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The Local Noise

What unwary wordsmith coined the phrase ‘fake news’? I really wish they hadn’t. Far from its original sense (purposeful lies and/or mischievous satire, liable to be believed by the undiscerning reader), it has now become a throwaway insult to be lobbed in the direction of any media statement disliked for any reason by any consumer, of whatever political persuasion. It’s like the current affairs equivalent of “Your mama” - nyah, nyah, nyah.

Journalism does seem to be a dying art, of course. Local news is a joke now. Our ‘local paper’ is just one of a great many owned by one of those companies that owns local papers. The websites of the supposedly individual local papers are pretty much interchangeable, except for the header. Proof-reading and sub-editing seem to have been suspended, along with any genuine interest in relevance or depth. (…No, this in itself is not news.)

Yesterday they published an article with the headline, ‘Someone’s spray-painted ‘F**K TRUMP’ on a wall in Exeter’. Illustrated with copious modestly-blurred photographs of the graffito in question, the article does touch on local protests against the enthusiastic American amateur’s alarming Batman-villain approach to statesmanship, but its main focus is the titular act of opinionated vandalism. The distinction of concluding statement is given to the city council’s intention to wash off the spray paint. A whirlwind gallop from world affairs to parochial minutiae: no matter how global the issue, reliably, inevitably, our purview telescopes.

Elsewhere, we learn that ‘Devon woman finds face inside her pepper’. The fruit-or-vegetable at issue does not even have the decency to impersonate Elvis, Jesus or any of those other frequent habitués of perishable foodstuffs - ah, the juxtaposition of immortality and transience! - instead offering a simply-rendered smiley. The writer does not neglect, however, to tell us the woman’s age, in traditional tabloid style. Mind you, this has to be an improvement on that other popular strand of food-related journalism - finding a mouse, a centipede or mould in, on or under your dinner.

If happy produce is too workaday for your taste, then how about this: ‘Here’s why Adolf Hitler's telephone, used to bark his evil orders, is in Dawlish’. Apparently it was smuggled to Britain out of the Berlin Bunker by a British officer, and is now being offered at auction by the officer’s son. The auction is taking place in the USA; the vendor hopes a museum will buy it, but one may conjecture that there are a few folks across the pond who might like to own this object for more personal reasons.

I find myself imagining a horror movie in which the telephone is haunted by the spirit of the late Führer and anyone who uses it becomes his possessed slave, abetted by a horde of Nazi zombies. But wait a while and this very scenario may turn up as an example of present-day ‘journalism’.

Comments

( 6 confidences — Confide in me... )
meteorology
Feb. 4th, 2017 07:19 pm (UTC)
I find myself imagining a horror movie in which the telephone is haunted by the spirit of the late Führer and anyone who uses it becomes his possessed slave, abetted by a horde of Nazi zombies. But wait a while and this very scenario may turn up as an example of present-day ‘journalism’.

In a world where White House staff can name-drop imaginary massacres on television, this kind of scenario doesn't seeem as farfetched as it might have once...
song_of_copper
Feb. 5th, 2017 07:26 pm (UTC)
Yes, reality is surpassing B-movies these days! :-/
patrick_vecchio
Feb. 5th, 2017 04:28 am (UTC)
Please consider writing more of these.
song_of_copper
Feb. 5th, 2017 07:28 pm (UTC)
I am spoilt for material, so there will surely be plenty more to come.
undergroundsea
Feb. 14th, 2017 07:45 am (UTC)
I imagined Hitler would have a capsicum face!

I am afraid it is the same here with papers and television news. The Packer, Murdoch and the Fairfax empires here bought up most of the country newspapers and television networks and homogenised them; or closed them and just circulated their national news instead. Television had regional representation when the signal couldn't go across the border, but once technology fixed that one, there was less need to produce a local news hour. Our city paper was one of the last broadsheets so there was space for more news, less pictures and advertisements, but now it is like reading a magazine and most of the news is Sydney oriented. Commentators like to blame the internet for the fall in paper sales, but to be honest, I think people see less and less point in buying something that looks about as meaty as the free community newspaper/magazine that's had a reprieve from extinction by real estate advertising. I mean why would anyone really be that interested in a cafe review for a place 4-6 hours away?!

We used to have a brilliant weekly current affairs program, made in each state, by the ABC (public broadcaster). It highlighted local issues; profiled someone doing good things at a local level that made you feel part of the community. But the Conservatives hate the ABC and that it actually attempts to give critique and real news as opposed to the fluffy and fake news of commercial TV. This news usually reflects harshly on them so - CUT. I cannot help but feel at a deeper level they just want a dumb and divided people so they can get on with rorting and back-slapping.

It's such a pity. I genuinely feel my generation and those around mine want something else - and not necessarily a Trumpthingelse. I often think "Do we have to have a war and become absolute animals again before we get back to looking after humans again with some yardstick of compassion and honesty?"

Hah! Sorry to depress you with my thoughts! I think I am having a particularly hormonal day! :)

Edited at 2017-02-14 07:46 am (UTC)
song_of_copper
Feb. 15th, 2017 10:51 pm (UTC)
This is all depressingly familiar. Lots of 'advertorial' content and "we are more likely to run your press release if you buy ad space". 'New restaurant opens' accounts for a large percentage of the local paper's contents!

I agree, we can't simply blame the internet - offer rubbish and people won't buy it.
( 6 confidences — Confide in me... )

Eavesdrop, snoop, and sigh with yearning...

This journal is not a private diary, it is more like an occasional, imaginary column. Therefore, much of it is on public display. However, if you want to read my occasional attempts at creative writing, my Caution Elf tells me I should only show that stuff to my friends. You know what to do. :-)

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