Sunday 8 September 2013

Not being able to see the bias for the Redwood trees?

Returning, like a cat to a bird-table, to the subject of the BBC's reporting of the Australian election results, I see that Tory MP John Redwood is not impressed by the corporation's coverage: 
As news breaks of a large conservative victory by Tony Abbott’s Liberal/National Coalition in Australia the BBC sets about the task of retailing  propaganda from the losing Labour party. We are told Mr Abbott became Prime Minister  merely because Labour had been split and divided. We are assured his policies are not popular and played no part in his stunning victory. They underplay the magnitude of it, with the conservative  coalition on course for a large majority. They tell us his scepticism about climate change and his opposition to inward economic migration are unpopular. They will, they tell us, undermine Australia’s standing in the world.
It doesn’t read like that in the Australian and world press.  
Is John Redwood right in his description of the BBC's coverage? Well, Jon Donnison's online piece reflecting on the results will hopefully tell us.

After rehashing his droll take on the "euphoria" of Tony Abbott's backers, and his "a significant shift to the right" stuff, Jon gets down to saying some of what Mr Redwood says he would say:
"But speaking to voters in the run-up to this election you get the sense that the election result was not so much a ringing endorsement for Mr Abbott and his policies as a rejection of Labor."
"For the Labor Party, I suspect it means a further period of introspection. Although most supporters probably already know what went wrong. Disunity does not win elections."
No mention of climate change though. Not even, surprisingly, any mention of immigration. No bold statement that Mr Abbot will undermine Australia's standing in the world either.

Jon Donnison's article, however, calls up Peter Chen of the University of Sydney to back up his main point:

"If Tony Abbott wins, it will be a victory by default. Tony Abbott's great advantage is he's not Kevin Rudd or the leader of the Labor Party."

Professor Chen, an election commentator for Australia's BBC-equivalent, the ABC, is no fan of the incoming National-Liberal coalition, though his full views - which are very similar to those John Redwood ascribes to the BBC - are not expressed in Jon D's report. [His description of our very own UKIP as a "far-right" party in the article linked to above tells you all you need to know about where he's coming from.]

So, some support but no damning confirmation of John Redwood's charge against the BBC here.

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