Friday, 12 October 2007

Joined up Journalism

'Burning Chilli Sparks Terror Fear' hails the BBC on Wedenesday 3rd October. But Osama wasn't anywhere to be seen. And by no stretch of the imagination could the culprit, a 9lb pot of burning red hot chilli peppers, be said to have links to Al-Qaeda. No. The story is in actual fact pretty drab. Some people were cooking, burning chilli's as per some recipee, some other people noticed the smell, called 999, the police came, firefighters came, both realized that the smell was the smell of people cooking chilli's, and that was that. The headline should in fact be: 'People Over-React to Cooking'. But the press is never slow to find a story that can have the word 'terror' crowbarred into the headline.

'World Troubles Affect Parenthood' hails the BBC on Monday 8th October. A YouGov survery carried out on behalf of the Mental Health Foundation (MHF) reports that the greatest fear of 70% of the UK population is 'Terrorism'. Fifteen percent are so concerned that they can't bring themselves to have children. Dr Andrew McCulloch, chief executive of the MHF, says: "The world is currently facing a number of different threats that seem to be resulting in a general level of heightened anxiety..." Well, the greatest anxiety-inducing threat is the press with their crowbars. How about you stop bombarding us with these bizarre and tedious 'terror' stories -whose purpose is neither to inform nor enlighten but to constantly scare the shit out of us - and let us get on with our lives in the plain and simple knowledge that the real 'terror' threat - aside from the one posed by the media - is actually pretty God damn miniscule. The headline should in fact be: 'Relentless Terror Stories Induce Fear'. The equation isn't complicated, is it?

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