The BBC has faced various allegations of sexism and ageism from female presenters, including a landmark tribunal case last year when former Countryfile presenter Miriam O'Reilly won damages after she was ditched from the show in favour of younger talent.
But Cole, who spent 27 years as a reporter on Anglia Television and the BBC, said that men were just as likely to suffer discrimination at the BBC, claiming he experienced five years of rejection because he looked "too young".
"I have to smile every time a middle-aged female television presenter comes out of the shrubbery complaining that her honour has been tarnished by those wicked people at the BBC who have failed to promote her, to renew her contract or, in extreme cases, sacked her," he wrote in the latest issue of the Press Gazette.
"What do these women expect? It matters how you look on television. The studio lights aren't kind to ageing skin. Without exception, they all got their first jobs on the box when they were young. And they got those jobs, at least in part, because of their looks."
In the combative article, Cole claimed that TV producers should be able to select presenters based on their age, gender, colour or race, because the casting of talent is a key factor in making programmes a success.
"The creative process should not be skewed, and the producer's freedom constrained, because any woman believes she has the right to a permanent place in a visual medium," he said.
"There aren't any gorgons on television and with the possible exception of Patrick Moore, there aren't any strange-looking presenters either. Gargoyles are for cathedrals."
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Cole, who served as a BBC correspondent between 1968 and 1988 and won two Royal Television Awards, went further to say that "all of us, men and women and children, prefer to see young, good-looking people, unless we are very unusual indeed".
In an article headlined "Prejudice and discrimination in television? It's nothing new", Cole claimed that he had suffered discrimination "every bit as disheartening as anything a TV sofa queen has ever had to suffer".
He said that he had endured five years of rejection at the BBC "not because I looked too old, but because I looked too young". He said this meant he struggled to secure a position on the BBC desk in London, but "unlike the women who complain of unfairness, I said nothing".
Cole, who moved into public relations at the Harrods and House of Fraser group in 1988, said that presenters such as Angela Rippon, Anna Ford, Selina Scott and Julia Somerville are "all talented broadcasters", but they should feel "fortunate" that they have "natural gifts that men can never hope to match".
"Look at the male news presenters: Mark Austin, Alastair Stewart, James Mates, Chris Eykin, Ben Brown, Nicholas Owen. All of them have been successful on-the-road reporters with a body of great stories to their credit," he wrote in the article.
"Consider the women news presenters: Natasha Kaplinsky, Julie Etchingham, Fiona Bruce and all the stars of breakfast television. They may do a serviceable studio interview and sometimes have to present a bulletin from abroad.
"But they are really there, on our screens, because they are attractive women who can read the teleprompter convincingly and they wear some beautiful jackets."
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