13 Aug 2015

Right leaning newsman trying to infiltrate the ABC board. The Coalition has already stacked the board.

Taken from an article in the Guardian

Steve Harris, who was commissioned by the ABC board to audit ABC journalism, has applied to be a director of the ABC board. When contacted by Weekly Beast, Harris confirmed he had applied for the board role while he was conducting his editorial review of the ABC’s coverage of the higher education reform bill.

We asked Harris if the ABC board was aware he had applied to join its ranks and he said he had disclosed it. “It’s a separate issue,” Harris told Beast. “It’s nothing to do with the ABC.”

Harris said he believed his report was entirely separate from his application and was not a conflict of interest. His application will be considered by the nominations panel which includes two Coalition-appointed members, the Australian’s columnist Janet Albrechtsen and a former Liberal minister, Neil Brown, both of whom have accused the ABC of left-wing bias.

Marks man

Harris’s review was largely favourable. The former newspaper editor studied 54 segments across TV, radio and online which were broadcast in March 2015 and found just two were “unsatisfactory”. The former News Corp and Fairfax Media executive was appointed by the ABC board in April to undertake the review, a paid consultancy for which he will receive about $30,000.

The ABC chairman, Jim Spigelman, is the architect of these editorial audits which he hoped would improve accountability but which are rapidly becoming a stick to beat the ABC with. “As I indicated in launching this process, the ABC has a reputation for strong, original reporting on issues of public importance,” Spigelman said when he released the Harris report. “But good work can always be improved, and these reviews provide fresh perspectives and fresh opportunities to reflect, learn and develop.
This report by respected journalist, editor and publisher Steve Harris is consistent with that thinking.”

Accentuate the negatives

You wouldn’t know the Harris report was largely favourable by reading the Australian on Tuesday.

Its media editor, Sharri Markson, cherry-picked enough that was negative in the report to make a front page story about “Shallow lobbyists at home on ABC” and a big spread inside including an interview with Harris.

The Oz accompanied it with an opinion piece by Harris taken straight from the review and an editorial: “All the slips, accidents and mistakes – miraculously – seem to favour green-left views or, at least, run counter to a right-of-centre world view,” the editorial said."

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