Thursday, 20 March 2008

Here is the news

I think I'm fairly aware of my own failings, although I'm sure there's plenty lurking ready to throw me a surprise mortification party. And one of the ones I know well is that I just don't have a dissecting, analytical mind. The kind that effortlessly glimpses a path through dense webs of information. As a result, I'm appalling at arguments. (Among the barbarous verbal weapons in my glittering armoury: 'Never mind.' 'It's probably my fault.' 'It's hard to say unless you're actually in that situation.') I would almost certainly be dreadful at chess. And the complex political climates of places far away often make me wish John Craven would sit me down kindly and tell me what's really going on. But even I can tell that radio news – the kind I listen to (I'm not including Radio 4 in this, 4 fans) – is news for idiots, by idiots. 

On this morning's 8am bulletin on 6 Music, they revealed that financial regulators were investigating who spread rumours in the city which caused share prices to drop. That was it, verbatim. That was the story. Someone spread rumours and suddenly money went wrong. What exactly were these rumours? That Jeff on the Tokyo desk is adopted? That Fiona in New York has 'started'? That Elaine the night cleaner will do it for 20 Silk Cut and a pint of Snakebite?

Things often work this way on the radio news I get to hear. A story breaks, and initially the report sounds for all the world like it's been excitedly put together by reporters from a student newspaper, blithely untroubled by facts and sources and explanation. Then, in the half-hour between that and the next bulletin, it's as if they've shown their work to a proper, grown-up journalist who's said, 'Now, remember what we learnt about who, what, where, when and why.' By 8.30am today, a gentle rewrite had introduced motives and suspects and consequences, and the free press had once again reclaimed its dubious merits. Until 9am, anyway. 

Luckily, there is one bastion of the fourth estate that you can always rely on.


Ian said...

Dear Miss Jones,

I am so totally psyched that you have linked to my humble blog (OK, not humble, POWERFUL), because I am an ardent admirer of yours. You are, in my opinion, one of the funniest writers in the country, no, THE WORLD. If only I could think of a reason to link to you. Are you Hillary Clinton incognito? That would help.


Miss Jones said...

Dear Mr Marbury

Many thanks for your kind words.

Of course I am not Hillary Clinton – I am much better dressed, for starters. But don't worry. One does not do a good turn merely to earn a repayment in kind. One does it because one believes in the business of good turns. This is what people who wash less frequently than we do call karma.

Warmest regards

Miss Jones

Miss Jones said...

Obviously I should have said Lord Marbury, not Mr. Goddamn!