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ABC national tribute to vegan lecturer climber who died on Everest

Who are the national heroes according to the ABC?

Last night we saw two full indulgent minutes on our ABC national news broadcast (from 12:25 mins) on the death of the unfortunate Maria Strydom, as she tried to descend Mt Everest. My issue is not with her, but with the ABC choice of national priorities. The 34 year old climber ticked all the PC boxes, a vegan academic in pursuit of better holidays. The ABC lost one of their tribe. But where are the accolades for the 50 people have died already this year doing their jobs in Australia, like the farmers and miners who die supporting their families?

The effusive coverage did not mention the phrase “unnecessary risk”. It was just a straight out tragedy. (A very first world kind of one).

There was an unbridled virtue message about hallowed university experts:

“…intellectually, reaching a PhD by age 30 — massive achievement”

“…celebrate the life of people like Maria — who actually did what she loved”

ABC narrator James Hancock revealingly sums it up: “…risking their lives in pursuit of the ultimate goal”

Because in ABC-world, “the ultimate goal” is adventure for self-gratification?

The news article did not mention that she has said she was climbing to show the world that vegans can do anything. Neither does this ABC feature.

The DailyMail does:

Weeks before her death Dr Strydom told how she and her husband wanted to dispel the belief that vegans were ‘weak’ or ‘malnourished’ by taking on the climb.

‘It seems that people have this warped idea of vegans being malnourished and weak.

‘By climbing the seven summits we want to prove that vegans can do anything and more,’ she said in an interview with the university where she worked.

Today a 61 year old truck driver was killed doing his job in Victoria. Look to see if he gets 2 minutes of glory on the ABC tonight.

Strydom’s death is a sad event, a horrible waste, and my sympathies go to her family and friends — as with the unnamed truck driver. It’s the ABC coverage that says a lot about “their ABC”. The ABC makes political points with deaths through editing choices. They are silent on some deaths while lauding others for “getting a PhD before 30″.All hail the academics? I’m sure Maria’s family are in a place no one wants to be in today, and they probably found great comfort in the news piece. That’s a good thing, but ask if our $1b news program ought to spend more time on policies that affect most Australians instead. This is bread and circuses stuff.

UPDATE: ROM in comments points out that there are risky research projects, set up by an Australian, which break new ground testing gliders to 90,000ft. The ABC has mentioned these in local Newcastle stories and a local video but no national prime time coverage that I can find.

Thanks to Sonny for feedback.


8.8 out of 10 based on 70 ratings