The purpose of journalism is, of course, primarily to inform, but also to use the platform to hold authority to account and I’m fiercely proud of my own record of doing that over the past 36 or so years.
However, actively seeking to influence public opinion and telling people what to think is most definitely not in our remit. When that happens, which is all too often now, a line is crossed in my opinion.
No one expects impartiality from national newspapers – they are defined by their political allegiances and when those partisan views are transferred to a TV screen, or even a talk radio station we shouldn’t be surprised considering who owns those stations, but it’s a level of manipulation that really is a couple of steps too far.
It’s ironic that in a week where Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (and shopping trolleys for all I care), Nadine Dorries, targetted the supposedly politically biased BBC by stating her intention to eradicate the TV licence fee, Sky News’ were in rabid dog attack mode with leading questions – the sort that don’t actually require an answer because it’s all about them – wrap ups that end with “the public has already made up its mind” and panto outrage designed to wind up anti Boris fervour over what they would have us believe has been a non stop 18 months of booze ups behind closed doors orchestrated by the prime minister.
By far the biggest culprits are Sam Coates and Beth Rigby (journalism’s version of the Kray twins). This is the same Beth Rigby who was suspended from appearing on camera for three months last year after breaking the rules herself by attending Kay Burley’s birthday bash.
I doubt Sam Coates gets invited to many after work socials.
Add to that Kier Mr Sweeping Statement Starmer’s use of the term “industrial scale partying” and one has to wonder why Sue Gray is even bothering with her review of partygate.
After all, the public has already blah blah blah…
Compared to Sky News, the BBC is a paragon of balanced reporting.
Of course Boris Johnson has screwed up, and from his demeanour during PMQs he’s fully aware that he may not survive this one. But he’s being painted as the architect of every sin, which is utterly ridiculous and driven purely by personal dislike of the man.
I don’t especially like Boris but I’m not about to blame him for everything from space debris to my diabetes.
As one solitary voice of reason said last week to party hopping former politician Anna Soubry on the Sky Press Review, if Boris Johnson walked on water you would say it was proof that he couldn’t swim.
Whoever organised the jolly on the evening before the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral needs to be forcibly ejected, the same with the idiotic senior civil servant responsible for the BYOB invitation and it’s the responsibility of news outlets to make those inflated clowns accountable for their actions, as they did so well with Dominic Cummings, although in his case it was as much a case of revenge of the press corp as it was out of professional duty.
There’s no need to sex it up, the facts, if presented properly, should be enough and people really are capable of making up their own minds without being treated like fireworks having the blue touchpaper lit.
News coverage should not have an agenda. It’s not what I became a journalist for and it tarnishes the profession.
What’s that? I didn’t mention GB News? What would be the point?
Stupid TV quiz answers of the week
Q: Which of the founding fathers was the oldest to sign to American Declaration of Independence in 1776?
Q: On which New Zealand island is Wellington