The Perils of ‘Raw’ News

Mark Lawson in today’s Guardian:

This time, digital satellite viewers can even use their red interactive buttons to call the shots of the shots: zapping between battle zones and international capitals like a James Bond baddie watching the world come down on 30 TV screens in his underground bunker… We belong to a generation which has largely ceased to be surprised by television, but think about this: those who wanted to were able to watch an enemy operation live from the banks of the Tigris. This weekend’s pictures have widened the eyes like nothing since the moon landings, though with rather greater moral complications. The essential problem is that in seeming to know everything, we know nothing. There are wise old journalists who will tell you that the word ‘raw’ is usually a warning. It is unwise to eat raw meat or smell raw sewage and it may be equally foolish to consume raw news coverage.

Forwarded by Tim Chapman on the forteana list.

Kind of irrelevant to me, seeing as I’m now based in the US, and the concept of unbiased, unfiltered TV news doesn’t really seem to exist over here.

Instead, the war coverage consists of an endless array of human interest stories with the troops and whizz-bang explosion footage. There’s absolutely no interpretation, apart from what it might imply for relatives of the US servicemen involved — that’s it. As far as I can see, there is no real liberal news, or a balancing viewpoint, on TV over here.

In about 3 hours of news on TV, I think I saw one opposing viewpoint, 5 minutes with ex-senator George McGovern. That was it.

I’m finding this to be a serious culture shock. Thankfully, I’ve got the web to read and listen to the European stuff instead, so I’m doing that instead. The old Barlow line about the internet and censorship springs to mind…

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