Rewriting the Rule Book

n my son was born my partner and I tried to get our heads around parenting and I remember people reassuring us to do what felt right. They’d tell us ‘babies don’t come with an instruction manual’. True. Perhaps that’s why some journalists and producers are obsessed with writing one.

Coincidently when my son was born, I started watching 60 Minutes again. I had made the move in to journalism and as a freelancer need to keep abreast of what stories are being made.

In that time what I have seen is an unsettling obsession with pregnancy and alternative parenting. From donor sperm to IVF mishaps to teenage pregnancy, a woman’s body is the source of endless debate. Then once the child is born, from attachment parenting to smacking to immunisation, it is all there for discourse.

From watching these stories I came to a simple realization – 60 Minutes is a great example of one-sided journalism. Here there is no room for pros and cons, just heroes and villains. Gone are the days of probing interviews, foreign correspondents or investigative journalism.

Now I am not being naïve here, it has been like this for a while. I acknowledge I am being nostalgic. However I’m concerned that the type of journalism that has emerged is divisive. Nowadays any woman or parent who chooses to embrace the notion that none of this comes with ‘an instruction manual’ and do what feels right is immediately the villain.

Sure I should not care and just switch off, but as I said earlier it is part of my job to know what is already out there. And in my own way I try to encourage independent and alternative thinking when it comes to any of these subject areas. We have that right.

I’m also watching all this with some media literacy. I am shouting at my TV bias, sensationalism and judgment. But what of those who don’t?

What about the couples out there who have trouble conceiving and want to turn to IVF or donor sperm, only to receive a prejudicial community service announcement? Or what about that mother at home struggling with a newborn who could possibly benefit from a little attachment therapy while they adjust to life outside the womb?

There are so many vulnerable people in our community experiencing trying times. They are part of these audiences and really need balanced journalism, not a one sided view from dare I say, male dominated newsrooms.

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