Picture of a judge's wigThis Is Not A BLOG!Picture of a judge's wig

Date: 20/09/14

Who Can I Turn To?

One of the great dilemmas coming out of the referendum in Scotland has been the inglorious and dishonest conduct of the media in their coverage.

The behaviour not only of newspapers (whom, due to their ownership, at least cannot astonish anyone with even a passing interest in them as to their inherent biases) but of supposedly regulated broadcasters surprised even someone with such sub-woofer depths of cynicism as Yer Judge. The way that the BBC in particular turned itself into the State Broadcasting Bureau for the duration of much of the campaign (although ITN and Sky weren't all that far behind) will have disturbed even those who have heretofore taken a kindly view of Auntie's peccadillos; not only with regard to the biases in time, slant and nuance alloted to coverage of stories friendly or inimical to one side or the other, but also in the ways in which the Corporation tried to justify itself or, worse still, the ways in which it obviously didn't see any reason why it should have to excuse its behaviour any more.

This has continued long past the vote itself, let it be said; its coverage of the riot by hardline Unionists in Glasgow on Friday evening was a model of what the BBC now thinks constitutes 'balanced reporting', in that - when it could be bothered covering the story at all - it sought to suggest very strongly that this was a clash between two violent groups, whereas live footage (visible on other countries' broadcasters' websites) backed up both stills photographs and eye-witness accounts to confirm that this was a mob of Union Rag-wielding thugs chanting racist and anti-Catholic songs, attacking anyone who was different from them in skin colour, sexual identity or political affiliation.

It has also led to the organisation becoming, in effect, the Brown Broadcasting Company, in that the wretched serial-failure of a one-eyed Jack who used to do Prime Minister impressions has been granted his long-overdue apotheosis by his self-vaunting and self-serving 'promises' (which he, as an opposition back-bencher, is in no position to make and in no position to enforce) being given wall-to-wall coverage on the Castration's channels.

This is also in line with the attitude taken by Britain's Leading Liberal Newspaper, the Guardian, which is now - much, no doubt, to the bruising of the egos of both David Cameron and George Galloway - touting Brown as The Man Who Saved The Union, fresh as he is from his four-lap 'Scare A Granny' Tour of recent months.

The offensiveness of the Grundiad has been reflected elsewhere in the other part of the alleged 'liberal' press of London, namely the Independent, whose articles, columns and letters pages have been so full of virulent and ignorantly reactionary sentiments that it should perhaps re-name itself the Gin-dependent.

Now, all this leaves me with the dilemma I adverted to at the top of this piece. You see I have, in the eleven years or so since I got online, developed a habit of where I turn to first in the mornings to get my news. Yes, you've probably guessed it, I have depended strongly on the BBC's News site, along with the Graun and the Indy, only occasionally dipping into other major news sites as and when the need and/or desire required.

The trouble now is, of course, that I feel that - although it may have been a fetching innocence on my part to believe that I could, in general, trust those outlets to be as close to accurate sources as it was possible to get (whilst generally conforming with my own biases, natch), I now feel - such has been the execrable conduct of all of them - that I can't trust any of them to give me anything which I would accept without rigorous cross-checking, which would take time that I either don't have or would prefer to put to better use.

Which prompted me to ask myself earlier today, after a Friday spent avoiding the official UK media as much as possible, so as not to be both depressed and enraged by their combination of the vauntingly ignorant and the creepily patronising: where the hell else can I go to get information which I feel I could, in general, trust?

One hears a lot nowadays of RT and Al-Jazeera, but I am reminded that RT is, essentially, Putin's mouthpiece (and Putin is our Hitler-du-jour, of course; the BBC and our newspapers tell us so); and that Al-Jazeera is owned and controlled by the Qatari ruling dynasty, who may be at least as thuggish as Vladimir Vladimirovich but are our friends nonetheless, because they may own things here - like half of Buckinghamshire, or something like that.

CNN? Too American, too conservative. MSNBC? Too American, too conservative in that way in which US 'liberalism' looks utterly conservative from any other vantage point on the planet. And both of them too parochial in that way in which US media is a perfect reflection of US society in general, thinking as it seemingly does that 'Central America' means 'Buttboil, Missouri'.

Beyond that I'm right out of ideas, especially as I know full well that, wherever I might look, there will be some aspect or other of any alternative source - be it its ideological direction or its ownership - which will feel a less than comfortable fit with my own preferences. Media diversity is, on the whole, a thing of the past (if it was ever much more than a pious claim rather than a reflection of how things really are or were).

Given all this, I suppose that I'll end up going back to my old haunts simply out of inertia, but reading them with a cynical snort more often than previously.