Never Trust a UK Headline or Article Rhetoric

Episode 125

Introduction

I started to lose faith in news media in my teen years, particularly printed media.  I had a growing aversion to UK tabloids.  My father was an avid reader of tabloids, one in particular, and I can remember at the age of 16 that I literally gained nothing special from the newspaper that my father so avidly gorged on each day.  He poured for way too many minutes on each article, and viewed all of its contents as the gospel delivered to him by a deity. I did not have the answers, but I just knew that that particular newspaper, did nothing for me.  It gave me no new information, and it gave me no information based on what I was seeing in the News shown each evening and night, compared to what was happening in parts of the country.  My father watched the news avidly, and was consumed by its contents.  We were not allowed to speak whilst the news was on – we being my siblings.  We were not allowed to question the validity of the news reports.  We were not allowed an opinion, the excuse being at the time, that what would we know at such a young age. By the time I was 17 I had a Saturday job, and was able to earn a tiny income of my own.  I started to contribute to household Bills, as my parents wanted us all to learn that accommodation and food was not free.  I did not think we were hard done to compared to others of the same age – I considered paying for my keep was the least I could do.  I will admit that I did not feel quite so forgiving of the chores we had to do.  There was a rota.  When I reached adulthood, I did, however, learn how valuable those skills were as we each left home in our 20s. One of the things that I used to spend my Saturday wage on was a ‘quality’ Sunday newspaper.  Each one, I tried for a few months at a time. The paper that I had delivered on a Sunday, along with the family ‘red top’ newspaper each day, did not go down well.  Nothing was said for a few weeks, but one day my father could not contain his silence any longer.

He asked me why I was buying a different newspaper, and what did I hope to achieve.  I tried to explain that I was not getting any information from his red top newspaper that I would expect from all newspapers, and the only way to do that was to spend a few weeks on each one, and then form an opinion based on my observations. Over the next few weeks, I began to feel uncomfortable reading my newspaper of choice in that setting, and I started to read the paper in my bedroom, in between hours of homework.  There was definitely an atmosphere developing.  There was an unspoken tension building. One day, after dinner, he was reading the newspaper, and then suddenly came out with a statement that was clearly directed at me (my younger sibling was in junior school) and my older siblings had already left home. My father said, without looking at me “I hope you do not think that you are better than me”.  I immediately thought to myself, where did that come from?  What insecurities was he carrying, that one of his children buying a different newspaper, engendered this response.  I quickly said that nothing was further from my mind. I did not set out on this journey to buy newspapers for clout.  I genuinely wanted to discover new topics and information.  I wanted to see how people arrived at certain conclusion after reading their newspaper of choice.  I also felt that I needed to remind my dad of some of the things that he had always instilled in us, along with my mother, as we were growing up.  He said that as parents he wanted all of us to get a good education, and to have enquiring minds and never be afraid to ask questions if someone (adult or child) said things that we did not understand.  He just said that we had to be polite.  I said that this experiment with newspaper content was part of that exploration.  I did not consider that the content of the newspaper he was reading, gave me what I was I was looking for, and I have no idea if all newspapers have a similar style.  I did not feel I could express an opinion on such matters if I did not spend a few weeks reading each one. That is what I did, including all the red tops.  I have to say the publication called The Sun, was one where I lasted less than two weeks.  There was nothing I wanted to read from that paper beyond that period, that would be of interest to me at all. It wasn’t news.  It was aimed at a section of the population who did not want to read anything that gave them any food for thought other than base instincts.  It fed the lowest denominator and was based on scantily clad females objectified because of their looks.  The tone of the news content, was basically the same each day, with a different named person as their target of derision or praise. The so called quality newspapers were definitely based on one section of the population, and some of those who purchased such papers, did it for clout.  Ie to be seen carrying such a paper, gave out plenty of signals about the type of person being portrayed – whether it was true or not.  One such newspaper, who modelled itself on producing a paper, that was large in size (just like the quality newspapers) but which in fact had the same content of The Sun, and much of the content of the other red tops.  It did not really contain news.  It was based on gossip style articles, and targeted individuals who had information that they had no desire to share to the world, but who this paper realised captured a part of the market that wanted such a publication. The newspaper in question went out of its way to find people’s private details, and then chose a hunter and prey approach to their victims – dragging out stories for weeks on end, and often destroying lives or quality of life along the way.  Little did I know it at the time, but the 80s and 90s saw the start of tabloid gossip becoming regarded as the news that the public wanted to hear about and discuss, rather than what politicians were doing or not doing for the country. It will come as no surprise to know that that the papers I placed at the bottom of a metaphorical table for news content was the The Sun and The News of the World.  It comes as no surprise to learn that both of those publications were owned by the Murdoch corporation.

