25 Jan 2011, Comments (10)

Poor Journalism nearly causes Road incident

Author: Helen

Yesterday, as I learned while driving along Burke Road listening to PM, Lara Giddings had just replaced David Bartlett as Tasmanian premier, and DID A JOURNALIST IN THE PRESS CONFERENCE JUST ASK THIS QUESTION? OH YES SHE BLOODY WELL DID. *Head threatens to explode*.

…As a single woman taking on the role, do you, are you concerned perhaps you’re giving up the potential to have a family? Is it compatible?

I like to think there’s a split second where Giddings gives the journo a death-ray glance before she breaks into her, apparently signature, charming smile. But that’s probably wishful thinking. Like most of our politicians, she knows she has to roll over and play nice for the press gallery, however shit her immediate questioner may be. They have the power to make her look bad. And she knew she was wedged. So instead of saying “what an appalling question, and beside being not relevant to the topic and none of your bloody business, you wouldn’t be asking a single man that if he was in my shoes today”, (Headline that day: Tasmanian PM proves Feminists Have No Sense Of Yumour!1!”) she said

If I had the choices, then, uh, it might be an issue for me, but I’m yet to find that man.

Which broke my heart. No, not because she hasn’t found a man! Because a woman who’s being interviewed on a rather important achievement and should be in a position of authority still has to submit to insults like this and laugh along.

I don’t know who the “female reporter” was, although I have my suspicions, based on level of reporting fail, proximity to Hobart and obsession with femininity performance.

Although Giddings tried to have a red-hot go at talking about her actual policies and qualifications for the job, this was what the Australian put on its front page today – “Leftist Lara still looking for Mr Right”. FFS.

To those of you who are going to say this is trivial and not political and build a bridge, this stuff matters. Sure, little girls are watching and learning that they can become Premier. They’re also learning that if they do, people will quiz them in public about their marital status and sex life and that for a woman, not being partnered or having children is a terrible loss of face. And they will get the message, still, that if you’re a woman and you want to aspire to the top jobs, you risk having to give up the family thing, but men don’t. (And, no, reporting family matters about Tony Abbott or Kevin Rudd isn’t the same thing.)

Journos, I know you’re having a difficult time of it, but is wilfully choosing braindead stupid questions really necessary? And does advancing the male-as-default-woman-as-curiosity narrative really have to be part of your job description?
Crossposted at Hoyden About Town

Comments (10) »

  • Bwca Brownie says:

    not going to say it is trivial at all.
    it is actually UBER-political. and sickening.

    the fact that nobody could get a job as a journalist without a degree from a University, and that the ning-nong who asked that question must have one, confirms my belief that a Degree is just a handy thing to roll a joint on, and worth nothing more.

  • Ann O'Dyne says:

    I hope there is an overflowing fruitbowl, a veritable cornucopia of fruit, in The Premier’s background for the next photo op.

  • Yeah, I heard the question (and answer) too, and couldn’t believe my ears.

  • Kath Lockett says:

    I saw that question on ABC24 yesterday and cringed. What a stupidly insulting and pointless question to be asked in 2011. I’d love to see the ‘journalist’ responsible named and shamed.

  • Helen says:

    Yes, I think I know which one it is but it’d be most unfair to name names unless I was 100 percent sure.

  • Boganette says:

    Ughhh no way! That is so messed up.

  • Bwca Brownie says:

    great comment from Phil M at the Crikey blog-
    “Fair enough if the headline was “Tasmania gets it’s first female premier” , then down further in the body of the story it mentioned her likes, dislikes & marital status. But it wasn’t. It was a take down piece.

    “The only time we should complain is if the press is saying she is somehow inferior as a woman or politician because she is single. Nothing in that article seems to indicate that.”

    So if Tony Abbott became prime minster, could you imagine a story the day after the swearing in like this in the Australian? Right winger Tony Abbott still dreams of a latex bike suit that looks like a priest outfit

    Then the sub heading is : Tony Abbott still hopes to hang with his latex crew, but for now, he is happy to be prime minister.”

  • Helen says:

    More commentary from Jeff Sparrow and Kim at LP.

  • Ann O'Dyne says:

    there were some great comments on the excellent Jeff Sparrow piece.
    your next feministHorror groove is that US idiot Rick Perry who is legislating that all women considering a termination ‘must first view a sonogram and hear the heartbeat’.
    margaretandhelen.wordpress.com attack him best

  • […] Poor Journalism nearly causes Road incident Helen at Blogger on the Cast Iron Balcony […]

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