“All have been given a regular platform and all have been held to account, no matter their politics,” said Pell.
But it seems some public figures are still deemed too extreme for TV. In August last year Sky News Australia faced a huge backlash for a 10-minute interview with neo-Nazi nationalist Blair Cottrell,
in which he was asked about immigration and his political ambitions.
The network said it was “wrong” to have Cottrell on air and pulled its Sunday flagship show — “The Adam Giles Show” — on which he appeared.
According to Karen Farquharson, professor of sociology at Melbourne University, the Australian media’s practice of giving equal weight to both sides of an issue had “contributed to an environment where racist voices have gotten unjustified air time.”
Australia’s white supremacy
“At the heart” of racism in the Australian media, according to Morgan, are “structural problems around white supremacy in Australian society in general.”
“One only needs to look at the regularity with which white commentators — on breakfast television and elsewhere — take it upon themselves to comment on, and pass judgment upon, Indigenous issues despite a clear lack of expertise, experience, or knowledge,” he said.
Morgan pointed to veteran TV presenter Kerri-Anne Kennerley in January asking whether “Invasion Day” protesters had ever been to what she called the “outback,” where “children, where babies and five-year-olds are being raped.”
Amid accusations of racism from a fellow Channel 10 panelist, Kennerley stood firm, later telling 2GB radio she “never made a racist comment,” was “offended” by the suggestion that she had, and had “just stated a fact.”
As for Anning, an online petition
calling for his resignation has now gained more than 1.4 million signatures.
Often described as an “accidental”
senator after gaining the job when a previous party member stepped down, Anning has quickly made a name for himself in Australian politics over the past year.