Things have come to a less than pretty pass when the only surprising and genuinely informative news on Earth comes from a Galaxy far, far away. The Slog makes another plea for online writers to bury ideology in favour of collectively produced journalism.
As if the Creator had finally decided even She could improve upon banal earthly man-made media content, a Black Hole reassuringly far away overdid its hot-air intake and produced a massive double-burp. I’m not making this up: it was previously thought Black Holes only do one belch at a time, but this bon viveur emitted two – albeit 30,000 years apart – allegedly after feasting on two colliding galaxies. C’était vraiment la Grande Bouffe Galactique.
Now something that happened twice a long time apart a long way away and zillions of light years ago may not be your idea of ‘hot news’ haha, but in truth this item on a US scientific website fulfils far more of the criteria defining real news than most of the tosh we’re served up in 2018: it was unexpected, it’s a first, it’s mega-big, it easily defies the hubris behind “settled science”….and none of us had a clue it had occurred.
The first and last of these elements are the key. Real news is surprising shit of which you weren’t aware beforehand: the clue’s in the name – (new)s.
The vast majority of media content is pr, propaganda, opinion, satire, analysis, gossip, self-glorification, misinformation, outright lies, and follow-ups to old news – this last excused by hacks as “a developing story”. To be clear, some of this is perfectly valid dissemination of information and entertainment; I just feel it’s time we had a reset on the genuine investigation and fresh discovery elements.
As usual, contemporary exemplification is the most compelling way to make the point.
As speculation grows that US “reality” TV celeb Oprah Winfrey may take on Donald Trump in the 2020 Presidential Election, Hollywood luvvieliberal Meryl Streep has said that Grand Ol’ Oprah has “the voice of a leader”.
This isn’t news, folks: I’m sorry, but it just isn’t. Had Winfrey suggested she was going to run three Presidents ago, it would’ve been startling news, Oprah having as she does a female gender, black skin and a long history of self-abuse. But now that we’ve all seen Dubya, Obama, Hillary and Trump vying for the White House, it’s become impossible for any hat going into the ring to be unexpected.
That someone completely unsuited to the Presidency wants to be the next Potus is not news so much as inevitability. And that an opinionated actress with no experience of life on the ground backs her….well, the wow-factor’s kind of absent on that one too.
Over at the BBC website, they long ago abandoned controversial news in favour of confirmatory propaganda, especially on the subject of President Trump. “Trump ‘in Oval Office foul-mouthed outburst about migrants'” the Beeb splashed earlier today, with a painfully careful use of inverted commas. In fact, the allegation comes from The Washington Post – a newspaper that was never going to make it onto Trump’s Winter Solstice Happy Holidays card list.
Apparently, Trump asked some Congressional bigwigs in the Oval office yesterday, “Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?”
After a thousand infantile tweets and his confession to being a world class pussy-grabber, this is news? And whether one agrees with his sentiment or not, 52% of Americans and nearer to 58% of EU citizens have been asking themselves the same question for a long time.
Sorry, but it fails the Slog Newstest miserably.
In the markets meanwhile, the bonds selloff first noted last November (making the borrowing of money by sovereign powers more expensive) turned into a rout this week. But then it abated, after several pundits called it “a danger signal for equities”.
Hmmm. There’s a world recession – but despite that, the Dow is at 25,000 and central bankers are getting optimistically trigger-itchy on raising rates. Ergo sum – as both bonds and stocks are surreally overvalued – a sell-off in bonds leading to a correction in stock markets is possible. Phew, wot a shocker.
No it isn’t, it’s a fucking racing certainty. And the very first thing it ain’t is news. An invasion by alien giants wearing dayglo suits and flying polka dot saucers is news. Three months later, it isn’t news except to blind, deaf hermits. That more shirts will be lost in the stock markets than Brooks Brothers have ever made is not news: rather, it is an obvious outcome that must always be denied….the better to keep it abated.
Step forward in army boots all those who still think the people in charge of the EU and the euro are honest, seaworthy, nimble and devoid of the vengeance gene?
Based on the deafening silence following that request, I must put the following Daily Telegraph report, ‘British tourists face travel fee as Brussels scrambles to fill Brexit budget black hole’ into the AE (Already Expected) file….and not something that should be filed by hacks as News.
Had the Brexit black hole concerned suddenly shot off towards another Galaxy and burped twice along the way, I’d say “Crikey” and whack it to the top of the bulletin. But as the leaked Brussels begging bowl memo was three months ago (and not one of the major EC players is either competent or pleasant) I’d dub it Reassurance for Leavers, no more.
And fine yes, alright, I know it’s news to the Remain Redoubt, but (a) the hardcore Remainders struggle with every form of cognition and (b) they’d blank it out consciously anyway. If news was defined as ‘things likely to surprise SuperState globalists’, then tonight’s double-whammy breaking news would be ‘wealth fails to trickle down as Labour activists hold balance sheet wrong way up’.
Am I being pedantic here? A little, yes….but not to substantiate a point. If a Tsunami of 90% BS is heading straight for a person, it’s not quite enough to assert in a level voice, “I say my good man, look here – excuse me, but you promised a supply of naturally sparkling volcanic spring water” in an email to the website. The requirement is for, I suspect, some research to find the CEO’s personal email, and tell him/her you’re about to go viral with something that most people don’t know….and does he/she have a comment to make?
I’m not in favour of using ideologically biased BS to fight the supply of unauthorised BS: that makes me another bully like them. But I am in favour of zero-agenda revelation of wrongdoing…..because that lies at the very core of news. As George Orwell wrote
‘Journalism is publishing something the powerful don’t want us to know about”
I believe there is still a gap online – a veritable canyon – for news that (while it may have political ramifications) is based solely on investigation (without any political agenda) and uses credible sources and verified data to reveal the Unexpected Unknown to a much wider audience.
If you agree with me and have an interest in working under those strict criteria, do please contact me via firstname.lastname@example.org.