In a clear case of protesting just a tad too much, Australia’s ABC has spent nearly 3000 words shrilly “fact-checking” the claim that the taxpayer-funded broadcaster is biased toward the green-left. When Professor Sinclair Davidson claimed that ABC employees are five times more likely to vote Green than the rest of Australia, the ABC shrieked in protest.

I mean, forget the fact that the ABC gives twice as much air-time to Green politicians as any others, or that Greens are far less likely to be heckled and interrupted by ABC interviewers.

But, here’s the thing: much of the ABC’s criticism of the study on which Professor Davidson based his claim is reasonably correct. Which poses the question: why doesn’t the ABC apply the same skepticism to climate change alarmism?

First, examine the study:

In making the claim, Professor Davidson referred to a study published in 2013 which surveyed 605 journalists from a variety of organisations on their voting intentions.

Fifty-nine of these journalists were from the ABC, and only 34 of them answered the question on voting intention, with 25 either undecided or electing not to answer.

Of the 34 who did answer, 41.2 per cent, or 14, said they would vote for the Greens.

That figure is indeed vastly more than the average 8% or so of Australians who voted Green in the past two decades (the number fluctuates from as low as 5%, but has never exceeded 11%). So, Sinclair is right on that point. But is the figure reliable? It’s here that the ABC finds its skepticism, for once.

But experts told Fact Check that the ABC sub-sample was too small and the rate of undecided and non-response too high to be able to draw accurate conclusions from the survey on ABC journalist voting intention, let alone voting intention of all ABC employees […]

Associate Professor Olivier said that […]there was no “magic response rate”, but the sample in the study was “clearly too small to accurately estimate the proportion among all ABC journalists”.

“Another issue is it is well-known that people who feel strongly about a survey are more likely to respond. With regards to this survey, the results could mean that Greens members are more passionate about their party affiliation than others and thus more likely to respond,” he said.

Now, all of this is absolutely correct, and the ABC might deserve some commendation for (for once) applying some proper, skeptical rigor. If only they always did.

Too small sample size? Low response rate? Results skewed by motivated responses? Sounds exactly like some other dodgy studies that the ABC nonetheless accepts without question…

All of the “studies” on which the “97%” claim is based are even more flawed than the one which has got the ABC’s hemp knickers in such a twist. Yet, the ABC regards them as gospel truth.

Funny how blinkered ideologues come over all “skeptical” only when it suits them.

Even funnier: buried deep in the “fact check” is a concession that the ABC is indeed grossly biased to the Greens. Just a smidgen less than Professor Davidson claimed.

Fact Check asked Associate Professor Olivier for help […]”If I compare the ABC and Newspoll results for Greens preference in a simple analysis, ABC journalists are 2.4 times as likely to prefer Greens than the general public,” Associate Professor Olivier said.

Associate Professor Olivier gave his calculation a 95 per cent confidence interval of between 1.5 and 3.8.

abc.net.au/news/2018-07-13/fact-check3a-abc-greens-voters/9931782

The ABC really is biased – and it shows.