#QandA

ABC MD issues an apology with a feather duster

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Good to see it took the ABC three days to come up with this response to the diabolically toxic Q&A program which hosted an expletive-laden show with a bunch of feminists. Pathetic. The producer will be hit over the knuckles with a feather duster.

Monday night’s episode of Q&A was presented in conjunction with The Wheeler Centre’s feminist ideas festival, ‘Broadside’. The intention of the program was to present challenging ideas from high-profile feminists whose expertise ranges across ageism, disability, Indigenous and domestic violence issues.

The ABC acknowledges that the program was provocative in regard to the language used and some of the views presented.

Q&A has always sought to tackle difficult issues and present challenging and thought-provoking content. However, I can understand why some viewers found elements of this episode confronting or offensive.

We have received audience complaints about the program, are assessing the concerns raised and will investigate whether the program met the ABC’s editorial standards.

Huh? Investigate whether it met editorial standards? Just read the transcript,

Some choice moments that have so much balance that even Mary Whitehouse would have accepted the content, are presented here,

MONA ELTAHAWY

“Well, you’re asking the person here who travels the world to say fuck the patriarchy, so I think that what we have to do is start seriously talking about dismantling patriarchy. And when I talk about patriarchy, I’m talking about a white-supremacist, capitalist, imperialist patriarchy…

I go online exactly to tell people to fuck off when they attack me, and I’m very well-known for it...

FRAN KELLY

And at this point, I will utter a language warning on the program, and remind our guests.

MONA ELTAHAWY

No, honestly, it’s… You know, this idea of respectability, this idea of civility, this idea of unity, all of these words, decorum, who invented those words? Those words were invented by white men for the benefit of other white men in systems and institutions that were always designed to be for white men. And they weren’t designed for women like you and me and so many others. Like you said, people of colour and gender-diverse people. They never imagined us in those spaces, and then we show up and we just ruin it for them….

And so those who abide by the system – and Barack Obama was part of the system and remains part of the system… I also disagree with his wife when she says, “When they go low, we go high.” No I fucking don’t. If you go low I’m going to come for you. So, no, I do not have the luxury or the privilege to sit there and be civil with people who do not acknowledge my full humanity. I refuse. Number one…

…So, for those who say, “Be civil,” for those who say, “Be polite,” I have an entire chapter on the political importance of profanity, and I remind them of a Ugandan feminist called Dr Stella Nyanzi who is currently in prison in Uganda because she wrote a poem on Facebook wishing that the mother of the dictator of her country had poisoned him, that her birth canal had poisoned him during birth. And when she was taken to court and doing her sentencing, she was video-taped in, because she’s known for her profanity, she stood there in the video, she took off her top, she jiggled her breasts and she said, “Fuck you, fuck you, fuck you!” In court!“…

…Nothing. For me, as a feminist the most important thing is to destroy patriarchy. And all of this talk about how, if you talk about violence, you’re just becoming like the men. So, your question is a really important one but I’m going to answer it with another question. How long must we wait for men and boys to stop murdering us, to stop beating us and to stop raping us? How many rapists must we kill? Not the state, because I disagree with the death penalty and I want to get rid of incarceration and I’m with you on the police. So I want women themselves… As a woman I’m asking, how many rapists must we kill until men stop raping us?

We all know what will happen. Assurances by the ABC it will never happen again until the next time which won’t be that far away. We were promised that when Q&A got in trouble over giving a platform to a man who pleaded guilty to threatening to kill ASIO and DFAT officers, Zaky Mallah who went on a rant against then conservative MP Steve Ciobo. Who could forget the “@AbbottLovesAnal” hashtag the show gladly allowed during the former PM’s term? A mistake, honest. Just like Triple J’s guide to blowjobs.

The ABC should be defunded and forced into the TVNZ business model of having to provide content customers are willing to look at and advertisers willing to support. If the organization is so confident it has an audience for its content, it should put its confidence where its mouth is.

