A Cancelled ‘Four Corners’ Episode Linking Scott Morrison To QAnon Will Now Be Aired
The episode under scrutiny supposedly links ScoMo to a supporter of the far-right conspiracy group.
The ABC has said it will air an episode of Four Corners that investigates whether Scott Morrison has ties to far-right conspiracy group QAnon, despite initially delaying it amid controversy.
It’s not often an episode of Four Corners causes a stir before it’s even aired.
Last Thursday, it was reported that the ABC’s managing director David Anderson had cancelled a scheduled episode of the show, which supposedly explores the relationship between QAnon and Australian politics.
The episode was scheduled to broadcast tonight, but ABC staff who worked on it, including investigative journalist Louise Milligan, were reportedly told late last week that the program was going to be pulled.
The decision was made just days after Industry Minister Christian Porter discontinued his defamation case against the ABC, and Milligan herself, which has led people to call out the timing of the ABC’s decision to pull the Four Corners episode as a bit suss.
If a program has been approved by the production and editorial teams as well as the lawyers, but is canned by management, it doesn’t sound like it was for an editorial reason. https://t.co/eIap1op9Dv
— marquelawyers (@marquelawyers) June 3, 2021
Four Corners has since confirmed that it has been given the green light to continue working on the episode, which is now expected to air within the next fortnight.
But why has the episode caused such a commotion?
What Is Four Corners Investigating Exactly?
The episode under scrutiny supposedly links Prime Minister Scott Morrison to a supporter of the far-right conspiracy group, QAnon.
QAnon is one of the biggest conspiracy movements in recent history, which has gained thousands of Australian followers in the last year, particularly since the emergence of the COVID pandemic.
It has been reported in the past that a QAnon figure is supposedly a family friend of ScoMo, and that the figure’s wife is actually on the PM’s staff.
Just last year, The Guardian reported that one of the more significant QAnon figures, who tweets under the handle @BurnedSpy34, is a long-life friend of ScoMo’s.
Why Was The Episode Blocked In The First Place?
Apparently, the episode was “upwardly referred” for review by the ABC’s news director, Gaven Morris, to Managing Director David Anderson.
Usually this happens in the instance of sensitive content, or if there are any concerns, which is a pretty standard practice for the broadcaster.
But Anderson has strongly denied that the decision to stop the episode was purely to dampen tensions with the federal government.
In an email to ABC staff last week, Anderson wrote that the reason he delayed the episode was because it needed more work, and he encouraged Milligan’s team to “keep going”.
Scott Morrison’s Response To The Episode
Four Corners maintains that it reached out to Morrison on multiple occasions to ask him about the nature of his relationship with the QAnon figure, but had failed to get a response by the time production on the episode had finished.
True. More than 20 times. https://t.co/gy35XoMqrO
— Louise Milligan (@Milliganreports) June 5, 2021
ScoMo had stayed silent on the issue, until the news broke that the episode had been blocked. Then, he had some pretty strong feelings about it.
Speaking at a press meeting last week, the PM said that he found the Four Corners program “deeply offensive” and in “poor form”, and he publicly criticised the ABC for suggesting that he had any “involvement or support for such a dangerous organisation”.
“I clearly do not,” he continued.
— Media Watch (@ABCmediawatch) June 4, 2021
Four Corners vs ABC Management
While the controversial episode is now set to be aired, this has all played out amidst rumours of rising tensions between the Four Corners team and ABC’s management, which the staff are totally denying.
Any suggestion I’m “at war”, least of all with ABC MD, with whom I have an excellent relationship, is completely untrue. I declined to speak to any journalist about this – in fact, I’ve been very unwell after operation. James Madden @australian didn’t give me courtesy of a call.
— Louise Milligan (@Milliganreports) June 7, 2021
Happy Monday from #4Corners. Fyi no-one here is at war with anyone and morale is excellent. We fully accept it is the MD’s role to decide whether/when to publish, and we value ABC management’s unwavering support for our journalism. We are continuing to work on the QAnon story.
— Sally Neighbour (@neighbour_s) June 7, 2021
— Shaun Micallef (@shaunmicallef) June 4, 2021
A new airing date for the episode is yet to be announced.