Public broadcaster or green activist? How the ABC spins Australia's energy choices

11 Aug 2014

Executive Summary:

The ABC has a persistent and systemic left wing bias in its coverage of contemporary Australian political issues. This report marks the first time that a comprehensive, independent and scientific assessment of ABC bias has been undertaken.

The IPA commissioned Australia’s premier media analysis firm, iSentia, to conduct a third party assessment of ABC bias by examining the ABC’s coverage of Australia’s energy choices. iSentia used internationally recognised methods to analyse bias over 2,359 separate reports and stories on energy issues broadcast by the ABC between 15 September 2013 and 15 March 2014.

The iSentia data reveals that the ABC treated the renewable energy industry highly favourably, the coal industry unfavourably, and the coal seam gas (CSG) industry highly unfavourably.

iSentia found that the dominant message broadcast by the ABC about CSG and coal mining was that the industries have a negative impact on the environment. These dominant messages far outweigh any assessment of the economic benefits of coal and CSG.

By contrast the dominant message broadcast from the ABC was that renewable energy investment should be prioritised. Coal mining and CSG were positioned by the ABC as harmful, and renewable energy positioned as beneficial.

The report concludes that the ABC’s coverage of energy issues is so biased it amounts to campaigning by the taxpayer-funded broadcaster.

The research also demonstrates that bias is a systemic problem at the ABC, and is not confined to any one program, region or medium. The systemic nature of bias at the ABC demonstrates that only structural change will resolve these persistent problems. Only privatising the ABC will resolve the public policy failure that sees more than $1 billion of taxpayers’ money annually spent campaigning for left wing causes.

Publication Details
Published year only: 
Geographic Coverage