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trial by media

October 30, 2008

If you live in the UK, you cant fail to have heard all the uproar & commotion in the media this week about a rather foolish episode generated from a couple of British comedians.

I’m not agreeing with what they said or did but I dont think I’m the only one that thinks this has been blown totally out of proportion and an unbelievable deal has been made out of it, am I?

Ok, they were wrong. They did something stupid. They’re both old enough & wise enough – hmm or at least experienced enough – to know better. Their editors and producers should never have let these things be aired. There has obviously been a breakdown in communciation and what they believe to be acceptable has clearly overstepped the mark of the majority. But at the end of the day, is it really such a big deal that even the Prime Minister needs to get involved?!! That the leader of the opposition should be commenting on it as well? Hasnt the PM got more important things to be worrying about right now? And is this really anything to do with him or with politics anyway?

What I find interesting is, if it hadnt been for the media, would there really have been all this uproar and complaints? Would people have bothered to write in, to voice their opinions at all? I understand that when the programme in question was actually broadcast there were only a mere handful of complaints, a figure which seems to have escalted into the 1000s now. (It’s a shame more people dont get more involved in things which really need a voice to shout out & speak up for them.) In short, it’s the media itself which seems to have created all the hype and controversy over this – rather ironic that the BBC itself was partly responsible for harming some of its own in this way.

So, at the end of the day, should we really be making decisions & judgements based on the reactions of people who only learnt about this whole sorry episode by here-say? Should we really be intimidated by the pressure of the “mob” who, let’s face it would never have heard about this directly, partly because they are clearly NOT the audience for which this was intended. And in that case, does it really matter if this group of people do disapprove?

I’m not condoning what was said & I do agree that it was wrong. The presenters in question clearly overstepped the mark and should be shown the error of their ways. But does this really warrant the reaction & the media coverage that has been seen since? You might even say I’m contributing to this further. Well you might be right, but I’m far more concerned about the patterns which are evolving now, that “we” as a nation seem more worried about the opinions of groups of people caught up in the hype & aftermath.

Yes, this should be examined to determine how it happened and measures should be taken to ensure it never happens again. Yes, the presenters concerned should have their knuckles rapped. Yes, apologies should be given & attempts to rectify the situation should be made.

But no, we should never prevent that freedom of speech for which the west is known and we should never be pressurised into making decisions based on the actions or reactions of a group who are clearly able to shout loudly and who, at the end are only behaving this way because of what they have been told afterwards.

Maybe it is a generational thing. I don’t know. But my worry is that this is the short straw coming ever closer to numbing the voice of the media, as we determine that everyone must live up to our own expectations & should never say anything slightly controversial. And that it a rather slippery slope to be moving towards.

I find all of this a rather sad sign of the times. I just hope everyone concerned can learn something positive & constructive from this rather sorry affair.

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One comment

  1. […] the essential ingredient? welcome back Jonathan January 24, 2009 A few months ago I wrote about how the British media had appeared to try & convict a presenter, a […]



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