November 7, 2006

Factual entertainment

Posted in Society at 22:34 by graham

Most journalists, I assume, aspire to delivering the truth on what is really going on to the reading public. They want to write serious, factual, possibly investigative, often opinionated, pieces. Only a small percentage of journalists, a small percentage of the time, get to do this. The rest, the vast majority, end up in the entertainment business, and live in denial.

They cannot simply fill their media with invention and humour in order to entertain; they must allow the paying public to believe they are consuming serious, factual journalism. It is this complicity of denial between journalist and consumer that has filled our media with celebrity lives and gruesome stories. The journalist is reporting facts and the consumer is entertained by the voyeurism and horror. They will not admit to being entertained lest they be thought deranged or perverse. And the cycle continues, burrowing ever deeper in search of the salacious and disturbing to fill yet more serious, factual media.

1 Comment »

  1. Steve Knight said,

    November 8, 2006 at 10:21

    The public gets what the public wants, as the wise wizard Weller once said. People will pay to read it so journalists will be paid to write it.

    I can’t see that ever changing. It’s a part of life. It seems we’re fascinated by death (most gruesome) and celebrity (most base). Now if we can find a way of combining the death with the celebrity we will create a news big bang and then a news vacuum from which we can get on with something interesting.

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