Video killed the radio star

By Legal Eagle

I don’t listen to radio very much. When I do, I avoid commercial stations like the plague. I can’t stand the ads, the cheesy voice overs, the annoying comperes and the gimmicks. Some of the things they talk about are really not suitable for small children, and I almost always have my kids in the car.

I also avoid talkback radio. I find many of the opinions expressed to be without thought or depth, and half the time the interviewer makes his or her own prejudices so blatantly obvious that it makes me sick.

If I had a radio station, when it played music, it would play it without interruption and without cheesy voiceovers. The compere would tell you in full detail what the music was afterwards. There would be no talkback.

There would be interesting interviews with thought-provoking people. I have always liked Desert Island Disc interviews where people are interviewed about the music they like – you find out something about them, and about new music in the process. [In an aside – perhaps SL, DEM and I should do a Desert Island Discs post each – I’d be interested to see what my co-bloggers posted!]

There would be a section on religion where people from different faiths could contribute to discussions. Actually, I always liked “Prayer for the Day” on Radio 4 in the UK. My absolute favourites were Rabbi Lionel Blue and the Guru. There would be a discussion section on law, a section on science and a section on history. There might be some interesting documentary style programs. My radio would not adhere to a particular political viewpoint, but would try to admit a range of views. It would probably have exactly one listener, ME. But surely there are others who would be interested in this station (the readers of this blog, for one?)

I was reminded of why I don’t listen to radio by the recent story involving Kyle Sandilands and Jackie-O. The segment apparently involved questioning people about intimate details of their lives when they were strapped to a lie detector. The latest incident involved a 14 year old girl:

The girl, who had been brought on to undergo a lie detector test about her mother’s concerns about her drug and sex experience, told Kyle Sandilands before the questions started: “I’m scared … it’s not fair.”

The mother told the presenters she was worried about her daughter’s use of drugs and partying, before going on to ask the teenager if she ever skipped school.

The mother then asked her daughter: “Have you ever had sex?”

The 14-year-old replied: “I’ve already told you the story about this … and don’t look at me and smile because it’s not funny.”

After a pause she then raised her voice and said: “Oh okay … I got raped when I was 12 years old.”

Sandilands hesitated before asking “Right … is that the only experience you’ve had?”

The radio station has been heavily criticised for the stunt.

Putting people on lie detectors sounds like a recipe for disaster in the first place – you are likely to uncover all kinds of things which are best left covered. It reminds me of that TV show, Moment of Truth, which had a similar premise.

But what I have to wonder is – what the hell was the mother doing questioning her daughter about her sexual experiences when she apparently knew about her daughter’s allegation that she had been raped at the age of 12? How could a mother do that to her daughter? The poor girl, not only has she apparently been raped, but she has been violated again, by having her privacy invaded in public on air by her own mother.

I was going to say that the girl has been humiliated – but the use of the word “humiliated” might suggest that she should be ashamed of what has apparently happened to her. It is not she who should be ashamed, but the alleged perpetrator, her mother and the radio station.

Update:

Hoydens have a post on the issue with a recording of the segment and a transcript. It’s quite distressing to listen to. I felt physically ill afterwards.

What on earth were they thinking? Surely they had to vet the mother’s questions before they ran this segment? Regardless of whether they knew about the rape or not, as Keri says in the comment thread in Hoydens, “If you ask a 14 year old if she’s had sex, you are asking if she has been raped…” The girl is below the statutory age of consent, so if she has had sex, the person who had sex with her has committed illegal sexual penetration of a minor for starters. It is presumed that someone that young cannot give informed consent. So what did the radio station propose to do if the girl answered yes, even if it was consensual sex? Press her for details and then prosecute the guy? Did no one bloody well think this through? (Clearly not).

Sandilands’ response was inappropriate. To give Jackie-O credit where credit’s due, I think she responded in a more appropriate manner, halting the interview as soon as Sandilands has pressed on with the question. But I think the radio station should be hung drawn and quartered for coming up with such a potentially disasterous and divisive form of “entertainment”.

I still cannot believe that the mother put her child through that ordeal, and that she asked those questions. Nor, apparently, could the daughter believe it. The exchange goes as follows:

Jackie: Well, that’s it apparently. Yep. Ok, what’s your next question, Mum?

Mum: OK. Have you had sex?

Daughter: [quieter] I’ve already told you the story of this. And don’t look at me and smile, because it’s not funny. [louder, announcing with bravado] OH, OK. I got raped when I was twelve years old.

[silence]

Kyle: Right. And is that the, is that the only experience you’ve had?

[huffing sound – is this the daughter fake-laughing in disbelief?]

Mum: I only found out about that, um, a couple of months ago. Yes, I knew about that.

