The ABC can’t find a single journalist who is against Q&A inviting Mallah?
The reaction of ABC staff to the Zaky Mallah scandal demonstrates exactly the groupthink that caused the problem, and that remains the ABC’s greatest failing.
Before the board’s statement, a bevy of present and past ABC “stars” lent their support to McEvoy and the Q&A team or criticised the Abbott government’s reaction. The list included Richard Ackland, Emma Alberici, Paul Barry, Mike Carlton, Annabel Crabb, Rafael Epstein, Jonathan Green, Jonathan Holmes, Fran Kelly, Peter Manning, Matt Peacock and David Salter. Moreover, not one ABC employee was prepared to criticise publicly Q&A’s handling of the Mallah affair.
And herein lies the crux of the problem, which the ABC’s decision to engage former SBS supremo Shaun Brown and left-wing journalist Ray Martin to review Q&A will not resolve.
Despite Scott’s promise of almost a half-decade ago to provide greater diversity within the public broadcaster, the ABC does not have a conservative presenter, producer or editor for any of its prominent television, radio or online outlets. Not one. This leads to a leftist or left-of-centre mindset where alternative, challenging views are not heard.
When ABC presenters past and present make mistakes in analysing this case, for some reason it’s always a mistake that tends to excuse Mallah or damn the government. Is that a coincidence?
On … 25 June … [ABC presenter] Jonathan [Green] appeared on the ABC 1 News Breakfast program… He falsely stated that Mallah’s terrorism charges were “dropped”. Not so, he was acquitted by a jury – the Crown believed it had a strong case….
[Former ABC presenter] Jonathan Holmes … told Lateline viewers that Mallah’s conviction for threatening to murder an ASIO officer “was basically an entrapment” – by a witness called “Greg” who gave evidence against Mallah.
What a load of tosh. Mallah pleaded guilty to recklessly making to another person a threat to cause harm to a third person – being a Commonwealth (i.e. ASIO) official – by reason of that person’s status as an ASIO employee…
In sentencing Mallah on 21 April 2005, Justice Wood found that the person to whom Mallah made the threat (Greg) acted appropriately and was not the catalyst for the threat. Justice Wood also found that Mallah “had, to a considerable extent, already disclosed his plan in the videotape and other documents, which he had prepared well before meeting Greg”.
On Thursday, June 25, During an interview with Gerard Henderson and Jonathon Holmes, presenter Emma Alberici stated that Tony Abbott referred to Zaky Mallah as a “convicted terrorist”. Mr Abbott’s exact words were that Mallah was a “convicted criminal and terrorist sympathiser”. The presenter later quoted Zaky Mallah saying on Q&A that Steve Ciobo’s comments would “encourage [Australian Muslims] to join Islamic State”. Mr Mallah said that Mr Ciobo had “justified to many Australian Muslims in the community tonight to leave and go to Syria and join ISIL”.
Henderson will be on The Bolt Report on Channel 10 tomorrow (10am and 3pm).