Monday, 18 August 2014
Institute of Public Affairs accuses the Australian Broadcasting Commission of bias against coal and gas industries and calls for privatisation of public broadcasting
The somewhat notorious right-wing lobby group Institute of Public Affairs (IPA) is again accusing the Australian Broadcasting Commission (ABC) of bias – this time bias against the coal and gas industries.
It claims that the media analysis it contracted from iSENTIA (which examined a total of 2,359 online, radio and television broadcast reports/stories on energy issues) demonstrates this.
According to IPA coal featured in 452 (19.2%), renewable energy in 790 (33.5%) and CSG in 1,117 (47.4%) of these analysed reports between 15 September 2013 and 15 March 2014.
In an occasional paper on the topic, but not in the article by its director of communications which published in The Australian on 12 August 2014, it relies on these statistics in its call for the privatisation of the ABC:
So according to IPA the ABC showed no hint of bias in 1,026 of these reports/stories (or 43.49% of the total sample), reported favourably on the industries in question in 618 instances and unfavourably in 715.
Unfortunately for anyone reading the occasional paper it does not state whether the pie charts above were in the iSENTIA study document.
IPA states that the iSENTIA relied on CARMA International methodology in undertaking the analysis. This methodology relies in large part on qualitative (therefore sometimes subjective) measurements and is more commonly used to look at the public relations performance of businesses such as Ben & Jerry's Homemade Icecream or Kyocera Mobile Phones.
Somewhat strangely for a paper which claims it utilises an exclusive study conducted by the media monitoring firm iSentia on behalf of the Institute of Public Affairs. iSentia, formerly known as Media Monitors, is Australia’s largest and most highly respected media analysis firm, the study is not cited in the bibliography.