It was never going to please everybody. Was it too much or was it sensationally executed television and radio?
Given the vocal criticism from all sides, it appears the ABC just couldn’t win with its coverage of the Queen’s death and subsequent ceremonies.
Perhaps it was retired ABC presenter Barry Cassidy who kicked-off the negativity. He took to social media on Monday evening to say:
I suspect the ABC has misread its audience. If you want wall to wall royalty you can get it elsewhere in spades. The ABC is better when it offers an alternative to populism.
However, Cassidy’s assessment of the audience couldn’t have been further from the mark.
According to an ABC spokesman:
The ABC website has peaked at 2.9 million daily unique users and there have been 741,000 users of the ABC News app. ABC TV and ABC news channels achieved combined national reach of 5.5 million viewers from Friday to Sunday.
The audience response shows this coverage is valued by Australians, particularly on our digital and on-demand platforms
Those figures do not include viewers tuning in to last night’s funeral, which was one of the most watched events in history.
There can be no doubt the ABC’s coverage has been divisive, but at this time of mourning for many, only critical voices gained a platform.
There was no voice given to the vast numbers of Australians tuning in to the national broadcaster to follow the death of the woman who, like it or not, was our head of state for 70 years.
READ AMANDA MEADE’S GUARDIAN PIECE
Because of the extensive coverage, the biased ABC haters in the Murdoch media were, initially, flummoxed.
With blanket ABC coverage of the event, they were unable to push their usual unsubstantiated claims of left-wing bias.
Crikey, however, came to their rescue, by publishing a story that 27 ABC journalists and support staff had been flown to Britain to cover the event.
Sky News host Rita Panahi said:
They’ve got about a couple of dozen, plus, over there on our tax dollars.
One has to question, do they need that many people there, given that this is a network that has been pushing the republic with gusto for so long.”
Even supporters of the ABC jumped into the fray, particularly on social media.
They lashed out at the spending, given the ABC’s budgetary restraints.
Former ABC broadcaster Quentin Dempster told the New Daily:
…it’s bullsh-t. It isn’t the biggest story. Climate change is the biggest story, followed by Ukraine and the ever-present danger of nuclear war.
READ THE NEW DAILY ARTICLE
But is it the ABC’s fault that Australia’s head of state lives on the other side of Earth?
The Drum host Ellen Fanning said on social media:
Nonsense. She was our head of State. The fact that she lives in London necessitates travelling there. If you find it bizarre that our Head of State lives in London, that is something Australians will have to sort out in the months and years ahead.
Providing a powerful counterbalance to events was presenter Stan Grant, who bravely and openly questioned why Indigenous Australians had been forgotten in the whole debate.
In an online analysis piece, Stan Grant wrote:
We aren’t supposed to talk about these things this week. We aren’t supposed to talk about colonisation, empire, violence about Aboriginal sovereignty, not even about the republic. Everyone from the prime minister down has told us it is not appropriate.
I’m sure I am not alone amongst Indigenous people wrestling with swirling emotions. Among them has been anger. The choking asphyxiating anger at the suffering and injustice my people endure.
READ THE STAN GRANT ARTICLE
Now that the Queen has been laid to rest, the criticism of the ABC’s coverage can be buried as well.
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