ACA’s lack of respect for Jeanne Little

A Current Affair's story on the health of Jeanne Little bordered on a gross invasion of privacy.

When I saw the promos for last night’s A Current Affair story about Jeanne Little I assumed it would be putting clarity to rumours about her health. Was somebody from the family finally going on the record?

Back in November 2009 Little had to deny a newspaper article that said she was in ill health. One magazine even used the headline “I’m Not Dying Daahlings.”

But A Current Affair didn’t clarify anything last night. The only interviews it had were with Ray Martin, P.J. Lane and Peter Timbs.

“It’s believed she’s battling a serious illness,” said Leila McKinnon.

Then Ray Martin shared his memories.

“Jeanne was just unique,” he said. Past tense.

“She hasn’t been seen for, probably quite a while out in public,” said former TV Week writer Peter Timbs.

“It’s really sad to see someone who was so vibrant, just losing basic abilities,” offered P.J. Lane, son of Don Lane. “It’s horrible.”

What followed were more memories of Little, clips from The Mike Walsh Show, Midday, an old interview with Little and an interview with her daughter from a Foxtel documentary. The words “ACA: Exclusive” were carried throughout.

“Hard to believe the darling of Australian television is understood to be battling for life,” said reporter Ben McCormack.


That’s journo talk for ‘we didn’t get it confirmed / we know but can’t go on the record / somebody else got the interview.’ I’ve even succumbed to it myself on occasions -but hopefully never in relation to something so deeply private.

“There’s talk out there that she may have Alzheimers, she hasn’t been seen in a long time and those who have seen her say she’s not looking very well,” said Timbs, “and the word on the street is that she may have Alzheimers disease, which is quite sad.”

No respect for a woman who gave years of service to the Nine Network.

I won’t go on with the rest of the details, but the whole thing felt like an obituary.

It even ended with McKinnon’s footnote, “We do wish Jeanne and her family all the very best at this difficult time.”

A time now made even more difficult by an invasive report?

Seriously, what was the motivation behind this story?

Does another media outlet actually have a member of the family on the record?

Watch this space.

63 Responses

  1. Being the only offspring of elderly parents I have first hand experience of having to cope with illness and aging. Personally if her relatives are using this as publicity it is not only a sickening attempt of publicity but total lack of respect and dignity. As to the ACA and Today Tonight your action are beneat contempt.

  2. I saw ACA on that story … and my heart goes out to Jeannie & her family.

    But I did note … all weekend Today Tonight have been advertising the same
    story … we know who it is … even if they don’t name her … we can recognise the
    voices of her daughter and husband …

    I know it seems news to them … both of them ..

    But I do find it an invasion of privacy … yes she was in the public eye …
    but we haven’t seen her for a long time … and this kind of story is private …

    I have personal experience of this kind of illness (and I’m not famous) so I know, it is very hard on family … but it’s the cruelest kind of illness …
    and it should be dealt with in private … that’s all I will say.

    My heart goes out to her family & friends xxx

  3. I saw the story,and found nothing wrong how it was done.As well as hearing comments from people we viewed some of the stuff she did on the Midday show in all her dresses she would wear and even singing.Even vision of her winning the Gold Logie.On Today Tonight tomorrow you will hear the full details when a family member speaks about it,and how she’s going.Why this ACA story is a concern is beyond me.Nothing like a slow news day

  4. Lets face it – both ACA and Today Tonight are as bad as each other. Thier standards of ‘current affairs’ these days is pitiful. The shows are both nothing but tabloid magazines and clearly have very little standards. The ads are bad enough – at least 10 have an option to turn over to now.

  5. @Jaye you made me laugh and laugh and laugh…vampire Ray…he he he. as for the original article about Ms Little i wouldnt expect less of any of the tabloid vulture shows.

    as for the DvL….I’ll watch from the sidelines and enjoy. And yes I have taken note of the comments made by certain regulars and it isnt hard to work out which side they are punching for.

    oh btw I’m working for ch 31. just kidding.

  6. Lucy, Lucy, Lucy. I work in the dreaded media. If indeed you work for Any media outlet and you make comment defending (or critiquing) any media outlet, you have a responsibility to not only your employer, but the people who read this blog site, to “come clean” and tell us so. The same way I would if I was defending or being critical of another outlet. Anyone who works in the media knows better than that

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