Indigenous leader Noel Pearson has described the ABC as a racist organisation that is addicted to the pain of Indigenous Australians.
Pearson, speaking at the launch of former prime minister Paul Keating’s biography, also criticised “ignorant ministers” ,”malign bureaucrats” and “provincial apparatchiks” who, he says, ruin promising reforms “aided and abetted” by the media.
“Not the least the country’s miserable, racist national broadcaster: a spittoon’s worth of perverse people willing the wretched to fail,” he said in Sydney on Monday.
“They need blacks to remain aliened from mothers’ bosoms, incarcerated in legions, leading short lives of grief and tribulation – because if it were not so, against whom could they direct their soft bigotry of low expectations?”
“About whom could they report of misery and bleeding tragedy?”
An ABC statement said it produced more indigenous coverage than any other Australian media outlet and covered everyday experiences of communities.
It also said it had given a platform to a range of indigenous commentators, including Mr Pearson, to “canvass issues like welfare dependency, alcohol abuse and violence against women”.
“The ABC has also been at the forefront in recognising indigenous talent,” it said.
“These initiatives have delivered programs including the award-winning series Redfern Now and Gods of Wheat Street and the recent hiring of journalist Stan Grant, whom Mr Pearson has described as “speaking for black Australia”.
Mr Pearson is a lawyer, academic and activist, who played a large role in the establishment of the Cape York Land Council in 1990.
“Between Quadrant’s hard bigotry of prejudice from the right and the ABC’s soft bigotry of low expectations on the left, lies the common ground of mutual racism,” he said at the book launch.