Reality TV columnist and political satire writer Ben Pobjie gave Macleay’s journalism students a unique lesson in disrespect today.
The writer, comedian and poet, who admits to having no journalistic skills, does what few others can do as well – write humorous pieces that deliver a blend of opinion and actuality.
He says that his job, whether writing about an episode of The Bachelorette or the current state of Australian politics, is to “disrespect everyone I write about … even if I respect them”.
“There is one very important concept that I think applies equally to comedy, satire and serious journalism, and it is the concept of disrespect,” he said.
Pobjie told students that, as a journalist, you shouldn’t try to influence the people in parliament house, but rather the people who influence them – the general public.
“All politicians are driven by fear, the fear that they are going to lose their power. I think we need to act more on that,” he said.
Pobjie said it wasn’t a reporter’s job to present public figures in a likeable way, such as the way they are portrayed on Annabelle Crabb’s show Kitchen Cabinet. Instead they should be “merciless”.
“It’s a great show and it’s an interesting show but it’s a show calculated to get viewers to respect politicians more when they should be respecting them less,” he said.
We are expected to forget about Scott Morrison’s stance on refugees for example because “he loves his family and cooks good fish”.
“While there are times when it’s important to give the facts … there’s always decisions to be made on what angles to take, what stories to report on and what’s important”.
“You can’t be as good a journalist as you can be if you are going soft on anyone or respecting their position or status.” – Lisa Solinareos
Photos taken by Noel Fisher.