So, ATW can’t readily hyperlink to the world. Good. Sometimes I think this whole “linking” to a story only distracts from the quality of the writing anyway so let me take a few moments to cover one of the big issues of the day, namely the integrity or otherwise of the media.
You will have picked up on Pete Moore’s post from earlier(No link) this afternoon concerning the BBC jihad against the imagined dark forces of the Murdoch empire. Has the News of the World any ethics? I doubt it, but then again, has the BBC?
Many years ago, as a young graduate, I thought I wanted to be a journalist and went for a chat with a local newspaper – The Newsletter. I managed to dodge the bullet and didn’t get a job. I wanted to be a journalist because I enjoyed writing but on deeper examination, I didn’t fancy the whole chasing a story, getting opinions, malarkey! Over the years, as fate would have it, I have gotten to know quite a few journalists. Amongst them are some VERY decent people with very high standards of integrity e.g Suzanne Breen. Others fell from grace and went into politics e.g Michael Gove! Others pursue a path of independent thought and commentary e.g. Peter Hitchens. I also know others who are creatures of the organisations they work for. They follow the party line, they “know” how to spin a story to ensure it creates the desired impact. Some of these people have enjoyed great reward and recognition for what I see as an abandonment of the essence of principle.
For years I have railed against the media. I have been vociferous in my contempt for media organisations like the BBC, like the Belfast Telegraph, like UTV. This is not personal as I know some great people who work within the belly of all of these organisations. Perhaps that is the point – journalists are no better, and no worse, than ANY of us. We are all flawed, none of us is a paragon of virtue. So we get the media we deserve and maybe it is better to have a long look in the mirror (though not the rag that is the Daily Mirror)! The media is a whore but is us who is services. It chases ratings and circulation. The bread and circuses are lapped up by us.
I don’t buy or read the gutter press like The Sun and The Mirror although I occasionally pick one up when waiting in my local Chinese takaway and wonder WHY anyone would read this trash. I think this low level media degrades all who read it regardless of how many sexy lovelies adorn the pages. I do read the broadsheets but I also find them rather homogenous and they do not challenge. That’s one reason why I find this blogosphere so entertaining. In fact I find more intelligent comment amongst the ATW threads (Linear or threaded!) than in many of the broadsheet editorials.
The dead tree press leaves me mostly cold. I am reminded of this apt quote “ The man who reads nothing at all is better educated than the man who reads nothing but newspapers.” ~Thomas Jefferson. One can update this by adding in 24 hour rolling news.
I wish all journalists had integrity. They don’t. But then again, how many of their readers are any better? The Pied Piper may have led the children astray but they followed him of their own will, whilst the music played.