PAUL Barry, the ABC’s paid media policeman, was sad to see the corpse. Pity he didn’t arrest the killer.
The corpse was The Hoopla, an online magazine edited by former ABC host Wendy Harmer that’s just shut down after four years. No money.
Barry, the Media Watch host, mourned: “So sad to see @wendyharmer and @thehoopla are shutting up shop. What a shame.”
But spare us the ABC’s tears. The ABC is the killer. You see, the worst thing about the ABC isn’t its bias, even though it’s meant by law to be balanced.
No, what makes the ABC dangerous is its massive size.
The $1 billion a year we give it lets it run four TV channels, five radio stations, an online newspaper and a book publisher.
This makes the ABC not just our biggest media outlet, but a destroyer of other media voices.
Take The Hoopla, pitched at women from the Leftist demographic the ABC services.
It had to charge readers or get advertising to survive, but Harmer this week wrote that its cut-price competitors included “increasingly, material under licence from the taxpayer-funded ABC”.
The Hoopla couldn’t keep paying writers when it was undercut, in part, by ABC content subsidised by taxpayers.
This isn’t the first outlet the ABC has helped put out of business.
Two years ago, Peter Fray, former editor-in-chief of the Sydney Morning Herald, launched a political fact checking website called PolitiFact Australia.
But the Gillard government simultaneously gave the grateful ABC, its ideological ally, a grant to create a rival fact-checker. Months later PolitiFact was gone.
Said Fray: “We don’t have the budget the ABC does and taxpayers’ funding …”
The ABC is also stealing audiences from big media companies, particularly those of the Left.
The Age and Sydney Morning Herald face ruin if they cannot find a way to make online readers pay enough for the kind of news and views the ABC gives free.
Even News Corp papers like this feel the pinch of this taxpayer-funded competition. The result: the ABC grows stronger while commercial rivals get weaker.
The danger is clear. The ABC is already misusing its vast state power.
Its campaign against the Abbott Government is vicious. Its global warming crusading is fanatical.
What next? Will the only opinions given a platform be those the Government subsidises and the ABC permits?