opinion

All hell broke loose between Andrew O'Keefe and Mark Latham on Sunrise.

If you thought you were going to calmly enjoy your breakfast and cup of tea this morning while watching Weekend Sunrise, you were very wrong.

Things became very heated when the show began a panel discussion labelled the “The F Bomb”, with columnists Miranda Devine, Rory Gibson, Van Badham and commentator, Mark Latham.

By the way, the show is not referring to a curse word, rather Feminism. Apparently, feminism is still as controversial as the word f*ck.

Things started relatively smoothly when Miranda Devine claimed little boys are demonised and categorised as “wife bashers”.

These damning accusations made by Devine are apparently proliferated by left-wing commentators, like Van Badham, who was also appearing on the show.

However, the atmosphere grew tenser between Andrew O’Keefe and Latham when fellow co-host, Angela Cox, asked Latham whether he thought men felt threatened by women, as they grow more educated.

mark latham andrew o'keefe

Latham and Badham. Image via Sunrise.

"No, I think the average man is doing quite fine, they ignore most of the left feminist clap-trap. They ignore people like Van, who are a very more minority interest in our society," Latham said.

"She's a self-declared anarchist; way, way on the extreme left of politics. [She's] representing point zero zero one per cent of thought in Australia. But, she's safely ignored."

"...When you get away from Van's debate about women like her - left feminism is essentially selfish..."

That's when the segment really began to erupt with O'Keefe moaning, "Oh for God's sake, Mark."

After that it was a to and fro between Latham and O'Keefe, with the former Labor Leader arguing O'Keefe wasn't a participant on the panel, but merely a host.

As O'Keefe manages to say, "If you insist upon insulting the other guests...[Mark Latham keeps talking]...I'm trying to get to the bottom of the issues but you're trying to insult the other guests."

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In the background, you can hear the cries of Badham asking to defend herself, further making the point that men always seem to be dominating the conversation.

You can watch the whole segment here: 

Watching the 15-minute long segment was undeniably excruciating. It was hard to watch and any constructive conversation about feminism was lost in the ongoing arguments.

But, how can we have any constructive arguments about feminism when media keeps choosing to air voices like Latham's?

I'm all for diversity of opinion. It's fundamental for public debate that a spectrum of opinions are discussed because nothing ever changed when everyone agreed with one another.

But - and this is a big but.

Mark Latham is not acceptable.

Having a diversity of opinion should not come at the expense of vilifying, bullying and insulting other people.

We know Latham's long and exhaustive history of being a media bully.

We know he thinks Mia Freedman, Lisa Pryor and other mothers who discuss mental health are weak.

We know he thinks Rosie Batty is a national disgrace.

We know he's afraid of women having voices and of people admitting they are vulnerable.

We know all of this, but we shouldn't.

Children watching the TV shouldn't see that it's okay to viciously abuse someone. In a time where bullying seems like a problem with no solutions, platforms shouldn't be given to toxic people, like Latham.

People who experience mental health problems shouldn't be the victims of Latham's next cruel rant.

Women shouldn't have to be subjected to Latham's vile thoughts at all, let alone on national television.

The urgency to have Latham presenting his opinion in the media is not because it's valued. He wasn't invited on Channel 7 this morning because they thought his opinion was going to be constructive. Latham was on the program simply to create scandal and controversy.

If the media continues to degrade the quality of our discussions about issues such as feminism or mental health, with opinions like those of Latham's, then that's a shame.

It's a shame we refuse to have needed constructive conversation on these vitally important issues.

But, it's plainly disgusting the media believe Latham's vitriolic personality is more important than the hurt he inflicts.

He goes beyond being controversial, but is monster in the media who continues to be given a megaphone.

If the media continues to turn his voice up louder, it's a horrible stamp on what they value in society.

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