Quadrant editor calls for ABC bombing after Manchester attack

Quadrant – “the leading general intellectual journal of ideas, literature, poetry and political debate published in Australia” – is under fire after its online editor suggested the bomb which went off at Ariana Grande’s concert in Manchester, would have been put to better use if it was detonated at the ABC’s headquarters in Ultimo.

Roger Franklin published an opinion piece titled ‘The Manchester Bomber’s ABC Pals’ which said “had there been a shred of justice, that blast would have been detonated in an Ultimo TV studio”.

“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,” the article continued in reference to Monday night’s Q&A program.

The article has since removed the “shred of justice” comments, however still suggests had there been casualties at the ABC’s panel program, humanity would not have suffered.

In response to the article, the ABC’s managing director Michelle Guthrie has come out swinging, challenging the notion Quadrant is “the leading general intellectual journal of ideas” following the “vicious and offensive attack on the ABC, its staff and its program guests”.

“To take issue with our programming and our content is one thing. But 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,” she said in a statement.

Guthrie noted the article had been amended, but took issue with the lack of apology, or even an acknowledgement the article had been changed. She called for the publication to apologise.

The article, which remains on the Quadrant homepage

“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.

“I ask that this response be posted prominently on the Quadrant website, and I also ask that the article, which continues to contain entirely inappropriate comments about possible bombings at the ABC, be removed and apologised for.”


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