If you want to look at why the ABC doesn’t need more money, look at the staff costs to income ratio. Despite plateauing between 2008 & 2011 it quickly exploded. It now sits at 46% of the government handout generated. That is $524mn on staff costs per year and rising. 4,939 staff grace the ABC. Funding per employee is $232,000. A decade ago it was $232,700. Is that what the management target for hiring? Give the ABC $2bn and presumably, it will have employment costs of $1bn.

Channel 9 must fight hard for every advertising penny but still manages a 29.1% staff cost to revenue ratio. $380m in staff costs on $1.3bn revenue. 3,310 employees convert to $392,750 in revenue per staff member.

Sevenwest Media raked in $1.62bn in revenue on staff costs of $395mn or 24%. The same cutthroat world of earning a living instead of feeling entitled to one. Seven West has 4,528 staff meaning it generates $357,800 in revenue per employee.

Maybe ABC should be forced to channel the New Zealand state broadcaster, TVNZ. After all ABC fawns over NZ PM Jacinda Ardern, all the time and she hasn’t demanded the state take TVNZ back to a taxpayer-funded model. It gets $310m of its $318m purse from advertising. It’s staff costs excluding capitalizing into programs is $72m which converts to 23% staff cost/revenues. They do with 642 FT employees. Revenue/employee is $495,000. It paid a dividend back to the government of $3.7m. i.e. it is a revenue-generating asset.

In 2007, TVNZ had $339m in revenue. It employed 1,023 people. Therefore revenue per employee was $331,380. So in a decade, TVNZ efficiency improved almost 50%. A 6% cut to revenue on 63% of the staff.

Instead of the long term ratings slide at the ABC across metro and regional Australia, TVNZ’s figures keep improving. Last year, TVNZ had a 43.2% all day audience up 1.3%.

Comparing 2017/18 and 2015/16 at the ABC we see that TV audience reach for metro fell from 55.2% to 49.7% and regional slumped from 60.3% to 54.0%. If we go back to 2007/8 the figures were 60.1% and 62.4% respectively. For the 2017/18 period, the ABC targets 50% reach. Hardly a stretch.

ABC clearly has no place receiving funding with content like this. As it stands, the ABC isn’t out of control. It is in full command of its content. The Minister for Communications has lost control and continues to let the broadcaster do as it pleases – even allow shows with Aboriginal actresses pretending to defecate on white people or kids programs that take a stab at white privilege. The ABC is so left-leaning it would make Stalin’s Pravda blush for being too conservative.

The ultimate irony is that things are so bad at the ABC that the latest Annual Report revealed a survey that showed staff engagement at 46%, 6 points lower than the previous survey which placed the organization in the bottom quartile of ALL Australian & NZ businesses. It is so bad that many staff complained that poor performers are not dealt with but tolerated.

Impeachment Trends, Biased Sampling and why Batman knows best

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Monmouth University has conducted an impeachment poll. It is not hard to see where the bias lies. 27% Republicans, 30% Democrats and 43% Independent. In nearly all polls conducted by the university, this is the respondent stack skew. It is so obvious that one could be forgiven for thinking the ABC Q&A programme must be taking the roll call. No surprise that Trump’s approval rating remains firmly stuck in the low 40s according to Monmouth. Monmouth had Hillary Clinton at a 9% lead over Trump in mid-October 2016. CM wonders why? Rasmussen, which was the most consistent and accurate poll leading into the 2016 election, has Trump at 48%, ahead of Obama at the same point in his presidency by 2%.

Monmouth wrote in its most recent poll, “At this time, 44% of Americans feel that Trump should be impeached and compelled to leave the presidency, while 52% disagree with this course of action. These numbers mark a shift from Monmouth’s prior poll in August (35% supported impeachment and 59% did not), but it is not the first time these results have been found in the two years Monmouth has been asking this question.”

There is something telling that there have been impeachment talks for over 2 years. Just the subject matter has continually shifted. Maybe the August 2019 Monmouth impeachment poll made the level of reasoning more clear. The 25% Republican, 30% Democrat, 45% Independent produced the following results,

– A good idea or bad idea to impeach Trump. 41% plays 51% respectively,

– Why would it be a good idea to impeach – Top 5 responses – Need to follow evidence (18%), Broken the Law (17%), Moral Character (17%), Bad Policies (16%), Racism (11%).

