We’re no Partisan Hacks, say the ABC’s Partisan Hacks – Quadrant Online

We’re no Partisan Hacks, say the ABC’s Partisan Hacks – Quadrant Online

Updated: 2 months, 17 days, 8 hours, 2 minutes, 37 seconds ago

What a brouhaha over ACMA giving the ABC, Four Corners and reporter Sarah Ferguson a bit of stick on December 21 about their lack of fairness, accuracy and honest dealing.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority was referring to Four Corners’ two-part jeremiad in August 2021 about Murdoch’s Fox News (US). Executive producer was Sally Neighbour, presenter was Sarah Ferguson and a job called “writer/producer” was filled by none other than Ferguson’s squeeze, Tony Jones, the ABC’s one-time top-paid presenter and now his former employer’s hire-a-hubby contractor.[1] The series was charmingly titled Fox and the Big Lie. ACMA said it “came close to, but did not breach, the high bar set by the impartiality standards in the ABC’s Code.” In what is hardly a revelation, ACMA Chair Nerida O’Loughlin grumped that the ABC “omitted relevant contextual information in the program in a way that materially misled the audience.”

ACMA’s critique of the left-woke infested ABC program is a bit like critiquing the Mafia for illegal parking in the course of a hit job. It’s not an isolated case of leftist bias; the whole ABC news and commentary edifice is rotten with it.

I’d better declare an interest: two years ago I complained to the ABC for creating and broadcasting TV porn about women being triple-penetrated; defecation during coitus in a hotel corridor; abusing a dog; and raping a woman from behind with a two-metre penis. On the basis a technicality, Lauren Crozier of ABC Complaints told me to get lost[2] and I appealed to Ms O’Loughlin at ACMA. She said I had no case[3], so I appealed to the Commonwealth Ombudsman who agreed with ACMA and declined to investigate further. On legal advice, I refrained from an appeal to the Federal Court. It’s all water under the bridge and I’ve no hard feelings towards nice Ms O’Loughlin or then-Ombudsman Michael Manthorpe, though I’m still cranky with ABC chair Ita Buttrose. At the moment, her taxpayer-paid Triple J crew are advocating for sex threesomes – “Don’t forget a threesome can be the best sex of your life” and in August Triple J was recommending the “doggy position” for “two people with vulvas [i.e. women, who] can definitely still enjoy doggy with a strap-on.” (Caution: this ABC Triple J link is not safe for work). Ita, managing director David Anderson et al are forever bleating to Parliamentary Estimates about community values and expectations[4] and the essential need of Australians for Their ABC, but do young Australians require ABC recommendations for threesomes and strap-ons?

Sorry to have digressed. Now back to Sarah Ferguson and Fox News. I’ll look briefly at the Fox-ACMA-Ferguson conversation. Then I’ll demonstrate how Ferguson, feasting on close to half million taxpayer dollars a year,[5] needs a refresher on the ABC impartiality charter. Finally, I’ll discuss the ABC’s outrageous concealment of whatever US news doesn’t fit its green-Left, Biden-loving narratives, particularly in regard to Hunter Biden’s laptop and the pro-censorship emails of the old guard at Twitter before Elon Musk took over the business. The ABC, itself a censor of conservatives, has responded with 100 per cent hostile coverage of Musk.


There’s a reason for Ferguson’s hit on Fox News, apart from general Murdoch derangement syndrome: it’s because US viewers love Fox News. [6] Murdoch took the risk of creating Fox News in 1996 to offset the mainstream leftist media bias, and it’s been an unalloyed success — top-rated for the past 20 years, and crushing leftist rivals MSNBC, the Disney-owned ABC (US) and especially CNN.

The ABC gotcha was supposed to show Fox behaving like a satrap of President Trump. And Ferguson carried on about Fox News supposedly whipping up the anger about a “stolen 2020 election” that led to the January 6 riot at the Capitol. Ferguson’s hate speech against the conservative media outlet was doubly absurd since Fox News offers viewers a broader spectrum of political views than the ABC would ever permit (the ABC last cited the Institute of Public Affairs in April 2021, and that involved a presenter’s false claim which the ABC had to grovel about and correct.)

