ABC Friends News

Jon Faine on the “Jihad” against the ABC

Former ABC broadcaster Jon Faine has written a spirited comment piece in The Age, describing what he calls a “Holy War” being waged by the government against our national public broadcaster.

In it, he says the ABC no longer has the funds available to do what the community expects and deserves.


“The conservative jihad is unconscionable, undemocratic and childish. It is also shortsighted. There will be a time when the Coalition finds itself in opposition and will demand the ABC investigates scandals perpetrated by its political foes. Will it still be so pleased with its cuts then? And how inane to nobble culture as revenge for democratic scrutiny.” — Jon Faine

In the article, he also outlines a failed move to see the 7.30 programme become more tabloid.

“That direction was driven from above but went down like a lead balloon with those who thought the program ought be doing more investigative and hard-hitting political stories.

Many viewers have been irritated by the aerial drone scenes that seem to be the compulsory opening shots of every story, and the teary “personal stories” approach to every issue, where even the most complex ideas are reduced to a hard-luck tale.

The tendency to bring Laura Tingle in for the big “scandal de jour” but then insultingly dispose of her peerless and invaluable insights and commentary in little more than two minutes has also attracted plenty of raised eyebrows.”

Mr Faine went on to explain how former 60 Minutes field producer Jo Townsend, who had been brought in to change 7.30 had now left the ABC.

“Hopefully 7.30’s detour from holding power to account is now consigned to the bin. The past week or so has shown the program revert to hard-hitting live political interviews that Leigh Sales can do as well as anyone – when given the airtime.”

Commenting on the article, ABC Friends Victoria President Peter Monie said that Mr Faine could have gone a lot further in his criticism of the Liberal and Nationals parties.