So 3AW heavyweights Derryn Hinch and Neil Mitchell have come out swinging over the decision of their employer to give Steve Vizard some temp work.
Vizard, you’ll recall, is spending 10 years in the company director’s sin bin after being found guilty of abusing his position as a Telstra director.
“If he’s not a fit and proper person under the law to be a director,” Neil MItchell thundered, “he’s not a fit and proper person to have the privilege of using a 3AW microphone”
Fairfax stablemate The Age quoted Derryn Hinch in viscous agreement with his morning show colleague.
“Vizard is not considered a fit and proper person to qualify to be a director of Fairfax, the company that owns this radio station. Yet he can go on air on 3AW.”
Where does one start?
It seems the internal machinations of 3AW have, themselves, become news. Why else would Mitchell and Hinch devote time to them?
Both agree being on air (especially behind a 3AW microphone) is a great privilege. But surely that privilege comes with an inherent responsibility to discuss serious news issues.
With debate raging over how to fund our schools, how to tackle carbon emissions, with scandals in the Reserve Bank, Olympic Dam sinking, the resources boom busting, newspapers looking in danger of folding, companies wiping billions off their balance sheets, war raging in Syria, Europe still teetering on the edge of financial meltdown and a million other things — who cares whether a veteran comedian who torpedoed his own corporate career will be telling jokes and taking talkback in the early afternoon?
Oh, silly me. I have missed the big picture. Vizard now lacks integrity because he almost went to jail!
“Many commentators, me included, said he should have gone to jail,” Hinch told listeners. “He knows he was lucky to strike the money deal that kept him out of clink”
Perhaps Hinch has forgotten he himself spent time in the clink and under house arrest (admittedly for different reasons).
And you can argue Hinch had his heart in the right place when he publicly named child sex offenders in defiance of the law, while Vizard’s wrongdoing was motivated by personal gain.
You can argue Vizard has ‘done the crime and done the time’, or that his 3AW exile should remain.
These are all valid arguments to make, but my original point remains — the whole debate is unworthy of a place on primetime radio.
No other workplace would allow it’s employees to so publicly waffle and fight.
Of course, this is nothing new. Mitchell and Hinch took to the airwaves just last week to (rightfully) condemn a Nazi rant by presenter John Michael Howson.
And the two bearded broadcasters have even been known to take aim at each other over journalistic standards, most recently over waiting times at the Royal Children’s Hospital.
Nobody really wins when journalists becomes the story, except their egos.
C’mon fellas, why not return to what you do best? And that’s turning the power of your venerated 3Aw microphones on the big issues — and not each other.