Tracy Grimshaw hits back at online bullying

By David Knox on June 5, 2012 / Filed Under News 20

A Current Affair host Tracy Grimshaw last night gave an editorial following a story about online attacks against Chrissie Swan.

Swan had been criticised for a magazine story in which her children were photographed, with some questioning whether she was raising overweight children and the responsibilities of parenting. The comments gained traction in the media, including a slam from Neighbours‘ Ashleigh Brewer. None of the commentary was published here…

Last night Tracy Grimshaw drew attention to a wider issue of online comment, following the story:

“There was a wider issue at play in what happened to Chrissie Swan on the weekend and it had nothing at all to do with weight or nutiriton or parenting,” she said.

“It was about bullying.

“It was also about the often-white noise of social media versus traditional media. And how a bunch of anonymous bullies took to websites to vent their prejudice and inexplicably made the jump to mainstream news outlets.

“Remember when to express your opinion you had to write a Letter to the Editor? The paper would only run the best letters with a view to balance and content. Now there’s no such filter. And the online tyrants are running amok.

“Let them have a Twitter page, that’s democracy. But why translate their jaundiced opinions and intemperate language into news copy that’s supposed to actually carry some authority?

“Ignore them. Seriously, how can we on the one hand plead for schools and governments to tackle bullying in the playground and then reward it in adulthood by giving the online bullies a louder voice?

“Chrissie Swan who has never said a mean word about anyone was made miserable by their rants at the weekend and they should never have been given that power.”

Grimshaw certainly made some valid points, showing a skill that lends itself well to A Current Affair, and contrasting with the absent views of Matt White on Today Tonight. It’s one of her strongest attributes as a journalist.

But is there also a question of whether the show can have it both ways?

Is it reasonable to editorialise about online bullying, given that ACA recently accosted Clive James in the street in London when he is both elderly and ill? How was he able to defend himself or prepare an adequate response? Was the story even in the public interest?

I’m hoping Tracy might give us an editorial on that one, as forthright as the one delivered last night. But I’m not holding my breath.

UPDATED: A tearful Chrissie Swan thanked Tracy Grimshaw for her comments this morning on radio.

20 Comments »

  1. Steph June 6, 2012 at 8:30 am -

    Nicely said Tracy. Always thought ACA wasn’t good enough for her – hopefully one day she can front a show with some integrity that befits her.

  2. Brekkie June 6, 2012 at 12:12 am -

    Really annoys me when the media have a go at “internet trolls”, which are generally just people passing an opinion in the same way that their media columnists and commentators do – often cruelly without any concern for those they are commenting on.

    The most ironic example here in the UK has to be The Sun who ran a piece about these “trolls” criticising a girl here who had to have a wall of her house smashed down to get her to hospital due to her weight. They might have a point if it wasn’t for the numerous “Britain’s Fattest Teenager” type headlines they’ve splashed across their front page when reporting on her in recent weeks, months and years.

  3. mason June 5, 2012 at 4:10 pm -

    If she had any journalistic integrity she wouldn’t be doing this gig in the first place.

  4. jezza the first original one June 5, 2012 at 4:01 pm -

    What a shame that Tracey aired these comments on this appallling show. I never watch TT or ACA because of the trash.
    Surely if she wanted to get a better outcome she could have chosen a more suitable time and venue.

    Great points but dreadful backdrop

  5. harrypotter1994 June 5, 2012 at 1:37 pm -

    At least Tracy has a view unlike the TT hosts

  6. littletonpace June 5, 2012 at 12:16 pm -

    Maybe I heard it wrong, but I thought Tracy’s attack was more on these so-called “critics” being just random, faceless people from the public who say rude things on Twitter and the like and don’t have to own up to them like an ACA journalist would. I agree ACA reporters have bullied their viewers, but they do it face to face and on camera, not just some nasty comment made flippantly online by some bored person.