– Why would it be a bad idea to impeach – Top 5 responses – Trump has done nothing wrong (27%), Waste of Time (22%), Partisan Witch Hunt (13%), Trump has done Good Job (12%), Congress should work on other things (10%).

Interesting to see that racism, moral character and bad policies are viewed as plausible grounds for impeachment. The March 2019 poll from Monmouth, the question put as to whether Democrats are more interested in the truth vs undermining Trump, the results were 31% vs 46% respectively.

So even with a high proportion of skew against Republicans (Consistently at 25-27%), the results are rarely pointing to massive landslides against Trump. It should come as no surprise that when analysing the party affiliation in the poll, there is heavy partisan bias which sort of defeats the purpose of the poll putting out meaningful data. If anything the “independent” people who have contributed to the poll do not seem to be giving Monmouth the results they are hoping to get.

Of course, the mainstream media made extra effort to report that 4 in 10 Republicans thought Trump “probably did” mention the possibility of investigating Biden implying 60% didn’t. If you read the hyperlink address, it clearly makes out the majority of GOP supporters don’t believe which is disingenuous. 31% said, “don’t know.” Do we assume that all people read the transcript?

In this day and age the number of people that make kneejerk reactions – driven by media headlines (or suspiciously cut videos to remove context) on both sides of the partisan divide – without even reading the body of the article, let alone facts means such data polls tell us little. 

Last week, Rasmussen noted, “But 46% think it’s more likely that Trump will be reelected in 2020 than defeated by the Democratic nominee or impeached, unchanged from late July…28% see a win by the Democrats’ candidate as more likely, down from 33% two months ago. 17% believe Trump is likely to be impeached before serving his full term in office, up from 11% in the last survey but down from a high of 29% when Rasmussen Reports first asked this question in late December 2017.”

In the end, Batman knows best. “Don’t trust the polls.

Your ABC – shocking inefficiency created by demotivated staff

While it might seem like another beat up on the ABC, we need to take a long hard look at how it operates. How is it TVNZ can operate as a self funded government entity which collects a currency adjusted 1/4 the ABC’s revenue on 1/8th staff? How many people actually understand their ABC?

Salary increases and budget increases have a 90.34% R-squared correlation meaning that budget increases tend to lead to paying higher salaries.

While some may talk about “good” content, sadly ABC’s ratings have slid considerably for over a decade in regional and metro areas. TVNZ’s have risen. So hard core left has the ABC shifted that it has created a narrower audience. The MD openly stated that if Australians wanted to protect the ABC they shouldn’t vote LNP. So much for respecting its charter which bans political bias.

TVNZ must cater to the free market for advertising dollars therefore content must meet the audience needs. It’s simple. ABC should follow suit.

Throwing more money at the ABC has not solved ratings problems. One guesses that diverting more tax dollars at kids programs that disparage white privilege, comedy shows that openly call conservative politicians “c*nts” during by-elections and producers that allows indigenous comedians to defecate on a white woman probably has a very narrow audience. Content IS the problem.

Look at The Guardian as case in point of journalism that fails to address market needs. It is free and in recent years gone cap in hand for donations because its user base aren’t prepared to stump up cash to support it. Do we need a public broadcaster to subsidize views of the left? The Guardian is simply competing in the “same” area as the ABC. ABC starves The Guardian of oxygen because we as taxpayers fully fund it. The ABC crowds out left leaning media.

Look no further than CNN. It has doubled, even trebled down on its unhinged bias. The ratings have plummeted. Fox on the other hand has risen. Whether one likes the content of Fox is irrelevant. Advertisers go there because the reach is self evident.

Moan all you want about Murdoch. His users pay and the ratings are up. Don’t shoot him if his product sells. Try self reflection. The Sydney Morning Herald tried to tell users its product was worth subscribing to. Unfortunately it ignored slumping readership and ended up being acquired by Nine Network. If you don’t cater to your audience, they won’t support you.

