Monday, 3 August 2009

We deserve better media

On Saturday 1st August 2009 a French soldier was killed in Afghanistan and two were injured. You may say that there is nothing exceptional in this and many more British soldiers have died, but how do we know if our soldiers are suffering more than others? The answer is that we don't because our media emphasises British news. I didn't even know that the French were there but I was reading French news. During the European elections (some may say this is our most important election) we did not hear any European news. We are not well informed.

I bought a well known Sunday newspaper yesterday. It had a headline 'MPs are working fewer hours than ever - but costing us much more'. It is based on an official report about the hours spent in Westminster. A similar question was put to the panel in Question Time last week. George Galloway was specifically asked about his poor voting habits. He was ready for this question and his answer was a direct contradiction to the questioner. He was in the House of Commons every day, including Christmas Day.

MPs don't just work in Westminster. They work in their constituencies. They hold surgeries. They deal with individuals. They go to meetings. They write for the papers. They give radio interviews. I am sure that MPs could give a much longer list. So the simple deduction is that this Sunday newspaper is not responsible. How would you feel if a paper wrote that you were lazy? Then you found out that the paper only wrote about a tiny fraction of your work. Unfortunately there are many people who believe what they read. We deserve better media.

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