Line is blur­ring be­tween real news and re­al­ity TV

Harefield Gazette - - OPINION -

DO YOU feel, when watch­ing TV news, that the planet is be­ing re­duced to a mael­strom of war and abuse which is oblit­er­at­ing ev­ery­thing else? I am not ad­vo­cat­ing heads in the sand and the re­cent ter­ri­ble events in Paris cer­tainly jus­ti­fied big, ex­ten­sive cov­er­age. I was glued to the screen as events un­folded and in awe of the jour­nal­ists cov­er­ing the events.

Many years ago, when I was at Heathrow air­port fol­low­ing up a mor­tar at­tack by the IRA, I watched the TV re­porters pre­par­ing to go live on the nine o’clock news.

One was in a state of panic be­cause we, the me­dia, had not yet been given a brief­ing by the anti-ter­ror­ist chief. How­ever, as he went live to ITN he was calm, pro­fes­sional and found plenty to say. What a skill.

My main worry is that the tragic tales that fill our screens now com­pete with re­al­ity shows that cover A&E hos­pi­tal de­part­ments, po­lice in­ci­dents and so many as­pects of life in dis­ad­van­taged com­mu­ni­ties. All for our en­ter­tain­ment.

Not only are we are in dan­ger of be­com­ing de­sen­si­tised. but I fear many may be los­ing their grip on what is real news as op­posed to re­al­ity TV.

The search­ing of Cliff Richard’s house – live in our liv­ing rooms – is a case in point. So far he has not been charged with any­thing, but even if he is, I don’t feel this pub­lic hu­mil­i­a­tion, which is one step away from mob rule and pub­lic lynch­ing, can ever be jus­ti­fied.

If we imag­ine our homes be­ing turned up­side down on live TV we might be more out­raged that pub­lic sham­ing can over­ride the pre­sump­tion of in­no­cence.

Tra­di­tion­ally, TV news ended with a quirky story to cheer peo­ple up – it was called ‘the dead don­key’ – so I am sure it will amuse you to hear that Mr F has bought me a one­sie, some­thing I vowed I would never wear.

He sent Fisher Ju­nior a pic of me re­luc­tantly try­ing it on, to which she replied: “When dad said it was pur­ple and spotty, I imag­ined a Mr Blobby-type print but this looks good. I would be seen with you in this!”

What? She thinks I am go­ing to wear it in pub­lic? Drop the dead don­key…

Email me at bmail­bar­bara@ or catch up at www. getwest­lon­­thors/ bar­bara-fisher/

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