The ABC’s Fact Check unit is “riddled with errors”, according to communications minister Paul Fletcher.
“Fact Check really is being pressed into service to support a particular position in an argument,” Fletcher told The Sydney Morning Herald.
“Basically, that fact check document, for something that calls itself a fact check, is riddled with errors.
“Really, frankly, somebody should do a fact check on Fact Check.”
Fletcher was speaking in response to a July article that labelled his claims about the ABC’s funding as ‘misleading’.
The ABC’s Fact Check unit – which is funded jointly between the RMIT University and the ABC – describes itself as an “agenda-free zone”.
Fletcher’s latest shot at the ABC is the latest chapter in the ongoing feud between the government and the public broadcaster.
Earlier this year Fletcher urged the ABC to enforce a six-month wage freeze as a “highly appropriate gesture of solidarity” to the rest of the Australian media.
The ABC is still feeling the impact of a $84 million indexation pause imposed by the government in 2018 and was recently told it must find $41m in ongoing savings by the 2021/22 financial year.
Fletcher questioned some of the ABC’s operating costs.
I did an interview with Four Corners the other week – Four Corners is a great program no question does important work – and four people turned up,” he said.
“The ABC … has announced its program of redundancies, and again I make the point that of course redundancies are very painful and it’s tough, but everybody is hit by it,” Mr Fletcher said.
“I do sometimes get a sense from some of the ABC commentary that people don’t actually realise the ABC is pretty well placed compared to other media organisations and indeed just about any other Australian business.”
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