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Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Today's show 26/04/11

Hi Jeremy, I hope you had a good Easter weekend.

I visited my local "will there be anything for the weekend, sir?" barber for a haircut on Thursday afternoon which you may be surprised to learn has a relevance to your programme, and journalism in general. My roughly 3-monthly visits to the barber present one of the rare opportunities for me to spend time reading a product of the Dead Tree Press while my barber snips away at preceding customers. Unfortunately he was a bit busy on Thursday and the newspaper I wanted to look at, and your favourite, The Daily Mail was being read by somebody else. I was left with a choice of The Daily Express, The Caernarfon and Denbigh Herald and the Daily Mirror. I chose the latter just because it stands for a view of life and the UK that does not correspond with mine and so should have been good for a laugh. I was not disappointed, but it was the standard of reporting that really caught my eye...

There was a story about a huge lobster that had been caught off the west of England and that had been destined for the cooking pot. However, somebody had intervened and seeing the size and weight (9 pounds, I think) decided that this lobster was probably about 50 years old and should have a more dignified end, and so it was sent to a sea life aquarium in Plymouth. Above the article was a picture of a lobster and the indication was that the picture showed the lobster that had been saved. Fair enough, you would think, but there was one small problem: The lobster in the picture was RED. Now, I am no sea life or sea food expert but I do know that a living lobster is BLUE, and that they only turn red after cooking. Unfortunately the Daily Mirror do not seem to have put this story on their web site.

There was another story that I saw, and that is on their web site at
. Again, it makes interesting reading. The first sentence reads: "THIEVES hit a new low when they pinched the lead roof from a building in a model village.". The third sentence reads: "But despite their efforts, it’s ­estimated they’ll only make about £30 from the stolen slate.". Hmmmm.... a bit of a discrepancy here. What did they steal? Lead or slate? There is a big difference, particularly in their value!

So what did I learn from my Daily Mirror experience? I learnt that journalists are not to be trusted. At all. Ever. I learnt that journalists are incapable of reporting the facts accurately. I learnt - again - never to trust a word that I read or hear that has been written by a journalist. So, as a journalist yourself, what do you think should be done? Is journalism going to get its act together? Or is it just going to continue to write rubbish in the hope that somebody might believe it?

The two stories I read were both trivial, yet contained glaring errors. I wonder how many errors are contained in serious news stories that concern government, man-made global warming, the economy and other topics that affect all of us in our everyday lives.

You couldn't make it up. But you and your ilk probably can.

Moving on to today's show then...

1) TEENAGE PARTIES - Following the tragic death of teenager Isobel Reilly, who was taken ill and then died at a friend's party, we talk to a mother of teenage children who has struggled with the stresses and strains of teenage parties : Tragic, and I was sorry to read that this may not have been an accident. A quick calculation reveals that I have not been a teenager for 34 years, and we have no children so this is unlikely to happen to me. Next...

2) BANK HOLIDAYS - We've just had two bank holidays and we're about to have two more. We talk to businesses struggling because there are too many bank holidays : My business gains work from bank holidays, so you won't here any complaints from me. Next...

3) CHARGING FOR THE PARK - A council is going to charge businesses such as personal trainers who use public parks as part of their business space : Yay! A story from the Daily Mail! You will be pleased to know that Welsh councils appear to have a more-enlightened attitude. Next...

4) THE HUMAN CANNONBALL - And finally, the case of the human cannonball who died when his safety net failed to open : Another tragic story. I'm not sure what "... when his safety net failed to open" means as the BBC news page clearly says "... when a safety net gave way", which are two completely different things. Remember what I was saying about inaccurate reporting and poor research? More importantly there was another death closer to my home that you have - as usual - failed to pick up on. It is here
 and concerns the death of an 11-year old boy at a forest theme park in Snowdonia and close to where I live. The difference is, of course, that the human cannonball knew that he was doing something risky, whereas the 11-year old boy was out enjoying himself. My predictions on this story are that you will suggest that human cannonballs should be banned, and that you will mention the Snowdonia accident after it was brought to your attention by "a listener". That will be me then. One day you might learn that the UK does not just consist of London and the South East.

I'll finish today's diatribe with a true story. I visited my parents yesterday for Sunday lunch. Both are in their 80s, and I was telling them of my daily emails to you and my blog. My mother's reaction was "Oh leave him alone, the poor man". My father's was "I stopped watching Eggheads because of him - he's only any good when he's reading a script". Perhaps I take more after my father than my mother.

I'll be listening to 6 Music if you want me.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Yes well done he's crap I gave up on the crap show ages ago.