“We don’t like Q&A and the ABC because sometimes they say things about us that we don’t like.“
That – L I T E R A L L Y – is all the Coalition Government has to say. That’s it. Sometimes people might say some stuff about you that you don’t agree with, and that’s perfectly OK. Particularly when it comes to politics.
But instead, what’s happening here is that the Abbott Government – such is the fragility of their hair trigger and fearsome loathing of the Government broadcaster – has taken this furore surrounding the Zaky Mallah incident from Monday’s Q&A episode and decided now that a full-blown Government Inquiry is needed.
Baring in mind that Mallah is not an employee of the ABC; he has appeared on multiple programmes on multiple TV networks over the years; was acquitted of the terrorism charges brought against him; and in this case is guilty only of saying an unscripted, boneheaded, short-sighted, dickheadish comment on a show generally full of them anyway, which owing to the unpredictability of live broadcasting, was beamed around the country; a comment host Tony Jones immediately ruled out of order, and which the ABC‘s director Richard Finlayson quickly condemned, stating even Mallah’s mere presence on the show – available to him by virtue of being an Australian citizen – was an “error in judgment” and that the ABC would conduct a full internal review.
But that is simply not good enough for Tony Abbott and the Federal Government, who have spent the past 48 hours winding themselves up into such an enraged, patriotic huff that the situation now sits frighteningly close to McCarthyism.
Speaking to media this morning, Prime Minister Abbott stated it was “utterly incomprehensible” and that the ABC had compounded the mistake by rebroadcasting the episode. If you’re just now learning that the ABC actually repeats Q&A at 10am on a Wednesday morning, you’re certainly not the only one.
In calling for a Government inquiry into the programme, Abbott pulled zero punches.
“Now frankly, heads should roll over this, heads should roll over this.”
“We’re not satisfied with an internal ABC inquiry because so often we’ve seen virtual whitewashes when that sort of thing happens. Frankly the ABC ought to take some very strong action.“
A Government inquiry into a Government broadcaster because a man unaffiliated with the Government broadcaster said a dickhead thing on air that was immediately chastised and apologised for by the Government broadcaster.
Meanwhile, NewsCorp has been having a bloody field day with everything, brazenly splashing things like this across their front pages.
The front page of tomorrow’s Courier-Mail. pic.twitter.com/2kRB0YcRlT
— The Courier-Mail (@couriermail) June 23, 2015
At best, wildly irresponsible and reprehensible media, and at worst a borderline slanderous piece of propaganda that likens a GOVERNMENT AGENCY to a TERRORIST ORGANISATION.
And yet Tony Abbott is getting the knives out because a fool said a thing that literally no one is supporting.
In the words of Midnight Oil, these shall not be forgotten years, Tone.
Photo: Mark Metcalfe via Getty Images.