From Buerk to a Berk?

BBC newsreader Michael Buerk has obviously got a bit ‘hot under the collar’ about the prominence of women in the BBC and beyond and bemoans the fact that it is no longer a man’s world.

Is he just out of step or is he reflecting some widely held male fears/beliefs?

Men are now ‘unemployable sperm donors’, says Buerk

Claire Cozens and agencies
Tuesday August 16, 2005

Former BBC newsreader Michael Buerk has risked provoking the ire of his bosses by claiming that that the “shift in the balance of power between the sexes” has gone too far, and men are now little more than “sperm donors”.

Buerk cited women in the top jobs in BBC broadcasting as an example, saying “these are the people who decide what we see and hear”, and said society needs to admit there is a problem.

“Life is now being lived according to women’s rules”, he told the Radio Times. “The traits that have traditionally been associated with men – reticence, stoicism, single-mindedness – have been marginalised.

“The result is that men are becoming more like women. Look at the men who are being held up as sporting icons – David Beckham and, God forbid, Tim Henman.”

The former Nine O’Clock News presenter said some changes have been for the good, but asked: “What are the men left with?”

“Men gauge themselves in terms of their career, but many of those have disappeared. All they are is sperm donors, and most women aren’t going to want an unemployable sperm donor loafing around and making the house look untidy. They are choosing not to have a male in the household.”

Buerk, whose views will also be screened in a Five series on personal hobbyhorses, Don’t Get Me Started!, this week, said that when he started making the programme he “came across what I considered a very personal example of the changes that have taken place”. “Almost all the big jobs in broadcasting were held by women – the controllers of BBC1 television and Radio 4 for example. These are the people who decide what we see and hear.”

The BBC1 controller, Lorraine Heggessey, has since left the BBC and been replaced by a man, Peter Fincham, while BBC4 is still run by Janice Hadlow.

Recently one of the BBC’s most influential former director generals, Alasdair Milne, sparked a furious response when he accused the corporation of producing “terrible” programmes and laid the bla

24 thoughts on “From Buerk to a Berk?”

  1. “Men are now ‘unemployable sperm donors’, says Buerk

    MEN – Know your place

    I am (for the record) an employable sperm donor with reasonable rates 🙂


    You say binlids
    I say bollox
    You say make up
    And I say botox
    Mary Peters, Michelle Gildernew
    Let’s call the whole state off.

  3. Michael Buerk’s comments make him sound to be about sixty or seventy.

    I think he is younger than that, but he is still senile and/or out of his mind if he thinks the world is now being run by “women’s rules”. What he probably means is, he can now see the influences of women’s presence in public life, and that that is a very different world than say thirty or forty years ago when men and women still tended to live in two very separate spheres.

    He needn’t lose sleep over it; women still only earn about 58% of what men earn and still meet with the proverbial ‘glass ceiling’ in many professions. He needn’t worry that the scales have suddenly tipped overnight.

    These comments make him sound very insecure and behind the times. I suppose next he’ll be saying “There are too many Blacks getting promoted over whites”?

  4. Women in the media… whatever next…? Who would you rather see present the 10 o’ clock news? The ‘authoritive’ Michael Buerk, or the ‘glamorous’ Fiona Bruce? Or is it the other way around?

    In NI, all the ‘tough’ political TV interviews seem to be done by men – Noel Thompson, Mike Nesbitt, Devenport, McKinney, even Big Ivan the odd time.

    (Note to self: Martina’s going to kill you…)

  5. Well educated people like xxxxxx xxxxxxxx are shunted aside for more anodyne presenters like that double act with the patronising jovial comments who now appears on Newsline.

  6. Oh we’re all so PC. He has a point. That doesn’t make him a chauvinist.

    “Women in the media… whatever next…? ”
    what are you on about? He wasn’t complaining about women in the media, he was complaining about them dominating and feminising it (or the BBC at least). That’s something of a knee-jerk reaction.

    If you want to attack his views, attack his views. You’re attacking for him he hasn’t said or even implied.

    Take an example. If you see a character acting competitively on TV, how likely is that character to be portrayed positively?

    Re: the guardian comment, I fail to see what Equal Opportunities and the number of women in middle management (nationwide) has to do with the issue of the media promoting feminine traits over masculine ones.

    The author is also clearly one of those women who “sometimes misses the central thesis.” since the quote from the Adam Smith Institute she proves the opposite of her point. She claims “the Adam Smith Institute recently suggested that it was just these qualities in women that made them less likely to obtain firsts at Oxford and Cambridge.”

    Actually the quote cited an example of a male acting like a male and a female acting like a female both of whom were awarded firsts.

    Full quote:
    It is not that one approach is better than the other, just that they are different. One brings out the strengths of boys, the other brings out the strengths of girls. Girls began to do better, not because the boys ‘slumped,’ but because the exams were feminized. A Cambridge don neatly encapsulated the difference to me: “the boy sees the big picture, takes risks, and often misses important material. The girl is systematic, does the detailed work, and sometimes misses the central thesis.” He gave a vivid account of a recent oral, in which a boy and a girl were both defending their dissertation for finals. “They went to type,” he said. “The girl had done an amazing amount of detail, but had not grasped what it all added up to. The boy saw instantly what it was all about, but was fuzzy on the supporting evidence. Both of them gained firsts.”
    From How Exams Are Fixed

  7. The Beeb have a report.. based on a Daily Telegraph interview with Anna Ford.. seemingly.. although, surely someone in the Beeb newsroom could have just asked her?.. ANYway..