In September 2021 Fox News protested to ABC Complaints about Ferguson’s show, got nowhere (of course) and appealed to ACMA. The appeal body’s findings against Four Corners include that

the ABC reported the appearance of two Fox presenters at a 2018 Trump rally without disclosing that Fox had issued a public statement censuring the two presenters … In a further omission of relevant facts, the ABC also failed to report on the role social media played in inciting the Capitol Hill riots.

The light spanking was on the second anniversary of Four Corners getting another ACMA spanking. That episode was on Murray-Darling water rights. Ms O’Loughlin had found that

the program did not present sufficient information from other relevant perspectives to enable viewers to make up their own minds about the schemes… Australian audiences expect the ABC to give proper treatment to differing perspectives when exploring controversial issues.

It hurts me to say so but ACMA’s other finding was pretty daft. Ferguson and her crew did a door-stop ambush of a Fox presenter, Jeanine Pirro, whom Ferguson cattily described as “one of the cheerleaders of the Big Lie”. Ferguson told her, “We’re from Australia”. With camera and sound recorders trained on Pirro’s face, the US TV veteran could deduce she was dealing live with an Australian TV mob.[7] Ms O’Loughlin opined that the crew should have further identified themselves as the leftist ABC doing a hit job on Fox. Apart from confusion between America’s and Australia’s “ABCs”, ambushee Pirro would have flown the coop before Sarah’s long-winded introduction finished. Door-stop TV has to cut a few corners. 

Ferguson, basking in the limelight as a certain species of journalist loves to do, issued next day her own hyberbolic rejoinder to what she called ACMA’s O’Loughlin’s “inflammatory” press release. To summarise, she said the chairlady was an ignoramus and the ABC team was doing a fantastic job lambasting the evil Trump, reponding

The press release issued by ACMA chairperson Nerida O’Loughlin and the language of the report create an overall impression that our programs were misleading and not honest. I take their words extremely seriously.

Praising herself to an invisible Walkley-awarding panel, she continued (my emphases) about her own “powerful analysis”: 

Understanding the role of one of the world’s most powerful media companies in supporting this damaging [“stolen election”] conspiracy was a compelling story in the best traditions of public interest journalism… Australian journalism deserves a higher standard, meaningful communication on important topics, not empty PR gestures… If anyone thinks the ABC — which has strongly defended its [my] reporting — should choose this moment to dilute the sharp focus of its investigations and the fearless nature of its [my] reporting, they are seriously adrift from the values of public interest journalism.

In her ACMA responseFerguson quoted Murdoch’s son, James, calling Fox News a lie propagator that “unleashed insidious and uncontrollable forces that will be with us for years.” She should have added that James went Left-woke long ago and his wife, Kathryn, used to work for Hillary Clinton’s climate-cash apparatus. News agency AP has taken a $US8 million handout from James and Kathryn – so much for  fearless media independence.  

Ferguson accused Trump of creating “deep enduring divisions in America” – I suppose one example is President Biden flanked by a pair of marines on a blood-red TV set calling any American who disagrees with his agenda a subversive.

Ferguson’s Fox circus had found anti-Fox talking heads, including disgruntled alumni who had left Fox years earlier. Fox executives refused to give interviews, she griped. A wise decision, methinks – they’d be crucified in Four Corners’ editing suite. Her piece finished by giving the finger to ACMA, with a note that Fox and the Big Lie remains unmodified on ABC iview.

My next topic: the calibre of Sarah Ferguson’s output. Let us consider her three-part Trump:Russia “story of the century” in mid-2018 alleging Trump’s collusion with Vlad Putin to steal victory in 2016 from Sarah’s saintly Hillary Clinton.  Details, see here.

