Thursday, November 11, 2010

On the Press and the ECHR Again

The last post got a bit bogged down in side issues, and the point of it may have been lost. In reporting something that is of great interest to many people, the press- or such of it as I became aware of- didn't try to tell us what the ECHR decision meant, what it was based on, why it affects Britain, or what the government can do if it thinks it is in danger of being made unpopuylar by it. Instead of interviewing the lawyers involved in the case, or calling on legal experts to comment, they interviewed the man who had started the process, a criminal deprived, like all serving criminals, of the right to vote. He was much more interesting than said lawyer would have been, undoubtedly, but he was unable to explain anything, and merely repeated three or four pat phrases he had learnt, uninformative and largely inaccurate. We learnt nothing about the case, but it was good television. And that's the problem. The media are not there to defend us from tyranny, as they claim. They are there to get an audience, and will ignore what is important, and even what is true, in pursuit of what might be interesting, and therefore popular. So they end up harping on the colourful character instead of the one who can tell us something useful.

An error which I too of course, committed, but then I don't call myself a journalist, or pretend that my self-important witterings are vital to the future of freedom. So, a fail to Andrew Neil, the BBC, the Mail, and a few others. The press will never be what it likes to think it is. And neither should it be. I just wish they wouldn't take themselves so seriously. They are largely empty vessels, peddlers of pontification and gossip, making a living like the rest of us. Their trade has no more or less value than that of a dealer in watercress.

1 comment:

Vincent said...

Well said. A good reminder!