The News: Is Vanity Fair?

Tuesday, 17th November 2009 at 10:00 UTC 2 comments

Curious to discover why such a thing might happen, I read an article on the censorship of Enid Blyton by the BBC. It was rather amusing to note the short sightedness of the controllers of the airwaves and their own personal opinions on the author. I did wonder why this was news. Its hardly current celebrity gossip either. No, despite the disguise as a news article, it was an advert for a program. I was pretty pissed off to be honest.

Its become quite a habit of modern broadcasters to effectively make news out of themselves. Panorama once billed itself as the program that doesn’t just report the news, but makes it. And so the justification is that the BBC can make a news story out of itself. In some ways, as controllers of the broadcasts, they have every to dictate how they use their air time. But to claim that something is news when it is, in fact, an advert for a program?

In another sense, its a sign of how commercialised our news media has become. Many of the news stories we see are basically cheap advertising for companies, or will be turned into such by their PR companies. Where we hopefully realise that information about diets is coming from the companies set up to promote them and make their developers rich, we don’t always realise the extent to which the supposedly more benevolent drugs-companies, amongst others, drive parts of our news. Our world is so profit driven, it probably shouldn’t be a huge surprise.

But is it really OK for the BBC to insert stories into its own media broadcasts to advertise other programs? I suppose when its a major investigation by Panorama or Horizon, its not the end of the world, though sometimes its clear they’re sitting on the evidence until the schedule calls for the program to be broadcast. But here its pretty much a non-sense news story (literally, it makes no sense). We’re not being told timely information, its not News in that sense. All the BBC is using something it did in the past to make a noise. There are plenty of real news stories out there. I’m not sure why this in particular annoyed me enough to get down to writing something, but I really do with it would stop.

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Entry filed under: BBC, Celebrity, Culture, Free Speech, Marketing, News.

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Simon  |  Tuesday, 17th November 2009 at 14:29 UTC

    Because it allows them to do a stunt like invite Nazis onto Question Time in order make themselves the centre of the news agenda for the week.

    Reply
    • 2. Graham Martin  |  Tuesday, 17th November 2009 at 14:50 UTC

      That might be why they do it, but it doesn’t actually answer the question of morals I was hoping to pose. That said, perhaps the very fact it encourages them to endorse hate-politics, maybe that’s the reason against.

      Reply

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