The Null Device

1/7/2006 in news

This evening, I tuned into BBC News 24. The intro ran, and on came the newsreaders, informing the audience of the big story: the English football team was beaten by Portugal, and was out of the World Cup.

The report played a clip of the goal that ended it all, and the Portuguese player's triumphant expression. Then they crossed to England supporters outside the stadium in Germany, with the reporter asking them how they felt. Not surprisingly, they were disappointed.

Then the report crossed to Lisbon, where fans were partying. The reporter asked a few how they felt; they were elated. This just in: Portuguese football fans celebrate when their team wins.

This went on for 20 minutes, discussing the mechanics of the game, the hopes and dreams of various fans, and so on, after which they briefly crossed to the rest of the day's news. And in other news: 60 people were killed in a bomb blast in Iraq, as sectarian violence threatens to escalate further. Presumably things are also happening in other parts of the world (such as, say, the Gaza Strip and Somalia, to name two recently newsworthy locations), though one can't be sure because there wasn't time to mention them.

Am I the only one who sees something wrong with this?

There are 10 comments on "1/7/2006 in news":

Posted by: Simon Volkov Sun Jul 2 02:07:47 2006

Spot fucking on.

Posted by: datakid Sun Jul 2 03:05:10 2006

you shoulda seen our media when Australia lost..._oh_ _my_ _god_...

the lighter side is that it's now not on the front page, and hicksy's finally getting a look in - I guess it helps when the US supreme court makesa judgement :)

Posted by: Newsnotsports Sun Jul 2 07:56:46 2006

I agree 100%. Sports results are NOT the news. Unless something newsworthy happens at the match (like a big bolt of lightening hits the stadium, starts a fire and kills everyone inside) I don't really want to hear about it. If I did, I would turn to one of the way too many SPORTS channels.

Posted by: Simstim Sun Jul 2 12:46:00 2006

Depends on what the news is for. If it's what the audience (as a whole, on average, etc) want to know about then yesterday it'd have been the England match. I hitched a lift with a couple of friends yesterday from Cardiff to Birmingham, leaving just after 4pm andw hen we crossed the border into England the roads were deserted for a summer Saturday afternoon. The biggest news story for most of the English yesterday was the footie. Now whether news should reflect or dictate its audience's news values, that's the big question.

Posted by: acb Sun Jul 2 13:35:19 2006

But 20 minutes, most of them given to "human-interest" banalities like fans saying how disappointed they are, when there are things happening elsewhere, is wrong.

If the news is to be completely "democratic", we may as well discard all the boring old stuff about politics and stuff and have an hour of celebrity sex gossip and videos of people doing stupid things.

Posted by: acb Mon Jul 3 08:49:19 2006

Also, there is the fact that this is the BBC News, which generally has an excellent reputation, which makes it particularly disappointing. If this were, say, ITV or Sky or someone, one could expect populist news programming, but the BBC should be above that sort of thing.

Posted by: simon77 Mon Jul 3 11:33:56 2006

Being another Aussie living in London this sort of thing doesn’t surprise me too much. My faith in the standards of reporting by BBC News has been shaken a lot lately and just today I see yet another huge example of censorship through omission.

Reporting on the recent events in Gaza ( BBC completely neglects to detail the Israeli bombing of the local power station providing electricity to around 700,000 people. Four bridges were also destroyed, one of which provides a water pipeline to 2 refugee camps.

This is seriously big news, however it is summed up somewhere down the bottom of the article as “Over six nights of air raids Israel has mainly targeted empty buildings, fields and key infrastructure.”

Search around on the BBC News site and there is no mention anywhere on this event. Am I wrong to find this seriously disturbing?

For more info read here..

Posted by: El Bizarro Mon Jul 3 13:00:10 2006

It's not surprising at all and when you ask a journalist why they don't cover these issues in more detail they will most often tell you that "people don't want to read about doom and gloom every day. If we reported the news no-one would read it". Some halfwit from the SMH ran a similar story last year, claiming it was the public's fault that they didn't report, for example, the incomprehensible disaster unfolding in Darfur.

Fair suck of the sav! Since when did the media let the public dictate what they wanted to hear/see/be sold. It goes beyond lazy journalism and strays into contempt. In fact, you'd be hard pressed to find a journalist, aside from the odd fringe dweller like David Reith (Susan Sontag's son) who even knows what is actually going on. How many journos know that more people have died in the congo in the last 10 years of civil war than in WWII? Sweet FA.

I think the last word comes from the recent shakeup at Fairfax, where the hacks were all sacked and re-employed as "content providers". Sa

Posted by: realkosh Mon Jul 3 23:45:24 2006

This happens with AFL all the time.

Player crushes leg in horrible kicking accident, let's talk to his family, fans, doctors. Followed by five minutes of the rest of the news.

It's getting worse with celeb weddings and babies every five minutes. Brad Pitt's less important than pretty much anything I could think of and yet it leads the news.

Posted by: El Bizarro Thu Jul 6 07:56:53 2006

In their defense, the BBC coverage of the ongoing chaos in Somalia has been much better than you would expect, but I imagine this has more to do with BBC's long affiliation with the country and that they are probably one of the few news organs that actually have reporters based there.