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What makes an expert on ABC news’ programs these days?

The Australian media organisation I go to for most of my political analysis is the ABC. But lately, it feels a tad confused.

The ABC’s mainstream news programming seems to be slowly colonised by youthism. Youthism, my word, denotes the ill-conceived actions by institutions to garner youth support and clients, while most youth see through these bogus attempts.

If not for the Insiders on Sunday, we may soon be subjected to more colour and movement, shouty politics, beards and tattoos with edgy faux-gonzo camera angles. Or more Q&A, once a great program, now a Punch and Judy show for partisan political gangs. (How we need a renewed Hypothetical!)

On Saturday morning, the ABC Weekend Breakfast hosts, Andrew Geoghegan and Johanna Nicholson (pictured above) had Junkee news and political editor Osman Faruqi providing his analysis on the Batman by-election. Why?

Batman, an electorate in Melbourne’s north, is shaping as a major battleground between the ALP left and the Greens’ centre.

Ged Kearney, the former ACTU president, is being pitted against local Preston resident and Greens’ candidate, Alex Bhathal. That is if Ms Blathal survives attempts by the ‘Northcote Left’ of the Greens to oust her. This by-election may shape the atmospherics for Malcolm Turnbull and Bill Shorten in 2018.

Junkee‘s Osman Faruqi’s study of the Batman by-election was what my ancient grains are to breakfast; cardboard.

The sitting member, Labor’s David Feeney, resigned because he was caught up in the dual citizenship fiasco. As the ABC reported his resignation, it “put Labor’s increasing struggle with the Greens on its left flank in the national spotlight”.

Mr Faruqi repeated the above on ABC Weekend Breakfast. His study of the by-election was what my ancient grains are to breakfast; cardboard.

What did he tell us about Batman? He pointed to Opposition Leader, Bill Shorten’s new found, left Green credentials in picking Ged Kearney for candidate and as reported on the ABC, his “hardening stance” on the proposed Queensland Adani mining enterprise. And?

He failed to mention the Queensland Government’s support for the Adani mine and the increasingly tense factional contests in the ALP that Shorten is keeping a lid on – for now at least.

There maybe good reason for Mr Faruqi to be on Triple J, Double J, ABC 2 and many other programs for young people, but not as a commentator on such a crucial by-election. He needs to know more.

So much for being a political junky. He should at least have done some perfunctory research before going onto an ABC news’ program. Or, just said: “I really don’t know that much about Batman”. The ABC is not the public relations arm for Junkee or Mr Faruqi, who also appears regularly on the ABC’s The Drum.

The ABC has access to political animals Anthony Green, Laura Tingle, Emma Alberici, or the political polymath George Megalogenis. or why not William Bowe as an on-line editor of Crikey Poll Bludger, who has written a far more interesting piece on Batman.

“Batman is also a much harder nut for the Greens to crack than Northcote, as it extends beyond the inner-city hipster belt to more conventionally working-class suburbs around Reservoir in the north.”

Impressive as the Greens’ 5.6% winning margin in Northcote may seem, it was only around 1.5% more than they were able to manage in the corresponding booths in Batman in 2016.”

A day before Mr Faruqi’s exegesis on the ABC, Michael Kroger, the Liberal Victorian President was accusing the Greens’Batman candidate for being anti-Semitic.

If a pop-political commentator is necessary in the ABC’s youthism project, please least pick someone who knows some detail about my ‘burb.

“Liberal Victorian state president Michael Kroger said he wanted the party to field candidates against Greens who had been involved in protests and campaigns against Israel’s treatment of Palestinians. Mr Kroger regards such protests as anti-Semitic activity.”

Mr Faruqi failed to factor in the rise of a centrist Green leadership under the smart Richard Luigi Di Natale, who, like, Ms Bhathal is a local. His alma mater is Parade College in Reservoir, the largest suburb of Batman.

