Huffpost UK uk
The Blog

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Dale Bilson Headshot

Tonight's News is all About...the News

Posted: Updated:

One of my favourite subjects is myself. This will come as no surprise to any of my friends. And it shouldn't come as much of a surprise to you, either. If one of your favourite topics isn't yourself, too, then you have never looked in the mirror, never bought a lottery ticket, never been to the toilet, never got a new job, and certainly never met a woman you find attractive. Either way, I think you probably need to see someone about it.

So if I were to write a newspaper about my interests, the front page would be full of stories about my life, or about my friends' lives. If I were to produce a news programme, they would be the headlines. If I did something good, I might boast about it a little. If someone I dislike did something bad, I would boast about it a lot. And if I did something bad...well, there's a good chance I would flog the story to death, in the hope that eventually I might be forgiven.

In other words, 'The Daley Mail' would be an incredibly boring and morally void newspaper. And 'The Daley News' would be even worse than 'Daybreak'.

The trouble is, the media is just like me - obsessed with itself.

This has never been more evident than in the past few weeks. A spiralling, snowballing cacophony of disgust began with the scandal of an obviously bizarre and unsavoury man using his profile and charitable work as a smokescreen while he molested apparently innumerable young girls. Revolting, and certainly newsworthy, I agree.

But soon the story morphed into the media's obsession about how it had reacted to this repugnant chap. So before long, the disgust was not aimed at a predatory paedophile, but at the BBC executives who chose, for whatever reason, not to broadcast a piece of film. The story was no longer about the poor women who have felt unable to speak up about the abuse they suffered, but about the media. About itself.

Of course, it didn't stop there. For well over a month now, punctuated only by the small matter of the election of the leader of the free world, newspaper headlines and news programmes have been dominated by how the media has reported the story. Or increasingly, headlines about how the media has reported how the media has reported the story. Try saying that after a few whiskies in your resignation meeting.

It has become so bad that almost everyone except the victims appear to have forgotten what the original story was. The BBC's continued self-flagellation and the rest of the media's obvious delight at their continued stupidity is the only thing we can hear about. Not the victims. Not the plight of refugees in the Middle East. Just the media.

I keep expecting Fiona Bruce, having discussed her boss's exorbitant pay off for 29 minutes and 30 seconds of her 30 minute bulletin, to finish with: 'In other news, World War Three has broken out. And that's it for tonight's news. Goodnight.'

Of course free speech, the freedom of the press, and everything that goes along with it is one of this country's greatest strengths. And many of our journalists and columnists are extensive thinkers writing intelligent prose on subjects which are relevant to all of us. But if the mainstream media, as a whole, could just be a little bit less obsessed with itself, it might just find it is better able to highlight the issues of real importance, and focus on them.

In doing so, it would become much less boring, and far more relevant. I'm going to try to do the same myself. Although 'The Daley Mail' does have a nice ring to it...