Friday, August 31, 2007

STOP PRESS! Lord Haw Haw to avoid noddies to ensure more balance!

A bit of a thing about trust in Newsnight, leading to some hairy debates on the blog about climate change, with a few equally hairy links to even more hairy debates elsewhere. As always the argument seems still to be revolving more around whether MMCC is happening or not, at the expense of DOING anything. And the media sits back and laps it all up.

I learn new things, and make decisions on information provided by the media. My trust on getting either, accurately, honestly and without agenda (skewed professional or personal/ideological) to the point that truth is 'enhanced’ to no longer be the truth, has been sorely tried of late. And not much restored by most efforts in damage control. Not least by the almost inevitable knee-jerk of broadcasters and their defiant, defensive representatives, which goes usually something like; 'It didn't happen. If it did, we didn't do it. If we did it didn't matter. If does matter, it wasn't our fault (it was a mystical 'them' of outside companies, ill-trained and, one presumes, unsupervised trainees, budgets cuts, current precedent, etc) - and if it was who cares as no one is going to be held to account at all, or if so long enough for things not to wash over. Or if it is looking like dragging on we'll have a bit of a review until it does blow out'.

So of all that could be on the agenda, the pressing issues of "noddies" and "staged questions" are not really high on mine. Which makes me wonder why it is so high, in fact to the exclusion of almost all else, from Ch5 to here. I could not be more under whelmed, though I do note that you can nod with a smile or a frown to seriously redirect the viewer’s perception of what has just transpired. And a reverse question, which I hadn't appreciated until now, seems a great way to get a seemingly horse’s mouth answer to whatever horse’s rear question you fancy asking. Artifice is all. So maybe this is, as the CH 5 editor admitted, at least a start. Just... go further. Even if it may mean changing entrenched views and practices.

All I ask is that, in future, we get told what happened, as it happened. And if we have to be subjected to commentary or analysis by vox pops from the first punter strolling by the studio to 'experts' waiting on call in the wine bar next door, there is not a sneaking suspicion that they have been preselected for what they will say, and/or post-edited to ensure that what they do say fits into place.

Meanwhile, back to saving the planet.

Let me nail my colours to the mast. I think the climate is changing, and for the worse. I think personkind and its consumerist activities may be a possible cause, and certainly cannot be helping (more people buying ever more stuff and rushing around more and more on a finite space with finite atmosphere suggest some kind of tipping point when it comes to the results of inevitable competition and pollution - or, to be polite, 'emissions' - such activity causes)

So I think some things need to be understood, and while we're at it a few other things need to be instigated. Quick. Sadly doing nothing while we argue is an option that, while seeming to be balanced, tends to favour the status quo, and of that I am not in favour.

Hence I tend to err on simply showing folk, and hopefully persuading them, that consuming more than we need, or can use, is perhaps not the best thing to do. Or better yet share the amazing number and scope of things that can be done to avoid pollution and save waste that exist already, and which can go a long way to saving the planet along with a bunch of money.

Another celeb fest ain't it.

To paraphrase Mr. Geldof a wee while ago about another mighty waste of [insert a load of nouns here], I don't need my 'consciousness' raised any more than it is already, ta very much. And I certainly don't need the kind of awareness boost that happened as a result of Live Earth.

My enduring memories are mainly of the negative coverage before, during and after, inspired, with some validity, by such as a Spice holding her child and 'doing it for her', and a week later getting a personal jet with each of her power sisters in case they have too much shopping or get into a hissy fit as they tour the world. Or, on the day, Mr. Ross and such mates who could be bothered to come for a bit of profile and cheap weekend entertainment, basically playing the fool and pretty much saying that all this cutting back really wasn't for them... but they do wee-cycle, like that's all it takes.

If you are a high-profile mega-star, with squillions to burn, with few exceptions ( I think there are some), you are going to have trouble resisting that wadge of wonga and not buy stuff and/or going lots of places to show it off. And a vast media industry depends on you doing so to get the shots they need.

It's just lazy, celeb-obsessed programming to get a few execs and D-list interviewers to play all day in the Green-elite VIP room, and fill a long slot on the cheap in the cause of 'awareness’.

Stick with what's going to make a difference please. I was convinced by your piece on deforestation. It may not be sexy, but not cutting down a tree seems to make more sense than planting a sapling to make up for Puff Diddly's hairdresser's dog's helicopter trip. Or, for that matter, the one to show us what a potentially infectious virus-infected barn may look like if you blow enough wind around it. Or the iceberg in the Far North the entire crew has flown up to look at with a totally white background in shot, to impress upon us the damage of unnecessary trips.

