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Thursday, 22 June 2006

Errol Simper is a star. He's also a bloody good journalist. In today's 'Media' supplement — a regular Thursday offering from The Australian — he outlines the case for and against the likelihood of Keith Windschuttle making waves on the ABC board.

Robert Manne, a former editor of Quadrant — the right-leaning magazine for which Windschuttle, [journalist Janet] Albrechtsen and [anthropologist Ron] Brunton have written — welcomed Windschuttle with this: "The Howard Government is in the pocket of the (commercial) television networks. They will never agree to advertising on the ABC. It is his (Windschuttle's) program, however, for an ideological purge of the ABC, if he forms an alliance with the other right-wing heavy-hitters on the board, that is likely eventually to succeed."

Quentin Dempster, the succinct host of the ABC's Friday-night staple, Stateline, discusses the digital media options the ABC can use to increase its income.

KEITH Windschuttle on the ABC board? It is all highly diverting and a bit of a hoot. But when the digital revolution is transforming online, print, radio and television media globally, what Australia desperately needs is a board that understands the exciting possibilities for enhancing the quality, programming range, innovation, reach, professional training and public value of the ABC.

And all we get from the federal Government is tired, old, adversarial, party-political patronage and ideological influence peddling.

Another article, published in the opinion page of one of the broadsheets this week (can't remember which one), suggested that by conscripting the historian into the ABC stable, the broadcaster had effectively gagged him.

But these are interesting points of view from two of Australia's most experienced media players. We'll see if Windschuttle continues calling elements of the national broadcaster Marxists, and succeeds in altering the trajectory of this important institution.

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