“We might be biased”: ABC chair Ita Buttrose admits broadcaster lacks diversity
ABC chairwoman Ita Buttrose has admitted that the accusations over the media outlet being biased may be accurate.
Conservative voters have slammed the news organisation and its presenters of a left-wing bias and now the chair has said that those statements may have some merit, with a few reporters letting their own views cloud their judgement.
Buttrose was appointed as chairwoman of the ABC in February after her predecessor Justin Milne resigned.
“Sometimes I think we might be biased,” Buttrose told ABC Radio Melbourne on Wednesday. “Sometimes we could do with more diversity of views. I haven’t got a problem with anybody’s view, but I think we need to make sure ours is as diverse as we can make it.
“People, without really knowing it, let a bias show through. I think we can all do that. But the way you deflect the critics that like to give us a tough time is by having a wider viewpoint.”
Buttrose, who has previously been named Australian of the Year, was brought into the corporation during a time of turmoil as the ABC had freshly sacked managing director Michelle Guthrie.
Ms Guthrie alleged she was pressured from those higher up to fire chief economics correspondent Emma Alberici and political editor Andrew Probyn for criticising the Liberal party.
However, Mr Milne denied all accusations, saying the sacking of the two journalists had nothing to do with him.
Buttrose informed ABC staff about job security, saying they have nothing to worry about despite an annual funding indexation freeze from July 2019, which will set them back $84 million over three years.
According to the 77-year-old, there are currently no plans to shut down ABC radio and television branches.
“There are many things that can be cut. There are many things that can be changed,” she said.
The media mogul will sit down with Communications Minister Paul Fletcher next week to discuss funding and the future of the broadcaster.
“It’s no good bleating and whimpering,” she said. “We’ve got to present a case as to why we need it, what it’s for, where it’ll take us, what our plans are for the future, what the digital impact will be on the way we do broadcasting.”
According to the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA), close to $340 million has been slashed from the ABC base funding since 2014.