Buerk: 'I'm a victim of silly season flam'

By Caitlin Pike

Michael Buerk has hit back at the “silly season flam” that has been
generated from comments he made about women to a Radio Times reporter.

Buerk told Press Gazette his programme in the polemic series “Don’t
Get Me Started” is serious comment, albeit personal, about the roles of
men and women in society and that he does not believe women are taking
over the world, or that if they did, it would be a bad thing.

“I
am irritated by reports saying that I have attacked women broadcasters
and resent the great strides that women have made to get to top
positions in the media, business and politics over the last few years.
It fills me with horror to think it is thought I meant anything like
that, I mean it would be suicide. Parts of an informal
conversation I had with someone at the Radio Times have become silly
season flam.”

Buerk,
on holiday when the Radio Times article came out this week, said in the
time he was at the BBC there was a marked change in the number of women
working there and the positions they reached.

“By the time I left
the 10 O’ Clock News there were women who had made it into the
positions that determine what we see and hear – controllers of BBC One,
Two and Radio Four. Some of the best bosses I have had have been women
and some were less good, as is the case if you are working for men. In
my experience, women are more efficient and caring in the workplace. It
is absurd to generalise.”

Buerk’s comments provoked a storm of
coverage including an attack from Anna Ford who told The Daily
Telegraph Buerk was a “bonkers, dear, old fashioned chauvinist of the
first order”.

Buerk said he has a serious point to make in the
programme shown next Tuesday (23rd) on Five. “In a way I wish they
hadn’t got me started after all this but I am trying to convey that
masculinity is becoming unfashionable and that traditional male values,
such as courage, risk-taking and single-mindedness can be seen as
dysfunctional. The rise of the metrosexual male, with role models such
as David Beckham, means that we have men wearing moisturiser and
becoming more feminine in order to succeed. This isn’t necessarily a
bad thing but some of the more masculine traits have led to some of the
world’s greatest achievements and the trend in society currently is to
move away from those traits.”

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