« Talking 'bout my generation | Main | Radical Markets: a review »

September 11, 2018




U KNow

Look at the current web page headlines (11/9/18 @5pm)

- The Canine Movie Stars Stealing The Spotlight

- James Van Der Beek shares message about miscarriage 'heartbreak'
(Im sure its a tragedy for those involved but is it front page news in the 5th largest economy in the world?)

- Nicki Minaj 'mortified' by Cardi B scuffle
I cant even imagine what this bag of shite is about. Waste of pixels.

And you wonder why the IDW debates of Petersen, Pinker et al are getting millions of views; at least they treat their audience with respect adn credit them with a little intelligence.

As an aside, I voted Brexit to completely destroy the snide, careerist politicians and journos who pollute our discourse and to break their economic gerrymandering to the same class via QE.

Its working a treat and if it costs 8% of GDP and 'chaos' to be rid of these cunts, its a price I'm willing to pay.


It has become my firm conviction that the news media, the BBC included, is primarily a form of _entertainment_ which aims to stimulate the so-called "reptile brain" - i.e. the emotions of fear, disgust, anger, and lust. With occasional cute animal story, awww.

Reporting on disasters, divisions, and celebrity gossip is all designed to to this end. All the media do it, but they tailor their triggers to suit their target audience.

Radio4 will often start a report on a conflict, for example, with several seconds of a woman screaming in pain or mourning. Or the sounds of gunfire or explosions. It is guaranteed to trigger a fight or flight response in me and I presume in others. I think it has gotten worse and I no longer listen regularly.

Instead I try to get my news by following a small number of trusted intellectuals on social media. A tweet by Ann Pettifor brought me here today, for example.

Dave Timoney

It's worth recalling that the phrase "a bias against understanding" was introduced by John Birt in the mid-70s, essentially to promote the new-kid-on-the-block LWT at the expense of the BBC. Ironically, its lasting impact was in persuading the Beeb to poach Birt in the 80s.

On his eventual appointment as DG, one of his chief initiatives was the investment in rolling 24-hour news coverage. This was meant to provide the time to drill into issues and provide greater context. In practice, it simply created an empty space that was increasingly filled by think-tanks keen to provide "balance" and by the recycling of print media stories.

Birt was probably sincere about the need for greater depth in current affairs (he produced the Frost-Nixon interviews, after all), but he seemed to have no real empathy for investigative reporters. I don't want to lay all the blame at his door, but there was a noticeable and detrimental change in the quality of the BBC's journalism that occurred on his watch.

In many ways, the BBC's current failings are a reflection of a wider change in the media landscape. The symbiotic relationship with newspapers in particular has meant that as the latter have degraded, valuing opinion and lifestyle bollocks over reportage, so the Beeb has declined as well.


The public get what the public want. If they wanted earnest political debates on the minutiae of policy, thats what they'd get. Instead they get gossip about who said what to who on Love Island, and Celebrity Pogo Dancing on Ice.

If you think there's a massive untapped market for policy wonkery, start your own TV show/radio station/newspaper. It'll be a sure fire hit..............

Ralph Musgrave

It's not just political stuff that is dumbed down on BBC and TV generally. I'm interested in astronomy, but I cannot bear watching Prof Brian Cox's programme "The Wonders of the Solar System". It's so dumbed down it's painful to watch.

Eminent emigrant

I came here to say pretty much what U Know said. Whatever you think of Peterson, the fact that millions are tuning in (and now paying real hard cash) to listen to multi-hour discussions on complex topics between people who can disagree without bitch fights is indicative of something. And it's not just high-fallutin' students and DIY intellectuals listening.

So despite what Jim says, there is a market, but somehow it doesn't make it to TV. Is there something fundamentally wrong with the medium itself? Or have the years just engrained "TV=stupid" into our collective consciousness, so we don't even expect intelligent discourse from it?

One theory is that in their currently-disappearing market, the legacy media are in a race to the bottom to grapple for the last few bucks. To hell with investigative reporting and long-form discussion, it's clickbait, scandal and titillation all the way down.


Excellant article.

I stopped listening to radio 4. Its appauling, high paid journalists running a soap opera.

I started listening to radio 1 again, dont get stuck in 80s music!

I find reading blogs is much more informative. Legacy media has had its day.



As an aside, I voted Brexit to completely destroy the snide, careerist politicians and journos who pollute our discourse and to break their economic gerrymandering to the same class via QE.

Its working a treat

Can you point to some evidence of this? I see plenty of snide, careerist politicians and journos?

Dennis Smith

@ Eminent emigrant - One problem with TV is that is it image-driven. The more eye-catching the image, the higher the story will appear on the news. Conversely, no image = no story.

And images stand at a remove from any discussion of what is true or false. People make statements (true or false) by using language. Images on their own can't be true or false. They only have the potential to convey truth when put into a linguistic framework. And TV is generally poor at doing this necessary framing.


I used to be a Radio 4 addict, listening from UK theme to National Anthem/Shipping Forecast/World Service.
I coped with 08:10 on Today turning into "Just 10 Minutes", whereby the Howards and Mandelsons attempted to fill the time with no hesitation, repetition nor information but plenty of deviation.
This was just about manageable.

But then came IndyRef, then came Brexit, then came Trump - all of them accompanied by mis-representing partisan liars "balanced" by polar opposite liars.
All heat, no light.

I'm now much happier listening to the peerless BBC 6 Music all day, and was outraged when they introduced a news summary at 7 am.
Listen to music and save your sanity - we can't change anything anyway.

The comments to this entry are closed.

blogs I like

Blog powered by Typepad