Friday, 22 May 2009

Journalists and the mob

I have a cousin who's a journalist; so I won't speak ill of them as a class. But I'm not sure that quite a lot of them haven't lost a sense of perspective. It's not easy physically handling a newspaper when you have MND; so I depend chiefly on radio and television. And it sounds to me that all that's happening in the world is happening in Westminster or various sporting venues. Take Question Time, for example, the hour's programme where an audience fires questions about topical issues to a panel of politicians, journalists and public figures. Last night it was scheduled for 10.40, but for some reason (!) got moved to prime time 9 pm. Usually the questions, some of which are preselected, cover a range of topics. Last night they were monotonously predictable. Every one was about MPs' expenses, the questions were not wanting answers and after 20 to 30 minutes just repeating points. And I wondered, 'Is no one interested in the "trial" of Aung San Suu Kyi in Burma? Or Barack Obama's change of policy of military trials of Guantanamo Bay suspects? Or the Tamil Tigers defeat? Or the offensive against the Taliban in the beautiful Swat Valley? Or the refugees in Sri Lanka or Pakistan? Or Iraq? Or the Gurkhas? Or even the car scrappage scheme?'

It is as if the media want to confine public concern on one spot, like we used to do on a sunny day with a magnifying glass, and then enjoy the conflagration, regardless of the consequences. For me it had added poignancy because I'd just been chatting to someone with a terminal illness for whom just surviving was a struggle. Where is the sense of perspective? So today when I heard Nadine Dorries' blog mentioned at midday as giving a different view about the Telegraph's modus operandi, different from the rather smug account of the deputy editor, Ben Something, in QT last week, I was interested to read it. As my friends will know, I'm not a Tory by inclination, but I recommend a reading of the last few entries of her blog to balance what we've been fed for the past fortnight: . However, looking back over my blog, I suppose I've also fallen prey to the feeding frenzy. Sorry. But praying for rather than sniping at our politicians might achieve more good.

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