Those at the top think we can’t see what they’re up to


There is something very strange going on with the media at the moment.

There is an abundance of reportage of subjects that are either immaterial or surprisingly making the headlines at all. There is also outrageous support from within the industry of the notion of subscribing to news websites irregardless of the reality that a large percentage of the population will simply look to the BBC for their instant news injection.

We are all well aware the News Corp has a slanted view of the world of politics, after all the US’s Fox News is one of the most biased and bullyish media outlets in existence in the Western world and the red and blue political parties have their spin doctors and allies in the editorial offices of Fleet Street. Everybody seems to have a stake in the daily Nationals and it bothers me that we are being driven to distraction away from the news that should be making the front pages.

Granted, sometimes reality plays a fortuitous trump card on the front pages. If you can remember where you were the night Michael Jackson died then you may recall.

I was watching Newsnight and Kirsty Wark was reading through the headlines for the next morning – the BBC’s very own expense scandal. The Director General’s unnecessary expenditure on flying not just himself, but his entire family back home cutting their holiday short following Sachsgate was just one of the stories echoing the MPs expenses scandal brought to us by the Telegraph just months before. Unfortunately, the newspapers had to change tack sharpish to beat out the competition brandishing the King of Pop’s sallow face on news stands the following morning – and the story was never heard of again (well it was but nobody really cared).

So yesterday I clocked the Lib Dem conference in Bournemouth and for the first time I heard key political players discussing in depth the issue of the graduate unemployed, an issue I have been championing with this blog for obvious reasons.

Nobody with influence has talked about this very important issue seriously. Channel 4’s documentary, Middle Class and Unemployed touched on it as part of a broader issue but nobody has made enough of a noise to catapult the crisis to the front pages.

The mid-afternoon news following the conference merely covered Nick Clegg’s pledge to become Prime Minister and his desire for the Liberal Democrats to beat out the red and blue competition. Wellyes. And? None of the major news broadcasts covered the content of the speech let alone the newsworthy points made by the councilor, young politician and Clegg regarding the fact that my generation will be paying for our predecessor’s mistakes for the rest of our lives.

As a journalist, all bias aside, making light of a subject such as this should merit front page attention. Heaven knows its affecting enough 20-somethings and their parents out there!

Tescos today, the front pages are covering the Anglo Saxon gold (relatively front-page worthy), water on the moon (page 4 at the very most) and the fact that Gordon Brown is not in Barack Obama’s diary today. Media spin at work.

Lockerbie bomber aside, there is no proof that Obama has ‘snubbed’ Brown whatsoever. He’s a busy guy, the G20 is a busy event. This isn’t Hollyoaks, its politics! It is non-news generated entirely to keep red ahead of yellow in the media. After all, there’s no such thing as bad publicity except your own obituary… unless you’re Michael Jackson.

Spin and propaganda are cunning cogs in the media machine however when is spin having too much of a strangle-hold over what ought to be brought to the public’s attention? The MPs expense scandal has been the best example in recent years of the media outing those in power and so we know it is still possible if the story is big enough.

Another notion that I have touched upon in previous blogs is that of pay-per-news. The fundraisers and top office Nobu-for-lunch News Chiefs will have to think a bit harder about how they are going to make a revenue from their websites because at present there is not a hope in Hell that subscriptions will generate enough lolly.

What News Corp and now the Guardian Media Group have failed to remember (apparently, otherwise they would already be exploring other options) is that as long as people have other outlets for free news their subscriptions, log-ins and pay-palls will gather dust as will their redundant advertising desks, bereft from a drought of so few hits.

The BBC news website, radio, The Metro and free city papers will cover the FT, Sun, Times and Guardian leaving only a small number of the population bothering to log in for analysis, exclusives and whatever else they think is worthy to all-of-a-sudden charge for. RSS feeds come to peoples’ phones, desktops and Blackberries. Exclusives can be sought by discerning news-followers from blogs. I honestly cannot see it bringing in the money they expect it to.

Print is as dead as one of those species of fungi nobody really cares about unless a serious cash injection is discovered. This is no cash injection, its a lethal injection.

And Steve Hewlett has grumbled under his breath that we may all soon be paying for the privilege of BBC iPlayer. Again, the media has gone mad. We have a license fee, iPlayer’s offerings are temporary and it has the better equipped and more entertaining 4 OD to contend with.

My message to people who are losing touch with reality need to think before announcing their crazy decisions regarding what they do with information that ought to be public and has been promised to us for free.  The democratic fourth estate is not going to become Animal Farm without people noticing.


One Response to “Those at the top think we can’t see what they’re up to”

  1. I would love to just get to the point where the news is reported without any media slant and/or bias. I guess those days are long gone and with the growing importance of the internet is only going to become more and more biased and sensationalized. Living here in the States, are media is still rather tame compared to our British counterparts, but we are quickly catching up. It’s a shame, just tell me what happened and let me form my own opinion on the subject.

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