Yesterday, Sunrise absolutely topped itself by assembling an all-white panel to discuss whether we should do another Stolen Generations.
It was an entirely uncritical response to a Daily Telegraph piece, ‘Let white families adopt Aboriginal children‘, using quotes from Assistant Minister for Children and Families David Gillespie.
Sunrise assembled commentators Prue MacSween and Ben Davies to discuss with host Samantha Armytage – none of whom are Indigenous, and none of whom have any expertise in Aboriginal affairs – this deeply nuanced, complex and sensitive issue. They gave it two-and-a-half minutes, and MacSween advocated for the Stolen Generations.
This was actually said today on Australian TV. “Just like the first Stolen Generation where a lot of people were taken because it was for their wellbeing… we need to do it again, perhaps.”
We apologised for a reason. This statement is a fiction. #auspol
— PatriciaKarvelas (@PatsKarvelas) March 13, 2018
MacSween called repeating this deeply traumatising, state-sanctioned abuse a “no brainer”. Davis railed against “politically correct nonsense”.
The segment was widely, widely condemned for not just being blatantly racist, but also being factually wrong. As Indigenous writer Amy McQuire wrote for IndigenousX yesterday, “Aboriginal children are being taken away at exponential rates and these rates have grown every year since Kevin Rudd gave his apology to the Stolen Generations and promised it would ‘never happen again’.”
After a full 24 hours of coverage on Sunrise‘s white saviour complex, Armytage took to Twitter not to apologise, but to tell people to “watch the video before commenting”.
Sam, mate, we all watched it. It’s still bad.
Watch the video before you comment, so you know what actually happened.
I hosted a segment based on a News Corp piece quoting the Fed Ass. Minister for Children.
Relying on a hysterical #Fairfax piece is irresponsible. https://t.co/ZZaZMgF9bP
— Samantha Armytage (@sam_armytage) March 13, 2018
Here’s the video, by the way, if you want to see exactly what was said and who agreed with what (spoiler: it’s another Stolen Generation).
A Minister has suggested that white families be allowed to adopt abused aboriginal children to save them from rape, assault and neglect.
Does he make a good point? pic.twitter.com/zkUNfDUi4s
— Sunrise (@sunriseon7) March 12, 2018
The video was a low point in the already dire world of (white) breakfast television. To quote McQuire again, “these are complex situations that do not deserve the two-minute sermonising from white people who have no understanding and no real interest in Aboriginal children.”
To say Armytage’s defence isn’t going down too well is an understatement.
Sam, even outside of what your guests said, you got very basic facts wrong.
You misinformed your audience.
— Helen Davidson (@heldavidson) March 13, 2018
So basically your response to the genuine anguish of many Aboriginal people about this has involved zero self-reflection?
— Lisa Pryor (@pryorlisa) March 13, 2018
Irresponsible is such a key word here. You relied on another outlet’s product that you did not verify that contained quotes that that same Minister then said were incorrect. Your characterisation of child removal rates since the Stolen Generation was very wrong.
— Jacqueline Breen (@Jacqueline_E_B) March 13, 2018
Even the author of the Fairfax piece Armytage referenced, Broede Carmody, weighed in.
First I was called bitchy. Now my story – about what was said and the reaction to it – is hysterical. Ladies and gentleman, the host of Australia’s most-watched breakfast show. https://t.co/cj7OSRSDD8
— Broede Carmody (@BroedeCarmody) March 13, 2018
Channel 7 has yet to comment on the situation. Meanwhile, go read Amy McQuire’s piece on the situation and just how very, very wrong Sunrise got it over here.