Emma Watson, footy WAGS and dross

458369-2c624958-4207-11e4-b1b2-871c50b86f82I will NEVER again watch the news on commercial television. Its culinary equivalent are those horrible dry crackers that stick to the top of your mouth leaving you half choked, bloated, vaguely repulsed and disappointed in yourself for having eaten them in the first place.

There is zero imagination, intuitive reporting, diversity or breadth anywhere to be found across the narrow, insular, self-congratulatory landscape that is Australian TV news. Stories chosen for broadcast are selected only for their ability to shock or enrage the chattering middle class. Pointless stories that come with spectacular visuals will always get a look in. Such dross. Ambulance chasing at its best. Sadly, no one commercial station is any better than the other.

When I flicked on the TV a few nights ago up came the news.  I decided to give it just one more go because they mentioned they’d be showing Emma Watson and her recent speech to the UN.

Here’s a run down of what I endured. You tell me which of these are worthy of airtime:

  • A motor bike driver that became worried because his bike was making a strange ticking noise.  He took it to the local police station. It turned out to be the bike’s anti-theft alarm.
  • A “strange” car pulled up outside the perimeter fence at Lucas Heights. Five men were interviewed and allowed to leave without charge, although the slant of the piece had you believing that a deadly attack on the reactor had only narrowly been averted.
  • Petrol rorts and how we might all be able to save about 2c a week. Yes a week, not a litre. Wow. We even had a live cross to a non-descript servo in North Ryde. This article ran for over two minutes and offered nothing of any value to anyone.
  • There was a drug bust somewhere in NZ. About one minute for this; because we just love watching big navy boats whizzing about with hunky blokes at the helm don’t we?
  • And then to Penrith and the fact that its rugby league team is in the finals. Cue the obligatory families dressed from head to toe in purple, swathed in NRL flags, waving ugly stuffed toys about. We were further blessed with a live cross by the weather girl who looked totally bewildered to be sent so far west of the CBD. This little gem ran for nearly three minutes.
  • A one minute piece on older aussies being over-prescribed medication. Apparently 1 in 5 of the drugs they are taking do more harm than good. No information on alternative therapies was offered.  Instead I suspect all the people watching over the age of 70 experienced heightened stress and felt the need to take another pill.
  • A visually spectacular story on an apartment block on fire in Siberia which, when I last checked was over 11,500 kilometres from Sydney. No one was harmed. Only 15 seconds here but that’s probably all the TV station was prepared to pay to whomever held rights to the footage. Next time, let’s try for an insightful little piece on Putin and his continuing march into the Ukraine shall we?
  • And so to the only Pope I’ve ever taken any notice of. Pope Francis visited Albania today in an attempt to reiterate that nothing good can come from using religion as a basis for war. Say what? Nearly every conflict in the world has/had religious conflict at its core. The irony was breathtaking but the Pope was nonetheless well intentioned.
  • And back to the football we go. It would appear that poor old Anthony Minichello has lost his mojo. He plays for the Roosters I think. Or is it the Bunnies? Or maybe he is a rooster and he’s switching to the bunnies? Either way, the focus was on the fact that he has now played 302 games of NFL.  I wonder how many cardiac surgeons perform 302 life-saving operations each year? Or whether annually, 302 children are sponsored through the good work of World Vision or other international charities? That’d be a nice little comparison to make don’t you think? About 2 minutes for this nothingness.
  • Then we had a piece on Andrew Wilkie (Independent Member for Denison in Tasmania) suggesting that former PM John Howard should face the war crimes tribunal for committing Australian troops to Iraq during the hunt for weapons of mass destruction.  Agree with him or not, the man had clearly been drinking too much Apple Isle cider. Let’s focus on current issues shall we?
  • Global action on climate change day. Finally something with relevance to all countries and all peoples. A series of world demonstrations were held, focussing on the need to take more seriously the potential impact of climate change.
  • And, Ta Dah! Cue Emma Watson, her speech to the UN and support of the HeForShe campaign ~ although 15 measly seconds is all the network could manage. Clearly the news presenter was clueless as to what Watson was trying to achieve, adding at the end of the story; “and she even managed to do it without notes.” Pardon? Because a young woman is incapable of such? I almost choked listening to a female presenter utter those words. FFS. How will our sons and daughters learn to treat each other as equals if the people who deliver the “news” clearly aren’t??
  • To the dreadful wildfires on the west coast of America.  One wildfire alone has consumed 300,000 hectares and is still burning. Tragic. Refer to the story above about climate change to make any sense of this.
  • And back to football. But this time the focus was on WAGS (wives of footy players). This was the greatest insult of the entire bulletin following on as it did, so closely from the Emma Watson/UN piece which received cursory acknowledgement and an appalling throwaway line from the news presenter. We learned that Jesinta Campbell had missed a spray tan, hair appointment, nail appointment and some other appointment intended to beautify her for the evening. Again, the obligatory live cross to a chick who had no idea what the Brownlow Awards were or who the contenders were. Instead she babbled on about how pretty the girls would look and how excited she was.  3 minutes 10 seconds for this vital community service piece.