It was the start for me to realise the power of the press.  People built up as Saints and equally others portrayed as the Devil personified. Newspapers discovered their money tree.  I came to the conclusion that newspapers were starting to realise that they could shift peoples opinion, and get them to look at certain topics over and over, and provide what appeared to be evidence to stoke up negativity towards the chosen target for that week or month.  The seeds were being sown for what was to come in 1997 and then built even higher in 2016.

I now do not read one UK publication.  Life is too short.  I no longer watch any terrestrial television.  It is like walking through a swamp hoping to find clean water somewhere.  I prefer to discover the benefits that clean water can provide, and education about the location of said swamps to name but one topic.  Give people the choice as to where they explore. If the wide array of programming is focused on creating news rather than reporting on it, then it is not for me.  Discussion programmes with their hand picked audience members, does not lead to good faith in the content, or the points being made to look as accurate and without bias.  I cancelled my TV Licence in 2017 when it became clear that the BBC were far from impartial (it is even worse now), and as I don’t watch the propaganda put out each day, I would rather spend my money on subscription TV that provides choice to the kind of tv I now can watch. The fact that I have no faith in our national broadcaster is of concern to me, and I hope that increasing numbers of people come to the same conclusion.

NB  One recent event which involved the BBC, initially being considered as a safe pair of hands, now allegedly under consideration for the possibility of yet another piece of footage, has a possibility of being considered fake.  I am aware that Kensington Palace had decided recently not to concern themselves with global news organisations, such as Reuters and to stay local.  This latest possible fiasco with the BBC is not helping matters, not least because it is all known worldwide. UK cannot dictate when it chooses to dance on the world wide stage, and when it chooses to hide in the shadows of the UK and pretend it is an economic powerhouse on the global stage.

I feel vindicated for my 17 year old self, when I had my concerns about what constitutes news publications in the UK.  If we add the UK Monarchy into the mix, then it really goes off track, and definitely warrants comparisons with at least 3 countries with regimes that operate in a similar way.  The outcomes may be different, for the moment, but the fact is the UK is exactly the same in terms of the framework and business model it uses to disseminate news.

 

Extract from The Irish Times

This is an extract from a reference source listed at the end of the article.  It is so good, I would have loved to quote the whole article. This will hopefully entice you to read the article in its entirety.

“The term ‘news media’ is a capacious abstraction that contains multitudes,” wrote conservative commentator Brink Lindsey recently. “But when we look at the enterprise taken as a whole, the commendable efforts of the truth seekers and fact finders are overwhelmed by the flood of sensationalistic infotainment bullshit – a flood that panders to the public’s worst instincts and whips both sides into a mutually antagonistic frenzy, all to maximise media company revenues.”

This genie isn’t going back in any bottle, but at least we may be beginning to understand it a little better

Lindsey is less sanguine about the current state of media in the US (and, by inference, around the world). His conclusion is surprising from a lifelong Republican and self-described libertarian. “There is a fundamental misalignment between profit-seeking and democracy’s need for a well-informed public,” he wrote. “That misalignment can be mitigated when profit-seeking is appropriately constrained, but in today’s competitive free-for-all for eyeballs, clicks, and ratings, the result is informational anarchy in which truth is hopelessly outmatched.”

Trust in UK Media Dips to Bottom of Ranking with 31% of People Saying They Trust UK Media

About half (49%) of the people surveyed said that they trusted the news media. The share that trusted journalists specifically was lower at 39% – higher than an Ipsos survey published in November showing that 29% of people in the UK trust journalists to tell the truth.

