One of the great rhetorical tricks journalists at the taxpayer-funded Australian Broadcasting Corporation like to shoot when accused of bias is to talk about voting.
But, of course, it doesn’t matter how they vote.
The ABC’s problem isn’t who their reporters vote for; it is What they cover and How? ‘Or’ What they cover it.
And boy, haven’t the Aussies had a great example of that this week.
On Monday morning, the ABC released a great investigation story about the “infiltration” (their word) of religious conservatives into the Victorian Liberal Party. The story details how a number of Melbourne-based evangelical church leaders hatched a plan to enroll members in the Liberal party so they could influence policy-making and potentially elect more pro-government candidates. their view of the world.
There are two things to note about this.
First, since these leaders do not coerce or pay people to join the party, there is nothing untoward or illegal about a strategy to get like-minded people to join your political party. Indeed, there is an argument that this is precisely how democracy is supposed to work.
Second, and more subtly, the whole tenor of the piece is that this is a bad thing. It is never explicitly anti-Christian. Journalists never say “religious people are not welcome in politics”, but you can smell it, like the smell of an impending storm.
Notice how often the play tries to frame these Christians’ participation in politics in relation to abortion, euthanasia and homosexuality? Notice how often there are secondary looks that someone’s views on these moral issues are “unknown”? And, above all, notice that the only recorded quote from a politician about any of this is from Fiona Patten, MP for Reason, and staunch opponent of religion in the public square?
Now contrast that with another ABC story published earlier this month: What is Satanism? And where does social justice lie in this controversial religion?
Now I grant you that this was written by a different reporter in a different section of the ABC with different journalistic purposes (it is, in fact, adapted from a radio segment). Nonetheless, this is a Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame induction speech by comparison.
From the intro section:
“Are Satanists really there? And do they pose some sort of demonic threat to a decent society?
The short answers are (1) yes and (2) no – and beyond the scary stories lie fascinating complexities.
We get the impression that we don’t give much credit to the fascinating complexities of Christian moral theology, the Christian doctrine of sin, and the complex relationship between personal conscience and the instruction of the pastor in your local church.
What is interesting is this: why the difference in treatment? Why are Satanists becoming “complex” and “non-threatening” while Christians trying to engage in public life are “overrepresented” and “controversial”?
Perhaps the clue is in the ABC’s neat summary of the Satanist platform:
“Satan in modern Satanism functions more as a symbol of certain things that Satanists revere: freedom, knowledge, fearlessness, power, pleasure.”
(Most moderately faithful Christians would notice that this “Satan in Modern Satanism” looks quite a lot like, uh, Satan. But I digress.)
You see, freedom, fearlessness, fun: the primacy of the individual. These are understandable moral values for an ABC journalist.
But sincere Christian belief; that a person’s faith can inform their political opinions, that those opinions can have merit or, at the very least, that people have the right to express those opinions. That just doesn’t count for the woke ABC newspaper class.
American writer Rod Dreher talks about the media’s “radical misunderstanding of religion” and the widely held secular cultural view that religion is something between consenting adults behind closed doors.
It does not occur to the media class that the massive societal work done by Catholic hospitals, Christian charities and Christian schools is directly informed by the Christian faith. No, religion is at best a mild curiosity, at worst a sinister force.
Pride month: yes! Christmas: No!
And that’s the critical bias at the ABC. It doesn’t matter who they vote for in an election, it matters that they are unable to cover religion fairly or impartially. It is important that the national broadcaster does not fundamentally include a significant portion of the country’s population.
It is important because people are already kicked out of work for their faith and the awakened will return for more.