Friday, 10 June 2016

Truly economical

"News is anything anybody wants to suppress; everything else is public relations” according to ... well, take your pick.

Although nobody can agree who said this first, or who put it best, everybody can at least agree that "everything else" now looks way bigger than journalism, at least here in the UK. According to the Graun's Roy Greenslade, there are now around 64,000 people working as journalists in the UK, but there are 84,000 people working in public relations.

Or, to put it another way, there are only about three quarters as many people being paid to tell us the truth about what's going on in the world as there are people being paid to slant, manipulate, or be economical with, the truth.

And that's the optimistic version, based on the shaky assumption that telling the truth is always what media proprietors want their journalists to do. If you're teensist bit sceptical about the assertion that journalists are never, ever pressured to self-censor to keep advertisers sweet, told to parrot the boss's prejudices, or tacitly encouraged to cut n' paste unchecked press releases churned out by PR people, in order to hit deadlines, then the truth's actual mileage looks even more economical.