At this point I turned off as there was more sport to come to be followed by a weather forecast (without any international weather) presented by another chicklet in a tight dress who clearly does not eat. Ever. Interesting how blokes on TV are allowed to eat, but their female colleagues must always look half-starved and ‘pretty’ isn’t it? And don’t get me started on the fact that the media industry is one of the most inequitable in terms of pay and opportunity.

There was nothing on Syria and its refugees, even though 70,000 people have crossed over into Turkey in the past week alone.

Nothing about the ongoing desperation of doctors and medical teams in Africa facing fresh outbreaks of the deadly Ebola disease.

It was all nothing about nothing.

How do you get your daily dose of tripe news and is it any longer worth watching?






  1. says

    Gosh CW your news in Sydney is even worse than the crud we have to endure here in Melbourne. The ‘local’ news is when I get up to make coffee or take the dogs outside for their last run round the garden before their bed time. The ‘national’ news is rubbish and usually consists of frightening scenes of the Syria diabolical mess or another poor fellow in orange waiting for the knife to touch his throat……
    The sport is all AFL and is not worth listening to. Everyone in the AFL is a national hero and should be worshipped by all – and God help you if you are not one of the devotees!!
    The weather is either presented by a smug ponce in a spiffy jacket sitting by a fire with a nice red on the table by his side, or some skinny little girl with summer clothes on when she should be rugged up against the cold to keep her brittle bones from cracking with frost bite.
    My brother-in-law banned all news on TV, radio, newspapers etc from his home about 2 yrs before he died of cancer because he said it was just too stressing and annoying. I agree.
    I get very agitated when some new discovery is announced or ‘revealed’ on the news only to find it is something we all have known for some years now, but the young journo who is reporting his/her miraculous find is too young to know it was discovered before he/she was even thought of!

  2. Maree says

    My thoughts exactly! I stopped watching the news and a lot of other TV about five years ago when my girls were born. I either have other things to do, or it’s on when we are having dinner so the TVs off anyway or I don’t want my kids exposed to th sorts of images that are shown.
    Nowadays whenever I do sit down to watch the news I get angry/depressed/frustrated/annoyed with the reporting and remember why I stopped watching it.
    I now get my news from the weekend newspapers (which aren’t much better) and online sources.

  3. Michelle Tuxford says

    I know this is an older post, but you make such a good point I wanted to comment.
    I hate the way news is presented; both the competition of over-blown headlines (the aural equivalent of click-bait) and the ‘fear draws viewers’ stance that we seem to have adopted from America. (“There is something in your fruit bowl that might be killing you right now! Watch tonight at six to find out which diabolical fruit is a danger to your children!”)
    As far as how I get my news – like most people I soak up the daily news by osmosis – telly, internet, gossip – and go chasing the stories I’m interested in. I watched Emma Watson’s speech on youtube – and what a depressing line that is. It was a beautiful speech. It was an eloquent, important and pertinent piece, and I had to watch it on bloody youtube. It says everything, doesn’t it?

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