What a mess. The UK media, anonymous, the British public and the Royal Family have all come out and panned the two Aussie DJ’s, Mel Grieg and Michael Christian, for their prank call to the London hospital treating Kate Middleton which led to the suicide of British nurse Jacintha Saldanha. Just a quick look at Twitter will show that this is a huge global story. CNN posted a piece on Sunday simply titled ‘why the prank call was wrong’. Almost all the British papers have labelled the DJ’s and their employers, Austereo, as bloodthirsty and heartless.
As I said, what a mess.
Original recording of the prank call.
In Australia the reaction to the story has been quite different. In a Sydney Morning Herald story both Nova’s Michael ‘Wippa’ Wipfli and Julian Morrow of the Chaser have both backed the DJ’s claiming it was stupid of them to apologize and that the prank was funny. With comments like that these public identities come off looking like 24 carat cunts however it has made me question if that’s how they really feel or if they are trying to get their faces on CNN and boost their international profiles by giving the finger to the old country.
Having listened to the call I honestly don’t think it was particularly funny. The accents were terrible and, well, the nurse should have known better. The way the Australian media has come out backing the DJ’s has been a wee bit over the top and I can’t help but think it’s all a big publicity stunt OR a fuck you to the poms. We surely must be mature enough to acknowledge that a person has died thanks to a dumb joke on a station famous for them.
This prank call in its essence had nothing on various offensive fuck ups made by 2dayFM’s rack-addled sweaty lardbox Kyle Sandilands. Grieg and Christian didn’t force an underage girl to admit on air that she’d been raped; they were just trying to talk to a member of the royal family. It wasn’t funny but it wasn’t particularly offensive. The nurse, Ms Saldanha, may have been suffering from depression and anxiety beforehand and being at the end of a public joke on the other side of the world may have been the straw that broke the camel’s back. Nobody really knows.
Other than Saldanha’s death, the extreme side-taking by various parts of the media is extremely depressing. The British papers are obviously looking for someone to attack so they can shift more units but the Aussie media is doing the exact same thing, just with a more antipodean take on the whole disaster. It’s as if this country is saying ‘Only we can attack our 2dayFM DJ’s, they might be a pack of cunts – but they are our pack of cunts.’ It’s like a media ashes. England vs. Australia. No love lost. It’s like two packs of vultures trying to pick at one carcass, completely revolting to watch.
Strangely enough the A Current Affair interview with Christian and Grieg was relatively tasteful in comparison to almost every news story and major opinion piece regarding this issue. Two clearly upset people telling the truth about something which didn’t just end the life of a hospital receptionist but also their radio careers. If they decided against that lame phone call then none of this would have happened, now they will struggle to get a job on Franklins FM.
It’s tragic that Saldanha, a mother, thought suicide was the best option. It never is. There must have been other factors at play, but perhaps it’s more tragic that both the UK and Australian media feel the need to exploit this into some kind of attack on the other nation’s sense of character. The media, no matter where you are in the world, is full of self-serving, self-promoting wowsers and that is something which is never going to change.
We should be big enough to admit that the joke wasn’t really that funny and just shut the fuck up. The Herald posted a poll asking Sydneysiders if they thought Austereo were right to apologize for the prank call with 57% of us saying ‘No, it was only a joke’ to just 43% saying it was offensive. Really? A poll? Grow up. A woman is dead as are the careers of two DJ’s who could never have seen anything like this coming from a fairly innocent yet completely unfunny prank call.
Lesson: UK and Australian media people need to get over it and they should bring back Guido Hatzis. That guy was proper funny.