Staff levels at the ABC have never been higher. Ratings never been lower. Lifting the budget hasn’t caused any change. Cutting dollars will cause much needed restructuring. It is like feeding a dying patient with more morphine hoping to numb the pain. Unfortunately the body grows resistance to that. ABC staff feel this.

In the 2018 annual report, the ABC staff survey revealed engagement is at 46%, 6% below the previous survey. This puts in the bottom quartile of all ANZ businesses. #Reform desperately needed.

ABC staff complained that management doesn’t do enough to get rid of under-performers. Another clear signal that state-sponsored mediocrity is tolerated.

The culture of the organization won’t be turned around by management unless it is given a reality check of being rapidly withdrawn from the taxpayer teat. That way the c.70% of staff dedicated to content can finally listen to what the broader public want to consume rather than the echo chamber they live in. By the way, those who love the ABC needn’t worry. The limited number of good programs will stay if the audiences demand them. The unhinged radical left programming can be cut with little loss to anyone with a modicum of intelligence.

ALP, first find a purpose before you choose your next leader

On what planet does Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen honestly believe he is a viable candidate for the ALP leadership? Of course the Coalition welcome such an appointment as they’ll be guaranteed another 3 years in government. Does Bowen believe that the electorate will grant what he calls a “blank canvas” and give him a fair go? Like any good retail store, the best assets are put on display where people can see them first. If the repudiated policies of the election just finished were the best he had to offer, what hope has he got ‘connecting’ with the base? Will this be the “these were the policies I wanted but Bill Shorten didn’t let me run them” campaign? If that were so Bowen stands for nothing so will fall for anything,

Bowen co-led the most dreadful campaign. Telling hope owners to forget if their houses slipped into negative equity and throwing two fingers up at self-funded retirees telling them if they didn’t like it not to vote for Labor. At least that message cut through.

Tanya Plibersek withdrew her nomination stating she “wasn’t ready”. Is that what a deputy for 6 years does when her boss vacates the top job? She clearly sees the next 3 years as toxic. So her loyalty to party is limited to her own ambitions of taking the top job once other members of the team have become political cadavers. CM spotted her pre-election in Hermes in Sydney so she is most definitely a champagne socialist.

Anthony “Albo” Albanese is the true Labor man who has never been given a title shot. He too is of the left, but he is eminently likable. He is a down to earth battler. However will his party see him as one to lead them back out of political oblivion? The hard left has been the problem.

Then that leaves Jim Chalmers. He is young. Served as an advisor to Rudd. He was pretty ordinary on Q&A last night. He won’t prosecute like Albo can.

The ALP first has to find a purpose before it selects a leader. If it does it the other way around it will only foul up the works and elevate the chaos this unlosable election has already brought upon them. To make a rash choice and then in-fight over policy direction will turn them into a carbon copy of the US Democrats

The lesson was loud. The electorate rejected radical climate change policy, punishing pensioners, identity politics, class warfare and the politics of envy. That Chris Bowen thinks he can lead the party back from the pits of despair with that legacy behind him means he is more delusional than Malcolm Turnbull.

It is worth remembering that experience is a hard teacher. You get the test first and the lesson afterwards.

Your ABC vs Jacinda’s TVNZ

If you want to look at why the ABC doesn’t need more money, look at the staff costs to income ratio. Despite plateauing between 2008 & 2011 it quickly exploded. It now sits at 46% of income generated. That is $524mn on staff costs per year and rising. 4,939 staff grace the ABC. Revenue per employee is $232,000. A decade ago it was $232,700. Is that what the management target for hiring? Give the ABC $2bn and presumably it will have employment costs of $1bn.

Channel 9 must fight hard for every advertising penny but still manages a 29.1% staff cost to revenue ratio. $380m in staff costs on $1.3bn revenue. 3,310 employees converts to $392,750 revenue per staff member.

Sevenwest Media raked in $1.62bn in revenue on staff costs of $395mn or 24%. Same cutthroat world of earning a living instead of expecting one. Seven West has 4,528 staff meaning it generates $357,800 in revenue per employee.