In close-to-defamatory mode, Ferguson reported how “members of the Trump team, including possibly the President himself, actively colluded with Russia to subvert American democracy“.

In this three-part investigative series, Walkley award-winning journalist Sarah Ferguson follows the spies and the money trail from Washington, to London, to Moscow, to deliver a riveting account of the allegations and evidence against US President Donald Trump and his dubious connections to Russia – speaking directly to the characters central to the unfolding collusion drama. This extraordinary report interrogates the evidence so far and brings fresh perspective to a gripping story that could have been lifted from the pages of a blockbuster spy novel.

It was fiction all right, Sarah. The US Special Counsel reported after two years’ work,

the investigation did not establish that members of the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.

Ferguson’s skew-whiff trilogy, according to the ABC sales pitch,

♦ Sparked nationwide conversation, reaching over 2 million metro and regional viewers

♦ Outstanding performance with younger audiences, with premiere securing Four Corners’ highest audience share in the 25-34 demographic for the year

♦ Four Corners’ most watched special on catch-up, +117% above the 2018 series average

♦ Episode 1: “Follow The Money” seen by over 700K metro viewers, +7% above 2018 series benchmark

Have Ferguson and the ABC ever apologised to Trump or run (let alone published) a post-mortem on how they stuffed up so comprehensively, in preference to waiting for Robert Mueller’s report based on 500 witnesses and thousands of documents?

I mentioned Sarah’s affection for 2016 loser Hillary Clinton. The ace reporter later skited about the rigors and research involved in interviewing such a goddess, who curiously claimed in May 2019 about her 2016 loss,

You can run the best campaign, you can even become the nominee, and you can “have the election stolen from you”. Ferguson has never called this a “big lie”. In the July 2017 interview, she tossed Clinton marshmallows like

♦ We’ve looked at the pictures of you recently about to go onto the balcony for Donald Trump’s inauguration. No one could fail to be moved by the pain on your face at that moment.

♦ Millions of Americans responded to Trump’s racist, sexist and bigoted appeals during the campaign by voting for him. Can you forgive them?

♦ Do you think it’s possible that this virtual break-in [of the Democrat National Committee’s servers] could lead to the impeachment of Donald Trump?

CLINTON: Well, we’ll have to see. But I believe it was actually more significant than Watergate.

♦ Do you [think] Donald Trump is too clever to have had his fingerprints actually on this kind of activity?

♦ You’ve described Trump as a clear and present danger to the US. Is he also a clear and present danger to Australia? … Is he the most dangerous President you’ve ever had?…Should we be worried in Australia?

In the event, this “dangerous” Trump started no wars, defeated ISIS in Syria,[8] brokered peace pacts in the White House between Israel and United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan, began the Afghanistan withdrawal (utterly botched by Biden, who donated $US7 billion in abandoned arms to the Taliban), warned Germany (in vain) about reliance on Russian gas, achieved US energy independence from OPEC, lowered tensions with North Korea (albeit temporarily) and began the securing of the US’s southern border (sabotaged by Biden, who has let in 5.5 million illegals, about the population of Victoria).

The take-home from Ferguson’s adoring Hillary interview were that Clinton blamed the following for her 2016 defeat: the Russians, the FBI and James Comey; Facebook and Twitter; Assange and Wikileaks; Trump’s son-in-law, Jarrod Kushner, and data analytics; New York’s ex-mayor Rudy Giuliani and, inevitably, “endemic sexism and misogyny”.[9]

Later, Ferguson gave a commercial FM station an interview about the interview. Ex-national Labor leader Mark Latham (now One Nation’s State leader in NSW Legislative Council) cites from the transcript (at 3.00 minutes):   

Q: How do you brook [sic] the discussions with Bill [Clinton] and his infidelity? Did you get into that?

Ferguson: Not too much … I reckon she’s been through enough … It is a very interesting marriage but I don’t think that every time she sits in a chair she needs to be asked about her husband. So I didn’t’ go into that history. (At 3.00 minutes in).

