It is sometimes quite trashy and that’s saying something!
Having been a journalist in a previous lifetime, and one that always believed that the truth mattered, it didn’t take long to realize that journalists should never let the truth get in the way of a good story.
Newspapers, and all other forms of media, will only write what they believe will sell, or what they think the public wants to read. The truth, sadly, is not the first thing on the reader’s mind, only that someone is to blame for something they have no control over, and it doesn’t matter who.
And the more outlandish the situation, the more the public will buy into it.
This, I guess, is why we like reading about celebrities and royalty, not for the good they might do, but the fact they stumble and make mistakes, and that somehow makes us feel better about ourselves.
Similarly, if the media can beat up a subject, like the coronavirus, and make it worse than it is, then people will lap up the continuing saga, as it relates to them, and will take one of two stances, that they believe the horror of it, and do as they’re asked, or disbelieve it because nothing can be that bad, and ignore it and the consequences of disobedience. knowing the government will not press too hard against the non-compliers simply because of democracy issues it will stir up.
That is, then the media will get a hold of this angle and push it, and people will start to think disobedience is a good thing, not a bad one.
So, our problem of trying to get a fair and balanced look at what the coronavirus is all about is nigh on impossible. We are continuously bombarded with both right and wrong information, and the trouble is, both sides are very plausibly supported by facts.
And that’s the next problem we have in reporting. We can get facts to prove anything we want. It’s called the use and abuse of statistics and was an interesting part of the journalism degree I studied for. We were told all about statistics, good and bad, and using them to prove the veracity of our piece.
I remember writing a piece for the tutor extolling the virtues of a particular person who was probably the worst human since Vlad the Impaler, using only the facts that suited my narrative. I also remember the bollocking he gave me for doing so but had to acknowledge that sometimes that would happen.
The integrity of reporting only went as far as the editor, and if the editor hated something, you had to hate it too. This is infamously covered in various texts where newspaper publishers pick sides and can influence elections, and governments. It still happens.
So, the bottom line is, when I’m reading an article in the media, I always take it with a grain of salt, and do my own fact-checking, remembering, of course, not just to fact check to prove the bias one way of the other, but then get a sense of balance.
We have state elections coming up where I live, but it does not sink to the personal sniping level as it does in the US, we haven’t sunk that low yet, but we haven’t got past the sniping about all the wrongs and failed promises of the government of the day, or the endless tirade against the opposition and how bad a job they did when they were previously in government.
You can see, no one is talking about what they’re going to do for us, no one is telling us what their policies are. It’s simply schoolyard tit for tat garbage speak. What happened to the town hall meeting, a long and winding speech encompassing the policies, what the government plans to do for its people in the next three years, and then genuinely answering questions?
Perhaps we should ban campaigning, and just get each party to write a book about what they intend to do, and keep them away from the papers, the TV, and any other form of media, in other words, don’t let them speak!
And don’t get me started about the drivel they speak in the parliament. Five-year-olds could do a better job.
OK, rant over.