#QandA: ABC Does The Left — And Itself — No Favours

LAST NIGHT’S EPISODE of QandA represented the point at which the ABC and its slavering advancement of the agenda of the Left — at taxpayers’ expense — finally went too far; if the national broadcaster wishes to oxygenate the views of those who clearly dislike Australian society then it should be privatised or overhauled. Those who for whom Australia is obviously not good enough can get the hell out and go somewhere else.

I don’t think anyone of fair mind seriously expects a balanced or reasoned discussion when they tune in to QandA each week; the first give away — every time without fail — is the composition of the panel, invariably skewed 4-2 (or more commonly 5-1, as it was last night) in  favour of the Left, notwithstanding the ABC’s proud trumpeting of the composition of its audience featuring 45% Coalition supporters.

And yes, I count host Tony Jones as one of that number for the Left; without fail he sides against those of his guests from the Right, and last night actively advocated for some of the Left-wing positions being bandied about.

But for a show proclaiming to be about “Adventures In Democracy” and supposedly predicated upon Australian politics, last night’s episode — euphemistically entitled Human Rights And Wrongs — left everything to be desired.

I suggest readers take the time to watch last night’s show; they can do so here. It will take an hour, but in my view that time will be well spent in terms of gaining the clearest possible view of the toxic agenda the Left is using the ABC to promote in this country, and in which the ABC is culpably complicit.

And “toxic” — as readers will see — is an absolutely appropriate description.

Those of you who follow me on Twitter might have noticed that as this programme went on, my tweets progressed from standard comments, to some bemusement, to unbridled outrage; indeed, the show got worse as it went on in my view, and the incessant use of the word “fuck” by panellist Mona Eltahawy became very tiresome very quickly.

(To say nothing of inappropriate: a national broadcast in prime time on the ABC is not the place for constant foul language, however much the rest of us might use those words in conversation; it simply showed just how inappropriate Eltahawy is as a commentator on anything for public consumption — not that the rest of her utterances were any better).

I raise this because one of my tweets does, I think, sum up my position on last night’s show (and, ironically, was made early on in the piece): everyone should be heard; whether they deserve to be listened to or not is the real question.

The remark was made in the context of a “debate” on free speech that occurred at the outset of the program, but neatly reflects what should be the popular verdict on the merit or otherwise of the ABC’s latest cabal of “guests” recruited from the international hard Left.

I’m not going to analyse the episode, frame by frame; I trust readers will watch it so they’re cognisant of what I am saying. But even if they don’t, the whole thing took a decidedly nasty turn toward the end and I think the ABC, as the broadcaster, should be held to account.

Discussion on social media had turned to some extent on the fact the programme wasn’t discussing Australian politics, or anything to do with it: it was basically an open forum for the Left to denigrate and abuse those on the Right (and in the mainstream) who refuse to sanction or accept their views.

Predictably enough, when the conversation turned to asylum seekers and boat people, one panellist — Human Rights Watch director Kenneth Roth — gave the ridiculous scenario (to ridicule the Right, of course) that if Australia announced it would execute everyone who arrived by boat, the boats would stop. Nothing simpler.

Why isn’t Australia “intervening” in Sri Lanka or Egypt? Why is Australia now known internationally as a “human rights abuser?” One questioner asked the panel why the ABC was baying for Tony Abbott’s blood over a single death at the Manus Island Detention Centre when it had remained mute during the thousand or so deaths at sea of asylum seekers that were a direct result of the Rudd/Gillard policies on the issue. Host Tony Jones not only defended the ABC’s complicity in this, but claimed the ABC had subjected the Gillard-era deaths to “the most graphic scrutiny,” whatever that means.

And speaking of Jones pushing the barrow of the Left in his role as an ABC anchor, when panellist Tim Wilson raised the prospect of the Human Rights Commission recommending the release of children in detention centres, Jones was quick off the mark. “Why stop there?” he responded. “Men and women suffer in detention too…” which translates, simply, to the Greens’ position of releasing asylum seekers into the community pending processing, which the majority of Australians are opposed to.

Wilson tried to make the point — partly in response to Eltahawy and her lampooning of Abbott over “inaction” toward those in her country and in Sri Lanka — that in processing asylum seekers, legitimate refugees in camps are pushed to the back of the queue, but was ignored.

No, the view of Roth — that Australia was “nowhere near bearing its burden on asylum seekers” — was more important for the rest of the panel to leave on the table. This, despite Roth’s own figures suggesting that Australia took 20,000 asylum seekers last year. According to Roth, Lebanon (with a population of 5 million) took 1 million asylum seekers during the same period, and this was the benchmark to which Australia should aspire.

Does anyone seriously think Australia should accept 5 million asylum seekers based on a population of 25 million? Spare me.

By this time, even some members of Jones’ audience — the hand-picked ABC crowd that included 45% of Coalition supporters — were getting angry, and rightly so.

Obviously perturbed to be facing any opposition at all, another panellist — Lucy Siegle, an “Ethics Columnist” with British newspaper The Observer — opined that the “Australia they were seeing” through the programme appeared “pretty toxic” to outsiders.

And Eltahawy bluntly stated that “in discussions, it helps to get down to the bare bones and just say is as it is” before elaborating that in light of the dissenting views put both during QandA and in Australia more generally, Australians are “scared of brown and black people coming into Australia.”

Can I just say that so far as I am concerned, the ABC — in allowing such biased, misinformed and highly partisan drivel to be broadcast — has gone way too far now in its persecution of the social and political Right and in its blind advancement of the so-called arguments of the Left.

Most Australians are fair, reasonable and decent people. The irony is, of course, that by rattling on with what can only be described as absolute bullshit, the Left is actually generating resentment and opposition toward the very elements in whose interest it claims to act.

And the ABC has neither the right nor the mandate to provide these forums for one-sided belligerence by minority sections of society effectively seeking to belt the majority into submission.

As I said at the outset, everyone should be heard; whether they deserve to be listened to or not is the real question. That goes as much as for the Left as it does for the bigots and haters and persecutors it seems think Australia is populated by.

Those who watched QandA now know, clearly, what the sneering chardonnay drunks and compassion babblers of the Left really think of them.

In the case of Eltahawy and Siegle, my message is simple: if you think Australia is so toxic or bigoted or terrible, then — to be blunt — fuck off. Go somewhere else. We don’t need you here.

But in the wider context of the role of the ABC and whether last night’s QandA constitutes suitable content, I would suggest it doesn’t: skewed panels conducting “debates” in which the position of the Left is the only one permitted to stand is not debate; it is brainwashing, disinformation, propaganda. And Australians should not be paying for it by way of their taxes.

I think it’s incumbent on Communications minister Malcolm Turnbull to continue his application of the blowtorch to “their ABC” over the issues of impartiality and bias; he would also do well to ready the broadcaster for privatisation, for what passes as material in the public interest — by the ABC’s apparent judgement — is nothing of the sort, and should not be funded by the taxpayer.

I’ll be interested to see what others think/thought, but I’m still pretty angry about it 24 hours later. And yes, I know: it shows.