Cup runneth over

07 Nov Cup runneth over

Senator James Paterson has accused the ABC of misusing taxpayer funds and behaving like lowbrow diggers with a story that would normally be the raison d’être of the Mail Online.

While the Melbourne Cup is known for its glitz and glamour, online commercial news outlets had a field day with the less glamorous side of the celebrations, publishing stories about drunken shenanigans and partially clothed racegoers in various stages of undress.

Aunty wasn’t immune from the revelry, and waded in with a story headlined “Revellers celebrate festivities at Flemington as 156th race day draws to a close”.

It contains just 53 words above 12 pictures of young women vomiting into bags, couples kissing and young men exposing various body parts.

Is this what the Turnbull government intended when it awarded the ABC an additional $41.4 million towards local news and current affairs services under the Enhanced Newsgathering budget?

Absolutely not, according to Paterson. “Taxpayers hand over $1 billion a year to the ABC. We’re often told it’s necessary to fund the serious journalism that private media companies won’t or can’t provide,” he said.

“Pictures of racegoers exposing themselves, rolling in the grass, drinking and vomiting are cheap click bait, not lofty investigative journalism. If people want pictures of drunken revelry at the races there are numerous private media outlets that cater for them, without a cent of taxpayer funding. If the ABC is to remain a taxpayer funded public broadcaster it must stick to its knitting and core mission.”

Asked to respond to the comments, ABC spokeswoman Sally Jackson said: “If the ABC receives a complaint it will be handled according to the usual internal processes.”

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