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Tony Grist

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And I'm Not Talking Fox, I'm Talking The Good Old BBC [Jan. 7th, 2006|09:57 am]
Tony Grist
Sharon is "fighting for his life"- that's the reigning cliche. But how do they know? Sharon is in a coma; he's not doing anything- and if he is, it isn't visible to bystanders and certainly not to Our Special Reporter Camped Outside The Hospital (poor sod) or his Anchor. Maybe Sharon is longing to just get on with it and pay the ferryman and is furious with the doctors who are holding him back.

I don't know if the standard is getting worse or it's just that I've tumbled to their tricks, but I'm always catching myself shouting at the newscasters these days.

[User Picture]From: butterscotch711
2006-01-07 02:35 am (UTC)
Australia's ABC, which is in a lot of ways like a child of the BBC, has started using these kind of cliches in its news services, and treating stories in the higly emotive ways that very commercial news services do. Particularly in the last year or two there's been a big shift in the way the ABC does its news, I wonder if it corresponds to any similar shifts at the BBC?
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2006-01-07 05:40 am (UTC)
I think the BBC has gone stupider and cheesier but, short of watching lots of vintage news broadcasts from years gone by and making a direct comparison, it's hard to be sure

I turn for relief to Channel 4- which provides an hour long evening news broadcast with substantial interviews and expert analysis.
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[User Picture]From: jubal51394
2006-01-07 05:25 am (UTC)

Having recently come through this very situation...

With my mother I'm a little familiar with it.

The odds are that IF he wakes up he will have considerably less brain function than he needs to be "The Sharon" that the world needs him to be. They are most likely doing everything that they can do and that money can buy. But mostly they are buying time to keep "the world according to Sharon" from falling apart while the understudies scramble.

If his heart is beating and his lungs are working one could define that as "fighting for his life". You don't think that reporters should be saying the truth, which probably reads more like, "He's as good as dead."

You want the news guys to say something radical that might turn the world into chaos before he's even dead, maybe?

Reality sucks and most of us common folk are just not ready for it.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2006-01-07 05:47 am (UTC)

Re: Having recently come through this very situation...

I don't want them to say "he's as good as dead" because there's the teensiest-weensiest chance that it might not be true.

What I want is less of Our Special Reporter hanging around at the hospital gates mouthing bromides. I want short, dignified medical updates and if there's no new information lets talk about something else.

We saw this same ghoulish deathwatch with Pope John Paul II. I think its lazy and stupid and unpleasant.
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[User Picture]From: jubal51394
2006-01-07 06:17 am (UTC)

I checked a few of my links and found...

The reigning cliche here is "clinging to life". Interesting difference, huh? We Americans must want something sightly different from you Brits? Ya think? Maybe we have more Jews... Do we?

These are the ones I read. I especially enjoy seeing al jazeera's perspective on all of the very same news. I suspect that the truth is somewhere in between. *S*


I have only the three network news agencies on my TV so I don't bother with televised news anyway. They all tell me the same stuff.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2006-01-07 06:37 am (UTC)

Re: I checked a few of my links and found...

"Clinging", "fighting"- there's a very big difference there.

More Jews? I really don't know. But there is a difference in perspective. The British establishment inclines to greater sympathy with the Palestinians than yours does.

And the British public has never been encouraged to like Sharon.

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[User Picture]From: dadi
2006-01-07 06:54 am (UTC)
Hehe..cultural differences. Here in Italy it is "L'agonia di Sharon".. Sharon's agony. Southern folk understand more about just suffering in silence...
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2006-01-07 09:01 am (UTC)
What this says about our different cultures is fascinating.

By their clches shall ye know them...
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[User Picture]From: lblanchard
2006-01-07 07:56 am (UTC)
The standard is getting worse.

We used to have the worldwide breathless round-the-clock vigils when great heads of state were in trouble and that was that. Now we have them for every child who tumbles down a well.

That's not to denigrate the personal tragedy of the child and its family. But if you go over the top for everything, what's left when you really need to go over the top? Someone in a coma "fighting for his life", that's what. In a less media-saturated age, he would have been clinging to life, or some such construction tending more to the neutral.

I shout at the news, too, but from the vantage point of my own -isms. How come any time Bush is about to announce some good news, the verb to describe it is never "announces," or "praises," but "trumpets" or "touts", verbs that carry the baggage of flackery? Why can't our allegedly objective media find some objective words to describe what they're describing?
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2006-01-07 09:08 am (UTC)
I guess some of this is down to rolling 24 hour news services. The controllers are hungry for stories that will play like soaps- just so they can fill up the vast wastes of time they have available.

We got a lot of coverage of those guys who were trapped in the mine. And I was thinking, this is just an intrusion on private grief, it's voyeuristic, it has no possible relevance to the lives of viewers in Britain.

Another thing I hate. Those interviews with victims and witnesses of crimes and catastrophes where they're asked how they feel.....
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That's easy... - (Anonymous) Expand
[User Picture]From: happydog
2006-01-07 12:57 pm (UTC)
I don't know if the standard is getting worse or it's just that I've tumbled to their tricks, but I'm always catching myself shouting at the newscasters these days.

I have the same problem, as does my wife, which is why I try to get my news from online or radio. The TV stays pretty much stuck on the Cartoon Network; I don't know if they have that across the pond but it's a 24-hour cartoon channel. It keeps my blood pressure down.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2006-01-07 01:18 pm (UTC)
I still make a point of watching the TV news at meal times. I don't really know why because I rarely like what I see. Yes, Radio and the Net are much better sources of information.

My favourite cartoon is Itchy and Scratchy.
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[User Picture]From: cybersofa
2006-01-07 01:43 pm (UTC)
Yes indeed, complete waste of time sending Our Special Reporter to interview Our Middle East Editor outside the hospital, when the only available information was the hospital bulletins which could have been read out by a studio presenter.

The interesting story here is surely Sharon's successor and his ideas and policies, and for that, as ever, you have to listen to the radio.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2006-01-08 02:05 am (UTC)

Sharon is already the past.

I was watching a repeat of The Day Today last night. You'd think the TV journos might have taken some notice of that blazing satire- but it's as if it had never been

Water off a duck's back.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2006-01-08 02:09 am (UTC)
That's one reason why I wish they'd back off. It's tasteless to have the world's press camped round a sick bed like this. The same thing happened with the Pope. All we need are discreet, regular, updates. The cameras don't need to be there at all.
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[User Picture]From: silent_mouse
2006-01-08 05:00 am (UTC)
Oh, how I pity the poor Special Reporter Camped Outside The Hospital! It's raining like crazy outside, cold and windy, and there's no place to hide from it (except going inside, but I suspect they won't let cameras inside, and poor Special Reporters seem to have to go on air every other second or so).
A friend of mine, one of those Special Reporters Camped Outside The Hospital (or at leat one of the reporters that sent the first night there), says that the media has to keep up with the public's constantly growing appetite for news, even though there are no news (and he personally hates it, as it makes him to lose sleep and get wet for nothing). But I'm not sure about the public's appetite - most people I know don't need the 24-hours live broadcast from the hospital entrance. Or maybe people I know do not represent the regular "public"?
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2006-01-08 07:32 am (UTC)
I don't see how anyone could be particularly enthused by endless sequences of our SPCOTH standing in the cold and wet with nothing very much to say. If I wanted to gaze at hospitals there's a very nice one down the road. And I'd be getting it in 3D with full stereo sound.

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