This one caused me a bit of a quandary. As I've mentioned previously, I'm not a fan adding to unwarranted attention, but a recent public noise and its more irritating echoes have gotten under my skin. It would take an octopus on Red Bull to issue all of the slaps this situation deserves, so I will focus on the people that have made my blood boil the most. Let the opening credits play for this week's recipients;
The producers of A Current Affair
For those of you who have successfully avoided the story of Clare Werbeloff, here's the quickest of summaries - after a shooting in Kings Cross, Clare sprints to get her head in front of a TV camera and proceeds to invent an eyewitness account. The video becomes a talking point online, Clare hires an agent, and proceeds to hawk herself around media outlets after admitting she didn't actually see the shooting, saying that she didn't think it was wrong because she only lied to the media, not police. She appeared twice on A Current Affair this week, talking about how the public backlash had affected her. How the hell did someone who has interjected herself into a story about someone being shot purely to grab some attention turn into the victim of the piece? If you jump in front of a truck so you can bathe in the glow of the headlights, you have no room to whine about being run over.
But for mine, she is not the most deserving Slapcatcher here. If someone acts a fool in order to get airplay, that's their decision - it is an entirely separate decision for the media to give her that attention, and Tuesday night's edition of ACA showed an amazing commitment to bottom-of-the-barrel scraping. I'm going to give fill-in presenter Leila McKinnon the benefit of the doubt here - after "reporter" Ben Fordham's interview, McKinnon responded with a reference to this whole saga going a bit far. I choose to interpret that as a token protest to the producers about the odour this non-story was creating. Where things got embarrassing was that after McKinnon made her remark, another Ben Fordham piece was aired, namely an interview with Will Ferrell. Fordham then proceeded to ask Ferrell's thoughts on... Clare Werbeloff. He showed Ferrell the footage of the original lie, and - offering no context, no explanation, and not referring to the falsehood - asked for his reaction.
Imagine going to a job interview, and just after you list your qualifications, the interviewer asks for your thoughts on a picture that someone else's kid drew. The inventors of quizzes on Facebook can only look on in envy at just how massive a waste of time this is. And in the most recent chapter, apparently "Clare the Bogan", as she has been dubbed, is being sized up to possibly present "pop culture issue stories" for ACA. Apparently the biggest talent the producers are looking for is a mindless lust for fame (and if you've seen the original clip, you know I mean MINDLESS. If you haven't, DON'T).
While Clare puts the mole in molehill, ACA's attempts to help turn her into a mountain should be met with nothing but derision. If they are so determined to give her her full fifteen minutes, make her the public face of a new create-a-celebrity show... Dancing with the Stupid, perhaps? Or maybe Australia's Got Brain Damage. Either way, the coffin of A Current Affair's image as having anything to do with news just received another nail, and those in charge received a massively deserved SLAP.
Link: Chk-Chk Boom girl Clare Werbeloff may get ACA TV job