Trust in journalists was slightly higher among people with more education and in the youngest (18-24) and oldest age groups (75+).

More than half of respondents admitted to having low levels of news literacy – the ability to critically process, analyse and evaluate news. Respondents were especially unsure about how decisions are made in newsrooms, how editorial standards are applied and how regulation works.

 

Which Media do Britons Trust?

 

The BBC and FT top the list, depending on how you measure it

A new YouGov survey of public opinion on 32 news outlets reveals which Britons consider the most trustworthy.

The organisation that the largest number of people trust is the BBC, with 44% of Britons saying they consider it “very trustworthy” or “trustworthy”. A further 24% deem news from the Beeb to be ‘neither trustworthy nor untrustworthy’, while 21% consider BBC news to be untrustworthy.

However, the BBC is not the outlet with the highest level of ‘net trust’ – that is to say, the number of people who trust a media organisation minus the number of people who distrust it.

That honour goes to the FT, with a net score of +30: 40% of Britons trust news from the FT, compared to 10% who distrust it.

The top broadcasters all place highly in the rankings, with ITV and Channel 4 receiving similar net trust scores of +28 and +27 respectively, with the BBC on +23 and Sky +13.

The Guardian is the highest ranking non-business newspaper in terms of the highest trust figure, at 33%, while the Independent is the national with the highest net trust score (+16, slightly ahead of the Guardian’s +15).

There is generally a clear distinction between trust in the tabloids and the broadsheets. Aside from the Independent and Guardian, The Times scores +14, The i +6, and The Telegraph on ±0 – tabloids tend to have a very negative net score.

In fact, the news outlet that Britons are most likely to consider untrustworthy is The Sun, with 59% of Britons saying so (including 36% who believe it to be “very untrustworthy”). The Sun also has the lowest net trust score, at -53.

Among the other national tabloids, The Star scores -50, The Mirror and The Daily Mail both -37, and The Express -31.

Trust in media: UK drops to last place in Edelman survey of 28 nations

The annual survey asked how much people trust the media “to do what is right”.

January 18, 2024

The UK saw the biggest drop in trust in the media and was the least-trusted out of 28 countries surveyed for the latest Edelman Trust Barometer.

The UK fell to the bottom of the ranking, with 31% of people saying they trusted the media in a November survey – a drop of six percentage points since the 2023 Trust Barometer.

PR firm Edelman did not speculate about the reasons for the UK’s particular fall but in the past couple of years Tiktok has rapidly risen as a news sourcePrince Harry has successfully exposed patterns of historical phone-hacking at Mirror Group Newspapers and won the right to take an unlawful information gathering claim against the Daily Mail’s publisher to trial, and the BBC (Huw Edwards), ITV (Phillip Schofield) and GB News (Dan Wootton) have all been hit with presenter scandals.

Respondents were asked to score institutions by “how much you trust that institution to do what is right”.

The UK’s figure is comparable to the 33% who said they have faith in the media in the latest Digital News Report from the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism.

Last year South Korea and Japan had lower trust in the media than the UK, but they are now on 37% and 33% respectively.

South Korea’s was the biggest jump, up ten percentage points, followed by India, up five percentage points.

The biggest declines in trust in the media after the UK were in Argentina (down five percentage points to 33%) and the US (down four to 39%).

However it is worth noting that China is top of the ranking but is one of the least free countries for the press in the world (179th according to Reporters Without Borders). Similarly United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia are near the top of the table but are 145th and 170th in the World Press Freedom Index.

The average trust score in the media across the 28 countries surveyed was 50%. The media is distrusted in 15 of those countries, which had around 1,150 respondents taking part in 30-minute online interviews.

Across the world journalists have become less trusted to tell the truth: 64% said journalists and reporters are “purposely trying to mislead people by saying things they know are false or gross exaggerations” – a three percentage point rise compared to the year before.

In addition, just under half (47%) of people trust journalists to tell them the truth about new innovations and technologies.

