Monthly Archives: February 2012

Stupid Fucking Heliotropes

I decided to write this blog today because I just couldn’t put my thoughts about The Sun newspaper into 140 characters.

There has been a lot of talk about The Sun in the last couple of days and I’m enjoying the debate, anything that gets us talking about this countries media has got to be a good thing.

I don’t buy newspapers, I think in their current form they do more harm than good. There are a handfull of great journalists in this country but no great papers, some are better than others, but none do more good than harm. I’m no expert but it seems to me that one of the biggest problems is that the press have to make money; money is made through advertising; big business only advertise in a non contrary environment; A non contrary environment for big business is one which doesn’t talk about unsavoury truths; Uncovering unsavoury truths is journalism.

Newspapers don’t expose the truth, they present a highly filtered and designed version of the world which their sponsors would have us live in. They create a world where the West is purely a benevolent force, where the destruction of the planet is to be ignored or even celebrated and where the poor and the vulnerable are a hindrance:

As a purely benevolent force can do no wrong, the West’s atrocities are simply “Mistakes”, whereas other countries atrocities are carried out knowingly and therefore “Act’s of Evil”.

Environmentally devastating cheap flights, gas guzzling 4×4’s and power sapping electronic devices are peddled without restraint while climate change is accelerating at a rate beyond which anyone could of predicted. A global blind spot has been facilitated by the media to the extent that the most important issue of our time is ignored.

When the super rich are responsible for times of economic hardship they just play us off against each other; It’s down to the disabled, the “benefit scroungers”, the strikers, the rioters, the kids… And when that doesn’t work they’ll just throw a bit of casual racism into play and stoke up a bit of hatred for Johnny Foreigner (the funny speaking bastard). If you dare to question these “truths” or heaven forfend actually protest you are attacked as a trouble maker or ridiculed as a loon; and It works a treat, it really, really works a treat.

In all of this what I find most troubling is the growing disparity between the taught world of the media and the perceived world we experience. The taught world is designed for us by newspapers, television, advertising, social media, friends; it’s information which is once removed, things we are told, a world bereft of experience. The perceived world is made up of what we actually see, touch, hear, taste and smell. A world made purely of experience.

We exist in both worlds and it’s good to know the difference.

You would hope the perceived world would take priority, but the taught world of the media is powerful and many of us are enlightened by papers that care only about profit and have no inclination or incentive to be morally correct or socially beneficial. Yesterday The Sun ran an article in its defence by Trevor Kavanagh titled:

“Witch-hunt has put us behind ex-Soviet states on Press freedom”

I detest the erosion of any freedom, press or otherwise, but is this genuinely a big concern for The Sun? It wasn’t last week when they felt no need to cover the Twitter joke trial, controversial for being an extraordinary attack on freedom of speech.

This headline is outdated rhetoric, a paper clinging onto an imagined sense of superiority. Why is it not enough to bemoan a weak government for failing the public? The headline could read:

“UK Press drops down World Press Freedom index”

But it doesn’t. It reads:

“Witch-hunt has put us behind ex-Soviet states on Press freedom”

What does this headline imply? To me it suggests that Britain has a God given right to be ahead of ex socialist states when it comes to matters of press freedom. Do they realise how offensive that is? It seems to me they are so entrenched in their mind sets that they can’t even see how archaic and odious those mindsets are.

At a time when they are doing their absolute utmost to obtain a moral high ground they can’t even get out seven words without exposing their in ground jingoism. Or maybe they know exactly what they are doing and they’re just trying to tap into the xenophobia they’ve helped to culture. Who knows, either way it doesn’t really fill me with empathy.

Kavanagh talks about the disparity in the response to the banking and newspaper scandals and while I agree I do wonder if we’re coming from the same end of the stick; I think the banks were treated much too leniently and should have been hit just as hard as the press; but isn’t Kavanagh actually just asking for the same softly softly approach for the press that the banks enjoyed? And although the disparity between the treatment of the banks and press is wrong, getting it right the once is certainly preferable to fucking it up both times.

I’ll leave you with this from Mr Kavanagh “It is important that we do not jump to conclusions. Nobody has been charged with any offence, still less tried or convicted.” Very good point, tell it to Christopher Jefferies.

So forgive me if I don’t shed a tear when The Sun sets.

And those who preach it’s shameful and uncaring to celebrate the potential death of an absolute bully of a rag, which pushes misogyny, sexism, jingoism, war and xenophobia are beyond a joke. Or maybe they’ve just been blinded by The Sun.

Stupid fucking Heliotropes.