Channel 7 Sucks Ass

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The other day on that sacred bastion of journalistic integrity, Weekend Sunrise (cringe), they had a “debate” on feminism. It was shit, I mean I don’t expect much from the weekend edition of a breakfast television program, but I’ve seen better debates organised by 12-year-olds and that’s not hyperbole, when I was on prac I had Year 7 students organise a debate.

When I say this debate was shit, I’m not just talking content; I mean the entire set up of the debate was absolutely pathetic. Basic run down; Andrew O’Keefe and Angela Cox were the hosts/adjudicators/mediators and goddamn they were fucking terrible. I feel sorry for Angela Cox, she actually does have a degree of competence as a journalist; she worked for six years as a US correspondent for Channel 7 and only landed on Weekend Sunrise earlier this year so she at least has some level of qualification to be in this situation. Andrew O’Keefe on the other hand gets zero sympathy; he’s a game show host. Apparently he’s been hosting Weekend Sunrise for a decade now but I’m going to be honest with you, the Deal or No Deal guy shouldn’t be hosting a cat’s birthday party let alone a philosophical debate.

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“I’m just like Jon Peters, failing my way to the top!” – Andrew O’Keefe, probably. 

 
So that’s our mediators out of the way; a journalist who probably wishes she could go back to covering actual news and guy who seems to have failed upwards as a career. Let’s get onto our guests; coming in first we’ve got Miranda Devine; Miranda Devine is a conservative female columnist who’s pretty anti-feminism and holds a number of other populist socio-conservative views. In all fairness Devine’s probably the only person featured that I would’ve kept in an actual debate, why? Because it’s interesting to hear a voice from a professed anti-feminist who also happens to be a woman, much like Milo Yiannpolous’ ability to upset regressive leftists by being a gay man that hates gay marriage, the opinion is uncommon. If I’m being entirely fair at this point Devine and Cox are the only people who actually should’ve been included in this conversation.

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“I might not be able to win an election, but you’re fucked in the thumb-war John!” 

Now it’s time for the shit show; in walks Mark Latham. If you’re unfamiliar with Mark Latham, here’s the rundown; in 2004 he came within an inch of being the Prime Minister. After that failed, dude went off the fucking deep end; we’re talking assaulting photographers, chasing after Julia Gillard, encouraging people to cast blank votes to “show the government who’s boss”, justifying domestic abuse as “a way to vent” and my personal favourite was his casual usage of the n-word on channel 9’s short-lived “The Verdict” program. Latham’s a joke, the only reason you’d roll him out of his irrelevant cave is in the hopes he’d say something inflammatory and boost your viewership for a day or two. Latham’s garbage, scrunch him up, throw him in the trash, it’s over.

Rory Gibson was also in attendance, I’ll be honest right now I thought he was Peter Garret. Specifically I thought Peter Garret had developed an eating disorder and had become obsessed with the power and the passion of twinkies. Gibson apparently writes for the Courier Mail and Sunday Mail which really says all you need to know; he’s a tabloid journalist. In fairness to the guy, he was probably the most mild-mannered person involved and interestingly tried to bring a point that I’ve often heard Larry Elder pitch; domestic violence often being committed by men without strong father figures and/or male role models. There’s actually some truth to that, but as I said Gibson did almost nothing outside of that one statement so why they’d bother dragging him out of bed on Sunday morning is beyond me.

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“I don’t want to cause any problems, but can I please speak to the manager”

Our final fuck up was Van Badham, permit me one personal jab; I have no idea who told her shortening Vanessa to “Van” was a good idea. I know several people named Vanessa, one of them goes by Ness, none of them have ever gone by “Van” and I feel like if I called them van for short, they’d belt me into next week. Personal jokes aside, she’s a pretty mediocre journalist, in fact some of her editorials are why I now actively avoid Guardian Australia in favour of the UK edition. She’s not really bad or good, she’s just boring. Apparently she subscribes to “anarchist” politics, this always amuses me because countries like Somalia actually have genuine anarchist systems and the idea of middle class white women showing up to Somalia and realising that in practice anarchy is a bunch of dudes with guns going on rape and murder sprees paints a very darkly amusing picture in my mind. Badham’s presence was basically used to offset the Latham effect, Channel 7 rolled out the craziest old white dude they could find and apparently tried to get Clementine Ford (ugh), but settled for a Crazy Clark’s knock off.

