Dear Mark Scott,
I’m sure you’re aware of what “Liberal strategist” Grahame Morris said to Linda Mottram on ABC702 this morning. But in case you missed it, here it is:
Linda Mottram: We saw Tony Abbott in this past week do that interview with Leigh Sales about the Roxby Downs mine issue and stumbled, and that was really quite poor. I was very struck, Grahame. Were you surprised that he didn’t handle that well?
Grahame Morris: Well, Leigh can be a real cow sometimes when she’s doing her interviews.
So, instead of answering the question about Abbott’s dud performance, Morris called a female journalist who was just doing her job, a cow.
He was back on the air shortly afterwards:
LM: Grahame, we’ve had a lot of sms’s and calls offended at your comments. Your response?
GM: [In a condescending tone] Poor little sensitive souls.
LM: You think that calling Leigh a cow is appropriate?
GM: No, no, I probably should have said ‘can be a tough interviewer when she wants to be’.
LM: That’s what you would have said if it was a male interviewer, isn’t it?
GM: That’s silly. No, no, no, no, it’s a phrase that I have used a million times, you know, that somebody can be a real cow when they want to be.
Ah, I see. Because he’s called women cows “a million times” it means he’s not sexist. It’s good that someone who makes such an important contribution to public discussion is a regular guest on ABC radio and television.
GM: But [sighs] look, look, I apologise, it really should be something like, um, ‘having known most of the senior journalists, particularly the political journalists, over the last 30 years, there is a mixture there of people who can be tough, they can be straight up and down, they can be a mixture, they can be soft, and there’s no doubt Leigh at times can be tough’. That would have been a much better expression than being a cow at times.
I don’t know about you, Mark, but I’m not convinced that is an apology. (I’m also not convinced that Grahame Morris understands that radio isn’t print. When you tell a journalist to change your quote, everyone can hear it.)
I’m sure you remember that in April, Morris said people should be “kicking [Julia Gillard] to death”.
In case you missed it, Grahame Morris said people should kill the Prime Minister. In a violent way. Yet he’s a regular guest on the ABC. Why is that? And, since I’ve got you here, why wasn’t it reported by your newsroom? Telling people they should attack and kill a Prime Minister seems pretty newsworthy to me.
Anyhoo, you’ll notice from this tweet from SkyNews journalist David Speers that it’s the second time Morris has used this “oh, I always say that, it’s fine” excuse:
@David_Speers Grahame says it’s a phrase he has used in the past on different issues, but shouldn’t have on this occasion
Oh, well, since he says that lots of people should be kicked to death, that’s ok then.
Morris has also called Gillard “bitchy“. It’s not an insult he would use against a man. Shouldn’t the national broadcaster be looking for guests who are able to talk about politics in an intelligent manner, without using childish insults?
Now Mark, I’m willing to overlook the fact that the vast majority of guests on QandA and The Drum are current and current-until-recently-politicians whose only contribution to public discussion is to push the party line that we’ve already heard over and over again in the news.
I’m also willing to overlook the misogynist and racist comments that are regularly published on The Drum website. (We can talk about those later.)
But what I am not willing to overlook is the national platform given to a man who thinks that calling for violence against women, and calling women names, is an acceptable part of public discussion. Because when you continue to get Grahame Morris on as a guest, what you are telling Australian women and men is that you have no problem with what he says.
Four days ago, Julia Gillard said there were “misogynists and nutjobs on the internet“. She’s right. There’s loads of ‘em on here. They’re also, very clearly, on the ABC.
I look forward to your public statement saying that because of his misogynist, sexist and violent attitudes and language, Grahame Morris is no longer welcome on the ABC.