The Gutter Press

Mrs P came into the room the other day, and paused – Hugh Grant was on the telly, being quizzed by a slightly slimey looking gent in a rather formal environment. She sat down and watched, firing off occasional questions to me to try and get a grip on what was going on. What was going on, was the Leveson Inquiry, investigating the ethics, or lack of, in the British media. The tabloids particularly.

Britain is responsible for the best and worst in media. The BBC remain, in my opinion, the standard bearers of high quality news, documentary and current affairs. Our tabloids are usually referred to as the gutter press for good reason. I have a couple of quick fix solutions to a couple of the biggest issues that have been raised.

Firstly, ban the sale of all photography which does not have a model release unless the photograph is explicitly, fundamentally and evidentially a part of the story. Secondly, a proper, independent committee to regulate, rule upon and discipline the press. That these ghastly tabloids have gone this long regulating themselves is ridiculous. Thirdly, when a complaint is upheld, the paper has to print an apology on exactly the same page, taking up exactly the same amount of paper real estate. And forfeit a weeks profits. That last one is really a personal whim, but I like it.

But I have another idea. Far more radical. If you’re in the news business, then do news. Specialise. Be the best.  Get opinion, celebrity and agenda out of the news business, and get quality investigative, intelligent journalism back into the news industry. It is important. There are otherwise intelligent people out there soaking up the mental vomit spewed by the media and repeating it like good little sheep.

They take the likes of the Daily Mail and Bill O’Reilly seriously. Their brains have gone soft, unable to process the days news for themselves, and it needn’t be so. I don’t need to be told there are some monumental obstacles that my very brief manifesto fails to overcome. But one must start somewhere.

4 Comments

  • First there must me a reliable non biased source of information that average people can go to,but sadly between the commercials , sponsors, corporate ownerships and allowing mass media to be owned by several large conglomerates with their own agendas, that seems impossible.
    The average joe on the street can’t even tell you who the politicians that run the countries are, all they have interests in is Lady Gaga and other celebrities, so for some culpability educational systems are also to blame..

    • I agree entirely. Bit it mustn’t ever be deemed an impossibility. Your final sentence – that is my biggest gripe, and that’s why ‘we’ should try harder to separate serious journalism from celebrity sensationalism. I’m not arguing for censorship. I’m arguing for clarity and intelligent categorisation. News is important. Crappy tabloids shouldn’t be having such significant an impact on society.

      • There was an old movie called the Paper Chase, where there was one line that I remember quite well, the professor said that “young minds are filled with mush” and it seems that those young minds are quite content with that condition. There is also a serious lack of critical thinking in the land, from my experience as an employer, we couldn’t find any suitable candidates in California, had to get them from the farm states where life was not as glamorous…..
        Sitting in front of a screen playing video games has not helped the situation either.

        • I’m not convinced there is an intelligence issue. Social issues? Yep, I’d buy that. I miss the civility of Mexico. The downsides were so much easier to ignore. Often, plain funny.

          I have had another thought. Newspapers should be licensed.

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