Political · Rants

‘What Insipid Angle Can We Take on This?’

Newspapers and magazines always have different perspectives on things, like what is important or how to interpret a story. Seeing all the newspaper headlines compiled together on the BBC website makes these different angles even clearer. Some papers prioritise shock stories.

The Daily Mirror wrote about a story of paedophilia in football. Typically, newspapers take this angle because of people’s lack of interest in the news. They don’t read it anymore. Without shock stories, readership is low.

One unifying factor is celebrity. If there is a vaguely interesting story involving an important person, they will write about it. For example, Ed Balls was booted off Strictly Come Dancing. Uninteresting, unimportant, and completely unsurprising, so obviously, everyone was writing about it. Tragedy! Breaking News! A man who just left politics and probably cannot dance got kicked out of a dancing competition.

It’s easy reading. People walking past newspapers like to laugh at the poor man, or think ‘oh, he was nice’. The United Kingdom always has a weird unity when someone who is usually serious does something silly. Everyone becomes obsessed with it.

Gillian McKeith. I say those words and you probably know who I’m talking about, unfortunately. She was on I’m a Celebrity and no one really cared about her before that. Everyone in the country unified over her embarrassing behaviour, constantly fainting, crying, and whining. It’s an endless cycle of uninteresting celebrities suffering for our entertainment. Dancing monkeys, if you will.

Time after time reality shows will recruit someone no one knows, to boost their popularity, then make them a figure of hilarity so they’re talked about. There are so many issues in the world. Poverty, war, the refugee crisis. But who would buy a newspaper that only had sad and hard-hitting stories?

We people who don’t have to go through the suffering that they do don’t want to read about it all the time. Give us dull celebrities with smiles pasted on, give us stories about how it’s going to be ‘colder than ever’ this year. That’s what we all want to read about, right? You get what you’re given.

Another theme of the newspaper headlines is the tug on the heart strings. If they aren’t talking about Ed Balls ‘Ed Falling’ out of the race for winner of Strictly Come Dancing, they’re making you feel bad for not helping unfortunate people. When it’s cute children slapped onto the front cover of the Sun, everyone cares about them, wants to help them. As soon as it becomes a child wanting refuge, or a family with them wanting benefits, they’re leeching our resources.

It’s easy to care about the unfortunate at certain times of year. Red Nose Day, Children in Need, Christmas Band Aid 435. The rest of the year, though, give us a story about someone doing something funny! Clearly those problems don’t exist all year round, because the newspapers don’t talk about them.

Humiliation, hilarity, shock value, gruesomeness, are all considered the most important things when talking about a story. For example, good old Jeremy Corbyn went to a service with war veterans, and a picture of him walking beside one was edited and cropped so it looked like he was doing a dance. He was labelled as ‘disrespectful’ and ‘disgraceful’. Strange how everyone only cares about the way media twists things when they’re found out. Would people have looked for that mistake? Or, will they have accepted what the news said at face value until someone else challenged it?

The passiveness of today’s audiences when it comes to news is incredibly fascinating when there are so many platforms for them to challenge the mainstream. This article may come across as bitter, cynical, pessimistic, or any other synonym for being an ass hole, but in a world of people that accept what they’re fed by the media and don’t question what they’re told is important, one can get a little annoyed.

Sometimes we do need a lighthearted story, and I won’t say that it’s never appropriate. Right now, though, we are technically living in a time of crisis. Real issues are neglected because they aren’t considered interesting, and real people are pushed aside and ignored because they aren’t considered worth a story. Well, I think they are. Who cares about Ed Balls scooting away from the dance-floor when people in Syria are being killed because of where they are from? I want to read about that.

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