If last year could have been characterised as the year of fake news what do we make of this year? Perhaps the year of non-news.
I actually wrote about my disappointment with what our news media considered newsworthy last year, but the problem seems to be getting worse. And we, the consumers, have to take responsibility for our part.
The signs have been there from the start of the year. We have had the relentlessly reported updates of terminally insignificant celebrities. We have had the cross promotion of reality television shows that insult viewers intelligence, such as The Bachelor and My Kitchen Rules, with every minutiae of detail treated as newsworthy. The burgeoning industry for ‘sports journalists’ (a term I use with some scepticism) tells the same story from another angle.
For anyone that was still in doubt about the pre-eminence of non-news in 2017, it has been rammed home with alacrity by the idiotic reporting of Schapelle Corby’s return home. Aside from the fact that it is about as interesting as what I had for breakfast, Corby’s every movement should not be followed by creeps with cameras. Either the poor girl is going to extreme lengths to avoid publicity because she has had enough of it- in which case fair enough, give her some privacy- or she is deliberately and successfully baiting the media with faux secrecy in an attempt to maximise her publicity- in which case why reward her for it? Either way, the hysteria is ridiculous.
And it isn’t as if there aren’t things we should want to be kept very well informed about. Rising global tensions, Turnbull’s announcement we will send more troops to Afghanistan, climate change and the plight of refugees in offshore detention; not to mention the ongoing abuses of power, dishonesty and incompetence by our Coalition government.
I get that these are not as easily digestible concepts as the non-news our networks favour. You might have to think about them a bit more to get your head around them. You might also have to admit some of your preconceived notions were wrong, while the lack of obvious solutions to some of these problems can be depressing.
But these problems don’t go away when we ignore them in favour of non-news and we can’t decry the standards of journalism, even as we consume the garbage served up to us. It’s time we vote with our feet, or at least our cursor/remote control. Whatever salacious click bait you see, do yourself- and the rest of us- a favour and ignore it. If we stop rewarding this crap, we might encourage our media to return to real journalism.