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BER - just the bad news please

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Anti-Government bias and misrepresentation from the Murdoch press is par for the course — but not from the ABC. Nevertheless, that's just what's happened with their reporting on the BER Taskforce report. Sandi Keane reviews the Australian media landscape.

Brad Orgill and his Taskforce investigated the BER implementation widely condemned by the Murdoch Press. He found it was a success.


Last Friday (July 8), the final report from the Orgill Building the Education Revolution (BER) Implementation Taskforce was announced.

In its Executive Summary, the Taskforce gave credit to those involved that it only received 332 complaints, just over 3 per cent of the total schools across the nation.

The Summary said:
“This is a significant achievement. It is clear that the program did, in fact, delivery substantial stimulus”. 

That day, Chair of the Taskforce, Brad Orgill, gave a press conference to announce the results. These are his actual words:
"I think the rollout of the program, overall, was successful. Twenty out of 22 education authorities did a very good job.” 

He later went on to say that the 2 that failed were NSW and Victoria.

How difficult was it to report that?

Channel 9 news got the message right, announcing “Orgill says BER rollout successful!”

So did Business Spectator: “Orgill says BER rollout successful overall”.

And again in the Fairfax press: “BER gets thumbs up but not in Vic and NSW “.

Not surprising, we got a totally different story from the Murdoch press.

But what shocked me was the total beat-up by the ABC, the public broadcaster, in a disgraceful disregard for objective reporting.

On that evening’s 7pm news and again on Lateline at 10.30pm, the ABC cherry-picked that part of the report relating to the poor performance by NSW and Victoria.

[dailymotion xjsut3]

No reference whatsoever was made of the fact that this was only 2 out of 22  education authorities, with the remaining 20 adjudged to have done a good job.

No mention that the Taskforce considered the overall rollout to be successful.

The clear impression was that the BER was unsuccessful.

This was backed up by showing just that small segment of Brad Orgill’s media conference on NSW and Victoria.

In case you didn’t get the message, a comment was sought from Christopher Pyne who couldn’t believe his luck and joined the ABC in sticking it up the government.

Education Minister, Peter Garrett, wasn’t given any opportunity to respond to a report that found his department’s program successful.

Was this just sloppy reporting?  What happened to truth and balance?  How come the commercials could read the media release put out by the Implementation Taskforce chairman, Brad Orgill, but the ABC team couldn't?

Does the ABC believe we, the public, aren’t interested in good news?

Perhaps it does, given that the only people I’ve seen interviewed on the ABC on the new carbon tax are those like the truckies who may lose their income from transporting coal. Not one interview with one of the thousands of tourism operators about the good news for the Barrier Reef and the consequent saving of future jobs in the tourism industry.

How can anyone trust the ABC to report crucial facts from other major projects like the BER — especially if they’ve been declared a success?



No-one would have been surprised by the anti-government coverage in the Murdoch press notorious for destroying governments which offend Rupert Murdoch’s commercial ambitions or conservative agenda.

As his political fortunes unravel in the UK, we are finally seeing some long-over due scrutiny of the ethics of this man.

The most egregious example has been the blocking of global action on climate change.

Politicians in the U.K., Australia and U.S.A. rightly fear Murdoch’s influence on election outcomes. Political careers are bolstered in exchange for favours (e.g. change the foreign media ownership laws and I’ll see you get elected!) and destroyed if they refuse to do his bidding. The only sectors of the community immune to this blackmail are the unions and committed environmentalists. That’s why the conservative parties are easier to manipulate and why they’ve done so well out of their Faustian pact.

The fight against the carbon tax is just beginning.  Prepare for the onslaught as Murdoch goes into overdrive to distort and pervert the facts whilst his editors scramble in high dudgeon to disassociate themselves from the stench of the festering Murdoch empire emanating from the U.K. across the globe.

[More about the Murdoch media and  its campaign against carbon tax tomorrow in Independent Australia.]  
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