At long last we detect some hairline fractures in Aunty’s allegiance to the dictates of the powerful trans lobby ACON/AWEI, thanks to all the good-hearted people who’ve taken the trouble to lodge complaints or done other actions to show the ABC the error of its ways.
The first hairline fracture appeared on 9 August 2022, when the ABC’s own internal Audience and Consumer Affairs unit upheld a complaint about an online article – first published in April! – about male biological advantage in women’s sport. The unit found that the article:
- did not provide an adequate overview of the available science and was therefore not in keeping with the ABC’s editorial standards for accuracy and
- unduly favoured the views of Ada Cheung, lead endocrinologist at Trans Health Research, and was
- therefore not in keeping with the ABC’s editorial standards for impartiality.
As a result, amendments were made to the article, further links were included, an editor’s note was appended, the matter was discussed with ABC Sport management, and the finding was reported to the ABC Board. As far as we know, this is the first time the ABC’s internal review mechanism has found anything wrong with Aunty’s fanatical promotion of ACON’s many-pronged agenda. The Audience and Consumer Affairs unit is about to be gobbled up into a new structure headed by newly-appointed Ombudsman Fiona Cameron – we sure hope she’ll act with the same independence and integrity as Audience and Consumer Affairs did this time!
The second crack appeared on 15 August, when Media Watch did a segment on ABC’s silence on the closure of the Tavistock gender clinic, noting that the story had been ‘reported around the world’ and finding it ‘strange’ that the ABC had ignored it. Media Watch presenter Paul Barry had been, up to then, an ardent fan of Australia’s chief kid-transer Michelle Telfer, so this turnaround was gobsmackingly surprising.
The third fissure came two days later, in the form of the Afternoons program on Sydney ABC radio. Josh Szeps did a 21-minute interview about the Tavistock ‘bombshell’ with Professor Philip Morris, president of the National Association of Practising Psychiatrists, which advocates a ‘more cautious approach’ rather than the affirmation approach.
What’s more Szeps took a call from a mental health practitioner who said she feels like she can’t give her clients the best clinical care out of fear that ‘it’s going to be seen as transphobic’, and another call from the mother of a girl suffering from rape trauma who was offered puberty-blockers at the end of a half-hour appointment before even seeing a psychologist or psychiatrist.
On 25 August PM carried a five-minute item on detransitioner Jay Langadinos’ bid to sue her psychiatrist for medical negligence, which included the viewpoints of Langadinos herself and Anna Kerr, of Feminist Legal Clinic. And it mentioned Tavistock!
And a fifth crack, of sorts: Q+A on 25 August. Stassja Frei was right to yell out ‘It’s a lie!’, because there was lots of inaccurate ‘information’ given in this segment that wasn’t corrected or even challenged; and she’s right that the panel was stacked: weightlifter Deborah Acason was the only speaker defending women’s sports, and opponents got to speak for nearly twice as long:
And it’s also true that Acason was only on the program because she approached the ABC when she saw the promos for the forthcoming episode, and saw there were to be no woman athletes on the panel!
Still, given the parlous state of things at the ABC when it comes to women’s sex-based rights, it does count as a bit of a breakthrough that Stan Grant the presenter let Acason speak for over four minutes about the unfairness of men in women’s sport. They also put a couple of pro-women’s sport chyrons from the viewing audience to air, and Stan Grant curbed some of the more outlandish propositions put by the TRAs, and gave Acason the last word.
Further Steps Are Needed
It’s good to see these little fractures happening, but there’s a long way to go yet before the wall of untruth and silence comes tumbling down. Evidently some sectors within the ABC are still in thrall.
This is the response the ABC gave Media Watch to justify its silence on the Tavistock scandal:
Australian practices ‘differ significantly’ from Tavistock’s? Oh really? Not according to Professor Morris. He’s what he told Josh Szeps when they were discussing the mainstream standard ‘path’ being taken for transgender youth care in Australia:
JS: Would you characterise that path as being broadly similar to the path that Tavistock had before it was shut down?ABC Radio Sydney
PM: Yeah, that’s exactly the – very similar to the path that was operating at the Tavistock.
And here’s the justification given by Julia Holman, executive producer at RN Breakfast:
Well, so if she’d rather hear about ‘what’s happening here’, why hasn’t the ABC reported on Karyn Lisignoli being sacked from the WA Girl Guides? Or Tickle v Giggle? Or the Tasmanian Anti-Discrimination Commissioner banning lesbian-only social events?
All of these are things that happened/are happening here, all newsworthy developments reported in other media, but totally ignored by the ABC.
We’ll be continuing to challenge the ABC on its accuracy, impartiality, and concept of newsworthiness.
Lots of other true friends of the ABC will be doing likewise. Come on, Aunty, free yourself of ACON/AWEI and recover your independence and integrity. If the BBC can free itself of Stonewall, you can do the same.