Friday, 6 September 2013

Disgusted of Shoreham

They say that in the journalistic silly season one is apt to find all sorts of silly stories in the press, just to fill space. But with all the goings-on in Iraq, and much else to occupy us, it is depressing to find the Brighton Evening Argus starting a small media storm about my dear friend Fr Ray Blake, whose work with the poor is very well known. I cannot fathom what led Bill Gardner to put such a horrible spin on an innocent post on Fr Ray's blog. You need only go to Fr Ray's blog and see what he wrote to see the wicked unfairness of what the Argus, and now several daily papers are alleging.


Genty said...

Real journalism is not a cut and paste job and a phone call. It's playing at journalism. Also guilty were the national newspapers who ran the story - another cut and paste job, without the phone call sent in by a news agency which also did a cut and paste job, without the phone call.
None of them bothered to check the veracity of the original story as they should have done. What resulted was the equivalent of Chinese whispers.
It is this cavalier attitude to true and accurate reporting which threatens the freedom of the Press more than any outside agency. It is destroying itself.
One must pray that when this local reporter grows up he will at least attain half of Fr. Blake's calibre, a man he has so wilfully traduced.

William said...

A vile piece.

But, to be realistic, vile journalism has long been commonplace. Some journalists make a career out of being vile, tendentious and obnoxious.

What marks out Gardner's piece is its sheer laziness. He's not even a half-decent exponent of "proper" vile journalism. His formula appears to be as follows:
• PIck a random couple of sentences out of a blog post and spin a story out of them.
• Don't even bother reading the rest of that particular blog post, lest it undermine your facile story.
• Certainly don't read other stuff by the same author which might clarify what his point is.
• And absolutely don't bother discussing the issue with anyone who might understand what it's all about.

Once upon a time (is this where I start to show my age?) journalists used to do this thing called "background". As a minimum, they'd inquire into what the people concerned actually do in the relevant field, observe them in action, get the opinions of others directly involved - build up a picture of what's really going on here. Isn't that how these things are supposed to be done?

Good grief, no! That's far too much like hard work for young Master Gardner. Far easier to traduce someone's reputation with a well-syndicated travesty of the truth and a few throwaway calumnies. And if there's a furore of objection to what one has written - well, that will simply have the effect of raising one's journalistic profile. What's not to like?

Pastor in Monte said...

Bravo, William.

Anonymous said...

I'm pleased to see your heading for this piece Father. When I sent an email to the journalist I wondered whether I was being too severe in saying that I was 'shocked and disgusted' by his article but you have confirmed my choice of words.