EU Referendum + Journalism

So David Cameron has declared he’ll hold an in-out referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU, provided he wins the next election, and in a way that no way suggests putting party politics over the national good…

Yeah, right…

But worse than Cameron’s obvious opportunism is the way the media have covered the declaration so far. A combination of trotting out Tory MPs to support Cameron’s move, Tory MPs to attack Cameron’s move, Labour MPs to denounce the move, Nigel Farage to plug his own calls for a referendum now, now, now… and pointless vox pops from an ill-informed public…

It’s a shame, because this is an issue that the media could really redeem itself with. After Leveson and after all the criticisms they’ve faced over the years (and not just from me), this could be the media’s chance to step up to the plate and do a genuine public service; inform the public, investigate the pros and cons of EU membership, really get stuck into the issue…

Instead what we get are the usual media mediocrities… ‘We’re here at a cafe in Wilmslow, to ask the customers here what they think of Mr Cameron’s pledge…’ came a Sky News reporter’s response to one of the most important speeches David Cameron has ever given… Yes, because the people of Wilmslow are are likely to have incredibly enlightening views on the matter, being the font of knowledge into the European Union experiment that they’re world renowned for being…

As it happens, the people of Wilmslow were a step ahead of the journalists – mercilessly  shoving microphones in their faces as they were. One woman simply pointed out she didn’t really care about Cameron’s speech, given the economy, child benefit and such were far more important in her mind than a referendum that may or may not happen five years from now…

Another woman hit the nail on the head: ‘The lay person doesn’t really know much about the issue. I don’t think most of us have enough information to make up our minds.’ Cue Sky News spending the next six hours endeavoring to inform their viewers on the ins and outs of EU membership? Of course not… cue six hours of sound bites and vox pops from politicians with agendas to push and a public with more important things on their mind.

I really hope the media step up on this issue, I really do. For too long they’ve been a mirror for the most populist, simplistic and disgusting arguments around to be forced on us by the government, think tanks, pollsters and the uninformed British public. Just once it would be nice to see some journalism take place. For someone to seek to educate, inform and entertain – all in one. For once it’d be great to praise the media for a bang up job on their presentation of the issue and for the good they’ve served us all in the process.

Alas, I always was an idealist…



About iwastoldtheredbegin

Politics of the Left Wing and Liberal variety, plus gin!
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