Monday, 27 April 2015

SBS's path of least resistance in sacking Scott McIntyre

SBS managing director Michael Ebeid in sacking sports presenter Scott McIntyre for a few injudicious tweets has cravenly bowed to the influence of the communications minister, Malcolm Turnbull, who had sent out his own views on McIntyre on the socmed platform on the day the original posts appeared. McIntyre's tweets - which you can read in the SMH news story linked to above - contained nothing incorrect, biased or demonstrably wrong although they were flavoursome, direct and strongly worded. I guess is doesn't pay to be manly and independent-minded these days, which regardless are qualities no doubt the original Anzacs would have held in high regard.

The whole story reminds me of how dicey it is to talk straight on social media, especially if you are declaring your professional affiliation - as journalists always do because of the cachet being a journalist carries with it; that cachet brings along with it a multitude of additional followers - but if you do make the declaration be prepared to have your words scrutinised in a way that the words of an ordinary citizen would not be. You are supposed to be a paragon of balance and fairness. It appears that the managing director of SBS agrees with this view, and that if you for some reason decide for once that you want to let your hair down and actually say things that you have wanted to say for a very long time you are putting your career on the line.

The managing director of SBS has sided with a dope of a communications minister, a misguided human rights commissioner, and a plethora of educationally-challenged fools online who don't know their arse from their elbow. And they can't spell either. But maybe all three categories of individual are the same. Does it matter whether you live in secluded luxury if you have no grasp of the meaning of the freedoms that our Anzacs fought for all those years ago, and in all the intervening years since? Have we all so soon, as one online commenter reminded us yesterday, forgotten the lessons of Charlie Hebdo? Are we to be cowed into silence by a fatuous majority because it's just less embarrassing than facing up to truths it might take some time and effort to competently counter with sensible argument?

Frankly the wording of the SBS social media policy and the corporate code of conduct interest me not at all. Having glanced tentatively at them I came away filled with fear at the long lists of damning sentences. Damning if read in one way, but innocent enough if read in another. Line after line of censoriousness and not a drop of commonsense and humanity, which is the place that we should be taken to on Anzac Day, a place dear to our hearts because it means, apparently, something important about who we are. Are we to be defined by rules and suspicion or are we to be defined by our better natures? We should be ashamed. It's hard enough to find a job as a journalist these days, God knows.


Daze Of Reality said...

Good comparison to Charlie Hebdo, I too dont care whether its against the SBS social media policy or not. I agree with McIntyre's sentiments and have noticed how close SBS has been toeing the standard anzac line this year.

Matthew da Silva said...

Thanks for your comment. It's amazing how since the event and the sacking people have come out to support McIntyre. I think SBS made a bad error of judgement on this.