TEN’s Carrie Bickmore came under fire yesterday after it was acknowledged that her reference to McCafes was actually part of a sponsored segment for Oprah.
Bickmore told Oprah Winfrey Aussies love to meet at McCafes during her hosting of a segment at the request of Winfrey.
“While there are a lot of differences, there is one comforting similarity,” Bickmore told the Big O. “While you have your diners, we have McCafes. Guys come for business meetings, girls come for a catch-up over coffee. It’s all just a little bit fancy.”
Yesterday The Australian confirmed McDonald’s had sponsored the segment:
The Australian asked the Ten Network and McDonald’s about the curious reference and they confirmed McDonald’s was a “broadcast sponsor and had a global arrangement directly with Harpo Productions for the in-program McCafe activity that appeared in Carrie’s segment”.
On Twitter Bickmore became the target of numerous gags and became one of Australia’s top topics:
“McScrew up? TV personality Carrie Bickmore has been labelled a sell-out after an Oprah segment said Aussies drink coffee at McDonalds.”
“Carrie Bickmore should take the criticism with a grain of salt…an all beef patty, mayo, pickles and a sesame seed bun.”
“Now americans think that we go to maccas in kangaroos to have coffee there. Thanks maccas and carrie bickmore.”
“I like Carrie Bickmore but admittedly, am disappointed by the shameless Macca’s plug. It’s not just her fault but Channel 10’s. All about $$”
The Drum said:
So it was that Channel Ten “current affairs” hostess Carrie Bickmore presented a special Aussie Countdown to introduce Australiana to 10 million viewing Americans last week. Coming from a woman who fulfils a weekday public role that is nominally journalistic, you might expect this to be an honest appraisal of Bickmore’s homeland prepared from the heart and with the deep knowledge of a country that only a native might bring. But that wouldn’t fit into the mould of modern infotainment.
The Age said:
Now it makes sense why Channel Ten’s Carrie Bickmore dropped the word ”McDonald’s” in her segment on Oprah’s Aussie Countdown, a TV special that was supposed to be about Aussie culture. The fast-food giant is a sponsor of Oprah’s Down Under roadshow, a handy fact revealed in Rupert’s Australian.
The Courier Mail quoted several Aussie coffee retailers:
“I was quite surprised. I don’t think it’s a very clear reflection of the Sydney coffee trend,” Aileen Young says. “It’s probably not showing Australian coffee culture in the right light … I don’t think it’s correct to say this is the way Australians drink coffee.”
TEN says Bickmore wasn’t paid to do the segment, but this really gets away from the point of discerning editorial versus advertorial. A McDonald’s logo did appear at the end of the show.
Bickmore’s reference was possibly at the instruction of a Producer, however it is also a measure of a journalist whether they are comfortable with their material or not.
Winfrey and two Qantas planes with American audiences are expected to touch down in Sydney this morning.