Monday, June 08, 2009

From news hounds to blood hounds

Perhaps one of the more unpleasant features of modern journalism is the way they have turned from news hounds - genuinely interested in finding news stories, investigating them and reporting them - into blood hounds - a pack of ferocious hacks sniffing out the scent of blood before chasing after it.

Sometimes it is real blood - as in war reporting which has gone from factual information on battle progress with the goriest bits withheld (other than, perhaps, a brief mention of casualties) to lingering over blood spattered images with graphic descriptions and emotional outpourings.

At other times it is metaphorical blood - as with the hunting down of Gordon Brown. On these occasions there is often no "scent" to search after - so the media instead create the story and then tear into the subject with unremitting ferocity. Sometimes this is based on third hand tittle tattle - such as the media trying to insist that they "knew" Gordon Brown was planning to sack Alistair Darling as Chancellor. They knew no such thing for certain - but they hate being made to look foolish, so they made out they did know.

So, having been deprived of their prey for now, they are back - baying for the blood of the PM to be spilled once more and jumping on the slightest thing to prove themselves justified. They will not be satisfied until they have caught their prey, ripped him to shreds and drank their fill of his blood.

This isn't political news reporting, it's blood lust.


Quiet_Man said...

I agree with your sentiments, however in this instance it's a case of whatever does the job. If Brown struggles on to see through the ratifying of Lisbon, I can't see the Tory leadership ever giving us a chance to grab our freedom back.

Stan said...

The Lisbon Treaty has already been ratified by parliament - the Irish are the stumbling block. Well - they're not really, because the EU is already going about implementing aspects of the treaty without bothering with the niceties of waiting for everyone to ratify.

I do wish people would understand how the EU works. You don't stop it or change its direction. It can not be reformed. The best you can ever hope for is to delay it momentarily - but eventually it will grind remorselessly on.

Oh, and the Tory leadership are being entirely disingenuous by suggesting that anything would be different if they were in power. It wouldn't and they know it. There is only one way to "grab our freedom back" and that is to leave the EU. They have no intention of doing that.

bernard said...

Don't be so squeamish Stan !!

Letters From A Tory said...

Publicity sells newspapers, and with the industry dying a painful death they need all the publicity they can get at each newspaper.

Inevitable, but not particularly dignified.

Stan said...

Agreed, LFAT - but that only applies to print media. If anything, they are only doing what they do because the broadcast media have forced their hand to some degree. It's very hard to compete against live images of blood soaked bodies with words.

What I'm really concerned about, though, is the increasing requirement of news reporting to create news rather than report it. Regardless of what you or I think of Brown (and I have a pretty low opinion of him!) there hasn't really been any suggestion that there was any real possibility of him standing down or being removed from the leadership of the Labour party. Apart from anything else, the constitution of the Labour Party does not allow for this in the same way as, for instance, the Tory party does. It's also clear that there is no way that the electorate would tolerate yet another unelected appointment to PM - so if he did stand down there would have to be an immediate General Election which everyone in Labour knows damn well they would lose whoever was in charge.

Despite all this being quite obvious to anyone, the media still went after Brown in a deliberate attempt to enforce a "putsch" within the Labour party. There was no "news" suggesting this was likely, so the media created the news - that is wrong.

To some extent it worries me what the motivation was. We know there are plenty of people in the media who are supporters of the Labour party - and probably quite a few who are members as well. I wonder if that was the motivation behind their "reporting" - not because it was news, but because they wanted to overthrow their leader?