Read the scathing review of ABC’s ‘deeply offensive’ comparison of Alice Springs and the Ku Klux Klan
The ABC boss has been accused of arrogance by a Liberal senator in a scathing letter of complaint over the national broadcaster’s horribly “biased” reporting in Alice Springs.
He was also criticized for his failure to apologize for a segment on ABC’s The Drum that compared a crisis meeting in the troubled upcountry town to a Ku Klux Klan rally.
In the two-page letter obtained by Daily Mail Australia, Senator Sarah Henderson slams chief executive David Anderson for trying to defend the ABC’s lopsided coverage before reluctantly issuing an “end of day” apology.
“The ABC’s first response was irresponsible, deeply flawed, arrogant and reflected very poorly on you as an editor,” the senator and former ABC reporter wrote.
“It showed that the ABC did not understand or was unwilling to recognize its obligation to all Australians to report the news accurately and impartially.”
Senator Sarah Henderson, a former ABC reporter, slammed the ABC boss for the broadcaster’s ‘deeply offensive’ reporting and handling of the controversy
The senator called out ABC boss David Anderson, saying his apology was ‘irresponsible, deeply flawed, arrogant and reflected very badly on you’
The scathing letter follows public outcry over a radio report by Indigenous Affairs reporter Carly Williams that portrayed 3,000 Alice Springs residents who attended a crisis meeting as ‘white supremacists’.
Senator Henderson also highlighted another report – without apology or mention – that compared Alice Springs to a Hollywood fictionalized American town where the American white hate group, the Ku Klux Klan, murdered three American civil rights activists.
“I note that the ABC made no reference … to inflammatory, inaccurate and deeply offensive comments by a guest on The Drum who compared the Alice Springs reunion to the … institutional racism of a town’s residents, including including members of the Ku Klux Klan,’ the senator wrote.
Speaking personally to Mr Anderson, Senator Henderson made it clear that she would still file a formal complaint with the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), despite her apology.
Senator Henderson’s letter denounces the ABC and calls the broadcaster’s comparison between Alice Springs residents and Ku Klux Klan members “deeply offensive.”
The senator was particularly critical of Mr Anderson’s “deeply flawed” defense of Ms Williams’ reporting.
She then noted that the ABC had posted a second response “at the end of the day…on its Corrections and Clarifications website” which conceded that the report “should have included a wider range of perspectives.”
But in that response, the ABC had not referenced Ms Williams’ story “or the inflammatory, inaccurate and deeply offensive comments” by The Drum guest Nareen Young.
A professor of Indigenous politics at the University of Technology Sydney, Ms Young had compared the Alice Springs meeting to the film Mississippi Burning.
The letter says the ABC did not acknowledge that it had compared Alice Springs (above) to the US town where American white hate group the Ku Klux Klan murdered three American civil rights activists.
The 1988 film is based on the real-life Ku Klux Klan murders of two African-American activists and a Jewish activist whose bodies were dumped in a Mississippi river, sparking national outrage across the United States in 1964 .
Referring to Carly Williams’ report of the Alice Springs reunion, Professor Young told The Drum that ‘if you saw this play at Mississippi Burning, for example, Australians would say ‘how terrible, oh this what is happening there is terrible”.
“The vitriol and racism and lack of consideration and respect for these people on their land while these people were living off of it was appalling.”
In her letter, Senator Henderson said Williams’ report “did not include details of the escalating violence in Alice Springs, the deep safety concerns of thousands of local residents, the support that many traditional owners have brought to the meeting and … the anti-social behavior discussed”.
“The ABC must explain…its first response and why the report inexplicably remains online…which is deaf to the ABC’s failures and totally unacceptable,” she wrote.
The ABC described the Alice Springs audience (above) of affected families, business owners, Indigenous leaders, health and emergency services workers as ‘white supremacists’.
The senator called a ‘trash report’ the report by ABC reporter Carly Williams (pictured) that the meeting was ‘a disgusting display of white supremacy’
“I will ask the ACMA to investigate whether the ABC has breached its code.
“As the Code states, “the ABC belongs to the Australian people. Earning and keeping their trust is essential to fulfilling the ABC’s charter (to provide services) of a high standard to Australian and international audiences.”
Senator Henderson, who once worked as a mainstream reporter on the ABC and presented 7:30 in Victoria, described the broadcaster’s coverage as a ‘garbage report’.
Thousands of weary residents attended the Save Alice Springs reunion on January 30 after intense media focus on the town’s battle with a crime crisis.
The town hall audience included affected families, business owners, Indigenous leaders, health and emergency services workers and police.
Since Prime Minister Anthony Albanese made a whirlwind visit to the city in January, the Northern Territory government has now reinstated alcohol restrictions that ban take-out sales in communities across central Australia, including including the camps in the town of Alice Springs.