Politics and the goings on of the world in general; I do comment on these things from time to time, but have found that I get far to emotional to make any real sense, and that is probably what is going to happen with this one as well. I usually put the world to rights in my office with those unwise enough to visit, the postman, the contractor, a police officer foolish enough to call in looking for my assistance in some small matter or the staff who also make the mistake of coming in to see me and by the time I have finished, they have forgotten why they came in, in the first instance!
So, what has me ranting today:
1. The Leveson Enquiry / McCarthyism (Hearings): Now if you are not living in the UK you might not have heard about this but, it is a public enquiry that has been set up (from what I know how these things work - a bit like a grand jury but unlike a Grand Jury instead of a panel listening to evidence to determine if there is enough information to launch a prosecution - this is a one man jury), with Lord Justice Leveson sitting in judgement on the eventual outcome.
The enquiry has been set up to look at the overall culture, practices and ethics of the British Press as a direct consequence of allegations of 'phone hacking' and other unsavoury practices carried out by certain sections of the Press.
Now I should declare here that I am not a great fan of most of the press, well Red Tops in the main. You see, I am probably unusual in that I think and believe that a newspapers role is to provide news.
- A Newspaper is there, or should be in my mind, to announce to us the plebs of the world, information on Government Policy and Decisions, taken, both on the National and International stage.
- A Newspaper is there to report on businesses and developments at the Local, National and International level
- A Newspaper is there to inform us of Events and News, taking place locally, nationally and internationally.
- A Newspaper is there to inform us of new TV, Radio, Film and Books and to comment on the quality, as deemed by the author of the piece, of that new TV, Radio programme, Film, or Book.
What a Newspaper is NOT there to do is to intrude into the private lives of people where that news of what those people are doing, is not going to have an affect on the way we live our daily lives, and that includes politicians, even although I have an intense dislike for most of that ilk.
It is hard to have missed the drip drip from the daily news reports on television and radio from the Leveson enquiry from the parade of 'witnesses' giving evidence. and it is this parade of witnesses I have a problem with as they give their 'evidence' without any cross examination and in many cases giving unsubstantiated and unproven judgements on the press.
I do not doubt, that they, the papers, all believed that what they were printing was in the readers best interests to know. And, having been an avid reader of 'Red Tops' until about ten or so years ago, when I finally matured, I too read stories about 'celebrities' getting drunk or shagging their best mates wife or girlfriend or studied the next photo with intensity. But, then, as I say, I matured past this, thinking why am I reading this, what impact does this have on me or my friends or my family or the country or the world. Absolutely none. Tittle tattle and innuendo that did not in any way impact on my life. And in some cases no doubt brought distress and sadness to those involved, and for what reason, well for no other reason than to sell papers, not Newspapers, because papers with more tittle tattle and innuendo than news is not deserving of the title Newspapers.
Editors of these publications are still justifying this stuff even today, by commenting, 'Yes, but look at all the good we have done by supporting good causes..." It's a bit like a Catholic Confessional, you can go out all week and Mug, Kill and Rape. Or Cheat on your Partner, Wife, Husband. Or be a Terrible parent. Or Cheat on your Taxes or Cheat someone out of a payment for work done. But, on Sunday morning you turn up at Church, Confess your Sins and you are Absolved of wrongdoing and will now be able to enter the Kingdom of God because you have repented, well at least until the end of that particular Sunday, as you then go back to be a Dirty Lying Cheating Scumbag on Monday morning!
I realise that there are many people out there who actually do live and breathe this type of rubbish and they want to know every salacious detail of a celebrities life: Hugh Grant with a hooker in a car in LA. George Michael in a public convenience with an undercover cop, also in LA, Max Mosely and his private orgies (not so private)! Ann Diamond and her husband carrying the coffin of their dead child to the grave taken on a long range lens from behind a bush! ANd that last one, I heard an editor from that particular rag, The Sun, on Radio 4 yesterday justifying that by saying, (sic) "well yes clearly it was wrong but, we have worked with Ann since in supporting her charity into cot death", so that makes it OK?
Now before you say, 'Yes, well, if you had a photo that was worth money you would have sold it too", I can assure you that that is not the case.
In a past life as a Health and Safety Consultant I was not restricted to one particular area of H & S and used to do Method Statements and Risk Assessments for businesses in terms of company and fire safety. I also used to do concerts and events and got to meet many well known (UK) celebrities. On one occasion I was doing an event for a well known UK charity at Crystal Palace, attended by many celebs. One male lead actor from Eastenders who wasn't involved in the charity was there with his well known actress girlfriend. I happened to photograph them holding hands and it was at the time (I was informed), where the BBC had warned their 'stars' that if any images appeared in the press with them in it, they would be fired! Now I could have probably made a couple of thousand for those photos' or there was the time the brothers from the same show went into the river in a car, which I also had many photos of as it was near my then office, but, I didn't. These were photographs I took for for no other reason than I was there at the time. I knew that if I wanted to, I could have sold them. But other than ruin a TV company's storyline and probably get an actor fired, and put a few shillings in my bank, what was the point, none, so I didn't. And don't think for a minute that I have a bank account swelling with money, I am always skint and in need of a few bob, but there are some things that decent moral individuals should not do, and it is a sad reflection on society that decency, morals, scruples and principles seem to be in short supply in both members of the public, newspaper editors and some journalists!
So the Levenson /McCarthy style enquiry that is ongoing at the moment, where the press is being crucified on the cross of public opinion is, in many instances justifiable, BUT, let's also remember that there are many journalists and editors out there who have not crossed the line and continue to give us news and editorials that are worthy of being printed and commented on in Newspapers, But also, let us not forget that old saying, that, "you get what you pay for" and if you are buying a paper, instead of a Newspaper, you are as much to blame for what is in it, as those hacks who are producing it!