ACMA investigates Fox News complaint about Four Corners coverage
The Australian Communications and Media Authority is investigating a complaint about the coverage of Fox News by an ABC program.
Sarah Ferguson’s Four Corners segments on the Rupert Murdoch-owned cable channel featured interviews with former employees who claimed the channel had become a propaganda vehicle for former President Donald Trump.
The ACMA is investigating the complaint after the ABC dismissed the allegations of bias following an internal investigation, according to The Age.
Investigation: ACMA is investigating a Fox News complaint that the ABC inferred the cable network had become a propaganda medium for former President Donald Trump during Sarah Ferguson’s Four Corners segments (pictured) in August
Fox News’ 36-page complaint was dismissed by the ABC last month after a 59-day process, the newspaper reported.
The ACMA has confirmed that it has “opened an investigation” into the episodes, which aired on August 23 and 30, 2021.
In his initial complaint to the broadcaster, Fox wrote: “The use of disgruntled former employees, some of whom were not with the company during our coverage of the US Presidential Election and its aftermath, completely discredits any credibility. of this program. ”
“Regarding the events of January 6, hearings in Congress and the Justice Department in Biden not only did not involve Fox, but other media companies were cited as platforms to incite and coordinate the riots. from the Capitol. ”
Bias? The shows featured interviews with former employees who claimed the channel had destabilized American democracy. Pictured: Former President Donald Trump (left) and Fox News owner Rupert Murdoch (right)
The latest criticism of the CBA comes after its president, Ita Buttrose, doubled down on allegations that the federal government is using a Senate investigation to “intimidate” the national broadcaster.
Liberal Senator Andrew Bragg launched the inquiry into the CBA and SBS complaint handling processes last month after reporting “public concerns.”
Buttrose accused Scott Morrison’s government of “a blatant attempt to usurp the role of the broadcaster’s board and undermine its operational independence.”
“This is an act of political interference aimed at intimidating the CBA and silencing its role as the most trusted source of public service journalism in this country,” she wrote.
ABC President Ita Buttrose (pictured) accused the Morrison government of “political interference” and “intimidation”
Buttrose doubled down on his scathing statement on ABC Radio National on Monday, accusing the government of interference.
“What we have here, in reality, is a partisan political exercise under the guise of using its Senate Legislative Committee for Government Senators to undermine the independence of the CBA,” she said.
“Does he agree with the notion of an independent public broadcaster and an independent board of directors, or does he think politicians should be able to interfere and dictate to the national broadcaster the contents ?
“Because that’s where it leads.
“I think it would be a lot better if the government and the national broadcaster had a better relationship. We are not the enemy.
Radio host Ben Fordham accused Buttrose of having a “glass jaw” after a year at the ABC that included “more clarifications … more corrections … more libel actions than ever” .
The investigation was launched after ABC’s complaints division told Fox News that none of its complaints about a Four Corners program on the U.S. network were upheld.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison backed the investigation by saying the CBA was not above Parliament’s control.
“It’s a government agency, they have their independence and nobody questions that, but they are not above scrutinizing their behavior, using taxpayer money from any other government agency,” did he declare.
Ms Buttrose was named CBA President by Scott Morrison (pictured) in 2019
“It’s business as usual for the Australian Parliament. I don’t know why they would consider themselves an exception to the status quo.
The CBA has already commissioned its first independent review in 12 years in its internal complaint process.
Buttrose wants the Bragg investigation to be canceled or at least postponed until it is completed.
His furious statement on Sunday claimed the investigation was “an attempt to weaken community confidence in the public broadcaster”
“If politicians determine how the national broadcaster’s complaints system works, they can influence what is reported by the CBA,” she wrote.
Buttrose wrote that the broadcaster’s independent review is well underway and has already interviewed Senator Bragg.
“I will leave it to Senator Bragg to explain his motives, but the impact of this action is clear. As chairman of the board of directors of ABC, I have a duty to denounce any action aimed at undermining the independence of the national broadcaster, “she said.
“A fundamental democratic principle underpinning the CBA has been its independence from interference from those motivated by political results.
Senator Andrew Bragg (pictured) to lead a Senate investigation into complaints handling processes at the national broadcaster and SBS
“Politicians, like all citizens, are urged to criticize anything they find false or objectionable that is published by the ABC, but they cannot be allowed to tell the ABC what it can and cannot to say.”
Buttrose ended the lengthy statement by calling on the Senate to end or suspend the investigation until the independent process commissioned by the ABC board is completed, when Parliament resumes later in November.
Senator Bragg announced the Senate investigation into ABC and SBS last week, saying public concerns have been raised about the current system.
“As a strong supporter of the CBA, I fear that the complaints will not be taken seriously and that this will undermine the organization,” he said.
“If mistakes are made, Australians expect the national broadcaster to fix them quickly.
“Having filed numerous complaints myself, I’m afraid this is not the case.”
Buttrose claimed that a new Senate investigation into the broadcaster is a “blatant attempt to usurp the role of ABC’s board of directors”
The Senate Environment and Communications Committee will take the briefs and hold public hearings over the next few months, with the committee due to present its report by the end of February.
The CBA will also seek public submissions for its own “rigorous and in-depth” review, the findings of which will be released by the broadcaster two months later in April.
Labor opposition communications spokeswoman Michelle Rowland has pledged to stand up for the national broadcaster.
“This Senate investigation has nothing to do with improving national broadcasters and everything to do with the Morrison government’s aversion to control and accountability,” she said.
The Senate investigation just weeks after the national broadcaster (pictured) ordered its first independent review in 12 years of its internal complaint process