Maybe ABC should channel the New Zealand state broadcaster, TVNZ. It gets $310m of its $318m purse from advertising. It’s staff costs excluding capitalizing into programs is $72m which converts to 23% staff cost/revenues. They do with 642 FT employees. Revenue/employee is $495,000. It paid a dividend back to the government of $3.7m. i.e. it is a revenue generating asset.

In 2007, TVNZ had $339m in revenue. It employed 1,023 people. Therefore revenue per employee was $331,380. So in a decade, TVNZ efficiency improved almost 50%. A 6% cut to revenue on 63% of the staff.

Instead of the long term ratings slide at the ABC across metro and regional Australia, TVNZ’s figures keep improving. Last year, TVNZ had a 43.2% all day audience up 1.3%.

Comparing 2017/18 and 2015/16 at the ABC we see that TV audience reach for metro fell from 55.2% to 49.7% and regional slumped from 60.3% to 54.0%. If we go back to 2007/8 the figures were 60.1% and 62.4% respectively. For the 2017/18 period, the ABC targets 50% reach. Hardly a stretch.

Maybe ScoMo should consider that the ABC compete and become self funding? The New Zealanders aren’t just better than us in rugby union but also in media.

Legitimate question or ABC soul searching?

This must be the most bitter pill for ABC Melbourne to swallow. In what seems to be a legitimate question to the audience, the reality is it smacks more of the taxpayer-funded corporation’s self-reflection that cuts are on the way. The ABC must be in a funereal mood. When its own MD speaks about not voting for the Coalition if taxpayers want to save the ABC, it is clear where the bias lies.

We don’t need to look very far for evidence. Whether the use of ABC Kids to talk of white privilege or calling conservative politicians c*nts. The ABC even found enough petty cash to hire Clementine Ford who proudly deals in profanity. The programming promotes all of the left’s key agendas – global warming, identity politics, class warfare and no diversity of thought. Hard left journalist Fran Kelly even sang a song bagging out the Liberal Party when Turnbull’s seat flipped to Kerryn Phelps.

PM Scott Morrison should move to hammer the ABC due to its unquestionable bias. Its inefficiency is beyond comprehension.

Since 2008, the average salary and benefits of ABC’s staff have risen 23% from $86,908 to $106,284. Total staff numbers have risen from 4,499 to 4,939 in 2018. Therefore salaries as a percentage of the ABC revenues have risen from 37.9% of the budget to over 50%. How can this be? Why should taxpayers be forking out more cash when it is not allocated wisely? Morrison’s government is right to cut $84mn from the budget.

The multicultural SBS has seen its budget grow from A$259mn in 2008 to A$398mn in 2018. SBS staff numbers have grown from 844 to 1,453 over the same period with average salaries rising from A$82,689 to A$94,010 or +13.7%. Which begs the question why is the SBS able to operate at 34.3% of the budget in salaries while the ABC is at 50%? Surely the ABC’s economies of scale should work in its favour? Clearly not.

On a global basis, the BBC generates GBP 4.954bn and employs 21,000 staff. 22.7% of those revenues are spent on salaries. Average salaries have grown 17% since 2007/8. The average income per employee at the BBC is now GBP236,852 (A$428,000) thanks to the generous mandatory licensing fees. Average salaries at the Beeb are now GBP 55,651 ($A100,728).

The ABC conducted its second Corporation-wide employee engagement survey in late 2017. The previous survey was conducted in November 2015, with outcomes reported in the 2016 Annual Report.

The overall employee engagement score from the 2017 survey was 46%, down six points from the 2015 results. 6% down!!!!

This moved the ABC from the median to the bottom quartile when benchmarked with other Australian and New Zealand organisations. Bottom quartile!!! 

Employees expressed the need for improvement in several areas, including:

• that the ABC Leadership Team needs to be more visible, accessible and communicate more openly.

 that the ABC needs to do a better job of managing poor performance. Even the staff want to move duds on. A commercial spirit among the staff?

• that employees want to know what action is being taken to address feedback received in the survey.

The ABC management (no longer with us) conducted sessions on the back of the survey.

