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Sublime? No, Slime! #ACA (Matthew Newton)

UPDATE 2 – This piece was first published on 22nd Nov. Today (14/12) we learn something that gives it renewed importance.

“Actor Matthew Newton is accused of punching  a taxi driver in the head on Sydney’s north shore.

Police arrested the 35-year-old after an incident about 10.20am  (AEDT) on December 4.”

The commentary today following the Matthew Newton interview with Tracy Grimshaw has been all negative and quite rightly given his refusal to apologise to his victims.

But that is an issue for Mr Newton, his victims and their families and friends. A more important issue is why one of the highest rating programs in Australia would air such disregard for Domestic violence and the damage it does to individuals and our community? The answer of course is in the question, ratings is seemingly all that drives programs such as ACA and Today Tonight. But what really got on my nerves was the promotion and production of this sordid tale as if the people making money off it actually give a shit.

Tracy Grimshaw on her twitter account. “Huge response to Matthew Newton #aca. We endeavored to be fair to him, to the women he has hurt, and the mentally ill. Polarising, for sure.” Right, you know what would be fair to the victims Tracy, giving the same amount of time on your show to experts on both Domestic Violence and Mental Illness! But hey, where is the ratings and financial reward in that. This should come as no surprise given only a show earlier they ran the story on Warwick Capper asking “so could the loveable larrikin be the next big thing in Aussie television?” Right, you mean the guy who had a failed porno career? Classy stuff! But of course it doesn’t stop there, ACA has form and you only need to look at what is being talked about on their website to find the story “Asylum Seeker Heaven” – A Current Affair investigated just why the system is costing us so much. In the process we discovered not only huge medical and security costs, but also luxuries like plasma TVs and internet cafes. Detention centres, known breeding grounds for mental illness, condemned by Psych workers the country over are heavens are they?

So we should not at all be surprised that this program and presenter who peddles Racism, demonises Asylum Seekers, profits from Mental Illness and delivers startling investigations on “Migraine botox” might be less than responsible when it comes Domestic Violence. Tracy obviously defended this today by saying “We gave white ribbon number“. Only for that organisation themselves to criticise the interview today “Australia’s primary organisation against violence towards women, the White Ribbon organisation, has criticised Matthew Newton for copping out in a TV interview last night.”

Given all of this, the pre show predictions, the interview itself and the following criticism was expected. Another opportunity missed to really give the public the facts on Domestic Violence and Mental Illness (two of the biggest issues we face as a society). But I was further miffed (understatement) when I saw Mia Freedman take to her account to promote the interview. “Set your iq for @tracygrimshaw‘s Matt Newton exclusive on #ACA tomorrow night. Can think of nobody better to do it. Sublime.” Talk about a good helping of pre tabloid porn promotion! Mia is actually someone I respect and wrote a piece defending after her remarks on the Today Show about Cadel Evans. But “Sublime” about an interview with an unapologetic perpetrator of Domestic Violence and a tabloid treatment of mental illness? Before I played the John MacEnroe “You cannot be serious” line in my head I thought I better ask for clarification. The response,  “I meant that tracey is a sublime interviewer. One of the best. Not a statement about content particularly.”

No, obviously the content is complete shit, BUT… You cannot be fucking serious (throw racquet), Tracy Grimshaw…, one of the best? By what standard do we lower ourselves to that someone who sits in the chair of a program that does NOTHING for the national debate on any serious issue is one of the best. That anyone who makes a huge amount of money peddling fear, making people feel bad about their body appearance and generally making crap about the least fortunate amongst us is one of the best. Can you imagine Kerry O’Brien ever asking if Warrick Capper was the next big thing? Speaking of Kerry, he is one of the best! So is Tony Jones, Leigh Sales, Jenny Brockie, etc Speaking of which, can you imagine Brockie introducing a show entitled “Centrelink scammer justice”?

You know who does “sublime” interviews? Andrew Denton! You know who doesn’t? Tracy Grimshaw!

Maybe Mia Freedman is simply towing the party line, she too is employed by Channel Nine.

But make no mistake these shows support the 1% while claiming to be for the 99!. These are the people who just like bankers and traders make their money by selling things that don’t exist or are simply made up. Things like Warwick Capper being the next big thing, Asylum Seekers having their own little slice of Heaven and Domestic Violence and Mental Illness issues to simply pull ratings. Why report on the alarming rate of homelessness, the fact that the majority of low income Australian’s can’t afford the dentist or the suicides in detention when you can make a hell of a lot more from Matthew Newton. And with the spring collection on the shelves, a Range Rover to refuel and that delightful $100 Chardonnay just chilling in the fridge they’ll ask… What are you complaining about?!?!

UPDATE:- It’s still unclear if Newton was paid for the interview but with Ch9 only saying they don’t disclose such information it is fair to assume he was. Prompt Hughesy on radio.

“If he hadn’t have been violent against women that interview wouldn’t have happened…. that’s why it was a news story and he got paid for it,” Dave Hughes said.

“So he got paid because he was violent against women. That’s interesting.”
Interesting might be another way of saying “disgraceful tabloid rot” dressed up as journalism, something Nine, ACA and Grimshaw should all be ashamed of!
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