Wednesday, May 23, 2007

You can call me 'Al'


'Newsnight's one-time Ethical Man, Justin Rowlatt, travels (somewhat unethically by plane) to India - ETHICAL MAN GOES GLOBAL'

I don't know how he fared with families there, but he didn't do too well here. As to whether it was 'somewhat' something ending in 'ical', ethics were not the first thing that sprang to mind.

Glibly admitting the blatant nature of a 'don't do as I do; do as I say' reason, if not excuse, really doesn't (green)wash any more, even with the sad attempted justification of 'raising awareness'. But it is still being trotted out as if it justifies anything, no matter how superfici-al (another one) done in the name of eco.

As Saint Bob Geldof recently opined about the forthcoming Live Earth concerts: 'We are all pretty [gosh darn] aware enough already, and really don't need a bunch more celebs flying all over the place to tell us'. Such as Mr. 'Well, you know, not flying isn't really practical...for folks like ME' Blair, 'You can call me - in my Lear - Al' Gore, Leonardo 'I try to fly commercial' diCaprio, Richard 'So it's a few rich guys atop a column of greenhouse gasses to have a Kodak Moment in the stars - but I've sponsored a prize' Branson' and every eco-writer whose doom and gloom book has been preceded by a global promo tour.

All followed, or mirrored by just as '-al' journalists who seem big on justification and low on irony. I imagine it will not be long before Justin has to fly up to the icy wastes to join half the BBC already there 'studying' what Global Warming is doing to the icy wastes, thanks in part to all the folk flying up there to 'study' it.

Sure it may be your job. But that's the point. We all have jobs, and a lot of them involve some form of flying. If you won't... can't... shouldn't have to forgo this in the name of earning a living, why the heck should anyone else? THAT is the only message all this fake concern for the environment conveys. The BBC trumpets the world's largest network of correspondents, so why do we need one to fly, presumably with crew, to India to report on it there? If it's for a quick entertainment ratings fix then admit it, but don't try and pretend it is 'somewhat unethical' or has one whit to do with concern for our planet or kids' futures upon it.

I just look forward (with dread) to when a few thousand Indian journalists come over here to see how our water levels are doing, followed by a newly affluent middle class from Asia who as a consequence don't think any restrictions need to apply to them either. No wonder, with such a message from the media: 'whoever it is, it isn't me'.

THIS was his first return at living ethically having ended his year and dropped the 'attempt' like last night's leftovers in the waste bin???! He can, apparently, because he's 'no longer ethical'. Well, golly, that's all right then.

No wonder George isn't giving up his car. Good to see he can get his aircon fix at M&S though. I guess paying for plastic bags here soon will make up for it.

Nice one, BBC... nice one.



Dave said...

What a shame that aunty has chosen not to include your comments on their site. Your points are all well made, relevant and perfectly valid yet sadly missing from the comments listing.
I guess that's just what a public sponsored, open, democratic and un-moderated news service is supposed to provide for its audience!

Peter said...

Kind of you to say so. However, having automatically clicked on your comment to approve it, I popped over to find that it is actually now up there. And, I am glad to say, was noted and approved by another fellow blogger.

I'm glad it struck a chord, and hope it does so with the BBC. I know they walk a fine line between the various calls on their skills, money and time, but this was issued as a news item, in theory trying to help resolve our 'ethical' dilemmas and future actions. But this patently did not. It was a very bad example of cashing in on a topical issue and, to me, making it a lot worse by the way it was handled.

We need there to be continual coverage on all such issues, but it must be consistent, genuine, factual, sensitive... and have some hint of positivity. Where was this here? At risk of repeating myself, I merely saw a cosseted media man whisked over to another country to play trendy Brit liberal with some colourful locals who were quite happy to be on TV, but really saw no way (with good reason) why they shouldn't enjoy a few 'luxuries' like the ones he flaunted by flying over to lecture them.

A major backfire, I'd say.

To be fair to the moderators on the Newsnight blog at least, I usually find my posts do end up on there, at least eventually. More than I can say for a few of the papers, though!

Silly if they do. Because they do go straight here, and anyone who reads this will soon see when they have decided against for whatever reason, and can draw their own conclusions as to their objectivity as news media.

I just wish that, having allowed such 'feedback', which is time spent trying to be thoughtful, sincere and to an extent constructive, might actually get noticed and acted upon.