Why David Koch did not try to create a stunt

Article by David Knox /
TV Tonight /
January 23, 2013 /
Click here to view original /

Wow. I don’t think I have read so much rubbish in a long time….

Sorry, but I am still getting over the latest twist in the Kochie breastfeeding saga: an article in today’s Herald Sun suggests David Koch’s comments were all a stunt by him for publicity.

The article quotes Lauren Rosewarne, from University of Melbourne, as saying, “Breastfeeding mothers, who are already a well-organised group, seized on an opportunity that was dangled largely in front of them.

“I was watching (the program) at the time and this was so very obvious.

“Breastfeeding is an important issue but when you bite at this stupidity you downplay other real challenges (for breastfeeding mothers).”

Dr Rosewarne said breakfast chat shows were “heavily scripted” right down to the impromptu gags.

“Nothing is off the cuff like that,” she said.

“He knows how inflammatory the breastfeeding stuff is. The second he said it he was lighting the fuse deliberately.

“Five minutes after he said it they started reading the Twitter comments (on air). Why would they do that unless they were trying to create a brew-ha-ha?”

Aside from the fact that “brew-ha-ha” is actually “brouhaha,” the show has always responded to audience feedback. That’s part of the reason it became a success a decade ago, by embracing audience input.

Let me also implode one other myth straight away….

Almost everything on breakfast television is off the cuff. Even Karl Stefanovic would tell you that.

It’s pretty much only the introductions to segments that are scripted. I’ve been on the sets for Sunrise, Today (location), The Circle, ABC Breakfast News and The Morning Show. Conversations, such as the one Kochie had with his ‘Angels’ last Friday are entirely unscripted, with the exception of the introduction and participants knowing the topics in advance.

Dr. Rosewarne is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Social and Political Sciences and has previously appeared on 9am with David and Kim. I’m hard pressed to see which part of her conversation with David Reyne and Kim Watkins in 2009 was scripted. Hosts do have questions prepared by segment producers, but they are also hired for their gift of the gab.

The Herald Sun claims she also doubted Koch’s comments were a true reflection of his views.

“I don’t think Kochie is anti-breastfeeding. He has three daughters.”

Correct. Koch is not anti-breastfeeding. He reiterated this point during the subsequent debate.

His point was about a “two-way street” and discretion, and while it isn’t one I agree with, I believe they were entirely his views.

The minute television shows try to manufacture controversy is the minute audiences see right through it, and you have a far bigger problem regarding your credibility.

Australian breakfast TV is renowned for its hiring of “loose cannons” (one show even went as far as NZ to find one) and this was Kochie’s biggest fault: he should have phrased his point more delicately than to suggest breastfeeding mums were not “classy.” But that’s Kochie. Sometimes he’s like your uncle at a party who says something and everybody cringes inside. It’s not manufactured, it’s who he is and the audience knows it. For all his daggy awkwardness, he is still there hosting after 10 years because the audience believes him, and many regard him with affection. That said, Fairfax also weighs into the Kochie debate with a far more considered piece.

If anyone was looking for publicity, maybe it’s the newspaper simply trying to wring the controversy for another round?