Latham then comments, rightly or wrongly:

Imagine that! A journalist with so little objectivity, a journalist with so few ethics and a determination to put hard questions said, ‘No, poor Hillary, she’s been through enough.’ Sarah Ferguson, you are a fake journalist at a fake news outlet just acting as a cheer squad sycophantically clapping and applauding and patting Hillary on the back, rather than asking the tough questions.

So it’s a puff piece we’ve got here. What’s happened is the fake media have lost the plot. They act as a cheer squad instead of acting according to the public interest with objectivity and tough questions … Hillary Clinton is a delusional failed candidate who has lost the plot and hanging out with people like Sarah Ferguson. It ain’t going to do you any good, Hillary, I can guarantee you that.”

 I am not saying Latham’s allegations are true, only that he broadcast them.

Incidentally, Ferguson’s bestie, Hillary, also went for the Big Lie about the 2000 election, saying Republican George W. Bush had been “selected not elected” over her pal Al Gore. Hillary is even running her Big Lie right now about the 2024 election-to-be: “Right-wing extremists already have a plan to literally steal the next presidential election,” she said, “and they’re making no secret of it.” She’s urging her followers to mobilise to “crush the coup”. Somehow Ferguson and her ABC haven’t covered this indignantly, or at all.[10]

In this month’s rejoinder to ACMA, Ferguson mentioned what she called “bipartisan members” of Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s January 6 investigations committee. I found Ferguson’s use of “bipartisan” curious, given this history of the committee’s establishment (pardon the detail but it goes to Ferguson’s credibility about ‘bipartisan’).

Protocol was that Pelosi as Speaker appointed all nine members, five of them after consultation with the minority leader Kevin McCarthy (R-California). Instead Pelosi filled seven of the “majority” slots with Democrats plus Trump-hating Republican Liz Cheney as vice-chair. (Cheney had voted in 2021for the impeachment of Trump over January 6. She then lost 66%-29% in the Wyoming Republican primaries last August to pro-Trump rival Harriet Hageman, and in the 2022 midterms Cheney ran anti-Republican ads and endorsed multiple Democrat candidates).[11] Pelosi took the unprecedented step of rejecting two of Republican leader McCarthy’s five recommended minority slots — Jim Banks and Jim Jordan — claiming they were too pro-Trump to exercise proper judgement. Thereupon the remaining three of five Republican nominees refused to serve, so Pelosi made a captain’s call by appointing another Trump-hating Republican, Adam Kinzinger, who like Cheney had already voted to impeach Trump. Pelosi left the remaining four Republican slots vacant.

Contrary to what Ms Ferguson would have ABC viewers believe, this was all about as “bi-partisan” as, hypothetically, John Howard running a parliamentary Star Chamber to prosecute Opposition Leader Kim Beazley for allegedly inciting Australia’s own Parliament House riot and looting by ACTU ferals, students, Aboriginal agitators, drunks etc on August 19,1996.[12]

Topic Three is how the ABC hypes whatever fits its US narrative but keeps Australians in the dark about whatever incriminates Biden’s Democrats. Prime example is the revelations from Hunter Biden’s abandoned laptop about how the Biden family operates – with 10 per cent of some of Hunter’s multi-million international scamming  plots reserved for “the Big Guy” Joe Biden.

When the New York Post broke the laptop story a few weeks before the election, accurately documented the scamming and Hunter Biden’s porno selfies, the FBI, the Deep State intelligence community, social media owners and mainstream outlets closed ranks to censor and suppress the story. Their rationale was the lie that the material had been “hacked” by Russians. Most Americans cast their votes in ignorance of this scandal. Polling of key-states Democrat voters suggested they would have flipped the election to Trump. Eighteen months later, The New York Times and Washington Post sheepishly conceded the laptop contents were authentic. I’ve dealt with the ABC’s original treatment of the story here, titled “What the ABC Decided You Didn’t Need to Know”. It involved an ABC farrago of lies, innuendo, mockery and concealment of essential facts.

