to check it out.
(Anyone who wants to review the material I have previously written about #QandA can do so by clicking the #QandA tag in the list to the right of their screen, and a vignette of the articles will open — including this on another unmitigated outrage the ABC permitted #QandA to commit on the taxpayer dollar).
With Miranda dissecting Monday’s show (and an article from The Australian has also appeared online, literally as I’m checking this in readiness to hit “publish”), I want to talk about #QandA in more general terms.
I think the time has come for this indecent piece of idiocy to be axed.
There are those who will defend #QandA on the basis that free speech should be heard, and that the ABC — as a “national” broadcaster — is the ideal place for non-mainstream views to be given the airtime that would otherwise be unforthcoming in more commercially based media (which really means, with this defence usually coming from the Left, that the Murdoch press would not publish them).
It’s the kind of attempted wedge designed to back people like me, and Miranda, and every other conservative, liberal and/or libertarian voice in the country into a corner: we cherish free speech! How can we possibly champion the silencing of different views? Didn’t we advocate the abolition of section 18c of the Racial Discrimination Act to allow the airing of views we now seek to silence?
This type of approach — contemptible as it is — is emblematic of the hypocrisy of the Left, which itself made so much noise in friendly media (including the ABC) that it was virtually impossible to proceed with the repeal of S18c. But at the same time it is working to stifle the views of anyone or anything it disagrees with, it demands airtime and exposure as a right from the ABC that it simply refuses should be granted to those with a different outlook.
And in any case, my view of “their ABC” where free speech is concerned is very simple: either everyone’s opinions and beliefs are given airtime in equal measure, or nobody’s are; I acknowledge that in a democratic country a state-run broadcaster has a role to play in facilitating quality discussion and debate, but it is this critical point on which the entire thing falls down.
#QandA makes the most tokenistic attempt imaginable at giving some semblance of impartiality; every week — at the commencement of each episode — it flashes a statement to screen asserting that the composition of the audience correlates with the present standing of the major political parties in current opinion polling. Nobody has any way of verifying this claim. But even if the methodology is followed, what is served up during the programme illustrates just how pointless the exercise is.
The #QandA panels — invariably skewed at least 4-2 in favour of the Left, and usually by a margin of 5-1 — spend an hour each week examining topics that never have anything to do with a conservative agenda, or any other agenda aside from that of the Left.
Its panellists (and host Tony Jones is no “impartial” moderator) routinely slap down, bully, drown out or otherwise obscure anything the token presence from the Right might have to say; this week it was Justice minister Michael Keenan. Famously, it was once former Liberal MP Sophie Mirabella as regularly as the ABC could get her on before she lost her seat in Parliament, and the Twitter gnomes of the Left would revel in the siege she would invariably face. But whoever attends from the Right — with the exception of Malcolm Turnbull, if he counts as being from “the Right” — the treatment is always the same.
Nothing — aside from the sanctimonious edicts of the Left — is allowed to stand unchallenged.
And even the questions featured are tainted, with an ABC producer vetting public submissions of these to ensure “a fit” with the planned theme for each episode. Unsurprisingly, virtually every question is framed either from a position sympathetic to the Left or with a get-the-Right slant attached to it.
The simple fact is that #QandA is nothing more than a free, 60 minute open platform provided every week by the ABC to the hard Left of Australian politics.
I don’t have a problem with the Left having its own 60 minute broadcasts, mind you. But to have them, the Left should pay for them; or at the very least, in #QandA‘s case, they should be moved onto SBS where they can be made conditional on the selling of advertising revenue and commercial sponsorships to fully cover the costs involved: no money, no soapbox from which to spruik their odious propaganda.
It’s true that #QandA has broadcast some episodes worthy of merit; its deployment of a studio filled with school students to hold Kevin Rudd to account in early 2010 over his government’s perceived betrayal of the youngest voters who bought into the mania of his “Kevin ’07” campaign was one, although a cynic might have subsequently believed it part of a careful strategy to orchestrate Rudd’s overthrow in favour of Julia Gillard, the Labor MP held to be the spiritual leader of the “true” Left at that time.
Throwing Treasurer Joe Hockey to the #QandA wolves over his federal budget, ironically, was another, as Hockey turned in his best (and to date only) effective performance selling the measures in the budget, the rationale for their inclusion, and debunking some of the myths spread and allowed to take root by irresponsible Labor and Greens MPs who ought to have known better.
And some of its pre-election programmes, one-on-one with individual senior MPs on both sides, have been worthwhile.
But these — to use the Ford Fairlane analogy — are mere islands of reality in an ocean of diarrhoea whose waves and undercurrents are almost invariably fouled by the rank partisanship, hatred of conservatism, and — dare I say it — the sheer anti-Australianism of the hard Left.
If a #QandA programme was convened featuring Andrew Bolt as a moderator, Miranda Devine and Piers Akerman as press panellists, with (say) Kevin Andrews and Eric Abetz facing down Christine Milne in a “themed” discussion around the importance of traditional social values, competent governance and the benefits of international trade, does anyone seriously think that the resulting brutalisation of the views offered up by the token panellist from the Left would spark anything other than a national political outrage?
Of course it would, and so it should when it comes to #QandA.
This reprehensible programme is not an “Adventure in Democracy,” as it bills itself: it has nothing to do with democracy at all.
And it’s paid for by ordinary Australians who expect decency and balance from a broadcaster they rightfully expect to be able to trust.
In this sense, #QandA represents a dereliction on the ABC’s part of its responsibility to its shareholders: the Australian public.
The problem is getting worse, and whilst it’s amusing to get on Twitter under the auspices of “Leftie baiting” and spend an hour each week poking the trolls of the Left in the eye over the ridiculous and patently unrealistic nonsense it represents, #QandA does not merit its place on the national broadcaster’s slate of content.
It is a shameful and despicable misappropriation of public money for the blatant advantage of the Left in both its political and social formulations, and it has gone on for long enough.
The time has come for #QandA to be axed. Australian democracy will be none the worse for its absence.
As Kerry Packer once famously said — of a dubious programme on his own network that, on balance, was intellectually superior to #QandA — it is time to get that shit off the air.