Pulling Together


Bad news is no news

I switched it off after ten minutes. The six o’clock news had begun by announcing the result of the Conservative leadership election and the name of our next Prime Minister is known. Fair enough, that’s a fact worth knowing and now everyone listening knows it. So now, lets’s move on to other topics. Let’s hear about developments in the war in Ukraine or the floods in Pakistan, about international relations or incidents in our country and others. Tell us what we don’t already know. After all, that’s what news is.

But not in the eyes of the modern BBC, it seems. On and on they go with speculation about who supported the winner, why they supported her, what she might do; jabber, jabber, jabber. None of this speculation is useful. None of it is interesting. None of it is relevant. We have the result and that is all that matters on that issue, so tell us what else has been going on.

Why can modern journalism only handle one topic at a time? Are its practicioners so limited in their ability that they can’t contemplate a world where multiple things happen? The incredibly thin nature of news coverage and the lack of awareness the public has about world affairs as a result is frightening. Without knowledge, how can people act wisely?

A news programme should be full of news; information about current events which will be new to the audience. Continuing to talk about what is already known is wasting vital time. No news programme can cover everything which has happened so it is vital not to waste time which limits further what can be covered.

I used to think the BBC was a vital service which, for all its faults, still kept British people well-informed about world events. I used to think the licence fee or some other public-funding model was well worth it for unbiased disinterested information. Now I'm not so sure. The BBC is far from what it was. It’s really not very good any more. More worrying, there don’t seem to be any alternatives. I find most of the other speech-based radio channels heavily biased to the uninformed opinions of loud-mouthed presenters. Moreover, no advertising-funded news service can take on corporate interests when they need scrutinising. The BBC has always been all we have, so when it’s no longer worth having there’s little else to take its place.

About the Author

K J Petrie has a Full Technological Certificate in Radio, TV and Electronics, an HNC in Digital Electronics and a BA(Hons) in Theological Studies.

His interests include Christian and societal unity, Diverse Diversity, and freedoms from want, from fear, of speech, and of association. He is a member of the Social Democratic Party.

The views expressed here are entirely personal and unconnected with any body to which he belongs.

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