Kerri-Anne Kennerley Yumi Stynes Studio 10 racism
(Image: Studio 10)

It didn’t take long for lines to be drawn and sides to be chosen in the latest drama out of Ten’s morning panel show Studio 10.

Panellist and Logie Hall of Famer Kerri-Anne Kennerley suggested those marching to change the date of Australia Day didn’t care about social problems and crime in Indigenous communities. Guest panellist Yumi Stynes — the only non-white person on the panel — said Kennerley sounded racist.

Well! KAK was very offended (as people increasingly are when they are called “racist”). Producers followed up yesterday by having two Indigenous guests with opposing opinions on the show — Alice Springs town councillor Jacinta Price and former Victorian MP Lidia Thorpe. Meanwhile, the commentariat has fully embraced this latest battle in the culture wars.

In KAK’s corner

Most traditional and conservative media are supporting Kennerley. Sydney’s Daily Telegraph today has come out in full support of KAK — she’s on the front page, with Indigenous leader Warren Mundine saying it’s “stupid” to call her racist. Inside the paper, an opinion piece from Jacinta Price that supports Kennerley is given prominence over a counter-opinion from retired Indigenous figure skater and archaeologist Lowanna Gibson.

Its editorial says Stynes “played the racism card”, while on the opposite page the cartoon shows Stynes calling a barista racist for offering her a “short black” coffee.

The Teles broadsheet stablemate The Australian has also run an opinion piece from Jacinta Price, and quotes Indigenous Health Minister Ken Wyatt as defending Kennerley. Andrew Bolt has used his Sky News program and his blog on the Herald Sun website to support Kennerley’s position.

Over at Sydney’s 2GB, Kennerley defended herself on Ben Fordham’s program before KIIS’ Kyle and Jackie O called Stynes and Kennerley to talk to about the spat.

Former Studio 10 executive producer Rob McKnight published a blog post on his industry website TV Blackbox on why he would never have let Stynes on the program:

The producers and executives at 10 might be patting themselves on the back over the amount of publicity this confrontation is generating, but not all publicity is good publicity. The headlines alone are causing one of their regular presenters serious brand damage … None of these paint KAK in a good light. In fact, they are very damaging, especially when they don’t represent the point she was trying to make. Essentially, she has been thrown under a bus by a co-host and that’s not cool.”

Daily Mail Australia, which loves any kind of morning TV drama, has been dining out on the brouhaha, rewriting and churning out its own versions of all the commentary and developments.

In Stynes’ corner

Unsurprisingly, online and youth-focussed outlets have leant towards Stynes’ view. Ten’s own news website Ten Daily is leading its website on Wednesday morning with an opinion piece from Yawuru woman Shannan Dodson asking why it’s more offensive to call someone racist than it is to say something racist.

Junkee‘s coverage of the story relied more heavily on social media commentary than specific criticism of Kennerley’s comments, while Pedestrian took a swing at breakfast TV more generally and flat-out called Kennerley’s comments “racist” without qualification (which other outlets were reluctant to do). Meanwhile, Indigenous X founder Luke Pearson has published a piece satirising The Australian‘s coverage.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

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