Tuesday, October 16, 2007

An Abstainer Writes

Having spent the past fortnight abstaining altogether from newspapers - one form of abstinence I can heartily recommend - it is peculiarly dispiriting to be back in the world of British 'news' and find the same old stuff still churning round and round. Today the anti-alcohol wowsers return to the fray, declaring war on those notorious menaces to society, the middle-class drinkers. The aim now, it seems, is to make drinking as 'socially unacceptable' as smoking. Does any sane person seriously believe in these nonsensical 'safe drinking' guidelines? I trust not. Meanwhile, I bang my head lightly against the wall... Oh and the Nasty Party (i.e. the Lib Dems - the filthies fighters in any electoral battle) have pointed poor old Ming's zimmer frame towards the exit and given him a helpful shove. Another unsavoury bloodbath will follow, and in due course another coup. They seem to come around every few weeks. Like so much else in the 'news'.


  1. News stopped being news a long time ago. It’s now largely comment and self generated news. How many times a week are we subjected to news reports that are actually trails for upcoming programmes on the same channel, “later this evening.” It’s either that are the charity or corporate produced survey results that generate a news story. “The majority of British people now sleep in the nude, does this spell the end for the British Pyjama industry?” (A new survey commissioned by the British Pyjama Manufacturers Association has found out).

    TV news, in particular, has become a business and it's about winning the ratings war. That being the case newsvendors have to present stories in a way that they think are likely to attract more viewers. Therefore unsurprisingly extremes are the order of the day. The fact is, bad news is good news for broadcasters.

    One aspect of the news that has reached epidemic proportions is the expert. He or she is usually someone recently retired from a particular profession who is brought in to give 'insight'. Now there's no guarantee that they necessarily have knowledge of a particular scenario but that's not going to stop them spouting forth. The next phase is the follow-up expert, who may well have a different opinion from the first one and so the debate then shifts to which expert is more correct. Experts on different channels offer different expert opinions and before long the news is not reporting the news it's reporting on the opinion of the expert talking about the news. Confused? Well, that's exactly what the news is all about.

    And of course tomorrow it starts all over again.

  2. Phew! I'm not in any of those problem areas cited - that's me off the hook, statistic-wise.

    And this in the same week as they're talking of legalising all recreational drugs....

  3. The whole point of the news is to make people feel shite, and of course it succeeds.