Home Australia ABC’s Q&A Furor Proves Television Debate Is Scripted And Sanitised

ABC’s Q&A Furor Proves Television Debate Is Scripted And Sanitised


wingnuts mallah

On Monday nights on Australia’s public broadcaster (ABC), it is the usual Q&A slot with host Tony Jones. It is mostly predictable and “scripted” political theatre. Every now and then an exciting panelist is invited, but for most episodes, it is a yawn. But this last Monday night did spark my interest. It seemed out of ABC’s character for Q&A to allow some testy questions to be asked.

Zaky Mallah, the first Australian charged under Howard-era anti-terror laws, was in the audience and allowed to ask a question (report here). He had been locked up in solitary for a nearly two years, then acquitted of terrorism charges in 2005. He thus asked of the panel (referencing the new proposed laws on stripping citizenship), “…What would have happened if my case had been decided by the Minister himself and not the courts?”  Minister Steve Ciobo replied, “…my understanding of your case was that you were acquitted because, at that point in time, the laws weren’t retrospective. But I’m happy to look you straight in the eye and say that I would be pleased to be part of a government that would say that you’re out of the country as far as I’m concerned.”

Given the choice, they would each strip the other of their Australian citizenship.

For the full program and transcript click here, but it appears that a portion of the audience were not supporting the minister’s view.

Well, what a storm this has created.

UPDATED VIDEO: I add this video (filmed 28 June 2015) of comments from Greg Buck

To continue:

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has slammed the ABC over its decision to feature a former terror suspect on the program – questioning which “side” the national broadcaster is on. This forced the ABC to admit an error of judgment. Mr Abbott allegedly told his MPs thatwe all know the program is a lefty lynch mob” and he called for a government-wide boycott of the ABC program, accusing it of betraying Australians.

It seem the government wants to sanitize free speech from the ABC.

Maybe the Q&A producers were trying to inject some energy into a tired format – but this smells a little like a set-up.

The conservative government would love to see the ABC cauterized and castrated – and what a perfect way to undermine the public broadcaster and one of their flagship programs.

The Herald Sun has been trying to find out how Mallah landed up in the audience asking a question. They are looking to lynch the “lefty wingnut”. But I am suggesting to the ABC, that there is a (slight) possibility that whoever “arranged” or encouraged Mallah to be on Q&A desired the present “heat” on the ABC.

Terrorism Theatre

It is a pity that the mainstream media, the government and the ABC continually ignore the facts, that the “war on terror” began as a fraud, but at least a few people see through the terror hype.

On Monday night Antony Hegarty (lead singer of the band Antony and the Johnsons) was also on the Q&A panel. Tony Jones asked, “…do you regard Dylann Roof as a terrorist or something else?”

Antony Hegarty: “I don’t really find the word “terrorism” very useful anymore. I feel like it’s a word that we are being manipulated with and, you know, the people that tend to throw it around tend to have an ulterior motive and it’s usually about, you know, an ever dwindling set of liberties, like, you know, justice for the individual….

But what was the ulterior motive for having Mallah be involved in a live show? Ratings? Diversity? Education? … or Sabotage?

zaky mallah

Mainstream Beat-up

The Herald Sun yesterday morning had these titles and subtitles:

“TV chiefs duck for cover as terror crisis grips network” and “ABC OF JIHAD.” On page 6 – “ABC in Q&A terror furore”, then the editorial – “Mallah fires hate bullets” and Rita Panahi’s headline “High time to rein in Q&A ‘wingnuts'”, she writes:

“Monday night’s Q&A program showed again that the ABC exist in a parallel universe where impartiality and sound judgement are redundant. The Left-wing echo chamber…. etc.”  She  goes on…

“The ABC charter requires it to be unbiased in its coverage but it is not.”

Rita, I agree – The ABC is not following its charter.

The ABC does report and reflect a fairly narrow view – a little to the left maybe… but mainstream all the way. You are lucky it reports and represents a conservative view much of the time too – parroting the Washington/Canberra narrative most of the time. But it dismally fails its charter for not reflecting a wider view of the global realities and reflecting all the views of Australians (like myself and many others).

And today – more headline.

herald sun

And Andrew Bolt’s column:

bolt article

Who is doing the “lynching” here?

And Rita – I propose, it is you, along with Andrew Bolt, the mainstream media, Canberra and the ABC that are living in the “scripted” alternative universe.