This wing of the Greens – as undisclosed sources have it and is evident from everything we see – did hard and good work to purge Lee Rhiannon from NSW Greens. Rhiannon’s adherence to BDS and cult-like leadership of the left Greens was a major thorn in the mainstreaming of the Greens into a social democratic-type party. The amount of Hijab wearing women bargaining over Israeli face-care products in Northland Shopping Centre would burst any middle class BDS bubble.

The Libs’ Kroger was subtly testing the waters with his “anti-Semitic” charge. Perhaps he was ushering voters to the ALP, given it seems highly unlikely that the Liberals will stand a candidate in Batman.

Ms Bhathal and Mr DiNatalle know that if the Greens are to make an impact in Batman they cannot be too Green, or overly connected to the Northcote, middle-class left. There is a hipster/ Green proof fence called Broadway in Reservoir and anything north of that is not socially left, or very Green.

Ms Bhathal will need support from the socially conservative Labor voters like older Greeks, Italians, Macedonians, Lebanese, and their ambitious, middle-aged children who are carving up their parents’ 750sq metre blocks for new town houses to be sold at feverish prices. The ALP may play the union card only to find that it falls flat outside the teachers’ union members that live in the affluent bits of Batman. Greens and the ALP will have to play to the centre.

So, if a pop-political commentator is necessary in the ABC’s youthism project, please pick someone who knows some detail about my ‘burb. Maybe consider someone from my ‘burb, or even state. Someone young and savvy, (if they must), but at least someone who can offer something substantial about the topic.

Photo of Andrew Geoghegan and Johanna Nicholson via Twitter

13 responses to “What makes an expert on ABC news’ programs these days?

  1. “The amount of Hijab wearing women bargaining over Israeli face-care products in Northland Shopping Centre would burst any middle class BDS bubble.”

    That’s not a very nice sentence, mate, why are using Muslim women as fodder to make your point. I’m at a loss to even imagine how it is you think you know that.

    I too am from your ‘burb, you should know better.

    1. then you should visit Northland more – it was a reference to the way BDS has not impacted on these customers’ purchasing behaviour

  2. Some people appear to have time to waste. Get on to the issues that matter to the voter Fotis unless you are jealous ofcourse! What you write makes sense to me then.

  3. Well said. The tired old canard that any criticism of the policies of the government of Israel is anti-Semitic, is well past its use-by date. Just like Michael Kroger. And most of the Liberal Party.

  4. I like Fotis’ pieces usually, but here he has mostly aired his biases. As stated above, Osman has a significant history in the political machine. By the comments above so far, many Daily Review readers are hipster phonies, ie, on the actual Left! I am also sick and tired of the straight out bullshit put about Lee Rhianon and the NSW Greens. The NSW Greens are a grassroots democracy where many of the members are quite left wing. A Di Natale type won’t make without a big change of rules or membership

  5. I have to say a couple of minutes of Faruqi is more insightful than whatever this is.

    It’s, er, misinformed to believe centrist Greens ousted Rhiannon. Mehreen Faruqi (Osman’s mother, funnily enough) has long had the support of the left in NSW. Rhiannon is well-liked but it was time for new blood. If anything, the attacks from ‘centrist Green leadership under the smart Richard Luigi Di Natale’ increased Rhiannon’s chances of re-preselection, especially since people knew shallow commentators would represent her loss as this article does.

  6. He is Sydney-based – the only criteria required to now get a slot on the ABC. As such he must know all that is necessary to understand Batman, or anything else.

  7. Lol, guy lectures former senior Greens staffer, campaigner and candidate about Greens factions and electoral strategy, gets both completely upside down.

  8. Oz had like 2 minutes to talk, how can you compare any appearance like that to feature length articles? And as both a seasoned political commentator and someone who has, y’know, actually run for the Greens, there is zero need to justify his inclusion in these panels.

  9. I can assure you that who appears on Weekend Breakfast on a Sunday has a lot more to do with who will turn up at 8am for free than any other agenda.

  10. Agreed. Most ‘commentators’ know nothing of their subject, and just repeat the headlines. A waste of my time.

    After 60 years a ‘Friend of the ABC’, I now get more and better news coverage from Al Jazira and PBS Newshour. Sad.

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