Okay so the players are set, let’s watch the game unfold; Miranda Devine made a semi-decent point; third-wave feminism is out of control and anti-man. In all the research I’ve done this seems pretty accurate, when you’ve got third-wave feminists trying to get people like Dr. Phil Mason fired from his job as a biologist, or ban Tyler, The Creator from performing live because you don’t like his lyrics or efforts to engage in no-platforming speakers like Christina Hoff Sommers, Richard Dawkins, Peter Hitchens and Germaine Greer, you can’t tell me that third-wave feminists aren’t opposed to hearing alternative ideas. That was basically the only decent point made, after that it went so far downhill that 1929 stockbrokers would probably look at it and say “fuck, I thought I had it bad”.

After that it devolved into a total shit heap, with Latham and O’Keefe having a slap fight and Badham trying to do the tired old act of bringing up the “wage gap” (which literally every economist ever has proven isn’t real) and some throwaway about Clementine Ford being misunderstood. Gibson just sort of stared into the abyss and seemed as though he regretted not telling the producer he had to wash his hair that morning and Cox just seemed bemused at having gone from interviews with Obama to this garbage. Let’s review; Andrew O’Keefe and Mark Latham behaved like the petulant children they are; Andrew needs to go back to opening briefcases and Mark just needs to move on from that election where the midget with the bushy eyebrows beat him, it’s okay Mark, John Howard beat a lot of people, that’s why he served 11 years as Prime Minister. Van Badham was shit too, instead of actually challenging the notion put forth by Devine she just went straight to the professional victim mode and acting like the actions of Latham were infringing on her civil liberties. Word of advice to Van Badham; the victim culture thing worked for about two years, people don’t care anymore, you don’t beat Mark Latham by appealing to the sympathies of others, you beat him by reminding him that he’s failed in everything he ever tried and routinely lost debates to a midget in a tracksuit.

So, the debate was shit and accomplished nothing; hooray! What have we learned? Well for starters if we’re having a debate you need someone in charge who isn’t just going to crumble at the first sign of opposition, clearly that isn’t Andrew O’Keefe. As for Latham and Badham they’re representative of maybe 2% of the population each, there’s not harm in getting rational moderates involved in a debate, it mightn’t be a big ratings draw but at least it won’t devolve into a mess faster than an multi-generational inbred genepool. All in all, get fucked Weekend Sunrise.

How to Fix It! (Felix)

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If you are interested in actually having a debate about this topic that’s informative, covers all viewpoints and actually has a mediator or mediators that will stop participants when they’re rambling or off-topic. I can’t think of anyone on offer that Channel 7 actually employs but in terms of a hypothetical SBS presenter Jenny Brockie (Insight) is arguably the best host for open forums on Australian TV at the moment, Tony Jones is a close second but often steps over the line as mediator and starts offering his own views, as far as hosts go, Jenny Brockie is who you want. As for participants, the biggest issue with these conversations is that there’s too many voices at once and half of them are coming via live feed which makes it even more of a mess, avoid the live crosses because it muddles the conversation entirely.

For a properly structured debate, I’d recommend five participants and one host. Who would my participants be? Obviously you need a feminist; your debate is about feminism so it’s probably a good idea to have one there. Better yet, why not have two? You could do a nice little contrast by bringing in an academic second-wave feminist like Sommers or Greer and a third-wave feminist to show the difference between the waves within the incredibly broad ideology. After that you need a media personality, someone who challenges the stereotype which is why I defended the choice of Miranda Devine earlier, Devine whether you like her or not is an interesting voice to hear from because she’s presenting an unusual point of view.

Now all you need is an economist and a psychologist; whenever a debate about feminism comes up there’s always people shouting out figures regarding pay, the problem is these people rarely have any qualifications in economics. Ask them about Keynes, Friedman, Rothbard, Proudhon or Engels and you’ll get confused grunting at best, which is why these debates need someone from Business Insider or the Financial Review, someone who actually understands economics. As for the psychologist; they should do their best to include psychologists in debates at all times.  You need to have someone who can vouch for the statistics and impacts that socio-political movements have had on the human psyche, things like the rise in suicide rates of young men, bullying issues, the minds of domestic abusers, are all things that should be covered and psychologists are the only people who can actually say anything of value. In particular the absence of psychologists annoys me most in these sort of debates because people like Badham will throw out imaginary terms like “toxic masculinity” as though it were a real thing (it isn’t, go on find me a psychologist who says it is).

Debates aren’t difficult to organise, they can be difficult to manage if you’ve got inexperienced mediators and inflammatory guests, so my solution is to have neither of these things. At the very least get a mediator who won’t give someone like Latham the time of day. Get it together folks because people like me are sick of your shit.

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