Read scathing smackdown of’ ABC’s ‘deeply offensive’ comparison of Alice Springs to Ku Klux Klan
The ABC boss has been accused of arrogance by a liberal senator in a scathing letter of complaint about Alice Springs national broadcaster’s horribly “biased” reporting.
He has also been criticized for not apologizing for a segment on ABC’s The Drum that compared a crisis meeting in the troubled outback town to a meeting of the Ku Klux Klan.
In the two-page letter obtained by Daily Mail Australia, Senator Sarah Henderson berates managing director David Anderson for trying to defend the ABC’s skewed reporting before reluctantly apologizing “late in the day.”
“The ABC’s initial response was irresponsible, deeply flawed, arrogant and reflected very poorly on you as editor-in-chief,” the senator and ex-ABC journalist wrote.
“It showed that the ABC did not understand or was unwilling to acknowledge its obligation to all Australians to report the news accurately and impartially.”
Sen. Sarah Henderson, an ex-ABC journalist, has criticized the ABC boss for the broadcaster’s “deeply offensive” coverage and handling of the controversy
The senator called on ABC boss David Anderson and said his apologies were “irresponsible, deeply flawed, arrogant and very bad on you.”
The damning letter followed a public outcry over a radio report by Indigenous Affairs reporter Carly Williams portraying 3,000 Alice Springs residents attending a crisis meeting as “white supremacists.”
Senator Henderson also highlighted another report – which was neither apologized nor mentioned – comparing Alice Springs to a Hollywood fictionalized American town where the American white hate group the Ku Klux Klan murdered three American civil rights activists.
“I note that the ABC was not referring to… the incendiary, inaccurate and profoundly offensive remarks of a guest on The Drum who likened the Alice Springs rally to… institutional racism by the citizens of a town, including members of the Ku Klux Klan,” the senator wrote.
Senator Henderson personally addressed Mr Anderson and made it clear that despite his apology she would still be making a formal complaint to the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA).
Senator Henderson’s letter smacks of the ABC calling the broadcaster’s comparison of Alice Springs residents to members of the Ku Klux Klan as ‘deeply offensive’
The senator was particularly critical of Mr. Anderson’s “deeply flawed” defense of Ms. Williams’ reporting.
She then noted that “late in the day … on the Corrections and Clarifications website,” the ABC issued a second response admitting that the report “should have included a broader range of perspectives.”
But in that response, the ABC failed to refer to Ms. Williams’ story “or the inflammatory, inaccurate and highly offensive comments” made by The Drum guest, Nareen Young.
Ms Young, a professor of Indigenous policy at the University of Technology, Sydney, had compared the Alice Springs gathering to the movie Mississippi Burning.
The letter says that the ABC did not acknowledge that it compared Alice Springs (above) to the US city where the American white hate group the Ku Klux Klan murdered three American civil rights activists.
The 1988 film is based on the real-life Ku Klux Klan murders of two African American and a Jewish activist whose bodies were dumped in a Mississippi river, sparking national outrage in the US in 1964.
Referring to Carly Williams’ account of the Alice Springs meeting, Professor Young told The Drum: ‘If you saw that room in Mississippi Burning, for example, Australians would say ‘how awful, oh that’s awful what’s happening there’.
“The vitriol and the racism and the lack of regard and respect for those people on their land when those people lived off its abundance was appalling.”
In her letter, Senator Henderson said Williams’s report “does not detail the escalating violence in Alice Springs, the serious safety concerns of thousands of local residents, the support many traditional owners gave to the meeting and … the anti – social behavior discussed’.
“The ABC must explain… its initial reaction and why the report inexplicably remains online… which is tone deaf to the ABC’s shortcomings and completely unacceptable,” she wrote.
The ABC described the Alice Springs audience (above) of concerned families, business owners, Indigenous leaders, health and emergency services as “white supremacists”
The senator described ABC reporter Carly Williams (pictured) as “bullshit reporting” that the meeting was “a disgusting display of white supremacy”
“I will ask ACMA to investigate whether the ABC has violated its Code.
As the Code states “the ABC belongs to the Australian people. Earning and maintaining their trust is essential to complying with the ABC’s charter (to provide services) of a high standard to the Australian and international public”.
Senator Henderson, who once worked as a consumer reporter at the ABC, presenting 7:30 in Victoria, described the broadcaster’s coverage as “bullshit reporting.”
Thousands of fed-up residents attended the Save Alice Springs gathering on Jan. 30 following intense media coverage of the city’s struggles with a crime crisis.
The audience at the town hall meeting included concerned families, business owners, Indigenous leaders, health and emergency services, and police.
Since Prime Minister Anthony Albanese made a flying visit to the town in January, the Northern Territory government has now reinstated alcohol restrictions banning takeaway sales in central Australian communities, including Alice Springs town camps.