Thursday, 3 May 2012

Horrendous Headlines and Hideous Hacks

I have been struggling to begin this blog. Partly because it's been a while and I am a little out of practice. Sorry about that by the way. Also I am struggling to find a way to make me not sound like a know it all knobhead. Yet in the last few days, journalism is really starting to get under my skin.
Now as some of you may know I did a Journalism degree, and to go into the whys and wherefores as to why I didn't take up the profession, please read here. Now there are two main issues that have bothered me in the last day or so.
First of all, Roy Hodgson's appointment as England Manager. Rather than spark debate on footballing matters and the pros and cons of his appointment, The Sun, in their clear disappointment in Hodgson's job offer, came out with the headline 'Bwing on the Euwos. We'll see you in Ukwaine against Fwance.'
Roy Hodgson has a speech impediment preventing him from pronouncing the letter 'R'. So this has sparked a debate about this headline, which has been written in bad taste, and it has received hundreds of complaints. To the point that The Sun has chosen to stick the boot in again with another famous person with this type of speech problem, Jonathon Ross, leading today with 'Wossy: Roy Row is Ruddy Ridiculous.'
Now first of all, voicing what many people have already said, whatever your opinion of Roy Hodgson's appointment it should be for football reasons, not a personal attack on the man's speech, that is low, uneducated and shows a lack of tact that may probably disgust even the most hardened tabloid reader. This is also from a newspaper that is one of a number being investigated due to bad practice and phone hacking, so hardly the beacon of honesty and integrity.
Maybe it is some kind of plan to get us all to back Hodgson's campaign, or at least thats what the Sun will say if we win it, but shouldn't we be doing that anyway as England fans? Shouldn't we be backing our manager and team? Do we want to win the tournament at all? I am not sure the press do. I hope if Hodgson, by some footballing miracle, does win the tournament, he and his team refuse to comment to the press, and they have to make do with a 100 word press release issued by the FA Press Office, because that's all they deserve!
Secondly, I was drawn to this article from a good friend of mine in the States. Now I hold my hands up, I am not interested in the Newton school district or their Maths curriculum. However, as I read through the article, the notion that school teachers, role models and the people ultimately charged with helping forge children's futures, should not be encouraging equality, diversity and fairness, regardless of their subject, worried me.
Also though I read through it, and imposed the so-called 'virtues' of good journalism. Impartiality on the part of the journalist, making sure both sides have a say, and checking your facts.
So lets start with checking the facts. Well I feel a quote regarding the benchmarks sums this up quite well. "The benchmarks, which could not be found on the district's Web site, were faxed to FOXNews.com by Tom Mountain, a columnist for The Newton Tab who has followed the district's education system and, specifically, the rise of the "antiracist" education agenda there."

So the facts the basis of this article are founded on are based on some stuff that another journalist, who clearly has his own agenda, has faxed to him. So yeah, these are all going to be the Gospel truth and not open to any interpretation.
Also the fact that there is a long list (6 in total) of quotes saying that this Anti-racist policy is true and only two, and another two who couldn't be contacted, state the reasons against, one of which is challenged by the writer, which leads me to a lack of impartiality.
Now I better not make the link that Fox News and The Sun are owned by the same company.
My point is that I learnt these values as part of my studies and was encouraged wholeheartedly to apply these in 'real world' journalism. Yet this at the current time doesn't look like this is the case at all. It looks its people stating their opinion and getting some random facts to back them up, while conscientiously tearing apart reputations and careers. Now don't get me wrong, I am not naive enough to believe that this is new, but it worries me that people are taking this in as 'fact' or are actively encouraging the bullying of another human being. For me, that is what is simply unforgivable.

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