Thursday, 6 March 2008

The problem with British journalism

A front-page headline: 'Patrick Swayze Has 5 Weeks To Live!'

But then every other headline on the newspaper rack reads something different. He has cancer but he's not dying. He may die but he's well enought to work. It's offensive--ney, depraved--to scream the tragic details of someone's unfortunate circumstance in oversized block letters to garner readership--especially when the facts may not even be true.

The Globe and Mail, Canada's faithfully objective newspaper, simply states Swayze's 'battling pancreatic cancer,' with there's no speculation of when or if he'll die. Indeed, the Liverpool Daily Echo (who do practice the unfortunate British tradition of editorializing news stories) reports Swayze's publicist dismissed the 'five-week' claim.

Now, I don't give a fuck about Patrick Swayze beyond the fact that he's a human being like (presumably) you or I. I'm only using him as an example because it's the most recent in what I see as the problem with British journalism. Many (not all, but many, many) of these British papers routinely bend the truth, blatantly distort facts with no reservations of who they offend or how they affect anything, only sell more papers. The industry is so saturated with reading material in this country--most of it absolute garbage--that 'news' papers must resort to sensationlizing lies to swindle more readers. Who are these editors? Did they decide on journalism to add to the insurmountable idiocy of the Western world ? Or maybe the jading realities of the business corrupted their once idealistic spirits and they are now taking it out on the rest of us. Or (most likely) the bosses want more money.

Not all papers are like this but it's very telling when the Sun, the ultimate in tabloid schlock, is the country's #1 paper. On the other hand, it is quite endearing that several of these papers, Sun included, feature the perky bare breasts of young vixens on page 3 every issue. It's a fine way to start the day, let ME tell YOU. If only there were a way to feature tits and respectable journalism in one publication. The fact that it doesn't exist is Britain's biggest problem. Bar none.

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