ABC doubles down after authority rules it misled viewers

Australia's national broadcaster called out for "crying like a bunch of sooks" after it failed to apologise for a Four Corners report which was found to have misled viewers.

ABC doubles down after authority rules it misled viewers
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The ABC has launched a blistering counter attack rather than apologise after being hit with multiple code breaches for misleading viewers in a Four Corners program.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority ruled this week that a Four Corners report entitled “Fox and the Big Lie” had misled viewers and breached the ABC’s own code.

But instead of apologising, the national broadcaster hit back, accusing the ACMA of bias.

A statement by the ABC said the broadcaster was “deeply concerned” that the regulator’s findings were “subjective” and “inconsistent”.

Liberal Senator James McGrath told Sky News Australia the ABC’s response to the national regulator’s findings was inappropriate. 

“The ABC have been caught out red-handed by the media regulator and are now crying like a bunch of sooks," he said. "The ABC should admit their mistakes instead of blaming others for their failures."

The ACMA conducted a year-long investigation into the two-part current affairs program, hosted by star reporter Sarah Ferguson, after Fox News complained that the program was an unfair critique of them.

The ACMA agreed that the program was “materially misleading” in that it deliberately omitted relevant information that would have caused viewers to see Fox News in a detrimental light.

As just one example, the ABC highlighted how two Fox News presenters attended a 2018 rally for then-president Donald Trump. But the program did not tell viewers that Fox publicly reprimanded the pair.

“This omission left it open to viewers to conclude that Fox News had either endorsed or at least did not object to the appearances,” ACMA said in a statement.

“By omitting key information, the ABC did not give its audience the opportunity to make up their own minds about Fox News.”

The regulator also found the ABC had ambushed people for interviews and failed to provide context around events it reported such that viewers were misled.

Update: FOX News Media is pleased with the findings of the Australian Communications and Media Authority that the ABC engaged in multiple breaches of its own Code of Practice relating to accuracy and fair and honest dealing. Today’s ruling confirms FOX News Media’s view that the central premise of the Four Corners two-part program was built on a foundation of patent bias and lack of impartiality and was then laden with basic factual errors, uncorrected even after FOX News Media presented contradictory evidence.

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  • By Avi Yemini

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