The UK is also among the least-trusting countries overall, when joint scores for trust in the media, business, government and non-governmental organisations are looked at. The UK’s average trust score is 39%, down from 43% last year in the joint-biggest fall, putting it joint with Argentina and Japan.

Information Literacy

“Information literacy is the set of integrated abilities encompassing the reflective discovery of information, the understanding of how information is produced and valued, and the use of information in creating new knowledge and participating ethically in communities of learning.”  (ACRL Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education 2015)

“the ability to locate, evaluate, and use information to become independent life-long learners” –

“In its narrowest sense information literacy includes the practical skills involved in effective use of information technology and information resources, either print or electronic.”

 

Definition of digital inclusion

Digital inclusion covers:

  • Digital Skills: Being able to use digital devices (such as computers or smart phones and the internet. This is important, but a lack of digital skills is not necessarily the only, or the biggest, barrier people face.
  • Connectivity: Access to the internet through broadband, wi-fi and mobile. People need the right infrastructure but that is only the start.
  • Accessibility: Services need to be designed to meet all users’ needs, including those dependent on assistive technology to access digital services.

Barriers to digital inclusion

Research for the UK digital strategy suggests that there are a number of important barriers, and more than one may affect individuals at any one time.

They are:

  • access – not everyone has the ability to connect to the internet and go online
  • skills – not everyone has the ability to use the internet and online services
  • confidence – some people fear online crime, lack trust or don’t know where to start online
  • motivation – not everyone sees why using the internet could be relevant and helpful

As access, skills and confidence improve, it is increasingly important to tackle other barriers, including:

  • design – not all digital services and products are accessible and easy to use
  • awareness – not everyone is aware of digital services and products available to them
  • staff capability and capacity – not all health and care staff have the skills and knowledge to recommend digital services and products to patients and service users

Good Things Foundation has produced an informative report on motivations of non-users of the internet.

People likely to be digitally excluded

There has been real progress in internet and online services.

Use Ofcom and Office of National Statistics data to see the latest figures on internet access.

But there are still significant levels of digital exclusion, for example:

The Government Digital Service has developed a digital inclusion scale which maps individuals’ digital capability on a scale from 1 to 9, from those who don’t use the internet at all to digital experts.

Some sections of the population are more likely to be digitally excluded than others. These are:

  • older people
  • people in lower income groups
  • people without a job
  • people in social housing
  • people with disabilities
  • people with fewer educational qualifications excluded left school before 16
  • people living in rural areas
  • homeless people
  • people whose first language is not English

For more information on digitally excluded populations in the UK see the annual UK Consumer Digital Index from Lloyds Bank. The 2019 Consumer Digital Index shows:

  • 9m people (22% of the population) do not have the digital skills needed for everyday life in the UK
  • by 2030 it is predicted that 4.5m people (8% of the population) will remain digitally disengaged
  • people with a disability are 35% less likely to have essential digital skills for life

Good Things Foundation publishes an annually updated Digital Nation infographic showing who’s digitally excluded in the UK and the reasons why they are not online. 

Monarchy and Media

“The media are much more interested in personalities than they are in what they see as dreary process stories.”

Extract from the 67 page report.

“The broadcaster David Dimbleby summed up the continuing tension in comments at the Henley Literary Festival in October 2022. He told how the Palace sought to control every aspect of the televised funeral of the Queen: “There was this complete list of things that no broadcaster could show because the copyright belongs to Buckingham Palace. I think that’s wrong, just wrong. It’s just interesting how tightly controlled monarchy is.” He went on to list items that most journalists rarely challenge, such as the royal ability to change tax legislation or avoid capital gains tax on the Duchy of Cornwall. After the “The media are much more interested in personalities than they are in what they see as dreary process stories.” THE BRITISH MONARCHY  Queen’s death, there was very little coverage of the constitutional issues raised by the transition to a new monarch; only Channel 4 ran a peak-time programme. When a correspondent tried to raise questions in a news report, he was criticised by politicians. The Conservative Scottish Secretary Alister Jack said “the BBC should really not be introducing the independence debate into the Queen’s death. There’s no link.” That is not what David Cameron had said about the Queen’s intervention in the 2014 referendum campaign.”

