Kerry O’Brien was a young reporter on Four Corners in the 1970s when Malcolm Fraser cut the ABC’s budget and accused the broadcaster of a leftwing bias on its flagship current affairs programs. “I remember standing at the front of the ABC’s Gore Hill studios with friends like [investigative journalist] Allan Hogan holding placards of protest against the cuts, all flared trousers and cheesecloth shirts and long hair,” O’Brien told Guardian Australia. “And we thought that was pretty crook.” Now retired from daily journalism and writing his second book, a memoir, O’Brien has joined a chorus of widespread concern about the survival and independence of the ABC. He’s more worried than ever before, says the pressure on the ABC is the “most overt” he has seen. For a man who endured constant accusations of his own bias, that’s saying something. O’Brien has long term perspective, too. “I can remember the Fraser years, which were pretty intense,” he says. “From the outside watching the whole process, I think it’s worse now.” Even the infamous Jonathan Shier years don’t compare, he says. When John Howard was in power and O’Brien was host of the 7.30 Report in the early 2000s, the ABC… Read full this story
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