Steve Price is a living oxymoron.
Or maybe just a moron.
His dichotomous attempt to leap to the defence of McGuire and co showed why he is such a poor choice of panellist to discuss controversial issues. Eddie McGuire's lack of judgement has been the subject of much scrutiny recently and it was brought up again in connection to societal attitudes towards domestic violence. Pretty much epitomising the problem, Price immediately delivered a fairly revisionist history of the event before going on to almost trivialise the issue with an argument that loosely went, “It was blokes laughing at something they shouldn’t, but they apologised so its ok.” I paraphrased a little to save writing the whole transcript but that is a pretty close approximation.
Now, even McGuire himself has apologised twice (the second apology he even appeared to admit some wrongdoing) so there was no need for Price to push this line of defence so hard. But he chose to, which left no justifiable reason for his rage and indignation when it was suggested it was something he could have been involved with in the past. “I have NEVER done anything like that” he interjected, before derailing the discussion and gruffly dismissing his fellow panellist's attempts to educate him as 'hysterical.' But why make such a fuss if he thought it was so harmless?
But Price’s self-contradictory behaviour wasn’t out of context. He is regularly aggressive and lacking in any empathy or charisma. Which raises the question of why networks have him on their shows. I for one would be very happy to never see him or hear from him in the media again.
There are two answers and neither are very palatable. Firstly, the need for ‘balanced reporting.’ It seems pretty clear the ABC is running pretty scared since the Abbott government’s inquiry into bias (even though none was found) so they will certainly feel obligated to give voice to the right side of politics regularly, but why Price? There are actually people who can politely and intelligently articulate right wing views on many subjects, but Price isn’t one of them.
Memo to ABC and other news programs: Providing balanced analysis of an issue just means treating arguments on their merits and minimising personal opinions. It does not require you to find the most ardent and vociferous believers of each side of a debate and have them take turns in pushing their agenda without ever admitting any flaw or shortcoming in their arguments. That is not a debate.
But sadly, conflict and drama sells. I wouldn’t writing this post if it wasn’t for Price’s antics and I am just one in a long line of people to have written about it, so producers maximise their publicity through characters of his ilk. But is this a good enough reason for a program that is ostensibly about mature discussion of delicate issues to try to emulate reality TV? I wish it wasn’t.