It often astounds me how freely the British public criticise foreign media. The Murdoch-backed Fox News in America is often mocked for its apparent right-wing bias whilst RT is commonly dismissed as Putin propaganda.
Perhaps it’s time we stopped looking at the apparent faults across the world and started to focus on our own. The days of high quality broadcasting and reporting within this country are long gone. Too many journalists and presenters now commonly resort to hatchet jobs instead of conducting fair interrogations, a reason maybe for why many hold incompetence in abundance, or more simply, lack understanding.
Cathy Newman’s sparring with UKIP leader Nigel Farage this week on Channel 4 News was the latest example of how a respected news organisation has descended into farce. Firstly came some scrutiny on NHS policy – fair game considering video footage of Farage mulling over an insurance-based healthcare system came to light – yet what was to follow was not so innocent.
The tiresome argument that Farage claimed women are worth “far less” to employers after maternity leave reared its head again. Still unable to distinguish that the statement was made referring to a specific section of the brokerage industry, Newman had, not for the first time in her career, gone into battle without her shield. Once again trying to apply some context, the UKIP leader proceeded to explain he wouldn’t even take a fortnight off whilst in that line of work. Still unable to grasp the concept that Farage wasn’t referring to the market as a whole, Newman asked if she was worth less to Channel 4 since she took time off to have a child. Refusing to bow down to the pettiness and a blatant attempt to attack both person and party, Farage swatted her away like someone would a fly, shaking his head remarking how she just didn’t understand it.
Of course, the truth is she understood perfectly, it’s not exactly Einstein’s theory of relativity is it? But the agenda has been made clear, smear UKIP at any chance you get. Do whatever it takes to quell the momentum of a party picking up swathes of support across the country. This isn’t a new phenomenon either. Parties in the last have been subject to unfair bias to satisfy the media’s desire of maintaining the Labour and Conservative status quo.
When the British National Party picked up unprecedented support around five years back, the media took every step they could to suffocate them. The publicly-funded, supposedly impartial BBC would never discuss policy, only make accusations of racism. Again, it’s not wrong to scrutinise, but we apparently live in a democracy. However unsavoury a message may be perceived, if people are voting for somebody, they deserve to have their views and policies aired, especially from an organisation such as the BBC. I have faith that the vast majority of my fellow countrymen would reject racism and bigotry where they see it. We do not need our media to do it for us, in their attempts to condition us. It is not their job to decide what is acceptable, and what is not.
The Green Party have suffered quite the opposite problem. Not seen as a threat to disturb the establishment, on the whole the media have completely ignored them. They don’t need to be smeared, as they don’t pose the threat of gaining an unstoppable momentum. Hence the blackout of a party with an elected MP, and a party that consistently performs admirably in European Elections is deemed to be acceptable.
So yes, I find it astounding, as well as incredible naive from the British people when we look to criticise media across the world while disregarding the severe faults with our own, indeed it is a problem across the Western world. But of course, we shouldn’t question anything. The powers at be always have our best interests at heart…