Until recently it had been a while since I’d read any Western newspapers.
Occasionally I’ll catch a headline on a western website but I rarely follow through to read the full story. My local television news comes from Hong Kong in English and provides me with a daily or weekly news update.
I’ve been quite satisfied with this, quickly acclimatizing to the wealth and variety of local news and news stories throughout Asia and I still really enjoy hearing in-depth reports from Thailand, Vietnam, parts of Africa, Japan and Indonesia.
I love the way these places are mentioned as casually and as frequently as European countries such as Germany, Austria, Spain, Italy and Greece are spoken about on British news.
But, sorry, I digress a little, let me get back on track.
Guess I’d Just Forgotten
I received a shock this weekend when I checked out some of the British newspapers online.
After many months of the relative positivity and the comparative mildness of Asian news reporting, I was really taken aback by the negative, close to the bone slandering, doom and gloom of the UK press.
No wonder I was so fed-up just before I left. I’d been subconsciously absorbing a mental diet of always waiting for the worst to happen. Pessimism without borders.
Is All Good News is Good News?
Why do they do this? I wondered as I read yet another article on some nasty event which hadn’t yet occurred but, which, according to the journalist, ‘could’ happen or was even ‘on the brink of happening’.
Everything about the writing seemed to be designed to shock, upset or evoke your morale sensibilities into condemning those who operate at a lower standard.
Standards defined by whom?
Who decides which group is morally right and which group is morally wrong in British society? The UK press, apparently.
Once You Start…
One of the most scary things was how hard it was to stop reading after I’d begun an article. This could have been due to the layout which seemed designed to suck you in and keep you there, or it could have been the force of the fatalistic, sensationalist reporting, which as I’ve mentioned, was full of ‘possibilities’ along with judgements on society’s ‘outcasts’.
Perhaps I should be glad that at least the range of those we were encouraged to look down on was all inclusive. From the very rich to the very poor. The employed and the unemployed, male and female, irregardless of race, creed or religion, nobody was above condemnation.
Break The Chain
An hour later I finally logged off because my brain was hurting and I literally couldn’t take anymore.
Reading the articles had left me deflated, depressed and irritated. Annoyed with myself for wasting brain cells which I’d never get back and angry at the UK press for churning out a stream of emotion grabbing content which is essentially devoid of intellectual and uplifting theoretical fibre.
In short, it’s nonsense.
They call it news, but it’s not. It’s empty, rumour fuelled, here today, gone tomorrow, time wasting. money draining, gossip-filled dross.
I wish, oh how I wish, that they would take a lesson from the form of news reports here in Asia. I’m not saying it’s perfect, far from it and I could probably write another post on all of the ways it could probably improve.
Realistically no news gathering organization on the planet has managed to get it 100% correct, but I know it’s better simply because watching after the thirty minute evening news I don’t feel like it’s the end of the world or that all lesser beings (whoever they are, most likely including myself), should be rounded up and recolonized on a far away planet.
Instead I feel informed, educated and enlightened, sometimes even entertained.
I thought that was the whole point of news reporting, to give the facts, hopefully in a balanced way and let people decide for themselves, but I guess not.
Forgive me for being naive.