Politics

Everybody Is Pissed At ‘The Today Show’ For Interviewing An Anti-Mask Conspiracy Theorist

"Why even give her the time of day? They knew what her response would be."

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Traditionally, media have to give consideration to ‘balance’ — commonly and sensibly interpreted as taking into account both sides of the argument. Unfortunately, in recent years this has manifested into giving equal airtime to both sides, even if one of those sides absolutely doesn’t deserve it.

We got yet another glimpse of this this morning when The Today Show welcomed on anti-mask advocate Lizzy Rose to broadcast her conspiracy theories to a national audience. Hosts Karl Stefanovic and Ally Langdon clashed with Rose, a professional psychic who went viral after posting a video of herself arguing over masks while shopping in Bunnings. It’s one of several that have popped up in recent days.

Throughout the interview Rose said the coronavirus statistics aren’t true, claimed the virus was “biochemically engineered intentionally” and said wearing a mask was a breach of her human rights.

When Langdon challenged her on her medical qualifications Rose claimed to have worked as a medic in the past. Soon after Stefanovic cut her off and shut down the interview.

“I think the issue is you deliberately went into that place to antagonise workers who are literally just trying to do their bit for the country right now, and protect other people from passing on this killer virus, which is what it is,” he said.

“You have and espouse all these weird, wacko beliefs and unfortunately there are people out there who are going to believe you, and who are going to side with you, and that is just irresponsible in this current climate.”

“I can’t even listen to you.”

After wrapping up the interview Stefanovic apologised and called her comments upsetting.

“It’s wrong. I’m sorry. I thought we’d in some way shape or form get to a reasonable excuse as to why she was doing that, otherwise we wouldn’t have got her on in the first place,” he said.

Langdon said they believed it was important to hear her thoughts.

“We felt it was actually important because this is happening over and over again, that Bunnings staff members who are doing the right thing are faced with this type of activity, and we felt it was important to hear her point of view,” she said.

There have been a number of videos circulating that show people falsely claiming that wearing a mask or adhering to coronavirus restrictions violate their human rights as “sovereign citizens”.

That happens to be a very extremist view held by a small sample of people who’ve clearly spent too much time on Facebook. But people have been critical of the way these views have been amplified by excessive media coverage, even if that media coverage depicts them in a negative light (Junkee is not immune from these criticisms).

While incidents like this tend to get attention because of their sheer stupidity, it’s important to remember these anti-mask conspiracy theorists are not in the majority, and most people are happily doing the right thing.