    That’s what I thought Tracy was ranting against. Which I agree isn’t really journalism, but surely it would have made more of an impact if Tracy had just said her piece and ACA had not shown the story at all. She points out the “bullies” shouldn’t have been given the platform but they’ve just aired a story centred around the bullying comments made about Chrissie. Seemed odd to me.

    All in all, I love Tracy and I adore Chrissie

  7. deedeedragons June 5, 2012 at 11:41 am -

    Tracey dug her own grave when she agreed to host this crap.

  8. Dave June 5, 2012 at 11:32 am -

    and lets not forget the ferocious attack aca made on yumi stynes and the circle not so long ago

  9. Sarah H June 5, 2012 at 10:04 am -

    It may seem like the pot calling the kettle black but I heard Chrissie on the radio, and in her teary reply she was very thankful to the story ACA ran, so if she was happy with it, so am I.

    Love you Chrissie!

  10. Butterfly Carnage June 5, 2012 at 9:30 am -

    Yes I’m sure Clive James is completely with you on that one Tracy: not. What a professional hypocrite!!
    The fact that she can point all this out (and it’s all perfectly true) but have no personal perspective or introspection. That’s sad.

  11. roaringdave June 5, 2012 at 9:02 am -

    Is this woman kidding herself? ACA has been harassing people for years. Why run the story and bring it the attention of many thousands of people?

  12. bsquaredinoz June 5, 2012 at 9:00 am -

    No. Tracy Grimshaw cannot have it both ways. ACA and TT are among the highest profile media outlets which have turned journalism into the muck-racking sport it has become in recent years…there door-stopping and chasing of various victims is just another form of bullying and so it is total hypocrisy for Grimshaw to call anyone out on that subject. If she had any eithics whatsover she’d have walked away from ACA many years ago.

  13. jonno June 5, 2012 at 8:56 am -

    Great report David. Tracy is a great journo but if she wants true credibility she cannot take the high moral ground on just one issue. You cannot be selective if you want to be righteos. I don’t like the term social media. A lot of journos like to knock it. Its like you have to be a trained journo to have an opinion in the media. Your report shows how important web media is. It allows a more diverse range of opinion. Yes, so called social media can go too far but so does so called mainstream media. If Tracy wants to be taken seriously, apologize to Clive James now.

  14. J Bar June 5, 2012 at 8:55 am -

    I don’t think ACA can take the high moral ground any more.

  15. Mr. J June 5, 2012 at 8:30 am -

    Very hypocritical, her show is the lifeblood of bullying in Australian culture. KAK comes to mind.

  16. Craig June 5, 2012 at 8:03 am -

    Tracy really need to get a better gig, does the ABC have any openings?

  17. daveinprogress June 5, 2012 at 7:46 am -

    The sooner Tracy distances herself from ACA, the better. She is so much better than the tripe she introduces. I saw that editorial, channel flipping while on a Prisoner ad break (i must have aadd – the adult version of add) and while she came across well – the double standards of what she endorses by being the anchor for that alleged current affairs program, with her skill and genuine warmth as a journo balance each other out. How can you take seriously what the woman says?

  18. James June 5, 2012 at 7:40 am -

    Onya Tracy! I couldn’t agree more. The only thing worse than bullying is cyber-bullying. If anyone wants to watch the “editorial”, click here: youtube.com/watch?v=KZ2cp934g_g&list=UUIYLOcEUX6TbBo7HQVF2PKA&index=0&feature=plcp

  19. steveany 2.0 June 5, 2012 at 7:36 am -

    Good point David, the hypocrisy is staggering, given that ACA/TT are the biggest bullies on TV. And as you suggest, it’s a bit late for Grimshaw to try to reclaim any journalistic integrity – that ship has long sailed.
    Still, watch for her to try to “reinvent” herself as her career draws to a close.

  20. simmo3 June 5, 2012 at 7:25 am -

    I commend Tracy for what she said but it was a bit ‘pot calling the kettle black’ !

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