Thursday, November 18, 2010

Words of equal value?

More Character Development pages over at the other blog.

I posted a link on Facebook today, but I'll post the rant about it here.
The media no longer seems to have any ability to differentiate between sources. If somebody, anybody, says something it can be used as 'news', no matter how disprovable, how idiotic, or how ill-imformed the statement is.

An example of this is contained in the link about. I witnessed another example recently when a UK reporting of a gun shoot in East London was focused around the quote "getting a gun here is as easy as buying candy from the corner shop".

This quote was used by the in-studio presenter before the clip. Then restated by the on-the-scene reporter, then restated in voice-over yet again before finally being said on camera by the source. The source was a wannabe hip-hop dude who looked like a stoned extra in an Ali G sketch.

There was no evidence for the statement. No research was done. The source was unreliable. The quote really made no sense. Yet it had been chosen by the 'news' as the focus for the report on a fatal shooting. Why? It was sensational. It was good TV. That and it fitted in with an editor's own views/fears on the subject.

It was everything that is wrong with the current media.

The news media is (in general) divided into commentators, who can have opinions, and presenters and journalists, who are not allowed to have opinions. There may be good reasons for this, especially given the trend to pretty boys and girls as presenters and journalists who quite possibly have no opinions worth listening to "Is my hair okay?").

News presenters are no longer allowed to voice their own views, that would be opinion and editorial which is bad. If you are a news reporter, as opposed to a commentator, you MUST let others give the opinions. You MUST be balanced, even if that balance means letting someone state something that is incorrect, wrong, or stupid.

But just because news presenters can't tell us what they are thinking (lest the gods of fair and balanced journalism strike them down) that doesn't stop them from getting as many quotes as they want and selecting one that fits their now hidden agenda.

Any source will do. A doctor or a homeopath? It doesn't matter. A police spokesperson or a random stoned guy on the street? They are of the same value to the media,

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