19 October 2015

Senator Eric Abetz has today identified a major problem with media bias in Australia according to the Australian Christian Lobby.

Although Christian political views do not line up neatly across Left-Right divisions, Senator Eric Abetz has nonetheless identified a concern that has implications for our democracy.

Senator Abetz told The Australian newspaper today that politicians with Christian or conservative views on social policy like marriage were often treated differently by the media to those who supported the media's view.

ACL Managing Director Lyle Shelton said even the ABC's Media Watch program, in a rare admission, highlighted the media's bias in the marriage debate but nothing had changed since.

Mr Shelton said there was a double standard when people like Princeton University's Peter Singer can advocate bestiality on the ABC1's Q&A program yet when Senator Cory Bernardi references Singer's extreme views in a speech in Parliament it is Senator Bernardi who is demonised by the media.

"A regular commentator on ABC, Bernard Keane, tweeted to his 44,000 followers that I am a 'nauseating piece of filth' for my views on marriage," Mr Shelton said.

"If I tweeted that about supporters of same-sex marriage I would be hounded out of my job yet Mr Keane is rewarded with commentary positions on the ABC.

“This kind of double standard is a constant disadvantage to anybody outside the media groupthink and examples abound.”

Mr Shelton said Christian organisations like ACL opposed right wing policies like cutting overseas aid, allowing poker machines, an un-generous refugee intake and denying constitutional recognition to indigenous people.

"Despite these long-standing policies, we often find ourselves being type-cast," Mr Shelton said.

"Anyone who stands up for preserving the definition of marriage and pro-life policies faces far more hostility than those who support the opposite views.

"No one is entitled to a free run in the media, least of all Christians. However, more objectivity from the media would serve our democracy better," Mr Shelton said.