Sunday, 17 July 2011

News reflections

I tend to agree with the opinion that the News Corp affair has occupied an excessive amount of our news coverage. It's not surprising of course, as the revelations about what the News of the World apparently got up to were indeed shocking. And, I'm sorry to say, there's an element of circling jackals about the other news media. One senses a certain relish at the potential downfall of a media mogul, or at least the clipping of his wings. The BBC too, of course, sees in Sky its main rival as news outlet (though its audience share is in truth comparatively small); so perhaps there's some schadenfreude on its part.

I have the feeling as well that politicians are quite enjoying the discomfiture of the organisation which has harried them and whom they have feared - and, it has to be said, courted. I suppose that is a source of embarrassment to most of the movers and shakers in the main parties.

Yet, I wonder whether this is that big a story. It's certainly taken its scalps. However, after all, we are in the middle of a Euro-crisis which has the potential to trigger another global financial collapse, and we're facing a famine in the Horn of Africa threatening to become a catastrophe. The 'revolution' in Egypt seems to be erupting again, there's a war carrying on in Libya largely unreported, and of course there's been another marching season in Northern Ireland with attacks on the police.

This story seems to me a "media story", an instance of the media's narcissistic-like fascination with itself. I came across this revealing table from the Information Commissioner about illegal activity carried out by newspapers in 2006.

In the Cranmer blog of 13th July I learned that "Trinity Mirror Group are the most corrupt of the lot" with 1663 misdemeanours and infringements, in the 2006 table. Hot on their heels came the Mail Group, with the Murdochs' a poor third. I'm sure News Corp have redressed the balance somewhat now, but there don't seem any who are purer than pure, even the Observer/Guardian stable. I think of Jesus talking about throwing stones. "Whichever of you is without sin..." - I guess he meant without any sin and he included us. And I suspect that when the judicial enquiry begins the Murdoch empire won't be alone in being worried.

By the way, we used regularly to pray for "opinion-formers' in our church services. I don't pray for them anymore. I reckon I should start again.

Let's end on a positive note, such as the Proms having started or Darren Clarke winning the Open Golf. Actually my weekend has been made by being visited by friends on Friday, family on Saturday morning and more friends on Saturday night - with rather nice meals created by Jane.

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