Sunday, May 07, 2006
This weekend trawl through the week's back issues really has got me
on a hobbyhorse about the actual independence and objectivity of the
media, especially when it comes to environmental stuff.
This time it's local. Having scooted past the front page top story,
doubtless about another drill having been swiped from a shed, I quite
perked up to see a spread entitled 'Recycle. Reclaim. Reuse.', and
indeed there was some editorial on it. But not very much. And not
very comprehensive. It may seem to be sour grapes, but as it was on
local re-issues, and them being well aware of Junkk.com and all we
have done and are doing both locally and nationally from our local
base, this seemed a fair (or rather unfair) omission.
Perhaps there wasn't space inbetween all the ads. Surprisingly, the
ads seemed to be for businesses mentioned in the editorial. But maybe
the hint as to why was in the last sentence: '...why not call one of
the companies advertising here to help you'.
Why do we have to buy coverage for what is clearly topical, useful
public interest, especially as we are free?
Whatever you get in a local paper, I'd suggest it is rarely news, and
as information often less than comprehensive. If I want ads and puff,
I'll use the free sheet.
A wee while ago I was browsing through Fortune magazine, and came
across a feature on the boom in private business flying, which
obviously was littered with a ton of ads. It would have been easy to
simply move on, but what did strike me was the number of these ads
that mentioned the 'environmental benefits'.
This stuck me as a bit of a stretch, as shunting a couple of people
in something not much different to a plane that can take a hundred
surely cannot add up carbonally, but I decided to make note and one
day write a piece about it. Even with air travel, I am prepared to
accept it is a fact of life, and hence the best thing is to point out
the best options for the planet if you really have to do it, for
pleasure or business.
However, this morning I was watching a BBC feature in the breakfast
news called 'Fastrack' ( tried to find a link on the BBC website, but
could not - A failing of their search system, even if it was through
me being dumb), which was covering pretty much the same issue from
some jolly exhibition in Europe.
Speaking of jolly, having recently mused the uncomfortable
relationships that exist in some media between pro (my main issue
being sanctimoniously so) environmental editorial and other features
(often in the same edition) and advertising that is almost directly
contradictory, I was again struck by the tone adopted. And let us not
forget this was the Beeb, so at least the ad dilemma is spared them.
But by golly, this piece, and not a short one, was really nothing
more than a commercial to the 'good life' and conspicuous
consumption. I know that it is entertainment, but with so much of
their output (broadcast, written and online) so devoted to
environmental considerations and good (not to mention tut-tutting
over bad) practice, I don't think there was a single mention of how
this booming industry may (I stand ready to be convinced, but with
eyebrow cocked, that it can help climate change) be flying (pun
intended) in the face of good CSR practice, no matter what the time
and motion arguments.
Indeed, the reporter seemed to be enjoying himself very much indeed,
parked in an overstuffed leather seat, giving the salesman the
opportunity to offer gold panels as an option. Just how much more
emissions will be generated by the fuel that will be required to lug
that extra weight into the air?