Daughter: And yet you still asked me the question.

Mum: The question was, have you had sex other than that.

I think the mother might be in denial about the nature of rape, because  earlier on in the piece she says that she thinks the daughter might have had sex before, but that the daughter hasn’t said anything. Um, rape is non-consensual sexual intercourse, but it’s still sexual intercourse.

I also can’t believe that the poor child was not offered counselling or psychological assistance. Did the mother ever consider that perhaps her daughter’s problems at school could result from her experience? If the mother knew her daughter alleged that she had been raped, and did nothing about it, one wonders whether the daughter should be removed from her custody.

The silver lining on this very dark cloud is that hopefully the daughter will now be helped appropriately.

Update II:

Sandilands and Jackie-O have been suspended indefinitely, Austereo, the owner of 2Day-FM radio station has said. Well, nice to know that there is some notion of an appropriate response after all.

35 Comments

  1. Posted August 4, 2009 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

    And the money quotes:

    Mother: No, let me tell you, no she’s not. I think she’s nervous about the questions.

    Daughter: I’m scared. It’s not fair.

    Jackie O: It wouldn’t be fair on any kid, I tell you…

    Daughter: I’ve already told you the story of this and don’t look at me and smile because it’s not funny. Oh, okay. I got raped when I was 12 years old.

    Kyle Sandilands: Right. And is that, is that the only experience you’ve had?

    Kid, Austero has a lot of money, get yerself a lawyer and go get it. And when you get it buy your mother a one way ticket to Mogadishu. Just your way of saying thanks.

    Don’t smile!

    Of course it’s because the mother had a hard life. She’s a victim. Bleeding Christ!

  2. Posted August 4, 2009 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

    And then..

    if you don’t pick the right door, if Dana’s not the door you pick, Dana flies straight home. No meeting.

    It’s this more than anything else that tells you something. People who listen to this stuff should be shot. They have no business being on the same planet as me.

    Not that I’m surprised.

  3. skepticlawyer
    Posted August 4, 2009 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

    The sister-from-the-USA-stunt is extremely revealing and (bar the underaged element) just as bad; it’s fairly straight obtaining services by deception (s 1 of the Theft Act over here).

    As I say, Kyle the f*tard managed the daily playbill at the colosseum in a past life: ‘ladies and gentlemen, just letting you know that the previous victim went out back and committed suicide…’

  4. Posted August 4, 2009 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

    Yes someone at LP pointed out that she was a devious bully. A knife in the back smile in your face type. Much worse.

    And she appears to’ve done it again.

  5. Posted August 4, 2009 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

    Ok, Kyle & Jackie jointly managed the daily playbill at the colosseum in a past life.

    This is serious slippery slope territory; we do not want to go there.

  6. su
    Posted August 4, 2009 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

    Of course it’s because the mother had a hard life. She’s a victim. Bleeding Christ!

    It must be nice to live in a universe where there are no shades of grey Adrien. Can you conceive of someone who is not a victim, not a monster, just the extremely f**cked up product of all their prior experiences that they both have free will and yet that free will is inevitably constrained by the content and context of those prior experiences? I never had you pegged as a moral absolutist . If this is smarting some personal wounds of yours then I am sorry but sometimes people are callous and emotionally remote from their children for reasons that can be understood and if you are extremely lucky, remedied, at least partly. That doesn’t lessen the damage that she did to her daughter, it doesn’t mitigate it, and self-knowledge for this woman, if she attains it, won’t be a soft option. A nice stint in prison would seem preferable to that kind of self-knowledge.

  7. Posted August 4, 2009 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

    Of course, the unanswered question in all of this is whether the mother from this lie detector episode got her free tickets to the Pink concert.

    That was the mother’s intended reward for dragging her daughter through the stunt, a couple of concert tickets.

    Jackie O is not an innocent bystander, this has been her job for many years.

    I suspect that Kyle has copped the heat, one because he has a higher profile via television, and two because no one could care less about Jackie O … they don’t even care enough to blame her for the content of the show.

  8. Adrien
    Posted August 4, 2009 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

    Su – It must be nice to live in a universe where there are no shades of grey Adrien.

    Maybe. I wouldn’t know ask Currency Lad.

    Can you conceive of someone who is not a victim, not a monster, just the extremely f**cked up product of all their prior experiences

    I almost always conceive of people this way. I’m not saying that this lot are monsters or victims. They may be fucked up. Maybe not. But they did fuck someone else up.

    that they both have free will and yet that free will is inevitably constrained by the content and context of those prior experiences?

    Yes but what obtains when everyone can claim to be a victim and hence not responsible?

    I never had you pegged as a moral absolutist .

    I’m not. But I can’t abide its opposite either. The results are the same.

