Sunday, July 31, 2011

Child sexploitation, maybe. Media misconduct, that's a definite!

I've raised four of them but I've not worked with kids except a short stint teaching Life Skills and I'm still recovering. I was disturbed to read about the Northcote Beauty Pageant and the fascination many children had, not just for the pageant, but for their North American six year old "idol", Eden Wood. Her mother cancelled Eden's appearance two days in a row because she "feared for her daughter's safety". If she really feared for her daughter's safety, she would not be robbing her daughter of her childhood by dressing her up burlesque style,  dolling her up with rouge and false eye lashes, coaching her to sing those innuendo-ed songs whilst slapping her bottom.

But it's not just her mother enabling little Eden who, when asked, said being here was "fun". Why? Because she "got to see the koalas and the kangaroos". She could have done that without the lip gloss and the sequins unless of course her mother could not have afforded to travel here without being on the sexploitational gravy train. Anyone who's done any work in detection deception would not have seen any evidence of fun in the girl's eyes and face. She looked strained and as if she were saying what she'd been told to say by an exploitative mother.

But context is everything. The Darebin Council willing to host the pageant enabled such abuse of childhood innocence. The Aussie parents who travelled there from interstate or country Victoria encouraging their own children to worship Eden and queue for their 15 seconds of fame and a photo opp. are duplicitous. And so were rival television stations, trying to out-gazump each other with the rights to our commoditised and objectified international guest; persuading her to have a photo with two young children who turned out to be the offspring of a Channel Nine journalist; plants from A Current Affair. This was deceptive and desperate too.

The media will say they were simply covering a story and allowing us to make up our own minds. Some parents have tried to rationalise this by saying children of all generations have played dress-ups. But if attention was what feeds Eden and her mother, then that's what they got. And so the Hollywood gravy train rolls on as the innocence of our children gets run over. 

Monday, July 18, 2011

Common Sense not Common and Ethics not Easy

Don't be deceived. It's not about football and certainly not about a footballer with a gambling problem. It's about conflict of interests, insider trading, judicious decision making, ethical behaviour, organisational culture and consequences. The Heath Shaw betting scandal incident is as relevant to corporate Australia as an annual report. Sport is not immune to employee responsibility and common sense and the AFL has jumped to send that message. 
It is not the Aussie fair go or good Employee Relations practice to scapegoat someone to send a message, but it is also important to recognise that any action an organisation does or doesn't take, does send a message. We will all have different opinions on whether or not the AFL threw the book at Heath Shaw for doing what he did, but no one can argue they have taken the (legitimate) opportunity to send a very loud clear message to all for the deeds of one. 
The nexus between betting and sport just as alcohol and sport (or tobacco sponsorship of sport still in some parts of the world) is ugly and dangerous. And common sense and ethical decision making are not always common.