Monday, August 13, 2007

Disengage brain before reading or watching the 'news'

What has happened to the news? Its no longer about the important or serious events of the day but about the stupidity of the great unwashed and even when it borders into something approaching a serious news story it strays into mawkishness and hype. Take today for example. There was the tragic story of a man killed in Warrington at the weekend after confronting youths causing a disturbance outside his house. Instead of reporting the facts of the tragic incident, we are told in somber tones that the man - 'a father of three' - was trying to 'reclaim his street.' Is it necessary to have such obviously emotive language? What relevance or depth does it add to the story? None at all in my mind and it feeds into this worrying emotional incontinence that seems to have developed since the death of Princess Diana ten years ago.

Then, there was the story of a young man in his twenties 'tombstoning' off Durdle Door in Dorset - in other words throwing himself from the top of this rock into the sea. Any fool can see that is an incredibly stupid and dangerous thing to do although it seems that he was encouraged by his friends, so probably wasn't his fault then! Another example of gross stupidity and abdication of personal responsibility is a 'news' item on the BBC News site about a girl who overdosed on caffeine after drinking seven double espressos. Surely anyone of even moderate intelligence can work out that to consume that much coffee is not going to do you much good. And the silly girl's defence - she did not realise it was doubles! Ah well, that's alright then, so it wasn't her fault at all.

In the Daily Telegraph there was a story about how one in three office workers are suffering from 'e-mail stress,' apparently a deluge of e-mails. Have you noticed how everything these days has a label? Even perfectly normal everyday activities suddenly become known by these 'buzz-words' and there is a condition or affliction for every pressure in modern life. Another story in the same paper tells of another study which has found that attractive people have more chance of promotion at work than unattractive colleagues. Wow!

It worries me that our news is full of these inane stories whilst the important issues and the real matters of the day are buried, such as the pensions crisis or a sobering report on the poor care for those over 65 suffering mental health problems.

But nothing it seems is written about or presented in an objective and factual style. Our news has been reduced to the baseness of a coarse soap opera.


Joe said...

I'd only look at the news on two programmes nowadays: Channel 4 News or Newsnight: concise but also informative and analytical, telling you the facts and also reading between the lines. I agree that the rest of TV news is all melodrama.

Radio 4 is also excellent, and I also tend to look at the Internet pages (or Teletext), or if I'm really desperate, a newspaper.

Carla said...

I agree, the news coverage is rubbish! Every night I yell about this very thing. Derek really likes watching the news, though, even though I would be just as happy (and probably more edified) watching reruns of Keeping Up Appearances or Open All Hours!

Anonymous said...

I really agree with you on this Mark, I'm getting really turned off by BBC news recently, why should we care to hear what some nutters want to email in about a story?
I agree with Joe, Channel 4 News is the best on TV, but it often feels they have agenders or views, which I often agree with, but can taint a story.