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Lies, dammed lies and…..the news

December 12, 2008

I’ve been watching Channel 4 news this evening and it has reminded me that I am increasingly dissapointed in the news medium on the whole. You could be forgiven for thinking that Newsround (kiddie news show) is basically setting the standard for the way in which the adult public digest information. There are times when I want to scream “We are not that stupid!!!”.

So, 4 major items on the news today; the verdict on the inquest into the shooting of Jean-Charles de Menezes, the goverment of Zimbabwe accusing the British of chemical and biological warfare for the cholera outbreak, the murder of a convicted sex offender and the clearly manipulated release of the knife crime statistics yesterday. As much as I prefer to watch Channel 4 news for being a more reliable and less wishy washy news show, the bias was disgusting. Their angle on these 4 stories meant; the police are in trouble but hey, they have a hard job, the Zimbabweans are mad so what’s new, someone cut off a man’s genitals and the politicians are arguing again.

Where is the intelligence? the deep thought? IS THIS NEWS???? If they’re going to be biased at least offer a rational opinion, not just a sensationalised account of something just for the sake of it.

It might be too much to ask for a lack of bias but the effect of the way news programmes are broadcast is that you end up sitting there having no reaction to anything. There is no opinion to offer because it has been given to you. There is no real outrage because you’ve been warned about the ‘disturbing footage’ or some politician has some words on your behalf and you can’t be bothered anyway. And there is absolutely no information because all that’s happened is someone has put on a show as part of your evenings entertainment but left you none the wiser about the real world.

Ok, so I may be over-cooking it a bit, but am I alone in feeling a bit patronised?

The biggest news fiddling culprit has to be the BBC. One occassion I always remember was during the trial of the guy who survived the attacks on Glasgow airport. Their headline was “Suicide bomber admits to being a terrorist.” What he actually said was “IF, I am a terrorist, so is the BRITISH goverment….”, They didn’t even mention the ‘if’, or the fact that his accusation was clearly directed and in no way an admission of anything. Any of us would have failed GCSE comprehension if we had drawn that sort of conclusion from the guy’s quote. I know this kind of dumbing down is not new, but once in a while it really just gets a bit too rampant and obvious for my liking.

Despite my rant however, I will keep watching. Every once in a while I find gems of reality. One interesting item today was the story of the arrest of Bernard Madoff who once headed up Nasdaq and a $50billion hedge fund that he apparently now claims was all made up! No surprises there then! I’m pretty sure there are lots of ‘facts’ to this we will never know, but the headline is enough for me in this case. I’m under no illusion that this global crisis is a bad situation for all of us, but I can’t help feeling it’s a good thing for the whole thing to come crashing down seeing as the supposed boom and success was made up by people like Bernard. Can’t build a castle on quick sand, so I guess it’s gonna have to sink.

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