For example, the Murdoch newspaper you write for (and the ABC) never report truthfully about these important matters:

That al-Qaeda was an invention of the CIA. No one dares investigate who really killed those people at Port Arthur in 1996. What about debating how Building 7 collapsed on 9/11. No one reports on the secret agreement that is keeping the investigation of MH17 under wraps. A truthful discussion on the Howard government’s leading Australia to a war on Iraq on false intelligence would be refreshing. (Over a million people were killed, but to former prime minister John Howard that was just an “embarrassing” error.)  And no one writes about the banking money creation racket that has had such devastating impact over so many generations.

So what this furor over the ABC program has proved?

That television is entirely CONTROLLED and “SCRIPTED”. We are not “allowed” to have a free and open discussion on the public’s paid for broadcaster. Debate and discussion is MANAGED and SANITISED.

It is a disgrace.

I am definitely no fan of Zaky Mallah or Minister Steve Ciobo – but at least I got to hear them (and Anthony Hegarty).

And as for this incident, there is a possibility that “someone” nedged Mallah towards Q&A to create this type divisive “incident”. It proves to many that Mallah-types are not wanted here – and provides a case for conservative government that the ABC is a “lefty” leaning organisation that needs to be “controlled”.

The scripted sanitized format of Q&A was already a yawn – now it could become a “controlled” embarrassment.

And as for the attack on the ABC by the government? It was predictable and shameful.

Update 26 June:

(I changed the context slightly by removing the word ‘mole’ above)

Last night Jonathan Holmes (former host of ABC’s Media Watch) and Mr Glum (Institutional presstitute, Gerard Henderson, Executive Director of the Sydney Institute) debated the state of free speech in Australia on Lateline with host Emma Alberici (transcript here).

And ABC managing director Mark Scott came out “blazing” with A in ABC stands for Australia,  “The ABC is clearly Australian, it’s on the side of Australia.”

…..A scripted and controlled Australia.

Below, prime minister’s “Heads Should Roll” interview.



Below is the apology statement by the ABC. It reveals total subservience. Should not the government be answerable to the people?

ABC statement – Q&A

In attempting to explore important issues about the rights of citizens and the role of the Government in fighting terrorism, the Q&A program made an error in judgement in allowing Zaky Mallah to join the audience and ask a question.

Mr Mallah has been interviewed by the Australian media on a number of occasions. The environment of a live television broadcast, however, meant it would not be possible for editorial review of the comments he might make prior to broadcast, particularly if he engaged in debate beyond his prepared question.

Tony Jones correctly and immediately ruled a statement made by Mr Mallah as out of order.

Q&A will continue to raise issues that are provocative and controversial. There is always risk in undertaking live television.That is the nature of the Q&A program since it first aired in 2008.

As has been the case in the past on Q&A, circumstances will happen that are not anticipated. The critical question is whether risks could have been managed and the right editorial judgments made in advance.

The circumstances of Mr Mallah’s appearance will be reviewed by the ABC.

Richard Finlayson
Director ABC Television


  1. Dee, I think it might be fair to say that Richard Finlayson is a jihadist, per the definition of jihad as a “struggle to get it right.” He seems to know what is right, such as “no risk-taking on ABC.” (“Risk,” as in “Don’t risk a chiding from government,” as you so cleverly point out.)

    This Director of ABC-TV also seems to know what is correct for the nation, per your list of “Silent Items.” That is, he knows to keep a clamp on such things as looking into Australia’s involvement in Iraq, or your hobbyhorse — the Building #7 at World Trade Center.

    Thanks for this article, Dee. You observe Rita Panahi of the Herald Sun “doing the big struggle,” too. I guess she’s proud to be a jihadist, struggling to make sure we can all eat our pablum, and not get indigestion.

    Since we are in the middle of Ramadan, might you invite her out for “Iftar tea” and give her a copy of our book, “Truth in Journalism ?”

  2. Its all a side show, a distraction, all of it and Dee, while i understand you feeling the need to cover such lunacy, we all really need to see the forest for the trees. Thanks for the message all the same!

    Please don’t forget who is feeding the fear and hatred. Oh and who is paying for all this bloody Kabuki theater. Australia is a vassal state of the un-united usurped states of chaos!

      • Dee, Ive had that thought for a while now, as the pieces begin to form such a picture, on top of the past 100+ years of taboo and the monetary system, for anyone to be offered even 50% of the of the magnitude of whats been going on behind the curtain, a sleep walker would be a psychological basket case. It all needs to be expediently but carefully laid out with a kind of finesse so’s not to shock the natives if you know what i mean!

        There are a huge amount of Australian citizens that would react very badly (and rightfully so) if they completely removed the goggles, but something is tugging at those goggles (gumshoe included) so i hold a fair amount of optimism on the whole!

