Friday, 12 April 2013

Journalists or Autocue readers? No doubt in my mind

Coverage of the death of Baroness Thatcher has provided dozens of opportunities to scream at the TV. The major channels have been unable to restrain themselves from blaming every negative aspect of modern culture on the Thatcher legacy. I always knew that the Blair government was hopeless but you’d think they’d have been able to do something to correct her mistakes in the thirteen years they held the reigns of power. Clearly not.

I am only too aware of the polarizing impact Maggie had on the UK and I fully understand why some people despise her. I’d just prefer it if the issues were discussed in a sensible and dignified manner once she had been laid to rest. Whipping up hysteria ahead of her funeral is frankly appalling.

It’s not my intention to discuss politics here, my purpose is to point out the shabby, lazy, unprofessional and often politically motivated actions of our media. I can’t bring myself to call TV news presenters, journalists. That would imply they sought the truth with insightful, intelligent, well-researched questions. Most are chosen for their appearance and are completely lost when expected to depart from the autocue.  Two tiny, but telling examples have struck me in the last few days. The first was on Sky News this morning and involved the normally tolerable Colin Brazier.

We were invited to share the wrath expressed on Twitter that radio stations might ban the song “Ding Dong the Witch is Dead,” even though it had reached number 1. The clinching argument from Sky was that banning the song would only make it more popular thus further enriching the people who had made it. This was by definition wrong as had been proved in the past. Artists such as the Sex Pistols were not mentioned but the link was implied. Well Colin, try to follow the simple logic…

The people who made the “Ding Dong” song have done nothing wrong, they are not being rewarded for being offensive. It is the people who wish it to be played on national radio that could be accused of causing offence but they will not benefit from further purchases. This is not therefore a case of encouraging the production of offensive content. Get the difference Mr Brazier? No, I thought not.

The other item was only a minor irritant. Many people are outraged that the cost of the funeral is being met from public funds. Some have threatened to disrupt the day in protest. The question I would have loved one of our uninquisitive presenters to ask is this…

How much of the funeral bill is for the security required to combat the threat posed by people who are outraged at its cost and have threatened to disrupt it?  

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