Goodbye mainstream media - it was nice to know you

7 Jul 2020 4:48 PMMike Bennett
Goodbye mainstream media - it was nice to know you

We are all doomed. . .or you would think that was the case when you turn on the evening news!

Back in the late 80's and 90's I was proud to work for ITV Anglia news as a freelance camera op and interviewer. I learned a great deal about the workings of the press, what makes a story, how to grab the attention of the viewer and the importance of balance.

One of our news editors would insist on us attempting to get a quote from 'the other side' in the name of fair and balanced reporting. I loved the 25 plus years working for Anglia, met some great people, interviewed some not so great people but was quite comfortable going to sleep at night knowing I had kept within the guidelines.

Worldwide reporting of Covid-19 has made me realise that my media days are well and truly over. In all the years of working in TV and radio (still presenting a weekly show on 101FM here in Queensland by the way) I have never seen such one sided, biased, sensationalist, dramatic and downright inaccurate coverage.

Talk about 'never let the facts get in the way of a good story?' We are bombarded with doom and gloom 24 hours a day. There's never a fire, it's always an apocalyptic inferno. When did you last hear that x thousand people made a full recovery from Corona virus today? That's not a story. No, they would rather tell us we are all in mortal danger with ONE new case in Queensland today.

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Make no mistake, the media have a job to do and most, if not all, are limited on factual reporting and political slant depending on the proprietor but that's no excuse for shoddy journalism.

I have family and friends around the world. Here in Australia my only family all live in Melbourne. As of today (7th July 2020) most of the city will be in partial lockdown, borders (note spelling , it's BORDERS not Bloody BOARDERS for goodness sake!) will be closed and restrictions reintroduced to try and avoid the spread of the virus. That's fair enough but, if you read the headlines or listen to the reports it looks and sounds like Armageddon. It's a very different story when you speak to those who actually live there. Scaremongering seems to feature in the job description for would be journo's and reporters these days.

The social media medical experts (what did they all do for a living before Covid came along?) will take credit for their powers of fortune telling with smug updates claiming they told us this would happen, a 2nd wave was inevitable and it's your own fault for attending Uncle Jimmy's barbecue a fortnight ago. If only you had held the party in Bunnings or while you were stocking up with toilet rolls in Coles, you would have been fine.

These are the same folk who will claim we are all being brainwashed, those pesky 5G aliens will come and take you away in the middle of the night while a member of the Bill Gates appreciation society injects you with a tracking device as you maintain your social distance on the beach.

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If you think there can't possibly be anything left to report on that doesn't include Covid- 19 in the main story try these from mainstream media sites today. Seriosly, check these stories out, I've even included the links for you.

'Rare 'brain-eating' amoeba infects person in Florida, health officials say'

This story leaves me no choice but to cancel my order of marmot meat for the next Covid spreading family gathering

Suspected cases of the bubonic plague have popped up in China and Mongolia. Should I be worried?

Yes, I should be worried. Not just about the possibility of a 2nd 3rd or 4th wave of this all time dream story for the worldwide press but of the constant exaggeration, misinformation and distortion of the facts.

The impact of mental health is one of many areas that reporters need to consider and news editors should take responsibility for but there's more chance of a good news story leading the 6 o'clock bulletin than that happening!

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Mike Bennett is a media trainer and radio presenter.

Contact information at www.mediaanswers