Bring professionalism back in journalism and commentary!

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I’m usually an avid listener to Sydney’s 2GB on weeknights when Andrew Bolt is on.  But on Monday night, I nearly turned it off after five minutes and was glad that I missed the first twenty minutes or so. Bolt was on with Daily Telegraph columnist, Miranda Devine. To those who don’t know, they had a feud in 2015 after Malcolm Turnbull ousted Tony Abbott as Australian Prime Minister. Devine slammed Bolt for standing by Tony Abbott and his – then Chief of Staff, Peta Credlin – someone who Devine blamed for Abbott’s fall.

She went on Win’s “Today Show” with Karl Stafanovic insulting Bolt, calling him “delusional”.

From what I heard, there was a lot of mincing words, misrepresenting, talking over each other and it all came to ahead when Bolt spat it and threatened to hang up. Things started to calm down after they had a few callers.

Frankly I couldn’t believe what was going on when I turned it on my iPad. In my view, both Bolt and Devine were at fault. Devine shouldn’t have interrupted Bolt continuously, but Bolt, could have been a little bit more professional and not have thrown a tantrum and threaten to hang up. They could’ve both skipped the word games, too (i.e. lost vs losing and whether the polls mattered or didn’t… it was just ridiculous).

Anyway, last night was a lot more cordial. Devine explained the relationship with Bolt as like brother and sister and how Monday night was a “robust discussion” and “sibling rivalry”. They assured that they they were still really good friends.

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I still think both of them could have conducted themselves better. They are both professional journalists/ presenters. They both work for one of the largest and last standing commercial media companies in Australia (Newscorp).

I’ll cut them both some slack and say that the way they conducted themselves on Monday night isn’t isolated to them. It grates me how journalists – both from the Left and conservative – make a bad habit of mincing words and talking over the top of others. An example of this in recent years (2015, I think?) was a feud between Weekend Sunrise co – host and “The Chaser Australia” host, Andrew O’Keefe and former Labor senator, Mark Latham when talking about the issue of feminism, domestic violence and the gender pay gap. along with “The Guardian (Australia) columnist,. playwright and author, Van Badham and, again, Miranda Devine. This caused a social media backlash against O’Keeffe, with calls for him to be sacked (he’s still there. by the way. He’s still on “The Chaser Australia”, too.)

Maybe journalists do it for ratings sometimes, or, more likely a clash of personalities, ideas and opinions. Surely you can be “robust” in discussion without being rude, without being condescending and without throwing a tantrum. Again, Bolt, Devine and O’Keefe are professionals. They should act like it. Sure, DEBATE, but also LISTEN. And keep cool headed. Then again, I’m not a professional journalist (yet?… who knows). As a listener and viewer I’m a little bit disappointed at how far it can get.

Since last night was so cordial, I”m hoping that there isn’t a “Round Two” of Monday night.

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If it does arc up again, I’ll be turning it off and keeping it off, at least until someone replaces Devine (either Price or Michael McLaren).

 

How do you cope with journalists talking over the top of each other? Do you bear it, turn off? Does it turn you off a journalist/ commentator or show completely? Feel free to drop your thoughts down below. If you’re a journalist, I’d love to know what you think, too. 

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