Today’s “true” fake news from the national broadcaster by their own admission. Otherwise known as misleading and deceptive conduct..
“…The ABC has conceded it had altered documents of the nation’s largest aviation services company, Aerocare, for “illustrative” purposes and twice breached its editorial standards in an investigative report into the firm’s workplace and safety practices, which are now at the centre of a vicious industrial campaign by the Transport Workers Union.
While defending its flagship current affairs program 7.30, the ABC has admitted its internal investigation confirmed a number of breaches of its editorial standards for accuracy, during a report into Aerocare on March 20.
The company, which has rejected the ABC’s explanation and subsequent clarifications, has now referred its complaint to the communications regulator.
Aerocare chief executive Glenn Rutherford told The Australian the company, which claims a perfect 25-year safety record, had been targeted by the TWU for industrial sabotage during negotiations on a new enterprise agreement, because less than 5 per cent of its workers were members of the union.
“The admissions by the ABC raise questions about whether they are effectively working with the Transport Workers Union to promote a campaign against Aerocare — the largest independent Australian aviation services business in this country,” he said.
“Aerocare employees voted by an 83 per cent landslide to approve our latest EBA, an outcome the TWU has unsuccessfully campaigned against, by disappointingly making various misleading and unfair claims and through scaremongering.”
The 7.30 reporter, James Thomas, has been responsible for a series of stories on Aerocare.
One of multiple complaints made by the company related to the program’s use of images showing workers sleeping in a luggage loading container at Sydney Airport to highlight the poor conditions for workers on split shifts, which is the basis for the TWU campaign against Aerocare.
In an April 21 letter to Aerocare’s lawyers, ABC audience and consumer affairs investigations manager Denise Musto admitted the program wrongly implied the image was an Aerocare worker, when it was not. “We are advised that the images were intended to be used generically to illustrate concerns that airport workers, not just Aerocare, slept rough between shifts,” Ms Musto wrote.
“However, considering the focus of the report and the context of the images, it is strongly implied that the individual is an Aerocare employee.
“Audience and Consumer Affairs have concluded that the use of these images was not in keeping with the ABC’s editorial standards for accuracy.”
Ms Musto also conceded that a source purported to be an Aerocare employee, George Osaris, relied on for allegations made against the company, had not worked for the company for more than nine months. “Audience and Consumer Affairs have concluded that this information was material to the audience’s understanding of Mr Osaris’ claims and his criticism of Aerocare,” Ms Musto wrote. “The omission of this important context was not in keeping with the ABC’s standards for accuracy.
“Audience and Consumer Affairs have identified and the program accepts two breaches of the ABC’s editorial standards for accuracy; the lack of material context regarding Mr Osaris’ employment history with Aerocare and the misleading use of two images of a non-Aerocare worker sleeping in a luggage unit load container.’’
Aerocare, in its complaint to the ABC, also accused 7.30 of manipulating documents in “order to falsely depict the grave and unsubstantiated allegation that documents were doctored by some ground crew”.
The ABC defended the practice, claiming it was for illustrative purposes. It concluded it was not a breach of its standards. “The program asserts that the graphic was clearly illustrative rather than documentary and that this was apparent from the creative way in which the graphics were presented,” it claimed in response.
“In our view, the manner in which this material was presented signalled to viewers that these documents were mock-ups and not original source material.”
The TWU has since used the 7.30 program to lead a petition against the company, posting both programs on its website.
It claimed: “ABC’s 7.30 has exposed the horrendous conditions workers at Aerocare endure on a daily basis — insecure, casual work, which involves early morning and late evening split shifts.
“The pay and hours are so bad that workers are forced to sleep beside baggage carousels. Many of these workers live below the poverty line.”
The ABC has argued that it had made satisfactory amends for the breaches by publishing an online and on-air correction, and advised the company that if it wasn’t satisfied it could take the matter to the Australian Communications and Media Authority.
An ABC statement provided to The Australian last night said the complaints by Aerocare were referred to the ABC’s independent complaints-handling unit, with clarifications subsequently made in an editor’s note. “The ABC otherwise stands by its reporting on this issue,” the statement said.
Aerocare is one of three major baggage handling services operating at Australia’s airports. A vote on its EBA will be held on July 10…” ABC footage misled audience on airport story