Plunging into despair over a glimpse of cleavage

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by John McNamee

That’s it! The ABC TV people have gone too far this time.

As if in defiance of my blistering column of two weeks ago, when I expressed concern over what they were doing to the stately image of their chief newsreader Juanita Phillips, they’ve gone right over the top now (no pun intended).

Two weeks ago I admitted I was shocked to the core when instead of being a figure of urbane serenity sitting behind her news desk, Juanita was prowling around in front of a back projection screen and displaying her knees!!

Now as if this wasn’t bad enough, the other night she was back in front of the projection screen not only with the knees visible…but also quite discernible cleavage!!!

Now when I say cleavage, I’m not talking Maria Venuti  here or anything like a Marie Antoinette décolletage.

But believe me, I know cleavage when I see cleavage.

I see it all the time, in the street, in the supermarket aisles, in the coffee shops (sometimes with gurgling infant attached thereon), all over the beaches, and even on solemn occasions.

I get a sense of panic sometimes when a woman with a loose top on bends down in front of me and I’ve got to swivel the arthritic neck around quickly so the manly gaze doesn’t alight on the sights within.

When I told the wife I was writing another column about Juanita, this time about her cleavage, she suggested that maybe I needed to get out more or take up an uplifting hobby (there I go again!!).

Well that may be so, but quite frankly it’s not something I like to see when I turn on the ABC TV news. As I explained before, Juanita has always been a cut above the rest and certainly doesn’t need to resort to these flaunting of feminine wiles to enhance her mastery of the art of newsreading.

Now can you imagine the doyenne,  Lee Lin Chin appearing in her nightly SBS TV bulletin with her blouse unseemingly and undecorously unbuttoned?

I think not. There’d be an outrage, certainly among some more skin-sensitive sections of our multicultural society.

Would they suddenly deck out Juanita’s male colleague Jeremy Fernandez in a blue tradie’s singlet and Yakka shorts or Graham the weather man in Hawaiian shirt, boardies and thongs?

But I’m not getting into those areas…I’m talking from my experience after more than 40 years in journalism.

One of the great rules we lived by should be as prominent in the mind of the new breed of news people as it was with us….NEVER UNDERESTIMATE THE INTELLIGENCE OF THE PUBLIC.

I’ve never worked on TV news, only newspapers and the occasional stint in radio, so I won’t presume to tell the TV news producers of today how to do their job.

But I can say with some conviction to the ABC TV chiefs, a great news reader such as Juanita Phillips does not need to be exploited in that fashion.

Luckily, there have been no further cleavage sightings to date and Juanita, that’s the way we old blokes prefer it.

caption: Juanita…the way we like to see her

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