Why David Koch did not try to create a stunt

2013-01-23_0138Wow. I don’t think I have read so much rubbish in a long time….

Sorry, but I am still getting over the latest twist in the Kochie breastfeeding saga: an article in today’s Herald Sun suggests David Koch’s comments were all a stunt by him for publicity.

The article quotes Lauren Rosewarne, from University of Melbourne, as saying, “Breastfeeding mothers, who are already a well-organised group, seized on an opportunity that was dangled largely in front of them.

“I was watching (the program) at the time and this was so very obvious.

“Breastfeeding is an important issue but when you bite at this stupidity you downplay other real challenges (for breastfeeding mothers).”

Dr Rosewarne said breakfast chat shows were “heavily scripted” right down to the impromptu gags.

“Nothing is off the cuff like that,” she said.

“He knows how inflammatory the breastfeeding stuff is. The second he said it he was lighting the fuse deliberately.

“Five minutes after he said it they started reading the Twitter comments (on air). Why would they do that unless they were trying to create a brew-ha-ha?”

Aside from the fact that “brew-ha-ha” is actually “brouhaha,” the show has always responded to audience feedback. That’s part of the reason it became a success a decade ago, by embracing audience input.

Let me also implode one other myth straight away….

Almost everything on breakfast television is off the cuff. Even Karl Stefanovic would tell you that.

It’s pretty much only the introductions to segments that are scripted. I’ve been on the sets for Sunrise, Today (location), The Circle, ABC Breakfast News and The Morning Show. Conversations, such as the one Kochie had with his ‘Angels’ last Friday are entirely unscripted, with the exception of the introduction and participants knowing the topics in advance.

Dr. Rosewarne is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Social and Political Sciences and has previously appeared on 9am with David and Kim. I’m hard pressed to see which part of her conversation with David Reyne and Kim Watkins in 2009 was scripted. Hosts do have questions prepared by segment producers, but they are also hired for their gift of the gab.

The Herald Sun claims she also doubted Koch’s comments were a true reflection of his views.

“I don’t think Kochie is anti-breastfeeding. He has three daughters.”

Correct. Koch is not anti-breastfeeding. He reiterated this point during the subsequent debate.

His point was about a “two-way street” and discretion, and while it isn’t one I agree with, I believe they were entirely his views.

The minute television shows try to manufacture controversy is the minute audiences see right through it, and you have a far bigger problem regarding your credibility.

Australian breakfast TV is renowned for its hiring of “loose cannons” (one show even went as far as NZ to find one) and this was Kochie’s biggest fault: he should have phrased his point more delicately than to suggest breastfeeding mums were not “classy.” But that’s Kochie. Sometimes he’s like your uncle at a party who says something and everybody cringes inside. It’s not manufactured, it’s who he is and the audience knows it. For all his daggy awkwardness, he is still there hosting after 10 years because the audience believes him, and many regard him with affection. That said, Fairfax also weighs into the Kochie debate with a far more considered piece.

If anyone was looking for publicity, maybe it’s the newspaper simply trying to wring the controversy for another round?


    • I didn’t know having an opinion made me biased? Read the First on Nine / Seven story lately? Read the story where I disagreed with Koch?

      Looking at all your pro-Nine comments across this site I’d say Pot. Kettle. Black.

  1. Although I agree with you that Kochie’s comments were not scripted, the media absolutely love these stories because it’s a topic which normally has a lot of for and against opinions and starts a debate and creates a bigger audience. In the end the media makes money of an audience, so I wouldn’t be suprised if Sunrise actually comes out of this thing quite well.

  2. cynical old codger

    Anybody and I mean anybody who has watched Kochie on Sunrise more than a couple of times, would know that this was typical Kochie.
    And in my opinion, if Sunrise had tried to actually engineer this as a stunt, Kochie would have definitely Stuffed it Up.
    But there is a couple of things that are of equal importance, at least to one such as I, being of an older generation, as encouraging breast feeding is, to our young future generations.
    The most scary is with the power,direction and speed, into dangerous and unknown territory the “twittersphere and Social Media” is leading so many ” Down”.
    Another is an attempt to deny someone the right to have a polite opinion of their own, again by social media and the speed of ones thumbs.

    At the risk of doing a Kochie, another thing that concerned me during the protest (unfortunately now learned by my own uninformed experience) was the number of fair, young, thin of skin,but no doubt much loved uncovered heads out in the sun.

  3. No wonder Newspapers are losing readership with garbish like this.How can you possibly toatally script a 3.5 hr Breakfast show in this country. I was following this story closely on News.com.au and The Age websites and they were really milking this story (no pun intended). One minute they were bagging Kochie to the max then when they realised Kochie also had a lot of support they started supporting him. This TV Tonight article is probably the best i have read on this story. Well done and no wonder people are turning to the web for alternate views.

  4. Meh, Herald Sun. Typical Murdoch rubbish. The Fairfax article was interesting though. The “blokey everyman schtick” wore thin for me a long time ago.

  5. Hear hear! What a lot of rot this whole thing has been. All over the word “discreet” which seems to have been misunderstood and reinterpreted.

  6. carolemorrissey

    That’s exactly right. Kochie is Kochie and stuffs up sometimes, but it is never intentional. I watch Sunrise & Today and they are definitely not scripted, only the news part is. They have discussions and panels with guests and express their opinions. I was watching when Kochie made those comments, and you could tell he was sincere and was just expressing his opinion. He was a bit clumsy in expressing it and could have worded it a bit better.

  7. you are correct David in your article…these segments are a discussion and are not scripted… but in most cases, and im not suggesting this was the case in this instant, that the questions in these segments are scripted or at the very least planned …and most of the presenters wear a bug, so that the segment producer can “suggest” a question or comment to the presenter to take the discussion in a particular direction…. sometimes some presenters get told something in the ear piece as “just off the cuff” which isnt meant to go to air…and its just “accidently”comes out of the mouth of the presnter… either way…its good publicity for a show that has been trailing in the ratings to remind people that the host can be a little left of centre…and people may watch…interesting to see if Sunrise ratings change

  8. Very well said David. It has always been obvious to me that most of what is said on brekkie TV is off the cuff. Lauren Rosewarne needs to do her research before writing articles that are full of misinformation.

  9. Couldn’t agree more David, Kochie really is the dorky, embarrassing uncle and whilst I too don’t agree with his comments, that was definitely him! Kochie has done this before, putting his foot firmly in his mouth, any suggestion that this was planned is ludicrous.

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