Monday, April 16, 2007

No News Like Non-News

I see they've finally put the passenger list from the Titanic online. About bloody time too - at long last I can set my mind at rest and check that nobody I know is still missing! Yes indeed folks, not only does it feel like high summer here, but the media seem to think that the 'silly season' has also arrived early, judging by the stories dominating the headlines over recent days. Actually, I'm not sure you can even grace these items with the term 'story', they are so inconsequential. Mind you, the fact that the Titanic's passenger list is now available on the web, seems like a masterpiece of investigative journalism, compared to the 'top' story over the weekend. Apparently Prince William (or maybe it was Harry, I really don't know or care), has split up with his girlfriend. Really? No shit! Do I look like I give a fuck? Obviously, I must, as this piece of earth-shattering news has been rammed down my throat for days. Jesus Christ! Surely, somewhere in the world, there must be a more significant story than this tittle tattle? What made it even worse were the attempts to flesh out this non-story with speculation on why they split up - was pressure brought to bear by the Queen? Again, I don't give a flying fuck! It doesn't matter, and can be of no interest whatsoever to anyone except the pair of over-privileged non-entities involved.

Mind you, some of the other 'stories' it was keeping out of the limelight weren't that great, either. Take the ongoing (and extremely tedious) saga of the sailors who were allowed to sell their stories of captivity at the hands of the Iranians to the press. Again, a non-story. Servicemen have always been able to sell their stories, with permission from the Navy/Army/Air Force. But hey, why let the facts get in the way of a good story, eh? Interesting how nobody questions the rights and wrongs of a serving British General to question official strategy in Iraq via the press (as happened a few months ago). Or whether it was OK for a former senior Treasury official to publicly criticize Gordon Brown? You can't help but suspect that the root cause of this furore is the need to compensate for the fact that the two stories published were so dull! Having your i-pod taken away is hardly on the same level as having your fingernails torn out, when it comes to torture. Having failed to generate outrage over the beastly behaviour of those nasty Iranians, the press needed to justify the thousands it had paid for these accounts by instead whipping up a storm about how outrageous it was that they were allowed to buy them in the first place! What a bunch of tossers!

In the meantime, legitimate stories, such as the disappearance of a BBC correspondent in Gaza, or the President of the World Bank (a former Bush crony), allegedly abusing his position to advance his girlfriend's career, get pushed further down the page. Out of sight, out of mind. You know, I think I prefer the real 'silly season'. At least those tales of flying saucers landing in Somerset, or the Skegness monster taking its holidays in Benidorm, enliven the dog days of August, and don't purport to be anything other than nonsense.

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