Blog: Dave LeggettBringing you good as well as bad news

Dave Leggett | 11 August 2005

Every now and then there's a debate in the general news media here about the nature of news coverage and what is 'good' or 'bad' news in a moral sense. It's an interesting thing to reflect on. And it's subjective of course. Human nature being what it is, news of the big disaster, higher taxes or the madman on the loose tends to be what gets people's attention rather than, say, that literacy rates in developing countries are better than ever, evidence on global warming is actually inconclusive, nuclear weapon stockpiles are falling or access to clean water and electricity in South Africa has never been higher.

And there are some curious anomalies in some of the news data that is fed to us if you step back and think about it. Here's an example. Was the recent Michael Jackson court case important news? Frankly, I didn't think so, but the BBC devoted almost the whole of its main evening TV news bulletin to live coverage of the verdict when it was announced. Incredible and cringe-making. I felt for the poor sap outside the courthouse in California having to respond to the anchor in London and continually fill the airtime with any old nonsense as the 'big verdict' was awaited. Looked like very hard work. 'Dumbing down' if ever I've seen it.

Nothing more important happening in the world that day? 

If the Beeb ever leads on Big Brother evictions I will refuse to pay my TV licence fee and go to jail if necessary (for those unaware of strange UK practices, every household in UK with a TV must pay a US$226 annual licence fee - a levy that goes straight to the BBC).

Anyway, sorry that turned into a minor rant - the main point being that there are editorial filters at work deciding on what makes the news. At just-auto, that's Graeme and myself (I leave it to Graeme most days). 

I was pleasantly surprised to see today that we have a mildly heartwarming news item for a change. Doesn't happen all that often. This world's not all bad and all that.

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