Friday 9 October 2015

Toxic media?

There is a delicious irony in the fact that, while Ian Dunt dismisses growing antipathy towards the mainstream media as "paranoia", he provides a perfect instance of the kind of "journalism" which has provoked so much public ire. The paragraph about Nick Robinson is a text-book example of the agenda-serving distortion of facts and downright dishonesty that is increasingly commonplace in the British media, and increasingly resented by audiences.

In that paragraph, Robinson is portrayed as the innocent victim of an aggressive witch-hunt. In Ian Dunt's account, Robinson did no more than report a bit of news about "a possible relocation of RBS if Scotland voted Yes". There is no mention of the fact this this report was partial and inaccurate. As RBS themselves found it necessary to point out afterwards, they had made no such threat and had merely given notice of the fact that when Scotland became independent they would need a registered office in London. There was absolutely no intention to relocate. The report was, in the language of non-journalists, a lie.

But that's far from the worst of it. Because, as Ian Dunt must know perfectly well, this was not what provoked the demonstration and the criticism of Robinson. The protests related to an incident in which Robinson told a brazen lie about Alex Salmond on-air. Talking over a video clip purposefully edited to support the lie, Robinson claimed that Alex Salmond had refused to answer his questions at a press conference. The truth is that Salmond responded to Robinson's questions comprehensively and at unusual length.

When he brought up the whole affair again for the purpose of promoting a book Robinson admitted the lie... sort of... and with an ill-grace born of the same arrogance which prompts Ian Dunt to presume the right to deal with a conflict between his narrative and facts by concocting a "new truth" in which it was Salmond, and not Robinson, who was "still going on about it this August".

I do not approve of spitting at reporters, any more than I condone egging of politicians or any other acts of low-level violence which are always just awaiting escalation. But I can certainly understand the resentment, frustration and anger which causes people to express themselves in this way. Political violence is the language of those who have no voice. Perhaps naively, people hope that the media will be their voice - speaking truth unto power. When they instead find the media telling lies in the service of power, they inevitably feel betrayed - and react accordingly.

1 comment:

  1. So Bella Caledonia begins to ape the tactics of the Unionist MSM by blocking valid, articulate comments which posit an alternative - though not unfriendly in the scheme of things - view to the one they are obviously set on propagating to the exclusion of all others. So much for a new openness.