And if we are sincere in moving public behaviour in a real sense that has a decent enviROI, what about such issues as reducing domestic energy consumption and preventing unnecessary waste through loss. Get creative and educate and convince with these first... in major way. Not some 2 second ‘turn the thermostat down’ piety to a bunch of waste-junkies sent to a hair-shirt camp for 24 hrs. Real life, and people, don’t live like that, or face the issues in that way. And, I believe, turn off when confronted with such nonsense.

And don't jump on bandwagons. I don't know, so I simply ask. Are carrier bags and plastic bottles and 4x4s the things that are top of the list in dragging us to oblivion? If energy production and consumption is the single greatest home (and hence viewer) influenced protagonist in all this, can we devote serious journalistic energy and investigation and balanced debate to what is being spent and what the actual benefits (or not) are of alternatives? If an offshore wind farm is not making as much sense as it might, I’d like to know, and why (I actually thought Justin's piece on home turbines went a long way to rasing some key issues and questions on this aspect).

I am appalled that thanks to almost total superficiality devoted to such topics by our major media, I am in the position of being swayed by other sources who are questioning what government is doing (with the support of media capable of little more than rehashing press releases) to help my kids' futures, and simply seem more concerned with meeting a target, boosting a political career or a quango exec's bonus cheque.

I simply can't understand why the facts of these huge issues cannot be found, or made clearer, to help us figure out for ourselves what's best for our futures.

Or we not to be trusted with such decisions?

Divide and rule, guys. Divide and rule.

ClimateChangeCorp - Buying green energy: A corporate power play, with unintended consequences

BBC is Biased - A few points on the wind power issue. I still await answers to my questions, on Newsnight, sadly. Maybe better luck here.

"Windmills get a big thumbs up from the BBC" - er... like this BBC Costing The Earth programme

Is there a link to something online about this?

I have one major concern with climate issues, and that is the enviROI of proposed solutions. I don't mind, and can even applaud doing something 'for the planet' though it may not make great sense financially (on a personal level... blowing public funds is another story if there are better uses environmentally), but for my kids' sake I get very unhappy if whatever it is may not even make sense on a carbon reduction basis from instigation through operation to 'retirement'.

Hence if, for instance, the massive weight of support in the media for such as offshore wind farms may be less than balanced, I'm keen to know more. With facts and true expert opinion. Not PR from subsidised-body/contractor/operator spokespersons.

BBC Newsnight - Noddy's not dead - Nice title!

'The first thing to say is that the issue of editing shots is in a different league from the incidents of deception and dishonesty which have caused turmoil in the TV industry in recent months.'

And well said. Plus, it is to be hoped, to also be well acted upon.

Credit too, at least, for listening.

Noddies - well, ok, but please ensure that there is no hint of anything in the interviewer's manner other than being to accept the narrative flow.

Reverse questions - Hmn. Still sounds to me like an opportunity to alter perception, if only by changing the tonality of the question. I can't quite figure out why the actual question and actual answer can't sit together. In this day and age the lack of another digicam locked off on a tripod as an excuse seems poor.

Walking shots - Yaaay! Along with those awful 'door open/first time we've met... not' efforts, I hope. A view, I suspect, shared by many interviewees, who just look silly. Big up to your cameraman. I just wonder how easy it is to get a truly 'natural' shout with a crew, boom mike, lights and whatnot.

Note: This rejected, again, by what I suspect to be another technological glitch. This time to prevent 'abuse' though multiple posts. Thing is, this is my first attempt at this thread. At least the message is polite. Patience, Peter, patience.

ADDENDUM - Spinwatch on Newsnight - a link I gleaned from BBC is Biased, so it does indeed still have values making it worth scoping. It's a long piece and covers a lot but as a thorough blow by blow it's hard to fault. The analysis could be argued to set out to prove an agenda, but again some of the facts, skillfully presented to be sure, are again hard to fault. They go further than have I, but for sure this is a shared frustration of the 'twofer' interviewee technique I don't feel contributes much beyond stirring things up, both through the selection of who speaks, and what they are steered to say. Transcript - don't know how they do it (well, I guess I do. I often record and jot stuff down and capture images, so what am I talking about. ) but it's very handy!

Guardian - The camera sometimes lies - Who cares, wins

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