As regular subscribers will be aware, I am no great fan of tabloid newspapers. They have far too much influence on otherwise normal thinking people, distort the values and realities of real life and worst of all, seem to have an almost godlike hold over politicians.
Speak to any MP and they will tell you that what he fears most in his political life is not the fear of not being re-elected, not even the fear that he may never hold a senior cabinet position but that his greatest fear is finding himself on the front page of a tabloid newspaper.
TheOpinionSite.org believes that this morbid obsession with satisfying the requirements of the editors of tabloid papers such as the Sun, News of the World and the Daily Mail has probably done more damage to British society in the last 30 years than almost anything else. Maybe it is just too much trouble for some people to find out the real facts of the situation, preferring instead to swallow the printed nonsense that is now so prevalent not only in cheap, tacky newspapers but also in tacky television too; I am thinking here of Sky television in particular.
The recent reporting of the conviction of Levi Bellfield for the murder of Milly Dowler and the remarks made by her family have done little to improve the reputation of the tabloids. For them, selling copy is infinitely more important than objective analysis.
It is easy to blame Rupert Murdoch for all the ills of British society and I for one will not be sending him a Christmas card this year. It is equally difficult though to blame the man for exploiting the fact that many British people either do not have the necessary mental equipment or as is more often the case, the will to engage in serious, sensible conversation and debate. In short, they are either to thick and stupid to understand reality or simply cannot be bothered to do so.
It is this latter quality which is of particular interest, particularly with regard to those young people who for one reason or another do not go to university or college. The fact that there is a whole generation of people between the ages of 18 and 25 years old who have never had a job and seem reluctant to undertake any meaningful training, would be worrying at the best of times and should seriously worry all of us in the current economic climate.
Any country relies on its young people to provide the money to support the aging previous generation if they are unable to support themselves. Whether this is right or wrong as a political philosophy is irrelevant as in most countries, especially in the West, this model is now the norm.
If young people are obsessed with celebrity – and for many, being a celebrity is their one, single ambition – and if they choose to give away their powers of independent thought and reasoning, which many do, it is probable that instead of the next generation being productive citizens they will instead turn out to be mindless idiots with no interest in the politics or the social concerns that ultimately will control every aspect of their lives.
Which footballer if sleeping with whose wife is irrelevant to most of us because it doesn’t affect our lives. Whether someone has been chosen to be a judge on the X Factor or not is equally unimportant. Yet tabloid newspapers, particularly the ‘red tops’ are usually full of nothing else, thus ensuring that a sizeable proportion of the next generation together with their parents are kept in blissful ignorance as to who is really controlling their lives.
Meanwhile, the politicians continue to make laws which do very much affect all of us, carefully avoiding any argument or debate if such discussion is likely to upset the editors of the Sun or the Daily Mail. The fact that the resulting legislation may be grossly unjust and unfair to millions of citizens or, as in recent cases, may even be found by our own courts to be unlawful is of no consequence to them. The important thing is not to end up on the front page of the Sun.
Sadly, even the BBC seems to be immune from tabloid influence. BBC Radio 5 Live, once a station that covered sensible topics and matters of real importance now concentrates on who has been “fired” from the Apprentice or who has been rejected as a judge on some cheap TV talent program.
The now infamous interview between Victoria Derbyshire and the Justice Secretary, Ken Clarke was so one-sided as to be almost unworthy of airtime with the alleged “victim” making one inaccurate statement after another but never being challenged by Derbyshire to put them right, whilst giving a brilliantly emotional performance which ultimately put her on the front page of the Sun. She probably made a few quid in the process too.
Guess what? A week later, having met Mr Clarke and having had the facts explained to her, the same alleged victim changed her mind and went back on what she had said on air but predictably, this did not get any coverage at all on any of Derbyshire’s subsequent programmes; nor did her change of thinking receive even the slightest mention in the Sun newspaper.
This selective use of information by the tabloid media is enough to make any intelligent person throw their television or radio across the room but for those who don’t have any intelligence to speak of, or choose not to use that which they do have, it fills a big hole in their head without any effort necessary on their part.
Meanwhile, Sky Television, together with the Sun newspaper (again) had virtually tried and convicted the first suspect in the Jo Yeates murder case, completely ruining the man’s reputation in the process. When the police finally – and ridiculously late – confirmed that he was no longer of interest to them, the tabloids hardly said a word, let alone issue an apology.
Yet despite incidents such as those outlined above, seemingly reasonable, even intelligent people go on buying the rubbish that is spewed. out day and night by editors and producers whose only interest is making money, regardless of the untruthful nature or the damaging consequences of the garbage they produce. It is as though their own lives are so inconsequential and devoid of interest that they have no choice but to concern themselves with the affairs of others which, in reality, are none of their business anyway.
The tabloid media have recently made a lot of noise about “privacy” laws being covertly introduced by judges. Politicians, angry with the judiciary for keeping them on the straight and narrow were quick to support the tabloids. One wonders what deep, dark secrets about dissenting MPs would have been revealed if they had not been so quick with their support.
The public can of course put an end to this mind-numbing and insulting matrix of lies sold by Murdoch and others every day by simply refusing to consume it and by refusing to pay for it. Instead though, they are content to believe every morsel of inaccurate and make-believe reporting that is laid before them; God only knows why.
Will this sad situation change any time soon? I doubt it. Nevertheless, there are some of us who attach more importance to the real world and matters of real importance. Maybe the majority will continue to buy the Sun and the Mail and likewise continue to digest the insufferable nonsense put out by Sky, 5 Live and others.
Some of us though, including many visitors to TheOpinionSite.org , prefer to expend our mental energies on things that really matter to us including our children, those less fortunate than ourselves and those who, with a little help, can improve their lives significantly. It is a good job that we do too; I am beginning to believe that there are not many of us left.