    If this is smarting some personal wounds of yours then I am sorry

    Well yes that might be the case tho’ I’d never discuss that publicly. I am, for example, someone who hides their feelings as matter of habit. This is partially the product of experience and partially the spoils of being the ‘son and the heir of a shyness that is criminally vulgar’. However I don’t think this is an excuse to treat people with disdain.

    What this woman and the 2 Day FM crew and the audience did to this girl was very nasty. As grown-ups they can be held accountable. My anger might be a little over the top Su but I see callousness, discourtesy and schadenfreude every day. And I don’t see any evidence that this is the product of anything other than sadism and selfishness.

    A couple years back a kid headbutted me on the nose for money. Nothing about him suggested impoverishment or disadvantage. Yet the next day when I related the story to an associate, someone who John Greenfield’d call a ‘luvvie’ , he made out that a. The kid was disadvantaged and b. I provoked it.

    His evidence: Only disadvantaged people are violent and I’m a ‘cool inner-city dude’ (his words). Presumably that means I have it coming.

    May I just ask why there’s this widespread assumption that this girl’s mother has been subjected to such iniquity that she’s incapable of realizing that you don’t compel your children to discuss their sex lives on TV. More so that when said child reports a rape you should call the cops?

    I’m hearing the same kind of assumptions as made by my acquaintence. Thing is there comes a point for almost all of us when your childhood stops being an excuse. And some people are just creeps.

  9. su
    Posted August 4, 2009 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

    “More so that when said child reports a rape you should call the cops? ”

    That one I think I can give an incomplete answer to. Even for people who have no relationship to a child, the first reaction is freqently not to report an incident but to subject the child to a more or less intensive cross examination. Basically I think that most people unconsciously believe that minors are inherently unreliable, especially if they are having behavioural problems which are first and foremost still construed as just kids being difficult little b***’s, and that they would hate to, to put it in the most common form, ” ruin someone’s life” over a potential untruth. I mention this because children frequently recant if the first reaction they receive is one of implicit disbelief. Despite there being specific policies now that teachers etc should not engage in close questioning of the child, it is almost a reflex on the part of adults to question the veracity of the first disclosure because of the enormous potential repurcussions for other adults (if the assailant was an adult). As a child this implicit doubt is quickly absorbed as a message that they are inconveniencing people, or that they themselves may be in trouble (an idea which may have already been primed by the assailant) and they either recant or just let it slide and clam up. It is really easy for a parent to take this as an excuse to also let the whole thing slip back into a kind of disremembered state. Then there are all of the issues about who the attacker is in relation to the family, is it someone who already holds some authority over them, a landlord, a teacher, just someone’s husband if you are yourself unpartnered. Power and authority, it really comes down to that. I am not saying that any of these things excuse the reaction but there are just a multitude of factors that can make a woman quite cowed in the face of outrages to herself or her child. And yes it is possible that none of these things are the case and there is no obvious reasons, no history of her own, possible but less likely.

    It is almost impossible to discuss any of this without making it all seem much simpler than it really is, or without expressing apparent certainty overy things that are in reality ambiguous. And finding potential reasons for things doesn’t mean that someone should not feel the impact of the law if that is deemed appropriate. I like some aspects of restorative justice but not others.

    I also like to find reason within the chaos because without that I would be a complete misanthrope and since I have such a high opinion of myself I feel I should extend the benefit of the doubt to others, however grudgingly.

  10. Posted August 5, 2009 at 12:14 am | Permalink

    I’m just revelling in the little detail that Our Kyle started out at Townsville’s 4TO, aka ‘cow pat radio’ (as people in NQ call it). Maybe he should go back there — if they’ll have him.

  11. Posted August 5, 2009 at 8:03 am | Permalink

    Su,

    Why stop at X’s mum? Maybe Kyle and Jackie O are also victims.

    It is very revealing that you foist victimhood on the mother based on no information whatsoever but decline to do the same for Kyle and Jackie O. How do you explain that?

  12. su
    Posted August 5, 2009 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    I tried to indicate that I was speculating more generally about parents who stuff up in these circumstances. Tut tutting over appalling parenting just doesn’t provide any solutions and it is frequently the case that there is an intergenerational history.

    How is it revealing? I think people’s motivations are worth examing, whether they are poor parents or offenders. Criminologists do this all the time, without being accused of sympathizing with teh devil.

    Support services routinely provide counselling to parents because they know that people may inadvertantly make the matter worse by querying whether the child has somehow misinterpreted a benign act, dreamt it happened etc etc. Even parents less clueless than this one may not instinctively do the right thing, particularly if the accused is someone known and trusted and loved by the family.

