21 Oct 2015

The National Press

Having failed to get two Cotswold Green Pary press releases printed in our local paper - The Wilts and Glos Standard - I have been thinking about newspapers in general.  Indeed previous blogs on this site have centred on creating an alternative press and the power of the media.

I get my news from the Guardian and BBC websites and today at 9.00am the main headlines were as follows: 
The BBC website:
  • Assad in Surprise visit to Moscow
  • China to sign nuclear plant deal
  • Canada to withdraw jets from IS battle
  • Hosptials to get own savings targets
  • Term-time fines 'unworkable'
  • 70% in work scheme 'don't get jobs'
The Guardian website:
  • XI Jinping/Nuclear deal announcement anticipated on day 2 of state visit
  • Sugar tax could help solve Britain's obesity crisis, expert tells MPs
  • Number of London's 'working poor' surges 70% in 10 years
  • Naked 'tombstoning' advert for Hostelworld banned - as too dangerous
  • Refugee boats wash up at UK military base in Cyprus
  • Schools 'should be able to approve family holidays in term time'
  • Tax credit cuts: Lords forced to back down as Tory rebellion grows
  • Junior doctors/Seven in 10 to leave NHS if Hunt pushes through new contract
  • Fears of a Christmas Lego shortage
From these two sources I felt reasonably well informed on world and national news.

I wondered what readers of other news websites would have seen at the same time so turned to - 
The Sun website:
  • Singer George's rehab boost: Is he rake-in the Michael?
  • Schoolboy's 'lets get naughty' lies ruined my life, says mum
  • HeX Faxtor: 'Ghost' spooks Simon's team at haunted castle
  • Suspected serial killer appeared on TV show
  • Vaping burned a hole in my lungs
  • My skin turned black after I overdosed on tanning jabs
Only after all this do we get:
Term time holiday fines for parents treble to over 50,000
Desperate GPs refuse to take new patients
Hammond: Saudis won't lash grandad

So it seems the readers were advised of the dangers of tanning parlours and taking drugs, but not much else.

Next stop The Telegraph website:
  • Corbyn shakes the Queen's hand at state banquet, as UK seeks to secure £30bn Chinese Investment
  • 'So unfair': World Rugby has hung referee Craig Joubert 'out to dry'
  • Diamond Duchess meets Xi at the banquet - for Balmoral venison, and music by the Beatles
  • Back to the Future Day
  • Go teetotal to reduce dementia risks, NHS says
  • Hundreds of migrants arrive in boats at Cyprus RAF base
  • Worldwide Lego shortage
So a better coverage of news, but with a rightwing stance mocking Corbyn and no mention of topics embarrasing for the tories like tax credit cuts or junior doctors.
My last stop was the Daily Express website:
  •  Millions face threat to retirement income after calls to slash pension payouts
  •  Kate dazzles as she wears Queen Mother's old tiara to her first British State banquet
  •  Horror as Christian migrant 'brutally beaten with baton in refugee camp'
I was almost impressed by the third headline, but decided to look at the article behind it and discovered it was really an anti-muslim migrant post - 'A MIGRANT was allegedly beaten inside a refugee camp in a brutal attack – for converting to Christianity.The 24-year-old was beaten with a baton by an Afghan man, who declared his conversion was a "sin", according to police.'

So to conclude, I admit I only looked at the headlines and on most occasions did not read the actual articles, but no wonder the population is so ill-informed of what goes on in the world.

We need to change this so that people can vote for political parties and policies from a sound knowledge base. This is an area where the Green Party and other progressive organisations must make a breakthrough somehow.

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