THERE are several ‘journalists’ working for the national media that I once had the misfortune to call ‘colleagues’.
Quite frankly, they were awful and, in a previous age, would have been sacked without further thought.
Two people, in particular, stand to mind for their total lack of ability, laziness and desire to survive by smiling stupidly, apologising, nodding as if they understood and going back to their coffee and cake as if nothing had gone wrong.
One is in a senior position on a national. A man who could never work as part of a team is now leading one. It’s the way it is.
The other, taking the money, keeping his head down, a nodding dog of a ‘reporter’ who will write what he’s told to and make a hash of that. Before you know it, he’ll be promoted to a senior role, too.
The purpose of this blog isn’t to settle old scores. There aren’t any for me. It’s not jealousy, either, because I have had my opportunity to work for the nationals and refused. I’d rather be penniless and have my honour, than money and no integrity.
It is instead, a scene setter. For these are the people who mingle with the politicians and their spin doctors and press hawks and disseminate what is happening in and around Parliament to the great unwashed.
These are the people who are scared of losing their position, with the ‘glory’ and ‘bank balance’ it brings. Who aren’t holding politicians to account, as newspapers are supposed to do, because it could impact on their careers. Whose own bosses and owners are also involved in relations with the political classes and whose mission is not journalistic as the dictionary definition suggests.
And that’s where we are at. Like it or not.
In the past, catching anyone out mattered more to newspapers because shame and scandal drove up sales. Today, there are some newspapers that care more about safeguarding their pals as sales are nosediving and, with careers slipping away, they worry about their own futures.
The bigger selling UK newspapers, generally, focus on celebrity, or rather so-called celebrity. I was appalled to watch Joey Essex in action on a ‘celebrity show’ the other night. Is this what Great Britain has become?
So, lots of key issues affecting all of us, go under-reported. Ignored for the sake of what? Joey Essex and the Kardashians?
Because it’s all a magic trick. Donald Trump, across the Pond, is a truly dreadful person. An even worse president. But he is expert at the art of distraction.
Similarly, the incumbent government is proving all smoke and mirrors. It’s not so much a good day for burying bad news, as happened under Tony Blair’s Labour, but a good day to send up so much smoke that no-one can see what is happening.
And the journalistic integrity that still had traction when I started in the business has slipped away. ‘Journalists’ more focussed on their own enrichment than fact-finding are only part of the problem, though.
It’s the way society has become. One of entitlement, of rights not deserved or won, but by the big ‘yappers’. The people that think ‘road rage’ is acceptable. The people that will drive through a red light and argue they had a right. The people that drive through my village at 60mph and above, while the speed limit is 30mph. The people that know best.
Likewise, we’re in a divisive society and the politicians and media have clubbed together to provide the enemies. It’s the disabled, the unemployed, the immigrants. Never the billionaire tax dodgers, the company bosses crying for England and St George but employing people across the world at the expense of the British jobs they claim to champion, or the politicians engaged in self-enrichment schemes aplenty.
I’d like to think at one stage we had honourable politicians, but for many it’s always been a game. Once upon a time, the hypocrisy would have been exposed for a newspaper sale. Now? Like the politicians who appear to forget they’re supposed to be looking after our best interests, many journalists are looking after their own. Clickbait and celebrity is the safest option. Sod the truth, or matters of importance. No-one cares about them anymore.
The game has changed. The stakes are higher and we, the people, are the losers. We just exist to fill the bank accounts of the billionaires that bit more. But we have also been the architects of our demise, because we’ve sat back and taken the bait, ignored the warning signs and let the damage be done.