    As to Kyle and Jackie – it’s all been said already. Rewarding sociopathic behaviour (deeply rooted or recently acquired) with multimillion dollar contracts results in escalating sociopathy. Who would have thought.

  13. Posted August 5, 2009 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    There’s a new Vile and Tacky post at the top of the blog that teases out some of the issues people have raised in this thread. It also has the added benefit of loading a little more quickly!

  14. Posted August 5, 2009 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    Su,

    Maybe Kyle and Jackie O also need support services and understanding rather than tut tutting. Maybe they have an even worse “intergenerational history” than X’s mother.

    My point here is that you pooh pooh anyone who tut tuts X’s mother yet you do exactly the same thing to Kyle and Jackie O- you even label them sociopaths. There is a profound contradiction in your thinking that you are apparently unable to see let alone explain.

  15. Posted August 5, 2009 at 10:01 am | Permalink

    spambulated.

  16. Posted August 5, 2009 at 10:50 am | Permalink

    Sorry OT,

    “Haven’t been assiduous about spam this morning – as I am marinating coriander and ginger chicken for dinner. ”

    My advice- use plenty of ginger, the more the better, and marinate the chicken and ginger in fish sauce for a few hours before cooking. That’s how my partner taught me to do it.

  17. su
    Posted August 5, 2009 at 11:05 am | Permalink

    “There is a profound contradiction in your thinking that you are apparently unable to see let alone explain.”

    Oh I give up. The mother was emotionally abusive and the appropriate reaction to that happened immediately – Docs, Police etc. It is happening in private because that is where it is best addressed. I am sorry to inform you that that will involve some counselling Mel, because salvaging the relationship between mother and daughter, if feasible, is in the girl’s best interest .

    Public cruelty for profit is somewhat different and requires a public response. Would it be good for the hosts to examine why they revel in the distress of others? Yes. I am not advocating the thumbscrews for them, just the removal of the reward.

  18. Posted August 5, 2009 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

    Su,

    I agree with your #120.

    I’m simply questioning how we decide to allocate our sympathies and brickbats.

  19. Posted August 5, 2009 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

    Su – It is almost impossible to discuss any of this without making it all seem much simpler than it really is, or without expressing apparent certainty overy things that are in reality ambiguous. And finding potential reasons for things doesn’t mean that someone should not feel the impact of the law if that is deemed appropriate. I like some aspects of restorative justice but not others.
    .
    Good point. However certain things are simple and clear-cut. We need to make them so or we couldn’t function. People who seek a middle path are often jeered at from the extremes for being wish-washy but it’s actually quite difficult. How do you cut a line between complete ethical abandon and indulgence and ridiculously severe absolutism?

    I also like to find reason within the chaos because without that I would be a complete misanthrope and since I have such a high opinion of myself I feel I should extend the benefit of the doubt to others, however grudgingly.

    🙂

  20. ceecee
    Posted August 6, 2009 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

    LE just to be a complete pedant (and I don’t know if anyone has pointed this out so far) but she may not have been statutorily raped as a 14 year old. She can still have sex with someone legally who is within 2 years older than her.

  21. John Greenfield
    Posted August 12, 2009 at 12:00 am | Permalink

    Still not a peep out of the preposterous Catharine Lumby! WTF does the UNSW pay her for?

  22. John Greenfield
    Posted August 12, 2009 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

    LE

    Touche! Perhaps a comment from Antony Loewenstein instead? 🙂

  23. Adrien
    Posted August 12, 2009 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

    the girl’s aunt and cousin have come out in support of Sandilands and O, saying the girl was “drunk” and “did not say no” when she had sexual intercourse at the age of 12.
    .
    How do they know? Where they there?

    You know I have a funny feeling that sometime during this century there’s gonna be a serious social movement pushing for compulsory neutering of fucked up families. It will be tyranny but I could see it happening.

  24. Posted August 12, 2009 at 8:44 pm | Permalink

    End welfare and housing provision for teen mothers and make abortion properly available on demand. At the moment our incentives are all buggered up. There are distressing similarities between this and the Shannon Matthews case.

  25. John Greenfield
    Posted August 13, 2009 at 4:55 am | Permalink

    SL

    Abortion on whose demand? Theirs or y/ours? 😉

2 Trackbacks

  1. […] on the one donkey that hasn’t been properly skewered in the whole Vile and Tacky episode that Legal Eagle’s already covered. Over at The Punch (a blog I haven’t encountered before), a young chap (judging by his […]

  2. By skepticlawyer » The magic of the word on May 5, 2010 at 8:28 pm

    […] Footy Show, as well as radio presenters Kyle Sandilands and Jackie-O (whose antics are described here). The Chaser have dropped some cruel clangers as well. Aristotle is right – it’s easy […]

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