The federal government has released its report on the Zaky Mallah / Q&A episode, and it turns out, a lot of people were well and truly ticked off. 962 people complained about that specific episode to the ABC by June 29.
The gov’s report into the whole fan-dangled mess was released on a Friday afternoon, which is another way of saying: here’s those things we promised, but please don’t read / look too closely into this.
Communications Department handed it to the ABC board before deciding to give Q&A executive producer Peter McEvoy a formal warning on Wednesday.
The report, although it had zero recommendations, cleared up everyone’s biggest gripe about Mallah appearing on the show, and that is: was he investigated? And if so, WHO LET HIM ON?
Turns out, they did look into it. This is the ABC, after all. They had attempted to contact two people familiar with Mallah (which failed), sought the advice of another ABC journalist, and trolled through his recent TV gigs and August 2014 social media posts.
Unfortunately, they didn’t find one threatening to “gang bang Rita Panahi and Miranda Divine” or his recent YouTube videos, or else he might never have made it on the show, would never have asked his question, and we wouldn’t have a government enquiry into a national broadcaster in the first place.
Let’s play the blame game, shall we?
Allowing Zaky Mallah on? Peter McEvoy.
Rebroadcasting the program as they do each week? Combined efforts of Finlayson, managing director Mark Scott, and head of editorial policy Alan Sunderland.
AND BEFORE WE GO ANY FURTHER – the best thing to come out of this report was that Zaky Mallah had applied to be on the Q&A panel. Twice.
Still, no recommendations. Weird – until you look at the fact that it’s the department of Malcolm Turnbull, the oft-preferred leader of the Liberal party, which was responsible for the investigation. Mumbrella flags that “it may have been a political ploy by [Turnbull] to avoid conflict with the Prime Minister’s office”, as Turnbull, as Crikey reports,”likes to leave some room between himself and Tony Abbott, as if he’s in the Abbott government, but not of it.”