I have a real love for George Elliot quotes, and the one below says everything I am currently feeling. The media have a job to do. I understand this and I think they can perform amazing things for their audience, but they also indulge in an ignorant kindness at times. It angers me, the inane use of words to maximise emotions. Words are weapons; they can twist, slice, and destroy thoughts. Words are soothing agents; they can inform, give us hope and promise a future.
“Ignorant kindness may have the effect of cruelty; but to be angry with it as if it were direct cruelty would be an ignorant unkindness.”
It is an unfortunate belief that without sensationalising most of us will not take the time to read or listen to what is happening around us. Do you agree?
The other day I stopped and randomly wrote down all the words and phrases that I have been hearing. I am all for the freedom of the press but honestly, the mixed messages are not just from politicians, and these same mixed messages are about word choice. But George Elliot is correct; my anger becomes an ignorant unkindness, to myself and to those that really believe they are doing their job. So, I decided I would write a post instead.
Why is everything repeated over and over and over again? Why is the level of television so terrible? Re-runs of re-reruns? Let us put this discussion aside (to be honest, this is a purely selfish question on my part) and concentrate on word usage. For instance, I was upset by the phrase crippling the industry used on Channel 7. They were talking to someone about the way the virus is causing havoc with filming schedules in Australia. Crippling is a powerful word. There are many industries being crippled. Instead of going for the emotional reaction for one industry, how about this phrase? This virus is crippling industries everywhere, including our own film industry. We as a world are being affected. We need to understand this so that restrictions make more sense.
World War 2
The passengers to prisoners description was horrible. It made it sound like a deliberate action to hurt people. I agree this was a while ago, but the point still applies; it was used to garner an emotional reaction. Showing a passenger in a clip comparing staying on board to World War 2 camps should never have been aired. Some people complain, some do not. It is a choice, but that kind of comment is demeaning to the person making it and the history behind those camps.
Ekka and Schools
Ekka Axed. Again, designed to garner an emotional response. No one set out to ruin the Ekka. Hello, cancelled is a good word, one that implies short term and gives hope for the future.
Computers down. “Embarrassing start to the new term here in Queensland” on every news channel was ridiculous. Who was supposed to be embarrassed? Let me say up front I am a teacher but that is not the reason I am upset. I see this headline as an utterly stupid statement about a situation where people worked hard to achieve a semblance of normality for our children. There were bound to be problems; it has never been done before. Making mistakes is an embarrassment? Really? What a great message to send out to our children.
Corona has claimed another casualty. This reference to our Anzac Day was woeful. Does the press know what a causality is? The Anzacs certainly do. Didn’t they watch their comrades fall? It’s not a casualty situation. It is unfortunate that a day we feel very strongly about cannot happen quite the same way as usual. There are still ways to celebrate this day and I am damn sure the ANZACs will be pleased with a smaller commemoration if it means keeping people safe. Kudos to those organising the driveway ANZAC celebrations here in Townsville. What a beautiful thing to do. #Anzacathome
The Police Commissioner of Western Australia made a valid point:
“We have boxes in buildings that are put there in case of emergency. We never know what kind of emergency but, in an emergency, we break glass.”
Give those doing their best for us a break whether they be our politicians, our medical teams or the parent in the home trying to facilitate their children’s learning. Mistakes happen in any new process. We are all breaking glass, and some pieces go awry. If the press cannot exist without the drama, then start sensationalising rule breakers. Show us their faces. Put the cameras out there on them and maybe if we shame them enough, we can eliminate the behaviours that keep us locked down.
Today I heard some good words, live markets can create an ideal environment. Do I need to spell out, what for? The press could spend more time covering stories about live market control. They could try repeating this day and night on every station until the governments listen and actually put alternatives in place.
Did you think I had forgotten my question? I would love it if you let me know your opinion on sensationalising but, in the meantime, let me tell you what I believe – the press underestimates us. I don’t look for the drama, that sensationalism to capture my interest but I do look for emotive words and images. I do think there is a better way to do things and I do not believe I am alone in this. We have to demand a better way.
Why don’t we think in terms of words that showcase the situation but also inspire us to believe in a future where “Our patience will achieve more than our force.” — Edmund Burke
Till next time,