Capital T Truth

It is fascinating to watch people getting bent out of shape by the Conservatives excluding certain journalist from their press conference. I find it hard to care.

I watched a journalist pursuing Dominic Cummings down the road the other day and he was having none of the journalist’s attempts to grab hold of him and interview him. I’m afraid I would be the same. In the unlikely event that I am ever involved in anything “newsworthy” I wouldn’t let journalists near me.

It’s a long time since any journalist wanted to speak to me but the last few times I swore never again. Each time they were more interested in getting across their predetermined story than they were in listening to me or telling anything remotely like the truth.

Newspapers and broadcast newsrooms are bureaucracies. They are hierarchies. Journalists will toe the editorial line in order to keep their boss happy and keep their jobs. Many of them are just churning out copy to satisfy a desire for existing memes and prejudices. Many of them are not that bright.

The relationship between the press and politicians has become a cosy dance. The embarrassing Whitehall Farce that is The Today Programme has been unlistenable for years. For a while I subscribed to the Guardian, given that my views are generally left-leaning, but I gave up because the writing was just too biased to add any real understanding.

Journalists I know will bang on about the truth and overplay their role in uncovering it. Truth is slippery. Truth is malleable. Truth is overrated. Even science only purports to state currently working hypotheses. In fact the strength of science is that they don’t take any of their truths too seriously.

Perhaps journalists would do well to learn from them.

7 thoughts on “Capital T Truth”

  1. Unlike yourself the Conservative Government has a duty to respond to the Press that is why Parliament passed into the Freedom of Information Act. The manipulation of news via social media that allowed Leave to shift the Overton Window in terms of the European Union means that unless we force the questioning even if they fail to answer it reveals sometime. Otherwise we get the stage management of events such as Johnson’s Press Conference in Greenwich which was littered with lies.

    I would argue that the problem with news media is that for the past four years at hasn’t called lies what they were, rather they have played the both sides card.

    When it comes to media the issue is not one of the quality of the news rather than the funding reduction means that time is no longer given to write a story. We need to once again start paying for content rather than consuming for free. That way news outlets will not chase popularity they might report the truth.

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    1. Parliament has an obligation to be accountable and transparent, whether the press as currently manifest is the appropriate vehicle for that or not is what I’m questioning.
      I agree with most of what you say. In fact I have for many many years been banging on about what I call iTunes for journalism. I the way that playlists deconstructed the album and to some extent the stranglehold of the music industry, being able to follow some of the many thoughtful, challenging, and in many cases brave journalists that there are still out there appeals, there just isn’t a “media free” way to pay for them at the moment.

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      1. So far we have seen that the present Government is not willing to let anyone question their actions. Parliament has seen select committees formed very slowly since the General Election and Johnson has declined to appear before them in the previous Parliament so I don’t think that we can expect change anytime soon.

        Journalism is hard and publishers have not helped themselves with their attitude to digital. When you and I were younger they had in house telesales teams for advertising now they have outsourced digital platform that is not bringing in the volume or revenues. This is more evident in the magazine space than newspapers however it means no money no quality unless buy mistake. Hence I feel that falling standards and budgets for the BBC to “level the playing field” is something that should be resisted as much as possible.

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  2. Everything has its place and every person has to find their place. I like journalists who write what I agree with. I also like to read journalists who I disagree with, I just don’t like them.
    Corporate life is similar in most businesses.
    In a nut shell I may not like the world you describe Euan but I think I would like the world less if it all disappeared.

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