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Their ABC's non-response to the impartiality report it tried to hide.


There's not the slightest hint that the ABC has listened to the criticisms leveled at it in Ms Blackburn's report, let alone to the views of conservative viewers.

Other media outlets seemed to have no difficulty understanding the thrust of Ms Blackburn's critique - here's a sample:

ABC shows pinged for ALP bias (The Australian)

ABC shows didn't have enough conservative voices, election review finds (Nine/Fairfax)

The report the ABC tried to hide: Independent review confirms left wing election coverage bias (Daily Mail)

On the kindest reading, the report made clear the ABC doesn't have enough conservative voices, and two of its shows were biased towards the Left/ALP.

That should set alarm bells ringing in an apolitical, taxpayer funded broadcaster/publisher.

But you wouldn't know that from reading the ABC's response!

Here's an extract:

The review confirmed that ABC News demonstrably seeks and overwhelmingly achieves impartiality.

The reviewer concluded that overall the content met the impartiality standard.

ABC journalists and presenters were shown to have been fair and accurate in their writing, interviewing and presenting.

This aligns with analysis of the Share of Voice data and the ABC’s own internal monitoring of interviews of politicians, which showed the ABC was meticulous in ensuring that the competing parties were consistently treated in a fair and balanced manner.

The review noted that:

  • Political interviews were consistently “fair and open-minded”
  • There was a “breadth and depth of storytelling, analysis and straightforward information”
  • “Innovative audience engagement enabled the presentation of a diversity of issues”
  • “Discussions on The Drum, which did deep dives into themes such as health and Australia’s changing demographic, offered insight into public policy unavailable elsewhere”
  • ‘”Australia Votes on ABC News digital complemented rather than duplicated coverage on the other platforms”

Criticisms levelled in the review, and the suggestions for improvement, largely related to the composition of the panel programs in relation to the non-ABC guests.

The reviewer found that in her view one episode of The Drum “reflected too narrow a range of viewpoints”, that “more conservative voices and perspectives should have been included” and that “the disparity impacted the program’s impartiality”.

She recommended a review of the composition of panels on The Drum and further analysis of the panels on Insiders.

The review did not identify any impartiality issue with the conduct of presenters on The Drum or identify any issues of bias in their interviews. The issue identified by the reviewer in relation to The Drum was relatively minor and related primarily to one aspect of one episode. Overwhelmingly, this was outweighed by the evidence of thoughtful and impartial analysis and discussion produced by the program team across the election period.

ABC News is proud of the achievements of The Drum and supports the entire team in its efforts to expand the range of voices and perspectives discussing topical issues on Australian television.

In the intervening 18 months the pool of contributors on The Drum has continued to grow in political and geographic diversity and there have been changes to the pool of political journalists and  expert commentators used on Insiders.

The reviewer also found there was a relatively high number of minor editing errors in the digital content, particularly on weekends. A chief editor role has been added to ABC News digital, to improve commissioning and oversight and address minor editing issues

As the reviewer herself notes, the Editorial Review has limitations.


So nothing to see and no remedial action to take.

The first step in addressing a problem is admitting you have one.

The ABC obviously has a long, long way to go.

It tells you a lot that the ABC worked so hard to bury the report.

I'm sure it would have been published with bells on had it been conformed to the ABC's view of its own greatness.