That was Laptop Scandal 1.0. The even more disturbing Laptop Scandal 2.0 broke this month as Elon Musk, the new owner of Twitter, began releasing a trove of incriminating emails he found in the social media platform’s archives. From them we now know how the FBI groomed Twitter, Facebook and the media beforehand to beware of “hacked” Russian disinformation, and stage-managed the pre-election censoring of the laptop disclosures. All this, while the FBI knew full well the laptop contents were the real deal. These revelations of the FBI corrupting the democratic election process are material for a separate essay, so I’ll just tell what my searches of the ABC website reveal about the ABC’s coverage of the revelations.

♦ Search on “Hunter Biden”: zero

♦ Search on “FBI and Twitter”: zero

♦ Search on “Elon Musk and ‘FBI”: zero

♦ Search on “Elon Musk and Twitter”: Heaps of stories. All negative and zero reference to the email/FBI trove.

This is why I’m not too excited about ACMA’s little critique of Sarah Henderson and her hissyfit about Fox News. After all, the whole ABC political apparatus is weaponised to promote the “progressive” Left on the taxpayers’ dime.

Tony Thomas’s latest book from Connor Court is now available: Anthem of the Unwoke – Yep! The other lot’s gone bonkers. For a copy ($35 including postage), email tthomas061@gmail.com.


[1] Email from ABC spokesman, Sept 2021: “Tony is not an ongoing ABC staff member but continues to make contributions by agreement with program makers.”

[2] “Audience and Consumer Affairs will generally not accept for investigation complaints lodged more than six weeks after an item was broadcast or published. As you have not indicated that any special circumstances apply in this instance, we decline to investigate your complaint. Your comments have nonetheless been noted and made available to ABC Entertainment & Specialist.

[3] ACMA: “…while we acknowledge the lack of ambiguity surrounding the activity depicted, we note the rudimentary animation style employed, the lack of visual detail, the absence of real people, and the relative brevity of the depictions. We noted that warnings of sexual references and coarse language were provided and considered that any potential offence was likely to be justified by the editorial context of a satirical program about life during the coronavirus lockdown.”

[4] Chair Ita Buttrose: “Our 90th year is a chance to not only celebrate but also to reaffirm our relationship with the Australian people as a trusted and cherished national institution, deserving of the investment placed in us.” Annual Report 2021-22, opening page.

[5] Whether it’s Ferguson or Leigh Sales on the $460,000 top taxpayer dollar is a topic for another day.

[6] Within the US, a 2021 Gallup Poll-assessed trust in media at 36 per cent, the second-lowest on record. Only 11 per cent of Republicans – who comprise half the population – trust the media

[7] ACMA also found this term “mob” used by Four Corners to be unacceptable. This seems silly too, but strangely, the ABC has never described the looters, killers and arsonists of the year-long Black Lives Matter riots in the US as a “mob”.

[8] More or less, anyway

[9] Hat tip to Daily Telegraph columnist Tim Blair for the transcript extracts (the original now 404’d) and his take on them.

[10] Instead the ABC serves up pap like, “Director Nanette Burstein combines detailed interviews with Hillary Clinton, her family, friends, and colleagues with hours of off-the-record campaign archive to trace, not only the story of Hillary Clinton, but also the arc of women’s involvement in US politics over decades.”

[11] Hageman told her supporters, “While it may not be easy, we can dislodge entrenched politicians who believe they’ve risen above the people they are supposed to represent.” Trump said, “This is a wonderful result for America, and a complete rebuke of the unselect committee of political hacks and thugs.”

[12] Weapons used by the rioters included rocks, sticks, cans, paint bombs, a sledge hammer, a wheel brace used to smash glass partitions, a steel shop-trolley and diluted acid. One rioter tried to trigger the fire sprinkler system with a lighter. Ninety police and Parliamentary security people were injured — lacerations, sprains, and head and eye injuries. At least a couple were hospitalised.