Three key priorities were identified from these sessions:

1. The way in which the ABC recruits, contracts, inducts, develops and manages its people needs a huge amount of work. Inefficiency!!!

2. More communication is needed between teams – employees want to know what other teams are doing, and want less top-down, hierarchical communication. Bureaucracy!!!

3. Many of the ABC’s processes, tools and technology don’t work effectively for its people. Obsolescence!!!

So instead of giving the ABC more money, perhaps an efficiency drive driven by a change manager could achieve the same outcomes desired by the market for far less cost. This reads like an organization that has too much fat.

To that effect, the annual report also noted:

Bureaucracy Stop was launched in March 2018 with the aim of creating a working environment with less bureaucracy and red tape. The program wrapped three months later with 147 ideas on simplification of processes, 55 of which were resolved by the end of the financial year.Where a simplification solution wasn’t available in response to an idea, an explanation was provided as to why that process needed to remain.

What were the dollar savings for these 55 improvements?

Of course the ABC can’t tell us!

Despite the ABC not having one journalist who took the side of a potential Coalition win, they may well ask how their bias couldn’t drag Labor across the line? Maybe it’s the product. Time for Morrison to appoint proper crisis managers inside the group to make it efficient.

Fair facts about Fairfax

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Freedom of the press. A beautiful thing. By all means, the 177-yo Sydney Morning Hearld (SMH) executed full autonomy over what it published. In the end, the public didn’t buy it. For the staff to seek the union to block the Nine Network’s takeover of Fairfax Media smacks of the identical numb-skulled action that has brought them to this predicament. If the paper decided to listen to what the audience wanted to read (the mood) as opposed to telling them they “don’t get it” it might have retained its independence. Take a look at the pictograph above – 20 anti Trump articles in one day. Overkill?

Last year the SMH had to take two massive rounds of lay-offs inside of 12 months because the product wasn’t reaching. The SMH staff took a vote to strike because their evil overlords put profit ahead of people. Welcome to the free market. When one journalist at the SMH became a scab (because he admitted the paper’s journalism was the  problem) he was vilified by his fellow workers. Instead of opening their minds that they maybe the root cause, they protested. Finger on the pulse?

It certainly makes a strong case for how the diminishing readership base (i.e. the free market) viewed the content. Not very highly. It is why The Guardian now asks its readers for charity so it can stay alive? Could it be that media jobs don’t exist to serve the journalists needs but that of their audience? The Fairfax scribes might reflect on the fact that the taxpayer funded ABC – which produces identical product – was not the friendly ally it believed it was but the mortal enemy who ended it. As an audience, if we’re not offered a differentiated product where the same content  is free to consume, who would pay for the one that costs?

Yet the sale of Fairfax was obvious. Digging a bit deeper into the stats of the ABC reveals its biased left leaning journalism has dwindling popularity. Comparing 2016/17 and 2015/16 it is clear that TV audience reach for metro fell from 55.2% to 52.5% and regional slumped from 60.3% to 57.3%. If we go back to 2007/8 the figures were 60.1% and 62.4% respectively. For the 2017/18 period, the ABC targets a 50% reach. Good to see taxpayer dollars openly championed with enhanced levels of mediocrity. Yet the ABC screams for more funding.

Throwing more money won’t fix the problems. The ABC’s wage bill is 50% of revenue while its multicultural sister station SBS runs on 31% of revenue for salaries. Why hasn’t the ABC got superior economies of scale? On a global basis, the UK’s BBC spends 22.7% of its revenues on salaries. How can Nine Network survive on advertising revenues? Could it be audience numbers allow advertisers to make rational decisions to tap them?

Criticise Rupert Murdoch’s The Australian for right wing media bias but at the very least he serves a market who is willing to pay for the content. Simple. It is no difference overseas. Fox has more viewers than MSNBC and CNN combined. Don’t belt Fox viewers for following “Faux News” but question what is it about their offering that they’re missing? At what point do the likes of Fairfax or Time Warner realize the problem lies within.

In Fairfax’s case we have the answer – market forces.