Aug 20, 2014

SBS channels Frontline, pokes ’50 psycho wogs’ for a laugh

Last week's episode of Insight made a show of trying to understand the Islamic State and its Australian supporters. But all it really did, courtesy of some strategic edits, was stoke the flames of Islamophobia.

Shakira Hussein — Writer and academic in multiculturalism

Shakira Hussein

Writer and academic in multiculturalism

The media landscape has undergone seismic changes over the past two decades, but the ABC’s 1990s series Frontline remains one of the most relevant resources for media education that there is.


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10 thoughts on “SBS channels Frontline, pokes ’50 psycho wogs’ for a laugh

  1. mikeb

    No doubt Abu Bakr was unhappy at being exposed for what he is – a racist loose cannon that the Muslim population in Aust could well do without.

  2. klewso

    Sacrificing credibility at the Altar of Ratings (to attract commercial sponsorship)?

    [I lost interest a few years back when Brockie thanked an elderly Indigenous woman for “coming down to be on the program” – and ignored her “husband” standing next to her?
    I reckon she tends to “walk with a Right limp”?]

    I still maintain – if “journalists” in this country want to learn “How it’s done” they should watch another SBS program, the PBS produced News Hour?

  3. bushby jane

    Muslim leadership in Australia needs to be more vocal telling us about their message of Islam being a peace loving religion.

  4. Kent Williams

    The Insight program is a farce. It is fairly obvious that reasonable statements are edited out, and only the cherry-picked out-of-context ones ar left in. It is clearly tabloid pseudo-journalism, and should not be taken seriously.

    I mostly stopped watching SBS years ago when the Howard Government started messing with it; too many ads, world news given a ruinous format, and sleazy tabloid shows appearing.

    It is about time SBS was given the axe. A complete waste of money!

  5. fractious

    I missed this episode (I’ll have to see if it’s on the web) so I can’t comment on the issues raised. But I have noticed (I thought it was just me for a while, till others voiced criticisms) the way the programme is run has changed in recent times, and not for the better. Brockie is an experienced journalist and presenter, with a (deserved) high reputation, which makes the way she hosts Insight these days all the more baffling – cutting people off mid-stream, frequently pursuing some narrow aspect of a broader issue that either goes nowhere or is of no significance, abandoning a theme just as it gets to the core of the matter. And, IMO, often pushing a deliberately provocative interpretation of a theme, to the detriment of both clarity and context.

    Very little of this is because of the format – Insight is based on similar shows elsewhere, and the format does a much better job of exploring complex subjects than the typical talking heads programme, let alone the superficial tripe that Q&A serves up. That said, it’s not long enough – 50 minutes minus the ever-increasing encroachment of ads leaves just over half an hour, which is nowhere near enough.

    So if it’s not the format and the presenter isn’t out of their depth, I can only conclude someone in SBS has decided the show needs more “spunk” in it so it makes the headlines more often and thus drags in “viewers”, because ratings (and ad$$$) innit. That approach might work for some, but it’s reducing one of the few programmes that tries to tackle serious subjects to the sort of deliberately slanted, provocative bilge that you can get on any shoutback radio station (or Their ABC for that matter).

    Little wonder more and more disaffected viewers are abandoning FTA TV and going online.

  6. StefanL

    “The problem, she says, is the debate-based format.“ ‘It’s an impossible task for Insight to take on a Muslim topic and do it justice using that format.’

    So what format would she like ?
    In a debate people are able to state their views openly but must accept that those views can also be challenged openly. Apparently some people can’t handle any form of criticism or dissension from their world-view.

  7. Pamela

    Inexperienced participants don’t realise the setup until too late. Many of us think that it is an opportunity for real community debate. Forget it.
    The voices Insight wants heard are individually miked up so that they can respond instantly. If a Minister is present he gets open slather. The people who are there to fill out the visuals have to rely on being chosen to be heard.
    Insight is filmed for more time than needed and then the voices which do not fit the desired format are cut out.

    This show is set up and scripted- the unwary are there to create an illusion of debate.

  8. Eva Cox

    If we want to avoid alienating young people because of anti-Muslim prejudice, we need to look at public exposure of our prejudices. This program was not fair and its location on SBS makes it more damaging than the same crap via shock jocks etc. We need to recognise that Team Australia is not a term that makes us want to belong but sets in place ways of excluding those not deemed part of the majority culture

  9. mikeb

    Blimey – the elephant in the room is trumpeting but a lot of people are pretending it’s not there.

  10. Irfan Yusuf

    You and Mariam were vindicated. Which raises the question: Why did Morsi & co go on the show? Surely they should have known from past episodes that Insight is the closest thing SBS has to FoxNews.

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