She holds one of the most powerful jobs in Australian media, but just two years into her tenure there are calls for ABC chairwoman Ita Buttrose to resign from her post.
Former Victorian Liberal Party president and ABC board member Michael Kroger unleashed a furious rant against the former magazine editor on Sky News on Wednesday night, claiming she has lost control of the ABC board and that many Coalition cabinet members regret giving her the top job at the national broadcaster. Kroger described Buttrose as a “failure” and blamed her for allowing the ABC to push an anti-Liberal agenda.
“Ita has been a terrible failure,” he told Sky News, news.com.au reports.
“And I know there are many people in the Coalition, including people in the cabinet who regret her appointment.
“She and some of those board members should go. She’s lost control of the board. The board has lost control of the managing director. The managing director has certainly lost control of news and current affairs.”
Kroger went on to say that many of the public broadcaster’s programs were “shockingly biased”, claiming, “they have weaponised Four Corners, Q&A in particular, which is like political acid in the face of the Liberal Party. It’s a shockingly biased program. The Drum, these current affairs shows are just weaponised against the Coalition.”
He concluded by saying: “She’s been a hopeless failure. It’s more biased. This is like a train that has got no driver.”
Kroger’s comments come off the back of months of criticism directed at the ABC and some of its flagship programs and journalists.
The broadcaster was embroiled in a defamation case with former Attorney General Christian Porter over a Four Corners story that accused a senior cabinet member of a historic rape claim.
The program did not name Porter but within hours of it airing, his name was trending on social media and he came forward to admit he was the politician at the centre of the allegation.
It’s also faced backlash over the recent investigation into the 1979 Luna Park Ghost Train fire, which accused former NSW premier Neville Wran of a cover up and alleged he was corruptly linked to the criminal underworld. The claims were widely condemned over a lack of hard evidence.
Several Liberal Party members have also accused the broadcaster of producing increasingly left-leaning content and failing in its charter for fair, balanced and unbiased reporting.
Buttrose hit back at her critics in May, telling The Sunday Telegraph she doesn’t listen to the haters.
“It’s like anything really … some people love you, some people don’t and that’s just the way it is,” she told the publication.
“It’s a provocative position and you learn that some days you will be commended and people will appreciate what you are trying to do and then there will be those in the media who harass us over certain issues. That’s just how things operate and it’s just a part of the challenge. Does it get me down? No, it doesn’t.”
Buttrose made a name for herself in the early 1970s when she founded Cleo magazine, and later went on to become editor of The Australian Women’s Weekly. She also lead Sydney’s Daily Telegraph newspaper in the 1980s, and was most recently a panellist on Network Ten’s morning program Studio 10 before she got her gig as ABC chair.