As I sat down and began to rapidly skip through all my favourite online media to find an interesting enough lunch-break read, I came across an article in The Guardian about misogyny at the BBC, specifically on the breakfast show. Sold by the shocking headline – good job headline – I clicked.
To be frank, I’m yet to figure out whether the claim discussed is genuine, or just a witty parody of everything that’s most routinely (and rightly) mocked about the leftist metropolitan establishment, often referred to as first world problems.
The topic? According to former Countryfile host Miriam O’Reilly, there is a “deeply-rooted misogyny in newsrooms” which results in male presenters nearly always sitting in the position considered most senior, on the left. Her comment follows the BBC’s decision to replace veteran presenter Bill Turnbull by newbie Dan Walker, who now sits on the left-hand side of older and more experienced presenter Louise Minchin on the BBC Breakfast sofa.
A number of TV presenters contacted by the Guardian have rubbished the claim, one claiming that ‘It’s never been an issue and it’s almost unconscious where you sit. My sense was when it came to where I sat, it just kind of happened.‘ Others have confirmed the whole seating arrangement thing really is a thing.
Now, I’m not saying the BBC isn’t an old-fashioned or prejudiced institutions. Hell, I’m not even saying there isn’t deeply rooted misogyny in news studios – there probably is. But to accuse the corporation of sexism based on such a superficial and potentially meaningless layout feature as the seating plan is weak, ridiculous and unconvincing.
The real problem with such BS issues isn’t that they take up publication space, or even worse waste part of my valuable lunch break. The trouble is they bring discredit to the numerous justified discrimination claims which are still too common a part of British society in 2016. Not helpful.