Saturday, 4 June 2016

I'm Getting Punch-drunk With The Way The News Is Presented

Dear Reader,

If you think - as I do - that the news is so often of a severe nature that it can perhaps be quite unsettling, then you have my sympathy. However, the passing of a renowned boxer (Muhammed Ali a.k.a. Cassius Clay) seems to have attracted a highly disproportionate amount of attention.

Having lived through the same era as he, and a keen follower of sport, I would be one of the first to applaud his very unique contribution His poetical licence, creating phrases such as "I float like a butterfly and sting like a bee" are possibly as memorable as anything Shakespeare produced. But his stand on civil rights and Vietnam considerably stand out and almost surpass his feats in the boxing ring. And in the boxing ring his style itself was often sheer poetry in what is, nevertheless, a brutal sport.

But, to devote so much 'air' space to his demise on the news channels, when (for example) children are being killed and maimed in huge numbers around the world, does seem to me to be a bad mistake. Yes, if it is thought that a programme devoted to him would be worthwhile, then go for it in another programme slot, but please do not saturate the news channels with items like this when there is so much else going on.

But I will go further. On many channels I feel it is clear that the presentation of the news is these days highly sanitised and even, perhaps, controlled. It seems that the channels Al Jazeera and RT are the only ones on which some semblance of reality can be seen: the real news (horrible as it often is), not the brain-dumming and/or popular kind.

The truth - which is what the old news reporters seemed to strive for - seems these days to be of a diluted form so that we do not seem to really understand what is happening in the world. For example, we still seem to think that 9/11 was a terrorist-inspired tragedy. But to come closer to the heartstrings, the recent revelation that many babies are now being born in the Middle East with severe physical defects - added to the supposed mosquito virus in South America - should (I would hope) galvanise us into some form of action of protest. If you are interested in that, Avaaz and are not bad petition movements to start with.

Thank you for reading this. I pray for peace in this world: it is the only physical world we have right now.