This fits into a pattern in which the media are much more interested in personalities than they are in what they see as dreary process stories. I and others have charted the risk that trivia overwhelms what really matters. With the Royal Family the characters are particularly vivid and the narrative is sometimes irresistible. But they represent our country’s government too and cement our national hierarchy and define our global image. It is hard to contend that the media has lived up to its role of scrutiny here, which is both a journalistic failing and – in the case of the public service organisations – risks an injustice to the millions of people who dissent from the monarchy”

“A YouGov poll in October 2022 reported that only 55% believe the monarchy is good for Britain, very different from the 88% figure reported in 1969.”

In any event, the future of the monarchy under King Charles and his heirs will rest on their ability to persuade new generations of the value of the crown. Yet there is a big age difference in attitudes. According to BSA just 14% of those aged under 35 say that it is ‘very important’ to keep the monarchy, whereas 44% of those aged 55 and over express that view. Similarly, in their most recent poll Ipsos found that, among those aged less than 35, those who preferred a monarchy (43%) only just outnumbered those who back a republic (38%). In contrast, no less than 84% of those aged 65 and over supported a monarchy

Race for Clicks

Extract from BBC article.  Full document listed below.

However, the ever-growing dominance of digital news has altered this relationship, as the press scrambles for profitability in a fast-changing media landscape.

“Newspapers are still in the business of selling an audience to advertisers, a readership and page views,” says digital advertising expert Rob Weatherhead. “This hasn’t fundamentally changed with the move to digital publishing, but the metrics and numbers involved have.”

Publishers now “prioritise quantity, often over quality”, he says. And whereas it once used to be a fight for pride of place on the news stand, today publishers compete globally for primacy on search engines.

In the “race to be first” and reach audiences online and through social media, says Weatherhead, index prioritisation and search trends are king (or queen).

This means that enduring public interest in the monarchy make the royals “topics of high interest for publications, regardless of individual views”.

The volume of coverage surrounding Meghan and the Oprah interview has made this especially clear.

During February, when the interview and Meghan’s pregnancy were first announced, there were 6,080 articles written. Since then, interest has skyrocketed.

In the first week of March alone, 25,894 pieces on the duchess went live – an increase of more than 600%. And on Monday evening, as the world reacted to the US broadcast and the airing of the interview in the UK, this jumped to 448 articles in 24 hours, a daily rise of 348%.

Says Weatherhead: “Royalists will want to read about it, anti-royals will want to vent about it, and people in the middle probably have a passing interest just to keep up with the news.

“It has a pretty global appeal. And with that comes high page views and more advertising revenue,” he says.

My observation in this foray through the relationship between the media and the Monarchy, and attention to what are considered priority outcomes.  It is clear that women in the British Royal Family pay a very high price for being part of the Firm.  Generally they are not considered important members of the family.  Since 2016 two women were pitted against each other for clicks and giggles, when in fact the actual rift and one that had been in existence for years, was between the Next in Line to the Throne and his younger brother, who was brought into this world by that cult to be the footstool of the older sibling, and to be there to play the role of Whipping Boy for any negative publicity which belonged at the door of the Heir, and instead was painted on The Whipping Boys shoulders.  History has this documented over centuries.

Their wives were the one to carry that flame, and one in particular was considered fair game to carry it all, using the excuse that the next King and Queen could not have negative publicity for any deeds.  No matter their part in any or all of it.  At all times the Heir must be protected, and as a result The Duchess of Sussex took all the heat.  The Royal Rota realising that the newest addition to the family was an accomplished woman in her own right, and one that was already receiving most of the attention.  The Duchess came with a huge following and support base, that no member of the Royal Family had and could not match even you combined all the senior Royals.  This was a problem brewing in the ‘men in grey suits eyes’

