Wednesday, 14 July 2010

And it's over to Rothbury where Raoul Moat is Still Dead

I watched about 5 minutes of a 24-hour news channel last night. I occasionally tune into journalist-led shows or discussion programmes, but I find the 24 hour news media facile beyond toleration. I can just about cope with the Today Program and PM on BBC radio 4, because they often have a variety of stories, but they too lose perspective when a "big story" hits. Raoul Moat, like Derrick Bird before was just such an event where perspective is lost.

The story is simple: Man goes mad, gets a piece, and starts shooting.

Beyond the "who" and "where" it doesn't really require much analysis - not the sort that can be done at the time. A 30-minute segment summarising the police investigation after the event would be interesting and informative. While it's still going on, I am not interested in the opinions of Moat's mother's florist, or of someone whose kids attend a Rothbury school, just because the police have not yet released any more information. Yet the media persist in emotion-mongering amongst people who, by and large, are just getting on with their lives. Sure the people of Rothbury had every right to feel slightly nervous with all those armed police about - armed police being more dangerous to unarmed civilians than most psychos. But I am sure that I am not interested in hearing them tell us how they FEEL. No am I particularly interested about the Facebook groups which spring up after the event. This is NOT NEWS it's light entertainment dressed up in a syrupy veneer of morality and cant.

In this instance, the police did a good job though they made a meal of it. Moat was found. It seems that every effort was made to take him alive, but he shot himself. No further members of the public or police were killed or hurt. That should be the story, interesting as it is. It does not need to be dominating the news days later.

I remember the aftermath of the Cumbrian spree killing: A policeman waffling on about how it was a "local community" Derrick Bird had "shattered". Utterly meaningless bollocks. Give us the information and shut up.

The piece which made me turn off last night and vow NEVER to bother with a 24 hour news channel again was about the Gurkha rifles soldiers killed by a rogue ANA soldier they were training. It's a terrible story, and one which demonstrates that the ramp ceremonies won't end with the end of direct British involvement in combat missions. I was interested in the words of the 1RGR's Commanding Officer praising the men, and making the point that even training missions have their risks. Perhaps the ex Gurkha local councillor had a valid opinion in speaking for the 'regimental family'. I wasn't interested in the opinion of the journalist who kept referring to something called the "Gurkha Regiment". I was even less interested in the opinion of the newsagent who ran the shop nearest to the gates of the camp where 1RGR were based.

It's padding. Waffle. It's infantilising. It's stupid. And yes. It's offensive. desist stopping ignoramuses in the street and asking for an opinion on the basis of geographical proximity. Instead seek someone who knows what they are talking about and ask them. But that would require journalism and research the story rather than engage in facile quote-mongering from passers by. But that would never do. It would give a lie to the idea that John Q. Mong who happens to be walking past has an opinion as valid as someone who ACTUALLY KNOWS WHAT THEY'RE TALKING ABOUT and has ACTUALLY THOUGHT ABOUT THE ISSUE A BIT BEFORE BEING ASKED.

And there's another thing. There's a big, wide world out there, BBC and News international. You've got 24 hours to fill, and the largest news gathering operations in the world, which employs thousands of Journalists. Seek more than three stories a day. Just a thought. Until you do, I'm DONE with 24 hour news TV.


Henry Crun said...

You probably missed hearing the "forensic psychologist" from Manchester University yesterday on FiveLive - the subject was why so many people were supportive of Raoul Moat. The psychologist blamed it on Margaret Thatcher - I kid you not. Apparently it is the selfish me me me generation of post-Thatcher Britain that will glory in the anti-establishment anti-hero like Moat.

Never in one radio interview have I heard such complete and utter bollocks emanate from the mouth of a single interviewee.

Idle Pen Pusher said...

This sounds elitist... :-(

Haikutastic said...

Absolutely! I really have no interest in what some imbecile has to say off the top of his/her head. Never helpful. Always inane.

Chuckles said...

Unfortunately, in the early nineties, it was decided by the news channels that their lumpenprole listeners/viewers did NOT want facts about the news, but were rather more interested in how the news team and any random people they could find, FELT about the news.


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