Culture

A Right-Wing Australian Magazine Said ‘Q&A’ Should Have Been Bombed Instead Of Manchester

The ABC have called in security experts to assess the alleged threat.

Just hours after yesterday’s tragic attack in Manchester, the online editor of conservative Australian magazine Quadrant wrote an opinion piece saying “had there been a shred of justice, that blast would have detonated in an Ultimo TV studio.”

The article, written by Roger Franklin, is titled “The Manchester Bomber’s ABC Pals”. It criticised this week’s episode of Q&A for not taking the threat of terrorism seriously enough, before suggesting that yesterday’s Manchester blast should have instead been detonated in the ABC. Franklin suggested that if Q&A panellists had been killed in a terrorist attack, their deaths would have been insignificant.

“Unlike those young girls in Manchester, their lives snuffed out before they could begin, none of the panel’s likely casualties would have represented the slightest reduction in humanity’s intelligence, decency, empathy or honesty,” Franklin wrote.

The article is still on the Quadrant website, however the sentence “Had there been a shred of justice that blast would have detonated in an Ultimo TV studio” has been edited to read “What if the blast had detonated in an Ultimo TV studio?”.

The ABC’s Managing Director, Michelle Guthrie, has written to Quadrant describing the article as a “vicious and offensive attack on the ABC, its staff and its program guests”.

“To express the wish that, if there were any justice, the horrific terrorist bombing in Manchester would have taken place in the ABC’s Ultimo studio and killed those assembled there is a new low in Australian public debate,” Guthrie wrote. “Like many others, I am appalled at your willingness to turn an act of terrorism in the United Kingdom into a means of making a political point against those you disagree with.

“One of the immediate results of this behaviour is that while our staff both here and in Manchester were working long hours to provide extensive coverage of this unfolding tragedy, we were also forced to reassure worried staff who had read your article and call in our own security experts to assess any possible impact flowing from your inflammatory words.”

Guthrie asked the magazine to remove the article and issue an apology.

According to a report in The Sydney Morning Herald the article has been referred to the Australian Federal Police. Franklin told the paper that “The whole piece was an attack on terrorism. It is absurd to suggest that in the third-last paragraph I would advocate a terrorist act.”

The article, and Franklin’s response, have been criticised by politicians, senior media figures and ABC staff.

Chris Kenny, another conservative commentator on Sky News, defended elements of the Quadrant article on his show last night. He argued the piece made a “very fair point” and said that “we need to have full, frank, open and honest discussions about these issues.”

However, he did say that Franklin’s suggestion that the ABC should have been bombed instead of Manchester was “reprehensible” and a “tasteless overreaction”.

Others on social media have suggested Franklin’s article is an example of some pretty blatant hypocrisy on the part of conservatives.