Senator ABETZ: Are you aware of a recent university study in regard to journalists’ political leanings, by Folker Hanusch, to be printed in the next issue of the Australian Journalism Review?
Mr Scott: I am aware of the research, I am aware of the report in The Australian and I am aware of the academic’s comments on that report.
Senator ABETZ: Despite the admittedly limited sample size do you have any sense—
Senator Conroy: That is quite a vicious bite!
Senator ABETZ: Do you mind, Minister! Mr Scott, do you have any sense that the recent survey which found that 41 per cent of ABC journalists said they would vote for the Greens, 32 per cent for Labor and 15 per cent for the coalition generally reflects ABC journalists’ political leanings? [Source]
Ignore the meta-commentary about the survey for a moment. Abetz is reading the result to suggest that there’s a failing of the ABC because 41 per cent of its journalists would vote for the Greens and 32 per cent would vote for Labor.
An alternative reading is to blame the Coalition. ABC journalists must be some of the most engaged people in Australia when it comes to politics. If the Coalition can only convince 15 per cent of an engaged profession, something’s gone seriously awry.
If I were advising Abetz, I’d give him the national figures as a comparison and suggest to him the line that the survey results suggest people who work at the ABC are more comfortable in expressing left wing political persuasions than right wing. Why? Because it feeds into the myth of the ‘silent majority’ which the Coalition is rather worryingly crafting.