“We expected to be hung up on – that was the joke” The two announcers at the centre of the royal prank-turned-tragedy have faced the cameras on both ACA on Nine and Today Tonight on Seven. It remains to be seen how the majority of the public react to their appearance. If early comments on the 2Day-FM facebook page are indicative of a trend it doesn’t look too flash.
For some, nothing they could have done or said would have appeased them. Let’s face it, there are those who still believe that Lindy Chamberlain is guilty because her eyes are too close together.
At first blush, it seems that Mel Greig and Michael Christian did the best that could be done under the circumstances. It was either talk now or wait until the British media, who are here in legion, hunt them down and catch them unaware. It’s a little like handing yourself into police rather than waiting to be arrested. It’s the right thing to do.
Clearly the duo was aware that there was a lot at stake, not only for themselves but for their 2,000+ colleagues at the company for which they work. Never before had they been subject to such intense scrutiny from an audience hanging on every word and dissecting their body language to determine whether they were truly sorry or just sorry for themselves
Yes, it was evident that they had been well coached and at times their professional media experience seemed to get in the way of sincerity.
When asked several times in different ways about how this tragedy had affected their careers and them personally, each time, they dodged the question and insisted that it wasn’t about them but Jacintha Saldanha and her family.
Same with the question of who made the decision to put the segment to air. Each time, in both interviews, on both channels they spoke only about a “process.” They made it clear that their involvement in the “process” was merely to pre-record stuff which they hand on to other departments who then decide whether it goes to air.
But who makes those decisions?, the interviewers pressed.
People who are part of the “process,” the duo insist.
Who came up with the idea for the prank? the interviewers persist.
The team, the duo reply as one.
No names, no pack drill. In the end Mel & Mike make their case that the decision to broadcast the prank was out of their hands, but they weren’t about to dob in their mates, or management, either.
Coaching was also evident in the way they laboured SCA’s core defence that’s been part of all their communications thus far: that no one could have possibly foreseen the tragedy that occurred.
Despite that, the pair were able to add weight to this argument by explaining that they really never expected to get so far. The joke was never about humiliating anybody. They fully expected that whoever answered the phone and heard their poor impersonations would immediately smell a rat and hang up on them… or better still abuse them for being a couple of idiots. The joke was supposed to be on themselves.
I found this explanation entirely believable.
The problem was, of course, that, to their surprise, they got through and carried on. The result was that, instead of recording a common or garden stunt, they ended up with a world exclusive… one that they were keen to air. Denying this to Tracy Grimshaw was, I believe, the pair’s greatest misstep.
But Mel’s tears were real, shed partly for the remorse she felt that a woman may have died as result of something she had done and partly because so many people now wished her dead too.
Cyber vigilante group Anonymous is in no doubt who caused the nurse’s untimely death.
Yet, there is not one scintilla of evidence to prove that Jacintha Saldanha, a 46 year old mother of two, who was trained to deal with all kinds of trauma in her professional capacity as a nurse would find life no longer worth living simply because she put through a phone call from two idiots to another nurse on Kate Middleton’s ward.
No one should have the right to condemn anybody until all the evidence has been tested and the coroner has delivered a finding. So far no evidence whatsoever has been put forward other than Mrs Saldanha took a prank call three days before she was found dead in her quarters. The idea that the two events are linked, at this stage, is pure conjecture.
It seems that many who populate facebook and twitter are driven less by grief for Mrs Saldanha than their need to find someone to blame, guilty or not.
If in the end it is indeed proven that Mrs Saldanha ended her own life because she felt she had somehow been humiliated by all the media attention, then which media is that? The 2Day-FM signal doesn’t extend to London.
It was the British press that drew attention to the prank call and whipped this story into a frenzy. To be fair to them, if they had foreseen the consequences of their actions, they wouldn’t have done what they did either. But they didn’t, so they did.
Either way, this tragedy will haunt these young people for the rest of their lives. What else do we want from them, blood?
Speaking of the British press, the Daily Mail who’s been leading the charge against the Aussie pair has been accused of editing out posts that don’t conform to their view. The one below was sent to us by (name witheld) as an example.
Below is a random section of posts on 2Day-FM’s facebook page from about 8:30pm Monday 10/12/12
Megan Bryson After watching their interviews, I’ve come to believe they’re only sorry for themselves.. If their tears were genuinely for Jacintha and her family, they would’ve accepted some responsibility.