Tuesday, May 18, 2004

News Values

The Times has rushed out an online piece headed “Emergency EU meeting to break talks deadlock”, reporting the break-up of the foreign ministers’ meeting in Brussels, without progress being achieved, and the scheduling of a further meeting on Monday.

In this piece also, it reports that Jack Straw has admitted that attempts to agree the constitution could break down.

By any measure, that alone is an important development. But I listened in vain for any mention of it on the BBC Radio 4 PM programme. With a full hour for “the latest news and sports”, you would have thought that such an even would have rated at least a mention – but no. Any mention was similarly absent from the BBC main evening television news, and from Sky news. Both channels chose to lead on London being short-listed to host the Olympics some time in the distant future.

All right, interest in the EU may be a “nerdy” thing, and perhaps very few people are interested in the ins-and-outs of every development relating to the constitution, as I have been told. But I don’t buy any argument that today’s events would be of no interest to the public at large. I simply do not buy it.

We have reached an important milestone in the progress – or lack of it – towards the constitution. It is of significant public interest, it is important, and the public have a right to know what is happening from public broadcasters.

That there is such deafening silence has to say something for their news values – or worse. Are we seeing an agenda here, or what? Can it really be just that the media have become so detached from reality, or so incompetent, that they cannot see the value and importance of this development? What is it with these people. Somebody put me out of my misery, please!

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