I don’t watch the news. I rarely do. When it comes to 6:00 and TV, I often switch to watching The Simpsons because it’s the only show worth watching out of the hourly timeslot when I get home and want to relax. On the other hand are the evening bulletin and they don’t attract my attention because it’s glamorized, rarely give interesting stories on issues and when they do, it’s irrelevant to the viewer. The only news I get are from the Sydney Morning Herald or on some occasion, the ABC.
But what grabbed my attention is an article from retired journalist, Geoffrey Barker. Barker was a columnist on defence and foreign affairs for the Australian National Review in the 1960s and wrote an editorial for The Age headlined “Switch off the TV babes for some real news”. And what he wrote had genuinely pissed me off. In this column, he figured out why he doesn’t watch the news on his telly:
I don’t want it delivered to me via crimson lips and fancy coiffures. I don’t like the way the TV babes compress sometimes urgent and ongoing matters into a few barely coherent sentences that simply fail to reflect events with any semblance of their true complexity. They are about as credible as the ads for the exercise machines with which they share the airways. They have neither the time nor the talent to offer trustworthy accounts of the matters on which they claim knowledge. They diminish the idea of journalism.
Here, Barker make some harsh comments about female reporters and label them through their breast size, facial expressions and their sense of fashion to why they suck the life out of the news. He then continued to say that they lacked any qualification to be a gifted journalist.
They pour out of undistinguished universities with mickey-mouse diplomas in media studies and communications and narcissistic personalities and egos bigger than Tokyo.
So are you saying that if you’re a woman, appealing through the eye and have a Bachelor in Media Studies at Macquarie or at UWS or at any university that seems to have a relaxing curriculum unlike Sydney Uni, UNSW or Monash, they are really unqualified to be part of the field in journalism. Barker attack these women for why the news are in disarray and yet doesn’t go into any insight. Not to mention that such attack on these people defeats the entire purpose of addressing the supposed issue. And as you read along, it gets dumber and dumber. How is a woman’s talent measured by the uni they attend or how young these girls are? If that’s the case, then what you achieved is lowering the self-esteem of young girls who would aspire to become reporters.
And this annoys me to no end when he refer to these woman as ‘babe’ or some random name like Teagan or Sera. Having read his comments, I think I can draw the line of how people say the word ‘babe’. It might be complimentary to some women and their physical appearance; it’s now used to glorify their irritating persona or to generalize how young and attractive, girls are.
This is an incredibly ageist article, that whines about the decline without addressing possible factors that would add to the issue. He doesn’t mention any names, only those who he think are credible who have experience in print, radio or ABC and SBS although to be fair, he is actually on the money. But when somebody attack a woman because of her physical appearance and their actions whether or not it’s in their ability and blaming them for the sad state in contributing to society, that is undeniably sexist. If you try to apply Parker’s logic in other fields, such as acting, then all actresses including Jennifer Lawrence, 22 years of age, won an Oscar for Best Actress and is well known for her stunning and goofy persona, is talentless.
It’s not their fault that these female reporters are either given little to do on millions of Australian screens, other than read the teleprompter or repeating lines that are all but the same, it’s not their fault for why the TV news just sucks the intelligence of viewers. Barker’s point is sadly true; much of the criticism with today’s evening news is that they don’t supply good information on events they report. They often have targets and in their view, they’re automatically a plague in society. For instance, they take on youth for behaving badly and throwing an out of control party or highlighting trolls as the biggest problem facing Australia after a few celebrities got attacked on Twitter and have no idea how the Internet works. And in the majority of news, they inadvertently promote products as they believe in reporting. Unfortunately, Barker’s harsh stereotyping defeats the entire purpose of the article and just blames it on one thing.
Geoffrey, if you want to find some seriously talented women who are young and are reporting on the issues that are relevant to the people and to ‘you’, I suggest you listen to Sophie McNeill who is the host for Triple J’s Hack. Sure she’s perhaps the only reporter who makes 1% of the mold of under 30s, female demographic, but hear this. She has been reporting from the deserts of Afghanistan reporting from 2007 – 2012 and has reported her experiences for Dateline on SBS. Now that’s an impressive feat. Something the Australian youth can look up to. How come you don’t mention her instead of whining about how many bimbos appear on TV? Or better yet, offer a solution to the state of the news. Assuming the tone of his comments, Barker might be suggesting to getting rid of these reporters.
As I mentioned before, it’s not their fault they have little to do. It’s the responsibility of the producers or the executives in looking after news presenters whose job is to incorporate certain issues relevant to the public. If someone were to do a field in politics, allow them to open up their knowledge in politics. If not, allow them to expand on it or turn them into something else that is more suited for them, so they don’t lose their job.
As a person who believes that women should be given a fair opportunity in many fields, I would like to say to Geoffrey Barker, screw you and your sexist article. You may think you represent the people’s view on telly, but you come up with an excuse that is unfortunately as bigoted as you can get.