Egyptair, Ryan Giggs, Francois Hollande, Boris Johnson & the public interest
Président Flat-Screen Hollande told the media at 12.20pm CET today what the media had already told him about the Egyptair flight that (as he rather confusingly put it) “is now confirmed to have crashed and disappeared”. Francois told us that he did not rule out any hypothesis.
The BBCNews anchor then confirmed what Hollande had confirmed about not ruling out any hypothesis.
Everything Hollande le plat-écran knows about plane crash hypotheses could probably be inscribed with little difficulty on the backside of a 5 centime piece; but the media seem determined to position the world’s leadership élite as the definitive source of information about everything.
There is, alongside this odd mission to disinform, a desire to maintain the illusion that normal people care at all what celebrities get up to either intra or extra maritally. Today, one such celeb took up valuable UK Supreme Court time in order to secure protection from his own serial randiness being unveiled.
So good for you Ryan Giggs, but most of us with a pc found out about this weeks ago – and we all know your difficulty in keeping the old todger in the trousers. Some years back we also got wind of your recreational habit issues….but as you got help, what’s it got to do with us?
What am I going on about here, and why?
For me, it’s all about the phrase “in the public interest” when it comes to the media – especially those owned by megalomaniac bottom feeders.
The public is interested in the fate of the Egyptair flight’s fate. But I doubt if the banal yes-and-no-with-reservations drivel of a tedious yet illiberal French President is of any interest or value to any of us.
Knowing that Ryan Giggs is something of a serial shagger is of interest to the public, but is it in their interests to have that knowledge confirmed? I mean, since Bobby Charlton, does anyone know of any footballer anywhere who has a thinking mechanism beyond his groin?
Giggs has little or no power over us to speak of….but Boris Johnson does, and his wife engaging in public vertical fluids exchange is of interest to the public, because it suggests (given his own bed-hopping tendencies) a shared character flaw. When that wife then uses her power to drop her stimulatory partner in the poo as a means of protecting both her and her hubby, then of course it is in the public interest….being strongly indicative of both familial disloyalty and the abuse of power.
But always today, there is this knee-jerk recourse to Law, hearings and super-injunctions. It produces at times hysterically funny tableaux in which the media covers such censorship – as if their inability to tell the reader whoTF they’re on about is somehow informative. It might tease and titillate, but the last thing it does is inform.
The danger with this sort of banal media soundbite reporting and expensive legal cover-up is that, ultimately, the ordinary citizen becomes increasingly unable to distinguish between what is of cultural value, and what isn’t.
The right to privacy from purely invasive Newscorpism gets blurred (and exploited by) those with no right to hide their dark side. And the quietly expressed opinion of the gauche, media-untrained specialist gets drowned by the woffle of the media-manipulating political leader.
In my day (he began in old-fart mode) such delineations were sorted out by editors of enormous experience – often against the wishes of their proprietors who – very often – backed off in the face of a threatened resignation.
The arrival of Murdoch, Maxwell and the Barclay twins changed all that. And so – as always – the main winners are lawyers, and the consistent losers are the citizens.
Let me close by returning to the Egyptair incident. I watched one particular channel as an aviation expert opined quietly, “The only explanation for the lack of a distress signal from the crew is sudden structural failure of the aeroplane, or being hit by a missile. In 2016, the latter is far more likely”.
We shall see. But this gentleman added more insight in the eight seconds it took for him to say that, than the three hours of updated speculation that preceded it.
And for me, that’s what news should really be: the succinct adding of value.