So the idea was born to use The Duchess of Sussex as the main target.  The Duchess of Cambridge as she was then, was protected under the cloak of her husbands line of Succession.  8 years down the line, Meghan has been dehumanised to the extent, that no regard is ever given or considered as to the damage being done along the way.  Their treatment towards Meghan is in breach of Human Rights Law, and this channel continues to raise this point to various global influencers and will continue to do so, until people are held accountable.  During this 8 years, Meghan had suicide ideations, and was refused care via the BRF Personnel Department, and alongside that breach and legal requirement, was the breach in Data Protection, for a series of conversations between Royal HR and a number of Royal Rota Reporters – one of whom is on audio and on camera admitting these conversations took place.  It was noted that the Royal Rota did not step back or reduce this onslaught on Meghan, The Duchess of Sussex, they decided to double down on their activity.  The Sussexes left the UK for their health and safety, and the Rota and their panel of experts, otherwise known as the Carnival of Clowns, proceeded to give interviews most days, and still do, berating the couple for leaving with their young child.  They are on camera admitting that what they were doing was abusive, and that the Abuse would continue because they deserved it. An unborn child was lost as a direct result of unrelenting stress delivered from the UK onto another continent. Yet another breach in many areas of the law, including local laws in California against a California resident and USA citizen. Royal Rota did not see Meghan as a sentient living breathing human being. 8 years of abuse and more, against a member of the British Royal Family.  What you all realised that by declaring open season on one member of the BRF, once that target removed themselves from the UK, and the family took away all security arrangements and UK home base from the Sussexes, the Royal Family were nowhere near attracting clicks and income for the increasing hungry Royal Rota personnel.  Job losses without doubt are on the horizon, and in some case, potential closure of one or more of the newspapers.  Every survey out there, even ones carried out by friends of the Monarchy, show a clear decline in newspaper activity, and where there is a high spike of activity, it is against the person who no longer is a working Royal and lives on another continent.

What is happening now, is that the void has exposed the weakness of the Royal Family, which was always there, but it was hidden previously, but now there is no cover.  People are dropping like flies. They find the ribbon cutting activities to be tiring, and Crown activity they all look bored doing it.  None of them look like they want to be there, and as a result, members of the public are watching and coming to a number of conclusions. The few that still hang on and will support the Royal Family no matter what, are in reducing numbers and are above the age of 65.  It does not bode well, and there is no doubt in my mind that the Monarchy is on the sliding slope now.

Having opened up the doors for anyone to criticise Meghan, and for daily panel shows to be aired criticising Meghan and Harry for supporting his wife and family and removing them from the UK, to reduce the risks as much as they can, the right wing Royal Rota never thought that anyone else would receive some of the attention from people with negative views.  The current local chew toy has been the Princess of Wales, and within less than ten days, so called experts coming out like clockwork, and bots similar to those that are employed to say negative things about Meghan this past 8 years, and the experts giving interviews and writing sycophantic articles about how disgusting it has been to criticise Kate for staying out of public view for approximately 90 days and counting.  Meghan has had 8 years of abuse including the loss of a baby, but yet Kate’s less than a two weeks of attention and scrutiny over legitimate topics, there is talk of bullying, and how Catherine is a wife and mother who is now not in good health, and she should be left to heal.  Meghan was granted no such grace, and was a wife and a mother too during this onslaught, and the added loss of a baby because of the abuse.  Now we have calls for social media platforms to be moderated in such a way that Princess Catherine is not allowed to be commented on negatively whilst recuperating from whatever the latest report states in terms of her health.  Princess Meghan had no such grace offered to her, and there are receipts in abundance of those who have given up their previous full time employment jobs and now work on social media platforms full time, and earn telephone number sized income from inciting hate on a daily basis in their reports and videos about Meghan.  That is considered OK, because they are not talking about the English Rose, who has wilted under the spotlight that she and her husband so badly wanted. The only person of colour to enter that family is deemed acceptable collateral to offer up to the hungry Rota, whilst 4 out of the 5 Working Royals are out of action, one of whom is healthy to all intent and purposes, but officially is looking after his wife and family.  The logistics of that seem somewhat difficult, but whatever, he is healthy and does do the odd engagement if it suits him on that day at that time. The double standards are glaringly obvious, and people who had zero interest one way or another on what the Monarchy did each day, have noticed the disparity in treatment, and now are very much on board with The Sussexes.

