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Less News is Good News

News, news, news. News everywhere. 24 hour news on the BBC. 24 hour news on Sky, on CNN, on the internet. Constantly repeated, just in case we didn’t catch it and missed the end of the world. Rolling news that goes on forever with its ticker tape of headlines constantly scrolling across the screen which is as annoying as someone talking over a film you’re trying to listen to and eventually has me diving for the off button before I have an epileptic fit. Watching 24 hour news you always get a sense of flies buzzing around the newsreaders heads as if they have been made too exhausted by the sheer monotony of the program to chase them away. I also get the sense that they show the same library pictures over and over even for vastly different stories.

Outside of the 24 hour news channels the half hour slots of news on ‘normal’ TV are equally as tedious if not ludicrous. They start with loud bombastic music as though a vital, life changing, event were about to occur. This is followed by a self-important newsreader who tells us with a straight face and serious voice that Amy Winehouse is in rehab again.

These pompous, overpaid autocue readers now stand up at the beginning (because some jerk of a producer thinks it’s cool), striking serious poses, walking about, pointing at simple pictures or text in case we are very hard of thinking i.e. stupid, instead of sitting down behind their desk and just getting on with it. All the news is dumbed down, trivialised and sometimes downright silly because the news producers have a very low opinion of the public’s capacity to understand. (Why they need two people on the BBC to read an autocue and why they are paid so much I will never know. I and many others would do the job just as well for a fraction of the salary, after all it is only reading.)

Hours, days, weeks, months, years are filled with endless drivel. Stories are invented to frighten or outrage the public. There’s incessant speculation about inconsequential outcomes with dubious experts on anything from Home Shopping to Nuclear Fusion. They can talk for hours and hours about an event that will never happen. It is a massive industry of lies, misinformation and downright twaddle.

One week there are green shoots with hour after hour of how the economies are getting better the next week we are back in a deep depression with the accompanying hours and hours of doom and gloom. You might as well go and see gipsy Lil and get a reading from her crystal ball as listen to any of the newsreader’s claptrap.

All the current daily news that is produced could be boiled down to a 10 minute slot like it used to be. What we could have is more in depth foreign news, what’s happening in other countries, what is their take on the events, how they are coping with the modern world e.g. what is happening in Iran now, nothing is reported. We need more real journalists, getting real stories and less autocue readers. They need to open up the world to bring down the barriers of prejudice.

There are some very good journalists but there efforts are watered down by the incessant twaddle made up by the hacks in the backroom. We need less of the tittle-tattle in the news and more stories that are important to all of us. In the meantime I recommend avoiding TV news until they earn their keep.