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.