Unfortunate Victims of a Corporate Psychopath

It could be argued that Network Ten is behaving like a corporate psychopath.


In his seminal book The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power, law professor Joel Bakan argues, “Corporations are required, by law, to elevate their own interests above those of others, making them prone to prey upon and exploit others”.

If a person was as irresponsible, manipulative, reckless, grandiose, remorseless and superficial as a corporation, he or she would be considered to have psychopathic tendencies.

This is true of most modern corporations – especially if they go into financial free-fall.

Network Ten is wielding a bloody big axe, slashing hundreds of jobs after reporting a full year net loss of $12.9 million, down from a profit of $14 million a year ago.

We are witnessing the death throes of one of the bastions of old media, which paid scant regard to the modernisation of its website, social media, and the audience.

But it’s not necessarily what you do – it’s how you do it.

A true test of character is how someone behaves when the chips are down.

Based on this, the network which brought us Modern Family are more like the Manson Family.

The most high profile sacking is that of Helen Kapalos, co-host of the network’s Melbourne news bulletin.

The popular presenter was given no opportunity to say goodbye to viewers: she was marched off-site; security pass cancelled; email account closed.

What, pray tell, was her crime?

It’s reminiscent of the time Vogue editor, Kirstie Clements, was frog-marched out of the NewsLifeMedia offices after having her phone confiscated.

Some accuse the network of sexism, for retaining veteran co-host, Mal Walden.

It is a fine TV tradition to treat boned women like rotting meat to be removed from the premises as soon as possible, while men enjoy a long farewell lunch, pats on the back, and bottles of scotch.

But what we are seeing now is equal opportunity bastardry.

In NSW, the female presenter Sandra Sully will stay, while her co-host Bill Woods is likely to be kicked to the kerb.

After being assured their show had a 10-year lifespan, staff on Ten Breakfast were yesterday told it would not continue “in the same format” beyond November 30.

That show is a crime against humanity, but nobody deserves to have their hopes raised and dashed by a corporate psychopath.

There’ll be more blood on the floor when the network nationalises the 5 o’clock news bulletin, rendering the smaller states into insignificance.

These are hard-working editors, camera operators, makeup artists and journalists.

The Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance, and workplace lawyers, are taking action against the dismissals.

But how much power does any employee have in this brave new world?

The media is a visible allegory of what’s happening in manufacturing, publishing and agriculture.

These industries have failed to keep up with changing consumer demands, advances in technology, and globalisation.

Instead of planning for the future, they’re adopting a scorched earth policy.

Witness the chaos in Queensland when Can-Do Campbell picked up a sharp object to slice and dice the public service.

No wonder there’s a crisis in consumer confidence; no one knows whether they’ll have a job tomorrow.

Here’s an idea: How about treating employees like human beings instead of numbers?

Is the power of the unions really so diminished?

Why aren’t we collectively standing up and saying, “Enough is enough”?

Employees need every weapon at their disposal to fight the corporate psychopaths.