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Home > Media

Journojism: Reality-avoidance news

12 November 2004

If you've got Sky News channel, you may have witnessed an interesting new development in TV journalism recently. (And if you're male, we don't just mean carrying out a deeply sexist but also inadvertent mental assessment of which news channel has the most attractive presenters.)

Sky got their hands on some extended - and quite exciting - footage of street fighting in Fallujah. In every bulletin they ran the grainy, panicky footage without a commentary, saying it was a chance to get 'a soldier's eye view' and that the viewer would be 'able to see for themselves' the situation without a voice over.

What a fucking BRILLIANT idea! Someone at Sky is no doubt getting a hefty bonus for simultaneously inventing Dogme 95 news and saving Sky the cost of getting someone to explain what the hell was going on. But why stop with grunt's-eye-view footage of Iraq?

Next time there's a train crash, Sky can just show a crashed train. No reporters, no anchormen, just two minutes of shaky palmcorder footage of a crashed train. The next G8 summit? Just some people in suits wandering about officiously. High profile court case? The viewer can probably grasp the gist of it with a few shots of the Old Bailey.

But since we're being asked to interpret the news ourselves, why not just turn off the sound on your telly and invent your own commentary? Use your imagination and suddenly the world becomes a much better place.

There goes Yasser Arafat, off for a nice holiday in Disneyland. Ariel Sharon says he's baking him a cake for when he gets back and they're going to sort out the Arab/Israeli situation amicably, over a cup of tea and a slice of chocolate-and-orange sponge. There's Emlyn Hughes, alive and well and still playing professional football after all these years. Look! There's the Black Watch, camping on a sunny beach in Thailand. Watch out for those ladyboys, lads! You might be in for a surprise!

We're frankly amazed noone has thought of reality-avoidance news before. Oh, maybe they have. It's called the Fox Network.



Comment on this article: letters@thefridaything.co.uk

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