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Tuesday 31 March 2015

Mail GMB Sexism Fail

Television news and magazine programmes show those of us who hadn’t got the message a long time ago that the tabloid press subject male and female presenters to the kind of double standards that they would be quick to condemn as deeply inappropriate if they saw it in other walks of life. Blokes are measured by their ability to bring gravitas, humour and spontaneity to their role. There is less of a problem with their age.
Susanna Reid

Women, on the other hand, cannot bring gravitas to a role, and no amount of telling the hacks that they have decades of journalistic experience makes a jot of difference. As for humour and spontaneity, this has always to be redefined as “flirtyness”. And woe betide any broadcaster who puts a female presenter before the viewers with so much as a hint of grey hair. You think I jest? Over to Mail Online.

The Mail has been on the case of ITV’s breakfast offering Good Morning Britain since its launch, and especially that of lead presenter Susanna Reid. But all the early attacks - snarking at her alleged salary, claiming that the show was about to be cancelled, complaining about the studio set with its presenters’ desk, and anything personal that could be dug up - have now been exhausted.

Now all that the Mail has left is to generate copy because Ms Reid went and changed her outfit while the programme was on air. And this is meant to be passed off as news. Er, hello? If Ben Shephard, Sean Fletcher or (as today) John Stapleton had needed to go off and replace a jacket, a shirt, or indeed anything else, that would not be news. One would not talk about such personal stuff. As the song said, it’s different for girls.

Susanna Reid suffers embarrassing wardrobe malfunction as she bursts out of her dress while live on air”. Hey readers - clickbait! Phwoar!! And thousands probably did click - only to find “She's known for her on-air flirty antics - and Good Morning presenter Susanna Reid gave her co-presenters, John Stapleton and Kate Garraway an eyeful when her dress burst open. The 44-year-old suffered the embarrassing faux pas just as she was live on air and was forced to dash out of the studio to change into another neon orange dress”.

Yes, a career journalist with more than 22 years’ experience in print and broadcast media is judged not on the merit of presentation, research, interview technique, preparation, originality, or any other of the skills one needs to master either medium, but whether or not she is unfortunate enough to wear a garment with a faulty zip.

And don’t forget, Mail Online readers, “She's known for her on-air flirty antics”. But hold on a minute - GMB is a two and a half hour programme. Was there nothing else worth talking about? Right at the end, readers are told “Also on the show on Tuesday was former footballer Clarke Carlisle, who spoke about how he's tackling his own depression and the stigma that comes with it”. Should that not have been the news, given recent events?

Priorities, eh? Clickbait before all else. And don’t worry about gratuitous sexism.

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