Sometimes people ask me, “Uncle Davey, do you support the idea of freedom of the press?” And then I reply; “Certainly, I think the press should be free, in fact, I’ll go further; they should pay us to read that guff”.
The point at issue is that journalists, who are among the most powerful members of our society, because they create opinions, are not voted into place at all. They say that they are voted for every day, that every time one of their articles is paid for by the punter who buys a newspaper, that’s a vote, and that everyone who disagrees doesn’t have to buy them. To counter this, it seems very clear to me that people simply buy what is put in front of them, like sheep, and that there seems to be little choice in the matter of which paper to buy, as they are all a mix of what I call the three kinds of journalism, which as I mentioned in an earlier article are true journalism, jumbalism and junkalism.
True journalism investigates, reveals facts accurately and adequately and as the Dutch say “bijtijds”, which means in a timely way, and then comments on them in a thought-provoking, literate and justifiable way. Jumbalism looks like journalism but is a lazy man’s version of it, where people who don’t really know what they are talking about talk about it anyway, knowing that all but a few specialists will be taken in by what they say and getting hold of the wrong end of the stick. Or they give away the fact that they barely know the culture they are making “expert” comments on.
Recently both the BBC and the Guardian have been commenting on Polish affairs, for example, and going into villages so rural that they probably represent less than 5% of the population and this is identified as being how almost half the Poles live. On two occasions recently I have seen men referred to in their surnames as “-ska” because the jumbalist must have spoken to their wife or mother, taken her name and assumed that must be the same for the man. This shows the most extreme ignorance of any Slavic culture and ought to debar a person from commenting on it in any intelligent news framework. Anecdotes from people’s travels off the beaten track are treated as if they were news. The BBC “Whirled service” radio and television, the apex of high style journalistic reporting as they claim, can barely speak English properly and no longer seem to take any pains over proper pronunciation. (See Tristana Moore’s party piece rendition of ‘Zgorzelec’. One can hardly believe she was standing in the middle of the place and couldn’t be bothered to ask anyone how to actually say it. Was she flown in for, like, five minutes, just to stand in front of the cameras, spout some meaningless drivel, which her report certainly was, and then leave again as quickly as possible?)
What about the dire “Click Online” (sic) programme? Do they ever give a link for a recommended site of the week which is current? Don’t they check them? And why is there hardly anything of any practical use in that programme?
I have taken to watching Euronews, despite the fact that the items are a lot shorter and more Eurocentric, since the politics are less left wing and the English is better, since they use a lot of people who don’t come from Britain on the English language service, and so they actually take care. The jumbalism factor is a lot less on Euronews as well than on BBC “Whirled”. Recently a lot of jumbalistic heads rolled at the BBC when one typical piece of their jumble got them into trouble with the government. Another piece of jumble about British troops abusing Iraqi prisoners got another chief jumbalist kicked out of Fleet Street, but these are just tips of a massive jumbalistic iceberg. The levels of rubbish in the media are massive, and none more so than when the subject of religion is breached. The gospel has not been properly represented on the BBC for decades.
Well, I’ve talked about journalism and I’ve dwelt quite a lot on jumbalism, “but what of junkalism?” I hear you ask.
Junkalism is a form of journalism which addresses only banal and meaningless things, especially so-called ‘celebrities’, and especially those so-called ‘celebrities’ who wouldn’t be recognised if they set foot outside of their home country. This is the stuff of junkalism. It is full of jumble too, but nobody in their right mind needs to care which bits are true and which aren’t. Except for when the S-uh-n takes it into their (for the sake of convention) head to vilify a foreign referee for his decision in one of the England matches, publishing his home address and generally behaving like a bunch of overgrown chatroom stalkers. What a pitiful display of tumoured junkalism that was. Their readers and advertisers, however, are such sheep they just let them get away with it, and as far as I know there was no mass boycott of the S-uh-n by a fair-minded, sporting Nation, neither were any advertising accounts pulled. Editors, readers, and advertisers, all morons together.
Human nature seems not only tolerant of jumble, banality, malevolence and lies going out under the guise of journalism, but they even seem to love it. “Men loved darkness, rather than light, because their deeds were evil” says the Scripture. Knowledge of God as given by a careful study of the Bible tends to make us more careful of truth in other areas. Having faith in some absolute truths helps us be less gullible and foolish in other areas of life, whereas a great deal of skepticism is shown against the Bible and God and God’s answer to sin in the Blood of Jesus by people who drink up their share of journalistic rubbish to the last drop every day and little care as to whether what they are being told is accurate and unbiassed and diligently researched or not.
It says ‘Ye shall know the Truth, and the Truth shall set you free.’ This is the free press, namely the word of God, and man shall not live by his daily bread alone, nor his daily newspapp, but by the word of God, by daily contact with the truths that are found in the Bible. This is the Press of Freedom, and the Word of Life.
(first published 18/7/2004 hence some of the references to recent events in the media are no longer recent, however, I leave it to the reader to supply in his own mind recent examples of jumbalism and junkalism masquerading as journalism in recent months. Since these terms were coined by me 9 years ago they seem to have come in handy for me in my own internal life time and again to classify journalistic sub-standard behaviour. Right now I might add a fourth J – juntalism – supposed journalistic writing that is skewed just to support a particular government or party – wannabe government – and suppresses truth or objectivity in the pursuit of an overriding political objective).
- No Today programme as journalists’ strike hits BBC (standard.co.uk)
- BBC’s Andrew Marr leaves hospital (bbc.co.uk)
- Viewers’ fury as news shows axed in BBC mass walkout (express.co.uk)
- Brace Yourselves, Drone Journalism Is Coming (blogs.scientificamerican.com)
- UK News: Walkout by journalists hits BBC (walesonline.co.uk)
- Journalism’s Addiction: In Love with Journalists (hightalk.net)
- After Leveson: statutory underpinning should be robustly rejected (guardian.co.uk)
- BBC journalists prepare to strike (bbc.co.uk)