Friday, August 3, 2018  

FRED PAWLE                  

Ellen Fanning's aggression towards former Mayo candidate Georgina Downer complies with the ABC's selective outrage.

It would have been amusing if former Liberal Mayo candidate Georgina Downer had heeded Marcus Aurelius’s advice while being interviewed by an aggressive Ellen Fanning on ABC TV this week: “The best answer to anger is silence.”

One can picture Downer smiling serenely as Fanning, pursuing topics that resonate little beyond the ABC cafeteria, grows both furious at Downer’s impertinence and triumphant at having provoked an implied admission of guilt.

Viewers who found Fanning’s style aggressive and disagree with her obsession about “carbon” would reach a different conclusion.

If you missed it, the interview consisted of Fanning haranguing Downer for having worked at the Institute of Public Affairs, where money donated by Gina Rinehart had, Fanning tried to assert, caused Downer to alter her opinion about climate change.

Nothing Downer said seemed to satisfy Fanning, so saying nothing would not have changed the outcome of the interview anyway.

As The Australian’s Cut and Paste column pointed out, Fanning’s accusation that “when you became the candidate (for Mayo) you refused to answer questions about climate change” was incorrect - Downer had done just that on May 16, on the ABC in fact.

Fanning’s line of questioning reflects a common, cynical view about the way very rich people spend their money. Fanning simply cannot conceive that Rinehart would give money to a think tank for any purpose other than to generate research that will dupe the ignorant masses and their elected representatives and in turn make Rinehart richer.

This, of course, is consistent with the mentality that the ABC is our

August 3 podcast - MRC
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primary bulwark against the assumed corruption of private enterprise, and that quality journalism can only be forcibly financed even by those people who do not share the ABC’s enthusiasm for climate change, illegal immigration and Trump derangement syndrome.

But it is a bit surprising coming from Fanning, who has spent a fair chunk of her career at Channel Nine. Did she do nothing but Kerry Packer’s bidding during those years? And did he not have vested interests in, say, big casinos?

Besides, if she is interested in exposing a conflict of interest, there is a rolled-gold one right under her nose.

As explained on this website this week, GetUp! received $2.4 million from New Zealand-owned energy company Meridian, whose business model is based on the subsidies GetUp! emphatically spruiks. Rinehart has not benefited from her donations to the IPA in the way Meridian has from GetUp! But don’t hold your breath waiting for Fanning to fume over that.

If only Fanning’s theory of financial influence extended to the ABC itself. Rinehart’s Hancock Prospecting paid $225 million in tax in 2015-16, which is almost a quarter of the ABC’s annual budget. You’d think, for that alone, Fanning might be at least a little bit grateful. But no. On that front, it’s Fanning who is conspicuously silent.


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