We have touched on reducing faith in the media, and UK media is rock bottom in many of the polls and not much higher in others.  Circling the drain every day is not an aspiration of decent journalists, and having attracted the global news rooms in the effort to be liked as much as The Sussexes, the Monarchy has now got the eyes of the world upon them.  To be compared to the regimes in the countries mentioned officially by those who understand how these things work, is not a good look, and I mentioned earlier, when the national broadcaster also is called into question, that is like a rubber stamp of a Warning Label on the UK who are found wanting when the broadcaster practices are also called into question.  If deeper searches are carried out on images and videos circulated within the UK, that is yet another economic blow to the UK.  Once again self inflicted careless approach to quality assurance.

The more I see and hear, makes me proud of my suspicions at 17 years of age – even though I did not know how to wade through the obvious propaganda to find the source of various perspectives, and who was being protected whilst creating outrage and metaphorical blowing of gaskets in reaction to the deliberately clickbait articles and story length headlines.  My oh my, UK media is tabloid based now.  Even the so called quality newspapers, are tabloid with fancy fonts and vocabulary.  None of them are worth spending time on even if they were free.  The very idea of putting things behind a paywall, as if the excellence of whatever article is behind there, is worth every penny.  No, it is being done this way, because UK news media is losing money hand over fist, and the climate you have all created this last 4o years or so, needs to change.  There is no need for a Royal Rota.  No hoards of crowds are beying to see or hear about anyone in that family, to anywhere the same degree of previous decades.  One senior manager and 2-3 journalists liaising with the few newspaper publications of the future will suffice.  None of you can protest about that, because if you were making 10% of the income you all made on the back of The Sussexes pain and suffering, you wouldn’t be in this current position.  All of you should be seeking new employment, because honestly, there is no business case to employ more than 3 people.  There are 5 senior working Royals and only two of them are of an age that on paper is viable for a few more years.  The only drawback with those two is that neither of them really want the job, just the titles and the power.  If anyone hearing this has any doubt, go back and watch footage over the last four years.  The evidence is there in abundance.  As those four years has gone on, you can see the realisation all over their faces about the fact that they got all that they wished for, and now they realise they don’t like it.  They can’t hide out of view for months on end.  The rationale will eventually sound lame. Most of their activity to date has been vanity projects, in an imaginary competition between the Heir and his successful and popular younger brother and liaising with Right Wing Think Tanks or Foundations on ways to slow down or destroy Harry’s projects.  Zero concern for any UK resident.  Good to know. Before anyone comes forward talking about helping the homeless and bringing peace to the Middle East, or becoming a Diplomat, or the 12 year and counting Under 5 project, which to date has had one Report which took 5 years to produce and more plans of nothingness for the next Report.  Some poor educational professional is going to be saddled with coming up with something that fills a few pages of A4, and the individual who has yet to finish a project, or the couple who have yet to finish a project, seem to prefer a life of having Titles and power, but spending 10 months of the year out of view, on vacation, with the odd photo opp.  The Monarchy is crumbling from self destruction, and in less than 5 years, we will all be able to see the Foundation , because the house of cards will have collapsed by then.  A take away from all of this, particularly the British Royal Family –  is be careful what you wish for.

The Invisible Contract

“The construction of the royal family, as individual royals with individual stories, means that the monarchy can be consumed by audiences in the age of interest in the lives of public figures,” she explains.

Figures from search engine researchers Rise at Seven showed that 74,000 articles had been published about Meghan worldwide since the duke and duchess confirmed plans to distance themselves from the palace.

On top of this, searches for the duchess jumped 600% after the Oprah interview was announced.

And yet, despite this interest, the British public in general “know little about the inner-workings” between the monarchy and the media, such as the royal rota system which gives “some journalists more intimate access to royal events”, argues Dr Clancy.

Publishers now “prioritise quantity, often over quality”, he says. And whereas it once used to be a fight for pride of place on the news stand, today publishers compete globally for primacy on search engines.  In the “race to be first” and reach audiences online and through social media, says Weatherhead, index prioritisation and search trends are king (or queen).

