Following their decision to give unrestricted airtime to a literal neo-Nazi, the ABC has this afternoon defended Triple J and investigative program Hack, stating that the call was in-line with the Government broadcaster’s “commitment to fundamental democratic principles.”
Last night’s program focused on the clash between White Supremacist Nationalists and counter-protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia, which resulted in a white nationalist deliberately driving a vehicle into a group of protesters, killing one person and injuring scores more. The 20-year-old allegedly responsible has since been charged with second-degree murder, among other charges, and is now the subject of an FBI-lead investigation that could result in Federal charges being laid in relation to domestic terrorism.
On last night’s Hack, host Tom Tilley interviewed known neo-Nazi and anti-Semite Eli Mosley, introducing him quite literally as “one of the organisers of the Unite the Right protest.”
Tilley has since been slammed from pillar to post for his softball questioning, refusing to even so much as press Mosley as he spouted his incredibly calculated comments, and indulging a phone-in caller who was quite obviously a plant. In fact, the only people openly applauding Tilley for his efforts on the show last night all come from Australia’s notorious and boneheaded alt-right armpit, “Dingo Twitter,” which by itself should give you an indication as to how smart the call to interview an actual Nazi was.
Aunty, regardless of this, has today backed in both Tilley and the program, asserting that a counter-protester will be interviewed on-air in response at 5:30pm today.
In a statement issued to media, ABC bosses spoke thusly:
triple j’s topical program Hack went to great lengths to present all relevant views in its coverage yesterday of recent events in Charlottesville, Virginia. The program included perspectives from all sides involved including the Unite the Right rally organiser Jason Kessler, Charlottesville’s Daily Progress reporter Lauren Berg, the Governor of Virginia Terry McAuliffe, as well as an unnamed counter-protester.
Numerous requests for interviews were put to those involved in both sides of the protest. While all counter-protesters declined Hack’s invitation, a rally organiser, Eli Mosely, agreed to be interviewed. A counter-protester will be interviewed on today’s program, to air at 5:30pm. Hack believes it is important to hear all viewpoints to fully understand the events that developed in Charlottesville over the weekend and will continue the Charlottesville conversation in today’s edition. This is in keeping with the ABC’s commitment to fundamental democratic principles including freedom of speech.
Fair enough that no one else wanted to be identified and interviewed from the counter-protest side, but that reasoning does not pass the sniff test when it comes to giving unwarranted airtime to white supremacy; particularly in response to an act of, frankly, terrorism.
That they allowed the interview to air at all is irresponsible journalism, but that they did so whilst legitimising and providing unrestrained mainstream broadcasting of views that champion and minimise the danger this kind of discourse carries is tantamount to facilitating incitement.
Hack‘s response to today’s furore hits the airwaves at 5:30pm this afternoon.
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