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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

the ugly side of the media « Previous | |Next »
July 31, 2009

So we have a radio station 2DayFM owned by Austereo that has its FM's top-rating Sydney breakfast show hosted by Kyle Sandilands and Jackie O'Neil Henderson interviewing people with a lie detector test on air to help increase its ratings. This has been going for about six years and this regular stunt on the show of this celebrity shock jock radio is designed to shock and humiliate people to provide pleasure for Sydney's bogans.

In this case the girl's mother submitted her 14 year old teenage daughter to the test due to her concerns about her daughter's experiences with drugs and sex and wagging school. An initial question: why would a mother would do this to her child? Isn't this a form of public humiliation?

Before the actual test, the girl admitted on air to Sandilands, “I'm scared ... it's not fair”. Her mother asked her daughter: “Have you ever had sex?” The teen replied: “I've already told you the story about this ... and don't look at me and smile because it's not funny.” After a pause, she raised her voice with frustration and said: “Oh okay, I got raped when I was 12 years old.”

After a long pause, Sandilands then asked “Right ... is that the only experience you've had?" before the mother admitted she knew of the rape “a couple of months ago". Her daughter yelled, “Yet you still asked me the question!”

Sandilands implies that rape is a sexual experience as distinct from a violent experience of power over a woman.

So why was the teen strapped to a lie detector and asked about her sexual experiences in public in the first place? On Punch Sandilands says in his defence:

I’ve certainly pissed off a lot of journos over the years but I’m sad that they’re using the rape of a 12-year-old girl to have a go at me...As for what I said, it wasn’t intended to hurt. If people have found it appalling or offensive I’m sorry for them that feel that way, but I would ask people to put themselves into the situation where someone says to you during a live radio show that they have been raped.

Nothing about the more substantive issue why was the teen strapped to a lie detector and asked about her sexual experiences in public in the first place.

Isn't this a case of an underage child being asked personal questions about her sexuality for entertainment?

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 8:23 AM | | Comments (16)


There's way more public outrage over this than there was over the Chaser Make a Wish thing, yet that ork Sandilands and O woman are carrying on business as usual. I can't imagine the Chaser guys even contemplating such a thing.

I don't know what's worse, that the whole setup was allowed in the first place, or that a mother is prepared to put her daughter through it. But I do think the ACMA has proven itself so ineffective it should be scrapped and something entirely different put in place. Some kind of public humiliation process maybe. Some kind of broadcast reconciliation thing, where Alan Jones has to talk with Lebanese Muslims and Kyle Sandilands has to face a panel of mothers.

I know absolutely nothing about the laws about broadcasting but surely there must be something that can be done?

I don't know who is more appalling, the radio station or the mother.

As I commented over at LP, the shrieks of outrage over this single incident are a tad hard to swallow. It's of a piece with the whole tendency towards 'reality' in entertainment (for want of a better word) that has afflicted the media for years, so it's a bit late for people to object now.

Reality apparently consists of putting people in situations where they will reveal their deepest emotions for the amusement or edification of observers. Nothing like a funeral to make a good news story - it doesn't matter much whose, just as long as the cameras can linger lovingly on a few haggard, tear-stained faces. And as for talent contests, who cares whether they can sing? We want to see mums and dads crying. We want to see runners-up sobbing. We want to see contestants abusing judges. WE WANT TO SEE GROWN-UP LOSERS BEHAVE LIKE CHILDREN, DAMMIT!

Watching people emote is good. It makes others feel superior.

Sandilands and the rest are just giving a good slice of the population what they want. Trying to make them individually responsible is as if this were an isolated incident is wrong-headed. It simply distracts us from the insights that much contemporary entertainment gives into the condition of our society.

as Ken points out there is a lot of reality television that mines this sort of public humiliation and/or confessional which some sections of the public find thrilling and entertaining. All those shows about fat people is an exercise in public humiliation, which people enjoy.

Why the surprise? The old commercial media use various methods to generate ratings or circulation by pushing the boundaries of reputation, morality, taste and decency in order to retain a fragmenting audience migrating elsewhere.

The lie-detector stunt of 2DayFM is one such method.

Kyle and Jackie are self-obsessed, grubby, amoral media whores. But we already knew that... it's what they get paid to do.

It's the witless "mother" who REALLY infuriates me.

I don't watch television except for sport, but it sure sounds like it has changed for the worse. I just want to see some sort of regulatory crackdown, but I guess our government is too witless and gutless for that.

And yeah, I suppose Joe Public who watches this crap has to take most of the blame.

Pressuring Optus to walk away from its sponsorship of the trash show is a good idea. Hit Austereo where it hurts--the hip pocket. This mob even claim to be progressive.

You all became part of it.

Hey, Les, I've missed you.

Optus say they won't be pulling out, but according to comments at Mumbrella their logo has disappeared off the website.

People are saying they're writing to Optus and changing providers, but will they actually do that, and in sufficient numbers to be effective? We'll probably never know.

we are embedded in a world of tabloid media in print, radio, television and on the net. Infotainment is what the media is these days.

Its Ok to ignore silly news guys
Its ok.

Austereo Sydney general manager Jenny Parkes has announced that the Kyle and Jackie O Show was in recess, pending a review.

Optus has withdrawn online advertising for Sandilands nationally syndicated Vile and Tacky Austereo radio show. They were appalled by what had happened.

Optus did go along with Sandilands trying anything that he thought would amuse, shock, outrage or, at the very least, attract the attention of their audience. The young audience want to be amused, shocked, outraged.

Not a good day for Sandilands. Channel 10 has also pulled him from Australian Idol.