Ever wonder what a real political interview sounds like? You're not ever going to see anything this pointed, this direct on American cable news, so be prepared to get startled a little by what real journalism looks like.
Old male pol makes a derogatory comment towards a younger woman pol (basically calling her a slut on the Senate floor), and then won't apologize or back down from his hateful remarks, despite being roundly condemned across the political spectrum
Veteran Australian journalist Virginia Trioli doesn't seem to suffer fools gladly, and didn't give David Leyonhjelm even one inch during the interview, cutting to the chase near the end, asking Leyonhjelm point blank why whenever he's confronted by women he always gets personal and bitchy. "Have you ever stopped and wondered about that?" she asked.
It can be exasperating to watch TV journalists struggle (or not bother) to shut down slippery and sexist/racist politicians, but when it’s done right, it’s oh so right. That’s what makes veteran Australian journalist Virginia Trioli’s handling of libertarian senator David Leyonhjelm so deeply satisfying to watch—a master class in dealing with a moron.
Senator Leyonhjelm appeared on 7.30, Australia’s major nightly news, to double-down on his suggestion that fellow senator Sarah Hanson-Young “stop shagging men,” in what he sees as a “very legitimate” response to “misandry.” Leyonhjelm reportedly made the comment last Thursday during a senate debate on violence against women, specifically the restrictions on pepper spray and tasers. The debate over who is responsible for such violence has been raging across Australia since the rape and murder of 22-year-old comedian Eurydice Dixon on her walk home from a gig, with women responding angrily to suggestions that they need to take more precaution than they already do.
For her part, Sarah Hanson-Young is now considering legal action against Leyonhjelm. Here's more of the backstory of the incident, from The Guardian,
I heard the words a clear as a bell. They jolted me, which is of course what they were designed to do. But I’ve heard these slurs before. This weekend marks 10 years that I have been in the federal parliament, and over this time the level of nastiness and personal attacks on the floor of the Senate chamber has gotten worse, not better.
After the vote was complete, I walked over to the Senator and asked if I’d heard him correctly. He confirmed it. Shocked by his brazen attitude, I told him: “You’re a creep.” “Fuck off,” he replied.
VIRGINIA TRIOLI: So, how is it that you can sit here and say that, but I imagine if that comment was made to any woman in your family, I should imagine you would take a very different view, wouldn't you?
DAVID LEYONHJELM: No woman in my family would accuse all men of being sexual predators.
VIRGINIA TRIOLI: And neither did Senator Sarah Hanson-Young. You certainly can't produce that quote and she certainly denies it.
DAVID LEYONHJELM: So you believe her and you are calling me a liar. Thank you very much.
VIRGINIA TRIOLI: No, I'm saying that you actually can't remember. You've said that you can't exactly remember what she said.
DAVID LEYONHJELM: And do I have to?
VIRGINIA TRIOLI: You've given me words to the effect that range across a number of different scenarios?
DAVID LEYONHJELM: Do I have to remember every word precisely for it to be true?
VIRGINIA TRIOLI: In order to justify a pretty strong comment, yeah, I reckon you do.
DAVID LEYONHJELM: No, I don't reckon I don't.
VIRGINIA TRIOLI: I've often wondered if you have ever paused to reflect on why you sometimes have such a reflex to get so personal and frankly bitchy when women take you on? Have you ever stopped and wondered about that?
DAVID LEYONHJELM: I don't accept the premise of your question.