The Null Device

In his own image

In an attempt to remake the ABC in its own conservative, monocultural image, the Australian government has appointed a controversial right-wing historian, known for his ad hominem attacks on opponents, to its board:
Mr Windschuttle has been a fierce critic of the so-called "black armband" view of history and claimed in his 2002 The Fabrication of Aboriginal History that massacres of Tasmanian Aborigines had been exaggerated.
The eight-member board already includes right-wing columnist Janet Albrechtsen and conservative anthropologist Ron Brunton.
Those on the "anvil" side of the culture war, of course, protest loudly.
Historian Stuart Macintyre, who has often crossed swords with Mr Windschuttle, said: "The whole point about a public broadcaster is to be a place of a plurality of views. A precondition for that is that the people who are directing it respect that role and don't try to declare other views to be illegimate in the way that Windschuttle has."
It is unclear how much power the board will have over the ABC's day-to-day operation, though the day is getting nearer when the Australian national broadcaster becomes a big hammer in the culture war, the stern, paternalistic voice of the Howard government, dictating the official party line on issues, from current politics to history to culture, and consigning un-Australian views to the wilderness by omission or one-sided dismissal. Then, once it is a trustworthy organ of the government, maybe it will once again get some decent funding.

There are 3 comments on "In his own image":

Posted by: amby Thu Jun 15 23:29:12 2006

Windschuttle's arguments against the massacre are based on some largely based on the notion that there is some tribalist/post colonialist conspiracy out there perpetuating these myths, akin to creationists claiming that there is an atheistic persecution in biology departments, or holocaust deniers claiming that the holocaust was a myth created by Jewish profiteers and Allied propagandists.

Holocaust deniers are roundly vilified among historical scholars. It is genuinely appalling that equally dishonest scholars in Australia are not treated in the same way.

I will by writing to ABC, and I hope you will too. This man should be kicked out of the board. And he can take his tinfoil hat with him.

Posted by: steff http://ofterdingenandkro Sat Jun 17 02:18:52 2006

My sense is that the private broadcasters already accomplish the day in, day out manipulation (infantilisation, intimidation) of the populace. The right wingers on the ABC board are sent in to sabotage the ABC and render it defunct, conflicted, inarticulate, but not to re-instrumentalize it as the Liberal Party's voice.

Posted by: gjw Sat Jun 17 10:14:52 2006

And as for Janet, well one only has to have a look at her fans: ( - Warning, link goes to KKK website, where they quote her articles.) I'm disturbed by how blatant this is - it seems all you need to do to get on the ABC board is hold loud, public, bigoted views. I'm quite sure Andrew Bolt will be hosting the 7:30 report before Howard's term in office ends.

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