Chain mail

Television tabloid journalism sank to an all new low this week – if that’s possible – with Today Tonight chaining a granny to her retirement home cupboard for the sake of a dramatic story. It’s a new low in a series of lows stretching for as long as the ratings war between Nine’s A Current Affair and Seven’s Today Tonight. It’s a battle for the hearts and minds of Australia’s gullible majority who rely on the program to keep informed and educated.

Tabloid programs traditionally rotate about seven stories – the neighbour from hell dispute, dodgy brothers traders being hunted down, consumer protection, how to save money (bargain hunting), shameless network cross promotion, dieting tips, and the emotionally charged plight of a disadvantaged entity who needs “your” help. There’s a Venn like overlap between the categories – but that’s the way they like it.

My friend Benny hates these shows, which regularly compete for story fodder (ala the tit-for-tat Corby drama from the last few weeks), blaming them for all manner of societal malaise. It’s been a bad year for Today Tonight who have managed to sully their already scurilous reputation with a number of well publiscised mishaps on and off camera.

Naomi Robson was at the heart of a number of controversies prior to her decision to hand the hosting duties on to anti chequebook journalism crusader Anna Coren.

The first famous mishap came when Naomi was caught swearing at her producer – the clip made its way to commercial radio and was widely circulated online – causing this apology…

Her horror year is documented here.

This story seems to be an all new low for any “current affairs” programming and the journalist in question should get the boot for being reprehensibly stupid.

Programs like this should not be allowed to wield the influence they do on public debate. They rate through the roof so there’s no real chance of the pin ever being pulled which is a tragedy for the country’s intellectual standards.

Speaking of intellectual standards… English Football demonstrated its capacity to churn out boorish louts incapable of human interaction – Craig Bellamy and John Arne Riise look to have been to the same school of ettiquette as Penrith’s newly appointed co-captain Craig Gower. Apparently Bellamy took to Riise’s legs with a golf club following his refusal to take part in a training camp karaoke competition. It seems that’s just what the doctor ordered with both players on the score sheet in their upset away win over Barcelona. The coach was apparently ready to give Bellamy the flick if he’d put in a sub-par performance – boom-boom-tish.


Joel says:

What makes me more frustrated than anything about said current affairs shows (of which Today Tonight is by far the worst) is not necessarily what the broadcast, but that the can draw an audience. People are meant to be smart. And its not just these shows either. If we look around on television, we see shows like “its me or the dog” and “wife swap.” The fact that these shows can manage to get on televion and get ratins reflects both societies moral depravity and utter stupidity.

Anonymous says:

OHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH WIFE SWAP IS MY ABSOLUTE FAVOURITE SHOW. You are so sad Joel. If you took the time to watch it you too could see what it would be like to live in a caravan or have a goop busting mum. In relation to A Current Affairs, i think the name is a bit of lie… unless the affairs part actually means like marriage affairs, not current news worthy events that people should really be concerned about. And a lot of the things on Today TOnight are not reports on events that happened that day…so its all built on lies!

Anonymous says:

But what about WAA-WAA???

AndrewF says:

Thank goodness we don’t have a TV! (and also that we can download Chaser!)