  3. Second go, most frustrating.
    Anyway I will try again.
    If Zak was fair dinkum he would have by now have informed himself on the worlwide questions concerning the people who really did 911. he had a golden opportunity to express such on Q and A. Previously over the years the ABC bans public 9/11 curiousity on 9/11.
    The ABC controllers are not stupid.
    Man ……. whoever was the previous publicist for Muslim mad men and he entertained the mass media for years.
    Now we have to wonder whether Zak is the conscripted madman to justify a pleasant budget to protect us.

  4. Jesus Christ are you a complete twit, a closet commie or a Muslim nut job? Mallah planted by a right wing mole – what absolute crap!

    This supposed “Real News” is never anything more than left-wing propaganda. Time to unsubscribe to this drivel methinks. Bye…

    Ross A Lloyd

    • Hey Ross, see how it works. You have the right to feel the way you do but its not looking all that productive to go off like that, just keep saying to yourself that the citizens of this country are not the enemy, why would they be? However they (the majority) are so heavily mind controlled and distracted as to the causation that no true sense will come of anything until mature observations are made and pondered, this story is just a piece in a much larger plan!

    • Good to get your criticism Ross. Note though I said “POTENTIALLY”. So let me correct you – “this is potentially crap”. And by the way contributors express some conservative views here. This is not about left or right. It is about pulling the veil of deception from the many stories we are confronted with. But let me propose to you that the powers that be play the public like strings on a harp.

      The ABC is a thorn in the government’s side. And they try put people on the board to pull the ABC in their direction. And who gained from this furor???

      By the way I am equally disgruntled. The ABC do not reflect many of the truths I believe they should.

    • The old Left vs Right bait & switch. It.s never a loss to lose a reader too thick to see through it. There’s always the Bolt Blog if it keeps his necessary anger satisfied.

  5. In many respects the Q & A incident exposed the media circus as the scripted theater we all understand.
    Sarah Henderson’s demand for heads to roll was incredible.
    I spoke to her Canberra desk yesterday and asked where her authority to dictate derives.
    I suggested it was only shocking to hear real debate and controversial views because it is rare.
    I suggested Zaky employed similar tricks to the fear drenched rhetoric of many others to get attention.
    I suggested I wished to see more real unscripted debate where all opinions can be heard, even if they are views that make us uncomfortable.
    Zaky is a clever character who could be described as a “hot head” but he was exploited and manipulated as an 18 year old when ASIO dished him up, by entrapment, to a jury as it’s first trial prosecution under their new “terror” laws.
    The Jury were not convinced justice was being served and Zaky was found not guilty as charged.
    Zaky loves controversy and enjoys provocation.
    Waleed Ally thought he had a script worked out when he interviewed Zaky but he met his stubborn match.
    I doubt he even registers on the scale of responsibility and complicity for the ills and crimes of our time compared to most Journalists and Politicians.
    My conversation with the gent on Sarah Henderson’s desk was fruitful and he agreed that Zaky has been totally vindicated in his prescription by all the viscous, conflict drenched fuss, delivering the exact atmosphere that fuels the irrational decisions of young Muslims.
    That is all Zaky was claiming, he could have framed it with a different tone.
    It must be stated Zaky has made some reckless silly statements that I find highly objectionable, similar in fact to the type of language aimed at Russia and Putin by our MP’s and journalist’s.
    I guess objectivity doesn’t count.

    • Great comment Christopher. I would love to hear some of your many calls. Maybe you should tell them you are recording the conversation from Gumshoe and we can post it.

      • Dee, I give a great deal of thought to how we can break down the controlling wall and bring our interface with MP’s and journalists out into the light of public scrutiny.
        I agree that at some point this must incorporate “on the record”
        questioning, petitioning with argument and submitting documents and information in front of a camera with a group in attendance.
        Our MP may not cooperate but it could be conducted at their office, or in front of their office, where a key collection of documents carefully selected could be “tabled”, with appropriate questions, for a well trained social dynamic group to build force and discussion with the particular MP or even a particular media outlet or individual.
        The group would associate through a “facebook” type interface where the whole enterprise is openly conducted like a “war room” except it is totally transparent and public.
        The documents, titles, articles, etc, would be the foundation and noted and listed like a legal evidence approach that allows individuals to join and share their progress that would include recording and making public every possible step.

        The success of this type of action would be very high threatened only by the education and ability of the group.

        The “group” would need to first undertake a common effort to grasp EVERY element of our social, political and economic realities.

        Confusion, division and error are all easily exploited by “power”.

        Honest information currency + correct action = positive results

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