Which came first, the Press or the Reader? | Scott Steele

25 Jan

Imagine tomorrow you walk into your local newsagents, you’re met with two headlines;

JOHN TERRY DRY HUMPS MIDGET

and

50%  SCOTTISH SCHOOLCHILDREN MALNOURISHED

Which of these would you regard as the most important? Which subject would readers regard as a huge story? To me it seems absurd to think the former would attract the attention of anybody before the latter.  Unfortunately newspapers (a term I use loosely) have become passive tools of entertainment, miles away from the informative resource of factual information that they were surely intended for.

Why has journalism turned into a vulture ridden industry where catching someone with their pants down is celebrated whilst global atrocities are passed over as though fictional?  How many people immediately turn the newspaper over to the back page to see which overpaid, moronic sports star has chucked the dummy out the pram, or flick straight to Page 3 to check if they share their star sign with Mercedes, 19 from Essex?

Journalists would argue that they chase stories and address issues that ‘the people’ want to read.  Are we, the general public, to blame for the comic style of the modern press?  Do we really wish to fill our heads with titter tatter gossip that might as well be sourced from the back of a toilet cubicle door?  Is this the era where our lives are so engulfed with personal importance that we wish to only be disturbed with interesting trivia that is instantly gratifying?  Lets us not be an ignorant generation!

It is clear that the mega-rich tabloid owners benefit greatly from the mass consumption of nonsense they pass out.  The Western Governments however, are even greater beneficiaries of the publics hunger for mass instant scandal.  Everyday politics lays dull and numb compared to viral Islamophobia and reproductive reality TV.  Referendums and austerity measures do not create buzz; sex and hatred sells.  Therefore the political powers can capitalise on the nation’s disinterest and continue to spread inequality and injustice.

Avoid tabloids; do we need the press more than they need us?!  With depleting newspaper sales due to the instant news updates availale at the touch of a button, the hunger for edgy stories has become so desperate that backing a story with substance has become a secondary priority.  I am in no way implying that we shouldn’t allow ourselves to enjoy the lighter side of life; however when the only information you absorb is nonsense you are in danger of becoming desensitised to matters of importance.

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One Response to “Which came first, the Press or the Reader? | Scott Steele”

  1. Nicky Patterson January 29, 2013 at 7:29 pm #

    Nice rant Scott!

    For many folk “life is just too short” to be crusading on issues which do not seem to bear any significant influence on their day-to-day experience. This apathy is a serious worry and suggests that powerful hegemonic forces are still very much dominant in spite of apparent growing awareness of inequalities in the U.K. and Europe. Class consciousness almost seems a more distant realisation than ever before. Recent mass-movements like the English riots of 2011 and the Occupy Movement seemed so powerful at the time, but perhaps in retrospect we can say that the dominant media bodies, in typical reactionary fashion, were tremendously successful in incubating the issues as being utterly radical, deviant, and critically lacking any coherent direction.

    The conundrum of how to make people aware, care, and act clearly needs urgent addressing. Unfortunately trying to pry people away from tabloid media and mind-numbing low-brow TV entertainment tends to be a laborious and generally fruitless task.

    @NickyPatterson

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