ABC: incompetence is a bigger issue than bias

EMMA ALBERICI: Let’s talk about the economics shortly but I just want to stay for a moment on the politics.

What’s curious in this instance is that there appears to be little to no appetite in the US for a more aggressive military-style response from president Obama. Even the Republican John McCain, who led the push for some kind of US army assault in Georgia six or so years ago, is now urging caution? – The ABC’s Lateline programme on March 4, 2014.

RECENTLY there has been a great deal of debate in Australia over whether the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, a government-funded entity, is biased towards the left or not.

There is a much more serious malady that affects the organisation and which is never raised: incompetent presenters.

The ABC has several TV programmes that are broadcast nation-wide and thus, it is reasonable to assume that from among its thousands of employees the best would be chosen to front these programmes.

But that is not the case. It is the same as in other Australian organisations – those who can suck up get prime positions. The worst case of incompetence is Emma Alberici who on a few nights of the week presents the Lateline programme, a news and current affairs round-up of the day, which, as its name indicates, is broadcast late at night.

Alberici has very little knowledge of foreign affairs. Her guests are often at pains not to expose her lack of knowledge. On one occasion, when she was interviewing an academic from Jordan about the problems in Syria, the man had to tread very carefully to avoid making her look foolish. I wrote to the ABC at that time – about a year ago – and they replied, acknowledging that there was an issue.

But Alberici continues in her merry. foolish ways. The quote above is another example of her stupidity. When the US is just ending painful episodes in both Iraq and Afghanistan, adventures that cost trillions and affected the country deeply, only a madman would be thinking of advocating another adventure.

Yet Alberici apparently believes politicians should be doing so. Any politician who did would be committing the equivalent of hara-kiri – but not to Alberici’s way of thinking. Indeed, one doubts whether she thinks at all.

Her guest, an American of Indian origin, went easy on her and did not castigate her for her silly question. Had it been someone who was inclined to be more forthright, she would have been roasted.

Alberici is paid nearly $190,000 and charges up to $5000 for public appearances. Given this, one would assume that she takes some pains to educate herself. She was a miserable failure on a programme titled Business Breakfast, but seems to have plenty of supporters within the management ranks. Else she would have been toast by now.