This means that enduring public interest in the monarchy make the royals “topics of high interest for publications, regardless of individual views”.

The volume of coverage surrounding Meghan and the Oprah interview has made this especially clear. During February, when the interview and Meghan’s pregnancy were first announced, there were 6,080 articles written. Since then, interest has skyrocketed.

In the first week of March alone, 25,894 pieces on the duchess went live – an increase of more than 600%. And on Monday evening, as the world reacted to the US broadcast and the airing of the interview in the UK, this jumped to 448 articles in 24 hours, a daily rise of 348%.

Says Weatherhead: “Royalists will want to read about it, anti-royals will want to vent about it, and people in the middle probably have a passing interest just to keep up with the news.

“It has a pretty global appeal. And with that comes high page views and more advertising revenue,” he says.

The destabilisation has directly influenced British royalty’s relationship with the press. No longer is either side able to easily control the narrative and define the relationship. Meghan added that social media had made the relationship with the press like “the wild, wild West”, and said the royal family’s press operation failed to defend her and her husband from untrue stories.

In response, The Society of Editors said the media was not bigoted, and was holding the “rich and powerful to account”. After criticism, however, it issued a further statement on Wednesday to say its initial comments “did not reflect what we all know: that there is a lot of work to be done in the media to improve diversity and inclusion”.

Meghan successfully took the Mail on Sunday newspaper to court over the publication of private letters to her father, and asked for an “account of profits” in respect of her claim for infringement of copyright, which the judge agreed to.

This means that, unlike traditional damages, the paper will have to pay damages based on the revenue they made by publishing the letters – a direct recognition of, and challenge to, the royal family’s worth and relationship to the press.

Don’t let the media moguls fool you all.  The economy is far from in a healthy state.  Never forget the content published each day, telling you who is destroying the country, and how things could be even better, if certain factions were not resident here. Apparently the economy is more than fine at the moment is not factual information.  Never forget that every UK newspaper owner lives outside of the UK.  That is how good the economy is doing.

Media Literacy

Media literacy is the ability to identify different types of media and understand the messages they’re sending.. But all media shares one thing: Someone created it. And it was created for a reason. Understanding that reason is the basis of media literacy.

  • Learn to think critically decide whether the messages make sense, why certain information was included, what wasn’t included, and what the key ideas are.
  • Become a smart consumer of products and information. Media literacy helps k how to determine whether something is credible. It also helps determine the “persuasive intent” of advertising and resist the techniques marketers use to sell products.
  • Recognize point of view.Every creator has a perspective. Identifying an author’s point of view helps appreciate different perspectives. It also helps put information in the context of what they already know — or think they know.
  • Create media responsibly.Recognizing your own point of view, saying what you want to say how you want to say it, and understanding that your messages have an impact is key to effective communication.
  • Identify the role of media in our culture.From celebrity gossip to magazine covers to memes, media is telling us something, shaping our understanding of the world, and even compelling us to act or think in certain ways.
  • Understand the author’s goal. What does the author want you to take away from a piece of media? Is it purely informative, is it trying to change your mind, or is it introducing you to new ideas you’ve never heard of? When you understand what type of influence something has, you can make informed choices.

Media literacy includes asking specific questions and backing up your opinions with examples. Following media-literacy steps allows you to learn for yourself what a given piece of media is, why it was made, and what you want to think about it.

Conclusion

Lets end with one of the quotes I read out earlier.  It is a sobering set of words, and ones that we should keep in mind at all times.

“The term ‘news media’ is a capacious abstraction that contains multitudes,” wrote USA conservative commentator Brink Lindsey recently. “But when we look at the enterprise taken as a whole, the commendable efforts of the truth seekers and fact finders are overwhelmed by the flood of sensationalistic infotainment bullshit – a flood that panders to the public’s worst instincts and whips both sides into a mutually antagonistic frenzy, all to maximise media company revenues.”

“This genie isn’t going back in any bottle, but at least we may be beginning to understand it a little better”

Ivy Barrow

31st March 2024

Reference Sources

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