In February 2019, the ABC announced the appointment of Sarah Ferguson as ABC China bureau chief.
Ferguson told us that "Understanding China and the Chinese perspective is vital".
ABC News Director Gaven Morris said, "Having journalists on the ground is essential".
Well now it's apparently not.
The ABC has no journalists in China.
And that's the real story.
The Chinese Communist government has made it impossible for Australian journalists to operate in China.
Australians should know and understand that this is the case.
That's the important news for Australians.
But not at the ABC.
The ABC is doing its level best not to upset the ChiComs - in the hope of a visa for Ferguson.
And that's why today, 20 months after Ferguson's 'appointment' as China Bureau chief, the ABC has announced a 6 month deployment for Ferguson in the US.
I'd have hoped the publicly funded media giant would have explained why its China bureau chief would be working out of Washington.
But we got none of that. The ABC announcement was headlined:
ABC News supremo Gaven Morris gave us insight into 'why' in the media statement:
One of the ABC’s most senior journalists, Ferguson was named Beijing Bureau Chief in 2019.
“Sending Sarah to Beijing and having an ABC presence in China remains our top priority,” Morris said.
And that's it. No explanation about why she's not there. Nothing at all about Chinese Communist censorship or expulsion of journalists.
It appears that the ABC thinks that criticising, or more correctly reporting on the Chinese Communist Government's reprehensible actions in effectively banning Australian reporters from reporting from China would compromise the ABC's 'top priority' - ie 'Sending Sarah to Beijing'.
So there was nothing in the ABC's utterances today about the real reason Ferguson and her partner Tony Jones are at a loose, if luxuriously taxpayer-funded end.
Can't let the news and the truth get in the way of ABC priorities.