As recourse and recrimination fly around the globe in relation to 2Day FM radio hosts, Mel Greig and Michael Christian and their prank call to King Edward VII Hospital, I, like many other Australians am reflecting on that hard case, prankster, larrikin side of the Aussie personality.
Whilst there are no winners in the fall out and the aftermath of what took place on 2DayFM, it does raise questions of how far we should go when it comes to another’s personal space, Royal or not. Also it raises questions of responsibility, by that, I mean Southern Cross Austereo (SCA) taking responsibility for their actions and the consequences of their inaction!
I rarely listen to commercial radio, and it has been many years since I have tuned into talk back radio. I can recall many mornings listening to wind-ups, set-ups and send ups. Some were genuinely funny, others really appalling, and others very distressing for the receiver, usually when the radio presenters went too far.
Given the recent publicity when things have gone awry using Kyle Sandilands and Alan Jones as examples, it seems there is no end to the relentless pursuit of ways in which to stand out from the crowd and be ‘one up’ in the prankster department and of course the ratings ladder.
Even with intensive psychological counselling being given to the two presenters, there is no getting away from the fact that whilst someone taking their own life is their own call, Radio 2Day FM (not Mel and Michael) need to acknowledge their actions in allowing this prank to go to air. Their inaction/ action contributed to a very sad outcome for a nurse, her place of employment and her husband and children.
The shame…. all too much for Jacintha Saldanha, and no doubt a bawling out from the hospital directors (which no matter who says what…would have happened) would have been the final straw and consequently feeling so deeply ashamed, she ended her life.
It is not hard to understand how the call got through in the first place. I mean, come on, it is coming to the end of a night shift. It is 5.30am in the morning, the phone goes, a poor effort at interpreting the Queen is made over the phone, the call is put through. If the accent sounded a bit strange, so what? Don’t we all sound a bit croaky first thing in the morning when we talk? Why not put the call through? The same would go for the Nurse who was in Kate’s ward. Who was she to question the identity of the person on the other end of the line, once told it was the Queen? Of course it would have never entered the radio hosts mind to have hung up! Way too cool getting through to Kate’s room and continuing the hoax. In too deep now (as luck would have it)!
People have become outraged and angry, partly because of the intrusion into Kate and William’s private life and partly because this young woman took her own life. I wouldn’t mind betting there are many who are simply disgusted and fed up with radio stations, the deep poo presenters keep getting themselves into at a cost to others, and the ducking and diving that takes place with Radio station directors pointing fingers everywhere but at themselves!
I have never believed that ‘self delivery’ is a crime. In my view that decision is a personal one and as such is to be respected. The triggers that lead up to one making that decision are sometimes complex and at other times very simple. No one knows what was going on in Jacintha’s life or what she was feeling, resulting in her making a split decision to end her life. However the fact is, if the call had not taken place, this would never have happened. It is not easy for the Australian psyche to understand the reverence the British have to their royal family or to their profession for that matter.
There is something really wonderful that could come from all of this. The radio station could set up a Trust Fund for the children and ensure their ongoing education is taken care of. As for the radio hosts, well it is a bit like drink driving, when you are behind the wheel and hit someone, there is no way out. I believe this experience could really change their lives in a positive way. It often takes something tragic to occur for us to open up to new possibilities and ways of being of service in the world. Who knows the journey these two presenters will take once all the hoo ha dies down.
Let us hope that this young couple Mel and Mike can pick up their lives and learn to feel good about themselves again . In today’s technological age we are all being held accountable especially with the advent of social media. If you have a public profile – BEWARE – the clock is ticking.