10 August 2010

Media Blind Side

Aside from Mickey Mouse studies, which was surely an urban myth, the most reviled course available to our young people is media studies, which is routinely compared unfavourably with useful courses such as astro-physics or pharmcology. Yet there seems to be very little research (and I would welcome suggestions) into the extraordinarily biased way in which the media has dealt with the financial crisis and the public-spending crisis it has given rise to.

I cannot be sure what media students do during their three years in college, but not enough of them are exposed to the sort of critical work that is undertaken by Greg Philo and his colleagues at the Glagow Media Centre. How does this power system work? Philo has previously suggested that the bias against Israel in the media is deliberate but it need not be. So long as there are sufficient high-level executives who make it clear which sort of stories lead to promotion and which do not, aspiring journalists will write their stories to suit.

The level of self-respect in what was once referred to as the profession of journalism has reached new lows this week, when we finally heard about the trial of Charles Taylor. The three years of his trial during which victims displayed their mutilated limbs and children who had been press-ganged into soldiery told their tragic tales caused no flicker on the news monitors. Now that two celebrities and a celebrity hanger-on have taken the witness-stand it is the top news story.

This sort of behaviour is a moral disgrace, but more serious is that way that these ephemeral non-stories fill the news hours so that a thorough examination of how the financial crisis has led to a massive deficit and what the options for dealing with this might become excluded. In this context it is easy for the Tories to repeat the Big Lie that the public-spending disaster results from Labour economic mismanagement until at last, perhaps, everybody will believe it.

1 comment:

  1. I would advise fellow readers to take a look at the work of Nick Davies (Flat Earth News). He explains just what has happened to modern media, specifically the corporate newsroom. It makes painful listening, but addresses some of the statements made in this article.

    There is also an excellent interview with Nick here: http://www.littleatoms.com/nickdavies.htm