    Anna Ford – “He’s bonkers. He’s a dear old-fashioned chauvinist of the first order.”

    and there’s a plug in the piece too..

    “Buerk’s opinions are to be aired in a new Five programme called Don’t Get Me Started, which gives a platform for the airing of strongly-held views.”


  8. From that BBC article:
    “If you’ve been subjugated for 2,000 years, it’s your turn.” Telling that!

    “While he admitted that a lot of the changes were for the better, he added that the “shift in the balance of power between the sexes” had gone too far” What a radically chauvinistic thing to say. He needs to be hounded out of the BBC for that.

  9. Personally speaking, I have come to the conclusion, although it will and does offend a lot of people, that the blame for the preponderence of utterly mindless garbage in the popular culture of our times is to be laid squarely at the door of womankind. I realise that may sound sexist. But think about it.

    Ask yourself these questions –

    Are men really into boybands/girlbands to anything like the same extent as women are?

    Are men as obsessed with reality TV to anything like the same extent as women are?

    Would soap operas have lasted as long as they have without the predominantly female audiences who are glued to such shite?

    Are Posh & Becks REALLY that important? REALLY?

    How can a such a complete tosser as James Blunt be no. 1 in the singles AND the album charts?


    I could go on…

  10. It is sexist, dandyman, as well as stupid. Boybands are forced at gunpoint to perform are they? Who are the svengalis of the pop world? Hmmm, mostly men. We weemin are just to stupid not to fall for it I guess. Actually, are women into boybands, or is it little girls?

    I suppose you think sport and car shows are so much more stimulating than soaps? Would Match of the Day, watching grown men chase a ball up and down a field, last as long as they have without predominantly male audiences who are glued to such shite? (Personally I cannot really abide much in the way of TV, but I know I am a snob and loathe soaps and sport with equal vigour)

    Get a life, simpleton.

  11. Printemps you may have a point (however one I disagree with) about football, but seriously – you can’t blame men for boybands. If I could make a fortune by getting girls to go out and buy some godawful substitute for music because I put a picture of a pretty boy on the front, you bet your ass I’d be cashing in too.

    Oh and whatever you think of football, please don’t compare it to reality TV.

  12. I think that we are coming to an interesting time in social evolution (for want of a less pompous expression). Although boys and girls are still brought up diffierently, these differences have been decreasing and those coming of age now are doing so with less expectation of difference than ever before. Are we getting to a time when there will be abslolutley no difference as to how the sexes are brought up (and how they view themselves) or are we going to level out to a place where the differences are not down to tradition but to something more instinctive. How valid will the notions of “The traits that have traditionally been associated with men ” be in the future?

  13. Ask the thousands of men who have always done right by their kids,and wives when together. Soon as they split they are seen as money machines and the scum of the earth. Even when women get married again they are still treated as single, I am a man living with one child and the other is with her. I receive £48 a month and I payout £198. On the breadline while she is laughing at me.

  14. I am male and proud of it. Men are the true creative force behind this world. Art, science,Philosophy, Medicine, Music, all these great advances were and still are being done 98% of the time by men, but the old excuse comes out that women were oppressed and that is why they aren’t visible. If we take music as an example and that women have had artistic freedom for at least 30 years, where are the female Beatles or Pink Floyd? Look at most albums of female artists and you will find they are written or co-written by men.
    These are the aspects of humanity that differentiates us from the rest of the animal kingdom, and they are Male traits, all bourne out of our single-mindedness and testosterone. A study of mensa members found a good correlation between high testosterone levels and intelligence. Testosterone is also what drives men to commit crimes and is why so few criminals are female. Humans need testosterone, there is a medical condition where female foetuses never get any testosterone in the womb, the children that arise can only live in virtual fairy-tale of dreaming of prince charmings and babies and can barely function in society.
    A supposed female trait is cooperation, if you have watched programs like wife-swap, the apprentice or big brother, you don’t seem to see much of that going on.
    Men excel at evil and excellence
    Women excel at motherhood and mediocrity

  15. Men have a bit of a handicap in the motherhood stakes!

    Anything I have read is that men and woman overall are equally intelligent. There are more men proportionately at both extremes of the intellectual spectrum.

    Unfortunatley people in general excel at mediocrity and the education system and the employment sphere, especially the public sector renforce this.

  16. Isn’t it time someone spoke against this female favouring insanity that’s rife in the BBC and just about everywhere? Buerk does just that and now he gets crucified.

    It isn’t feminists or even women for that matter but limp-wristed quisling males like Greg Dyke who make things like they are. Male chivalry will eventually slaughter all men who are obviously their own worst enemies!

    Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

  17. Where have all you gone, wanted to get into serious debate about the issues raised. BBC have been rapped about a programme about men being DOG TRAINED by women. Adverts on TV intimating women are the only one’s in their child’s lives.
    Have you all lost your voice?

  18. MY mother and other women like her who campaigned for womens equality are totally disgusted by the double standards now employed by the young women of today.

    the real feminists wanted 50/50

    not 99/1 .

    why do fathers have hardly any rights after seperation.

    There are thousands of men like Bill above.

  19. Bill,
    Just picking this up,glad you’ve come back. Please explain to me/us how you can seriously be treated like that, and how is it justified to you.

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