Rule one of in the news presenter rule book, when interviewing anyone do not let your own personal experience cloud your judgement and line of questioning. This rule clearly went out the window with this Sky News presenter. In an interview on Britain's housing crisis, Sky News presenter Jayne Secker was labelled "patronising" after she (a landlord herself) had what can only be described as a rant about the competence of young tenants.
You can watch this full interview here:
Sky News anchor (who also happens to be a landlord) decides to turn an interview about housing policy into an irrelevant and patronising rant about her tenants pic.twitter.com/ITlohPAVip
— Jon Stone (@joncstone) April 15, 2019
In the interview, Secker is speaking to the recently-evited tenant Kirsty about the cost of renting in London. Straight of the mark, Secker is quick to jump to the defence of landlords. Kirsty shares her current situation renting in London highlighting the difficulty of finding a new place to rent within two months of being evicted. Showing little or no empathy, Kirsty responds:
But that's not the landlord's fault, is it? That's just the housing market. The landlord would have the same issue if you decided to move out in two months.
Kirsty replies that it's a systemic problem, and addressing the price of raising rents argues why should it be so hard to live secure lives. And here comes Secker's biased and patronising rant:
I suppose some would say, and I am speaking as someone who has rented flats and who also rents flats out, that especially with the younger generation, you very often find that the younger tenants don't really know how to do a great deal in homes.
"I, for example, have had tenants complaining that lights have popped because they don't know how to change lightbulbs. I've had tenants complain about heating... and they haven't turned the boiler on. It's just very obvious things.
Secker then poses that patronising question:
Do you think you've found amongst your friends, perhaps, that you're aren't equipped with the necessary skills to rent?
Calling a spade a spade, Kirsty understandably responds that she finds the question 'patronising', and Twitter agrees.
In another glorious day for Britain's oh so impartial broadcast media, a Sky News presenter who is a private landlord uses an interview about Britain's housing crisis to slag off private tenants. https://t.co/e5MmEmRSZ0
— Owen Jones? (@OwenJones84) April 15, 2019
What kind of patronising gibberish is this from @SkyNews?
A wealthy landlord-journalist thinks young people don't have the common sense to rent and that it's ok to evict them? @kirstar19's point stands unanswered:
"Why should it be so hard for us just to live secure lives?" https://t.co/DLEiqX5L9l
— StopUKPoverty (@StopUKPoverty) April 15, 2019
Secker has since apologised following the backlash from the interview.
Clearly yesterday I got the tone and content of an interview wrong and it has upset many people. I am sure many of us will have made a mistake at work - unfortunate for me mine is a lot more public than most. Please be assured I have taken the many comments on board. Mea culpa.
— JayneSeckerSky (@JayneSeckerSky) April 16, 2019